Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From the Design Book: A Home Tour and Summer Success Story

"It's delightful when your imaginations come true, isn't it?"

~ Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables Chapter 2

My kiddos went back to school today.  I would wax philosophical here about how fleeting our children's youth is and how one must savor the moments we have with them, but I'm too busy singing and skipping around my much quieter house to go into all that.  

Folks, forgive me.  It's been a long summer.    

It STARTED OUT full of ambitious imaginings.  I was going to immerse my children in the wonders of nature, read to them from 19th century classic literature, and stroll them through galleries of modern art.

Instead, we ended up watching the entire series of "Merlin" on Netflix while consuming approximately 14 boxes of corn dogs and 392 otter pops.

Oh, and we killed "Goldie," our beta fish.

It hasn't been my proudest summer.

But in spite of all failings at educating my children this summer, I was a rock star at parading through homes instead of cleaning my own.

Please indulge me as I share with you one of the FEW things I'm happy about this summer . . .

This little gem didn't look like much from the outside, but as soon as I entered the front door, I joined throngs of women gasping with delight.

 This house had the most fantastic mixture of textures, from the wood floors to the brick walls to the sleek kitchen tile.

 I couldn't get enough of this family room with its classic yet comfy vibe.

Bird prints?  I'll take 12.

MUST get those veggie prints and that coffee table!  The prints would remind my children of the virtues of vegetables, and that coffee table would hide the stains left behind when my children inevitable smear said vegetables all over the surface  . . .

Sweet little kitchen with its scrumptious little schoolhouse pendants . . .

Three cheers for the rustic barstools!

And even though I would have never thought to brick a wall in a master bedroom, I love how much more elegant the bed seems against it . . .

Ah . . . the joys of contrast!

And even though the master bath was just a closet compared to some of the expansive bathrooms in the parade, it packed a precious punch with its sparkling fixtures . . .

tiled shelves and shower insets . . .

and serene claw footed tub.

Upstairs was the sweetest little nursery in most perfect pinky peach paint I have ever seen.  Now if only I could convince one of my boys to let me paint their room this color  . . .

Crib?  LOVE.

So there you have it---a peek at one of the only things I have to show for this summer.

Here's hoping for a more productive school year.

Sharing at . . .

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

From the Design Book: A Virtual Home Tour for My Husband

"One of the reasons that women writing about homemaking a century ago were so self-possessed is that neither they nor their readers were conflicted about the importance of their subject. A Victorian woman’s home was her eminent domain, and she ruled over it with as much confidence as Queen Victoria ruled the world.

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach, Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor

One of my husband's many gifts is his enduring spirit.  For example, on Saturday morning he ran 10 miles without stopping.  In a few days, he will have officially survived 17 years of marriage with me with only a few thoughts of "stopping." And if life would allow it, he would watch every-stinkin'-war-documentary-episode that the History Channel ever made, back to back, stopping only for a ham sandwich.

He is my own Energizer Bunny---except when it comes to the Parade of Homes.

Something mysterious happens to my husband when we start to "parade" through homes.  The feet that happily carried him 10 miles in the scorching sun on Saturday morning suddenly become fatigued with all the "walking".  The eyes that can unblinkingly watch a 6-hour documentary on a civil skirmish in 18th century Albania suspiciously glaze over whenever I ask him his opinion on paint colors.  And even though he has filled our marriage with love notes and flowers and thoughtful deeds, he surprisingly has NO feelings when it comes to decor.

So we've made a deal.  He and I go to three homes together.  Three.  No more.  No less.  And we are both on our best behavior for three houses.  I don't engage him in conversations about textures or textiles, and he doesn't puff his cheeks out and exhale bored sighs.

Marriage saved.

Unfortunately, there were 35 homes in this year's parade and my husband somehow dodged seeing my favorites.  So pardon me for a moment as I bend the "Three's the Limit" rule and create a "virtual" house walk for him.  Here is what I would say to him if he had walked through with me:

"Honey!  Look!  There's house 16.  Isn't that paneling great with those shingles?  And I really like the blue of the front door against the grey/green of the siding."

"Oh!  I love all the light in this family room!  And the tufted couches?!  Yes, please!"

"Don't you just love how that reclaimed wood looks above the television?!  It's an art piece!"

"Look at the combination of the beadboard above the cupboards and the glass tiles below.  Adorable!"

"And look, honey!  An eating area other than In-n-Out that can accommodate all of our boys!"

"Don't you think our oldest son would drool over this room with its cool color scheme and private loft?" 

"Fun room.  What a great way to utilize the space with all of those built-in cubbies.  And I've always been a sucker for eaves.  They make rooms so interesting."

"How hard would it be hang pendant lights like that in OUR master bedroom?  And what do you think of that tufted headboard?  Did I mention how much I love all things 'tufted'?"

"Holy Moly!  Look at that shower (on the right).  It's bigger than our garage and has floor to ceiling window slats!  And those mirrors.  Yum.  I could get used to this place---including that walk-in closet."

"So what didya think, sweetie?  What would you rank the house on a scale from 1 to 10?  Wait.  Let's make two separate rankings---one for the floor plan, design, etc., and one for the decorating.  So?"

I'd like to think that after reading this post, my husband will have ABUNDANT feedback for me that will lead to hours of staring into each other's eyes as we discuss the virtues and vices of berber carpet, the craftsman style, and of course, tufted furniture.

Then again, maybe I should just be happy if he reads the post in the first place.  After all, it would mean that I got him to see FOUR houses this year.  

(Cue wicked laugh dripping with gloatful satisfaction.)

Poor thing.  

He never saw it coming.

Sharing at . . .

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From the Book of Life: A Tea Party to Share

"Some people imagine that there can be no accommodations, no space in a cottage; but this is all a mistake. I was last month at my friend Elliott's, near Dartford. Lady Elliott wished to give a dance. 'But how can it be done?' said she; 'my dear Ferrars, do tell me how it is to be managed. There is not a room in this cottage that will hold ten couple, and where can the supper be?' I immediately saw that there could be no difficulty in it, so I said, 'My dear Lady Elliott, do not be uneasy. The dining parlour will admit eighteen couple with ease; card-tables may be placed in the drawing-room; the library may be open for tea and other refreshments; and let the supper be set out in the saloon.' Lady Elliott was delighted with the thought. We measured the dining-room, and found it would hold exactly eighteen couple, and the affair was arranged precisely after my plan. So that, in fact, you see, if people do but know how to set about it, every comfort may be as well enjoyed in a cottage as in the most spacious dwelling." 

~ Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility Chapter 36

It's my birthday this week, and I'd like to invite you all to celebrate it with me.  

If you are anywhere near the Mountain West, please feel free to stop on by for some cake.

If not, here is a "virtual" birthday party for you to attend---a birthday tea party.

Now, if you know anything about me and Miriam by now, it is that we were on the "Tea Party Committee" in heaven.  We live for a good tea party---especially a party like this one with beautiful cucumber sandwiches . . . 

and buttery cream scones . . .

And of course, there must be a scrumptious array of sweets, like these colorful pastries . . . 

or these individual chocolate silks . . . 

or these dainty lavender shortbreads (in the shape of teapots, of course :) . . .

The pictures for this party came from a little soiree that my friend and I put together for our book group.  It was a Jane Austen-inspired tea.  Everyone came in their most Regency-looking frocks and enjoyed an evening of refreshment and diversion.  

I wish you could have been there.

But at least now you have attended in spirit.

And if anyone asks . . . I'm turning 29.

Sharing at . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...