Housey House Stuff & A Big Idea

Well, I can’t believe it’s been four months since I last posted.  So what’s the status of this old blog?  I don’t know.

But what I do know is that all of the kids are in traditional school this year.  For the first time in 12 years, I have time alone during the day.  While this would be a perfect segue into the Great Soul Searching of 2014 of what will I do?, I’m not up for writing that beast right now and, really, you just want to see the house stuff.  There are a million and one ideas I could pursue, but at the moment I’m taking a breather with my family, managing the cottage business, and focusing on the house, making it cozy and such.

To get me out of the house a bit, too, I am working on a little design project for a medical office and will teach a handful of elementary and middle school art classes in Asheville, North Carolina, this school year.  Otherwise, no other commitments.  And, I like having the margin to be available for any needs that arise in our circle.  The breathing room feels precious, sacred.  So, yeah, the blog, I’m not making any big decisions about it now, even though it is an embarrassment to me.

Like anyone making decisions for their own home, I’m scared to death.  I have a semi-clear vision for this house, but it is soooooooo easy for me to get derailed.  My attention is turned to the layers of the house–rugs, drapery, wall treatments, etc.  You know, the things that could be fat, expensive mistakes.

Some fabrics I’m mulling over:

I love this Cindy E. Barganier, New Turquoise Chain, for my daughter’s room.  I think.

www.tphblog.comShe is sold on it so there is kind of no going back on it.  The colors are just too similar to her artwork that I’m afraid it will be matchy.

Aya by Larsen is the top contender for the living room:www.tphblog.comAlthough, the first pick was handpainted Tangled by Porter Teleo, to which Sherry Hart introduced me, but the colorway was off a bit.  Instead I’m going to use it as inspiration for wall painting in our front entry hall.

www.tphblog.comI can’t decide about Aimee from Clarence House.

Aimee Clarence HousePart of me adores it and the other part of me is all, “whatchu talkin’ about, Willis?”  I mean, look at all the colors!  But then, look at all the colors.  Partly it feels good and Bauhaus-y to me–or, it feels like kids + marker.  This color bonanza is under consideration for the mint kitchen.

So that is about as far as I’ve gotten this year on interior work.  I took the summer off and spent with the kids.  A fair amount of my time was spent on finishing the landscaping.  I’ll have to post some after shots, but here is the pic I took when the cypress tress arrived.  It is funny what one fights about with one’s spouse.  He wanted cypress trees.  I didn’t.  But then he didn’t want a wife who blows all his hard-earned money on endless rounds of furniture, so, compromise.www.tphblog.comYeah, so, one of my millions of ideas is this:  remember up there a few paragraphs I talked about my precious breathing room?  I’m thinking about homeschooling again…just for one year.  I guess it was the whole traditional school with rules and set hours and dress code and rules, that I started to get all itchy in that independent streak of mine.  But!  This time would be different.  We’re thinking about world schooling.  Learning through traveling the world.  Trust me, it took my husband a full month to come around and actually talk it over with me.

Unlike a lot of world schoolers, we would not spend the whole year abroad; but, instead, we would take trips in 2-6 week increments with 6 weeks or so in between trips for instruction about our next destination.  My husband would join us on some of the travel, but mostly I would be traveling alone with our children, hopefully never away from hubby more than 2 weeks at a time.

Anyway, we talk like it’s happening.  The kids are intrigued.  There are many details to work out.  But now it is just for me to decide if I can really handle it.  It isn’t all crepes in the shadow of the Eiffel tower and curry on the beach in Thailand; it can be, as I experienced on our recent trip to Europe, car sickness and abdominal cramps and diarrhea in a public restroom.   So I need to know if I’m ready to deal with my own diarrhea and diarrhea of three kids, so to speak, in a foreign country before I commit.  But I need to decide soon because planning will need to start right away.  And, if we do this, I will be consumed with this until August of 2016.  I share in hopes you will add some insight!

Okay, no promises on what will happen here on the blog, but you can keep up with TPH on instagram.  See you there!

Dining Room Progress & Plans

Hey, friends, I can’t believe it’s been a year this month since we bought the money pit new house.  I’d say the last 16 months have kicked my booty.  I’m taking it slow this summer to make up for the frenzy that was last year’s summer-o-neglect for my kids.  I’m making casual mental design notes here and there around the house, but I won’t dive into any big projects until school starts back up.  Plus, the decorating budget was swallowed by the exterior project (grading, hardscaping, and landscaping) this spring; so there’s that.

But enough spaces are tidied up so I can share my plans in the meantime.  One of my favorite of the bare-bones rooms so far is the dining room. Sherwin Williams Night Owlview from the entry | paint: Sherwin Williams Night Owl | arabescato marble fireplace surround

The space was built as a living room with the dining room in the front of the house (where we have our living room), but it made more sense to me to have it as a dining room with the traffic flow.  And who doesn’t love a fireplace in the dining room?  I also like that we can see the kitchen table from the dining room table–very handy when we have guests over and we adults in the dining room can keep an eye on the kids in the kitchen. Sherwin Williams Night Owlview from the kitchen table | more about the chalkboard closet here

I’m really happy that our existing round table fit perfectly in here–and the Panton chairs flare out a sweet little ruffle around it.  A big mirror is in the plans for above the fireplace.

IMG_7284Our house is like a rainbow vomited inside it.  So I like that this room is more subdued–hopefully with restraint on my part it will stay that way!  The curved sofa (my $15 yardsale purchase, reupholstered) will keep the fabric for awhile–low on priority list.  I bought some inexpensive pillows from Home Goods to experiment with tone-on-tone layering here and make the blue sofa feel more deliberate. Sherwin Williams Night OwlI have plans to do a 8 x 12′ painting behind the sofa, aiming for big impact on that wall.  The painting up currently is one from my senior project in college, an old sentimental piece.  I’m not sure where it will eventually land. Sherwin Williams Night OwlThe lighting is from Antique Factory–newish that had a brushed nickel finish, which I painted white.  We love it–especially at night!

www.tphblog.comThe blank wall across from the table will be the spot for a cabinet/console/sideboard for storage, custom-built because it needs to be a specific size for the space and it will be a fun opportunity to design something (choices!). Sherwin Williams Night OwlThese lamps below, Currey & Co, that I scored from Sherry Hart at the recent Designers Stock Exchange tag sale will sit on the future cabinet.

Actually, I bought all this stuff from Sherry.  I’ve coveted those pink chairs ever since Ally Kim of From the Right Bank  bought them and then later sold them to Sherry…who later sold them to me, ha!  Ally and I have a history of swapping…uh, Platner-style table and red chandelier.  I like having friends with good taste!  For now the pink chairs have landed in the living room.  Maybe too much metal?  But I LOVE the pink here.  This is another room to tackle once school is in session.

www.tphblog.comSo I guess I do have one big project I’m working on this summer–but it is one I can do con mis hijos.  We are spiffing up the treehouse that came with the new house.  It is sturdy–just needs some TLC.  And don’t you know that once I got it in my head to do this, it is all I’m thinking about and working on, losing sleep,  you know.  The kids are active in the process, doing the work and and hatching ideas–which is a great exercise in relinquishing control for me.  While they have parameters I’ve set (control freak), they are putting their stamp on it for sure, for true ownership.  Because, sigh, it is their treehouse, not mine!

The before, last fall:www.tphblog.comAt Christmas, Chris (resident TPH handy do-all) removed the rickety slide and added a swing to the structure, with a new zip line nearby.  So, already we’re off to a good start!  And I found these two lovelies this week to get the design story going:

www.tphblog.comThat tumbling block quilt!?!  My daughter is going to make pillows from it.  I popped into the bathroom at this antique mall after buying the chair, where I saw the quilt hanging on a ladder.  Uh, gross, but I’ll take it!

Stay tuned…and hang with me on Instagram for peeks!

Spaces I’m Loving

Want to live vicariously through some awesome ladies who are actually getting some things done?  Me, too!

Have you seen Darlene Weir’s nursery reveal at Fieldstone Hill Design?  The room is full of gorgeous and meaningful details.  The room has soul.  And I know this to be true because I have stood on that beautiful fuschia rug with my own two feet back in March and felt the soul and depth in this historic stone homestead.

www.fieldstonehilldesign.comAnd, I, along with some pretty fabulous ladies, just so happened to be with Darlene shopping when she spotted the Peruvian embroidery art that became the room’s inspiration piece for the rest of the design.  I love how so right she felt about the art when she saw it–no second thoughts, no doubts.  Done and bought.  It is fun to see that happen and watch a room then be built around it.  Lucky Georgia Luisa!


And, then there is the piano room by Christine Dovey.  Uh, wow.  She completed this room for her clients during the most recent One Room Challenge…in six weeks.  She wrote that she originally planned for this room to be painted black, but you can see it was just destined to be that softest of pinks.  Floral art.  And, floors.

pianoroom ~~~~~~~~

Local Atlanta designing dynamo and friend Sherry Hart also participated in the One Room Challenge, redoing her dining room.  She has lived in her home over 20 years, and this fact makes me like her transformation even more.  She shows the evolution of the room, what she has kept over the years and how little tweaks to the existing pieces make them seem new.  There is so much to love–a little gold, marble, textured walls…and the floral window panels, of course, seal the deal for me.   Sherry’s eagle eyes spotted the lucite table base while shopping with Ally, Kathy, and me–another stop-the-design-bus moment.  And here is where I fancy myself a good luck shopping charm, preposterously.  Nevertheless, please take me shopping with you.

The color inspiration for our basement lounge is Ashley Hannan’s den.  She shared the finished room on her blog late last year, but I die all over again every time she shows it.  Rich Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray on the walls begs me to cozy up and never leave…bring me some nachos please, Ashley?  Classic pieces (a pine dresser for a steal!) and crisp white make for a timeless room.  She is promoting slow decorating as she works on their new home–and I’m all over that approach these days.

While all these rooms are distinctly different in style from each other, the execution of each space is right on.  I find the mix of modern and traditional elements in each room compelling as well as the precise editing.  There isn’t too much, too little.  Ahh, just right.  I’m taking note of what pulls me into these rooms as I work on our new home.  Well done, ladies!

One last thing, you don’t want to miss this:

Screen shot 2014-05-20 at 3.17.28 PM

Just Busted

This simple vignette in the home of designer Luis Bustamante was the lightbulb moment for me on how to solve an awkward space in our kitchen.

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 9.24.40 AMThank you, BUSTamante, for the inspiration!

Thank you to my daughter and her friend for creating the fireworks art.

This enormous chalkboard in the kitchen has become a favorite spot for me.  I’m definitely leaning toward over-scale in this house–fewer things, but bigger.  Over-scale, ever-evolving–this chalkboard (with hidden closet–you can see a wider, in-progress shot here) was the perfect solution for this space.

And it’s a fun photo

Of course I don’t keep the beautiful torso on a tiny pedestal in front of the board–she’d fall over into a heap as soon as the kids ran in the door.  My very favorite decorative piece, she stays safe and sound in the living room.  Until next post, see you on Instagram!

Nesting Place, the Book

It’s a rally cry for imperfectionists.  It’s encouragement to the desperate perfectionist.  It’s permission to love your home where you are now.  
Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 12.08.11 PMAnd it is full of beautiful photos styled and taken by its author in her rental home.  It is The Nesting Place, the book.

nesterMyquillyn Smith sent me a pre-release copy of her book, signed!, that I nearly read in one sitting.  I didn’t even need to use the disco ball bookmark she included in the package.  I also ordered another copy from Amazon to keep at the cottage (the signed one stays home with me!).

I’ve read her blog since I discovered it in 2007; and, so, I was excited to read the backstory to how she has arrived at her decorating manifesto: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  She starts the book detailing each house she and her husband have lived in during their marriage so far– 13 houses in 18 years!  The following chapters are filled with encouragement, wisdom, tips, and have-I-mentioned-her-gorgeous-photos?.  In short, the book is like sitting down with her over iced coffees in striped paper straws–conversational, warm, real.  I promise you, you will love your home even more, even without changing a thing, after you read her book; and, furthermore, you’ll have the confidence to embark on that project you’ve been mulling over, fresh from Myquillyn’s pep talk, to really adore the house you’re in now.

cottage(I won’t even tell you how excited I am that our little North Carolina cottage is mentioned and pictured within the book.  You couldn’t handle that much exuberance!  Mr. Sunburst Mirror and Sculptural Candlestick Duo are enjoying their moment for sure.)

I’d say the book has a truth for everyone.  For me and our new house (we’ve been in it for 5 months but have owned it for 11), the truth comes in that the decorating can be slow, it won’t look anywhere near done or perfect for a long time.  But my people are here, it’s neat and clean, it has lovely natural light and a specially-crafted shell and for these positives, the incompletion and imperfection and memory of a difficult remodel do not diminish from a beautiful artwork in progress.  Don’t you like to see an artist midway through a piece?  See the process and direction?  That is what is happening here and will be happening here for awhile at the Painted House.  A curtainless window, a rugless floor, a settee that needs redoing, a table that needs painting, chairs that need new fabric all testify to this fact.  I’m embracing Myquillyn’s philosophy.

sofaAs for that sparkly bookmark, it rings-around the partial neck of the torso in the living room–a true Myquillyn move.  (The torso would wear a Myquillyn eye patch, too, if she had, well, an eye…or head.)

torsoThank you, Myquillyn, for the beautifully-written and -photographed book!  Follow her at her blog, Nesting Place, where she and her husband are renovating a farmhouse and barn on the site of an old sawmill.

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