Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sources of inspiration

It is the final day of June,

and the heat that had

been bearing down on us

has finally broken.

Today I was able to turn off the air conditioning

and let the summer breezes

blow through the casements.

My cats are ecstatic!

We are getting ready for the first phase

of remodeling the dining room,

and I have been immersed in images

of rooms that inspire me.

Our room is a long, narrow space.

To avoid its propensity to be cave-like,

we have decided to add a window seat.

source: pottery barn

The window seat will be about

8 feet long and 30 inches deep;

with windows on all 3 sides

it will be a bump-out from the room.

This will bring in tons more light and fresh air,

provide built-in seating for the table,

and a spot that can be closed off

with curtains to sleep one guest.

It will even have storage underneath

for bulky bedding and assorted linens.

source: costal living

The room will have natural wood floors

and windows with divided lights.

The decor will be simple, natural,

textural, and pale.

source: pottery barn

French doors dividing the space

from the living room

will bid welcome to dinner guests.

source: country living

Slipcovered dining chairs and a dramatic

light fixture will surround the antique

pedestal table.

A sisal rug will provide texture underfoot.

Ah, that will be the fun part!

At this point we are just getting started

and there is much yet to be done.

I will keep you all updated as things progress.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Staying put...

Hello, everyone.

Many of you have asked about the house situation, so I thought I would give you an update here. We are going to have to stay in our present home for the time being. The real estate market has taken a dive in the past year and a half, and it seems as if we cannot get the kind of sales price we need for this house. We are unwilling to lose money on the deal, no matter how beautiful the other property is.

This is not necessarily a bad thing! We are going to finish up some long-put-off projects in our current house and bide our time. If the Victorian house is still available when things turn around, we may re-visit the idea.

In the meantime, I will stay where I am and get my house finally, after 15 years, finished and customized to suit me! This house was built in 1963. We added on in 1998 and have re-done each room since then, except this last one (dining room/office space/seating area) that is now on the docket. I have never shown you this room because of the horrible nature of it-- tacky materials and finishes, poor space planning, inferior infrastructure. This is a pretty big project, involving changing the roofline, flooring system, windows, doorways, walls, ceilings, and building a new staircase. The carpenter (our friend/neighbor, Tom) came over today to take a look and work up an estimate. Hopefully work can start after the 4th of July weekend.

So, I am a tad disappointed, but not terribly. I really do love the house and garden I have labored so many years to create. Leaving here would have been hard to do emotionally and physically.
Thanks for all your inquiries and kind thoughts.
Until next time...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Green thoughts on a summer morn

It is good to be alone
in a garden at dawn or dusk,
so that all its shy presences may haunt you
and possess you in a reverie
of suspended thought.
~ James Douglas,
Down Shoe Lane

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.
My garden of flowers is also
my garden of thoughts and dreams.
The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers,
and the dreams are as beautiful.
~Abram L. Urban

As I strolled through the garden,
the daylilies were unfurling
their petals and sepals,
a smile and a nod
to the newness of the day.

Gardens are a form of autobiography.
~Sydney Eddison,
Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

No two gardens are the same.
No two days are the same in one garden.
~Hugh Johnson

I never had any other desire so strong,
and so like to covetousness,
as that one which I have had always,
that I might be master at last of a small house
and a large Garden.
~Abraham Cowley,
The Garden, 1666

This year it struck me that I now have
a collection of daylilies.
It just seemed to evolve as I made room
for more and more.
They grow really well in the sweltering humidity here
and require little maintainance.
I have not previously considered myself
a collector of any sort of plant,
but, rather, a hostess to them.
Like guests at a garden party,
each one has her own personality and spirit.

Give me odorous at sunrise
a garden of beautiful flowers
where I can walk undisturbed.
~Walt Whitman

This morning I awoke early,
before the rest of the household.
The garden beckoned to me
as I sat on the porch,
a bowl of cereal in front of me.

Camera in hand to catch the morning light,
I coaxed a shy smile from each flower.
The air was soft, a gentle prelude before
the crescendo of heat comes
crashing down upon us
with the approach of mid-day.
Wishing you some moments of solitude
to spend in a garden,
time for reflection and reverie.
Until next time...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gifts from the sea

Sea shells must be one of nature's

most beautiful creations.

Just like human beings, no two are alike.

They contain the mysteries of the deep

within their folds and crevices.

Often times I find their imperfections

are what appeals to me the most.

When displayed individually in a sculptural glass jar,

a sea star becomes a piece of art.

Bits of mother-of-pearl add textural contrast

to a smooth, milk glass bowl.

A grouping of some of my favorite shells

sits proudly atop the piano.

More sea-polished bits are collected in a wooden bowl

lined with mother-of-pearl.

Broken, fragmented shells rest proudly atop

a lacy plate. The shades of gray remind me

of overcast days at the beach.

Even the lampshade joins the party.

Unlike Anne Morrow Lindberg, I have not had the

luxury of spending solitary time

on a sea island gathering my own shells

as the tides roll in and out.

These have been gleaned from the collection of others

(family and friends), and thus bring their

stories into my home.

In this case, each shell is literally a gift.

They serve as reminders of those gone before,

both human and crustacean.

They help me stay connected to the ebb and flow,

the rhythms of communion and solitude,

which punctuate my life.

And lastly they keep me connected to the

humble beauty of nature's treasures.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Inspiration and dreams

"Pay attention to what excites you, what propels you to day dream."

--- Thalisa Frank and Dorothy Wall

Daydreaming has been one of my
most indulged past-times lately.
I have spent hours upon hours thinking
about that old house I posted about recently.

We have decided to make an offer on it
and see what happens.

Last night even my sleeping dreams
were touched by my hopes of what might be.

In all this dreaming, I have come up with
a scheme of decor that I think
will suit my preferences,
my current furnishings,
and the house itself.
Here are some of my inspirations.
The house has a lot of natural wood in it,
floors, ceilings, doors, casings, baseboard,
along with many great windows.
As you know, I am drawn to neutrals,
natural materials and textures.
I live near a national forest, so the
woods are a continual source
of solace and inspiration.
These rooms blend all those elements beautifully,
I think.
What do you think?
All images courtesy of Marie Claire Maison.
Until next time...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Taking to the highway

Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Tomorrow, car packed and loaded with dogs and people,

we will head on down the road.

A trip to visit family and friends

in the northern part of this incredibly long state.

Trips always create in me

some anticipation and some dread.

Anticipation for the times yet to be had,

people yet to be seen,

laughter yet to be shared.

Dread about leaving the comforts of

my home and my bed,

the company of my cats, and my garden.

However, once the open road stretches out before me,

I feel at peace.

My shoulders drop, and my tension dissipates

as the miles pass.

We take the state highways and choose to avoid

the interstate when possible,
driving through small towns that have seen better times,

past fields growing more verdant with each passing day,
over creeks gushing with last night's heavy rain.

The dogs ride harmoniously in the cargo area of our Outback.

Britt, my daughter snoozes in the back seat,

i-pod providing the soundtrack to her dreams.

The chatter from the front seat is steady and quiet.

Some of my most meaningful conversations have taken place in the car.

The stereo plays a stream of our most-loved CD's,

favorites that have taken this journey

with us many times before.

And down the road we hurtle,

toward times filled with music and laughter,

toward a place where change lurks on the horizon,

toward a future enhanced by vestiges of the past.

Back in a few days,

when you will see how much I remember,

and I will remember how much I have seen.

Until next time...


All images courtesy of flickr.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The object of my affection

That old house I alluded to last week has been very
present on my mind.

I fall asleep thinking about how I would decorate it,
what colors to paint it,
what plants to add to the garden.

My husband and I went to look at it last Friday,
and here is the good news...

he loves it as much as I do!

It is a circa 1914 home, owned by only 2 other families
since its creation. It is basically a Queen Anne,
with a wrap-around front/side porch and 5 bedrooms.

We had actually looked at it in January and came close to
making an offer at that time. We were scared by
the uncertainty of the real estate market and backed out.

In the meantime the house sold to a family we know
and I was able to let go of my attachment to it (somewhat),
knowing they needed a large house, with many bedrooms,
much more than my little family did.

That sale fell through, and she is back on the market.
We have decided to try to make this house our own!

There are loose ends to tie up on our present house.
And of course, it must have a buyer.
But...if all the stars align properly, and the gods
are smiling down upon us,
and the universe is in perfect order,
it just might happen.

Here are pictures of the house-- raw and unstaged
(and horridly painted).

You are all visual people who can see
possibilities and potential,
so I thought I would share this with you.

This is the view from the large main parlor, looking toward the foyer. I love that cute coat closet under the stairs and all that woodwork. It is all original-- doors, moldings, casings, flooring.

View from the dining room looking into the front parlor. There are 2 sets of pocket doors that separate the dining room from each of the parlors flanking it.

A view of the kitchen looking into the dining room. That tile floor and wall paper drive me nuts, but at least they are easily changed. The built-in cupboard is accessible from the dining room and from the kitchen .

This is the view from the downstairs bedroom looking into the kitchen. The layout of the kitchen leaves much to be desired; however, my wheels are turning. There is a back door beyond the refrigerator that leads to a smallish wrap-around back porch.

This is the upstairs hallway. The entire house has beaded board ceilings.

A view of the front bedroom and its closet. The tacky shelves would have to go.

Another upstairs bedroom. That closet door is beautiful.

The upstairs bath with its original clawfoot tub.

I hope you can see why this house has a hold on me that just won't quit.

I feel it in my bones that this is supposed to be my home,

that I am supposed to be its steward.

Hapy house dreams to all of you.

Until next time...



Related Posts with Thumbnails