Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Afternoon Amusement

This is too funny and so much fun. I learned this little trick from Mary at Little Red House.
I don't even like this picture anymore, but of course I am too impulsive to wait for a better one. Since this photo was taken I have changed slipcovers, moved chairs, re-arranged table tops, changed the painting above the mantel, and of course, tried to edit out a few weakness, I know.

At any rate, I am not technically talented and this was so easy on Flicker - go visit Mary to get the exact link. You, too, can be on the cover of a magazine! Have fun!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Country Home, take me home...........

One of the things I have ranted about in past posts has been the lack of personality or soul in many of the beautiful houses we see in magazines these days. There has been much discussion and expression of different viewpoints regarding why we study design books and magazines - what pleasure we get, what education, what inspiration, etc. One thing I know for sure is that the house I am going to share with you now is full of soul. It is a reflection of the precious, talented person who decorates it. She is not into the latest trends, although she has been known to "need" to freshen up her fabrics on a whim, or re-arrange a room at midnight - but she is true to what she loves, she knows what she likes, and her home shows that completely.

While wandering through the hills outside of Fredericksburg, you might come upon this idyllic scene - a mail box on a country road, overlooking fields of oak trees and springtime fields of flowers.This mail box sits right across the road from the simple country entrance to........

my friend's house, about 8 miles outside of town, in the lone star state!
The drive up the gravel road is slow and peaceful, winding through the oaks, with views all around of the hills and valleys surrounding her classic hill country home, built of native limestone and stucco.

Barbara and her husband, Wayne, have lived in the hill country for about 13 years. They bought some acreage, built their home, and have gradually added more charming features to their property like this little potting shed and garden area inside the picket fence.

Friends and family come to visit, stay in the sweet guest house and actually sit on those benches and roast marshmallows , or swing in the tire swing, or just chat under the stars......slowing down from the fast pace of their city lives.

The front door as well as the entire porch reflect Barbara's love of old things. When she designed this house , she had collected old doors for the entire house, interior and exterior. All of them had various shades of old paint . Most of the time the paint was original and part of the charm and reason for the choice. Barbara challenged her builder with different sized doors, which of course, called for customizing the openings for each of those doors. They add a ton of character to the house.
The front door has a beautiful creamy wash on it that is perfect with the texture and feel of the stucco and limestone.

The porch is full of treasures like old garden statuary, wicker, twig tables, old iron work,

faux bois planters, and beautiful blooming plants.............

I love visiting Barbara's house when it has been a while since I was there last. I am always sure to find the entry hall newly arranged with wonderful antiques - lots of different color variations (although blue is a favorite) and texture, and things arranged in perfect vignettes. Here are just a few of the things she collects and uses with such charm - old painted baskets, old textiles, especially hooked rugs, old books and wonderful antique tables with old paint. Notice her clever use of the old blue shutters and old window with OLD, yes, OLD mirror. If the word OLD is getting redundant, then so be it. If it is something Barbara loves, chances are good that it is antique, or at the very least has a worn, soft patina to it.

When you walk into her house, the dining room is to the right and the living room to the left of the entry hall.
Barbara was an antique dealer for years in Dallas. She had a shop in the Knox/Henderson area when we met. She set up at the Round Top shows and the well known Dolly Johnson show in Ft. Worth for many years. I met her when I was a customer, as well as a young dealer with a space at the MEWS in Dallas the first year or so it was open.

If you are a true antique lover/collector, you know how the disease can take over and all of a sudden you have no more space in your home and you are having to find storage for your treasures, or you must begin selling - to support you habit, so to speak.

Long story short, Barbara and I both moved to Fredericksburg, (coincidentally)became close friends, and have continued to buy and sell from each other over the years. We have been known to buy back things we sold to each other! Sick, we know, but so much fun.

So, over the years, both of our tastes have grown, changed, broadened - Barbara has been able to remain true to her real loves, though, and has been much better at remaining focused on how she pulls her house together with her favorites. We refer to "focus" as the F word - she has it and I don't! Well, I think I am getting better, but I struggle with it all the time. If you have seen pictures of my house, you know what I am referring to. I love too many things - Barbara does too, but she is more disciplined than I when it comes to decorating her own house.

I have been trying to steal that WELCOME hooked rug from her for years. It used to be in the entry hall.........see what I mean - she moved it, probably to trick me! She has an incredible collection of OLD stone fruit. This time I emphasize OLD because there are a lot of reproductions out there these days. If you like stone fruit and don't care if it is old, then it doesn't matter. However, some of us only want the vintage or antique and unfortunately there are those who misrepresent their merchandise........and there are some darn good copies being made!

Too bad I didn't get a closer shot of what is in her (fabulously painted, old) pie safe. We could see what is in her design library. Maybe you can read the titles by clicking on the photo and enlarging it.
Here she has a collection of beautiful tole trays and yet another sweet painted side table.

The day I shot these photos Barbara was having a luncheon at her house. She had set up a temporary table (to the right in the photo) in addition to her dining table and had both tables covered in tablecloths. When I arrived she was out in her yard (this is the truth) picking the wildflowers for the centerpieces - which would be, of course, fabulous old painted baskets filled with perfect, country flowers!

When she designed her house, Barbara intentionally created the open shelves you see between her dining room and her kitchen for her collection of antique baskets. She has more baskets in shelves along the sides of the doorway entering the dining room. These shelves are one of my favorite features of her house.

Just a few of the things I covet in this room are the quilt, the corner cabinet (yes, old original paint, old cabinet, bought specifically for this corner in this house!) , the sideboard, and the bird house on top of the corner cabinet. (Yes, that is almost everything in the room!) The unfortunate thing is that she offered the bird house to me when she found it, and I foolishly turned it down! It would have been fabulous with my tramp mistake.

Kindred spirits, she and I are drawn to all sorts of things , often for no rhyme or reason - they just speak to us. Here is a collection of iron deer from Germany - probably made around 1900. I am not sure about Barbara, but I know my attraction to deer (in a decorative sense) has grown since we moved to the hill country (and I am not talking about the dead ones hanging on the walls in my house - those would be my husband's). They are overpopulated, unfortunately, but are still a beautiful part of the hill country landscape.

In another old pie safe, nestled against a stack of old homespun blankets, there is the little bit of funky that Barbara slips in now and then - maybe just to be sweet to her weird and un-focused friend, Ann.

I found this mosaic hand in Santa Fe at Doodlets. My sister in law, Tanya, gave me a horseshoe made by the same artist - covered in tiny beads with the word "HOME" beaded along the bottom. I treasure it.

This little heart in a hand just had to go to my dear, sweet friend, Barbara, who I love and have learned so much from over the years.

Thanks, Barbara, for letting me show the blog world just a peek inside your wonderful, warm, and charming home.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's that TIME thing again...........

A classic hill country house if there ever was one! This is my friend Barbara's home. I intend to do a full post on it as soon as I sit for more than 5 minutes! Several very kind people have emailed or commented and asked where I have been. I am flattered to have been missed!

I am not sure who I am yet in the blogging world. I think I want to be a writer and post long informative stories with great photos, spending hours at my computer putting together interesting design and art related articles. However, the time factor seems to be my downfall. I love the occasional quick blurbs of other design bloggers who sometimes pen great, detailed posts and other times just a fast, fun photo and fact or two. I guess I am an "all or nothing" girl, and that applies to everything I do - so..... I have been distracted by life and here are a few of the places I have been!
I spent the last two weeks of May in Florence, Italy. I went with three friends to take an art class . We spent mornings in class and afternoons exploring Florence. We toured so many fabulous museums and galleries - too many to mention here. I intend to post more photos and information, again, when time allows. We saw incredible art like the fresco above.............
and beautiful ancient paintings on buildings every where we looked.
We took a walk across the Ponte Vecchio and a lovely look down the Arno River......
to the piazza and buildings surrounding the Duomo........
to quaint little side streets.......... We took a quick train trip to Rome for the weekend and had the world's best tour of the city. I think we saw a week's worth of sights in one day!
We made an unexpected stop on our whirlwind tour of Rome at an outdoor market............beautiful flowers and vegetables of all sorts!
We saw most of the incredible historical places, including............
a visit to the catacombes where Christians were buried............I have lots more to show and tell about Rome at a later date!
............and back to our favorite little grocery market in Florence. The owner is uncovering her goods after an afternoon shower.
June was filled with end of school year activities and preparation for my daughters to go to camp in North Carolina. One is working as a counselor all summer and the other attends for the month of July.
This is a great country house under construction outside of Cashiers, North Carolina. I love the air and the mountains here - it was glorious!

Today I am off to visit my brother and his wife who just had twins last week! I will definitely not be anywhere close to a computer for a few days. I plan to hold babies, change diapers, wash dishes, grocery shop, do laundry....whatever I can to help.

Thanks again to those of you who noticed my absence!


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