November Flowers

The past week was wet and cold. Today was lovely: it started off brisk and mellowed to comfortably cool.  Golden light even fought through stacks of grey clouds at a few points. After enjoying brunch with a treasured friend, I enjoyed a day of relaxed puttering around the house.

Gathering up the last blossoms that hung in through our first frosty nights was high on my lazy-day agenda. I was able to create a few bouquets from the autumn stragglers. Aren’t they pretty?

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Hydrangeas in a Patch NYC faux bois mug

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Lavender, Black-Eyed Susans, Chrysanthemums, a lone Batchelor’s Button, and some grass seed-heads in an empty olive oil bottle.

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Knock Out roses, Black-Eyed Susans, and a sprig from one of our beauty berry bushes in an empty spice jar.

This last picture showcases a little bit of a larger DIY home improvement project my husband and I have been working on the past few months. We installed a new hardwood floor in the kitchen (much needed— the old floor was junky peel-and-stick vinyl tile on a thin subfloor which we discovered during our demo had been layered over, get this, manky stained indoor-outdoor carpet. Gick.). We found salvaged trim for the doors and baseboards to match the trim in the older part of our house and installed it in the kitchen. You can also see a salvaged door we found, painted black, and installed on the pantry’s entrance. How thrilling that it fit so beautifully!

We found the trim and door at Columbus Architectural Salvage (http://columbusarchitecturalsalvage.com/index.php). It’s a great store to poke around in, it’s large and packed with interesting finds. New trim from big box hardware stores just didn’t compare with period trim. The new seemed so dinky compared to the older stuff. It was a little bit pricier getting salvage instead buying new, but worth every cent. Plus it’s nice to reuse whenever possible.

We repainted the kitchen, taking it from a creamsicle orange misstep to a fleshy sort of coral pink that was inspired by the sunset in a National Parks poster that hangs in the kitchen. We were initially only planning to do an accent wall in the pink, but once it was up we liked it so much we decided to use it for the entire room. I’m pleased we did. It’s a ridiculously flattering hue. It also visually warms up a room that receives precious little natural light and isn’t too pastel or too hot. The last big thing to do in the kitchen will be replacing the sink’s laminate countertop, can’t wait to find the right replacement.

Happy November!

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Real Estate Daydreaming: Old Church Edition

https://www.coldwellbankerhomes.com/oh/pataskala/218-s-vine-street/pid_10669071/    image

Repurposed buildings tick a lot of real estate envy boxes for me, so when I saw the listing for this church, I kind of lost my mind. And by ‘kind of lost my mind’, I mean that the very next day I made my husband drive 20 miles with me out to the little town that houses this beauty so I could gawk at it from the outside, in person, like a creep, and then proceed to plead, wheedle, cajole, beg, bargain, and otherwise attempt to convince him that it wouldn’t be completely ridiculous to list our current lovely home that is in no way ready to go on the market and MOVE HERE IMMEDIATELY. Because:image

Just look at the soaring volume of the main living space in the former sanctuary! Look at the windows! The light! The wood floors! Think of the possibilities! Think of the parties (both roller skating and not) that could be hosted here!

Another view, looking towards the former choir loft:

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How great are those lights? Those tall arched windows? And, oh, that board and batten wainscoting? Plus, how fun would it be to put your own personal stamp on this place?  I’d probably take it in a slightly different direction, decorating-wise, maybe do more of a industrial/vintage science lab/Victorian cabinet of curiousities thing, but, dang, that’s just a matter of  personal style. The bones here are so good. And that former choir loft?

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It’s now the kitchen, and I’m furiously in love with that vintage stove. I don’t think I’d change a thing about the kitchen. Except add a jukebox. So good.

What else? The yard had a great start, was a good size, and the side yard in particular could easily be a gem of a pocket garden. The bathroom has wonderful  exposed brick walls. And honestly, I was a bit bummed when we drove out there by how much I loved the exterior of this place. I was sort of hoping we’d drive by, it would be a dog in person (it happened with an old brick schoolhouse I found a few years ago), and I could let it go. But no, it was awesome and just had a great vibe. My husband is trying to talk me off the ledge, but even he admits that it is actually pretty magnificent and very tempting. Adding extra sting? The price isn’t outrageous.

It also looks like it maybe desperately needs attention to the roof, it would make our commutes a bit nutty, there isn’t any kind of garage or outbuilding for storage, it is probably a total bear to heat in the winter, and doesn’t have any of the amenities we said it would take to get us out of our current home —like a fireplace, land, or close proximity to a lake.

And…as an investment, it’s a tricky space. There appears to be only one, maybe two, smaller separate room/s other than the bathroom. That could be a deal-breaker for anyone with kids. That’d be a lot of together time! So if one were to buy it, you’d have to know going in that resale might take rather longer than with a more traditional space. The pool of potential buyers will just be smaller. (But probably passionate!) Also? This church has historic register status, which I believe throws up all sorts of roadblocks/added expense when it comes to remodeling/doing any kind of addition. And there’s this:

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If you look closely at the first interior picture, you can see that the chancel area (where the altar would have been) has been separated from the nave portion of the sanctuary by some black curtains. The chancel is being used as a bedroom, with the altarpiece serving as a kind of headboard. To me, that’s great, it makes perfect sense, and I would probably hire an artist friend who does a lot of work restoring church frescoes/art around the Midwest to restore that painting (check out some of his work at http://www.muralworks.net/). But when I originally found the listing and excitedly showed it to another friend, the idea of living in a former church in general and of living with THIS painting/bedroom setup in particular really skeeved her out, big time. So I get that investing in a space like this is risky. It’s not for everyone.

But…it has a bell tower! It was built in 1870! The light! The volume! It is gorgeous and unique and weird and deeply impractical but also completely perfect. This case of real estate lust is going to be hard to shake. Maybe the current owner would be willing to swap houses????

What about you, could you live in a former church? Here’s the complete listing again in case you, too, are smitten: https://www.coldwellbankerhomes.com/oh/pataskala/218-s-vine-street/pid_10669071/

Happy dreams….and if you end up getting it, maybe let me come for a tour? 😊

(Other than the first picture, all images come from the listing.)

 

 

TBT: 1985 Dorm Decor

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Straight out of Seventeen magazine, August 1985

 

Are you a fan of ’80’s style? I’ve been noticing a fair amount of references to the 1980’s across the design spectrum over the past few years. What with nostalgia, the cyclical nature of trends, and The Goldbergs, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more!

For some Throwback Thursday fun, check out these images I scanned from the August, 1985 issue of Seventeen magazine. Although I was much closer to 7 than 17 when it came out, this spread probably still informs my interior design sensibilities in some way. Take a closer look:

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Okay, so some of the copy hasn’t aged well, I’ll grant you that (‘rowdy raspberry’ sheets, anyone?). But there’s a lot here that still looks cute to me: the pixelated Marimekko bedding, the dress as decoration, the pops of bright jewel tones against the white walls, the use of natural wicker baskets and plants to ground things —all work for me, plus I love that they actually shot this in a real, honest-to-goodness dorm room. They even included a floor plan:

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How practical! Also practical?

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This shot of the dorm-issued desk, dresser, and armoire arranged to make a study nook. Is it the most photogenic feature to have shown? Not even the potted geraniums or the hilariously self-referential Barnard College poster (look closely at all of the pics and see how many other ‘casual’ references to Barnard and Seventeen you can find) can keep this from looking like exactly what it is: sturdy, mass-produced furniture that is long on function and short on design. But it feels genuine to what living in a dorm was like, and I kind of love that Seventeen included something so grounded in reality.

One last look: (I am also a bit drawn to the roller blind- is it good, or is it just basking in the reflected glow of the daisies?) 

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Start a Resolution

I used to think that New Year’s resolutions were, well, kind of cheesy. Shouldn’t you always be setting goals? Why does turning the page on a calendar matter?  This year, I’m trying to shift my thinking. Trying to see crafting a list of resolutions as a chance to slow down and approach life with some intentionality. It’s cold and miserable outside, I’m sort of cocooning inside, so it seems like a good time for reflection and planning.

One resolution that I have set? More flowers inside!image

My husband picked up a few bunches of cut flowers a few days ago for $4.00. I arranged them very simply in some empty bottles. Not expensive, not fancy, but what a mood brightener. So one of my resolutions? To remember to take the time to treat myself to the joy of a bouquet more often.

What are you planning for yourself in 2016?

Holiday Spirit

005I don’t know about you, but I’m finally feeling the holiday spirit. I’ve been a bit slow to get there this year! Cards have been mailed, a bunch of presents have been wrapped, and I’m looking forward to seeing family. For various reasons, we didn’t end up decorating our house in a big way this year. One decoration I made sure to get? A live wreath hanging from the china cupboard in the dining room. (I added the bow and the straw ornament myself.)

Alas, live Christmas trees don’t really appeal to me…the amount of effort to keep one looking nice combined with the constant risk it would be under from our 5 small dogs are factors that just don’t win me over to the real tree side. Plus, I don’t know. Killing a whole tree just so I can gawk at it for a few weeks in my house? Ehh.

But a real wreath? It smells divine, adds some holiday pep, is easy to customize, and I can at least hope that an entire tree didn’t die to make it all happen. (Right?)

Anywho, wishing all a peaceful, happy, and healthy holiday season! 🙂

Plates, Plates, Plates

As I’ve mentioned, I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to dishes/china/plates/pottery/and the like.  Perhaps because they combine beauty with functionality, I am a magpie about them.  When the price is right?  I can pretty much always justify adding to my collection. One of my favorite patterns?015

Free Form, by Metlox PoppyTrail California.  This pattern was produced in the 1950’s in 3 colorways: Free Form, Mobile, and Contempora.  (Same design, but filled in with different colors.  Contempora used gray, black, turquoise, and fuchsia; Mobile used turquoise, purple, yellow, and fuchsia; Free Form used the combination of brown, chartreuse, turquoise and yellow you can see above.)  All are pretty awesome, but I particularly love the color combination used in the Free Form variation.

My collection actually started with a few pieces in the Mobile colorway that I found for a song at a thrift store.  Lucky find, because this stuff isn’t usually super cheap*.  Here and there, at a positively glacial pace (maybe a piece every 2 or 3 years) I’ve added to my collection, tightening my focus to Free Form version.  I drool and dream about the carafe, the pitcher, and the boomerang bowl from this line.  Very rarely, they turn up on eBay, but always with starting prices ranging from $150-$400.  Ouch.  I hope that someday the yard sale gods will smile upon me!  Until then, I quite enjoy the few pieces I have.

007Here’s a cup and saucer in the Free Form pattern, and an amazing teapot from the late, great Kahiki.  The Kahiki was an old-school, compeletely fabulous , kitschy, themed-out Polynesian restaurant in Columbus, OH.  Sunday brunches there were really something special.  It opened in 1961 and closed in 2000.  RIP, Kahiki.

* A caveat concerning my definition of “expensive”.  I am a frugal collector.  The Mobile pieces with which I started my collection? $2.50 a piece at the thrift store.  So, for me, when the combined price and shipping for a plate or bit of china on eBay or whatever goes over about $15-$20, that gets to be awfully hard to justify.

Faux Bois Lamp

Ah, January sales!  Gotta love it when things start getting seriously marked down.  40-75% off the regular price?  Yes, please.  I don’t usually buy new, and buying new at full price?  Atypical.  I can usually wait, do without, or find a comparable used version for less.  There are some stores I don’t even want to step foot in unless I know they’re having major sales.  Anthropologie is high on my list for that category.  The folks at Anthropologie are very clever.  It often feels like they’re marketing right at me.  Only my tastes quite exceed my budget!  But when I saw this cutie marked down 44% on their online store?

013I ventured out to their nearby brick-and-mortar store, hoping it would be there.

You see, I’ve been missing the light from my Christmas tree.  Isn’t it a shame that Christmas happens before January and February?  February can be so grim!  I could really use some twinkling Christmas lights in February.

It’s nice to have a soft light shining out of the dining room when I’m hanging out in my living room at night.  (You can see into the dining room through 2 different doorways from our living room.) But leaving the dining room fully lit doesn’t make sense:  it’s not necessary, it’s not green, it’s not cost-effective.  There’s no point in leaving an empty room blazing with lights when we’re not in there.  But a little light in there is nice.

Basically, I wanted a light fixture that would fall somewhere between being an over-sized night-light and a year-round Christmas tree.  I’m glad I trusted my hunch and purchased this bone china faux bois lamp.  Love the added glow it gives to our cold dark winter nights.  And its kitschy/sculptural good looks when it’s not in use are an added bonus.

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