Pine Orchard

 You know the saying about a man's home being his castle?  I think today we might just prove it.
This house was built in 2001 with Crab Orchard limestone.  It's is in Smithville, Tennessee, home to the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival every July.

When they built and furnished this castle, they weren't fiddling around:

 Finally, a proper place to display that suit of armor you've been lugging around.  
Or, maybe you prefer your iron to be leafy and scrolly:

{Courtney Giles Decker}

It's still a very romantic design, and the print brings a nice mystical quality to our castle.

The living room has lovely windows, but it's lost that loving feeling:

I'd say a room that would look lovely by candlelight brings that feeling on back:

{Robert Brown}

The kitchen is very nice, but doesn't currently fit the castle motif:

 How about marble walls and some armor in the way of a new vent hood?

 {source unknown}

Coming up the turret stairs we find this pretty bedroom:

It's pretty, but what is a castle without an romantic canopy?  Indulgence is key here.

{Gail Plechaty}

The large master bedroom has a fireplace and french doors:

Again, let's indulge, but in luxurious bedding and lighting:

{Gail Plechaty}

In addition to an unpictured stable, the property has an unfinished guest house:

My guess is, they were going for something more like this:


Yes, it's a little grand for a guest house, but I couldn't resist showing it you! (More indulgence.)

To top off the romantic feel of the place, there are not one, but two waterfalls nearby:

I think all that this property is lacking is a moat around it.  
A man's home may be his castle, but more importantly, a man's castle can be a beautiful home.


Ballard Drive

Hello! You know how sometimes I like to make over a house with a specific owner in mind?  
(For example,  here, here, and here.)
Today let's flip that coin and make over a house the way one specific designer would. 

This traditional colonial  is in West Hartford, Connecticut.  It was built in 1927.
The designer I'm pairing it with is Kristen Panitch, who is based in Santa Monica, California.  Kristen's talent has kept her busy from coast-to-coast, because of her transitional & livable designs.

As one would expect, the center hall foyer opens to the staircase:

I think the stairway carpet and the wall color are having a little disagreement.

Let's let the walls steal the show and the stairs follow a bit more timelessly.

 The living room is a nicely sunny, if a little narrow, space:

It just needs some of that wonderful pattern from the entry:

It's still a cozy space, just a more interesting one.

The dining room is another bright and sunny room:

Cheerful as it is, it needs more pattern to hold its own with our other rooms:

Upstairs, the master bedroom is a large & flexible space:

How flexible?  Well, it could be a sophisticated space with pretty patterns...

...or, seen another way...

...it's a slightly more youthful space, still prettily patterned:

The third floor of this house offers this sunny bonus room:

Definitely a bonus for a teen, who could personalize it like this in no time flat:

Outdoors, we have a deck framed in trees:

We could turn into a finished and furnished space with design that reflects the fun we've had inside:

Because we all need a little fun outside,  I tracked down those hanging chairs.  They're the Knotted Melati hanging chair from Anthropologie.  Who would have thought macrame could be so stylish?
(Well, Anthropologie, apparently.)  Maybe I should stop typing and start brushing up on my knotting skills?

Have a great week, friends!



Here is a house to delight both history buffs and design fans.  Located on Cass St. in Schoolcraft, Michigan, it was built in 1867 for Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Thomas.  This was their second home.  Their first home, also on Cass St., served as a station on the Underground Railroad and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Thomas {via}

As for Schoolcraft?  It was named for geographer and geologist Henry Schoolcraft.

Fun to dig a little deeper when you find a house like this one with an ordinary listing.
The listing appears ordinary because this house definitely isn't a museum, but a modern family home.

Looking into the living room, you'll see what I mean:

I decided to embrace that feeling, with a similar but more cohesive design:

{Lydia Marks & Lisa Frantz}

The dining room is also contemporary, but currently feels like a teacher's lounge:

I took my cues from the living room and made this room suitable for after hours:

{Katie Rosenfeld}

The kitchen is unfitted, and definitely has charm.  I'll give it an A-.

It just needs a more cohesive feel, and borrowing this color palette and copper pans would be a good start.


The guest bathroom is currently a blank, albeit minty green, slate:

I know that some of you would decorate around those fixtures, but I'd turn a bit more contemporary, but still classic:

{Gail Plechaty}

The house has 5 bedrooms, and they're all quirky and pretty, like this one:

But maybe one of them could be more classic and pretty, like this:

Now, did you notice that the house has a cupola?  You can see it better here:


To get to the cupola, you climb these storybook stairs:

and emerge here, into a space full of history...

...as the signatures reveal:

Today's lesson?  History + modern design = a truly unforgettable house.



Rainbow Drive

Hello!  No more playing hooky for me- it's back to Zillow I go!   Today we're visiting Carrboro, North Carolina, at the suggestion of reader Yvonne.  She described Carrboro as an old mill town now grown onto the side of Chapel Hill. It is funky and fun. That everything-old-is-new-again thing, a walkable community.

This house on Rainbow Drive seems the epitome of Yvonne's description.  Built in 2006 in traditional style, the house is in town, yet with mature gardens and a wrap-around porch. Everything new looks old again. 

The living room is already charming, with a hint of coastal decor.

Let's unfurl those sails and live large in the scale of the room. (Also beef up the moldings- that french door looks especially dinky.)

{Susan Zises Green}

We've got scale with the sailboat and topiaries, now let's think about layout.

Actually the layout almost works.  How about colors? 

I like this furniture arrangement, especially with it's sailboat-friendly color palette.

The living room was charming, but the den is a little sleepy:

This should wake it up:

{Brooks and Hill} (with Marshall Watson's throw pillows instead of red ones)

The kitchen is a perfect blank slate.  It just needs some colorful accessories, and perhaps...

... some decorative corbels, just for a little more architectural interest.


The breakfast nook is like the den- a little on the drab side:

Drab no more!  Keller Donovan doesn't do drab; he does traditional with a hint of coastal:

{T. Keller Donovan}

Moving upstairs, I want to take the existing decorating and expand on it:

Smaller telescope, but bigger decorating punch:

Oomph is right.  Those chairs make me want to do a happy dance.

Now, on to bedroom one:

Similarly to the living room, let's stretch the scale and play with the color palette:

{Phoebe Howard}

Bedroom two- second verse, same as the first.  (Well, except for the pretty bay window.)

The verse is similar, but a little more "sophistimicated", as my daughter used to say:

{source unknown}

Last, let's address that wrap-around porch I mentioned:

It definitely needs a swing!

{source unknown}

Now that's a porch that lives up the house's pretty interiors.

Yvonne also sent this cute image for Carrboro.


It says "It's Carrboro. You couldn't make this place up."  
Luckily for us Rainbow Drive is so livable, all we had to make up is if it were mine!