Briar Hill

Hello! I must have Spring on my mind this week, because this 1750 house in Springfield, New York, makes me think of Beatrix Potter & Peter Rabbit. I can just picture rabbits scampering about under those hedges. 

Then, when I was looking through the listing and saw this room, I was hooked for sure.

The reason is, this room reminded me of this room I had saved (this time the magazine was only 3 years old) :

This is from photographer Helen Norman's farmhouse. Her work is so beautiful that it's no surprise that her home is, as well. I'm not sure what the intended use of the original room is, but wouldn't it make a nice potting room? You'll see why we'll need one in a little bit. 

I apparently was really inspired by the color of Helen's soapstone sink, as you'll see. Here is the entry.

This is what we could do with it:

This is Hal Williamson & Dale LeBlanc's house from the book The Southern Cosmopolitan by Susan Sully. I know that our foyer is a little narrower than this one, but I was drawn in by that soft gray/blue/green color, and how well it coordinates with the stair runner and velvet chairs. (Aren't those chairs pretty? I just want to brush my hand on them.)

The listing doesn't picture the living room, but here is the dining room. 

Keeping that sort of slate color influence in mind, here is our dining room inspiration from designer   Wendy Meredith.

This is such a nice approach to Colonial/Traditional, with the freshness of the gingham slipcovers and tablecloth. It's respectful to the era, but not stuffy. (Wendy should coin a decorator-type name for her style, like "Colonial Chic". It's easier to say than Rough Luxe.)

We could keep the existing chandelier by removing the glass globes and using clip-on chandelier shades instead. Instead of brass, we can paint it oil-rubbed bronze, for a nice aged look, like Wendy's has. 

She has similar wainscoting to our room above, and although hers is painted, I think this wall color would still go nicely with the unpainted pine. Here is Wendy's corner cabinet, which proves my point. 

The kitchen is nice in that it's still appropriate to the age of the home, although it appears the floors need to be re-finished.

I thought this kitchen below by Period Architecture Limited showed a good way that we could get our slatey/greeny/bluey color into the kitchen, and give the kitchen a little interest. 

Check out this pleasant bathroom. Nice that it hasn't been too modernized.

If privacy isn't an issue here, I think all I would do is add a simple sink skirt, like this one shown by Hackett Holland Ltd.

Well, ok, I just noticed we'd need a shower curtain like it, as well. And these sconces and mirror are better fits than what is existing, too. Ooh, and let's put a pine bench under the window, for towels. The bench could be the color of the bathtub above, if you want, just for color consistency.

We'll wrap things up with a peek at the property's outbuildings. 

Let's just add a little touch of spring before we go:

What a cozy house. I think Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor could co-exist quite happily here.  As always, please visit my Pinterest boards for other inspiring ideas.  Coming up, what do actor Will Smith and a historic home in Michigan have in common? Stay tuned!



Today we're in Clover, South Carolina to decorate this house in the woods. Look at that sweet porch swing. This is a home that knows how to relax.

I'm super excited about this one, guys. We're going traditional with a hint of lodge.  Here's the entry.

It's very nice. The outside of this house sort of belies the spaciousness inside. Right now all you on-trend color followers are getting out your white and gray paints. Stop. Back away from the paintbrush. I'll have you convinced by the end of this post. 

Ok, so I used a paintbrush on this photo. (Benjamin Moore's virtual paint tool- you gotta try it.) I just wanted to show you how beautifully this design, I believe by Pottery Barn, would work with our existing dark door and wainscoting. 

Here is the living room. Let's cozy this bowling alley up.

As you might imagine, I found a lot of inspiration for this room, but I kept coming back to this design from Locati Architects, even though the room is configured a little differently.  Remember I wanted traditional with a hint of lodge, and this room has that. As in the entry, the colors are soft, and everything has a timeless feel.

I especially like those open back chairs, something eye-catching as you enter the room. They're traditional, but with a modern shape and finish, and that gives this room a little punch.  I also like this furniture arrangement- it's cozy, pulled up to the fireplace, rather than flat along the walls. 

On to the dining room:

Nice space, right? Just needs a bigger table and some more furniture. 

Again, there were a few contenders, but this design by Linda McDougald won me over. Those chairs!  I'd say they're traditional with a hint of lodge.  (I totally have a thing for chairs. I had to talk myself out of buying a white and gray zebra striped chair recently. Gorgeous, but impractical, unlike these patterned chairs.) 

I wish we could see more of this room. We know it's got the soft colors of the rest of the house. Let's imagine a hutch for the other side of the room.

Why hello there, Ralph Lauren Alpine Lodge Provinciale Commode. You're a pricey fellow, but we'll ignore that and concentrate on your gorgeous shape and finish. You'll play nicely in our dining room.  A platinum finished mirror would also look great, especially with the place setting above. And look, we even have our lodge-y antlers and old bee skep. 

Let's continue our tour upstairs. It's pretty neat up there, too.

Here in the hallway are built in bookcases. 

Let's style them to look like this:

Hold on a second. The balusters on the stairs are bothering me because they need to be in a darker finish. They need a straighter design, and also to lose the knob on top of the newel post- maybe something like this, but in a darker finish to match the entry wainscoting.

Ok, I feel better now. On to the master bedroom:

And here's what we could do:

This room from Country Living Magazine is my most frequently re-pinned Pin.  Block print bedding is popular right now, and Ballard Designs has a lovely collection. Just that, an old painted chest and an iron chandelier would recreate the feel of this room nicely. Traditional with a hint of lodge and soft colors. Are you digging it?

This house is pretty neat. It has a lot of potential. My Pinning fingers were pretty busy with this one. Coming up, a Springfield house from 1750-- that narrows down the location a tiny bit for you,  I guess. 
Thanks for reading!


Manor Avenue

Hello! Today's post is a tip of the hat to Downton Abbey fans, now that Season 4 has ended. We need some cheering up since we have to wait so long between seasons, so I found a nice little semi-detached house in Yorkshire, that also needs some cheering up. We can pretend it's in the village, if you want.

Well, I was talking about adding some cheery color to the place, but that's not quite what I had in mind.  That said, if you are into color trends, Radiant Orchid is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014. 

I think a better way to work with a trendy color is exactly this way, as designed by Annie Selke. 
Annie is the powerhouse behind the brands Pine Cone Hill and Dash & Albert, and the girl knows color.  This design is fresh and happy and doesn't worry about trends. 

Notice how the sofas, walls, and drapes work as neutral- you could put white pillows there and have a serene room, if you wanted. (With those white lamps! That would look cool.) But today, we're celebrating color and fun, and thinking of Spring.

Here's another view of the room. 

Here's another case of a statement piece of furniture making a room. That table is so pretty. Plus, a benefit of all that floral fabric-- you don't need a lot of accessories. Your eye is already happy.

Up next is the kitchen.

It looks fairly recently updated, but a little boring. Here is one idea I had for this kitchen:

Ok, let me explain. I know there's no color, but I just thought this was a clever way to add some interest to a kitchen. (Obviously, forget this plan if you have small pets, and if I have to explain, you don't have small pets.) This is from an otherwise colorful book that attracted me by its title alone- The Happy Home Project by Jean Nayar. 

"But Vicki," you're saying, "this is a cozy English kitchen. Bring on the florals and tea cups!"

Yes, this is why Cath Kidston is so popular. 

Sorry this photo is grainy, but it looks the most like our original kitchen. All we need to do is display our pretty china, and put an oilcloth tablecloth on the table. 

We could even affix the oilcloth to the table, as shown above. Easy peasy. Ok, we've cheered up the living room and kitchen. On to the bathroom! The before is a fairly large, updated space in wake-me-up yellow.

Here's the after, bedecked in Cath Kidston's Antique Rose Bouquet wallpaper. 

She even has a line of floor tile now, although this isn't it. I do like this, although the slate floor above would work as well. Also, we could keep the white painted wainscoting effect already in place, and just add some quarter-round trim to it, after we wallpapered. 

The last room shown in the listing is the bedroom. 

 I couldn't write a post about cheery color without including designer Tobi Fairley.

Yes, eagle-eyed design fans, this image has been reversed.

Looks like she and Annie Selke called each other about the wallpaper, but way to carry the same colors throughout a house, huh? She even thought to add a little radiant orchid color with the flowers.  Now, if you're like me (and I suspect you are), you want to see the other side of the room. Here it is:

Know what this house design makes me think of? An English flower garden surrounded by a white picket fence. You need that white to offset lots of color, or it looks like Walt Disney's fever dream. 

Now, on to equally important matters. I want to hear from you Downton fans. Are you Team Tony or Team Charles? Please feel free to comment about this, design, or anything else that's on your mind!

Stay tuned for a post that shows my most frequently re-pinned image from Pinterest. I'll give you a hint-- it's on my "Lodge" Pinterest board.  Thanks for reading!

Linking to: Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


Tradition Drive

Hello! Today we're shifting design gears and decades and touring this brand- spankin'- new home in Polk City, Iowa.

Like a lot of new homes, this one has an open floor plan, and sleek finishes throughout.  From the front door, you see through to a nice large room with floor to ceiling windows.

Ok, hold that thought for a moment. I want to zone in on the kitchen to really set the tone for what we can do here.

Here's a closer view. (For point of reference, the front door is on the same wall as the ovens, down a little hallway.) This kitchen is very nice, but it probably looks like its neighbors' kitchens.  What I'm suggesting isn't just decorating, but a renovation in this case.  If we can't dream big here, where can we? Let's have fun going from cookie-cutter to showplace!

First the walls. They're currently painted a shade of gray that's very popular now, which means we need to do something else like this charcoal shade to be a stand-out. Here we go with the open shelving debate again, but I think just replacing the two cabinets on either side of the vent hood would be fine. 

Here's my main reason for this design-the kitchen is in the same room as the living room. The cabinet and the island have a furniture feel to them, not a kitchen feel. That's also why we would paint instead of tiling that back wall. As a bonus, this slate/charcoal shade would ground that large space and show it who's boss.

This artful combination of rustic and sleek decorating has been termed Rough Luxe. (Decorators can come up with names for anything. Never mind that Rough Luxe sounds like something that Scooby Doo would say.)

Ok, back to the living area. Let's Rough Luxe it up. Here it is again, before:

Here is what we could do, courtesy of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture. 

I really like those steel window muntins. I'd be tempted to buy snap-in versions for the existing windows. Because I care about these things, window grids would also tie in with the square motifs happening in the kitchen. It's all in the details, people. 

McAlpine Tankersley has combined some pretty sleek, luxe furniture with a rustic floor lamp. I like how there's not a lot of color here. Rough Luxe seems to be more about shape, mood, and texture than about pops of color. It's a very deliberate approach.

Here's the other side of the living room.

Here's McAlpine Tankersley again for the win. 

I know y'all will think I have a vendetta against existing fireplaces, but scroll up and imagine this wall as the opposite wall to the kitchen I suggested, especially with these slate colored cabinets. Again, this is turning a cookie-cutter design into one with a very deliberate hand. The furniture would also bring more roughness and texture to the living room mix. (Will you allow me to claim that the wicker pattern continues our square motif?)

Down the hall from the living room is a little mudroom space. 

Nice, but I can't leave well enough alone- not when we can add a little Rough Luxe from Pinterest to it.

Ok, this is a little more rough (and messy) than luxe, but again, it's not cookie-cutter, it's deliberate.

So exactly what would a Rough Luxe bedroom look like? I think it starts like this:

and it ends like this:

I think the coffee table might walk out of the picture on those little legs.

This pretty design is by Dodson and Daughter Interiors. It's a terrific balance of rough (the table, steel bed, and pattern on the chairs) with luxe (the velvet headboard, pillows, and settee). If you weren't already a fan of this style, I think this room alone might convince you. (So would a quick visit to the blog roughluxeperspective.blogspot.com.)
How was this for prairie pizzazz? I love the idea of turning this house into a showstopper. As always, see my Pinterest boards for your favorite designs. I always find more inspiration than I can fit in one post! Next up, a light and colorful design to get us in the mood for Spring!