Do you ever find yourself staring at some corner of your house (or a table, bookshelf, a nook or cranny) thinking it needs something?
Me, too. All the time.
I often look at nooks and crannies of my house and think, you need some life—a living green thing. House plants have a way of softening spaces, proving that bookshelves and countertops hold more than lifeless stuff.
I love house plants—I’m into small, manageable plants.
The reign of succulents as the easiest plant in the world to grow continues. I know this is true because mine are still alive. Last spring I bought three plants in hopes that they would make it and I could then expand my “garden”.
I found these at Trader Joe’s. They were far more affordable than any others I’d stumbled upon. I deem them affordable because they were larger than some I’d seen at Home Depot and they came in a tin pot which saved me the expense of buying pots for plants I wasn’t sure I could grow.
After a month under my care, they survived. I added to my collection and have continued to do so. Over the summer my succulent population has grown, I’m teetering on the edge of crazy plant lady territory.
Now that I’ve got one summer of succulents under my belt, I am willing to invest in a few planters. I’ve been searching here and there, mostly online, for small planters.
My best advice is give them what we would consider a near death experience. As in, do not water them.
When you walk past the succulent in your home—the one you’re going to try again with—and you gasp wondering when you last watered it, in that moment give it a tablespoon of water. Seriously. If you think you’re killing it, it will probably live. Remind yourself that this domesticated plant was actually born for deserts. Just go ahead and feel fine about your neglect.
I moved into the Eastwood House—last September to be exact. Get this: The walls are still bare. I’ve got my reasons.
My style evolved.
There are so many windows—I have little wall space so I must choose what I want wisely.
It’s so peaceful, all this white. I don’t want to clutter it up.
I’ve waited until I decided on curtains—they will frame the room and the art should balance not bunch the room. You get me?
I wanted to find a few new pieces.
I recently discovered a few artists who sell their work on Etsy. I’m pretty much obsessed with these ladies. Their prints are two things I love: interesting and affordable—not to mention quite beautiful.
There are many, many more where these came from. Head to her Etsy Shop, Kiki and Polly. Much of her work reminds me of my childhood—dear relationships and slivers of time that are long gone yet still very much a part of me. I am drawn to her work for this very reason. Double Dutch and From Up High remind me of my sister. Pink Bather brings back memories of my mom, the unofficial queen of sunbathing. True story: My mom kept two versions of a plastic folding chaise (think K-Mart). One covered in an old quilt for comfort’s sake. The other with a hole strategically cut from the center panel so that at 7 and 8 months pregnant, she could indeed get an even tan. I remember playing in the backyard and seeing her belly, full of life, grazing the grass yard under her lawn chair while her back soaked up a share of vitamin D. Thirty years later my sister is equally fond of the sun, tans easily, and never burns. It happened to her in utero.
How have I decorated a single wall without her? All of it—everything she does—makes so much sense to me. Now, please excuse me while I place my order for her print, So Much. It sums up how I feel about flowers and people and life—gather up, squeeze when you hug, keep it beautiful.
I moved into The Eastwood House. All I can say is never-say-never. I mean, I never planned to live there. But I am. Because it’s the right thing to do for this season. We make our plans and God arranges our steps. I’ll just be over here, in my corner of the world, eating my words and proving that the Bible, particularly Proverbs 16:9, is true.
I met a guy.
We’re getting a dog. Actually, we’re getting a dog today. As in, at the end of this work day. A goldendoodle. His name is Jeff. Jeff is the dog. Not the guy.
Surely this explains why I haven’t written a blog post in a while….
There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort—at least, that’s what Jane Austen says. I’ll agree with Jane on this one, especially in the case of the Eastwood house. There’s a great deal of comfort to be found here and a considerable amount of care.
Here’s the final product; this is your room-by-room tour. I really hope you like it as much as I do. I’m so happy to share it with you!
Brad (Skipper) and I met a few times to come up with the concept for Eastwood and quickly pulled Brad Northcut, a terrific architect and great neighbor, in on the project. Northcut took our ideas and breathed life into them—turned our sketches into plans.
I am a fool for little details and so I took those plans and tried to add “little things” that would both “make sense” and add character without trying too hard. You know what’s worse than nothing special? I’ll tell you: too much special.
There’s a hand-painted tile mat at the front door.
From the front door, there’s an open-concept living and dining space with so much natural light. Never skimp on windows, y’all.
From the dining space, built in cabinets wired for TV and music. Speakers run through the downstairs entertaining space and on the front and back porches. Music and natural light—you need both of those to be truly happy in a space. And maybe a dog—yes, I’d say you’ll need a dog if you live here.
I’m pleased with the kitchen—I could cook a hundred meals here without a single complaint. I love the way the base cabinets turned out, such a nice anchor to tile walls and white space. And, my dear friend Dave at Community Tables built a lovely table for the banquet area. I wanted something with casters that could easily double as a serving buffet for dinner parties—I love what he came up with. He is doing such terrific work if you need any custom pieces!
The butlers pantry in the hallway is perfect for hiding, well, junk. You know those pieces you use once or twice a year that take up space? The pieces that you wish you didn’t need but when you need them, you need them. Hide them here. And, The space is finished out with a beverage refrigerator and a custom weathered gray wooden countertop by Dave.
Here’s the downstairs bedroom. It has access to a porch and is situated in the back of the house directly across the hallway from the bathroom—I would use it as the guest bedroom and stash all my people in the upstairs bedrooms. Hide the messes in life, we’re all good at hiding the messes aren’t we? I’d hide my messes upstairs near the laundry room!
Here’s the bath I mentioned. That sink is one of my favorite pieces in the house.
Somebody won’t like these stairs. I’m not her.
I’ve been thinking about painted stairs and painted runners for a while and this house seemed to invite the idea. Both staircases (to the upstairs and down to the basement/garage) are painted in this style. I like the way it ties the spaces together and creates some continuity in the design. I used red wall lighting from Barn Light in both stairwells, too.
The lights in the hallway are also Barn Light. I wanted to use just a touch of red here, so I opted for a red/white chevron cord. It’s possible that nobody would notice but it mattered to me, so I went with it. I think what I most love about designing a space is the opportunity to surprise people. In this little pathway, the floor grabs your attention, then the light fixture, and eventually the red in the cord is noticeable—that’s fine with me. Design and details shouldn’t overwhelm you. If you walk in a space and are overstimulated, you will soon dislike the space. I think it’s unavoidable—you’ll feel cramped. I hope to never make you feel cramped.
The master bedroom is at the top of the stairs.
And, the master bath is entered through a pocket door.
Upstairs living space with second-floor porch—beautiful views of Nashville included.
From the porch:
Here’s another upstairs bedroom and the hallway bath.
The second floor is finished off with a laundry room and another bedroom and hall closet. Overall the house has nice storage space and ample attic space. The garage has room for a generous workspace.
And, finally, here’s the back exterior. The patio space turned out wonderfully—fire pit included and still there are southeastern views from the patio making this sweet little spot perfect for entertaining or for just being. Don’t we all need to slow down and “be” a little more?
There’s a little parking spot here to make dragging the groceries in a bit easier—I’m a I-can-carry-it-all-in-one-trip dragger, if that’s you too then know that you were considered in the build of this house.
That’s Eastwood, y’all. It feels so good to be finished. I do hope you like it.
I get three questions on the regular. When I say regular here’s what I mean: Every. Single. Day. Multiple. Times. A. Day.
When are you going to be finished?
Is the house on the market?
Don’t you want to live there?
Great questions, y’all. Great questions.
The Eastwood house was never for me—I entertained the idea but I really love my home. My home is one of the most comfortable spaces I’ve ever known. Like a sponge, it soaks up troubles and worries and sets people at ease. I’m in no real hurry to move on from that sort of shelter.
But I feel this itty bitty pull. There is this one thing about the Eastwood house…
I want to live in that kind of light.
Light pours into Eastwood. From every angle, at every turn, light effortlessly rolls through the space. I’m taken with light, smitten with the idea of waking up to that kind of light and living my life in the light. Maybe it’s the morning person in me, maybe it’s the hopeful person in me, maybe it’s the optimist—whatever it is, it’s a force within me.
Here are a few more pictures from earlier this spring.
I am not so much attached to the house. It’s just a thing, you know. A possession. Something that has the potential to be destroyed. But the light…
Do yourself a favor—live in the light as much as you have the chance.
Heaven help us, we will actually tie a pretty little bow on this project within a week. And then you’re all invited to come take a walk through and celebrate with us—open house details coming soon!
A fraction of me has always wanted to live in Chicago.
That city is dear to me for many reasons and when I’m there I feel a peculiar fondness that resembles the feeling of being at home, of belonging. If I weren’t in Nashville, perhaps I’d be Chicago-bound. If so, I’d head straight for Lincoln Park and reinvent myself on its tree-lined streets.
Since this is all hypothetical, let’s also pretend that I have unlimited funds and I’m can afford the most perfect place to live ever. Great.
I’d be hard pressed to find something more perfect than David Karp’s Brooklyn loft. It’s the beautiful work of NYC firm, Gachot, and there’s nothing about it I don’t appreciate. Very much.
So, what I’m saying is I’ll take this Brooklyn loft in Chicago. Thanks.
Let’s make a list of everything we like about this.
The floors. The brick. The lighting. The steel walls. The brass fixtures. The subtle “chicken wire” glass in the kitchen cabinets. The penny round tile + clawfoot tub. The light. The light. The light. This could go on and on.
This post is way more story-of-my-life, personal stuff so if you only come here for pictures I’ll try and keep it short and sweet.
It’s been a weird week in the nicest way.
Images from the Refresh magazine shoot surfaced on Better Homes and Gardens this week. Here’s a link and a few of my favorite pictures taken by Jeff Herr, who is an absolutely fabulous photographer.
Side note: It’s weird when someone else styles your house. There’s more stuff in the photos than in my normal day-to-day house but I learned a lot about styling photos, anchoring spaces with color, etc—such a good experience.
A few weeks back I got an invite from HGTV to pitch a few of my favorite projects to their design team. Seriously,is this real? It’s real.
I called my friend Rich and he willingly came over and snagged a few shots of the details at Eastwood—it’s hard to shoot an unfinished unfurnished space but he made it shine. I’m so grateful.
My weekend revolved around multiple trips to FedEx Office and my dining room turned into a workroom. Must build some studio space.
Which led to these boards. I think Rich captured the house beautifully, particularly since we could only shoot certain angles.
Micah shot the Bradford project for me a year or so ago. His shots are gorgeous, too.
I very much feel like God gathered up all the talented, loyal, generous people and said, Here you go. These will be your people. They will help you. You will help them. And I’ll shine through in your work and everything you do. Except when you throw fits.
Let it be. Let it be.
The meeting went very well. I’m excited about being part of their professional network—more info to come as I learn more about it.
In the midst of getting ready to meet with HGTV, I got an email from a casting agent regarding this show (which has absolutely nothing to do with HGTV):
I mean, what?
But then I was like, we (me and my fave contractor) should apply. For kicks.
We applied. They emailed. They called. They wanted us to move forward. It was flattering until they said, “You have to leave on March 26 for six weeks and go to an undisclosed location and live with the people you compete against.” Suddenly this felt more like Big Brother than Property Brothers.
Pass. For a lot of good, solid reasons this is not the right fit at the not right time. Maybe something else another time?
Lest it seem glamorous or ridiculous or just too perfect…
In the midst of all this a pipe in my basement burst—nothing like an inch of water in your laundry room to put an HGTV pitch and a casting call in perspective. And, @patsyandjune had to have a “paw wash” like every. single. time. they. went. outside.
Everything is looking oh-so-dreary, typical winter stuff. But everybody’s in it together, right? We’re all cold. From sea to shining sea we are frigid.
I can handle the cold but what’s sending me over the edge is all this static electricity. If I could banish two things from my life right now, hands down I’d pick static electricity and dry skin. Dry skin and enough static electricity to start a fire are the worst of my problems right now and for that, I am very, very grateful. Things could be much worse.
Each and every year winter makes me long for spring. In the meantime, I’d settle for something green. Anything green. If everything around you is looking dead, just add green. It’ll bring things to life.
Here are a few images with enough green to make me happy—keeping me hopeful that spring in all its green is just around the corner.
If it seems like it’s taking for-ev-er, well, it is.
We paused for a few months to wrap a few other projects. And then, of course, life kicked in with its major developments.
Brad and Nat bought and are completely renovating a historic house, as in, we spent New Years Day scrubbing antique heart of pine flooring with bleach water so that it could be reinstalled. Yeah. For real. I have pictures for you. I spent a Saturday on a 10ft ladder painting at Brooks and Ashley’s “new” historic home in East Nashville. Once they are settled I’ll show you the before and after of their kitchen—it’s crazy.
And we spent the day before Christmas Eve loading a moving truck, packing up some of my favorite people on our planet, the Killingsworths, who have up and moved to Colorado. I hate goodbyes.
Brad is just wrapping up two gorgeous—and I do mean gorgeous—new builds.
Now we’ve decided to pick up where we left off with Eastwood.
And we’re really close to done.
I think this is where I left off with the living room images.
We’ve been aiming for something a little less traditional with the interior. I wanted to create a clean and loft-like feel in the main living + dining area. We opted for no-frills trim work and exposed ceiling—all to be painted a crisp white. The windows. The windows make the difference. If you are renovating or building there’s one place I would urge you to splurge, or at least don’t skimp: windows.
White walls and dark stained floors will always be a classic and beautiful look. Again, we are veering just slightly away from traditional with this project.
I tried a few samples and I really loved the Classic Gray stain. I wanted to pull the trigger on that but with so much hardwood square footage it felt like the wrong move as it is more of a color commitment. And, considering I’m not going to live here, I hate to stick someone else with gray. Weathered Oak has just enough gray/putty undertone without too much color. I’ve worked the classic gray into a wooden countertop. It’s beautiful!
The room fills up with light in such a soothing way. I feel really at ease in the space. I think that’s what we (Amy and Brad) are always striving for when we arrange a house. It’s gratifying when the house feels the way you hoped it would. We’ve moved slowly with this project but the house is better for it—made with love and without cutting corners. What’s that old saying? Time is money? If that’s the case this house is worth a lot.
And here’s the exposed ceiling. Love. Love. Love.
So, there you have it. Our progress in the living room thus far. Not much left to do—just a little tile in the floor and a few light fixtures.
They’re reframing the business, setting the scene for a brand new way of life in the hotel industry. Boutique hotels are on the rise. And while many of them have wonderful interiors, Ace has managed to create something that feels like home. Something with a strong pulse and and warm personality.
Their philosophy is beautiful. My favorite lines: We are not here to reinvent the hotel, but to readdress its conventions to keep them fresh, energized, human. We accept the hotel as a potential for real, fluid community. We believe that hospitality is compassion, that it is not servility but genuine concern for others’ well-being and the ability to live with empathy.
Don’t you want to stay there? With all the other empathetic and soulful people. Automatically, I trust everyone who’s associated with Ace Hotels. It seems they’ve got heart. And we all love something with a little heart, don’t we?
Take a look inside .
If you’re intrigued, here’s a great article about The Ace Hotel and Roman & Williams, the interior designers behind the NYC Ace.
This is how it goes when you build a house: crawl, crawl, crawl, run, run, run. The beginning is exciting with framing and structure. The middle is just “blah” as the changes aren’t always obvious but the final stages are loaded with bang for the buck—tile, paint, stain, countertops, lighting, appliances. Everything comes in one huge dose at the end. And you find yourself hustling. Seriously hustling. We are nearing the end of construction. Every day I’m hustling. (The pillow is the work of Michelle Dwight Designs and is available via Etsy.)
But the end, well, that’s where the details manage to both stand out and work together, telling the story of what we envisioned from the beginning.
Tile is one of my favorite textures in a house so, of course, I use it in large doses where and when appropriate.
Mission Stone Tile is my go-to for tile. Thank you Amber, for being most gracious and so good with details! I met with Amber and told her I wanted to work stripes into the downstairs shower. We pulled a lot of options but in the end I felt that the simplicity of subway tile would best accomplish the feeling I wanted for the space.
Here’s a shot mid-installation (without grout).
I’ve scoured the world wide web for inspiration and here’s the thing about stripes: you can dress ‘em up or dress ‘em down, depending on the tile. Stripes work in bold applications and just as nicely in neutral and subtle applications. Take a look at these beautiful spaces—you’ll be seeing stripes in no time!
As best I can tell it’s nearly perfect with boots-and-a-sweater weather and changing leaves. Men grow beards, even if they are no good at it, and there is a tried-and-true commitment to thankfulness. November makes me want to build a fire and make soup. The only thing November lacks is March Madness but I can’t have everything I want, can I?
In honor of favoritism, I’ll share a few items from Etsy shops that I’ve tagged as favorites.
It’s situated on a hill and faces eastward. There is something about the view that makes me feel as if I’m not in Nashville when I’m inside, much less tucked in a side street between the bustle of 12th South and Belmont Boulevard. Somehow it feels “other.” I can’t explain it but everyone who walks inside understands this and inevitably says, “The view… I don’t feel like I’m in Nashville.”
Here’s a picture Brad snapped from the one of the living room windows earlier this summer.
This morning I was up before the sun. While I was out the sun decided to join me so I ran over to Eastwood because I’ve been wondering what sunrise is like from the front porch. Here’s the view from my seat on the top step at 6:40 a.m.
I sincerely hope that a morning person gets this house.
I’m into foxes. So are the folks at The Paper Source. Their latest catalog is loaded with all things foxy. Before we go any farther, are you one of the zillion viewers of this video: What Does the Fox Say?
Have you been to London? It’s everything you want it to be and a little more. I just spent some time there and it was time well spent—such a lovely place. Here are a few snapshots from my trip.
Being the magazine junky that I am I grabbed a home decor magazine for the flight home and tucked inside I discovered the John Lewis Home Catalog. Aside from noticing the quality of paper and the binding (the marketer in me was quite impressed), I thought it was such a beautiful catalog. Immediately felt the I-wish-I’d-seen-this-two-weeks-ago pang. I guess I’ll just have to return to London and visit the store.
Here are a few shots from the John Lewis Catalog.
I’m loving the whole warm and cozy vibe.
And, this bunny pillow—I like it.
And then for those of who love a cheery space:
Samuel Johnson said, “Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” I just might agree with him.
Obsessed. I’m officially obsessed with white. It’s nearly clinical.
This is not new information. For the Bradford project, we whitewashed the master bath floors.
It was trial and error—we sanded the first attempt away and felt better about the second attempt. Whitewashing can be tricky. I wasn’t so sure about the results but decided to live with it and it has grown on me. There are some new techniques and products for white washing and I can’t lie, I’ve considered whitewashing the floors at Eastwood.
Imagine this space, painted white with whitewashed floors. Do you like that idea?
If you could also pretend that this photo wasn’t taken on one of the zillion rainy/overcast days we’ve had this summer that would be great—a little sunshine to brighten things up.
To tell the truth, I wonder if whitewashing the floors will turn people off? Some lucky body will live in this house—if we do it right maybe they won’t be able to resist whitewash? Sometimes you have to show people what they like and maybe this is one of those times. What to do, what to do…
My sister and I are serious Ellen fans. We DVR the show and watch it almost every day after work. She’s funny and outright kind—my favorite combo.
Confession: Deep down we have this far-fetched hope that Patsy Cline & June Carter will end up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, considering she loves animals so much. I mean, we’re not sure how that will happen but we feel like they are our only hope.
Did you see her Santa Monica Ranch from the May issue of Elle Decor? It is a beauty—a merger of sophistication and rustic charm.
The 26-acre property hosts 8 cabins and a horse barn—even the barn is beautiful.
Check out Elle Decor for all the details and more pictures.
We’re working to give the Eastwood hallway a personality. Brad and I measured and made room for a bit of pattern to be laid into the floors. Now we need a few pendants to finish the space. That calls for a bit of inspiration.
Take a look at 14 beautifully executed hallways and the pendants that set them apart.
We are busy with the Eastwood Project in the best way. Most of the big decisions are made and now we watch it come together as we work toward a late September early October finish. This really is the good part.
What’s been going on:
Tile selections. Paint selections.
I’m crazy about this happy penny round. Can’t wait to see it in its full application.
I’m tracking down details.
Preservation Station is my go-to for the details I love. Julia and her team are helpful and when I say, What if I took this and…. they usually take that idea and make it better.
Brad is keeping everything moving with the construction.
Drywall is up.
Hardwoods are down.
Cabinets are ordered.
The home inspectors approve.
Patsy Cline and June Carter are completely paws-on for this project. They think they are construction dogs now. Soon enough they’ll be wanting to ride around in the back of Brad’s truck as he moves around from job site to job site.
All the while, Patsy has assumed the role of creative director for the project. I can’t bring myself to tell her she’s actually my assistant.
Let’s talk about conversions. And not in the biblical sense.
I’m fascinated by the idea of transforming a church into a residential space, whether condos or a single-family home. I think the greatest challenge would be finding balance. I find these buildings to hold a history of reverence and it would be a challenge to make the most of the architectural elements and at the same time “un-church” it.
Below are pics from around the web (and the world) of homes that once held congregations.
Compare and despair—I live by that motto. My friend, Melissa, brought that catchy little reminder into my life years ago and it serves me well keeping me out of the comparison trap and in my right mind. She also says, “do the next right thing” which is some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.
We all love a deal. We all love to find the piece that fills in our decorating gaps. Kirkland’s contacted me regarding a sponsored post and after a few minutes perusing their site, I broke my rule and started to compare: they have the look for less.
Kirkland’s gave me a couple $25 gift cards and I’m going to pass them along to two lucky winners.
Here’s my roundup—the things I found at Kirkland’s that can help you accomplish “the look” you’re trying to achieve for much less:
I just don’t care about cabinets under the sink. Brad (the contractor) tells me that’s not practical. I bet he didn’t grow up with pedestal sinks. I bet he was a cabinet/vanity kid.
This week we’re ordering cabinets for the Eastwood project.
I’ve convinced him that we should go for something different in the downstairs bath. And he’s convinced me to do cabinetry upstairs. It’s all a game of collaboration and compromise, friends. But we agree that we should do something fun for the “kids” bathroom upstairs. We’re looking for bold and different–a splash of color.
From modern and minimalistic to traditional, here are eight bathrooms that have my creative juices flowing.
Let me shoot straight with you. I do not need airplane garland.
I don’t have a little boy’s room to freckle with paper airplanes.
But I want to.
Let me clarify: I want to make paper airplanes. I do not want to walk in my front door today to find I’ve been given a four year old. As much as I love the four year olds of the world, I would have no idea what to do first. I guess we’d start making planes.
Who’s got a little boy in need of a little whimsy in his room?
I’m game for folding paper with you. I think we need a little fishing twine and paper to pull this off without a hitch.
Patsy Cline and I are so very happy to be hanging out today as guest bloggers on the Better Homes and Gardens Style Spotters Blog. As you can see below, Patsy is happy about the opportunity. Her sister, June Carter, could not participate due to a bad hair cut. Fur real, y’all.
Patsy and I have posted a few shots from around our house—tips for decorating with flea market finds.
I’m pretty sure the last Eastwood image I shared was that of some decking and framing. Yes, I just checked. It’s true. So much has this update.
By all means, let me catch you up to speed.
Framing, siding, roofing, and a whole lot of porches. The view. The view is officially ridiculous. I keep thinking I’ll get up early and catch a sunrise. I also keep thinking I’ll learn to make pasta from scratch. So there’s that.
But here’s this:
Eastwood as of yesterday.
I love all the light that’s coming into the house. Thanks to Marvin Windows.
This is the galley kitchen. I’m standing at one end looking toward the exterior kitchen door which leads to a “eat-in porch.”
A little earth work happening at the back door. Essentially, he’s making a back yard.
I love a white house but as we all know, there are 1.2 zillion shades of white.
I grabbed my Sherwin Williams colors and settled on Dover White. A few minutes later I decided to zip over to the house with paint swatches in hand—for good measure, of course.
Yes. Dover White wins.
Next phase is all good stuff—cabinets, flooring, drywall, paint, and lighting.