Bloggers beautiful abodes…..Tina from The Enchanted Home

Good morning! Hope you have enjoyed my series, Bloggers Beautiful Abodes…I know I have so enjoyed getting to see all my talented blogging friend’s gorgeous homes and learning what goes on during their own creative processes. I have walked away with a wealth of knowledge so thanks again ladies!   I had many requests for me to do one so here I am. Figured it would be a fun way to close out this series. So….I will spare you a sappy introduction and delve right in, ready? Let’s go…….
 

1. How long have you been in your present home?  Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could?   

Just a little over a year, hard to believe! And though I like to take things day by day and not think too far into the future,  I think we will be here for a long time….would love to have an engagement or wedding here! (not that I am putting any pressure on my oldest son- he has plenty of time). At this point honestly no there is nothing I would change, we are still very much in the “honeymoon stage”.


2. If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would they be?

Don’ t have to think about this too hard…..the kitchen and now my loggia, since we just added the furniture, I can’t seem to stay away from it! My kitchen….. I just love and to me, its the heart of virtually every home, people love gathering in the kitchen, I get such enjoyment from cooking and entertaining and I think I could easily live in these two rooms alone! (have taken a nap on the loggia and it worked for me,  doubled as a makeshift bedroom:)

Still haven’t gotten my new stools…just visualize:)

And the loggia….


3. How would you describe your decorating style? 

 Traditional, old world, European (specifically French) inspired.

 
4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?
 


Well its no surprise to many I am sure, but  I do love my blue and white, think that’s quite obvious. Love off white, and warm tans with blues. It is important for my environment to feel soothing, relaxing and serene. I think that palette works in almost any home, is easy to coordinate with other colors if you want to bring more in and it’s very soothing and calming and absolutely timeless!

5. Favorite room of your house and why?

Lately my loggia! I think I could live there:) But I also  love my bathroom, love taking bubble baths, closing the door while the chaos ensues beyond my closed doors……..

 



6. Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home? Best two things to NOT do?


Yes! Take your time (I practice what I preach, only have one really truly “done” room...lol)! Go with your instincts and with what you love. Trust your inner voice. If it is telling you yes or no, listen! Don’t be a trend follower, IF it just so happens its a look you are crazy about and it works, then so be it but don’t fall victim to a trend because you are being told it’s “in”. Chances are you will fall out of love with it well before it’s no longer a trend. Timeless classics are always a great idea!

When choosing paint ALWAYS paint a test swatch. You never know how a color will look in your room. It is amazing to me how different the same paint can look in two different rooms. Last,  invest in the best pieces you can, even if it means having only a few good things vs. a room filled with “stuff”. Quality pays off in the long run.

If I may add one more quickie…there’s no room a blue ginger jar cannot enhance! And I truly mean it, they just look great EVERYWHERE!

 

7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?


Definitely an island (if the space allows for it), and if you can load it up with as much storage as possible, even better. At least two huge deep pot drawers, I love mine. A big roomy sink, for those big oversized pots, buckets and watering flowers. Windows! Good light is so important to a kitchen, if you are starting from scratch stand in your kitchen and see what kind of light you get in those hours you know you will be there a lot. 

Storage is key, and if you don’t have built in storage, then you can get small wicker baskets and store them inside cabinets, they work beautifully for organization.  

  I like unique little containers for storage…like these beautiful brass ones I am about to start carrying, wonderful for my olive oils and spices…..

I love the wooden dividers we had our cabinet maker put in nearly all of the kitchen drawers…..

8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?


Definitely adding flowers (change often with the seasons) , an orchid always works. I also like stacks of pretty coffee table books, a small crystal object or bowl. I normally have a candle or two and on  occasion a small frame. Ginger jars or a blue and white tureen ALWAYS works.  I like to experiment and “change things up”.

 
9. Any advice on the subject of lighting?



Yes, am a huge fan of lamps and sconces. We put high hats in some of rooms to have the extra lighting if we ever needed it but truth be told, with the exception of the kitchen and my boys rooms, I can count on my left hand how many times we have turned them on. We always turn on the lamps, sconces and chandeliers (way more flattering too)! Dimmers are a great idea to control the mood, love gas lanterns for outside.

 
10. Have a favorite paint color? Do tell!


This is boring, but Linen White from Benjamin Moore has gotten us through many a paint dilemma. It’s a creamy white, very neutral and just works. There’s a reason its so popular! When it feels too yellow, we cut it with one part white Dove and its a toned down version. Its a great staple color.


11. What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?



For sure, flowers and candles to start! Even getting a bouquet from your local market and putting them in a vase somewhere you spend a lot of time. Lighting a candle or two whose scent you love, nothing is as wonderful as walking into a home that smells good! 

Make a powder room feel special and dress up the vanity or whatever shelving you have with special touches like a beautiful candle, pretty soaps, elegant finger towels, these little touches really add a touch of elegance.  I think starting at the front door, a beautiful welcome mat and pretty planters planted with some kind of greenery and flowers makes a wonderful first impression to not only you but your visitors.

12. Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing I would buy for my home would be………….

This was easy! A beautiful  conservatory. I am dying for one! It would double as my greenhouse, office and secret playhouse (where I might even keep a daybed) lol.

 
So there you have it. Thanks for stopping in and paying me a visit. Hope you enjoyed the series, I certainly did and will hopefully bring it back again in the future. Wishing you a wonderful Monday and a fabulous start to the week! Hope the sun is shining wherever you are:)

Bloggers beautiful abodes…..Tina from The Enchanted Home

Good morning! Hope you have enjoyed my series, Bloggers Beautiful Abodes…I know I have so enjoyed getting to see all my talented blogging friend’s gorgeous homes and learning what goes on during their own creative processes. I have walked away with a wealth of knowledge so thanks again ladies! ? I had many requests for me to do one so here I am. Figured it would be a fun way to close out this series. So….I will spare you a sappy introduction and delve right in, ready? Let’s go…….
?

1. How long have you been in your present home?? Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could?? ?

Just a little over a year, hard to believe! And though I like to take things day by day and not think too far into the future,? I think we will be here for a long time….would love to have an engagement or wedding here! (not that I am putting any pressure on my oldest son- he has plenty of time). At this point honestly no there is nothing I would change, we are still very much in the “honeymoon stage”.


2. If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would they be?

Don’ t have to think about this too hard…..the kitchen and now my loggia, since we just added the furniture, I can’t seem to stay away from it! My kitchen….. I just love and to me, its the heart of virtually every home, people love gathering in the kitchen, I get such enjoyment from cooking and entertaining and I think I could easily live in these two rooms alone! (have taken a nap on the loggia and it worked for me,? doubled as a makeshift bedroom:)

Still haven’t gotten my new stools…just visualize:)

And the loggia….


3. How would you describe your decorating style??

?Traditional, old world, European (specifically French) inspired.

?
4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?
?


Well its no surprise to many I am sure, but? I do love my blue and white, think that’s quite obvious. Love off white, and warm tans with blues. It is important for my environment to feel soothing, relaxing and serene. I think that palette works in almost any home, is easy to coordinate with other colors if you want to bring more in and it’s very soothing and calming and absolutely timeless!

5. Favorite room of your house and why?

Lately my loggia! I think I could live there:) But I also? love my bathroom, love taking bubble baths, closing the door while the chaos ensues beyond my closed doors……..

?



6. Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home? Best two things to NOT do?


Yes! Take your time (I practice what I preach, only have one really truly “done” room...lol)! Go with your instincts and with what you love. Trust your inner voice. If it is telling you yes or no, listen! Don’t be a trend follower, IF it just so happens its a look you are crazy about and it works, then so be it but don’t fall victim to a trend because you are being told it’s “in”. Chances are you will fall out of love with it well before it’s no longer a trend. Timeless classics are always a great idea!

When choosing paint ALWAYS paint a test swatch. You never know how a color will look in your room. It is amazing to me how different the same paint can look in two different rooms. Last,? invest in the best pieces you can, even if it means having only a few good things vs. a room filled with “stuff”. Quality pays off in the long run.

If I may add one more quickie…there’s no room a blue ginger jar cannot enhance! And I truly mean it, they just look great EVERYWHERE!

?

7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?


Definitely an island (if the space allows for it), and if you can load it up with as much storage as possible, even better. At least two huge deep pot drawers, I love mine. A big roomy sink, for those big oversized pots, buckets and watering flowers. Windows! Good light is so important to a kitchen, if you are starting from scratch stand in your kitchen and see what kind of light you get in those hours you know you will be there a lot.?

Storage is key, and if you don’t have built in storage, then you can get small wicker baskets and store them inside cabinets, they work beautifully for organization. ?

? I like unique little containers for storage…like these beautiful brass ones I am about to start carrying, wonderful for my olive oils and spices…..

I love the wooden dividers we had our cabinet maker put in nearly all of the kitchen drawers…..

8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?


Definitely adding flowers (change often with the seasons) , an orchid always works. I also like stacks of pretty coffee table books, a small crystal object or bowl. I normally have a candle or two and on? occasion a small frame. Ginger jars or a blue and white tureen ALWAYS works.? I like to experiment and “change things up”.

?
9. Any advice on the subject of lighting?



Yes, am a huge fan of lamps and sconces. We put high hats in some of rooms to have the extra lighting if we ever needed it but truth be told, with the exception of the kitchen and my boys rooms, I can count on my left hand how many times we have turned them on. We always turn on the lamps, sconces and chandeliers (way more flattering too)! Dimmers are a great idea to control the mood, love gas lanterns for outside.

?
10. Have a favorite paint color? Do tell!


This is boring, but Linen White from Benjamin Moore has gotten us through many a paint dilemma. It’s a creamy white, very neutral and just works. There’s a reason its so popular! When it feels too yellow, we cut it with one part white Dove and its a toned down version. Its a great staple color.


11. What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?



For sure, flowers and candles to start! Even getting a bouquet from your local market and putting them in a vase somewhere you spend a lot of time. Lighting a candle or two whose scent you love, nothing is as wonderful as walking into a home that smells good!?

Make a powder room feel special and dress up the vanity or whatever shelving you have with special touches like a beautiful candle, pretty soaps, elegant finger towels, these little touches really add a touch of elegance.? I think starting at the front door, a beautiful welcome mat and pretty planters planted with some kind of greenery and flowers makes a wonderful first impression to not only you but your visitors.

12. Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing I would buy for my home would be………….

This was easy! A beautiful? conservatory. I am dying for one! It would double as my greenhouse, office and secret playhouse (where I might even keep a daybed) lol.

?
So there you have it. Thanks for stopping in and paying me a visit. Hope you enjoyed the series, I certainly did and will hopefully bring it back again in the future. Wishing you a wonderful Monday and a fabulous start to the week! Hope the sun is shining wherever you are:)

Bloggers beautiful abodes….Anita of Cedar Hill Ranch

Good Monday morning! Notice anything new and exciting here? Yep, a brand new look for The Enchanted Home. I went through Debby of Inspired Design, yes that talented sweetheart whose middle name should be “patience”….she was patient with me like you cannot imagine. I had a vision in my head and did my best to translate it to her…and after a lot of back and forth exchanges, sure enough it came to fruition! SO first a big thank you to Debby for helping me realize this vision. I just love it and am a big believer in changing things up every now and then. If you have been contemplating a new look or need help just to give a little facelift to your own blog or site, you should absolutey contact Debby, she is fabulous with a capital F, super talented, beyond nice and just a gem in every way.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful weekend. Here, it was picture perfect weather wise…gorgeous about 60 and sunny! My little party was so wonderful, and even with more people than I planned it was still fabulous……and plenty of leftovers (best part, right)?

Well, I am down to my last two guests posts for my Bloggers beautiful abodes series. What fun its been getting to see inside all of these magnificent homes, everything from farms to idyllic homes in France  to more formal abodes…haven’t’ they each been a fabulous treat? Then to getting to hear from these talented ladies and their words of wisdom, has been the icing on the cake. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one, and today’s is no exception. Please say hello to……


Anita is a newer blogging friend, but her warmth and vivaciousness shine through in a big way. I have decided I could live on her front porch alone. It is just so beautiful, the vistas, the way she has decorated it…is a total dream. Then you step inside and see the talent just overflows. What a treat to see inside her beautiful home and get to know a bit about the process and how she thinks when it comes to decorating, clearly all she is doing is right on the money, she truly has such a fabulous eye. I will be guest posting over at her blog in a few weeks so stay tuned for that!  Enough of me, lets hear from Anita…….

Hello, this is Anita from Cedar Hill Ranch, where we do Texas Living with a French Accent. I’m so thrilled and honored to be here talking to Tina today.  Tina has such an amazing home and has such incredible taste.  Things here are a little more casual, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
 
 
1. How long have you been in your present home?  Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could? 
 The question is a simple one, but my answer is a complicated one.  We divide our time between our city house and our 30 acre Round Top ranch.  We have been in our present city home for 23 years. It is a fairly typical suburban brick house built in 1978, that has served our family well over the years, but no, it’s not my dream house.  There are a lot of things I would like to change about the house, which is why we are building a new one right now. So what would I change translates into what am I changing and here’s some of the things we doing in the new house that are not in the old city house;
Back of our new craftsman style city house during construction

wood sash windowspedestal and claw foot tubsfarmhouse sink48 inch pro gas rangebuilt-in stainless refrigerator unit and freezer unitreclaimed hardwoods butlers pantryvessel sink in guest bathbuilt-in cabinets to hide large flat panel TVopen concept living room/kitchen7 foot kitchen islandhanging barn doors to study Then there’s the Round Top ranch. The house at the ranch is fairly new. We had it built in 2009. We love it so much, that yes we plan to keep it for as long as we are on this earth.   

 

2. If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would they be?
 Oh Tina, that would have to be my living room and my bedroom.
These are the rooms I worked the hardest on to transform from deep reds to a calming neutral palette. 

3. How would you describe your decorating style?
  It’s what I call Farmhouse French.  
That’s a mix of fine French elements like curvey French chairs, vintage silver, dishes, and other pretties, along with with rustic country elements like unfinished wood, and lots of baskets and rusty things.

 

4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?  
My family thought they would NEVER hear me say this, but I have to admit, it’s white.  I LOVE color and have always had lots of it in my home, but I have to admit the calm, soothing effect of white is unbeatable. 
 

And now I see what I didn’t before. Colors and patterns come and go. If you decorate with patterns, you’ll need to change them out constantly to keep from looking dated. White linen slipcovers are like the black dress of decorating – always in style and they go with everything. 
 

I’ve made my own linen slipcovers and bedding to go with my new look.  

5. Favorite room of your house and why?
   
My favorite room in the house is also my favorite place to be on earth… seriously.  If you read my blog, you probably already know the answer… my back porch at the ranch.

 
 
With a daybed I covered in linen, vintage grain sack  pillows and lots of rockers, it is a comfortable place to take in the cool breezes. 
 

I bought an antique pine table for our outdoor dining room, that can seat 10 in a pinch.

Then there’s our breakfast room table at the other end of the porch. Here I’ve set a table with bluebells from our fields. The chairs are vintage folding chairs from France.

Did I mention I hauled an inherited china cabinet from the city back here?  Notice the chandy?  My friend Peggy was about to give that to the Savlation army because it didn’t work. I converted it to a candle burning chandy and hung it back here. 
But the best part about the back porch is that we have these amazing views.

 

6. Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home?  
  If you need help, ask for it. Post your question on Hometalk, Facebook or ask a blogger for advice.  I get the best advice from readers and other bloggers.  Secondly, just do it. Most changes are reversible, so it’s not the end of the world if you mess up. The wrong purchase can often be returned, sold, or moved to another room. Paint mishaps can be painted over.  I’ve made mistakes, but almost always I am able to inexpensively correct them, and I learn in the process.

   Best two things to NOT do? 

 1. If it’s remodeling – like moving a wall or new flooring, I recommend getting a professional, unless you really know what you are doing. Badly done home remodeling can really hurt your home value.2. Don’t buy it unless you LOVE it. I have gotten rid of so many things, and do you know what they all had in common? They were “bargains.”  A bargain is something marked down for sale that you wouldn’t normally buy, that no one else wants either.  These are the things you bring home because they are the right price, but you’re not crazy about them. Unless you can make them over, don’t buy them. It’s not a bargain to buy something you don’t like that you will likely give away soon. 
7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?  
I would say this has to do with personal taste. For me, the two things I was looking for in my new kitchen were that it be open to the living room, and that it have a big island.  These are two features I don’t have now.  
  8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?  
This is a funny question, because I don’t have either in my living room. We have an ottoman rather than a coffee table. I do have a large console in my dining room, so I’ll address that one. I love changing things out for the seasons here, but my favorite way to dress it up is with fresh flowers.  You just can’t go wrong with fresh flowers.

 

9. Any advice on the subject of lighting? 
 Well, having owned a portrait photography business for many years, I can tell you that lighting is critical to a good photograph, so I probably look at lighting more closely than most.  I would avoid any fluorescent lighting, including CFL’s.  It has a greenish cast that you may not notice until you take a photograph without a flash.  The other advice I have would be to use lots of lamps. They add more ambiance to a room than overhead lights. During the day, I prefer natural lighting, so I open all of the shades, and soak up the sunlight, but at night I use lamplight mostly. 
  10. Do you have a favorite paint color? Do tell!  
I’m loving Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray. I haven’t used it yet, so I don’t have any photos of it, but that is my top choice to use on our new house.   I used Sherwin Williams Windsor Greige exclusively at the ranch for all of the interior rooms. 
 11. What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?
 

Vintage items and antiques add a charm and warmth to a room that is difficult to achieve otherwise.  To add warmth, I also love to add old worn baskets and antique chairs.

 

12. Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing I would buy for my home would be………….
 That’s easy, a Louis XVI wedding armoire.  I have it on my list, so I’m hoping to get one after we move. Thank you Tina for inviting me over for the interview. You had so many great questions.   If you want to see more of Cedar Hill Ranch, come over any time. If I don’t answer the door, I’m on the back porch!  
 


 
 
 
Anita every one of those pictures could be gracing a magazine cover! Just gorgeous….it is all the while beautiful, welcoming and so so warm! So agree about the abundant use of lamps, using wicker baskets and old chairs to fill and warm up a room and  never going wrong with the use of fresh flowers….right on! Wonderful tips and tidbits, and what a wonderful treat it was to get to have a peek into your beautiful home.  Here is my little bragging session on Anita’s behalf, if you aren’t already in heaven…take a look a these
 

 Is this the most amazing treehouse you have ever seen? A grown ups version….I would live there!

 Put it on the record, I am officially jealous………I have never EVER seen such a beautiful “tree house”

 I want to attend one of her countryside soirees…as pretty as a postcard!

Like a Monet painting…its so pretty!
 
 
 
Amazing, don’t you think? These bloggers just have me awed by their talent…and what fun because they each represent a totally different style yet each is so incredible beautiful. I think I have enjoyed this series more than any other and I cannot thank Anita enough for her kindness, generosity in opening up her home and for her extraordinary talents. Anita, you truly live a charmed and beautiful life! Thank you for this and thank you to all the readers for stopping in. Want more Anita? Please visit her over at her blog to say hello and tell her how much you enjoyed this. If you don’t follow her already, you should…its like a daily dose of beauty. Click here to visit. Thank you for coming by and wishing everyone a wonderful day and great start to the week!! 
 
 
Photobucket

Bloggers beautiful abodes….Anita of Cedar Hill Ranch

Good Monday morning! Notice anything new and exciting here? Yep, a brand new look for The Enchanted Home. I went through Debby of Inspired Design, yes that talented sweetheart whose middle name should be “patience”….she was patient with me like you cannot imagine. I had a vision in my head and did my best to translate it to her…and after a lot of back and forth exchanges, sure enough it came to fruition! SO first a big thank you to Debby for helping me realize this vision. I just love it and am a big believer in changing things up every now and then. If you have been contemplating a new look or need help just to give a little facelift to your own blog or site, you should absolutey contact Debby, she is fabulous with a capital F, super talented, beyond nice and just a gem in every way.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful weekend. Here, it was picture perfect weather wise…gorgeous about 60 and sunny! My little party was so wonderful, and even with more people than I planned it was still fabulous……and plenty of leftovers (best part, right)?

Well, I am down to my last two guests posts for my Bloggers beautiful abodes series. What fun its been getting to see inside all of these magnificent homes, everything from farms to idyllic homes in France? to more formal abodes…haven’t’ they each been a fabulous treat? Then to getting to hear from these talented ladies and their words of wisdom, has been the icing on the cake. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one, and today’s is no exception. Please say hello to……


Anita is a newer blogging friend, but her warmth and vivaciousness shine through in a big way. I have decided I could live on her front porch alone. It is just so beautiful, the vistas, the way she has decorated it…is a total dream. Then you step inside and see the talent just overflows. What a treat to see inside her beautiful home and get to know a bit about the process and how she thinks when it comes to decorating, clearly all she is doing is right on the money, she truly has such a fabulous eye. I will be guest posting over at her blog in a few weeks so stay tuned for that!? Enough of me, lets hear from Anita…….

Hello, this is Anita from Cedar Hill Ranch, where we do Texas Living with a French Accent. I’m so thrilled and honored to be here talking to Tina today. ?Tina has such an amazing home and has such incredible taste. ?Things here are a little more casual, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
?
?
1. How long have you been in your present home?? Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could??
?The question is a simple one, but my answer is a complicated one. ?We divide our time between our city house and our 30 acre Round Top ranch. ?We have been in our present city home for 23 years. It is a fairly typical suburban brick house built in 1978, that has served our family well over the years, but no, it’s not my dream house. ?There are a lot of things I would like to change about the house, which is why we are building a new one right now. So what would I change translates into what am I changing and here’s some of the things we doing in the new house that are not in the old city house;
Back of our new craftsman style city house during construction

wood sash windowspedestal and claw foot tubsfarmhouse sink48 inch pro gas rangebuilt-in stainless refrigerator unit and freezer unitreclaimed hardwoods?butlers pantryvessel sink in guest bathbuilt-in cabinets to hide large flat panel TVopen concept living room/kitchen7 foot kitchen islandhanging barn doors to study Then there’s the Round Top ranch. The house at the ranch is fairly new. We had it built in 2009. We love it so much, that yes we plan to keep it for as long as we are on this earth. ??

?

2.?If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would?they be?
?Oh Tina, that would have to be my living room and my bedroom.
These are the rooms I worked the hardest on to transform from deep reds to a calming neutral palette.?

3. How would you describe your decorating style?
? It’s what I call Farmhouse French. ?
That’s a mix of fine French elements like curvey French chairs, vintage silver, dishes, and other pretties, along with with rustic country elements like unfinished wood, and lots of baskets and rusty things.

?

4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it? ?
My family thought they would NEVER hear me say this, but I have to admit, it’s white. ?I LOVE color and have always had lots of it in my home, but I have to admit the calm, soothing effect of white is unbeatable.?
?

And now I see what I didn’t before. Colors and patterns come and go. If you decorate with patterns, you’ll need to change them out constantly to keep from looking dated. White linen slipcovers are like the black dress of decorating – always in style and they go with everything.?
?

I’ve made my own linen slipcovers and bedding to go with my new look. ?

5. Favorite room of your house and why?
? ?
My favorite room in the house is also my favorite place to be on earth… seriously. ?If you read my blog, you probably already know the answer… my back porch at the ranch.

?
?
With a daybed I covered in linen, vintage?grain sack ?pillows and lots of rockers, it is a comfortable place to take in the cool breezes.?
?

I bought an antique pine table for our outdoor dining room, that can seat 10 in a pinch.

Then there’s our breakfast room table at the other end of the porch. Here I’ve set a table with bluebells from our fields. The chairs are vintage folding chairs from France.

Did I mention I hauled an inherited china cabinet from the city back here? ?Notice the chandy? ?My friend Peggy was about to give that to the Savlation army because it didn’t work. I converted it to a candle burning chandy and hung it back here.?
But the best part about the back porch is that we have these amazing views.

?

6. Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home???
? If you need help, ask for it. Post your question on Hometalk, Facebook or ask a blogger for advice. ?I get the best advice from readers and other bloggers.? Secondly, just do it. Most changes are reversible, so it’s not the end of the world if you mess up. The wrong purchase can often be returned, sold, or moved to another room. Paint mishaps can be painted over. ?I’ve made mistakes, but almost always I am able to inexpensively correct them, and I learn in the process.

?? Best two things to NOT do??

?1. If it’s remodeling – like moving a wall or new flooring, I recommend getting a professional, unless you really know what you are doing. Badly done home remodeling can really hurt your home value.2. Don’t buy it unless you LOVE it. I have gotten rid of so many things, and do you know what they all had in common? They were “bargains.” ?A bargain is something marked down for sale that you wouldn’t normally buy, that no one else wants either. ?These are the things you bring home because they are the right price, but you’re not crazy about them. Unless you can make them over, don’t buy them. It’s not a bargain to buy something you don’t like that you will likely give away soon.?
7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen? ?
I would say this has to do with personal taste. For me, the two things I was looking for in my new kitchen were that it be open to the living room, and that it have a big island. ?These are two features I don’t have now.??
? 8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room? ?
This is a funny question, because I don’t have either in my living room. We have an ottoman rather than a coffee table. I do have a large console in my dining room, so I’ll address that one. I love changing things out for the seasons here, but my favorite way to dress it up is with fresh flowers. ?You just can’t go wrong with fresh flowers.

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9. Any advice on the subject of lighting??
?Well, having owned a portrait photography business for many years, I can tell you that lighting is critical to a good photograph, so I probably look at lighting more closely than most. ?I would avoid any?fluorescent lighting, including CFL’s. ?It has a?greenish?cast that you may not notice until you take a photograph without a flash.? The other advice I have would be to use lots of lamps. They add more ambiance to a room than overhead lights. During the day, I prefer natural lighting, so I open all of the shades, and soak up the sunlight, but at night I use lamplight mostly.?
? 10. Do you have a favorite paint color? Do tell! ?
I’m loving Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray. I haven’t used it yet, so I don’t have any photos of it, but that is my top choice to use on our new house. ? I used Sherwin Williams Windsor Greige exclusively at the ranch for all of the interior rooms.?
?11. What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it?feel “homey” and inviting?
?

Vintage items and antiques add a charm and warmth to a room that is difficult to?achieve?otherwise. ?To add warmth, I also love to add old worn baskets and antique chairs.

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12.?Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing?I would buy for my home would be………….
?That’s easy, a Louis XVI wedding armoire. ?I have it on my list, so I’m hoping to get one after we move. Thank you Tina for inviting me over for the interview. You had so many great questions. ? If you want to see more of Cedar Hill Ranch, come over any time. If I don’t answer the door, I’m on the back porch! ?
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Anita every one of those pictures could be gracing a magazine cover! Just gorgeous….it is all the while beautiful, welcoming and so so warm! So agree about the abundant use of lamps, using wicker baskets and old chairs to fill and warm up a room and? never going wrong with the use of fresh flowers….right on! Wonderful tips and tidbits, and what a wonderful treat it was to get to have a peek into your beautiful home.? Here is my little bragging session on Anita’s behalf, if you aren’t already in heaven…take a look a these

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?Is this the most amazing treehouse you have ever seen? A grown ups version….I would live there!

?Put it on the record, I am officially jealous………I have never EVER seen such a beautiful “tree house”

?I want to attend one of her countryside soirees…as pretty as a postcard!

Like a Monet painting…its so pretty!

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Amazing, don’t you think? These bloggers just have me awed by their talent…and what fun because they each represent a totally different style yet each is so incredible beautiful. I think I have enjoyed this series more than any other and I cannot thank Anita enough for her kindness, generosity in opening up her home and for her extraordinary talents. Anita, you truly live a charmed and beautiful life! Thank you for this and thank you to all the readers for stopping in. Want more Anita? Please visit her over at her blog to say hello and tell her how much you enjoyed this. If you don’t follow her already, you should…its like a daily dose of beauty. Click here to visit. Thank you for coming by and wishing everyone a wonderful day and great start to the week!!?

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Bloggers beautiful abodes………Vicki of French Essence

Good morning friends. Hope you had a superb weekend, ours was very nice, dinner with friends, plenty of downtime, long walks, some entertaining…it was all good! And how was yours? Hope wonderful!  Oh boy,  you are in for a royal treat today from someone I consider “blogging royalty” aka a blogging doyenne to me. Sit back, relax and enjoy this gem of a post. Please say hello to the talented and ultra chic……..

Now I know to most, Vicki does not need an introduction, she is a beloved name in the world of blogs (and beyond) and amongst her many talents, which include being a world class blogger, stylemaker and entertainer, Vicki is also an accomplished author with not one but two wonderful books under her belt. I never miss a post that Vicki puts out because simply put,  I know that whatever she is talking about is something I need to know. I love her style, take on things, perspective and value her opinion greatly. Her home is the stuff dreams are made of,  and I am beyond excited that she is here with us today, opening up her home and her heart to us. To say its a treat just doesn’t properly describe what a true indulgence this post is! So enough of me, let;s hear from Vicki!
____________

How long have you been in your present home?  Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could?

We bought our home in southern France, just outside the village of Saint R?my de Provence, in 1999 and spent nearly three years restoring the house, planting an olive grove and landscaping the gardens. When we found the property it was an abandoned fruit farm with an old farmhouse that was completely uninhabitable.

What would I change? It?s hard to imagine our home any other way now, as it has largely been a work in progress over the last thirteen years? The farmhouse is very simple with a layout that still works? kitchen, dining, sitting room, library and bedrooms? We have plenty of room for friends and family and good entertaining spaces?

Now I would love to re-decorate? change some of the furniture and the colours? perhaps add a few more contemporary edges? but mostly I still pinch myself and think how fortunate I am to call Mas de B?rard home. It was a crazy, crazy dream to have a home in France and I still cannot believe that it came true?

If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would they be?

The kitchen because it seems to be the room where we all congregate when we are together? and when we are two it is still cosy and comfortable.

Our bedroom is one of my favourite rooms. It is spacious and overlooks the garden with a view to the mountains beyond. There is a fireplace that we light in winter? I love nothing more than an early night in front of the fire? reading or watching a film? I enjoy working in our bedroom? it is an oasis of calm where I find it easy to concentrate and write when the mood strikes me? Our farm is always busy with people coming and going? there is usually something happening downstairs? that needs my attention? a job to be done or a question to be answered? The bedroom is my haven?

How would you describe your decorating style?

Simple is probably the answer? Uncluttered and with a mix of the old and the new thrown together. Most of our furnishings have been collected in France or on our travels. Our art is primarily Australian? that reminds me of home? and the decorative bits and pieces, those we have found in flea markets over the years.

I like mixing things up, changing them around? so I am not really sure that I have a particular style? I have been influenced by my years away? it?s hard to escape the French influence? but I imagine that our home reflects our wanderlust life?

 Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?

I seem to gravitate to ?greige?? that mix between grey and beige that the French do so well. I do add touches of colour? but I seem to end up with a neutral palette.

One day I would really like to be brave, shock myself and decorate a home in vibrant shades?  emerald greens, reds? yellows? I admire a colourful canvas but as our Provencal landscape is really the star of our property? the neutral tones do work well? and don?t take away from the exterior.

Favorite room of your house and why?

Does the garden count? I do think of our garden as a room because for many months of the year we live outside? Between May and October we hardly spend any time indoors? About now I am thinking about how to re-style our terrace for the coming season. I like to move the furniture around the garden? to really use it? changing the areas where we dine? or making seating groups on the lawn? The beauty of Provence is the climate? it very rarely rains after April so life outdoors is a given?

Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home? Best two things to NOT do?

I can only say buy what you love and take time to decorate. I have learned that short cuts don?t work? it is better to wait than rush in with a compromise that you don?t really want.

If you decorate using pieces that have meaning then your home will always be yours? it will be a reflection of who you are and the life that you have lived. Wherever you move and however frequently? your home will remain.

For me successful decorating takes planning? whether it is the design, the decoration or DIY? time taken is well spent and makes the biggest difference.

Don?t be afraid to follow the heart when decorating? we all make mistakes and there is nothing that can?t be fixed. Sometimes a leap of faith can bring the most amazing results?

What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?

Our kitchen works hard? we are always many in the summer and in the Christmas holidays. Even though our kitchen is decorated like a dining room? it is very practical. A kitchen in the country needs to be not only homely but also efficient.

Good refrigeration, a large oven, over-sized sink and an extra dishwasher are key features when it comes to cooking for a large crowd. The design of our kitchen works very well? and if I were doing it again today I would make the same layout.

Our kitchen is a series of spaces that are connected? The central room is where the action happens? on one side is a pantry (lots of storage) with the refrigeration and the ?laundry? room. In the ?laundry room? I have another over-sized sink for flower and plant arranging. On the other side of the central space there is a corridor with a large armoire that holds our glassware and china.

The kitchen is both functional and ambient? to me that is a winning combination.

How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?

Always with flowers? and objects? generally reflecting the season? or my latest finds at the flea market…  In May the roses will be blooming? so all my arranging will revolve around them?

Right about now I usually clear the tables and start again? I try to do this once a year? and the only way I can ?dress up? a console is to start from the beginning? to take everything away? mix it all up and let the creativity begin.

I find that the problem is that I become so accustomed to my ?vignettes? that it is difficult to envision and re-create new scenes? Pulling everything apart really works for me.

 Any advice on the subject of lighting? 

Lighting is the hardest part of a home to get right and I don?t think I have ever managed that yet. I have been involved in countless renovations and at the end I always seem to miss something?

I like lamplight, chandeliers and wall lights? spots I reserve for kitchens and bathrooms.

Building or renovating requires that you know what lighting you want to use very early on in the project? the problem is finding the decorative pieces that fit the plans. That has always been a challenge for me!

Have a favorite paint color? Do tell!

I do like the Farrow and Ball palette? Elephants Breath, Skimming Stone and Dove Tale work very well together.

  What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?

Fill the house with market flowers or foliage from the garden? put single blooms in inexpensive bottles and group them around the home? a few blooms can go a long way?

Use books to decorate? new ones, old ones? to me they really make a space feel welcome?

Paintings? they don?t have to be masterpieces? just works that you create or you love? search the flea markets for pictures that resonate? try painting with water colours?

Fabrics? vintage fabrics can be inexpensive and add a wonderful feel to any home? thrown over a sofa? or made into cushions?

And my favourite? candles? lots of them? scented and plain? different widths and different heights? in containers? or standing alone?

Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing I would buy for my home would be………….A large tapestry to hang in the stair well?  xv

 
 
Wow…my senses are in overload.Every one of these pictures could warrant a magazine cover!  How about yours? Told you Vicki was a world class style maker, from those exquisite gardens that remind of me of a Monet painting to the ultra chic interiors, I would say Vicki your home is a dream! I can see however that it just did not happen but is a carefully curated collection of all the things you love and cherish, and the fact that it was a labor of love is absolutely evident! I share your love of flowers and I cannot blame you for saying your gardens are your favorite “room”….they are positively heavenly! 
 
As I had mentioned Vicki has put out two fabulous books, and they are absolute must haves if you are like me, and an avid book collector of beautiful coffee table books!  You can purchase Vicki’s books through her website. In addition  here’s a peek at a few other images of Vicki’s charmed French life…..

Yes, this iconic picture of this storybook entrance is Vicki’s! One of my all time favorites!!

  Most of these lovely photos were taken by Carla Coulson  for Living4Media
 
If you are one of the few who does not know of French Essence, by all means do go over and subscribe/follow her…..it will become a daily habit, trust me! Click here to visit and get to know more about Vicki and her charmed French life. Many thanks Vicki for opening up your magnificent home to my readers and I and to everyone else for  stopping in to say hello and see what’s happening over here. Wishing every one of you a fabulous day!
 
 
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Bloggers beautiful abodes………Vicki of French Essence

Good morning friends. Hope you had a superb weekend, ours was very nice, dinner with friends, plenty of downtime, long walks, some entertaining…it was all good! And how was yours? Hope wonderful!? Oh boy,? you are in for a royal treat today from someone I consider “blogging royalty” aka a blogging doyenne to me. Sit back, relax and enjoy this gem of a post. Please say hello to the talented and ultra chic……..

Now I know to most, Vicki does not need an introduction, she is a beloved name in the world of blogs (and beyond) and amongst her many talents, which include being a world class blogger, stylemaker and entertainer, Vicki is also an accomplished author with not one but two wonderful books under her belt. I never miss a post that Vicki puts out because simply put,? I know that whatever she is talking about is something I need to know. I love her style, take on things, perspective and value her opinion greatly. Her home is the stuff dreams are made of,? and I am beyond excited that she is here with us today, opening up her home and her heart to us. To say its a treat just doesn’t properly describe what a true indulgence this post is! So enough of me, let;s hear from Vicki!
____________

How long have you been in your present home?? Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could?

We bought our home in southern France, just outside the village of Saint R?my de Provence, in 1999 and spent nearly three years restoring the house, planting an olive grove and landscaping the gardens. When we found the property it was an abandoned fruit farm with an old farmhouse that was completely uninhabitable.

What would I change? It?s hard to imagine our home any other way now, as it has largely been a work in progress over the last thirteen years? The farmhouse is very simple with a layout that still works? kitchen, dining, sitting room, library and bedrooms? We have plenty of room for friends and family and good entertaining spaces?

Now I would love to re-decorate? change some of the furniture and the colours? perhaps add a few more contemporary edges? but mostly I still pinch myself and think how fortunate I am to call Mas de B?rard home. It was a crazy, crazy dream to have a home in France and I still cannot believe that it came true?

If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would they be?

The kitchen because it seems to be the room where we all congregate when we are together? and when we are two it is still cosy and comfortable.

Our bedroom is one of my favourite rooms. It is spacious and overlooks the garden with a view to the mountains beyond. There is a fireplace that we light in winter? I love nothing more than an early night in front of the fire? reading or watching a film? I enjoy working in our bedroom? it is an oasis of calm where I find it easy to concentrate and write when the mood strikes me? Our farm is always busy with people coming and going? there is usually something happening downstairs? that needs my attention? a job to be done or a question to be answered? The bedroom is my haven?

How would you describe your decorating style?

Simple is probably the answer? Uncluttered and with a mix of the old and the new thrown together. Most of our furnishings have been collected in France or on our travels. Our art is primarily Australian? that reminds me of home? and the decorative bits and pieces, those we have found in flea markets over the years.

I like mixing things up, changing them around? so I am not really sure that I have a particular style? I have been influenced by my years away? it?s hard to escape the French influence? but I imagine that our home reflects our wanderlust life?

?Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?

I seem to gravitate to ?greige?? that mix between grey and beige that the French do so well. I do add touches of colour? but I seem to end up with a neutral palette.

One day I would really like to be brave, shock myself and decorate a home in vibrant shades?? emerald greens, reds? yellows? I admire a colourful canvas but as our Provencal landscape is really the star of our property? the neutral tones do work well? and don?t take away from the exterior.

Favorite room of your house and why?

Does the garden count? I do think of our garden as a room because for many months of the year we live outside? Between May and October we hardly spend any time indoors? About now I am thinking about how to re-style our terrace for the coming season. I like to move the furniture around the garden? to really use it? changing the areas where we dine? or making seating groups on the lawn? The beauty of Provence is the climate? it very rarely rains after April so life outdoors is a given?

Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home? Best two things to NOT do?

I can only say buy what you love and take time to decorate. I have learned that short cuts don?t work? it is better to wait than rush in with a compromise that you don?t really want.

If you decorate using pieces that have meaning then your home will always be yours? it will be a reflection of who you are and the life that you have lived. Wherever you move and however frequently? your home will remain.

For me successful decorating takes planning? whether it is the design, the decoration or DIY? time taken is well spent and makes the biggest difference.

Don?t be afraid to follow the heart when decorating? we all make mistakes and there is nothing that can?t be fixed. Sometimes a leap of faith can bring the most amazing results?

What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?

Our kitchen works hard? we are always many in the summer and in the Christmas holidays. Even though our kitchen is decorated like a dining room? it is very practical. A kitchen in the country needs to be not only homely but also efficient.

Good refrigeration, a large oven, over-sized sink and an extra dishwasher are key features when it comes to cooking for a large crowd. The design of our kitchen works very well? and if I were doing it again today I would make the same layout.

Our kitchen is a series of spaces that are connected? The central room is where the action happens? on one side is a pantry (lots of storage) with the refrigeration and the ?laundry? room. In the ?laundry room? I have another over-sized sink for flower and plant arranging. On the other side of the central space there is a corridor with a large armoire that holds our glassware and china.

The kitchen is both functional and ambient? to me that is a winning combination.

How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?

Always with flowers? and objects? generally reflecting the season? or my latest finds at the flea market…? In May the roses will be blooming? so all my arranging will revolve around them?

Right about now I usually clear the tables and start again? I try to do this once a year? and the only way I can ?dress up? a console is to start from the beginning? to take everything away? mix it all up and let the creativity begin.

I find that the problem is that I become so accustomed to my ?vignettes? that it is difficult to envision and re-create new scenes? Pulling everything apart really works for me.

?Any advice on the subject of lighting??

Lighting is the hardest part of a home to get right and I don?t think I have ever managed that yet. I have been involved in countless renovations and at the end I always seem to miss something?

I like lamplight, chandeliers and wall lights? spots I reserve for kitchens and bathrooms.

Building or renovating requires that you know what lighting you want to use very early on in the project? the problem is finding the decorative pieces that fit the plans. That has always been a challenge for me!

Have a favorite paint color? Do tell!

I do like the Farrow and Ball palette? Elephants Breath, Skimming Stone and Dove Tale work very well together.

? What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?

Fill the house with market flowers or foliage from the garden? put single blooms in inexpensive bottles and group them around the home? a few blooms can go a long way?

Use books to decorate? new ones, old ones? to me they really make a space feel welcome?

Paintings? they don?t have to be masterpieces? just works that you create or you love? search the flea markets for pictures that resonate? try painting with water colours?

Fabrics? vintage fabrics can be inexpensive and add a wonderful feel to any home? thrown over a sofa? or made into cushions?

And my favourite? candles? lots of them? scented and plain? different widths and different heights? in containers? or standing alone?

Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing I would buy for my home would be………….A large tapestry to hang in the stair well?? xv

?

?

Wow…my senses are in overload.Every one of these pictures could warrant a magazine cover!? How about yours? Told you Vicki was a world class style maker, from those exquisite gardens that remind of me of a Monet painting to the ultra chic interiors, I would say Vicki your home is a dream! I can see however that it just did not happen but is a carefully curated collection of all the things you love and cherish, and the fact that it was a labor of love is absolutely evident! I share your love of flowers and I cannot blame you for saying your gardens are your favorite “room”….they are positively heavenly!?

?

As I had mentioned Vicki has put out two fabulous books, and they are absolute must haves if you are like me, and an avid book collector of beautiful coffee table books!? You can purchase Vicki’s books through her website. In addition? here’s a peek at a few other images of Vicki’s charmed French life…..

Yes, this iconic picture of this storybook entrance is Vicki’s! One of my all time favorites!!



? Most of these lovely photos were taken by Carla Coulson? for Living4Media

?

If you are one of the few who does not know of French Essence, by all means do go over and subscribe/follow her…..it will become a daily habit, trust me! Click here to visit and get to know more about Vicki and her charmed French life. Many thanks Vicki for opening up your magnificent home to my readers and I and to everyone else for? stopping in to say hello and see what’s happening over here. Wishing every one of you a fabulous day!

?

?


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Bloggers beautiful abodes…..Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips!

Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was very relaxing, a lot of downtime which was  a nice treat.  And finally for the first time, I can say I actually tasted a tiny bit of spring this weekend….at last I think its arrived and I am hearing we might hit 70 degrees tomorrow!! So excited to be here today, featuring a dear blogging friend who is super stylish and someone I know many of us follow and adore. Please welcome the lovely………
 
Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips
 
 
Pretty Pink Tulips is like one stop shopping for all things beautiful. Whether she is introducing us to a new artist, a fabulous new line of stationary, updating us on something gorgeous she is doing to her home, offering up a beautiful party favor idea,  or giving us an inside peek into a wonderful event she has attended……it is guaranteed that whatever Elizabeth is talking about, it’s worth the listen! I love her wonderful, effortless, elegant style and so was so happy she is joining us here today.  I really enjoyed seeing all these gorgeous pictures of her home (some new things that most have  not yet seen) and hearing her words of wisdom, so get your pen and paper ready and let Elizabeth take the stage……
 
 
 

1. How long have you been in your present home?  Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could?

 We have lived in this house for 6 years. Even though I love our home, I only see us staying here until our 2 boys are finished with high school. After that, I think I would enjoy downsizing and living somewhere in the South. I kind of feel like I am “caretaking” this house for the next family. Our neighborhood is ideal for young children, so once mine are gone, I think it will be time to leave. Of course, most of my plans have a way of changing….so you never know!
There is a lot I like about this house, but I think the lot is a little odd. It’s a rectangle and the house is situated with yard on the sides and not much in the back. I would love a larger back yard and a larger kitchen. I have “island” envy, since I don’t have one.
 
Luckily, we recently finished a renovation which enabled me to fix many of the things I did want to change. Such as, no covered entry into the house, a teeny tiny laundry room, no mudroom, a lack of a play space for my boys and their friends, peeling siding and a leaky roof!
Our new mudroom

2. If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would they be?

First, I think I would choose my bedroom because it feels cozy and I can see the tree tops. I find it very calming.  Second, the kitchen/family room as it is open space where I can cook, work at my desk, the kids can do their homework, we can watch t.v. It is literally in the center of the house and where I begin and end every day.
Master bedroom
Kitchen/Family room
The kitchen, family room is currently undergoing a transition to beach colors…sky, sand and ocean. Here’s a peek at the fabrics I’m using.

3. How would you describe your decorating style?

 I think my style has loosened up since I’ve lived in this house. (Perhaps because I’m raising young boys?!) I used to like things more formal. Now, I’m more interested in comfort and usability. Although, I still like things to look elegant and chic. So….”soothing and sophisticated”, might be a good description.  My color preferences are also shifting. Less beige and leanings toward gray and greige.

Landing and powder bath outside the new upstairs playroom

4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?

I find that I consistently like neutral colors for major pieces and then I can add color and texture with my accessories. For example, in the living room the accents are hot pink and chocolate brown. 
Living Room
 I recently wallpapered our center hall with a neutral but busy print.  I have a tapestry that we bought for the living room of our old home…but it just seemed to be the perfect large scale work of art for our narrow hallway. And, it pulls the colors from each of the rooms that feed into it.
My antelope stair runner is one of my favorite things in the house.

5. Favorite room of your house and why?

My favorite room is the one we call “the brown room” (because it’s painted a dark brown). It’s a great room for cocktails and conversation or just curling up with a magazine or watching t.v.

6. Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home? Best two things to NOT do?

I think one of the most important things to consider is the “flow” of a home. Not only the physical flow, but the connection rooms have to one another. Tying the rooms together with paint colors or wallpapers that relate to one another is a great way to create a cohesive feeling. 

I also think “layering” is a way to add interest and personality to your home. Stack the books, top them with a candle or object with some texture or reflection. Make sure things are not at the same level….vary things. Some high, some low…and then leaving breathing room.

What you shouldn’t do is try or expect that you can decorate a house in a day, a week, a month or even a year. Sure, you can get the basics down, but it takes time to create a home….so enjoy the journey and let it continually evolve.




7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?

I’ve had every size kitchen…large, small and in-between. You can cook a great meal in any size, but there are things that are “nice” to have. In my opinion, a farmhouse sink not only looks great, but just makes doing the dishes so much easier. I also have come to love a really great gas stove. Basically, you need a space with some light and enough counter space to spread out a little.

8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?

I think these are great opportunities to use a tray and corral things. Start with a stack of favorite coffee table books – the subjects will give your guests a peek at your interests. Then, layer in candles, objects and either something metal or glass. 
Coffee table in my living room – more formal
A bench in my family room…more rustic and informal
Coffee table in the family room


   
 9. Any advice on the subject of lighting?

I love lighting…but I think it pays to mix it up. Recessed lighting is fine if it’s on dimmers. Chandeliers can give heft to a space. Lamps allow you to bring in color and eye level lighting. And, then candles….lots and lots of candles. Everyone looks better in candlelight!

Dining room chandelier…set early in the day for a dinner party
Dining room chandelier..and candlelight (taken just before we sat down).
Some of my favorite new light fixtures are in my boys’ playroom. It still needs some work…so this is definitely “in process”. 


10. Have a favorite paint color? Do tell!

My new favorite paint color is Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray (HC-173). We recently used this color in my kitchen/family room/mudroom/laundry room to create a cohesive feeling. It is a beige with a tinge of gray…so one of those “greiges”. It is calming, warm and yet gives a little depth.

11. What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?

I think some of the things that can make your home feel “homey” and inviting are things you’ve seen above. First….the welcome mat begins at the front door. Make sure your entry is inviting. Pots of flowers, freshly painted front door, update your actual welcome mat. Next, get rid of the clutter and make sure things are straightened up. Sounds simple, but just having things in their place is calming. Finally, fresh flowers and aromatic candles enlist the senses. What I’ve learned is that all the things that make your home enjoyable to others are the very things that make it enjoyable for YOU. So, whether you’re expecting guests are not….have your house “guest ready” and you will enjoy the benefits.


12. Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing I would buy for my home would be………..

OK…since this is a fantasy, I’m going to go for the very impractical dream idea of a swimming pool. I love the calming affect of water and would love nothing more than to sit by the pool relaxing and have a place for my boys to play. I love being outside when the weather is nice and perhaps winter has gotten the best of me. Umbrella  drinks, anyone?!

Tina, this has been so much fun. I hope you and your readers have enjoyed the tour of my home!! 

 
 
 

 
 
Told you she was fabulous! I loved learning what goes on in her head behind the process, and thought her advice and pointers were excellent and worth noting/ So agree Elizabeth, about the power of dimmers, gas stoves, candelight,  farmhouse sinks and how much of an impact a welcome mat, flowers and a pretty painted door can have! Love your brown room…so cozy and looove that antelope stair runner! Every one of those wonderful details in her home is so beautifully and thoughtfully done.
 
I love to brag a little about my various blogging friends that I feature and one area where Elizabeth shines, amongst many others is flowers and entertaining! And you know I too love my flowers…..take a look at some of the wonderful creations she has done over the years in her picture perfect yard, rest assured something beautiful is always blooming over there!
 

 
And she always has the best and most chic ideas for party favors,gifts and fun party ideas…..
 

 

 
So be sure to stop over at Pretty Pink Tulips to get your “pretty fix” by signing up, if you aren’t a follower already! Click here to visit.  Thank you so much Elizabeth for sharing your beautiful home with us and to everyone else for stopping in….wishing everyone a fabulous day!
 
 
 
Don’t forget only one more day to be eligible for the fabulous Safavieh shoe ottoman! If you missed it click here for details (you must comment on that post to be in the drawing) I will announce a winner tomorrow morning!! 
 





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Bloggers beautiful abodes…..Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips!

Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was very relaxing, a lot of downtime which was? a nice treat.? And finally for the first time, I can say I actually tasted a tiny bit of spring this weekend….at last I think its arrived and I am hearing we might hit 70 degrees tomorrow!! So excited to be here today, featuring a dear blogging friend who is super stylish and someone I know many of us follow and adore. Please welcome the lovely………

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Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips

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Pretty Pink Tulips is like one stop shopping for all things beautiful. Whether she is introducing us to a new artist, a fabulous new line of stationary, updating us on something gorgeous she is doing to her home, offering up a beautiful party favor idea,? or giving us an inside peek into a wonderful event she has attended……it is guaranteed that whatever Elizabeth is talking about, it’s worth the listen! I love her wonderful, effortless, elegant style and so was so happy she is joining us here today.? I really enjoyed seeing all these gorgeous pictures of her home (some new things that most have? not yet seen) and hearing her words of wisdom, so get your pen and paper ready and let Elizabeth take the stage……

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1. How long have you been in your present home?? Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would care to change if you could?

?We have lived in this house for 6 years. Even though I love our home, I only see us staying here until our 2 boys are finished with high school. After that, I think I would enjoy downsizing and living somewhere in the South. I kind of feel like I am “caretaking” this house for the next family. Our neighborhood is ideal for young children, so once mine are gone, I think it will be time to leave. Of course, most of my plans have a way of changing….so you never know!
There is a lot I like about this house, but I think the lot is a little odd. It’s a rectangle and the house is situated with yard on the sides and not much in the back. I would love a larger back yard and a larger kitchen. I have “island” envy, since I don’t have one.
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Luckily, we recently finished a renovation which enabled me to fix many of the things I did want to change. Such as, no covered entry into the house, a teeny tiny laundry room, no mudroom, a lack of a play space for my boys and their friends, peeling siding and a leaky roof!

Our new mudroom

2.?If you could only live in two rooms of your house, which two would?they be?

First, I think I would choose my bedroom because it feels cozy and I can see the tree tops. I find it very calming. ?Second, the kitchen/family room as it is open space where I can cook, work at my desk, the kids can do their homework, we can watch t.v. It is literally in the center of the house and where I begin and end every day.
Master bedroom
Kitchen/Family room
The kitchen, family room is currently undergoing a transition to beach colors…sky, sand and ocean. Here’s a peek at the fabrics I’m using.

3. How would you describe your decorating style?

?I think my style has loosened up since I’ve lived in this house. (Perhaps because I’m raising young boys?!) I used to like things more formal. Now, I’m more interested in comfort and usability. Although, I still like things to look elegant and chic. So….”soothing and sophisticated”, might be a good description. ?My color preferences are also shifting. Less beige and leanings toward gray and greige.

Landing and powder bath outside the new upstairs playroom


4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? What is it?

I find that I consistently like neutral colors for major pieces and then I can add color and texture with my accessories. For example, in the living room the accents are hot pink and chocolate brown.?
Living Room
?I recently wallpapered our center hall with a neutral but busy print. ?I have a tapestry that we bought for the living room of our old home…but it just seemed to be the perfect large scale work of art for our narrow hallway. And, it pulls the colors from each of the rooms that feed into it.
My antelope stair runner is one of my favorite things in the house.


5. Favorite room of your house and why?

My favorite?room is the one we call “the brown room” (because it’s painted a dark brown). It’s a great room for cocktails and conversation or just curling up with a magazine or watching t.v.


6. Best two tips you can give to anyone looking to tackle the decorating of their own home? Best two things to NOT do?

I think one of the most important things to consider is the “flow” of a home. Not only the physical flow, but the connection rooms have to one another. Tying the rooms together with paint colors or wallpapers that relate to one another is a great way to create a cohesive feeling.?

I also think “layering” is a way to add interest and personality to your home. Stack the books, top them with a candle or object with some texture or reflection. Make sure things are not at the same level….vary things. Some high, some low…and then leaving breathing room.

What you shouldn’t do is try or expect that you can decorate a house in a day, a week, a month or even a year. Sure, you can get the basics down, but it takes time to create a home….so enjoy the journey and let it continually evolve.




7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?

I’ve had every size kitchen…large, small and in-between. You can cook a great meal in any size, but there are things that are “nice” to have. In my opinion, a farmhouse sink not only looks great, but just makes doing the dishes so much easier. I also have come to love a really great gas stove. Basically, you need a space with some light and enough counter space to spread out a little.

8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table and console in a living room?

I think these are great opportunities to use a tray and corral things. Start with a stack of favorite coffee table books – the subjects will give your guests a peek at your interests. Then, layer in candles, objects and either something metal or glass.?
Coffee table in my living room – more formal
A bench in my family room…more rustic and informal
Coffee table in the family room


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?9. Any advice on the subject of lighting?

I love lighting…but I think it pays to mix it up. Recessed lighting is fine if it’s on dimmers. Chandeliers can give heft to a space. Lamps allow you to bring in color and eye level lighting. And, then candles….lots and lots of candles. Everyone looks better in candlelight!

Dining room chandelier…set early in the day for a dinner party
Dining room chandelier..and candlelight (taken just before we sat down).
Some of my favorite new light fixtures are in my boys’ playroom. It still needs some work…so this is definitely “in process”.?


10. Have a favorite paint color? Do tell!

My new favorite paint color is Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray (HC-173). We recently used this color in my kitchen/family room/mudroom/laundry room to create a cohesive feeling. It is a beige with a tinge of gray…so one of those “greiges”. It is calming, warm and yet gives a little depth.


11. What are a couple of really simple inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it?feel “homey” and inviting?

I think some of the things that can make your home feel “homey” and inviting are things you’ve seen above. First….the welcome mat begins at the front door. Make sure your entry is inviting. Pots of flowers, freshly painted front door, update your actual welcome mat. Next, get rid of the clutter and make sure things are straightened up. Sounds simple, but just having things in their place is calming. Finally, fresh flowers and aromatic candles enlist the senses. What I’ve learned is that all the things that make your home enjoyable to others are the very things that make it enjoyable for YOU. So, whether you’re expecting guests are not….have your house “guest ready” and you will enjoy the benefits.


12.?Fill in the blank- If money was no object, the very first thing?I would buy for my home would be………..


OK…since this is a fantasy, I’m going to go for the very impractical dream idea of a swimming pool. I love the calming affect of water and would love nothing more than to sit by the pool relaxing and have a place for my boys to play. I love being outside when the weather is nice and perhaps winter has gotten the best of me. Umbrella ?drinks, anyone?!

Tina, this has been so much fun. I hope you and your readers have enjoyed the tour of my home!!?

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Told you she was fabulous! I loved learning what goes on in her head behind the process, and thought her advice and pointers were excellent and worth noting/ So agree Elizabeth, about the power of dimmers, gas stoves, candelight,? farmhouse sinks and how much of an impact a welcome mat, flowers and a pretty painted door can have! Love your brown room…so cozy and looove that antelope stair runner! Every one of those wonderful details in her home is so beautifully and thoughtfully done.

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I love to brag a little about my various blogging friends that I feature and one area where Elizabeth shines, amongst many others is flowers and entertaining! And you know I too love my flowers…..take a look at some of the wonderful creations she has done over the years in her picture perfect yard, rest assured something beautiful is always blooming over there!

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And she always has the best and most chic ideas for party favors,gifts and fun party ideas…..

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So be sure to stop over at Pretty Pink Tulips to get your “pretty fix” by signing up, if you aren’t a follower already! Click here to visit.? Thank you so much Elizabeth for sharing your beautiful home with us and to everyone else for stopping in….wishing everyone a fabulous day!

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Don’t forget only one more day to be eligible for the fabulous Safavieh shoe ottoman! If you missed it click here for details (you must comment on that post to be in the drawing) I will announce a winner tomorrow morning!!?

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Bloggers beautiful abodes….Yvonne of StoneGable!

Good morning. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Ours was so relaxing, and the day of rest we all needed. Before I begin with this fabulous home, I want to announce the winner of the Madhouse setting for eight! Congrats goes to…..

charmed by the twig cutlery!

what a lovely collection of blossoms, tina. you are blooming lovely over as usual. and we love it!

smiles.

michele

(Please contact me Michele so I can get your shipping info)
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Moving along…….I am so excited to be here today with another fabulous blogger and her stunning home for my “Beautiful bloggers abodes” series. I am having so much fun getting a peek into these exquisite homes and learning from those in the know. Say hello to the ridiculously talented……….

Yvonne, to me is the absolute QUEEN not princess of tablescapes. I have never seen anyone with the talents that she has in creating the most scrumptious presentations….seriously droolworthy. And lets not even get started on her recipes. Get your pen and paper ready….this has more inspiration and knowledge than many books! When she has a new post, I know its a “do not miss”. I am always telling her she must put out a book, I would be the first in line. Her talents extend to her entertaining,her decorating and of course creating a beautiful home. She drives home one heck of a beautiful argument for refined country living. I think the pictures will do all the talking and by all means if you do not follow Stone Gable…you are missing out! Click here to visit her. The inspiration is just over the top. Enough of me, lets hear from talented Yvonne……

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1.How long have you been in your present home? Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would change if you could?
I had the idea of StoneGable in my mind 5 years before we ever started to built it. It is nothing too grand or elaborate… but it is comfortable and roomy and perfect for transforming itself from a home to a hotel at a moments notice! People gravitate to StoneGable… and it is at it’s best bursting at the seams and full of loudness and laughter and antics! This is a home that wraps it’s arms around your heart!

StoneGable, circa 2009… lots of changes since then!

front porch sitting


back door

?StoneGable is a farmhouse inspired home with a big wrap around porch which compliments the beautiful bucolic farmland of Lancaster Pa. We have no close neighbors and are surrounded on all sides by farms and lots of rolling farmland. It is peaceful and private and is my favorite place to be.
looking out the back door
corn surrounding StoneGable in the summer
summer sunset looking across the field

?I think of living here as rural life at it’s best! Lancaster County is a strange-bird-of-a place. It is really a through back in many ways to a softer, simpler, less rushed way of life. There is just something wonderful about living here! I am not a native Lancasterian, but have lived in this area for over 30 years.

Family croquet game on the side lawn

?We live eight miles south of the county seat which is steeped in culture and history. Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC are all within a couple of hours from us.

Lancaster Central Market, the countries oldest farm market
StoneGable is our third family home and I would have a hard time leaving it… but eventually it will be too big for us and then StoneGable will need another family to fill it. I hope that is a long long time from now!
I have lists of things to change about StoneGable! Don’t we all? We are literally taking one room at a time and remodeling and freshening them up. We have lived hard and large at StoneGable for 18 years!
Right now we are working on the living room, dining room, foyer and front stairs at StoneGable. We do almost all of the work ourselves… so it is a very slow process… and very satisfying!
A weekend project… laying new floors in the dining room
Bobby starting to paint the dinning room trim
Aren’t I a brave one for holding a bridal shower when the dining room was not yet done?
If I could change 3 things right now I would add more light to our family room by knocking out a wall and adding a few french doors…I would build a bigger patio and put in an outdoor fireplace… and I would remodel our master bathroom now, and not next year!
2. If you could live in two rooms in your house what would they be?
My favorite place at StoneGable is my kitchen… no surprise to most. Our kitchen was built in our garage out of boards. Our builder’s father was an old fashioned cabinet maker and he fashioned our kitchen to reflect a farmhouse style… and then kicked it up a notch!

Cabinets made in my garage
Again, it is roomy and not too fancy, but has lots of charm. ?Two years ago it went through a face lift… we were very careful not to ruin the integrity of the cabinetry or it’s overall look.
My other favorite place is the swing on our back porch. I have never photographed it before! Maybe because it is a little part of my life I keep to myself! You can find me out there on many mornings with coffee and a bible in hand… or swinging in the dark marveling at the fireflies!
3. How do you describe your decorating style?
Oh my goodness!!! Is classic, farmhouse, casually elegant a style? If left to my natural inclinations I would be pretty formal. I love beauty and the stateliness of formality… but I also love comfort. Being able to flop down and not worry that I will ruin something! So there is a tension there, for sure!
The J&J guest room
Aprons on hooks
Gable Room, lots of antiques in here
?It just might be design hierarchy to admit that I am not all that enthralled with the current popularity of french decor. I guess it just does not suite where I live and I am a little too saturated with it.
4. Do you have a favorite color scheme??
Always… but it changes and evolves like my tastes. Right now I am in love with neutrals and the play of texture. But my all time favorite is blue and white…just like you Tina!
Fabrics and colors for the living room and dining room
new living room sofa with neutral pillows
My love for blue and white is reflected in many tables I set

5. Favorite room in my house?
Kitchen, it really is the heart of my home! And reflect our lifestyle the best.

6. Best two tips you can give anyone looking to decorating their home? Best two things not to do?
This question is tailor-made for me!!! As I said earlier, Bobby and I do almost everything ourselves.
I think the first tip when looking to redecorate is to have an overall vision. Spend time dreaming and looking through magazines and blogs and books. Have pictures of what you love… make lists of what needs to be done. DON’T ?go into any project without spending a lot of time planning it out. I guess that is the first don’t!
The second thing to do is to take your time and do it right! I am repainting and reupholstering eight eighteenth century mahogany chairs. What a job! But in the end it will ?be so worth it!
Here is the before… You can see we are also painting the living room in the background!
It was a saga getting the old fabric off!
And here is a peak at the new finish on the chairs. Come back later this week for the reveal of two chairs completed!
Another what not to do tips is… don’t be overly influenced by trends. So many trends are here today and gone in a year or two, so don’t sink a lot of money… time … or labor into things that you will get tired of. That is why I am so drawn to classic styles. I can add less expensive trendy accents and replace them when they look tired or out of style.
7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?
Well… some I don’t have! When we remodeled our kitchen I desperately wanted a double oven and warming tray because I LOVE to cook! But, we could not fit it in without disturbing the integrity of the existing cabinetry. So I chose the cabinets that are such a treasure in StoneGable’s kitchen over the convenience of a double oven. I’m surviving just fine!
no double oven… only a cook top and one oven

One of the first things I baked in my new oven

I also am a huge fan of gas cooktops. I have never cared for electric.
Another must for me is a big pantry… and lots of room for dishes!
Pantry!
Lots of room for dishes!
But I think the most important thing to me is lots of counter space and lots of room for people to join me in the kitchen. Really, every gathering in my home begins and ends in my kitchen!

a favorite place to sit in the kitchen!
8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table or console in the living room.
I’ll let you know… we gave away or sold ALL the furniture in the formal living room and right now only our new sofa is in it… actually tomorrow the chairs and the end tables are coming.
I have two gorgeous tall oriental brass lamps that my father brought back from Japan in the early 60’s( when I was just a wee girl)… and my mother has given them to me, so they will be a special part of my table decor.
I’m still working the rest of the details out… I’ll keep you posted!
here’s an old buffet I just painted for the dining room that is still a work in progress. It is ready for Spring!
here’s my family room coffee table decked out for summer

9. Any advice on the subject of lighting?
YES! NO overhead lighting!!!! Most people use far too little lighting in their homes… or the lighting is all on the same level. Lots of light and lots of levels. If you MUST have overhead lighting make sure it is on a dimmer and keep it LOW!
And I crave natural lighting! I would love to have more windows… and far less window treatments.


10. Have a favorite paint color, do tell?
We have just painted our living room and dining room Sonnet by Benjamin Moore. It is a very soft, light reflective white with taupe undertones. We have lots of white wainscoting and trim in those rooms and it looks marvelous with Benjamin Moore Atrium White.
looking at different colors?
I have the hardest time with picking out wall color… but I got Sonnet right!
Sonnet on the walls
11. What are a couple of really inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?
Pillows! ?Pillows are like the love language of the house! They say, “let’s cuddle”!
?Pillows don’t have to be expensive. I get down inserts and make my own. I just change out the covers and keep using the inserts!
I just made these pillows this spring
fall pillows in the family room
gable room pillows
I think there is nothing more homey than a great smelling house!!! I love food scented candles and homemade simmering potpourri. Our very first home sold after being on the market for a very short time because the buyer loved it’s smell! I would simmer cinnamon sticks and cloves before each showing! How easy is that?

And it’s important to have a welcoming front door… clean, painted… a nice wreath. Your front door sets the mood for your home!

12. Fill in the blank… if money were no object the very first thing I would buy for my home is…
I am going to answer this question a little differently than it was asked.
I have a list in my head of home projects and things I would love to have that will take the next 10 years to complete. My home is really never done… and that’s as it should be!
?I think it is an important thing to cultivate contentment and gratitude for what I have. I try not to overlook all the work we have already put into StoneGable and the joy it brings us on a daily basis. There are so many homes that are more beautiful and better made and have more… but StoneGable is OUR haven… our gift from God. I feel very very blessed!

My front door is always open to friends old… and new!
Tina, thank you so much for asking me to share with you and your wonderful readers today! I am by no means a decorator or have your eye and talent for design… so this is a very big thrill for me to come by and visit at the ……….
THE ENCHANTED HOME!!!

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Bravo Yvonne! I am so impressed with how beautiful yet warm and cozy of a home you have created for you and your family.? Those family pictures are incredible! And the country has always beckoned? to me and your home could be a single reason for someone to take the plunge….so idyllic!
You can almost smell the wonderful scent of homecooked goodness and feel the love and warmth! I love all your touches, your excellent advice from someone who knows and so agree about the power of pillows, gas ranges, taking your time with decor and making sure a home smells good.

Thank you so much for opening up your wonderful home to me and all my readers and to everyone for stopping in. Now….Yvonne is not getting off the hook so easily, she was way too modest about her insane talent in tablescapes and entertaining so I am going to just have to boast a little for her! Take a look at what this dynamo has done……..

And I remember when I found her….it was with this post of this most beautiful tea party for two!

OK, now do you see what all the fuss is about? And why I just had to do a little bragging on her behalf? Yes, she really is that good. I bet Marthas shaking in her boots:) Yvonne, you continue to inspire and amaze….all at the same time! I could go on and on but you will have to visit Yvonne to check out more of her wonders over at her blog. Click here to visit her and sign up and be a part of her beautiful world. Thanks again everyone! Wishing everyone a wonderful Monday and a good start to your week.

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Bloggers beautiful abodes….Yvonne of StoneGable!

Good morning. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Ours was so relaxing, and the day of rest we all needed. Before I begin with this fabulous home, I want to announce the winner of the Madhouse setting for eight! Congrats goes to…..

charmed by the twig cutlery!

what a lovely collection of blossoms, tina. you are blooming lovely over as usual. and we love it!

smiles.

michele

(Please contact me Michele so I can get your shipping info)
  

Moving along…….I am so excited to be here today with another fabulous blogger and her stunning home for my “Beautiful bloggers abodes” series. I am having so much fun getting a peek into these exquisite homes and learning from those in the know. Say hello to the ridiculously talented……….

Yvonne, to me is the absolute QUEEN not princess of tablescapes. I have never seen anyone with the talents that she has in creating the most scrumptious presentations….seriously droolworthy. And lets not even get started on her recipes. Get your pen and paper ready….this has more inspiration and knowledge than many books! When she has a new post, I know its a “do not miss”. I am always telling her she must put out a book, I would be the first in line. Her talents extend to her entertaining,her decorating and of course creating a beautiful home. She drives home one heck of a beautiful argument for refined country living. I think the pictures will do all the talking and by all means if you do not follow Stone Gable…you are missing out! Click here to visit her. The inspiration is just over the top. Enough of me, lets hear from talented Yvonne……

____________________


1.How long have you been in your present home? Is this it for the long haul? Anything you would change if you could?
I had the idea of StoneGable in my mind 5 years before we ever started to built it. It is nothing too grand or elaborate… but it is comfortable and roomy and perfect for transforming itself from a home to a hotel at a moments notice! People gravitate to StoneGable… and it is at it’s best bursting at the seams and full of loudness and laughter and antics! This is a home that wraps it’s arms around your heart!

StoneGable, circa 2009… lots of changes since then!

front porch sitting


back door

 StoneGable is a farmhouse inspired home with a big wrap around porch which compliments the beautiful bucolic farmland of Lancaster Pa. We have no close neighbors and are surrounded on all sides by farms and lots of rolling farmland. It is peaceful and private and is my favorite place to be.
looking out the back door
corn surrounding StoneGable in the summer
summer sunset looking across the field

 I think of living here as rural life at it’s best! Lancaster County is a strange-bird-of-a place. It is really a through back in many ways to a softer, simpler, less rushed way of life. There is just something wonderful about living here! I am not a native Lancasterian, but have lived in this area for over 30 years.

Family croquet game on the side lawn

 We live eight miles south of the county seat which is steeped in culture and history. Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC are all within a couple of hours from us.

Lancaster Central Market, the countries oldest farm market
StoneGable is our third family home and I would have a hard time leaving it… but eventually it will be too big for us and then StoneGable will need another family to fill it. I hope that is a long long time from now!
I have lists of things to change about StoneGable! Don’t we all? We are literally taking one room at a time and remodeling and freshening them up. We have lived hard and large at StoneGable for 18 years!
Right now we are working on the living room, dining room, foyer and front stairs at StoneGable. We do almost all of the work ourselves… so it is a very slow process… and very satisfying!
A weekend project… laying new floors in the dining room
Bobby starting to paint the dinning room trim
Aren’t I a brave one for holding a bridal shower when the dining room was not yet done?
If I could change 3 things right now I would add more light to our family room by knocking out a wall and adding a few french doors…I would build a bigger patio and put in an outdoor fireplace… and I would remodel our master bathroom now, and not next year!
2. If you could live in two rooms in your house what would they be?
My favorite place at StoneGable is my kitchen… no surprise to most. Our kitchen was built in our garage out of boards. Our builder’s father was an old fashioned cabinet maker and he fashioned our kitchen to reflect a farmhouse style… and then kicked it up a notch!

Cabinets made in my garage
Again, it is roomy and not too fancy, but has lots of charm.  Two years ago it went through a face lift… we were very careful not to ruin the integrity of the cabinetry or it’s overall look.
My other favorite place is the swing on our back porch. I have never photographed it before! Maybe because it is a little part of my life I keep to myself! You can find me out there on many mornings with coffee and a bible in hand… or swinging in the dark marveling at the fireflies!
3. How do you describe your decorating style?
Oh my goodness!!! Is classic, farmhouse, casually elegant a style? If left to my natural inclinations I would be pretty formal. I love beauty and the stateliness of formality… but I also love comfort. Being able to flop down and not worry that I will ruin something! So there is a tension there, for sure!
The J&J guest room
Aprons on hooks
Gable Room, lots of antiques in here
 It just might be design hierarchy to admit that I am not all that enthralled with the current popularity of french decor. I guess it just does not suite where I live and I am a little too saturated with it.
4. Do you have a favorite color scheme? 
Always… but it changes and evolves like my tastes. Right now I am in love with neutrals and the play of texture. But my all time favorite is blue and white…just like you Tina!
Fabrics and colors for the living room and dining room
new living room sofa with neutral pillows
My love for blue and white is reflected in many tables I set

5. Favorite room in my house?
Kitchen, it really is the heart of my home! And reflect our lifestyle the best.

6. Best two tips you can give anyone looking to decorating their home? Best two things not to do?
This question is tailor-made for me!!! As I said earlier, Bobby and I do almost everything ourselves.
I think the first tip when looking to redecorate is to have an overall vision. Spend time dreaming and looking through magazines and blogs and books. Have pictures of what you love… make lists of what needs to be done. DON’T  go into any project without spending a lot of time planning it out. I guess that is the first don’t!
The second thing to do is to take your time and do it right! I am repainting and reupholstering eight eighteenth century mahogany chairs. What a job! But in the end it will  be so worth it!
Here is the before… You can see we are also painting the living room in the background!
It was a saga getting the old fabric off!
And here is a peak at the new finish on the chairs. Come back later this week for the reveal of two chairs completed!
Another what not to do tips is… don’t be overly influenced by trends. So many trends are here today and gone in a year or two, so don’t sink a lot of money… time … or labor into things that you will get tired of. That is why I am so drawn to classic styles. I can add less expensive trendy accents and replace them when they look tired or out of style.
7. What do you think are the most important features for a kitchen?
Well… some I don’t have! When we remodeled our kitchen I desperately wanted a double oven and warming tray because I LOVE to cook! But, we could not fit it in without disturbing the integrity of the existing cabinetry. So I chose the cabinets that are such a treasure in StoneGable’s kitchen over the convenience of a double oven. I’m surviving just fine!
no double oven… only a cook top and one oven

One of the first things I baked in my new oven

I also am a huge fan of gas cooktops. I have never cared for electric.
Another must for me is a big pantry… and lots of room for dishes!
Pantry!
Lots of room for dishes!
But I think the most important thing to me is lots of counter space and lots of room for people to join me in the kitchen. Really, every gathering in my home begins and ends in my kitchen!

a favorite place to sit in the kitchen!
8. How do you like to dress up a cocktail table or console in the living room.
I’ll let you know… we gave away or sold ALL the furniture in the formal living room and right now only our new sofa is in it… actually tomorrow the chairs and the end tables are coming.
I have two gorgeous tall oriental brass lamps that my father brought back from Japan in the early 60’s( when I was just a wee girl)… and my mother has given them to me, so they will be a special part of my table decor.
I’m still working the rest of the details out… I’ll keep you posted!
here’s an old buffet I just painted for the dining room that is still a work in progress. It is ready for Spring!
here’s my family room coffee table decked out for summer

9. Any advice on the subject of lighting?
YES! NO overhead lighting!!!! Most people use far too little lighting in their homes… or the lighting is all on the same level. Lots of light and lots of levels. If you MUST have overhead lighting make sure it is on a dimmer and keep it LOW!
And I crave natural lighting! I would love to have more windows… and far less window treatments.

10. Have a favorite paint color, do tell?
We have just painted our living room and dining room Sonnet by Benjamin Moore. It is a very soft, light reflective white with taupe undertones. We have lots of white wainscoting and trim in those rooms and it looks marvelous with Benjamin Moore Atrium White.
looking at different colors 
I have the hardest time with picking out wall color… but I got Sonnet right!
Sonnet on the walls
11. What are a couple of really inexpensive things you can do in your home to make it feel “homey” and inviting?
Pillows!  Pillows are like the love language of the house! They say, “let’s cuddle”!
 Pillows don’t have to be expensive. I get down inserts and make my own. I just change out the covers and keep using the inserts!
I just made these pillows this spring
fall pillows in the family room
gable room pillows
I think there is nothing more homey than a great smelling house!!! I love food scented candles and homemade simmering potpourri. Our very first home sold after being on the market for a very short time because the buyer loved it’s smell! I would simmer cinnamon sticks and cloves before each showing! How easy is that?

And it’s important to have a welcoming front door… clean, painted… a nice wreath. Your front door sets the mood for your home!

12. Fill in the blank… if money were no object the very first thing I would buy for my home is…
I am going to answer this question a little differently than it was asked.
I have a list in my head of home projects and things I would love to have that will take the next 10 years to complete. My home is really never done… and that’s as it should be!
 I think it is an important thing to cultivate contentment and gratitude for what I have. I try not to overlook all the work we have already put into StoneGable and the joy it brings us on a daily basis. There are so many homes that are more beautiful and better made and have more… but StoneGable is OUR haven… our gift from God. I feel very very blessed!

My front door is always open to friends old… and new!
Tina, thank you so much for asking me to share with you and your wonderful readers today! I am by no means a decorator or have your eye and talent for design… so this is a very big thrill for me to come by and visit at the ……….
THE ENCHANTED HOME!!!

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Bravo Yvonne! I am so impressed with how beautiful yet warm and cozy of a home you have created for you and your family.  Those family pictures are incredible! And the country has always beckoned  to me and your home could be a single reason for someone to take the plunge….so idyllic!
You can almost smell the wonderful scent of homecooked goodness and feel the love and warmth! I love all your touches, your excellent advice from someone who knows and so agree about the power of pillows, gas ranges, taking your time with decor and making sure a home smells good.

Thank you so much for opening up your wonderful home to me and all my readers and to everyone for stopping in. Now….Yvonne is not getting off the hook so easily, she was way too modest about her insane talent in tablescapes and entertaining so I am going to just have to boast a little for her! Take a look at what this dynamo has done……..

And I remember when I found her….it was with this post of this most beautiful tea party for two!

OK, now do you see what all the fuss is about? And why I just had to do a little bragging on her behalf? Yes, she really is that good. I bet Marthas shaking in her boots:) Yvonne, you continue to inspire and amaze….all at the same time! I could go on and on but you will have to visit Yvonne to check out more of her wonders over at her blog. Click here to visit her and sign up and be a part of her beautiful world. Thanks again everyone! Wishing everyone a wonderful Monday and a good start to your week.

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