9.24.2012

Fall Is In The Air...Literally!

Just what I needed: the refreshment and inspiration that fall brings! Cool, crisp air, a touch of color in the hills and pumpkins everywhere! I coudn't resist...had to bring some home!

The front porch.

When people ask why Franklin instead of a cute little Texas town, one of my responses is "four seasons." I got a taste of how wonderful four seasons could be during my four years at Vanderbilt...just enough to make me long for it again. It's still hot as blazes in Houston right now. {Sorry Houston friends!} Hard to get in the fall pumpkin mood when you're dripping in sweat!

The dining room table.

And a glimpse of where that dough bowl full of pumpkins sits:

Finally got the dining room cleared out just last week.
Hung the light today. A fun, different look for me!

This is about as fancy as fall decorating gets around here. With the exception of Christmas, I've never been much of a seasonal decorator...just a general nester. I have a feeling God's fall decor will far exceed anythign I could ever do inside! I can't wait to see how He paints the hills with changing leaves!

One last little touch of fall at the front door.

Love these little velvet pumpkins!
{Found them at Leftovers on my way home from Round Top a few years ago.} 

Some persepctive...
so that you can see how cute and little they are!

Just inside the front door.

A real fall is really something to celebrate for this Texas-turned-Tennessee family. And no one knows how to celebrate quite like my youngest daughter. Here she is in all her glory:


I had just finished photographing the little velvet pumpkins
when she pranced down the steps in a holiday dress.

We don't call her our "sparkle and shine" for nothing!
I'll never get over those eyes.

And a little pose with the pumpkins.
All her idea. Love that girl!

On a totally different note...I'm surprised to be here blogging today. I don't think of myself as a very moody person, but if you want to know the truth, I was feeling rather moody about this whole blog thing last week...telling my husband I was done with it. Next you thing you know, I have a camera in my hands and am inspired to share! {Confused sweet husband? Me, too!}

I was suddenly feeling a little overexposed. Also feeling a need to invest my time in people here. Building new friendships takes time I don't have if all I do is hang out behind the computer...which is where I'll be most of the time from now till Christmas. {Card season has just begun!}

I crave authenticity, but sometimes it can feel like too much for the online world. So many of you crave authenticity as well, and you've been a great blessing to me, but sometimes I just feel conflicted about whether or not the online world is the right place for that...for me anyway. Sometimes I think it would be a lot easier just to share pretty pictures and not say too much. You know what I mean? Or just make a photo book for my family...something I've never done and want to do, but just haven't had the time.

We'll see where the Lord leads my heart going forward, especially with the time constraints of card season, but for today, I'm rejoicing in the first real fall I've experienced since college. Happy to be here!

Blessings and love,

9.17.2012

My Breakfast Nook + The Best Zinc Top Dining Table

I've got a great story and the best zinc top dining table source for you today. But first, a peek at the table my husband drove to Atlanta and back for in a day...just because he was eager for our family to finally sit down together in one spot!

Our family dining nook.

This great looking zinc top table was made by Steven Sheardown of SDS Designs. Not only is Steven the nicest table maker you'll ever meet, but he's super attentive to detail, which you know I love! More on what I love about his tables in a minute.

First, a little back story. Last spring, I was finishing up my beauty hunting adventures at Round Top and Marburger when I spotted a field full of zinc top tables that I hadn't seen before. Our uhaul was jam-packed {with a large purchase I can't wait to show you plus all of my neighbor's purchases}, so we had no business stopping, but my sweet husband indulged me. {He was in a great mood that day. We were talking all about our Franklin Dream...wondering if it could really happen.}

Anyway, we get out of the car to look at the tables {more out of curiosity than anything else} and this guy recognized my husband. He couldn't figure out how. Rascal Flats? Nope. Try again. Oh...the famous LLH Designs blog! HA! I'm so not famous, but for some reason, this post I wrote in 2010 was at the top of Google's search engine results for zinc top dining tables. {I think that's how some of you found my blog!}

Anyway, we got to talking about how I had brought one home on approval but couldn't get over the price tag at Mecox, not to mention some of the imperfections like sharp corners. {Made me nervous someone would cut their hand.} Steven started showing me the details of his tables...like super smooth corners and edges.


Then told me the price. SO much more affordable than any I had seen before...and so well made! You can tell he knows his stuff!

Steven and his sweet wife Nancie.

If we had room in the trailer, I would've taken one of his tables home with me that day. But with no place to put it, we traded information and stayed in touch. Long story short, when our Franklin Dream came true, I told Steven I was ready for a table.


Just noticed: love the way the wood paneling on the back of the armoire
ties in with the wood bench! Talking pictures helps me see details like this.

With a narrow breakfast nook, I needed something much narrower than the traditional American table width, so Steven made one to my exact specifications. Here's a little better perspective of the space:

Nothing but the table is new. It's a creative challenge to use what you have.
{The bench was my first Marburger purchase 11 years ago. It showed
up in a couple different places in my Houston home, but never at a table.}

The view toward the kitchen.
{Still haven't settled on which stools...though I'm thinking
the wood-topped swivel stools tie in nicely with the wooden bench.}

Two white Ikea chairs with linen slips serve as an "almost love seat"
for my husband and me. I didn't have a great experience with
the European slip company or else I'd share a link.

An outdoor pillow from Restoration Hardware.

And the apothecary candle holders. 
{World Market finds from my Houston house.}
Since we don't have an overhead light yet, candle light is essential!

Back to SDS Designs. Steven lives in Florida, but you can buy his tables directly from him at Scott's in Atlanta {north building, C1, near the back right corner} or at the bi-annual Round Top Antique Show in Texas {Chelsea Meadows field, which is near Arbor Antiques...always a great tent!}. In fact, I bet Steven and Nancie are packing up their trailer for Texas right now! They're setting up early {September 20th} and will stay until they sell out {which is usually before the show ends}. For more zinc top table info, contact Steven. Tell him I sent you, and I know he'll take good care of you!

To those of you going to Round Top, Marburger, etc., send a photo my way if you feel inspired by something you see! {Some of my photos and blog posts have been shared on the Marburger Facebook page. Honored! If you need Round Top help, I shared a map and info here.} Trying not to get too homesick thinking about all the beauty that abounds in those wide-open Texas fields! At least I've got plenty of beauty to enjoy here in Franklin!

Love and hugs,

P.S. This "New Girl" is going back to Bible study tomorrow! And having lunch with another new girl! Patting myself on the back for my bravery...and thanking God for going before me in all of this newness!

9.11.2012

The New Girl

Thank you, from the tenderest part of my heart, for your sweet response to my last post. I didn't expect a response to such an unusual post, but it sure feels good to know you get my heart.

I thought my next post would be safe and shallow: house photos! Not so fast. A few tears are falling this week, and I need to make room for them. Now before you cry a river with me, let me just tell you: I'm okay. I might even go so far as to say: this is good for me!


It's just that it's hard to be the new girl. Every. Single. Place. I. Go.

It started on Sunday. I was all out of sorts. Church shopping is WORK! I was keenly aware of my newness...and keenly aware of how everyone else seemed to know each other. And just in case I was about to forget, there was the big, huge VISITOR sign staring me in the face when we returned to the parking lot.

On Monday, I was feeling LONELY. Maybe a visitor hangover? "Lonely, but never alone" is one of my favorite sayings. It validates the feeling of loneliness {which is very real} but reminds me of the truth: that I am never alone because God promises that He is with me ALWAYS.


Today, still feeling the residual emotions from Sunday and Monday, I did something that terrified me.


I went to someone's house who I didn't know...with 60 or 70 other women I didn't know...invited by someone I didn't know...for a Bible study. Not just because I love God and want to know Him more, but because I long for community and deep friendship.


As I walked up the sidewalk to that house, it took everything in me not to turn around and drive home. I was this close to crawling back into my hermit shell. I so don't like being the new girl. {And yet my daughters have been the new girls so bravely! Oh, how I admire them!}


As I watched all these pretty, put-together women greet one another with big hugs and "so good to see you!" squeals, I thought I might cry...right there in that house full of strangers. Not only because I was new and feeling unknown and unseen, but because what in the world had I gotten myself into? Was this going to be a sorority social hour under the guise of "Bible study?"

Oh, me of little faith. God knows me better than that...knows me better than to extend an invitation through a perfect stranger for nothing! Of course He was up to something! I've been asking God to show up for me in big ways since we moved here...and He's doing it.


Here's what gave my heart enough courage to enter that house full of strangers {a description of the Bible study}:
 "Most of us believe that God sent Jesus to deliver us from our sin, but it's a lot harder to wrap our minds around the truth that God also sent His Son to earth in a suit of skin because He delights in us.  God thinks we're the bomb.  We had Him at hello! The Song of Songs is an engaging - quite racy even - true Old Testament love story that reveals God's delight in  tangible, unforgettable ways.  It teaches us how to lean into a sweeter, more intimate relationship  with our Redeemer, as well as how we can restore intimacy with Jesus after one of our inevitable prodigal or dry spiritual seasons."
And you know what will give me the courage to go back next week? The warmth of the hostess, the deep heart {and humor} of the teacher, and the authenticity of the women who were there. Yes, you read that right. Those women were REAL. They had STORIES. Deep, good stories. When will I learn not to judge a book by its cover...or a girl by her perfect highlights and skinny jeans?


God is good, y'all. He's stretching me far beyond my comfort zone through this move, but He's showing up for me left and right.


And I bet if you're asking and looking for it, God is showing up for you, too. I'd love to hear about it!

Hugs and love,
P.S. The quotes are from my Word Love pin board. {Don't you just love good words?}

9.10.2012

An Apology

Sharing your story is risky. Especially when your story is raw. And especially when you're sharing it on a blog.

The last few months have been RAW to say the least. If you've been reading along since we left Houston, you already know this. And to think there are so many things I didn't write...things that were only spoken through tears to God.

Not everything I experience belongs on the blog, but the Lord knows I'm willing to share if He can use it for good. This doesn't mean that everything I write will be good...because I'm far too human. I may start out with the best intentions {to inspire, to bless, to be real and honest, to give thanks}, but sometimes I stumble. Sometimes, I fail. I'm learning to be okay with that.

But what I'm not okay with is that I may have hurt someone else in the process...namely the people who sold us this house. I don't know if they'll ever see my blog, but whether they do or not, dishonoring them was never my intent. In those first two months, I was too raw to see past my own persepctive...though I was begging God to give me His.

The truth is, we wouldn't live in our dream location on 8 acres with a dreamy view and a dreamy little barn if it weren't for the willingness of the previous owners to sell their house to these crazy dreamers from Houston. I am THANKFUL that they even gave us a second thought.



To the family who helped our dream come true: forgive me for being so consumed with my own heart that I was insensitive to yours. I hope that somehow, in some way, God can take the stuggles I expressed and use them for good in the lives of others. That was my real desire.

At the end of the day, my greatest struggle wasn't with the fleas...or with any other aspect of this house. It was with my own heart. And you know what I love about God? He cares so much about our hearts that He's willing to use anything, even fleas, to get to the depths of our struggles. For me it's perfectionism and control. For you, it might be something else. Whatever it is, you can be sure that God is so crazy about you that He'll go to the depths to set you free.

With a humble heart,

9.07.2012

My Farmhouse Kitchen

Are you ready for a peek inside our Franklin farmhouse? You deserve it after all you've endured with me since we moved. Lots of emotions and struggles! Let's start with the kitchen...the heart of the home.


BEFORE:


DURING:


AFTER:



We've got some family indecision on which pair of barstools to use:
the metal tractor seats or the twist swivel stools?
Thoughts?

DETAILS:

Removed the plate rack to create open shelving.
I prefer a large single basin because of the huge pots and pans
my "chef" husband likes to use, but otherwise love the sink.

Using bread boards as a backsplash for now.
Ordered this bridge faucet. A good look for very little.
Would love a French-looking, antique brass one someday!

You wouldn't believe how I agonized over hardware...which finish, how much to spend,
trendy vs. classic...I could write a whole post on hardware! Finally settled on
this and this. A dark, matte finish just feels "farmhouse" to me.

I scoured the internet for islands, but I wanted something with patina...and didn't want
to pay a hefty price in case this isn't our forever kitchen. Found this tall table at a local
antique store for $350. The stools make it look a little busy, but they're practical!

My itty bitty mommy work station. {I cleaned it up for you!}
The stool is from Wisteria, one of my favorite online resources.
Great looks for very reasonable prices.

Fun little organizer for odds and ends from Urban Outfitters.
{Wow! Just looked it up and it's on major sale now!}

Not that you asked to see inside my cabinets, but I'm a big fan of cork boards
inside cabinet doors. Oh, and I love stacked file things for organizing!

And since we're peeking behind closed doors...

I'm a huge fan of baskets. Used them in my old house, even in a big pantry.
Elfa shelving for the doors. On sale at the Container Store now.

Old French honey buckets for small snacks.
Our pantry is tiny, so creative organizing is the key.

Lighting...
we started with a big fluorescent light box.
I loved my chandeliers in Houston, but I knew I wanted
something less "glam" for our farmhouse.

Loving the pendant light from Wisteria.


Here's a close up of the patina:

Love the look and the price. I'd love a pair over a big, long island someday.
{In my remodel dreams!}

We also tried this light fixture from Ballard Designs.

That thing is HEAVY! Sweet husband!
{Note the make-shift island. Makes the light look huge!}

Embroidered linens from a Provence market always find a home
somewhere on the counter of my kitchen.

And only in a farmhouse, country kitchen can you get away with this!
A one-day sale item from Decor Steals. Email me if you'd like an invite.
{I just hung it on the wall between the counter and the cabinet. Perfect!}

I hung the trumeau in a spot that allows my husband to see
his tractor from the stove. {He loves to cook...and LOVES his tractor!}

Here's the real view:


Speaking of cooking, we miss our Lacanche every single day.
An electric cooktop just doesn't compare.

The Lacanche range from my Houston home.

I've been talking with the importer about ordering a Lacanche for this house. It would look amazing in our farmhouse kitchen! {One of the things I love about Lacanche vs. La Cornue, besides the price, is that it's less glam, more country...even with the beautiful brass!} I was giddy and excited about ordering one, but unfortunately, it would require adding a vent hood that would hang down in front of the bar and obstruct our view, and would also mean reconfiguring some cabinetry and a loss of storage. But we do need a new oven {and would love a new cooktop}, so I keep dreaming. Maybe when/if we remodel? 

Our family dining nook:

My sweet husband drove all the way to Atlanta and back yesterday to pick up
our new table. I can't wait to get it in the house and tell you all about it!
{You know I'm loving the orange floors. Wink!}

PAINT COLORS:

Cabinets are Fieldstone in half formula.
{Advance Satin paint from Benjamin Moore.}

Walls are Chesapeake Gray from Porter Paints.
{Loving this color! Eggshell finish.}

Ceiling is Wickham Gray in half formula.
{Flat finish from Benjamin Moore.}

Whew! That took forever...the cleaning, organizing, decorating, photographing and posting! Do you have any energy or attention left for words? For those that do...here are my thoughts:

Is my kitchen perfect? No, but I'm content! {I left perfection in Houston, remember?!?!} Of course a Lacanche is still on my dream list, as are new floors and new counter tops {thinking soapstone right now}. And when my sister was here, she sketched an awesome vision of ways to open up our kitchen so that we can take advantage of glorious views on both sides...and have a big, long island in the center. Fun! But for now, I'm a happy girl.

When we first saw this house, I knew I loved the location and adored the charm of the exterior, but I kept lamenting the loss of my dream kitchen. To say I adored my Houston kitchen is almost an understatement. I loved every single detail, but did you know I had absolutely nothing to do with the design? I moved into perfection. All I did was decorate and keep it clean...meticulously, ridiculously clean.

Our Franklin farmhouse experience has been the polar opposite. The only perfection we inherited here is that which God designed: the view. And that, my friends, is why we bought this house! The view is spectacular...even on a foggy morning!

As much as I struggled with all that needed cleaning, repairing and replacing in the beginning, here is where I am today: enjoying the process of loving on this home and bringing out its beauty. This house was meant to shine!

{A little inspiration for my girls as they eat breakfast at the bar.}

And one thing I love to do is make things SHINE! God has given me an eye for beauty, and I'm thrilled to be able to use that gift here in our farmhouse. As my husband says, we're bringing out the hidden glory in this house...one day at a time!

Happy Friday to you, sweet friends!
 
P.S. A huge thank you to Jorge, owner of Parra's Painting, for prepping and painting the entire house in record time! And to my sweet designer friends, Holly and Jenny, thanks for responding to all of my photos and emails along the way. I know I need to trust my gut, but your taste is just so dang good that I can't help but ask for a second opinion! And to my mom and sister, thank you for enduring my paint paralysis. Don't you love how I tweak the paint formulas just a hair and ask if you can tell the difference? Love you!
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