Monday, January 21, 2013

Well Hello: Entry Chest in Provence

One of the things that made me instantly know that my house was the one was all of the custom built-in’s…really they had me at laundry chute.

You also may recall from my one of my very first posts (or you can check out the before & after here) the wonderful built-in that is in my livingroom:

Livingroom Built-in

Well, in my front entry is a built-in chest that is not only functional (perfect for boot removal in the winter) but also has great lines.  Of course I didn't realize until looking through my house photos I really didn't have a good before shot so hopefully you all can get the basic gist from the not so great pics below.

The Before

When I moved in it wasn’t so cute though…stained in a 1970’s dark walnut color it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  That coupled with the peanut butter colored walls can you say brown overload?

Up Close before - yes it really was this sad.  Plus it had a huge water mark on the top from a plant I might
possibly have over watered :)

I thought it was really a great place to add a pop of color and bring some life to the entry.  As usual I have spent far too many hours contemplating what would be the absolute perfect color…red, hot pink, green, yellow…they all could be fabulous in just the right shade.

Primed & ready to add some color - I primed before I decided to go with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

So, a quick painting of the walls the same beige as the exterior, the wainscoting & trim a glossy beautiful white certainly helped but the chest was still a bit sad.
After so much contemplation I finally just decided that I needed to plunge in and try something.  It’s just paint right so I can always change it with another coat - so I went with a light green/yellowish color that ended up being for sure what I wasn't was looking for (proven by the fact that I totally forgot to photograph it).  

How's this for an inspiration piece - I loved this chest in a "discount" furniture outlet - $600!!  Still love it.

So while out looking for something I'm sure I didn't need one day I found the piece above at a beautiful furniture outlet.  This was one of those specialty decor places where everything is pretty pricey but I love to go to for inspiration.  I loved the blue Provence Annie Sloan chalk paint I used on my bedside table (you can check my table out here) so why not?

The After...I'm loving the just have to do something with that not so
cute carpet.

Another angle....the doorway leads into my livingroom

Turns out I didn’t need to spend all of that energy over thinking this project...I had the color all along (go figure).  I thought about doing a fancy paint treatment but it turns out I love the blue  just as it is – just the right pop of color for my little bungalow.  

What do you think – should I have gone with the hot pink?

Linking to:  Between Naps on the Porch, The Dedicated House, The Charm of Home, Jennifer Rizzo, Coastal Charm, Beyond the Picket Fence, Saavy Southern Style

Friday, January 18, 2013

Presidential Sites Part 2: A Day with LBJ

Last spring I was lucky enough to spend some time in Austin TX…vacation time not work travel time so it was even luckier than normal J.  I shared some of my visit here
What I didn’t share yet was the real reason I wanted to go to Austin other than that I had heard it was a phenomenal city (which I have to agree it is) was that I had been wanting to go to the Lyndon Johnson library.  After my day at the Reagan Library (and a visit to the Carter Library many years ago when I lived in Atlanta) I was really anxious to spend some time learning about a “before my time” (sort of) president.

Lyndon Baines & Ladybird Johnson with Yuki (the dog)
photo source

So, my first day in Austin I headed over to the University of Texas with hopes of a day filled with  fascinating facts and artifacts.  

The Johnson's White House china - they had 216 place settings!
It was designed by Tiffany and mfg’d by Castleton (in the USA). 
The design includes wildflower representing every state.

Well…in the vein of things often not turning out the way I expect, the LBJ library was mostly closed undergoing a renovation…BOO!  There were a few exhibits open so I did go through those but it was a very quick tour….

Lady Bird Johnson's White House office - don't you just love the color?  So dated yet so super cool!

LBJ's Oval Office
The other side of the Johnson Oval Office.  How cool is that James Bond like telephone drawer in the table?  And
a portrait of FDR over the fire apropos 

Unlike the Reagan Library the LBJ Library is on the University of Texas campus in the middle of the city so not so picturesque.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum on the University of Texas Austin campus

The information desk was kind enough to share that the Texas White House aka LBJ’s Ranch was just a short driving distance though so off I headed.  Short distance being relative and we’re talking Texas here, it was a bit farther than expected (well over an hour) but definitely worth the drive. 

Lyndon Baines Johnson's Ranch aka the Texas White House
100 Ladybird Ln  Johnson City, TX 78636
photo source 
The Ranch at night - I just thought this was really such a beautiful picture so I had to share
photo source

Not only did I get to check out his boyhood home and the Ranch where he spent his adulthood but I also saw a bit of the Texas Hill Country…quite a sight for a native New Englander!
Much of the original decor is in place and it’s so easy to just imagine the family residing here.  The tour is a guided tour and we had a wonderful guide who was just full of true life stories of both President Johnson and Ladybird.

The living/family room - I'm pretty sure those green chairs look just like the one I had reupholstered for my bedroom that
I had bought for $25 at an estate sale a while back.  You can see my updated chair here
photo source
The Johnson's dining room...very understated for a President don't you think.  How cool is that telephone
mounted on the edge of the table.  The tour guide said Ladybird was mortified LBJ insisted on using that office
chair at the table but she couldn't get him to use a regular dining chair.
photo source

I think one of my favorite things was their closets.  Being a bit of a clothes horse and having an absolute love of vintage clothes it was so cool to see the clothes still hanging and to know that they were worn by the leader of the free world less than 50 years ago. 

Lady Bird's closet...I can only just imagine what they took out
photo source

I got a kick out of the kitchen and how similar it is to what I consider my very outdated kitchen…same cabinets, same old school counter tops (except mine are beige not sunny yellow).  I’m sure it was highest of decor design in LBJ’s day…not so much now…

The Johnson Kitchen...I do have to say I'm drooling a little over that range
photo source
LBJ's Texas cute is that dog picture?
photo source
The other side of LBJ's Texas Christmas...quite understated holiday decorations but definitely pretty
photo source

I will have to go back when the library is open for the real experience but it turned out great that instead I toured the Texas White House especially appreciated since I likely wouldn't have made the drive had the library been open.

Linking on:  Between Naps on the Porch, Savvy Southern Style, Mod Vintage Life, Coastal Charm, Jennifer Rizzo, The Dedicated House, Sunny Simple Life

Monday, January 14, 2013

Red Transferware = Love

Last weekend I headed off to Maine to see some of my very favorite folks and spend the day syphoning  inspiration from one of my most creative pals Kate from Scissors, Spatula’s & Sneakers.  I had started a “scrapbook” to chronicle some of the fun moments of my 2012 travel.  Now, I am not at all a scrapper but all the pretty papers and adornments really call to me.  My pal is a huge scrapper and really does amazing things so I decided her house would be a great place to try to figure out how to put together the free form pages I had started.  I really just cut 6” x 8” pages and decided to stick some of my favorite photos that representing each trip…nothing complicated just a fun memory book.

So we had a wonderful afternoon catching up & gluing things on!

On my way home as I often do I took the “road less travelled” (aka Route 1) and headed south to see what new amusement I could find along the way.

Columbary House
1286 US Route 1, Cape Neddick ME

Well, in Cape Neddick Maine my car just happened to pull into a parking lot for Columbary House Antiques.  Now, I have passed by this place I can’t even tell you how many times and have never noticed it.  I have no idea why I not only noticed it but decided to stop on Sunday, it was literally a last minute decision to take the turn (luckily there was no one behind me on the road) but let me tell you I am so glad I did!

How great is this to re-purpose old windows?  I'm thinking this would be so great
on the built-in's in my bathroom.
Red transfer ware is in my heart but wow I love this display of blue

As I mentioned in my Plan B Rowley post from last spring (see it here) I am always on the lookout for Colonial Burslem Woods Red transfer ware.  This was my great-grandmother’s everyday china pattern.  I grew up eating many, many yummy meals on it and still all these years later love it.  She made the absolute best homemade donuts…and let me tell you fresh fried homemade donuts is the absolute best scent to wake up to!  My brother could polish off a dozen in one sitting when we were kids.

Some of my red transfer ware pieces

Anyway back to Columbary House, there are 2 buildings – the front and more serious antiques house and the back building that has wonderful vintage items of all sorts.  It was in the back building that I made my real score.

And these babies were just waiting for me to find them on the bottom shelf below the wrap desk...luckily eagle eye
spotted them right away

So excited!  It’s not often I see my pattern and even less frequent I see it priced affordably!

There are 2 styles of Burslem Woods Colonial pattern one that is a lighter weight china and one that is more of a hotel/restaurant china heavy weight.

Most of my collection is the lighter weight...notice the serving bowl's the heavy weight :-(

Early on when buying I made a mistake in not paying attention and picking up the heavier weight when I really prefer the lighter weight.  So, now that I’m paying attention it seems the lighter weight is so much harder to find and particularly hard to find without chips or crazing!

While both of these pieces are Woods Burslem they are not both Colonial pattern,...that's ok I'm good with a
little mixing and matching until I find a Colonial sugar bowl
Needless to say, this was a perfect start to my 2013..I’m hoping it’s a sign that this is going to be a wonderful year with unexpected beautiful things where I least expect them

Linking back with Mod Mix Monday, Savvy Southern Style, The Charm of Home, Jennifer Rizzo, Between Naps on the Porch

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Presidential Side Trips

I have shared quite a bit of the fun places that I find in my travels but as I look back at my 2012 travel posts I find that I have been remiss in what I have not shared of my site seeing.

I confess, I am a bit of a presidential history buff…not so much wars and politics (although both are fascinating) I am more pulled in by the men themselves and the lives they lived.  The architecture & furnishings of these landmarks are so interesting and sometimes even inspirational.  So, often if I am in a city where there is a presidential historic site I will try to take some time and take a visit.

It all started a long time ago probably when I was living in near Hyde Park New York (home of FDR) and couple of years ago I decided to couple my interest with my business trips so I would actually see some of where I was travelling.

When I was in Long Beach CA for business in 2010 I knew the Reagan Library was nearby so thought it would be a great idea to stay a couple of extra days and see a bit of the west coast which included the Reagan Library.

President Reagan walking down the halls of the
White House...and me waiting for him to
catch up
President Reagan's Oval Office Desk

I ended up spending the better part of a day meandering and being reminded of some of the major historical events of our generation.  It was a wonderful day and the mountainous landscape surrounding the library made for a very peaceful serene afternoon.

View looking out from President Reagan's Library
In 2012 my sites included:

A March visit to President Lyndon Johnson’s library in Austin:

LBJ's Oval Office reconstructed

A side trip to President Johnson's ranch/Texas Whitehouse in Fredericksburg TX:

LBJ's Texas White House
photo source
An April visit to the Texas Book Depository at Dealey Plaza in Dallas:

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

A July visit to Wheatland the home of President James Buchanan our only bachelor president:

Wheatland - James Buchanan's Study where he wrote his post-Presidential memoirs

And finally a visit to President Abraham Lincoln’s summer White House in Washington DC:

Wow, President Lincoln was a tall sized statue & larger than life
sized me (ha).
I also visited President Andrew Jackson's home The Hermitage in Nashville last year (I shared this visit here):

Andrew Jackson's The Hermitage

In the next few weeks I’ll write a more detailed post for each of these visits because there is so much more to share than I can put in one summary but I did want to share some of my non-shopping travel adventures.