True North:  Seattle Style

True North: Seattle Style

Hello sweet people. I just got back. As always it was a wonderful trip. Mostly a girlfriend lovefest, as I have friendships there that span 15 to 35 years. When I moved to California 10 years ago, I left Seattle without hesitation. Didn’t look back…. except for one thing – those gals. Over the course of the week+, we spent time both one on one and sometimes in groups – memories of our young mommy years made us laugh at the things we took sooo seriously way back when, or reflected for a moment to express sadness or gratitude for the curveballs of life that have affected us all. It’s both a comfort and blessing to have these ladies by my side and me to there’s. That’s my biggest takeaway from the trip – to cherish the special people in your life. 

It’s a one foot in front of the other kind of week. Hope yours is great wherever you are…

xo

s

Despite gracious offers to stay with friends, I always rent a short term vacation place when I’m in Seattle. The alone time, ability to keep my own hours, eat what and when I want, etc is how I recharge. In all the years of spending a chunk of the summer there, I’ve only had one semi-negative experience and that was due to the neighbors below keeping nocturnal hours. Being an incredibly light sleeper, I made a note to self – never to stay in a duplex or similar situation. Ideally, a small cottage close to or in my former neighborhood is where I’m happiest. As long as it’s clean, I really don’t have any other requirements. Well, this year the bar has been raised. Behold.

Ironed sheets – really? Dark chocolate, cheese & crackers, coffee and half and half waiting for me – seriously? I was in total heaven,

Moving on to my favorite dish ALL-STAR… There are favorite dishes and there are Shut The Front Door and put the Do Not Disturb sign out favorites. This is the case with what I’m about to share with you. Welcome to Ba Bar.I discovered this gem a couple of summers ago when the place we rented was around the corner. It’s open for breakfast – think Vietnamese coffee and an almond croissant (it’s Vietnamese thus the French influenced breakfast offerings). We ended up eating there just about every day. Since it’s open until 4AM, it’s great for those Dinner #2 situations or when you are out late and starving and want a great sit-down meal. There are two locations and a third coming soon, but I highly recommend you only go to the Capital Hill one.

Best dish at Ba Bar Seattle

I grew up on Queen Anne Hill, home to many movie and TV show filmings, but also home to one – if not THE – most famous and photographed outlooks in Seattle. I used to ride my bike there with my dog running along many a day growing up. Whole lotta memories came flooding back… whoa. Anyway, on a whim I decided to go back on the night of the full moon. If you’re in Seattle and into views 🙂 check out Kerry Park.

Full moon view from Kerry Park, Seattle

The last place I want to share with you is a newly opened lunch and dinner restaurant and the spot of an absolutely decadent afternoon spent with a girlfriend. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover – or rather – a restaurant by it’s interiors, but I do!!! This place had me at hello. I highly recommend Harry’s Fine Foods.

Harry''s Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

This cake was so delicious. I ate most of it we shared it.

*On an administrative note* if you were a subscriber to FarmHouseUrban and no longer receive posts conveniently delivered to your inbox – I’m so sorry! All previous subscribers were lost when we changed blog platforms and seem to be unretrievable. I sincerely hope you will resubscribe! For those new to the blog, thank you! If you like what you see (and if you made it down here, that’s a good sign :)), I would love you to subscribe so you can receive posts as soon as they are published. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Attic Spaces

Attic Spaces

Hi to you from Seattle. It’s the month of my annual summer road trip get-away. Every year, same time, same place and – hopefully I can say this without jinxing myself – the weather is always gorgeous. Seattle is my childhood home town I suppose you could say. Where I spent my ‘formative’ years from ages 9-17.  Where’d that expression come from – the formative years? I did most of my forming in the last five! Anyway, Seattle sure has changed. Software, technology and Amazon have radically altered the socio-economic landscape. There is a new wide-spread prosperity as well as all the trappings that go along with, that was not as prevalent when I was growing up. Seattle used to be a funky, pedestrian, sort of bohemian but also sort of Nordic city. Now it’s hard to put my finger on what Seattle is – what the real personality of this town is. It seems to be more focused on what it is not…

In the next post, I’ll share photos and places that might be of interest to you should you find yourself in the Puget Sound area. In the meantime, feel free to visit me on Insta. 

Sending you lots of love wherever you are,

S

What is it about attics that is so captivating? In books and movies, attics are always the location of something dramatic, romantic and ethereal. There’s a dreamy mysteriousness about them. Perhaps because they hold memories, spirits and often a lifetime of treasures. If there’s any truth to the notion that spaces take on the souls of their inhabitants (and I do believe they do), then attics are the heart center. I’ve never lived in a house with a real attic so naturally, that makes them even more intriguing. I once stayed in a a cabin with an attic that had been turned into a sleeping loft for the owners granddaughters. How my younger self would have loved sleeping there…

Attic from Hood River trip

I’ve been pinning images ever since. Here are some I’d like to share with you.

Attic with wallpaper and twin beds

attic bedroom

attic bedroom painted white

gorgeous attic bedroom

bohemian attic space

shabby chic attic bedroom

big attic sleeping room for a family

attic bedroom

 

 

 

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A New Architectural Crush: Spanish Revival

A New Architectural Crush: Spanish Revival

Hi sweet reader, I hope you’ve had a wonderful couple of weeks. My biggest news: I had the house all to myself while Lily and her Dad went to the Bahamas for her Spring Break. It was rainy and cold here in California, which turned out to be the perfect climate to deep dive down some creative rabbit holes. I can count the times on one hand that I’ve been alone in my house for 24 hours or more since becoming a mother. As much as I cherish that role, I also really loved the time to myself. Initially, there was a inner battle – productivity vs hedonism. Ultimately, I found the sweet spot with a little of both 🙂 

Happy Weekend!

xo

s

Over the past several years, I’ve developed a fondness for Spanish style architecture. What I realized as I was collecting images for this post, is that this style has many names – Mediterranean, Hacienda, Italian and probably more, But to be technical, what I’m referring to is called Spanish Revival and has a historical significance as to how and why it became popular in the US, There are also many adaptations to this style of architecture. Around here, I’ve noticed new homes being built with roots in the Spanish Revival style, but often are enormous, watered down versions and lose the charm that the smaller scale homes have. Here are the most distinctive features and what I love about this architectural style:

  1. White Stucco Exterior

Spanish Revival - Modern Exterior

Spanish Revival - Modern Gate and Entry Garden

Spanish Revival Architecture - Exterior and Landscaping

Spanish Revival Architecture - Door and Entry

2. Arches

Spanish Revival Architecture - arches and beams

Spanish Revival Architecture - Arches and Metal windows

3. Beams

Modern Spanish Revival

Spanish Revival Elements - beams, metal windows, plaster walls

Spanish Revival Architecture

4. Large Scale Metal Divided Light Windows

5. Courtyards

Modern Spanish Revival - outdoor living spaces

As you can see repeated in many of the above photos, other key features include tile roof, iron work in railings, lighting and furniture, big fireplaces,

 

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Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever

Maybe it’s because Lily and I are headed out-of-town for a week of skiing in a few days (I can’t wait!!!), but all I can think about are cabins. Truth be told, I started fantasizing about them this past summer – lake cabins in particular – and the ever-so-slight departure I noticed away from the farmhouse/barn design trend of the past 5+ years. I still firmly believe in the permanence of this style and love it (obviously) but if I were to spot an aesthetic trend in interior design emerging, I would say that ‘cabin chic’ might be next. Just a prediction 🙂

On an administrative note: There are still a few tweaks, additions and modifications to the site in progress, I’m working diligently on fixing them with the help of Luke over the phone from college when he’s available, Our highly skilled and efficient tech department is on it! and you will see improvements made in the days to come. Thank you for your patience.

xo

serena

ps – ski trip photos will be on Instagram!

log cabin

Barn doors covering double doors on a rustic home

Notice the double sets of doors. I have been seeing this done quite a bit lately and think it’s just brilliant. It allows for privacy and weather protection when you want, light and openness when you prefer that.

Wood beams and stone wall in kitchen

I would love to know more about that counter piece on the left… It looks like it’s a vintage piece of furniture and melds beautifully with the other elements in the room. Sometimes clients are apprehensive about mixing woods. This is a great example of how well it works and is actually better than having all the wood match exactly. It looks like there are five wood components to this space and they’re all different.

Rustic style reading nook in a cabin

What a nice place to read or take a nap.

Gallery wall covering painted shiplap

I really like the gallery wall but what caught my eye is the painted shiplap. Typically we see it in white, and in cabins wood-paneled walls are often kept natural, but painting one in a rich gray to create a focal wall I think compliments all the other wood details in the space beautifully.

Ralph Lauren U-shaped sofa

I want to be right here! Doesn’t this room draw you in? Especially in a vacation/second home environment where family members and friends are likely to gather, a comfortable seating arrangement to pile into is so inviting.

Monochrome blankets and pillows displayed in antique cabinet

Stacks of blankets and pillows are decor by themselves.

Rustic elegance in a master bedroom

All wood cabin bedroom

Modern cabin style kids bunk room

Ralph Lauren furniture on cabin porch

The cabin essentials kit:

Faux fur blankets – can’t have enough of these lying around. From here.

Beautiful art from here.

Black painted corner cabinet from here.

Coffee table from here.

Delicious wool blankets are from here.

Both log-style bunk beds are from here.

Windsor chairs look great next to a fireplace even in a modern setting. They are classic and iconic. This one is from here.

For more cabin style inspiration, click here.

 

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The Tale of Four Chairs: the transformation from old to new

The Tale of Four Chairs: the transformation from old to new

Hi to you. I am writing from the airplane on my way back home from Washington, DC. It was a last minute trip to help take care of my sweet 94 year-old grandmother. Every time I visit, I am struck with such nostalgia… Mostly the memories are from the year I spent living with them right after college and starting my first ‘real’ job. Coming home each night to my cute grandparents, a home cooked meal and the pink and green bedroom my grandmother had wallpapered for me prior to my arrival, was the icing on the cake for my not-so-worldly twenty-one year-old self. Spending these recent few days with her knowing they may be our last, was so special. 

xo 

s

ps -will this rain ever stop?

Several years ago, on one of my pursuits for cast away vintage treasures which often nets zero results, I hit the mother lode. I found four chairs that at first glance looked rather sad and lacking potential. Thankfully I went back, took another look and saw past the chipped orange shellac finish and ugly roses. The wheels began to turn.  Below is a photo from that day.

Vintage Chair - 'Before'

Needless to say, I bought the four chairs. The first step was to remove the finish. I had no idea what the wood underneath would reveal, but if it was good, the plan as to what to do next would start to unfold. The photo below was after the first stripping.

The ugly roses had to go, Another few rounds of sanding revealed the most beautiful natural wood. Despite the strong opinion of the wood refinisher, I opted to not put any finish or paint on them.

The next step was the upholstery. We created a stripe by using charcoal gray and natural linen on the front, and all charcoal on the back. The visual of them facing each other and seeing the back of one and front of another looks really nice.

At the time, I was about to open my first pop-up shop, so I put them in the window. They sold the first day.

Vintage chair recovered in natural and charcoal Belgian Linen.

With the other two chairs I tried something a little different, but in my opinion, just as beautiful.

Vintage chair recovered with tufted back in French teal fabric

I have not had the opportunity to show these beauties off in the last few pop-up shops because they were in the back of my storage unit. I just went through it and am sorting out gems to put on the shop website and what to pass along. When I saw these chairs once again, I was struck with how truly spectacular they are. Please email me directly to inquire.

Next post is all about Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

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A New Year, A New Look and A New Favorite Word

A New Year, A New Look and A New Favorite Word


Hello sweet readers and Happy New Year to each and every one of you!  I’m back at long last. The reason for the extended hiatus is that I wanted to wait until the new site was fully functioning and ready for you. That day has finally arrived, so I’m thrilled to introduce the new and improved FarmHouseUrban!

Besides switching platforms from Typepad to WordPress, there were several changes made to the site both aesthetically and structurally. The most notable — larger images, pin buttons on each photo, new navigation tabs that make it easier (and hopefully more fun) to find exactly what you are interested in and inspired by and social media buttons all over the place so we can stay connected. I sincerely hope you like it and welcome your feedback.

On an administrative note* if you are a subscriber and are not receiving your posts anymore, I suggest that you re-subscribe. The switching over of subscribers is not as straightforward as one would hope, and as such, I suspect that some feeds might get lost in the transfer process. The subscribe box is located above under the “Connect” tab and also at the bottom of the page.

Many thanks and much love,

xo

serena

I’ve been noticing the Danish word Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) cropping up everywhere lately and was intrigued to learn more. Afterall, the Danes are considered the happiest people on earth and in such a cold climate too, so I wanted to know how they kept their spirits up during the dark, chilly days of winter. While there is no exact English translation, the closest (and my favorites) are:

Coziness of the soul

The art of creating intimacy

Taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things

Cozy togetherness

In case you’ve been inspired to create your own little hygge, here are some ideas to get you jumpstarted..

Faux Sheepskin Rugs

Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake. Recipe here.

I can’t stop thinking about these hand knit socks… the way the flowers wrap around. So cute!

Get them here.

100% pure beeswax – the best. 

Chunky Blanket

No matter where we are in the world, we can all use a little hygge. I think anyway 🙂

If you want to read more about Hygge, here are some recent articles:  NY Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Washington Post

 

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