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 🙂
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:
White Stucco Exterior
4. Large Scale Metal Divided Light Windows
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,
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.
ps – ski trip photos will be on Instagram!
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.
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.
What a nice place to read or take a nap.
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.
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.
Stacks of blankets and pillows are decor by themselves.
The cabin essentials kit:
Faux fur blankets – can’t have enough of these lying around. From here.
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.
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.
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.
With the other two chairs I tried something a little different, but in my opinion, just as beautiful.
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.
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,
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
In case you’ve been inspired to create your own little hygge, here are some ideas to get you jumpstarted..
A selection of interior spaces that illustrate composition in design.
Hi loves. I hope Thanksgiving was wonderful for those of you who celebrated. Ours was cozy and joyful. Luke was home, which always makes the household feel even more festive. There certainly is a lot for which to be grateful.
I tested a few new versions of the usual favorites with positive reviews. Instead of the tried and true apple pie with a top crust, I made a deep dish version with a crumb/streusel topping. The pie is baked in a spring form pan, so the crust-to-apples ratio is perfect. The recipe (below) I used is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (so great!). Her blog with many more apple dessert recipes is here.
My second twist on the traditional was with the pumpkin pie – daring – I know! I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for pumpkin cream pie with a gingersnap crust which I found in a old edition of her magazine. Essentially, the pumpkin part is creamy delicious pumpkin pudding with a mound of whipped cream on top. The smooth light flavor in contrast to the spicy crunchy cookie crust was sooo good!
Deep Dish Apple Pie
Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and diced
1/2 cup ice cold water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the diced butter and pulse just until you have pea-sized pieces of dough. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Drizzle the water over the dry mixture and work it together with your hands. Knead briefly then form into a large disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.
1 recipe of above pie crust
4 lbs apples, 1/2 green apples and 1/2 Fuji apples
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoon butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream
1. Prepare crust: coat a 9-inch springform pan with oil. On a floured surface, roll out chilled pie crust into a 16-inch round – 1/4 inch thick. Place the dish into the fridge while you prepare the apples.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core and chop apples into 1/4″ slices. Place them all into a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and then mix into apples.
3. Spoon apples into prepared crust and spread them as flat and evenly as possible. Bake pie for 30 minutes (if the tips of the apples begin to brown and burn, cover the top with foil).
4. While pie is baking, make the streusel topping. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour, oats and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and mix to combine. Stick in freezer until pie has baked for 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 325 and then spoon the streusel onto the top of the pie – pressing gently into apples. Return to the oven and bake for an additional hour. Cover with foil if the streusel begins to brown too quickly.
6. When the pie has finished baking, remove it from the oven and let cool to lukewarm. Run a knife around the crust to loosen the edges from the pan. Carefully loosen the clamp on the springform and slide it over the top and off the pie.
Lately I have been paying attention to what makes a space ‘just work’ and what doesn’t. Have you ever been drawn to a room or vignette and even if it is not your personal aesthetic, it feels like it has a certain satisfying affect? Me too! I think this is what is meant by composition – when texture, color, pattern and materials are in perfect equilibrium. Here are a few examples that I think are perfectly executed:
The space we call home is a reflection of who we are. Each of us deserves to live in an environment that nurtures and provides comfort and peace. Creating a home and a life you love starts with surrounding yourself with things and people that make you happy. It’s not about fancy things or being perfect, it’s about appreciating the beauty that is accessible to us all. This blog is my journal for celebrating the all the beautiful things that inspire me. I hope you will visit often and will be inspired too!