Hi and happy new year! As of this past Monday it will be my ninth year blogging… Hard to believe it’s been that long. The connection with you all is the best part, and that I now look at things differently – in a good way. I study things more closely, fully appreciate beauty in all its forms, and perhaps have become more comfortable as a writer too. My grammar, sadly, has not improved at all – lol. Anyway, thank you for reading and for the love and support all of these years. I’m humbled and touched beyond words.
A few years ago, I claimed an otherwise unusable space in my house as my office. Unusable because it’s narrow and long and has doors on both facing walls, making the configuring of furniture very difficult This turned out to be one heck of a happy accident (and I will tell you why in just a minute). What I discovered about work spaces and desk orientation has changed my thinking about how impactful furniture placement can be. Lest you think I’m about to go all feng shui on you, fret not! I know zero about it, although I do believe there is definitely something to it.
Having worked from home for most of my adult life, I have at times had to carve space out of some of the most obscure places including a windowless, cinder block walled room in the unfinished basement in our first Seattle house, I’ve tried all kinds of configurations.So, here’s my big life-changing serendipitous take-away… Putting your desk in the center of a room, instead of against a wall will make you more productive! Yep, it will. I know this is not always an option, I merely want to plant the seed of inspiration…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since completing our house remodel five years ago, I’ve received numerous inquiries regarding the specific details, manufacturers, colors and brands we used, so I created a series of posts that highlight each part of the house and include the information that you might be interested in. If I’ve left anything out, please feel free to inquire in the comments section below and I will reply there.
To start, I thought it would make sense to take a look at the exterior of the house before:
The biggest flow issue we faced, was the lack of a front door or even any sort of a clear entry to the house. That’s a problem! The glass doors in the center of the house (black square above) opened to a brick floored, 6′ x 6′ interior ‘courtyard’. There were two exterior doors – one on each side wall leading to different parts of the house. This was an issue because visitors would never in a million years know this. They would twirl around in the driveway looking around as if the entrance would eventually reveal itself. So, the kitchen door (where the stairs lead above) by default, became the main entry to the house.
Another big issue – there wasn’t a garage only a one car carport. Notice the driveway on the right. Whether or not to give up that extra parking and turnaround space was a big decision. In the end, we were able to take space from the basement to make a 2-car garage and the new driveway allowed for several cars, so we were able to add fruit trees, landscaping and a stone pathway.
You are probably saying to yourself right about now, ‘What on earth was she thinking buying that ugly thing?’ To be totally honest, it was love at first sight. To me, the house had the right bones – big rooms, not much wasted space, great natural light, but mostly it was because it just felt happy, like it had good ghosts.
So, to make things easier for you, I created a cheat sheet at the bottom of this post with all the specifications, links and details about each item for which I receive the most inquiries.
Recent updates to my house and missing David Bowie.
Hi sweet people. I wrote this post about a month ago, right before I thought I lost all of my photos and was having computer issues. Other than omitting the part about the bad weather we were experiencing at the time, and where I riffied on about how I've made yoga and meditation a lifestyle rather than a part-time hobby, I didn't change anything…
The passing of David Bowie this week hit me hard. His music was the soundtrack to my youth as I'm sure the same is true for many. I was with my Dad when he got the news that John Lennon had been shot. He sat down, covered his eyes with his hand and began to sob. At the time, I felt so awkward. An Ivy League graduate, college football linebacker and Korean War Veteran crying over the death of a musician… I get it now.
To the Thin White Duke…thank you.
Speaking of changes, I've been making some around the house lately. What do you think?
I went back and forth – modern or traditional for the dining room light fixture. As you can see, I finally decided on a traditional chandelier. The chairs and table are all modern, so to balance them out I decided a chandelier would be perfect. A mix of both old and new is what I strive for. I love how sparkly it is at night too.
I bought this early American table at an estate sale a few years ago thinking I would sell it. I don't know why I fell so hard for it, but I absolutely love it and cannot part with it. It bounced around the house in different spots, usually to fill a temporary hole, but I think it found a permanent place under this Hiro Yokose painting.
I wanted a table for next to this acrylic chair from the 70's that I found on Ebay (for $100!) but it had to be simple yet substantial. I opted for a petrified wood stump from here.
See that french daybed in the back? I've had that piece for awhile and am not sure what to do with it. I moved it to the above location around Christmastime when I needed to make room for the tree. I'd like to remake the mattress more like this and make big fat bolsters in a contrasting color like dark + light gray or brown + natural linen. I'm still deciding…. We'll see.
So now there's this big open space at the top of the entryway stairs and between the living and dining rooms where the daybed was… A round table would work, but it's not that practical and I don't want a formal feel. So, I'm thinking of a small 'conversational cluster'. I'm considering moving the coffee table from the living room (above) and adding 4 modern chairs. Ideas?
A contemporary refresh of a living and dining room in a rental house that will transition to a permanent home down the road.
Happy Holidays…. I hope this time of year brings you joy, rest and relaxation, laughter and above all, lots and lots of love.
I've wanted to post this project for some time… Super cute young family in a rental home wanted a completely new look that included timeless pieces they could take with them to a future home (whatever the style may be) yet with a feel that reflected the present.
The sofa and coffee table were the only pieces that stayed. The little side table is blue lacquered grasscloth.
The color scheme of navy blue and white is evident in this geometric wool rug.
The new dining room chairs are covered in Perennials stain resistant fabrics. The painting that hung previously was replaced with four mirrors which fill the space better, adds more light and make the room feel a little bigger.
This bar piece is really fun. It separates the spaces and also provides much needed storage for glassware and table linens.
The table top is weathered black and the trestle base is white.
Thanks for taking a tour with me! I hope you enjoyed it!
My wine country Inn project revealed and a special offer to readers.
For awhile now I’ve been working on a hotel project in Healdsburg; a quaint small town in the heart of Northern California’s wine country. It’s been a fairly slow moving process as the owners have several properties – other inns, wineries, etc. that all need attention at the same time. That being said, I go at their pace and tremendously enjoy watching the progress made even in baby steps. I have wanted to get you acquainted for some time. So, at long last, here is a place that is near and dear to me: The Grape Leaf Inn.
The first item on the renovation list was painting the exterior.
The next area we focused on was public spaces. We reconfigured the furnishings in these rooms to create a new reception area and dining room(s).
I had a custom table made for communal dining. The adjacent dining room also has custom tables of two. The tables are all the same length so if there is a large event, the tables could be lined up to create one long table for 28 guests.
The modern variation of a windsor chair blends the traditional architecture and old fashioned charm of the original inn with a clean and current feel. They are from here.
The next phase included two brand new suites. A completely blank canvas which served as our design springboard for the rest of the 10 suites. The nightstand on the right side of the bed arrived broken. A new, matching one has since arrived.
An outdoor shower in this suite… 🙂
A private courtyard too.
There were additional tweaks made to each room after these photos were taken, as more accessories arrived, etc.
I will continue to show photos periodically of the progress. In the meantime, Grape Leaf Inn has generously offered FarmHouseUrban readers a special rate of 25% off! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-395-0929 and mention “FarmHouseUrban special rate” and you will get your discount!
The inn is located about two blocks from the center square in downtown Healdsburg. The surrounding area is breathtakingly beautiful wine country!
For more information about Grape Leaf Inn, click here.
Hi, and welcome! I’m so glad you landed here and I hope you find this to be a place you visit often.
I started this blog in 2008 as a way to chronicle the remodeling of our nondescript Northern California house into our dream home. While that did happen, so did a lot of other things - life and all the messy, glorious, complicated, wonderful things that go with it. As such, in early 2017 I decided to change the focus from the house itself to the life that happens inside.
My wish is that this blog provides beautiful inspiration, creative ideas, connections to other like-minded folks, as well as stylish products for your home, to wear and to give.