Dear sweet reader. It has been a devastating week here in Northern California. We have lost much of our beautiful, bountiful wine country to a wildfire that appeared virtually overnight and has already become the worst fire in California history. I don’t think the national news depicts even remotely the enormity of what we have lost and the fires are still not fully contained. Wildfire is not an accurate description, as it implies the location as being forests, or wooded remote areas. This is not the case! Thousands of homes are lost in family neighborhoods, perhaps just like yours. Many wineries have burned to the ground, entire vineyards are gone. A total of 300 square miles are currently on fire with the death toll at 40 and expected to rise as there are 200+ people unaccounted for. Where I live – about 40 miles from one of the largest and most destructive fires, the schools are closed because the smoke is so thick, ashes falling from the sky like snow flurries. We have been warned to stay inside due to highly unhealthy air quality. So, what to do and how to help? Naturally, the Red Cross is the best way to ensure funds get to the highest in need expeditiously, but you can also do something else… DRINK NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WINE! Raise a glass to the fires being put out soon and drink some more after that! If you’re looking for gift ideas – California wine. Double down.
So, I was putting a post together about a recent road trip I took along the California and Oregon coast (coming in next post) when I received an email from the home furnishings company Arhaus. It was my first introduction to this company, which is surprising because their collection is absolutely stunning! But even better, they are completely committed to the environment, wellness and giving back. This is not typical for the furniture industry as there are so many toxic materials used and shoddy manufacturing practices, especially with big box retailers. I was absolutely astonished to find out they use 100% organic materials for many of their pieces! AND they are partnering with the American Forest Foundation to plant 25,000 trees – one for each purchase during their sale. Given what has happened this week to not only my area, but the hurricanes that have devastated so many homes, and wildlife, I felt it timely to share this resource with you now. To read about their philanthropy click here.
As a sidenote, I always like to mention before I promote something, that every word you read on this blog is written by me, and all products I recommend I would purchase myself. I believe strongly in honesty, integrity and goodness and will only offer you products that are reflective of that.
I created the following two moodboards, because I couldn’t help myself. The collections are so inspiring, I just got carried away! I hope you like them too.
Mid-Century Modern. While I’ve always appreciated the iconic pieces from this period, it was only until recently that my personal aesthetic radically shifted. What is particularly cool about furniture created during this era – and why these pieces have stood the test of time – is that for the most part, they were designed by highly acclaimed architects. Form and function blend together into sexy coolness. A few mid-century pieces in a room can up the hip factor exponentially, however t’s easy to get carried away and look like the set of the Dick Van Dyke show. In other words, Mid- Century Mod-eration is key.
Kilim Rugs. This trend, if you can call it that since these rugs have actually been around for hundreds of years, snuck up on me. I think I’m actually extremely late to the party on this one. Rugs dictate the color direction for a room, so I’ve tended to prefer natural fiber (as in jute, seagrass, sisal, etc) for their textural attributes as well as their neutrality. I’m now a convert. The muted colors of vintage rugs adds a warmth and visual interest that is so pleasing. I’m thinking of starting small with a runner for either the hallway or the kitchen, maybe even for a bathroom. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.
Patterned Tile. Again, I have played it safe by gravitating to all white and when I do deviate, it’s to use solid stone matching the countertop material in kitchens. As far as bathrooms, I have never designed one with anything but white tile. Well… after seeing so many freakin gorgeous examples of patterned tile lately, I am rethinking my non-comital ways and taking a little walk on the wild side.
Wallpaper. This is one trend that stops me in my tracks. I’m either taken aback by the sheer prettiness of a wallpapered room, or it’s sense of whimsy or just in awe that something that looks like something else is actually wallpaper! While I seriously don’t think I could pull the trigger and have wallpaper in my own house (purely a function of having had to manually strip 5 layers of wallpaper from every square inch of our first home), I love the idea of using it for design projects. There are just so many outrageously beautiful wallpapers out there. I could be very happy spending a day or two or five at the Design Center going through them all.
For more examples of these trends and interior inspiration, please visit my Pinterest page here.
Well, at long last, I’m back. I didn’t intend to be away (from the blog) this long,… To back up chronologically, I took each of my kids to their colleges. First, Luke who asked me to help him spruce up the townhouse he’s rented for the past two years with a few fraternity brothers. I was extremely flattered by being asked, as it marked the first time one of my kids acknowledged that my repertoire went beyond making mac n cheese or what colors go together when sorting laundry. We take our glories wherever we can 🙂 After a week cleaning his place (wish they sold hazmat suits at the hardware store!) and crushing it with some incredible Craigslist furniture finds, I left him and DC feeling a sense of pride that exceeded well past any other design project I’d done prior.
Upon arriving home, I had a week to get Lily ready for her first year at University of Denver. If there ever is a time when the differences between the X and Y chromosomes are apparent (I know, I’m generalizing) it’s getting ready for college. Lily shipped nine enormous boxes of stuff plus the bag she took on the plane. I think it was a duffel bag, but it was the size and shape of an adult rhinoceros. Not to mention the 6 months in planning her room decor, which included Pinterest boards, numerous trips to Ikea, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Urban Outfitter. I spent almost a week in Denver getting her settled, and just exploring the town. All is going well, I’m happy to say.
When I came home and sat down to start thinking about what to post, there were a series of political and environmental catastrophes that, just left me with a feeling that whatever I could possibly say would feel trite or lacking empathy for the millions who were experiencing such utter anguish. So, now I’m back. I’ve missed you.
My summer in review: The halcyon days.
The above five photos are from a July 4th dinner party in St. Helena. The light, the setting among the grape vines, the mix of people and the incredible food made for a great night.
Along a dirt road, that blackberry had my name on it.
I don’t remember where this was actually, but I thought the daisies poking through the white picket fence were so pretty.
Running along the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle during my annual summer visit. This exact spot was where took my very first long run in high school. It’s still my favorite and my best.
Records are to Seattle what bacon is to eggs. They belong together. Growing up with Tower Records and all the smaller record shops along ‘The Ave’ in the 80’s that gradually disappeared, it was a welcome sight to walk into this Capitol Hill record shop.
A special day at the beach.
When the first peaches appear at the grocery store in early summer, I do an internal happy dance. There is no better breakfast than a perfectly ripe peach and summer berries. On to apples and pears!
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.
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,
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…
I’ve been pinning images ever since. Here are some I’d like to share with you.
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.
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.