Home Tours

Missing Cottage Living

Looking back through some of my favorite cottages...

1. COZY COTTAGE:

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I. LOVE. this kitchen.

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*and this room- great mix of functional, comfortable and classy.
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TTN: you could do this with an unused closet space; take off the doors, put up some curtains, possibly a light fixture, and create a special nook.

<Atlanta decorator Tyler Colgen; photography by Megan Thompson>

SIMPLE COTTAGE:

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See the ghost chair in the background..??… Or DO you?? :)

Love the mix of materials in this room- subtle but plenty of texture.

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TTN: Again, it's very subtle in color but the mix of textures keeps it from falling flat- and keeping it fabulous!

-love seeing that antique iron bench at the end of the bed rather than the standard bench. Sure, it's not as functional but it looks awesome.

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<Chaffee Braithwate via Duchess Faire>


COZY COTTAGE:

Another one of my favorites.. Haskell Harris' (previous) home. She's the associate editor of Garden and Gun- so it doesn't surprise me that her style is impeccable. She has since moved from this adorable cottage (to Charleston!) but its' too good to pass up...

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So cozy and classy.

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<Haskell Harris via Cottage Living and Southern Living>

Eclectic cottage:

Lee Kleinhelter, owner of the Atlanta store Pieces, has lived in (and designed) some fabulous homes over the years. I like this one in particular...

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TTN: Apparently Lee agrees with me-! (see texture quote above)

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TTN: Swing in the corner? Check.
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Lee Kleinhelter, via Cottage Living

Hacienda cottage:

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Cynthia David and Issac Preminger's home via Cote de Texas


Dear Cottage Living,

we {still} miss you dearly.

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 *if you haven't voted for your favorite Boy Room- be sure to cast your vote over the weekend! I'll be back with a budget makeover for the winning room.

 

Let It Shine

I was looking through past magazines recently and flipped through an old favorite. A successful family's Hampton home designed by Emma Pilkington...

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I'll just take the back house, thanks.

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Seen in Elle Decor; photographs by Roger Davies

After looking through the photos again I realized a common thread in each of these rooms. Light reflecting objects that add an unexpected energy to the room. Apparently a bit of shine is a Pilkington hallmark. 

Here are some other rooms with mirrored touches...

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Suzanne Kasler's bedroom for Ballard Designs

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The infamous living room by Jill Brinson via House Beautiful

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Monique Lhullier's living room via Elle Decor

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via Domino photograph by Melanie Acevedo

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Jenni Kayne via Domino Mag 


So don't be afraid to jazz it up! 

Shine on, friends.

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PS I am extremely behind on emails. If you have contacted me and not gotten a reply I sincerely apologize for the delay. And you will hear from me soon! 

 

Today

I want to....

Wake up in this bedroom:

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via Domino Mag 

Get ready for my day in this antique chair...

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Designer Amy Morris; photography by Emily Followill

Open the windows in my bedroom to check the weather... 

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Designer Tammy Connor via AHL

Make my coffee and breakfast in this kitchen...

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Designer Renea Abbott via Velvet & Linen

Catch up on wordly news design blogs cuddled up in this spot (puppy included)...

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designer Mary Evelyn McKee 

Read my latest Elle Decor beside this pool (as I dip my feet in the water to cool off)...

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Martha Stewart Living via Limestones and Boxwoods

This becomes exhausting so I probably should take a nap. In the guest bedroom... 

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Designer Melanie Turner Benecki via Benecki Fine Homes

Then have friends over for an early dinner in my pretty dining room...

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and play a group game of Balderdash in this room...

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Both pictures above: Designer Sara Scaglione via House Beautiful

And end the day with a glass of wine {and something sweet} in my favorite spot in the house...

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Designer Barbara Westbrook via House Beautiful


Is it TOO much to ask ??? 

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Santa Fe Home

Several weeks back I posted about my trip to Santa Fe and teased you with a few pictures of the beautiful home I stayed in. Like I promised, I am now back with more eye candy.

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First, let me give credit where credit is due.

The Owners: Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of working with Janine and Ronnie Dunn. (Yes, the Ronnie Dunn from the rockin' country music duo Brooks & Dunn!) To say that I adore their family is an understatement. They are some of the most genuine people I know and it just so happens that their taste..? is impeccable. I went out to Santa Fe with them with the expectation that their western getaway would probably be amazing......

It did not disappoint.

The Designers: This home was previously owned by Renea and Greg Abbott. Renea Abbott and Barbara Carlton are the talented mother/daughter designers who own Shabby Slips in Houston, TX. (I have yet to be in their store but if it's anything like this house I'd be drooling at the doorstep.) So when the Dunns bought the home a few years ago-- they didn't have to change much.  

So that's the background. Now I'm going to do what I do best on this blog: let the pictures do the talking.... 

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OK wait- one more thing...

One major selling point for them was the view. The back porch looks out over the entire city of Santa Fe. It's unreal! And you know how the sky is HUGE out west?? Well, it's even bigger from up there...

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fun fact: The sun sets in the west over the Ortiz mountains. To the East are the Sangre De Cristo (Blood Of Christ) mountains- named for the red color they turn at sunset. 

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One thing I LOVED about this place was the quirky floorplan. It's unique and very fitting for a home in Santa Fe. To orient yourselves: the backporch/VIEW is to the left of the sofa, the next hallway leads to the kitchen/breakfast room, the hallway to the right leads to the front door. 

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Moving onto the dining room... 

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The painting to the far left has been replaced. With none other than... a Joe Andoe original.

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It's STUNNING in person.

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The charming kitchen....

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A little sitting room right outside the master bedroom...

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Talk about a headboard! (Double click photo for the full effect)

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The winning back porch... (that spans the entire length of the house)

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Behind the house there is a path that leads up to a little chapel

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Which was covered in snow when I saw it...

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And here it is at night...

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 Soooo pretty and peaceful....

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The End. 

(for now, atleast)

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 <photos by Ronnie Dunn ... and some by me. But the good ones are his.>

simple is good.

I came across this great before/after that I found to be inspiring. Architectural designer Nancy Fishelson reinvents a 1795 Connecticut house....

Before...

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After...

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  So many times I look through magazines and am mesmerized by the glamourous homes that are filled with fine fabrics and exquisite furnishings. Every square inch is decorated to the nines. I close the magazine and immediately start thinking of all the little things I'm missing in my home or my clients' homes.  I even go to the extent of making a list...

 Then I see an article like this and I'm reminded that the simple homes are very often the most beautiful. And the glam homes are probably over decorated. Then I immediately start thinking of all the things I need to get rid of... or give away.

Please excuse me while I go make a list...

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If you feel inspired, comment below with 2 things you will get rid of and take to Good Will this weekend (or next). Purging!! That way you'll be committed to it if it's in writing. And if I ever walk in your house and see that clunky TV you promised to give away... well, I'll just have to rat you out on the blog. :)

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 all images via country living

  
 
             

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Oh, it's Rachel....and she's moving in.

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 I know this house has been all over the blog world and on the front of a magazine but I had to put it on nestegg. I couldn't help it! Must be love...

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Jill Brinson, interior designer and creative director for Ballard Designs, has an knack for style. Her house is rustic, timeless... and effortlessly cool

I don't have time to tell you all the reasons I love this house so I'll just pick ONE favorite thing about each room. (deep breath- this is going to be difficult)
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  • the feminine (almost diva) touches to this room against the rustic, masculine pieces. EX: the splash of pink, the shiny sconces. Brilliant MIX!

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  • the white washed cabinets with chicken wire
  • oh and the lanterns! AND the wicker chair... this is clearly impossible.

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  • the fact that she got this gazebo from the anthropologie store in the mall

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  • the UH MAY ZING iron window

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  • the different cased openings on either side of the fireplace. She's not matchy matchy-! We're going to get along great.

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  • the old shutters used as closet doors

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  • The soothing gray outdoor furniture....who is ready for spring?

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  • I don't know if I can choose just one. But I think the main reason I love this kitchen is the span of windows above the sink instead of upper cabinets.

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  • The fact that this beautiful wallpaper is unexpected yet perfect.

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  • The chairs... and the view. Are we seriously in Atlanta??

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  • The unique vanity with a small mirror (from Target) in between the sinks rather than spanning the length of the wall.

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  • The tub. (Everything about it.)      *I did not notice a guest room so I'll just put my things in here thank you. Wake me up in a few days...

Did you love this house as much as I did? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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 Click here to read the article.

All photos taken by Simon Upton via House Beautiful

Eye Candy Friday

Benecki Homes. Stan Benecki (luxury builder in Atlanta) and his wife Melanie Turner Benecki (of Turner Davis Interiors) are quite the creative couple. Here's a look inside one of their Atlanta homes:

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I rarely see a theater room that is done tastefully... But this one?? Very cool. (I call back-middle!)

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Love the pecky cypress. Anyone recognize the rug? It's from Pottery Barn. 

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Great bedroom. 

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Barbara Barry chandelier in my walk-in closet? Yes Please.

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Then I remembered a Bobby Mcalpine home I've always loved in Rosemary Beach. And guess what? It is a Benecki house too! (look at me connecting the dots on a friday night :)

Fabulous architect + luxury builder + great designer = Power House

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 I'm pretty sure this power house created a lake home too but I'll save that for another Friday night. :)

Have a good weekend. And stay warm!... wherever you are.

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Images via Benecki Homesajc, and here
 

           

A Christmas Cottage

Is there anything about that title that isn't enticing? A home is much cozier during the christmas season... but a cottage?? Even better.

This has always been one of my favorite articles out of Cottage Living's December issue back in 2007. 

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And it just so happens that the owner,Kitty White, lives in Birmingham in my (old) neck of the woods! Kitty decorated this adorable cottage with the help of the fabulous architect Bill Ingram and designer Betsy Brown. 

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I love her use of natural elements such as berries and birch wood for decoration. For more ideas on how to use branches to decorate click here

*The wall paint throughout is  cloud white  by Benjamin Moore.

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I love this idea: Instead of the traditional sofa/chair combo in front of a fireplace, she put four comfortable chairs around a coffee table.  

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Beautiful living room... and tree! Dang. 

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 The window panels are the opaque linen window panels from west elm! In white. 

AND the seagrass rugs are the color-bound ones from Pottery Barn

<insider tips from Cottage Living>

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TTN: the mix of materials here is genius. The rustic ceilings mixed with the classic marble countertops, the industrial light fixture mixed with the polished nickel (double**) sinks, the traditional barstools mixed with the metal backsplash behind the cooktop... the mix goes on. 

And notice what appears to be a wood cutting board in between the sinks-?? See it above? Now look at the picture below...
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Yet another clever detail that allows for mobile counterspace and easy cleaning.
 

*The floors were designed by Ingram: diamond-patterned bluestone outlined with strips of hardwood.

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A high-backed banquette and table create a small dining nook in the kitchen.   

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I love the dark trim and doors in this house. Notice the dark painted shutters in the dining room- if they were white it wouldn't be the same... Agree?

As for the walls: Kitty painted this design herself- with the help of maskingtape! (and patience, I'm sure:) And the ceiling: glossy?! Great, unexpected addition.
 
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 once again... a good mix.

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Kitty, the homeowner, now sells her own fabulous creations- from hand painted fabrics to jewelry to children's clothing! Click here to visit her designs online.

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 Lastly, in the article Kitty states: "I'd rather have a small space with beautiful finishes than a big space that compromises the details."  With the current state of the economy I think we'll see a lot of this in the upcoming years- and in my opinion it will be a pleasant change. 

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all photos from Cottage Living and Southern Living

  

Vintage Christmas

One of my favorite boutique stores in Nashville is one called Gilchrist-Gilchrist. I recently went in the store and felt like I walked into a winter wonderland. No joke. But it's always like that- The whimsical cottage feel, beautiful vintage finds, the laid-back vibe, good company, soothing music, ALL result in one charming store. 

The owner, Genia Gilchrist, takes shabby chic to a new level. I knew she had style but THEN I saw her house in Southern Living... MAJOR style. Good thing she shared some of her Christmas decorating tips!!.. Here are a few:

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Welcome guests with festive porch planters. {These are filled with small spruce trees and filled with magnolia leaves.} Keep it simple, keep it green. (that's my input. Ok, now my input is in green)

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That's Genia! She's sweet as pie. And check out her boots! :) 

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Indulge your senses- and put a jar in the family room full of Christmas cookies. {Yup. Ours cookies would be gone within a day.}
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When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree- MORE is better.

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Sneak in Sentimental pieces. Her tree skirt is made out of an old petticoat- a gift from her friend. She took the skirt apart at the seam and laid it around the tree base. ....{ I want one!!}
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Set the mood with mercury glass.

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Genia is a big fan of mercury glass- and how can you argue with her looking at these gorgeous pictures?? Click here for her very helpful tips on buying mercury glass.
 
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Tie it together with One Color. 

Each year Genia picks a color and buys different types and textures of ribbon in those colors. She ties them to all of her wreaths and even wraps her Christmas presents in them that year! (see picture above of the gift under the tree- Such a good idea! )

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Use clear glass to serve as a subtle back drop when displaying Christmas decor.
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Hang garlands in unexpected spaces. Don't limit them to front doors and banisters... For fresh garland she recommends The Garland Farm. (Love this image)

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Wreaths of three unify a space.

Another one of her style secrets: Stack a few wrapped presents in unconventional spaces to add pops of color in any room!
  

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Group heirlooms or collectibles together to make an impact. (Looks a lot better than having them scattered throughout the house, doesn't it?)
 
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Dress up great finds like this vintage window frame! And mix metallics with fresh evergreens. 
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Embellish what you already have. 

Genia incorporates vintage bottlebrush trees and reindeer into her year-round mercury glass collection. She then adds sprigs of greenery and seeded eucalyptus for accents.(this pretty picture reminds me a lot of her store)

To read Southern Accent's full article click here.

And if you are ever in Nashville you must stop by Gilchrist-Gilchrist. Genia's home is just a glimpse into the unique pieces you'll find in her store. Not to mention the friendly little butler that greets you at the door. (Click here to see him)

 And the bedding!!  Oh, the bedding. Which reminds me- I ordered a gorgeous pillow and have been meaning to pick it up from her for weeks. Genia, if you're reading- I promise I haven't forgotten! But I think it'd be best if we met at your house. OKOk, cool.   :)

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All photos through Southern Accents by Laurey W. Glenn


  

green & amber

I recently came across one of my favorite House Beautiful features styled by one of my favorite architect/designer combos: Bobby Mcalpine and Susan Ferrier.

Remember this one?

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When I saw the pictures again I remembered only two parts of the article:

1. Apparently the clients were redheads so Susan used an amber and green color palette to complement their coloring. 

2. Everything I loved in the pictures came from Paris. (go figure!)

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This kitchen and that light fixture... drooling over here.

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The attention to detail is amazing. I recommend scrolling through the pictures one more time... 

To read the full article click here.

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photos via House Beautiful

Cheryl Tague

Last week I (somehow) stumbled upon the work of New York designer Cheryl Tague. Her website only contains 3 different homes- each one beautiful in their own way.  Her work is simple and edited, a good mix of old and new, and reflects her impeccable attention to detail...

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All images from Cheryl Tague's website, click here for more info.
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Neutral Love

Part of me wants to have a neutral home.

The rest of me wants to have a colorful, energetic home.

This is why I love my job- I can get both.

Meanwhile, my home will sit around in LIMBO waiting for me to make up my mind (and make more money). But this particular home has been sitting in my I love neutral files. It makes me want to strip out all the clutter, open all my windows, and breathe easy.

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*put a dog in it! 
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I just recently found that one of my favorite design bloggers/interior designers in California, Brooke from Velvet & Linen, posted about this house a while back because her husband was the architect!! Talk about talent in a family. They have three kids but with those creative genes I think they should bless this world with more.

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TTN: Slipcovered dining chairs... LOVE. I'll do a post soon about this concept- it deserves its own. Also, notice the neutral mixed with gold accents. In most situations I advise people to use "pops of color" in their rooms UNLESS they want to go all neutral- then I advise "pops of gold" accents. Or silver. Depends on the space...

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There is nothing more cozy than simple, light bedding. *I also have a client that loves this house and thinks a flat screen TV comes out of that ottoman at the end of the bed.... Thoughts?
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The artwork in this house is beautiful. 
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TTN: I want to talk about this bathroom- the mirrored doors into the water closet(s)?... great detail. Imagine these with normal doors painted the trim color. Not worth a photograph, right? Consider replacing your doors with glass or mirrored inserts. Then painting a darker color. It would make a world of difference.

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The bedrooms are my favorite part of this house
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the kitchen wasn't really photographed in this article... Hmmm.. I'm very curious to see what it looks like!! I'm sure I'd love it.
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OK, I'll buy it!

(Have your people call my people.)

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All images from Veranda

On the Market with Mimi

I got another email from my friend.

The friend that lives in Birmingham and sends me pictures of fabulous houses on the market. (click here for the last one, if you missed it)

The friend that is coaching me on how to perfectly decorate her future home.

The friend that is causing me to stalk houses in the wrong city.

I love the emails. It's basically a Weekly magazine that's like walking through Sunday Open Houses but never having to get up. Or like a virtual tour through all the homes you wait until dark to slowly drive by so you can take a peak inside when all the lights are on.... No? Just me?

Moving right along...

House #1

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TTN: the driveway, love it.

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TTN: -limestone countertops

-shape and design of the island- rarely do you see one like that

-the brackets underneath the upper cabinets (on either side of the sink)- nice detail*

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TTN: -I like the chairs/sofa with the waterfall skirts

-rug on rug

-what is that empty frame above the painting?? Don't worry, I don't get it either.

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Lovely Master Bedroom...

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Closet? Check!

TTN: 3 framed mirrors instead of one big one

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Guest bedroom.. I like the grass shades in this setting.

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It's nice to mix up the bathroom cabinetry. Instead of just going with the regular built-ins, change it up!

TTN: -the tapered legs

-the fixtures mounted on the wall

-stainless steel undermount sinks? You don't see that much in residential bathrooms. I like it!

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In love with this outdoor area!! Why? Because it looks like a continuation of the house rather than a bunch of chunky outdoor furniture. 

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By the way, this friend that I keep talking about has a name:

Mimi Nolen

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She's a realtor in Birmingham so if you're looking for a house and you want someone that has a great sense of style, she's your girl. 

I'm not kidding, Mimi is SO good at what she does. So, for a few minutes I pretended she wasn't a friend and asked this expert a few questions:

Have you noticed a house plan or layout that people tend to lean towards?

People are really big into the open kitchen, den/living rooms right now.  That's why our TVs keep getting bigger and bigger- people are watching them from 2 rooms over! Also, something I have noticed is people are leaning towards smaller, more quality space vs. a lot of unused square footage. 

Does a house sell better with furniture or without?

Yes, a house definitely sells better with furniture.  But, the right furniture is important.  Buying and selling homes is an emotional decision, people buy from the heart, so when you go into a home that "feels" like you, you are more likely to make an offer on it.  Sometimes it's hard when you are a showing a total "redo" for people to visualize what could be done with the space.  That's where a great designer comes in! 

Amen! What's your favorite part about buying and selling homes?

I am loving working in the real estate market right now.  Things really aren't like what you watch on TV.  All that is going on is totally normal and it won't be too long before it gets better and then happens again! I think the key is finding a home that you really love and a place that makes you feel comfortable.  The rest is just details....

House #2

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 *I don't have enough time to point out 'things to note' but isn't this house adorable? Especially the setting!! 

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Ok, so I didn't tell her to send me the cute, affordable ones. For fear that it might tempt me to move back to Birmingham (leaving Hoyt to fend for himself during business school)!

But if you are on the market and living in Birmingham, call Mimi. Or atleast get in touch with her so you can sign up for the House-Stalking Weekly subscription. Believe me, you won't regret it. It's alot healthier than the drive-bys.


mimi nolen

RealtySouth

205.908.8767

mnolen@realtysouth.com 

<also, contact her if you want more info on these houses for sale>


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home stalking in the wrong city

My friend, Mimi, sent me pictures from the latest Birmingham Home & Garden. This is the same friend that sent me the 'dinner party' pictures with an email that read "I want my future house to look like this." I know her well and am realizing she's sending me these things as a way of coaching me. So that when the time comes for me to do her house I'll know exactly what I'm doing and will finish it within 2 weeks.

We both have a tendency to Dream BIG.

Interior Design: Melanie Pounds
Architect: Brian Jernigan

*Note how in every room there is at least one piece that is large scale. You know how I feel about scale- when in doubt go bigger!

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Sorry if these pictures are a little messed up- they were scanned.
TTN: This room is so calming with the neutral color palette, yet it has so many interesting elements that jump out at you. The cross above the mantel, the funky lamp in the left hand corner, draperies over a cased opening,artwork recessed back into the bookcases with picture lights, etc.

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How cool is this kitchen?
TTN: Those light fixtures are so unique and perfect for the space
-the ceiling! Gorgeous!
-Instead of adding upper cabinets they opted to keep it open and use a hutch nearby to store plates, dishes, etc.
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This beautiful home is in Crestline, (in Birmingham) where I grew up. I want to see more of the outside! You leave me with no choice: I'll have to stalk this poor family until I see it.
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TTN: ottoman- great scale
-unique lighting again! 
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I know you can't see it very well but the breakfast nook has a built-in banquette that is recessed into the wall with sconces on either side... great use of space!
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TTN: Lantern, love it.
-Backs of chairs are covered in a different material than the front... 
-and a BIG bowl used as a centerpiece vs. a small one. <Scale, people.>
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The bunk room is so neat-! With individual little sleeping nooks and a curtain rod that I'm guessing covers up each one.
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Love this detail pic- really shows off the artwork and reflects the simplicity of the entire house.
Melanie, you did an amazing job. Go girl!
Mimi, good game Coach.
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Casa Rashida

The other night I watched the movie I Love You, Man... not the best movie BUT the lead girl was Rashida Jones. And one thing is certain about Rashida: the girl can decorate.

Remember her apartment featured in Domino??
Loved it. 
Still do.
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photos via domino mag and flickr

And THEN her other home was featured in Glamour several months back-
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<photos via sohaute>

She is too cute! And insanely stylish. 
<Girl crush alert?!>

***I know I said I would piece together the winner of the Twin Beds... but yesterday was so busy and I ran out of time. I will soon though! 

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Neutral Home

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Just getting back into town from a wedding weekend in Atlanta... Laundry all over the place, emails galore, and a little present from Hobbes:

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Even though we spoil him with a house sitter he likes to remind us that he does NOT enjoy being left on the weekends.

While I play catch-up I wanted to leave you with some eye candy this Monday morning. 

Most of you remember this home from a recent House Beautiful article because of the bold kitchen...

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But do you remember the rest of the house?

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Designer Christina Rottman

Photos by Mikkel Vang

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Dinner Party

I've had two people send me emails over the past few weeks about this wonderful house for sale in Birmingham... because Hoyt and I are on the market for anything above 1 million in the Mtn. Brook area.

I'm kidding.

(Do I even have to state that?)

Because they knew I'd fall out of my chair from lack of breathing after looking at these photos.

For kicks let's fast forward 20 years and play a little game I like to call PRETEND:

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Dinner party for all my faithful blog readers- our house!- 8pm- you'll see the balloons on the mailbox...

You'll ring the doorbell with casserole in hand. (wait, this is pretend- no cooking necessary- drop the casserole!)

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Hobbes, our butler, will let you inside where you will be escorted to this room and handed a glass of wine. 

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Talk amongst yourselves...

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Then we will gather around my favorite room in the house, hold hands, thank the Lord, and fill our plates with gourmet food. (Oh yes, it's catered by Frank Stitt. Thanks Frank!)

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If you want to come back for seconds there will plenty in my impeccable kitchen. You can stay in here as long as you want- I know, it's amazing.

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Oh wait, football is on? Sure honey, you can watch it- but while you're standing there you might as well help clean up! Our butler doesn't have opposable thumbs so he can't help much.

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 After dessert we can all pile in here on the TV loungers and watch a Disney movie... 

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Alright, alright... Disney movie in here. Football can be in the TV lounger bedroom. Oh, please excuse the dollhouse- my daughter likes to play PRETEND. I have no idea where she gets it??!!

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You're not allowed in the bedroom. 

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But if you feel that you were over-served you are welcome to stay in this room.

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Hoyt, if you are reading this- i think it's still on the market!! 

See you guys in 20 years.

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*For the record- this house is beautiful. This post turned out silly but sarcasm aside- I dream of owning a home like this when I get older. Not too big, not too small. Simple exterior- nothing too flashy! And tastefully done on the inside. 

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I remember reading this article in House Beautiful last year and thinking 3 things:

1. Different yet charming.

2. The builders must have reeeeally complained about that built-in refrigerator.

3. I want to go to there.

 Napa Valley, anyone?

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the fridge*
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INTERIOR DESIGN BY KEN FULK; INTERVIEW BY CHRISTINE PITTEL; PHOTOGRAPHS BY VICTORIA PEARSON


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