springtime order

Don't you love a good spring clean?  I do.  With the doors and windows open, the house is awash in the scent of the orange groves.  I love to move things around, clean inside, under and on top of everything.  The act of organizing, cleaning and purging honestly thrills me.  There is that sense of a fresh start, you know?

Hawthorne clipped from the garden.

One of the things I liked best about Country Living styling my pantry was the use of baskets to control odds and ends.  

Also, I stole the idea that my friend K uses in the Fuchsia Dome.  I swapped the bulky wooden hangers for these sleek velvet covered ones and gained about a foot of hanging space.  Critical in a one closet house.

Do you remember this Lily of the Valley lamp I bought at an estate sale a couple of years ago for $7?

I swapped the shade with the $2 lamp I bought at a thrift store in Utah and love it. Multi-state decorating.

I love the feeling of order and calm that spring cleaning brings about, it helps me pass through this difficult time. x

ps - thank you everyone for leaving such kind, sweet and thoughtful comments about Melinda.  You have no idea what they mean to me. x


gardeny things

I remember when my garden looked like this.  The drought has changed things.  Lots of things have changed around here.  I miss Melinda SO much.  

I've always been influenced by gardens.  Nothing attracts me more than being outdoors in my garden.

Gardens influence everything in my life.  From the way I decorate to the way I dress.

I never feel more at peace than when I'm in a garden.

You know you are a true gardener not by the size of your garden or blooms but whether you find yourself saying you have yard work to do or gardening.  Yard work implies hard labor, chores and sweat. Gardening is full of that but they are all a joy.

Gardening is rhythmic.  From the expectations of spring, the excitement of summer to the darkness of winter. Gardens mimic life.  I recently came upon the following words which are pulling me out of my sadness...

All is well. x

styling tricks of the country living photo shoot

I learned an awful lot from the Country Living photo shoot and I thought it'd be fun to share some simple ideas they applied to my house.  Now that I've seen what they did here, I can look back at almost every old magazine I own and see the same principles applied to other homes.  The magazines mission is to make the rooms as pretty as possible and to appeal to the vast majority, so function is not always the main goal for them.  I'm sure what I'm about to share, you already know but seeing these little tricks done in front of me really hit home.  Take the above photo for the kitchen photographs, they brought in tons of fresh kitchen towels, pretty soaps, nice baskets, flowers and even some pretty food products.  If all they had done was exchanged these items for the ones I owned, it would have been an improvement.  Of course they went further and actually styled the rooms but the trick here is that sometimes the things we use every day can get worn, tired looking and we can become blind to that.  Freshening them up can have a big impact.

The pantry is a great example of that idea.  Most everything in this room is mine but they brought in those 2 bottom baskets which hide lots of random things and give it an organized, clean look.  The dish towels stacked and the jars of fresh herbs from the garden, some pretty food packaging is a nice touch too. So use what you have in fresh ways.  Those towels came from Home Goods and I think they were $6 for a package.  They went so far as to take the labels off the bottled water which, 1. I never buy bottled water and 2. who has the time for that, but 3. it sure looks pretty.

In the above photo, that lamp next to the stove does not work for everyday use because I have very little counter space and I don't need the extra lighting so the lamp is gone but that pitcher on the warming shelf?  It stays because it's perfect for transporting water from the sink which is across the room. Same with the stack of platters, I don't know why I never thought of this before. Also, fresh clipped herbs next to the stove, so easy and so pretty.

This is where I had the painting Alex had recently given me before Country Living got here.  I knew I wanted it above the stove and they agreed so it's one of the first things we did.  Just moving things around is one of the best styling secrets I noticed.

Compare the above 2 photos.  Can you see how the stylist really filled the shelves?  It looks so good in the photo but in real life it's too hard to get to what I need on a daily basis.  These are all my things except for the dish towel and small potted plant.  How easy is this to freshen things up?  It helps if you have the eye of an excellent stylist like Janna Lufkin too. :)

Again, everything in this shot, I already owned, it's just being used in a new way.  The silver tray holding all the cups of essentials, the garden stool holding fresh towels and a new soap.  Simple.

I love the lemon tree that they brought in.  It gives the space such an open and airy look.  Of course a lemon tree won't live inside but another indoor plant might.  Simple cut branches from the garden in clear vases again, repeat the look.  The crystal decanters on the bar do the same thing.  I didn't realize it at the time but that open airy look really is pulling the whole house together.

I wasn't thrilled that they didn't want to use my old lamp but I have to say this clear glass one really carries out that airy feeling in here.  So the house begins to flow from room to room.  To me this shot would be perfection if those pillows were not on the bed.  I tried to put my foot down but you see what that got me.:)

Green healthy plants make such a big difference.  Also, love the way the trellis pattern on the pillow picks up the trellis pattern on the small side table.

And even though the living room was not included in the magazine, Those clear cylinder vases (purchased at the Goodwill) with fresh branches do look lovely.

I'm committed to...

1. Keeping fresh plants and greenery in the house.
2. Replacing old worn out towels in the kitchen/bath.
3. When i want a change, just move what I already own around for a whole new perspective.
4.  Keep things uncluttered, light and airy.
5.  Live as beautifully, simply and frugally as possible.

Oh and P.S.

Who knew?


the living room that didn't make the magazine

I found out that the reason the living room did not make the magazine was because of space issues.  I really, really wish it could have been included because a lot of work went into it and I would just love to be able to see the final pictures.  If you agree to have your home photographed you don't get any of the photos! None. It's been so hard waiting to see just how they all came out.  Seeing them online was good but when I opened the magazine I was so shocked at how lovely the photography was.  Roger Davies did such an amazing job.  Especially since he normally shoots for Architectural Digest and other high-end magazines.  Just look at the portraits he has shot here. I thought he'd be bored with shooting my house but he was the opposite.  He just reminded me on Instagram how much he enjoyed the days here with the White Stripes playing in the background.  He truly is a lovely, lovely man.

Anyway...so the top photo is what the living room looked like when Country Living got here.  And then this happened...

and this.

This is Janna Lufkin, the stylist.  Starting to mess around with some of the pillows she purchased.

And this

One possibility.

And another.

And while she was styling the pantry, I came up with this.

 The above 2 photos are my favorites of the whole shoot. (that I took)

Larry made that black bench about 20 years ago and it was at Alex's house.  Jana thought it'd look good as the coffee table.

Looks too narrow to me but she said they'd photoshop it.

I think this would have been the angle used in the magazine.  I think.  Anyway that's what went into styling just one room.  Each room was like that.  Painstaking attention to details like the way fabric draped, the angle of a book, the position of a pillow.  Each shot was sent to New York for approval before moving on.  If you are interested I can show you lots of other photos showing the preparation and styling of the other rooms.

I'd also like to take just a moment to thank you all for your sweet, kind and thoughtful words on Melinda's passing.  It's been a week now and I still can't believe she is gone.  I've read and re-read your comments and they've helped so much.  Thank you all, you truly are the best readers anyone could ever ask for.  I love you all. xo

country living

What a surreal feeling seeing my house photographed and styled like this.  I have yet to see the actual magazine yet as I am not a subscriber but I'm sure I will within a few days as it hits the newstand. Stephen Andrew Jones sent me these from his online subscription. Doesn't the porch look beautiful? I wish it looked like this now instead of being littered with shoes, boots, flip flops, leaves and dust. Do you notice my blue record cabinet and my antique bamboo plant stand that is normally in my kitchen?  Everything here is mine except they brought in some plants, the love seat cushion and small pillow purchased from World Market.

The week they shot the house it was quite cold and dreary.  But there was a moment of sunshine and that's when they got this exterior shot which I think is lovely.

The photo of Larry and I was taken on the last day in the last hour.  It was freezing outside, I didn't have a drop of makeup on.  I was hoping my winter white unshaven legs were not going to be in the shot.  I had them wrapped tightly to help keep me warm.  

This room is definitely my favorite of the whole shoot.  In the magazine I'm sure it will be over 2 pages and I can't wait to see that.  

The pantry styled to within an inch of its life.

I thought the kitchen came out great too.  Everything in the kitchen is mine except for the rug, runner on the table and this white bowl from Target. 

The office got styled more than any other room in the house.  The stylist and I actually went over to Alex's house and grabbed some things for the room.  The mirror on the desk, the old California flag and lots of other things.  I am not too thrilled with the pillows that were picked for the sofa but not a big deal.  Oh, and for the record, the quote up above...living here has let me slow down but not to admire the pieces I love.  lol. 

The bathroom above looks just like it always does.

I was not thrilled with those throw pillows picked for my bed.  They also brought in the glass lamp from Target which looks pretty.

So that's the online pictures.  Like I said I can't wait to get my hands on the actual magazine.  Maybe today?!  There is one question I have and that's why they didn't include my living room?  It's probably the prettiest room in my house!  They spent a lot of time styling it but for some reason it is omitted.  I will post pictures that I took of the whole shoot later this week. You'll get to see how they styled the living room which is interesting.

So what do you think?  So much work goes into this sort of thing.  I have a new appreciation for all that is involved. I'd also like to thank Catherine for pushing my house through Country Living, you are such a sweetheart, thanks for hanging in ther and making it happen.  x
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