Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Inspiration Wednesday - Hit the Bricks

Things are getting tense. Dave has been working non stop for two weeks clearing his house and garage out, mostly having to work in record breaking heat and humidity. He is running on fumes and pain. He's at the point where he just throwing stuff away. The closing for his house is in two days and everything has to be cleared out.

He has been collecting old building materials for the past 30 years of his career as a contractor who restores historic properties. Some of it has been sold, and some of it carted off to storage for the restoration of our beach house. One of the things he has collected and amassed is old bricks.

What's so special about a pile of 2000 bricks? Well they are mostly "soft reds" and many made by the St. Joe Brick Works in Louisiana. The much sought after "hard tans" and "soft reds" used bricks coming from demolished New Orleans structures were originally manufactured at St. Joe Brick Works and other St. Tammany Parish brick yards in existence before the turn of the century.
These used bricks are beloved by home renovators and can fetch between $2.50 - $4. per brick.

So when Dave told me he was just going to abandon his pile of bricks, just leave them in his yard for the new owners to deal with, my heart sank. He really is hurting for him to even think of such a thing. I got busy trying to find a solution. I found a mover who will go and get them and move them to our yard in BSL. It will cost $800. I found a brick company specializing in selling antique bricks that would buy them for 60 cents each ($1200.) and take them away from Dave's yard. To buy them again if you could even find them (they are getting more and more rare), would cost upwards of $5000. So I have made an executive decision to pay the movers to take the bricks to BSL. I know Dave would be very sorry to leave them behind, and I know one day they will look amazing as a patio or walkway at our new place. I also love the New Orleans connection to our Mississippi house. 
Dave and I love old bricks
One day we hope to a have a pretty brick patio
Ignatz - poster boy for bricks
A brick walkway up to the front porch would be perfect
Dave has a pile of 2000 vintage soft red New Orleans bricks that he has collected for 20 years
Just dreaming of the day we can use the reclaimed bricks
Used St. Joe bricks are highly prized since they are no longer made
More brick walkway inspiration
A picket fence and a brick walkway - YES!
Krazy Kat and Ignatz always make me think of bricks

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Digging It Up

We did the first home improvement! Well actually we hired Brent Moralle with his big digging machine to clear the yard of all the overgrowth. Now we can really see the house and Love Shack and how big the yard is (it's big). Click on images to see them bigger.

All the overgrowth has been cleared away. I am so happy the overgrown Sago palms are gone and you can see the front of the house. One day there will be a walkway, pretty plantings, and a picket fence, and of course the house painted, and restored. Dave found the shutters for the house in a shed behind the Love Shack. We are thrilled to have found them!
Brett and his big machine pulled out all the overgrowth

Even the Love Shack looks bigger
Clearing it all away from the house
The yard looks a bit forlorn and rough and huge. Another guy is going to come by and smooth it all out and take away more debris. Sometimes things have to be deconstructed in order to build them up again. One day pretty plants and a picket fence in front and nice driveway will be in place.

In the meantime Dave is nearly done cleaning out his house in New Orleans, and moving his things to storage in BSL. His brother drove over from South Carolina to help with this last big push. The record breaking August heat hasn't made it easy for them.

I'm still packing at my house. Right after both our houses close on the 23rd of August, it will be my turn to get my things to storage in BSL. Our little shop in Antiques Maison will be ready for us this weekend to place a few things and to stage. I'm also teaching tango this coming Sunday in Biloxi, invited by local teacher there Percell St. Thomass. We're running on fumes and happiness.

As ever, thank you Charlie Pettway our broker who has become a friend, for her excellent referrals for the workmen we need.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Tattered Perfection of John Derian

Inspiration Wednesday with John Derian

My girlfriend Sarah and I took a ride out to the house. She had only seen it from the outside. I had not been out to the house for a couple of weeks. Dave has made a few trips moving things to storage, and to oversee the clearing of the yard of all the overgrowth (more about that later).

Every time I go inside the beautiful old house I am charmed by the light and the peeling paint and worn floors. Dave is gong to power wash the inside and outside of the house, to remove the whatever peeling paint comes off. No doubt latex paint has been applied over oil base, and a lot of it will be knocked off the walls. We've talked about leaving the walls in this distressed state, leaving the patina of time intact.

So the designer and shop keeper John Derian comes to mind. He embraces the artful tatter in both his city and country homes. His New York city store is a treasure trove and added inspiration for his particular point of view. I think our beach house could look very charming with a few Derian like touches.

I am inspired by John Derian - Tattered finishes, vintage and antique accessories, and specimens from nature
All of our walls are bead board so I can't do wallpaper, but I'm thinking of doing an all over stencil. I love the speckled spatter painted floor in this John Derian room. We are not going to strip our floors, but rather wire brush clean them and softly buff them. Maybe spatter paint might be something to do as well.
I love the floors left worn and in an original unfinished state
Note the Oriental rug - I can't wait to lay the ones down that Dave has
The distressed walls are perfection. And here's that spatter floor, that looks amazing with the Oriental rug.
I love how John Derian does bedrooms in his country house
We have lots of art to create interesting gallery walls
I have tons of shells and curiosities that I can hardly wait to use on out beach house
This dining area by John Derian is so inspiring
I'd love an old cast iron kitchen sink
There is a vintage cast iron bathtub in our beach house that I hope can be moved to my bathroom. The back of the house has to be dismantled and rebuilt. This is where the kitchen, laundry area, and second bathroom are located. When Dave puts it back together we are going to reconfigure things so that each bedroom has an en suite bathroom, and the kitchen is expanded to accommodate a nice dining table

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


It's been a whirlwind...

We closed on our beach house a month ago. That was the easy part. Since then both of our houses in New Orleans sold in record time. While this is wonderful, it also puts a lot of pressure on us to move. And we have no place to live since the beach house is basically a bit of a ruin right now.

The buyer for my house has been a dream. She loves my house, paid over ask, accepted the inspections without me having to do repairs or give money back, and is letting us stay in the house rent free 45 days after the closing. Both our houses close on August 23. So that means we have until the end of September to move.

Dave is desperately trying to finish a big contracting job Uptown in New Orleans, so he can start work on the Love Shack (the 300 sf cottage on our property) and have it ready for us to move into at the end of September. In the meantime, we rented storage space in Bay St. Louis, and he has been shuttling furnishings from his house to it. The plan is to empty is house first, then do mine.

So I have been packing and packing and packing. And selling off some furniture. It is daunting. The original plan was for us both to downsize tremendously. But then something else happened to make us hold on to our various collections of antique and vintage furniture and bric-a-brac. We acquired a prime booth in the best antiques mall in Bay St. Louis!

We will be shopgirls!
Nearly three years ago I was doing an interior design project in BSL, and I did a fair amount of shopping for the client in this antique mall. The ladies there were super friendly and helpful. Later I brought Dave there, and we all had many fun cordial interchanges. By coincidence both these women are leaving BSL! I was happy for their new changes in life, but a little bummed because I really wanted to hang out with them, One of them had the prime booth in the store, and I asked her about getting it in a kind of joking way, and she said, it's yours!

Dave looking over the contract for the space in the antique mall
Dave and I always talked about doing some kind of shop together, making our years of hoarding collecting pay off as an activity for our semi retirement. So here it is, the universe providing once again. I also was invited to teach tango in a fabulous art space nearby.

I will be teaching tango at Studio Waveland
So in the span of a month we have a new house, we sold two houses, we have to move, we have to renovate a place to live in, and we became shopgirls. These Saturday a guy has been hired to clear out all the brush and trash trees in the yard, and remove vines off the Love Shack. Dave's brother is coming from South Carolina to help him move, so hopefully Dave's house will be cleared out this week.

We've walked around the yard (I got bitten by fire ants last weekend) and the house several times, talking and planning, often taking our planning sessions to the local cafes and ice cream parlor. All in all things are humming along. We are both anxious to keep things moving forward, and still happy with our decision to take on this major challenge .

The Mockingbird Cafe in BSL
I celebrated my 70th birthday a couple of weeks ago, with lunch with dear friends and also a huge tango party. I truly do feel like 70 is the new 30.

The Oriental Rug

The Oriental Rug - Inspiration Wednesday

The Oriental rug. Is it even PC to say Oriental? Anyway, it is a classic that has gone in and out of fashion. For the past few years it's been seagrass, hides, overdyed, and chevron pattern rugs for me. Between Dave and I we have three Oriental rugs, two large traditional ones from him, one smaller Kilim from me. Since our beach house is a combination of our styles, I'm incorporating the Oriental rugs. One will go in the living room, one will go in a bedroom, and one will go in the center hall.

Learning to love Oriental rugs again
I pulled a few inspiration images to make me get in like again with Oriental rugs. I haven't used them since my hippie days in New York. They are kind of looking fresh again to me.

This geometir in a mud room

This one is a art of the kind of mix of furniture I'll have to make work

This is a lovely traditional room

Another great mix

Hallway inspiration

I spy a hide in the adjacent room; I still have mine

Bathroom Oriental

Another inspiration for the bathroom

Love it in the dining room

Mixing it up with an Oriental rug

I'll be bringing a pair of orange velvet French armchairs

Layered Oriental rugs

Center hall inspiration

One of the bedrooms will get an Oriental rug

More living room inspiration

I like the modern looking stripes on the wall mixed in with the traditional

Brown furniture and Oriental rugs are in my future

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Inspiration Wednesday

Inspiration Wednesday...
Every Wednesday I'll post about what inspires me
Ken Fulk inspires me... 

The first time I laid eyes on our beach house I was already mentally furnishing it. I started making floor plans and lists of things we would each bring from our edited possessions. Dave and I have different decorating styles, though we do have a love of old things in common. He never met a piece of vintage or antique brown furniture he hasn't dragged to his house in the past 25 years, and I proscribe to the Sister Parrish axiom that a room should never have more than two pieces of brown furniture. He likes white walls; I like color and pattern. Dave has suffered my doll house for nearly three years, living with my point of view. Now I want to combine our styles, use his beloved family furniture and his oriental rugs and lovely things.
Ken Fulk combines antique and vintage pieces. Dave has brown furniture and oriental rugs. When I see a room like this I know I can make it work and love it too. Our walls and ceilings are original bead board, and we plan to paint them white.

Our living room
Our living room - My lime green silk drapes on these windows!
Susanna Salk and Stacey Bewkes have one of my favorite blogs: Quintessence. Their "At Home With" tours are inspiring and personal. I particularly loved one they did about the Provincetown home of Ken Fulk. I used it as a jumping off point for a client's beach house I worked on a couple of years ago. I didn't want to do cutesy coastal. I wanted a collected look, like a sea captain bringing home treasures, or a sea cottage like the on in the old movie "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir".
This Ken Fulk entry hall is great. Ours is a center hall with an opportunity to use chests, tables, and maybe my French settee. It will be a gallery to display our too large art collection. It's painted yellow now, and maybe I'll do the yellow too.
This is the center hall in our house with the bead board painted yellow - I would choose a better yellow; I have a lovely red killim rug that was in Alberto's office that is now languishing in the attic. It would look great in this entry hall.

Ken Fulk gallery wall inspiration for our center hall
So now I have a chance to combine all the things Dave and I have into a really comfortable and cozy and unique space for the two of us. Each of us will have to let certain things go, but we plan to pass them on when we open a pop up shop at the beach once we're settled.

The Ken Fulk dining room has an incredible hand painted mural. We don't have a real dining room, but Dave has a lovely brown old round table that would fit in our planned large eat in kitchen.
Our kitchen - It will be reworked to make room for a dining table
Ken Fulk kitchen is so not generic or cookie cutter
Our kitchen even has an old stove like the one in the Ken Fulk kitchen

Ken Fulk kitchen
My mantra of art, books, flowers will be invoked. I look forward to marrying our possessions together. His grandmother's Governor Winthrop secretary and oriental rug with my lime green silk drapes. You get the idea. Our 1890 Queen Anne center hall cottage will lend itself nicely to it. I love what Ken Fulk did in Provincetown, combining vintage and antique and some modern things. I love his use of color. I love his art work and his sense of whimsy. He's quirky and stylish.

Brown furniture is growing on me
Dave has a brass bed he loves and after seeing what Ken Fulk did, I think it will be perfect for our new house
More brown furniture love
I will have to downsize my book collection
I love wallpaper but the bead board walls won't allow it

I can add print with fabric
One of our two bedrooms
Ken Fulk does great vintage bathrooms
Flowers and art forever
Quirky love
One of the two of our bathrooms has some nice old fixtures
It feels great to be blogging again and sharing with all my fellow decor mavens! You can now follow this blog. There's an email link on the right hand side...
Ken Fulk I love what you do1