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House Tour

Deck the Halls – Living Room

The halls are decked. The presents are still getting purchased and wrapped – shh, don’t tell! Come on in and grab a cup of cocoa and sit a spell… today we’re decorating the living room at my house with a little new and old.

Maybe you’d like to sit by the fireplace in the living room? We normally put our tree in the front window in the music room, but I couldn’t live without the sparkle in the living room so I added another tree here. Nature rules in this room with its large windows so I interspersed mercury glass ornaments with wood, burlap, and tiny grapevine wreaths.

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I love to customize the fireplace decor every year and I’m still loving my old window so why not hang a wreath, put out a little woodland menagerie, bottle brush miniatures and some candlelight.

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Vintage treasures include an old pair of child’s wooden skis that I love!
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And this old truck can easily carry a sisal tree home, complete with shiny bulbs!
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I think I’ll just sip my cocoa in here a bit before moving on to the next room. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Bar Cart

Christmas is almost here! And every day I’m getting the house a little more decked, a little more cozy. I think this year I might need to leave my decorations up even longer than normal, it’s taken me so long to put them up! This time of year is always busy for me as a musician. I sing with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Christmas is the season packed with the most concerts. And this year I’ve been doubly busy as you all know that my friend opened a store in Little Italy, Moonstruck CLE, and I’ve been helping her set up and contribute some products from psbonjour. Oh and I work a day job and host a few parties over the season. But I’m guessing all of you have as many or more things going on in your lives and can relate. So when we get our houses in order, the tree trimmed, the fireplace decorated … the feeling of comfort and peace can finally settle in. And we feel prepared to invite in friends and family to share the blessings of the season. I didn’t get as much done as I wanted but guess what – this year it’s just right!

So come on in, have a seat – can I make you a cup of hot cocoa or coffee?
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I purchased this sweet minty bar cart from a fun vendor at the Cleveland Flea – somethingtobefound – check out her blog! I’m a sucker for hot cocoa drinks this time of year. Or maybe a little Irish coffee. Or maybe a nip of Frangelico or Bailey’s in the hot cocoa or coffee!
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And of course the bar cart needs the right cups and accessories! A lovely copper mug for Moscow Mules in the summer can be just as lovely for a steaming cup of cocoa in the winter. A Ho Ho Ho or Jolly mug always replaces my pumpkin mugs this time of year.
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But no drink sipping is complete without a little musical entertainment. So the ‘ol RCA Victor needs to be a part of the mix and spin some holiday 45’s, don’t you think?!
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So let’s get a little Frank or Dean on the turntable, put some milk on the stove, and get this party started!

Fall House Tour

I hear Christmas music in the stores. I see Christmas ads on TV. I see trees and decorations going up. But I, for one, am not ready to quit on fall. Maybe that’s because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – one where the very purpose of the holiday is about gathering together with family or friends to give thanks and show gratitude – oh, and eat turkey and all the fixin’s, too. 🙂 I am one who won’t put up my tree or any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. Of course, I’m also from Canada, and if we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, you might think that would leave a lot more time. And yet, I just can’t do it until after American Thanksgiving. I want Fall to get its just due. I want it to be honored and treasured. And November is not just a shoulder month between Halloween and Christmas. It is a month to savor, to consider gratitude deeply, and to reflect … a time to balance the change of the seasons with creating room for stillness in our lives. It’s time to pull out the winter sweaters, light some candles or a fire, and cozy up to apple cider drinks and soups. Oh and there must be pumpkins… lots of pumpkins.  So come on in and join me for a “fall/November house tour”.  🙂

I have an impressionistic painting of fall trees I like to put on the fireplace this time of year. An old scale, still loving my old window, and a little “give thanks” banner welcome the season (I made it into a free printable download if you want to make one yourself). I love my old bowling pins (from Yellow Door Goods) and vintage porcelain glove molds (found at the Burton Antiques Market).

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The front foyer, music room, and kitchen also get their fair share of pumpkins and decorations, too. I like to mix fresh pumpkins with any other kind of pumpkin (glass, cloth, wood, ceramic, etc). And I don’t limit decor changes to flat surfaces – walls are fair game, too!

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Thank you for joining me on this tour. May your November be full of peace, joy, and thanksgiving. 🙂

Vintage Lake Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor

From the moment you reach the driveway of this Mentor home, you get a hint that driftwood culled from neighboring Lake Erie beaches will be an important design element for homeowners, Tara and Doug.  And that their shared fondness for all things vintage, worn and loved, will be another.  Doug purchased the home five years ago and his penchant for wood-working and building combined with Tara’s prowess in decorating and crafting have combined to create a cozy space honoring and cherishing their finds from markets, estate sales, etc.
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The house is decorated for fall, and we are greeted by an old milk can Doug collected.  Tara surrounds it with pumpkins and fall foliage, and a handcrafted wreath on the front door.
Vintage Style in Mentor
Vintage Style in Mentor
Vintage Style in Mentor
In the kitchen, Tara has a beautiful candle display she created by layering dried beans in a trifle bowl.
Vintage Style in Mentor
A well-worn chair anchors a corner, maybe enjoying its time alone or maybe waiting for a stack of books or a plant to take advantage of the seat.
Vintage Style in Mentor
A bar cart Tara repurposed in a cheerful yellow and blue anchors the other corner presenting stylish options for drinks and snacks.
Vintage Style in Mentor
The sun room displays many of Tara and Doug’s treasured finds, including lamp making parts from an abandoned factory nearby and accompanying free(!) coffee table and chest.  The room also includes many finds from nearby City Salvage in Grand River.
Vintage Style in Mentor
Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor
Vintage Style in Mentor
But the highlight of the room is the sculpture artwork the duo crafted out of driftwood from Mentor beaches into a magnificent work of art!
Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor
In the bedrooms, vintage windows and salvaged ladders are displayed artfully along with a special piece Tara made Doug from scrap fencing.  I love the use of the old turquoise school desks as nightstands!
Vintage Style in Mentor
Vintage Style in Mentor

The basement houses a room devoted to the couple’s office and craft space or “croffice” as Tara refers to it.  🙂  Tara’s corner contains all of her supplies organized and grouped on a desk and pegboard Doug made for her.
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Doug’s corner showcases his collection of antique fans, bottles, and a few Shur-Stop Fire Grenades he scored on a recent trip to the East coast!
Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor

Vintage Style in Mentor
The basement media area houses a gallery wall showcasing Doug and Tara’s travels to the East and West coasts.  With room for many more adventures, I’m certain the wall will be filled, as the couple recently got engaged!
Vintage Style in Mentor
A chapel sign find from the local abandoned lamp factory awaits its permanent home as we end our tour of this lovely vintage-inspired home.
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Thank you for joining me on the tour!  🙂

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

“It all started with the deck”, said Beth and Mark, as they began to describe their backyard transformation in the Franklin suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio.  When they moved into the house 2 years ago, the yard had been grossly neglected and presented a blank slate and opportunity for them to create exactly what they wanted.  These two are avid hikers / campers and knew they wanted a space at home but outside to decompress after long days at work.  The idea of a deck immediately began to take shape as the first connection to the house.

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

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Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

As Mark will say, “just prop up some chairs and sit with it for a bit to start dreaming”.  That’s exactly what they did, and a plan began to take shape.  They roughed out a 12×20 deck connecting the main house to the back yard.  Mark has a construction background and knew he and Beth could do all the work themselves.  They started digging the holes (they did rent an auger from Home Depot) and creating a foundation.  As they secured the flooring and created the main structure, they decided to pursue an industrial look by using plumbing pipes for the handrails and galvanized pipes instead of wood for the rail posts.  They also saved a lot of money on the way (i.e., $2/wood spindle vs $2/10ft of pipe)!  The end result offers a less obstructed view of the remaining yard and trees.  They had established a place to relax and furnished it with a dining table, seating area, and of course the charcoal grill.
Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Did I mention Mark loves to camp and fly fish?  The idea of a river flowing through it came to mind as their yard had a natural dip that sometimes collects rainwater.  They began to build a riverbed with a collection of rock they received from a neighbor’s egress project discards and Mark’s brother.  They also found a great piece of driftwood to set off the space, and Mark built the bridge over the entire area.  These projects filled a summer.
Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat
After enjoying the riverbed and bridge and dreaming of one of Mark’s favorite states, Wyoming, he longed for some split rail cedar fences, evergreen trees, and a mountain-like setting to spend cool fall evenings.  So the work on the yard continued this summer.  He began by connecting the bridge to split rails and planted blue spruce to frame the area.  A fire pit soon followed and then serendipity happened – they procured a pressure washer (to maintain their new deck!), a wooden chaise lounge, and a wooden swing seat all from neighborhood tree lawns!  Mark built a small pergola and secured the swing.
Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat
A few new cushions, adirondack chairs, accessories, and the final touch – a campfire sign from campgroundsigns.com – solidified the area as their suburban backyard mountain retreat.  Last weekend we put it to the test – we snacked and chatted inside the house, moved to the deck for dinner, and then to the fire pit area for conversation and laughter well into the night.
Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Suburban Backyard Mountain Retreat

Does this spur any ideas for your own backyard?  If so, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as Beth and Mark have!