Country Living feature- the back story

Finally, a little more backstory on our feature story and home in the May issue of Country Living.  And some wonderful images that I am finally able to share that were not included in the print feature. Thank you again to Buff Strickland Photography for of the wonderful photos and Becki Griffin for styling and overall awesomeness.

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

And I have to use this post to thank again all of my friends that came together to help me get ready for this shoot.  Missy and Dusty Robinson of Moosefeathers Florist who helped me with my flower beds!  And Mitchell Davis of Davis Design & Construction here in Brenham.  Mitchell lovingly retrofitted and painted my front door just for the shoot..this was an old one from my hometown that mom and I had been saving and he made it work and installed for me..he also came over DURING the shoot and cut down a limb off this little tree out front that was blocking the porch! He is that kind of guy and friend.  Thank you Lord for people like Missy and Dusty Robinson, Aubrey and Mitchell Davis and A.A. Hodde and his wife Tina who own and restored this amazing house!

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

To jump right in, this shot of the living room with Hunter was an outtake of the image that made the magazine article without him… Hunter had a ongoing love affair with the photographer and crew and he made one shot for the actual magazine but not all;; He is a ladies man, he loves attention!  Besides Hunter Buns, my favorite thing in our living room is these BEMZ Country Slipcover sofas in the Rosendal Pure Linen in absolute white…they are “buttah” as Becki Griffin would say..they are soft and line-y both in look and feel and imperfect and tad slouchy which make them comfy and easy on and off too..I LOVE them..more on how the Bemz covers fit here.  The brass side table was off the shelf from Target, the lamp from Marshall’s. Vintage bamboo table from the Brown Shed, small print pillows are Schumacher betwixt in biscuit, the red paisley pillows are John Robshaw Kedara fabric made custom and the red toile is a vintage fabric.  The Safaveieh Mandy ottoman is from wayfair! The vintage silver pitcher is a gift from our dear family friends the Menke family. Of course my fig is from Tall Plants Houston and my gorgeous heron from Campbells Melange in Louisiana and Round Top fame!

And the boy room…shhh don’t tell Henry his room wasn’t featured..oh well, he gets more Instagram time right?? For some reason they wanted to focus on Drew’s room and he was so glad they didn’t make many changes…we just tidied up..A LOT!

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

Of course his room is never this clean and yes that is an IKEA Hemnes dresser…i love the John Derian insect piece from his NYC store, the D is from Hobby Lobby lol, the George Washington is from A Beautiful Mess in Lubbock Texas, the pennant from Curious Details, the flag and engraving framed with white are from one of my trips to England and the Brave sign, so fitting for my boy, from RH kids.

Old homes often have great hallways even smaller old houses and this one has a lovely one full of windows and light…

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

This is one of my favorite images that wasn’t featured prominently…Becki styled up my beloved blue Leftovers Antiques cabinet to a T! All of my fave things in this pic..vintage bamboo table, shells, books, vintage rug and blue and white pottery and of course bamboo blinds from Selectblinds.com. Here is a direct link to the page where I order this color blind..simply choose on the pull down window “bamboo tortoise” and voila..they send samples too, this is my number one question ever so click that link and it should take you just where you want to go..I order privacy not blackout liner!  And of course the Peter Dunham pillow.

Opposite the windows and RH Linen chair is this wonderful collection of framed antique herbariums from my friend Melisse and her precious mother Sheryl of Campbell’s Melange in Baton Rouge. The Campbells have been showing at the original Round Top shows for many years. My pieces from them are treasures. They even framed these herbariums and they work so well with the antique french mirror I bought in the fields of Round Top years ago.  That mirror is so heavy!  The herbariums and antique mirror and my collection of Texana books do a lot to elevate my accessible Wisteria console in my mind;; That was the whole point of the article mixing regular easily accessible things from World Market and catalogs with truly special pieces to get a great mix…that is my favorite way to decorate. This vignette got a small spot in the article but was’t as front and center as I hoped but that just happens. I am glad I can feature it more here on the blog and tell more about details.

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

Bedding in the master below that wasn’t sourced in the magazine came from Mela and Roam..l adore Courtney Barton everything she does…I used one of her dohars as the spread on the bed and the lumbar is also from Courtney!

So many of you have asked how did I find such a neat home to LEASE????  Well of course the answer is NANA . . . and Jesus..always Jesus! My mom discovered this home when she met the owner, Mr A.A. Hodde, in early 2015 when our family was going through a very tough transition and I was trying to pray through the tough decision of moving from one town (where we had lived nearly 16 years in the little cottage and the new old house which we had only lived in months) to another.  The move was just 20 miles and one town over and closer to the children’s school but it was a big decision toward a new life in a new place. Once I had a peace that was the move we must make I prayed about where we would live. And this is where it gets complicated in my head and heart. This is where I think too much.  Why would God provide such an amazing soft place to land for me (and other women don’t all get this??) well the answer is He loves me and He loves other too but this was God’s special way of knowing how to nuture ME through the toughest time of my life and honestly keep me creative and able to work. When the storm hit out family I honestly thought I would would never be able to decorate another room again…suddenly nothing mattered certainly not decorating.  But my Lord who knows me so well knew how to keep my creative soul alive and kicking. So much to unpack there but I will leave that for another time. And I have to trust He is taking care of other hurting women in the ways that best meet their needs. I am learning to accept his love and provision for me  but still be soft and pray for others suffering too..MERCY and compassion for others and accepting God’s love and provision for self. Does anyone else struggle with this?? Of course you are probably thinking….

So, when we first looked at this home it was in the middle of being remodeled.  We assumed because so much work was being done to it that it was not a rental and would not be a viable possibility but mom had heard it WAS going to be available for rent and met Mr. Hodde and we began discussions. Even then I assumed it would be out of my budget. Little did I know that was God fast at work (through the owners of this house and others) behind the scenes preparing the sell of our other homes and remodeling this nest for our little family. It didn’t make sense and it happened very fast but He had us in the palm of His hand as always. You can see in the below photos the state the house was in during the remodel (much like how I felt in early 2015 and honestly God is still remodeling and restoring my heart still some gunk there y’all..being real) and you can also see the work and details the owners went to restore this old house. Just like God is restoring my heart and my children. The home is at least a 100 years old probably closer to 125 years!  

HE MAKES OLD THINGS NEW! HE WILL RESTORE THE YEARS THAT HAVE BEEN STOLEN and HE DOES make beauty from ashes.  

        A.A. Hodde and his wife Tina and their construction team led by Luis worked months and months peeling back the layers to repair this home and rewire, replumb, add new walls and refinish floors, on and on to bring it back to its glory and make it shine. And boy does it shine! Thank you TEAM HODDE

Mr. Hodde chose the outside color and his wife Tina Hodde and I exchanged a million email and texts and had many great visits about the interior selections, collaborating on the bathrooms and kitchens in particular…including counters and tiles and blinds. Country Living didn’t photograph and feature the bathrooms but they are totally remodeled and charming.  I will have to do another blog post just on this homes bathrooms one day! The entire team did an amazing job…Mr AA & Tina, Luis and Jesus and Manuel..Luis even built the cabinets! They were so open to how to make the home work for us and even welcomed Hunter the dog when the time came right for him to join us.  How many rentals will allow a young lab residency, especially into a house with newly refinished floors??

{Another shot that didn’t make it into the magazine but that I love..the old pew is in another part of that long, large hallway and the dealer I bought the pew from says its from an abandoned church in the nearby country from which we moved, no symbolism there huh?!} Tina Hodde picked this beautiful wall color SW Silverpointe. Look at those old floors!

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

Pillow with ties from Les Indiennes and smaller pillow is a Sister Parish print. Vintage runner and “yard long” prints from etsy and beyond.

So, this post has been hard to write.  I want to give source info and shout outs to the peopleand  places that may have been missed in the “source page” of the actual magazine and its just important to thank everyone behind the scenes.  But I also want to share my heart because this house is more than just pretty pictures its been a huge part of our soul story. So the feature came out weeks ago and I have had so much to say but its bittersweet and I have been stalling … for weeks! We moved in January and I honestly miss this house. We love our new home and its special in its own way, our story here where I write this post from right now is unfolding but this little house will always be so very special.  And its a slow process this “life transition” y’all, lots of road blocks and detours but God is restoring my family and our future just like he did this old house. Things take TIME. That is what God does..He recycles and restores and he makes old broken things new and beautiful again. ButI never want to glorify divorce or for anyone to think “wow she landed on her feet!” Yes I have a wonderful support system and career and this cute house was ours to live in during a dark time. That is wonderful and it was nice. But that is not everything. Let’s never forget that.  I think one of my biggest issues with the attention of this story and my entire story overall is feeling ashamed or guilty that I am so blessed and yet still hurting so much. Like I mentioned above, it’s good to be mindful and grateful and  aware of women around the world who have so much less and are suffering so much more.  It’s hard not to ask ‘why do I get a beautiful nest while women are fleeing Syria with their children and no water and food’ and even more embarrassing ‘why is this still so hard when i have so much’..I don’t understand and thats okay..its good to ask both I am learning.  I do believe God sees US ALL no matter the economics, whatever situation you may be in…and also remember just because there are pretty pictures and houses doesn’t mean people inside aren’t hurting and journeying much like a refugee..just in a different way. I am not a theologian I am just a decorator.  But I am also woman a mama and just a regular person too with questions and doubts and fears, even among cuteness lol! I don’t want to be a downer, this was an amazing experience and I am so thankful for my life and my business…life IS good. But it is a journey with bumps and its important to gloss over the hard part. Sure I know I don’t need to share every detail or pain or struggle but I hope sharing some of the real backstory both about the house and my heart helps make the picture more complete.  

{The “island” was just stock cabinets that my friend Kevin Gilmore of Oaks Renovation clad in v groove for me, notice the CS Lewis quote on the chalkboard hand lettered by my Tara Royers Steele, the tall cabinet ironically from our local rehab Restore shop, sign over cabinet from Leftovers Antiques, light discontinued from Wisteria;(}

     To me that is what building home is about, creating a backdrop for real life..the beautiful times and the messy, tough times too 

Shauna Niequist calls that BITTERSWEET.  So true. 

This home was a refuge to my boys and I and it was filled with joy at times with our Hunter and Nana and friends and it cradled us on teary nights and hard mornings too.  That is what shelter and home and true beauty and design are about to me. SO there you go, a little back story on a magazine feature.

 

SHELTER

 

RESTORATION

 

STORY

 

PROVISION

 

HOME

 

IMPERFECT FAMILIES and LIFE

 

But a PERFECT FATHER, who sees us all whether in a desert or in a rental, even in a mansion.

 

{Special thanks to Mr A.A. Hodde and your team of guys for all of your hard work on restoring this home and to Tina Hodde for your friendship, creativity and prayers, thank you for sharing your house and talents with our family and thank you to Country Living for the feature!}

 

 

The Decor Detective

One of my new year’s resolutions has been to blog more..so finally (mid Feb) I MAY (no promises) be getting revved up.  One of the priorities and goals in this plan to blog more is to highlight creatives and friends I admire and want to recommend and tell you all about.  First on that list is my dear friend and former client Nancy of The Decor Detective.

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She is from Savannah and loves blue and white so of course we immediately bonded! Nancy was one of my first clients YEARS ago!

I will be honest sometimes it stings (or it used to before divorce, doesn’t really both me anymore, hello #perspective) or is a tad awkward when a former client or someone I consulted with goes on to do their own design or styling business.  But never the case with Nancy.  And truthfully I am super busy anyway and there is room for ALL OF US in this big sea of making the world beautiful one little home at a time.  SO instead of competing let’s choose to encourage the ones we respect and admire and look forward to watching GROWTH and success! There is room for everyone and we all have our unique talents and niches!

So back to Nancy, I mean look at this bathroom she just did…so fun!

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The before and after is insane! Did I mention that Nancy was a Chemist (yes a chemist) in her former life before kids so of course she is great at the details!

before and after powder room reno

I love the Albert Hadley-esque wallpaper…she shares the sources on her blog.

the decor detective;

the decor detective;

Bathroom photos by Haley Ottmann Photography 

Did I mention she has three boys…she understands how a real family lives and how hard we can be on our homes. I love these silhouettes below…Nancy loves color! So interesting to me, she has such a sweet and kind and meek personality but she loves bold color and just ask her about DARING GREATLY!  She has inspired me so much the past few years! She may seem quiet and calm and meek but she is a strong woman and mama and now stylist!

GO NANCY GO!

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If you live in the Houston area of Bellaire or West Univesity, Nancy can help you find the perfect faucet or mirror or fabric.  She is so good at her detective work she often helps ME source stuff or go to stores “in town” if I don’t have time because she will be “on it” and sniff it out like a pro!  On top of that talent she is maybe the kindest person EVER. I am serious.  Like I said, she has three boys and I love talking to her about parenting too.  She just has a heart of GOLD and a great eye and heart! She is just starting out but I know she can handle your project and if she is unsure or you are unsure I am happy to collaborate with y’all on a project…I believe in her character and abilities that much1

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The truth is I live in Brenham now, further from Houston than ever and I can take less and less jobs inside the loop so I am thrilled to tell you about Nancy. And look at all of her cute packages she offers more here…I love the names and descriptions!  Brilliant Nancy!

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