Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not Cookie Cutter

I have always considered myself a free spirit.  If everyone is turning
right there is a good chance I will turn left, just to see what I might be
missing.  That also describes my decorating style.  I think of a house like
a movie or stage set.  I paint the picture I want to live in.  

My home is unique.  It reflects my interests, my passions and my

For me that means combining the old and beloved.  The inherited.  
Just the right piece for a certain spot.  I usually have something in mind
and then I go on the hunt.  Hunting includes antique and thrift shops,
decorator shops and boutiques.  In my continued effort to be unique I
also haunt consignment shops.  I have found wonderful things at great
prices at consignment shops.  What I especially love is that there is such
a wide variety of stuff.   Utterly unique stuff.

Back in Idaho I often visited a great consignment shop and I think I
must have been one of their best customers.  I have not found a shop
that compares in Victoria.  The closest ones are all 100 miles away.
I am certainly not going to make that drive a couple times a week.

But then this happened ….

I learned about Chairish.  An online consignment store!
Now I can shop from the comfort of my little Texas town and
find all sorts of furniture and decorating accessories to complete
my own stage set.  Look out checkbook!

Something like this ~ a French  armless settee.  Ooh La La!
Vintage furniture can make a home so interesting.  Even if all of your pieces
are more contemporary, a one of a kind piece like this can make a real
statement in a room.  I'm really starting to think I need this for my French
guest bedroom.  You know how I already have these brocante accents.

I could just see that settee angled in the room.  Might be just what I 
need to give the room that little "something something".

I have a little obsession with maps and globes.  Love this vintage
bronze globe.  Can't you just see this in our family room?  I sure can.
It's from Chairish!  Wonder what else they have I could use???

That globe would fit in perfectly in a room where you will often find
Turner Classic movies playing :-)  That globe makes me think of the
movie Casablanca.  Does it for you too?

My daddy used to have a desk very much like this one.  My Mom sold
it because when they moved from Arizona to Idaho, Mom thought it
would be too crowded in her music room with her baby grand piano.
Daddy never said much, but I know he really missed his desk.  If he
were still alive I would buy this one for him!


Now this might surprise you about me, but there is my alter ego that longs
to own a mid century modern home in Palm Springs.  Fondue pot, Frank
Sinatra on the stereo and martinis at 5 pm sharp.  David and I have
discussed this idea many times.  We both love the idea.  Of course we
would have to win the lottery first, but if we did ….

We would need this a vintage George Nelson clock.
Way cool.  My great uncle's name was George Nelson
too, but he was not a mid century designer.
C'est dommage :-(

I am sure this vintage piece was used as a server, but I could see
a flat screen TV on it as well.  We always need to keep the men
in our lives in mind when we decorate.

So that's it ~ my newest online shopping discovery.  I am not being
paid to tell you about this site.  I just like to be helpful in creating
the home of your dreams.

I'll leave you with an old tune to put you in a dreamy mood ~

Happy Thursday everyone!

Home Sweet Home
Feathering Your Nest

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dreaming About Christmas Decorating

I just received the Pottery Barn "Welcome the Holidays" catalog and
now I am dreaming of Christmas.  Friday is Halloween and you 
would think that I would be focusing on fall and Thanksgiving, but
instead I am crushing on Christmas decorations.

I want to really go all out this year because we are planning two big
parties and frankly, any excuse to decorate is a good one for me.

One good thing about being a blogger is that I always have pictures 
from the previous year.  It gives me a chance to say ~ "oh I like that" or
"won't do that again".  

I love to add little touches to every room.  

Yet some years after the holiday is over I think that the following 
year I will keep it really simple.  I hate packing everything back up
again.  So far that has never happened.  Once I open the first box
of Christmas decorations the flood gates open and good intentions
fly right out of the window!

Everything ends up being decorated.  Inside, outside, all the porches.
I just can't seem to help myself.

Do you remember the year I made the Sun Valley ski cloche?
I used a big outdoor lantern from Pottery Barn.  Unfortunately
I left that lantern up in storage in Idaho.  

Do any of you remember when I created the Christmas in Texas
theme on my front porch back in Idaho?  Little did I know then 
that we would actually end up back here.  I must be psychic ;-)

Thanksgiving comes late this year.  So now I am wondering,
do I start decorating early and go big?  Or do I keep it 
to a minimum this year?  

Well I will just wait a bit and see how inspired I become.

Okay Bentley ~ you and I have goofed off long enough.
Let's get outside and wash some windows before it gets
too hot again.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall on the Southern Porch

I spent part of my morning sprucing up the front porch.  I wanted to get
it ready for Halloween.  I decorated the two wrought iron chairs on
the porch.  I'll show you a couple of pics of my efforts before I tell
you a story about our neighbor's first impression of us when we moved
in based on these chairs and two other wrought iron pieces in the
front yard.

I kept the decorations fairly simple.  Since we don't have any children, I 
don't decorate for this holiday as much as the rest of y'all.

Here is the story of the neighbor's first impression.  We all do this ~ a
new family moves into the neighborhood and we are all curious about
who they are and if we will like them.  Our neighborhood is very tight
knit.  It is very unusual for a family from a different city to move in let
along from a different state ~ especially somewhere as foreign as Idaho!

But we were later told that the gossip was that since they saw white wrought
iron garden furniture coming off the moving truck, they all knew that 
although we spent some time in the Northwest, we must be from the 
South originally because Southerners have white wrought iron furniture.
Imagine their relief ;-)

Of course we are Southerns now and I can prove it ….

When I am not drinking sweet tea, I'm drinking diet Dr. Pepper and
I now only use Duke's mayonnaise!  Look what has happened to me
in just over a year living back in Texas ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Daddy

October 26 was my Daddy's birthday.  I have been going through
old albums and found photos of him I don't remember because I was
too young.  He lead such a fascinating life.  He was was the 
president of a major international corporation and was fortunate enough
to travel first class around the world many, many times.  

He travelled extensively for three decades to every sophisticated and
exotic location one could imagine.  How times have changed!  In
almost every photo, someone is smoking a cigarette.  It was the 
era of James Bond.  

These are some of my favorite pics of Daddy.  Daddy and one of his
business associates ~ Harold "Hutch" Hutchison often had dinner at this
restaurant in Paris ~ La Table du Roy.  Chef Georges was quite a sociable
chef and loved it when Daddy and Hutch came to visit.  They were both
treated like royalty and each were given a 10% discount on their tab for life!

They put a mustache and goat tee on Daddy in this pic.   
Apparently Chef Georges loved to treat his regulars like "royalty";-)

Here is Daddy in Baghdad.  He actually did quite a bit of business
there.  His company manufactured farm machinery and heavy duty trucks 
that were used in the vast agricultural areas of Iraq.  Fertile crescent you know.
That's Daddy down on the far right.  He's the one who looks like
President Eisenhower.  

Daddy really enjoyed spending time in Iraq because of all the ancient
history and artifacts there.  We often had long discussions about the
ancient Sumerian civilization.  He was fascinated by ancient history.
How the world has changed since his day.

Here he is in Beruit.

And in Rome.


Visting a coffee plantation in Columbia.

He was on the board of directors of the International Road Federation 
in Washington, DC

And when he retired from international business, he went on to
teach international business at the graduate school level.

And when he wasn't busy with that ~ he was a great husband to my
Mom and a great Daddy to me.  

Cheers Daddy ~ to a life well lived!
Thanks for indulging my memories of him today.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kathleen's Newer Bigger and Better Dollhouse

Just when you thought you had visited the best dollhouse ever, it is
hard to imagine that there could be an even better one.  
There is!
Kathleen's new dollhouse is bigger and has been modernized just
enough to make it completely livable for today's fairies;-)  Here is
the new kitchen with some updated cabinets yet it still retains it's
homey charm.  I love the nursery under the eaves just above the

To give you an idea of the size and detail of this dollhouse, here is that
same kitchen wing from the outside.  All the utilities are in .  There is a
charming kitchen garden just steps away.  The detailing on the 
outside is every bit as impressive as it is on the interior.

I just showed you the kitchen wing, here is the rest of the house.  
Kathleen has gained a proper entry and foyer.  Her living room is no
longer cut up by the stairway to to the second floor, giving her more
wall space in that room.  She also has a larger formal dining room 
than she did before.  

Here is a close up of Kathleen's new kitchen.  The additional cabinet space
gives her more storage and more work surface too.  Notice that butcher
block.  Love it!  I am crazy about the finishes too ~ bead board, the brick
behind the vintage Roper stove and the sweet yellow wallpaper.   

But the best way for me to give you the scope and detail of the entire
house is to share this video with you.  Keep in mind that this dollhouse
was not built from a kit.  It was designed and constructed for
Kathleen by her husband.  (I love this man!!! ) It took him three years
to complete in his garage.  David ~ are you taking notes here???
David is my husband :-)  The project was started in November of 2011
and was ready for it's final inspection and move in this month.  

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Kathleen's dollhouse as
much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you!  Again my 
thanks to Kathleen for allowing me to share her beautiful
home with you.  She is truly an inspiration and a lovely

  I am planning a post that will feature some of the
artists who create fabulous miniatures such as these
because I know many of you have dollhouses or are
now smitten and want to build one too.  There are some
very talented miniaturists I will introduce you to and also
give you some great resources for buying miniatures.
Keep in mind that Kathleen has been collecting minis for
twenty-five years and many of hers would be hard to
duplicate.  A beautiful dollhouse is an investment of both
money and time.  My theory is to start collecting for one
room at a time and before you know it you will be on 
your way!

Bentley and I wish you a happy weekend and beautiful
dollhouse dreams.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley  


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