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Monday, August 27, 2012

Does Your House Tell Your Story?

This is our small entry at the new Décor To Adore manor. It might be a bit too much going on for some. But for our family it feels authentically like home.

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The space is tiny. It measures just 6’ x 9”.

When we first saw the home it was staged in a contemporary style. Anyone could have lived there. Anyone.


But what if you want a home that tells a story of those that live there? What if you want to make the most of a space? What if you have an incredibly small budget?

Think about what speaks to you. What you cherish.

I began by bringing in a small antique washstand that Mr. Décor had purchased years ago at a flea market while stationed in England. It’s small scale fit the small space. 

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I topped it with a few of our favorite books, added a small sculpture my mother Karen made in high school, scattered a few found shells and finished the look with an arrangement of hydrangeas.


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Artwork had me stumped for awhile. The builder placed the light switches smack dab in the middle of the wall. Grrrrr. As I continued to unpack 18 million pictures I realized that I actually had very little open wall space. Most of the walls in our new home feature windows. So I took a risk and put all of our favorites up on one wall. I had nowhere to go but up.

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Every piece tells a story. This bell once hung around the neck of someone very special to us. I thank Albert C. Barnes for giving the green light to hang hardware on the wall.

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Seeing the bell reminds us of our Nanny who was tied to the olive tree in our front yard everyday that we lived on Crete.

Family photos and watercolors of favorite places mingle together. Who says a light switch can’t be art?

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You may remember that the vintage scrolled metal frames were found for mere pennies at a thrift store when I was visiting my Grandma Jingles last spring. A quick coat of spray paint made them modern.

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The light in the entry and attached living area encourages morning sun salutations. Yes, by all means the dogs are allowed on the white slipcovered couches. Rudi waits to be lifted. You can see a small footrest behind him that is put into place so that the fur boys can get down when they want to.

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Across from the couch is a large entertainment center and Franz’s favorite napping spot.

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The center is decorated very simply with a confit pot I hand carried home from France, wooden shoe molds found at a flea market in Germany and two books, one of which was written by my dear friend Brooke who greatly inspires me. The other major influence in decorating this space was my lovely friend Joni.

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Nestled next to the slipcovered chair is a small rattan table. This little gem was found at Ross for $15.00. The lid lifts off for extra storage. In small spaces multi functional furniture is key. I love the texture the rattan brings to the room.

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On top of the table a few starfish nestle on a vintage metal vanity tray along with a lantern that was carried by Mr. Décor’s grandfather, Landen, aka POP Gunn, as he walked the banks while working construction on what is now the Panama Canal.

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The coffee table deserves a post all it’s own. It too has a special story and the carving is amazing.

See the slipcovered chairs that were once in my office?

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They are topped with down cushions so lovely to lay on. They used to be yellow but got a recent dip in a dye bath.

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You can see that the small dining area is separated by a low pony wall and an archway provides a glimpse of the kitchen.

Using the same curtains, hung high, helps to unify the two spaces.

Next to the slipcovered sofa is a skirted table.

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It is topped by a lamp, an antique frame once belonging to my great grandmother Emma and a collection of shells. Mr. Décor was once an avid scuba diver. The large shell was found by him in the Red Sea.

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The other table in the opposite corner is covered by yet another favorite book, the same antique frame in a smaller size and an hour glass where time has stopped.

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Yes, what began as this….


…and this…


…has been transformed. It is no longer a generic space. The house now tells the story of the family that lives here.

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I am still working on changing out the overhead lighting and plan to swap out the summer aqua for a bit of orange and burlap in the fall. That is the beauty of a neutral palette.



Between Naps On The Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Someday Crafts, SSS, StoneGable, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Positively Splendid, The 36th Avenue, SNS, A Stroll Thru Life


Auntie Em said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! I love the cool, fresh look of your new home and the turquoise against the white and grey looks perfect with your shells and pretty arrangements. (It even makes your poochies beautiful mahogany colour show up so nicely although I am sure that's not why you picked it!) lol
The little washstand and all the sweet frames and items are so interesting for your entry. Where else would you be so close that you could take in all the lovely things as you would be as you enter your lovely home. They really set the loved and interesting home you have.
I have my drapes hung up high but it was because I was too lazy to hem them! :)
Thanks for sharing a peek!

Carlene @ Organized Clutter said...

I love gallery walls and a little sentimental "clutter" in a home. You have done a beautiful transformation and lightened up the room nicely. Still not sure about white slipcovers and dogs though!

Auntie Em said...

Opps, my bad, that's not grey, it's ticking. Still love them!

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

That looks soooo good.. Now I'll be getting all my frames out of the back of the closet and trying to copy YOU.. please be flattered:) K.. lol

AND you showed me something very special with this post as I have ended up with a huge black with a walnut top coffee table and couldnt sleep last night wondering if it would be ok with my light sofa , thats on its way in a week or so.

Up popped your living room photo- with a white sofa and dark table.. yeaaaaaaaaaa, now I can take a deep sign of relief knowing mine is alright.
so, thank you thank you sooooooooo much...

Amy Jo said...

I love your living room Laura! I love how you grouped all of your favorite things.

Amy Jo

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

What a lovely home you've made for your family! I enjoy seeing homes that have been so lovingly decorated. We have a gallery wall in the breakfast area that we have gotten many compliments on. It says a lot about who we are. You have done a wonderful job!

Denise said...

Hi Laura,

I so enjoyed this post; you've done a wonderful job on your new house!! I absolutely LOVE LOVE your entryway! That washstand is so pretty and your arrangement on the wall is just the kind of thing I like. You've given me some inspiration for new ideas, as well. I think your Nanny goat bell is precious, but I love the watercolors most of all. Exactly the kind of paintings I would choose.

Your living room is lovely with the white slipcovers and skirted tables. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. :)

I've been following your blog for several months now; I always enjoy your posts. Have a great week.

Denise at Forest Manor

chris mckinley said...

Laurs, Thanks for sharing the pictures! The before is well, real estate staged....the after is you and yours! I agree, regardless of what others think aobut our houses, they just have to represent ourselves!!


Linda said...

Dear Laura,
I love the ideas you have! :)
Our entry, by comparison, if you want to call it that, is only a 3' x 3' square of tile. No room for any sort of furniture, but I do have a couple of welcoming decorative pieces on the very short wall that has a window looking into our small dining space.

I'd have to think more on your question - I'm sure our house tells a story, though I'm not fond of photos being displayed other than a couple on the piano. Our single small hallway has personal artwork all hung along it which would show that I value our creativity. The other tiny wall next to the bathroom in that hall, has an assortment of Sarah's achievements - certificates, a few photos from her activities, etc.

Other than that, we pretty much have an eclectic mix of hand-me-downs.

You inspire me.

Love, Linda

Teresa said...

I think mine tells the story of who lives there. You know, my conservative ways, my kids' modern ways and hubby dragging furniture and puting frames on teh walls ahahahaha

Yours does too and I'm amazed of how much you have done through such a stressful and small time.

Looks lovely and amazing - just like YOU!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

How well I know what you are going through bringing your own personal touch to your new home, Laura! It will be a year next month since we have been in our new home. We've added a lot to our space in that time, but in the beginning it was nice to get certain areas with our own feel added to it to really make it feel like home. You've done a great job and I love your gallery wall.

Sandy said...

Adorable as usual. I love the light airy feel of your decor and the stories that accompany the pieces.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Yes, our home definitely tells our story. I can't imagine it any other way! You're doing a great job telling your family's story as well. Crete, Germany, France, England ... I'd love to know more!

Shelia said...

HI Laura! Oh, everything is just beautiful! I love your wall of pictures and you know what? I didn't even notice the light switch until you mentioned it. It just blends in with your sweet pictures. Your slip covered pieces look wonderful and I was smiling as I saw your little fuzzy face sleeping and trying to jump upon the sofa! :) You're making this house so gorgeous!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

I love what you have done to your home to make it yours. It looks amazing and so much better than pictures can possibly show. You have such a talent, everything is so lovely. Hugs, Marty

Karena said...

Laura oh so beautiful!! I am looking forward to hearing the story behind the Chinese Trunk!

Art by Karena
2012 Artists Series

TracyMB @ Crows Feet Chic said...

I love your tiny gallery at the door... the light switch blended right in; I didn't even notice it until you mentioned it. :) I love the personal stories behind your treasures. :)

Little Leslie said...

The look is so inviting. Love the dyed pillows with the rest of the colors. It looks fantastic. I like the entry hall. It's inviting. It piques the viewer's curiosity.
Great work Laura!!

It's All Connected said...

What fun it has been to ride along with you as you turn your house into a home. I've loved everything you've done and found lots of inspiration along the way. All the personal accessories and the stories they tell certainly make this Laura's home! ~ Maureen

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Well, I feel like I know you a little better now, and isn't that the point? BTW, your dogs are adorable. I grew up with doxies - such sweet dogs!

Erika@BeBookBound said...

That wall arrangement is so lovely it stops my heart! I SO want my house to tell a story like this. Thank you for such fabulous inspiration!

Lorrie Orr said...

I love this post. Letting a house tell the story of the family who lives there is so wonderful. I'm still working on mine, letting the story unfold in time. Thank you for sharing, Laura.

Tanya Anurag said...

Hey Laura, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your blog! The transformation pictures are beautiful.

Missed last week's party.. Following you now so that I can join in next week!


Kit said...

When I saw the photo of your lovely wall I got so excited! I have used the same technique in my living room. All pieces that evoke a memory or were created by my children. A wonderful collage! Your room is lovely! Kit
PS My cat does the same thing to get lifted up on the couch...LOL

Little Susie Home Maker said...

It looks so inviting and fresh. I love the picture grouping and those beautiful brass birds!


It's a "decor to adore"!! I love the look in your foyer! I didn't even notice the light plates!
Thanks for inviting us into your new home.

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Laura, your gallery wall in your entry is stunning. I love it! Your family room is so pretty with it's many special touches, too. Great job!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I love getting to see your new home. Love the piece in the foyer. And of your style!

Vel Criste said...

Oooohhhh! So love your entry Laura!! It's very personal, warm, and says a lot about you and your family!!! your house is turning out beautifully into YOUR HOME! Love it!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

You know I think your home is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!! I loveeeeeeee the family entryway you made!!!

openid said...

Your labor of love turning a house into your family's home is evidenced in all your details. I've admired your monogrammed sllpcovered chairs since you first shared them with us . The Gunn Galleria is perfection.
Your Friend,

Louise said...

You have transformed the place, it looks lovely. I particularly like how it is all so personal.

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Laura, this is just amazing! I love what you have done! And in such a short time! Doesn't even look like the same house - and I love how so much of your stuff has a story behind it instead of just being cute decor. This gives me hope that if I am called to move from the home I've grown to love I could indeed make a new house a home. After all I have your blog to come to for the inspiration when the time comes!

Denise at PinkPostcard. said...

Am I reading that right?? Your before pics were just two months ago???? dang, girl! You are good! I've been working on my living room for four years and it's still not done!! Love the stories behind all the accessories.

Michele said...

Your home is so warm and inviting, only about a million times better than the way it looked staged. It's wonderful how it tells the story of your family.

Sally@Enlightenment for the Sleepy said...

Home sweet Home! i am so very pleased that everything worked out for you and that you are now nesting nicely. it all looks so warm and welcoming!, hugs, sally xx

Miss Charming said...

Love all the personal touches in your beautiful home! (Especially the gallery wall.)

Debra @ Common Ground said...

wow Laura, I thought that first photo was a magazine! you've done a wonderful job of making this place your own, it's really beautiful!

Maple Lane said...

Good Morning, Laura. I am able to view and comment! I so adore your new home and the special, sentimental pieces that make it your own! I love seeing the doxies enjoying the sunshine. Remembering you all in my prayers. Mildred

Kelley Highway said...

The memories tell the story, and I see images of the pages of your lives. This is a truly beautiful gift you've given your readers today. I bless you for telling us a bit of the story. Loving every DTA chapter so far!

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

Thank goodness you could look past a bad staging job! Your home is bright, happy and cared for. You love your home and it shows! Great job on the gallery wall, too!

Elizabeth said...

Very nice! You have inspired me!