Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sneak a Peek

Daughter number two, our "baby", is an adult wife and mother, a family counselor, and a wonderful friend. Rachel, too, enjoys creating a haven for others. Together, Rachel and Curt, entertain myriads of friends, welcoming one and all, serving them with generosity. Hospitality is their hallmark.

For a couple so young, they are very blessed. Curt, from a very young age was a groundskeeper at malls, collecting trash and mowing lawns. Wisely, his parents taught him to carefully save his pennies. Choosing the college which offered him a "full-ride" and working during graduate school allowed this young man to begin married life without debt. So, after renovating a condo in DC and selling it themselves, the pair moved to the Midwest and were able to purchase a lovely first home.

It is very satisfying for me to see how Rachel has taken the design principles I taught her and improved upon them, giving her home a softness which comes from gentle color selections and the warm patina of hand-me-down furniture. Yet, her youth has also nudged her to a few contemporary choices. The blend is fresh and appealing.

As I analyze her home I see some patterns emerge that may help others when arranging their own homes.

First, in choosing a color palate, accept your personality. I love bright colors; Anna normally gravitates toward dramatic colors, and Rachel chooses soft, gentle tones. To analyze yourself, ask, "What was my favorite color growing up? Has it remained my favorite? And, what colors do I choose to wear? Do my accessories tend to be bold or dramatic or soft?"

Once you have settled on your personal preferences, keep your color scheme simple. Choose one main color, one neutral, and one small accent color. Think about using that color scheme throughout your home in variation.

Rachel's home is a good example. Rachel chose variations on powder blue as the unifying color in many rooms--living room ceiling and furnishings, master bedroom walls and draperies, guestroom accessories and nursery walls.

(The furniture in this room belonged to Curt's grammie's family.)

(The rug was a gift to Curt from his Grammie when he was a small boy--and it matches her color scheme.)

(Using antiques passed down from Curt's mother makes this a unique and wonderful place to change a baby.)

Her neutral secondary color in entry, dining room, kitchen, hallway, and guest room is soft yellow or caramel. (Some colors from previous owner stayed as dictated by budget and existing counter tops and fireplace surrounds.)

For a punch, Rachel has used very tiny touches of pink/purple in orchids as a third color. Choosing a single color for a room with a neutral simplifies choices and gives a contemporary flair.

A second design principle Rachel uses is grouping items-of-a-kind. Notice her bookshelves are simple, uncluttered, and unified.

The study has the couple's collection of books, but also displays Rachel's grandfather's hand-carved birds.

In the hearth-room, her bookshelves display hand-thrown pottery. These were purchased in an unlikely location--a beauty shop! Most pieces cost around $10.

The master bedroom had another set of bookshelves. Without enough books to fill all these spaces, what could she display here? A set of crystal candlesticks from her wedding reception tables led her to bring up all the crystal she was given for wedding presents to fill the shelves. The glass complements the icy blue walls. And, the most special treasure is a watercolor painted by Curt's great grandmother.

On the stairway landing, Rachel framed and grouped wedding photos. Rather than keeping them in a photo album only looked at occasionally, these get noticed many times a day. As their family grows she can add children's pictures above and below the wedding shots.

The final design principle Rachel follows, is the use of balance. Whenever possible, buy pairs--two matching chairs or vases, a pair of side tables or even sofas. If you don't have sets, tables of equal height can be used on each side of a sofa or bed. However, the lamps should always be a pair.

I hope you have enjoyed a peek into another home, as well as this motherly tutorial I am passing on to you.


  1. You continue to impress me with keeping up a wonderful, detailed, and interesting blog. Thanks for teaching me so much about decorating and helping us make our house a home!

  2. Ah Rachie, raising you and seeing you blossom into a beautiful woman has been pure delight!

  3. I'm really enjoying the tutorials. I want my home to have a warm, welcoming look, but I have lots to learn!

  4. Thanks, Sarah, for stopping by. None of us ever stop learning, but having a teachable attitude is key. I keep looking for pointers!

  5. Maurie, your home and family are beautiful. Truly. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    Thank you, as well, for the very kind comment you left at Pollywog Creek. Your encouragement meant more to me was a God send. God is good and His love and mercy endureth forever!


  6. Maurie,
    I found your blog through a link on Bonnie Ingraham's FB.

    I am still trying to move into my home. Seeing your daughters mostly bare walls is such an encouragement! Seeing all of the lovely draperies is a motivator.

    May I ask, what is the 3 part grouping over the dresser in the picture above the bookcases? They are colored like mirrors, but they don't look like mirrors.


  7. Pamela, I will do a post on those daughters and I painted them in the backyard on our last visit! Thanks for asking. I would have e-mailed you back, but I couldn't get to your site. Maurie