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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blue and White Coastal Inspiration

This past week, my husband and I spent time in California with family. His family has been making this trek every year for the past 50 years and each year, the importance of setting aside and spending this time together grows. Times change, seasons of life come upon us, our children grow up, we seem to multiply and yet we have an empty nest, and none of us can seem to keep time from passing. And so, we relish it, every fleeting moment.

 Oceanside, CA
Oceanside, CA
For as long as I've been tagging along, we've been staying in the same exact location in Oceanside, CA. We stay in a charming place situated right between the harbor and the ocean. The views on any side are amazing. Every morning, we roll out of bed and meet at the local coffee shop, right off the harbor.

The Nautical Bean Coffee Company
It's so peaceful there........

Oceanside Harbor
One of the historic homes just up from the coast in Oceanside is the little cottage that was once featured in the movie, "Top Gun".

Cottage from the movie, "Top Gun"
It looks a little different today, but still maintains that original cottage charm we all remember from the movie. I love that tiny little porch and all of the details in the moldings and balustrades. It reminds me of mid-summer nights on the porch swing back on the farm in Wisconsin and family time. Families and porches, they just seem to go together!

Being back at the ocean reminds me why I love coastal design so much. In a flash, it takes me back to bright rooms filled with ocean breezes, breathtaking views, and the sound of the waves constantly crashing and moving and the all-important outdoor verandas, patios, and porches.

Beach House
Ralph Lauren Coastal Inspiration
And, it also reminds me of Beth's and my love for all things blue and white.

 Carolyne Roehm's Blue and White Table
Carolyne Roehm's Blue & White Table
Since Beth and Jim have purchased their "new" historic home in Raleigh, NC, we've had such fun collaborating back and forth on some of the elements for the interior. Raleigh is about 2.5 hours from the eastern seaboard and definitely influenced by the ocean weather and water, inspiration for some of the beautiful shades of blue and white that she is going to use.

I recently went to the Kravet Fabrics showroom in Scottsdale at the Arizona Design Center, looking to find the fabric in this incredible chair...

Well, I found it and needless-to-say, I've sent Beth these fabric samples, hardly able to wait to see which piece she uses them on. **Note: Had you noticed the exterior edge stitching on the arms of the chair? That's another design element Beth and I love. The chair frame also reminds me of our antique deconstructed French Armchairs on FMF Compagnie.

I've also thought that mixing some of these blue and white elements might lend a casual elegance to the final design. These great pieces will be in stock at FMF Compagnie this fall.

Blue & White Bone Inlaid Frame
Blue & White Hand-Dyed Pillows
Indigo Rattan Baskets

Blue & White Cantonese Collection
Stay tuned for more as we continue to update you with Beth's home renovation in Raleigh.  You can also keep updated by checking on our Pinterest board with additional photos.

During my time at the beach this year, I felt fortunate to have time to read the New York Times Best selling book written by Kristy Woodson Harvey, "Dear Carolina".

Dear Carolina
A moving debut novel about two mothers—one biological and one adoptive—from a compelling new voice in Southern women’s fiction.
One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…
One of my favorite quotes in the book: "You can never have too many people who love you."

Sending love......until we enter the gate at Beth's home in Hayes Barton again soon.....


Monday, July 13, 2015


An old gate is welcoming all of you to a historic home in the Hayes Barton neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Jim and I returned back across the pond from Castle Combe, England to Raleigh, North Carolina with a job relocation for Jim. We have been house hunting for over nine months and after losing out on several homes, we heard a historical home was coming on the market in February and we were the first to get in the door when it was listed. Jim and I were smitten the minute we walked in the front door being drawn to the old wood floors, the beautiful staircase, the height of the ceilings and the size of the rooms. It was obvious it was in need of some TLC throughout the house but Jim and I love remodeling old houses so rather than get turned off by the growing list of concerns and work, that just got us more excited for the challenge.

We concluded the tour of the inside and then began to peruse the outside and this is where we both got so thrilled. We were over the moon with the potential we could see! Even though it was February, the garden has lovely scalloped fencing, a covered veranda off of the living room and a sweet "walled" garden and a lovely garden size space leading to a guest house. WOOHOO!!! Inside and out, we could see this being our new home......

........and we pinch ourselves every day that we are the new caretakers of this lovely old home.

I love it that we are settling in to a city in the United States that is tied to England in so much of its history.

The city of Raleigh is named for Sir Walter Raleigh, explorer and noblemen from England who funded the first expeditions to the coast of modern day North Carolina. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees which line the streets. The old trees remind me so much of England too, with their enormous trunks and sprawling limbs that are so majestic. I remember marveling that in England the historical societies gave historical status to trees by their age and many are National treasures. I wonder if Sir Walter Raleigh was involved in the planting of many of these historic old Oak trees?
Our neighborhood, Hayes Barton is charming. Interestingly, Sir Walter Raleigh grew up in a Devon farmhouse named... Hayes Barton. It too reminds me of England because it has a little village! Yes! A little village, called Five Points. It is where five streets come together and there is an eclectic setting of old brick buildings that are homes to the post office, the Hayes Barton Pharmacy, Hayes Barton Cafe and Restaurant, several antique stores, Crafty Beer Shop (a pub!), and NOFO, a coffee shop and gift store. All it needs is a small grocery with a butcher and it truly would be a little English village....oh well.....I'm o.k. with no grocer because good ol' Trader Joes is just two miles away. But it is so charming that I can walk to this setting through a lovely neighborhood of gorgeous homes.
This house is a favorite on Pinterest...
I wanted to share with you some of the charming homes in Hayes Barton. It is considered a historical neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Raleigh with most of the homes dating from the early 1900's. Now that makes me laugh and giggle after living in a 15th century cottage and a 16th century converted pig barn!!!! Jim and I love walking through the neighborhood and admiring the many different styles of homes, hearing the birds playing and singing in the Oak trees and rambling down the higgelty piggelty streets - there is no grid system in this neighborhood!!! 
The architect who designed the neighborhood, Earle Sumner Draper, made all the streets fit to the contours of the hilly adds so much to the charm of the neighborhood. I hope you can get the feel through the pictures from our stroll.
 Our first purchase for our home was this old gate.
 I found it of all places on Craigslist, listed by an elderly woman in downtown Raleigh who had had it for years and purchased it from an antique store.

I have not decided where we are going to use it, but I couldn't pass it up. A gate says welcome to me, come on in. You have to unlatch it, push it and then swing it to close it. Then you have entered in and that's where you will walk up the brick walk way, climb the steps and knock on the front door. needs some work; like the UNC 'Blue' and the carpet on the stairs, both need to go! Hope you see the potential like Jim, Jackie and I do. We hope you will sign up and follow our blog to see each step in our remodel.

Jim and I have always loved a more casual lifestyle in our interiors and also seem to lean to a more masculine look in fabrics, rugs, furniture and collections. So much of what Jackie has at FMF Compagnie in the store, I would love to have in our whole house! Her look is what we love!!! Right now the two gentlemen club chairs that she had upholstered in vintage men's wool pinstripe would be so handsome in an office.
 Antique English Gentlemen's Chairs
Antique English Gentlemen's Chairs
Well, to be honest this entire vignette she has in the store would be fabulous in a office.....the huge map of England...
 Antique Cloth Maps of England and Wales
Antique Cloth Maps of England and Wales
...the solicitor's filing cabinet...
 Vintage English Solicitor's Filing Cabinet
Vintage English Solicitor's Filing Cabinet
...and all the old books and collectibles. Just dreaming about a finished office, but I need to stay focused on demolition, tile, faucets, paint, ectera.....UGH. Lots of decisions. I'm so thankful Jackie is in ASID and so involved in the interior design world so Jim and I can look to her for guidance and bouncing ideas off of. She and I just met and had a brainstorming session and we will be sharing our ideas soon.

In the meantime, I highly recommend a book, One Man's Folly, The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood. It is stylish living but comfortable. I loved the story line of his life and his love for redoing old historic buildings. So many times with an interior design book I seldom read the text, just take in the pictures over and over. Not so with One Man's Folly; I read the entire book and loved it all the more.

Nothing like re-purposing a packing blanket used as an entry rug...

Please come through the gate again soon!

I am already busy working...

Beth and Jackie