When one door closes…


I first started this blog because we were planning on building a home, and I wanted to document the process.  But those plans fell by the wayside, and we assumed we’d be in our current home for several more years.  We were *so sure* we’d be staying that we used up all of the collected items (intended for the new house) on this house instead.  Like our front door.  And our laundry sink.  And the bathroom sink and legs.  And the fireplace mantel.  Plus more…


Oh yes, remember this?  It wasn’t so long ago was it?  It’s evidence that we were not planning on moving when we built in this little desk nook!  It’s now turned into this:


We had to cover it up for resale.  Not everyone has the need for a pint sized built-in desk after all.  This old door came out of a friend’s barn.  People will either love or hate it.  Which might not be good for resale either though.  Hmm. 

So the scoop is that we found a fixer upper in a great location, and we’re going for it! 


It’s a farmhouse built in 1930.  One would think it would be oozing with charm inside but not so.  Throughout the years, it’s gone through much “renovation” which we fully intend to undo.  Surely there are treasures to be found underneath all the layers.  Let’s hope!


There is a sheep and horse farm next door so we can pretend it’s ours but without the labor. ;)  Perfect. 


We thought we’d be transitioning back to suburbia for our next house, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Country living has gotten into our bones at this point, and we’re embracing its benefits. 

In a few days I’ll be participating in the Parade of Homes tour that’s being hosted by A Bowl Full of Lemons.  It will be a nice way to exit one door while entering another.  I hope you’ll come along!

Plain English


I’m been window shopping cabinetry lately.


Just because I’m weird like that.


My favorite manufacturers come from England. 


Specifically Plain English


Have you heard of them?


I’ve caught glimpses of their work throughout the years.


And always loved what I saw. 


Very simple.


Always Calm.


With Shaker influences.


No, they are not paying me to say this.


But if you are reading this Plain English... 


Feel free!  ;)


To see more Plain English, click here.

Favorite Hymn

My husband and I have always loved this hymn and last night we recorded our rendition of it… free for you.

Click here to play or download.

“Hallelujah, What a Savior”

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

written by Phillip Bliss

Keeping it Real


Dear Rie,

My question, and I suppose I don't really expect an answer (maybe this is a rant or sorts, lol), is HOW do you keep everything so clean and beautiful? I'm the mother of three boys. Where is the mud from that awful orange North Carolina clay? 

And the fur from the cat? And the crayon marks from the two year old that sneaks away a green crayon and colors all over your favorite ottoman when you aren't watching? And the stinky litter box for the kitty? And the toys given to your kids by every family member known to man?

Oh, how I LONG for a simple home like this. I throw away paper after paper and thing after meaningless thing tracked in by my kids from grandparents and church Sunday School projects and coloring sheets from the restaurant and plastic toys from McDonald's.

I feel like such a kill-joy, and have even had other parents ask if I let my kids keep **anything** at all. And after all the tossing, my home is no where near the simple beauty that your home is. ***sigh*** Please tell me you have really big closets that are stuffed full of everything LOL.

A Reader


Dear Reader,

Oh my, if you only knew how much pictures hide!!! I don't show rooms messy because I don't think anyone would be inspired by them. :)

messyhouse10Our island top at 8:30 a.m. this morning

I know I wouldn't be inspired by my decorating books and magazines if everything was shown in disarray. But of course, our house is not always like the pictures.

messyhouse4The “relaxed” state of our sofa most of the time.

Like everyone else, we make a mess, and then we clean it up. Our house is in a relatively messy state throughout the day, but the children do chores before dinner time, and things get back in order around that time.

messyhouse11A common sight on bedroom floors.

As to the specifics: mud. Well, our floors hide a TON of dirt! They really look dirty all the time because they are distressed and the dirt blends in. I hardly ever mop. Really!

messyhouse8Our stovetop does double duty as a drying rack.

The fur *is* on the furniture. It just doesn't show in pictures. There have been crayon marks, pen marks and marker marks on various surfaces throughout the house but Magic Erasers are my friend. Also we have a rule that the children do art at the tables and desks only. That helps.

messyhouse2Our banister after a few weeks of neglect. (yuck)

messyhouse7Our banister after a few swipes with the Magic Eraser. MAGIC.

The cats are outside and inside, so we have no litter boxes. The toys given to the kids go away very soon after they arrive. Really... we don't keep a lot of toys. I find the standard building/creative toys are the ones that keep, and the rest go. (legos, playmobil, dolls, art supplies, pretend toys, etc.)

Trust me... I toss constantly!!!! If I didn't, then things would get out of control, and then *I* would get out of control, and that's not a good thing.  So, I'm providing preventative maintenance. :)

messyhouse3The girl’s animals-making a scene in the armoire.   i.e. deprived kids being creative ;)

I don't have big closets… the secret is that we purge often. The kids will help with this. I'll tell them to take two bags in their rooms...one for garbage, one for giving. They are quite good at filling them. I find they lose interest in a lot of toys, and they very easily part with the ones they’ve grown bored with.

Welcome to our reality!

a little of this, a little of that


Did you think our bedroom looked a little bare in the last post


Yeah, me too. 


So I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 


Romantic touches here and there.


Like these crewelwork framed pieces passed down from two generations.  They add a sweet vintage touch:


And this darling purse belonged to my grandmother who recently passed away. 


Whenever I dress up I really do use it.  It always makes me think of her and the elegance she exuded.


Do you dress like your house?  I do.  At least conceptually. Simple with a feminine twist… that’s me.


I used an old battery crate turned upside down to serve as an ottoman.  The chair is from Wisteria:


Oh, and I painted the bed on a complete whim.  I woke up one morning and decided it needed to be our island color


But now I think it’s a little too light.  And not quite right.


But good enough for now.

Board by Board and Never Again


700 square feet on my knees and never again.

I’m still brushing stain in my sleep, so excuse the pessimism. 


So here’s the nitty gritty:

We tried a pickling stain, but found too much yellow from the wood still showed through even after two coats.  Then we tried brushing on regular white wall paint, then rubbing off the excess, but that proved too thick and had a tinge of blue. 


So finally we settled on deck stain.  After trying out several different application methods on scrap boards, we found the best solution: 1 cup of deck stain to 1/2 cup of water.  After mixing, we applied with a paint brush. 


The problem we ran into with all of the above methods was demarcation lines.  That’s why painting board by board was the only way we could figure to do it. 

Since we thinned the stain with water, we didn’t have to worry about it drying too quickly before finishing each board.  But brushing even two boards at a time, we ran into it drying, showing those irritating lines. 


When the stain for the whole room was finally completed, we followed it up by sponging on three coats of polyurethane in satin.  That part was a breeze comparatively.


We  like the end result.   In fact, it’s exactly the look we were after.  But. “Never again!”

Although… those are the very same words I uttered after a very hard labor with my first baby.   And we all know how that worked out in the end.  Which probably means a lot more whitewashing in our future. ;)

Ikea Family Live

Have you heard about Ikea Family Live?  It’s sort of like Houzz, but with a personal twist. 


First spotted via Vintage Simple after she posted this homey image: 


I’ve been quite smitten since. 


Instead of “Idea Books”, they have “Home Stories”, where people take you into their own homes and share the process of designing them. 


Like the family above, who converted an old school into their house.  Read their “Home Story” here.


I’ve always had a thing for European design sensibilities. 


Mixed with the fact that I’ve been in love with Ikea forever…


Ikea Family Live is a smorgasbord of inspiration for me. 


And now maybe for you too.


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