Mary Carol Garrity's House

June 25th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I toured the home of Mary Carol Garrity during her summer open house.





Mary Carol Garrity is the owner of the fabulous Nell Hill’s and Garrity’s stores in Atchison, Kansas as well as the newly opened Nell Hill’s at Briarcliff in Kansas City.







She has also written several books on interior decorating as well as a syndicated column called “Style at Home”





I have to admit to not being very adept at decorating my own home.

With four boys in the house, it is enough to just keep a pathway clear from the front door to the bathrooms.




But that does not stop me from enjoying someone else’s beautifully decorated home.





A girl can dream can’t she?





I used to love to decorate and got a huge kick out of arranging things on walls and table tops and along the mantle piece.  

I made curtains.  I collected old plates and actually hung them on the wall.  I created floral arrangements and seasonal wreaths and I made throw pillows to lay my aching head on after all that woefully wearying flower arranging. 




Now I look at decorative items and I just see one more thing to dust…






One more thing that will get broken during an indoor soccer match…





One more thing that will get mistaken for a Frisbee, a basketball goal or a receptacle from which to feed the cats…




So instead I visit other people’s homes and I dream…

I dream  of having a beautifully decorated home with furniture that has not been mercilessly ripped to shreds by the world’s most beautiful show cats, where no corn chips are ever scattered in a trail of crumbs from the kitchen to the garage and back again nine hundred time, and where the dirty dishes actually get placed in the dishwasher and not left to die a slow and painful death under the dresser in the back bedroom. 





A home where the only sticky spots on the floor are those left by the mottled sunlight… and they aren’t even sticky!

A home where the toilets clean themselves, the mud room is the only room with any mud in it, and my children suddenly understand why it is so important to their mother that all the bath towels be folded the same way and they ACTUALLY FOLD THEM RIGHT!

But that is not going to happen anytime soon is it?

So I will just have to hang on until Mary Carol opens her home to the masses again.  






If I can last that long…


PS – Mrs. Mama fixed the above photo for me.  Ain’t it pretty?


  • I hear you…loud and clear! I’ve got one boy of my own creation, but the one I married seems to have the same issues as the 2 year old. *sigh* I can’t imagine what my house will look like in 10 years…

    But then again, I also can’t imagine living in one of those “don’t touch” houses. You know the ones, where the rooms don’t really get lived in because you can’t mess anything up. With the white carpets where the vacuum marks have to be *just so*.

    And so, I’ll take my lived in, messy, cluttered, but over flowing with love and fun decorated house. And I’ll go visit the fancy decorated ones. : )

  • Southern Gal:

    I can’t see the last picture. Is it just me?

  • Janet:

    I also can’t see the last picture.

  • suzetta:

    I can’t see the last picture either. But I’m imagining something spectacular!

  • You are always welcome to come decorate my house! :)

  • Waaah, I want to see what I edited! :P

    So many beautiful things to look at. I especially like her screened porch.

  • LOL I can totally relate. Even tho my four sons are pretty much grown… one 16yr old at home…I still can’t bring myself to replace the glass on the ceiling fan that lasted exactly one week when we thought they were finally big enough to handle it. It was a nice one too. Yup the indoor soccer games always get out of hand :).

  • Stephanie:

    I love to visit beautiful, serene homes…I have 2 boys (3 w/ DH), 2 indoor dogs, 1 indoor cat…and a crazy busy house….it will never be *beautiful* but it’s home…love to look but happy where I am

  • Susan:

    I also cannot see that last phot0. bummer

  • caren:

    I can so relate. Two boys well 3 counting hubby, two inside dogs that weigh 100 and 145 lbs. and 2 cats. You think my house could ever look that way. First time the dog gets a wild hair to chase the cat that nice table would be a pile of rubble.

  • kate:

    I remember when our kids were small I would tell my best girlfriend that I thought I wanted to be committed but that it was ok. Really. I’d get to get in my flannel nightgown, the nurse would give me some hot chocolate, pat me on my back and then I’d get in bed and every week or so someone would come into my room and gently wake me up and tell me, “kate, your children are all fine” and I’d be happy and go back to sleep.
    And, I only had 4 kids at the time. Our miracle hadn’t come along yet (I’d had a tubal ligation and well, we had a surprise 5 years later!).
    And now, I have that same brick walkway that’s in your picture! But I miss the older kids. When they come home to visit they’re not their wonderful sweaty, stinky 12 year old selves so it’s a little easier to let them go back to their lives.
    Thanks for all your writing- sometimes when I’m reading and laughing out loud I’ll tell whoever’s in the room to listen, this is so funny and I read it and they look at me like, “hello, mom, what’s funny?” Really, what does an 18 year old know?
    I appreciate your site- thanks so much!!

  • I’d just like to have my own bathroom…sharing one with 4 boys (5 if you count the big boy I married who will never grow up and leave home…)just isn’t fun. It’s become an instinct to check if the seat is down, no matter where I go, be it a store or another family member’s house or church!
    If I had my own bathroom I’d probably never run out of towels either.

  • That’s a beautiful home, but from the pictures you’ve shown here, I like yours better. You have a great looking house that looks like people can actually live and breathe in it. It has a very warm, welcoming look, and I love all the details you put into it. I’ve actually been thinking about your library a lot this week as Danny has been moving his office to the basement. I keep wondering why we did not plan for a room like that. It will be on my list if we ever build another house–not that I ever want to build another house, but it would have a library like yours if I did.

  • Wow, what a gorgeous home. I’m daydreaming about living there now. Great pics.

  • CAROL S.:

    Better late than never, but I love looking at homes and hers is gorgeous! Agree about things to dust. I have a few vignettes of items here and there, but can only imagine the time it takes to maintain all of that and keep it fresh looking. Thanks.