Browsing Archives for Design

The Postcard Wall

January 6th, 2011

During our recent visit to see Mike and Liz in Kansas City, I noticed that they had started a postcard wall in their kitchen.  You might remember that Liz’s folks back in England also had a postcard wall in their kitchen.  With five daughters who all love to travel, you can see that Liz’s mum’s kitchen wall is very full.

I think that a postcard wall is a fabulous decorating idea!  It’s not only an interesting, colorful, conversation piece, it is also very cheap!  Heck!  The people sending you the cards are paying for it!

Of course there are a few problems with getting a postcard wall started…

1.  You have to know people who travel.

2.  Those traveling people must like you well enough to go to the considerable trouble to send you a postcard in the midst of their trip.

3.  I guess you could send postcards to yourself when you travel which in some ways is even more interesting.

4.  You could also pay people to send you a card or at least send the postage stamp along with them alleviating some of the trouble involved.  This also gives you the advantage of hurt feelings when they fail to send you the card followed by a subsequent guilt trip from which no postcard will ever be sent – but it does improve the odds of receiving a postcard from their next trip. 

5.  You could also rely on your considerable charm to manipulate people into sending you a postcard from their trip. 

Whichever!  As long as you get a postcard wall, who cares how it is done?

I think I am going to have to start one myself.

Speaking of great movies…

Remember the scene in On Golden Pond, when Ethel Thayer is making strawberry shortcake in the kitchen and behind her is a wall full of postcards… or were they photos?… for the sake of this story I am going to go with postcards. I couldn’t find the strawberry scene, but I did find the scene where Norman tests the phone in the cabin.  There is a wall of small photos behind him similar to what I remember in Ethel’s kitchen.  It’s very casual and random and careless which is exactly my favorite kind of decorating.  Besides!  If it’s good enough for Ethel and Norman, it’s good enough for me.

For New Year’s Eve, we packed up and drove to Kansas City for a weekend with Mike and Liz and their three boys. We went to our first ever hockey game (The Missouri Mavericks) and were happy to see a bloody fight break out between two players. By the end of the fight, blood was squirting from one player’s head onto the ice and though the clean-up crew scooped up some of it in icy bits, there was plenty left on the ice for the rest of the game. Them hockey players…. they are none too fussy.

After that we tagged along with Mike and Liz to a New Year’s Eve party. It was a very nice party and even though we were total strangers to almost everyone there, we felt welcome and right at home. The party took place in a very modern house. So modern, that when the plans for the home became public to the well heeled neighborhood full of craftsman and Victorian styled homes from the 30′s and 40′s, there were protests and angry signs and a few vile exchanges between the owners/builders/architects and some of the neighbors.

The house went up anyway.

I surreptitiously snapped a few photos because that is what I do whenever I am in very modern houses.

It’s instinctual.

I have no power to control it.

The piano/book/photo nook.

Other side of piano/book/photo nook.

The staircase dividing the kitchen/dining area from the piano/book/photo nook.  I am taking the photo from the living area.  The floor plan was great and beautifully compact.  Rooms flowed effortlessly into one another, but each space had it’s own function and character.  Every inch of the home was clearly well used. The home reminded me very much of Sarah Susanka’s designs.

This was the main-floor loo.

It was the only place that I felt comfortable taking photos with abandon.

Because I was alone while I was in here.

Please note their Oracle.    I don’t know this Oracle’s name, but she reminds me of my Oracle.

The Oracle Known as Steve.

Disturbing factoid…
The people that built this very modern house are both architects.
The Oracle Known as Steve – also an architect.
I’ll leave you alone to contemplate the mysticism of it all now.

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?