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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?

Paint Chip Paradise

March 3rd, 2008

Is there anything more wonderful than a paint chip? Okay maybe a few things, but right now I am really loving paint chips. For one thing, they are free! You can walk into any local lumber yard, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, True Value, and fill you pockets and your purse, and stuff some in your bra, and your socks and then roll up the brochures and tuck them up the legs of your pants,and down your sleeves and slide a few xtras in your shoes, and walk out of the store waving to the hidden video camera on your way out and NO ONE can do anything about it!

I do try and be discreet. I pull one color out of the display, turn it over, and then put it back. I step back from the display and pretend to mull. When the clerk comes over to ask if I need help, I say, ” Oh I am just looking.” as I pick up a chip, shake my head and PUT IT BACK.

As soon as the clerk walks away, I grab huge handfuls of colors. Sometimes, I even take three or four of the SAME color so I can get a better idea of what it will look like when I get home.

My paint chip binges are always accompanied with a blue tinge of sadness. I think back to my new mom/first home phase, when Martha Stewart was the queen of paint chip displays. Her displays in K-Mart were my mantra and she was my spiritual decorating Zen goddess. Martha and I painted many a bedroom, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, nursery, living room, book case, chair, and garage sale treasure. Her paint chips were large, her colors were luscious. Her paint made me feel important, useful, smart, and like I belonged. Then it disappeared. I couldn’t find her paint anywhere. I guess the jail stint did in the paint division. Too bad – her recipes are too freaking complicated for me, and I don’t sew or craft, but I could relate to that girl’s paint.

These days I am looking to Ralph to lead the way. Ralph Lauren has some great colors and interesting techniques on display at Home Depot. Even though Sherwin Williams is currently the reigning king of the BIGGEST PAINT CHIP EVER!

I have been thoroughly seduced by Ralph – mostly because it is Ralph, and I succumbed to that particular brand years ago (though I am somewhat bothered by one of the brochures which shows a blond painting a wall in a lacy blouse). However, I am willing to overlook a few bizarre personality traits, for a big paint chip and a hoity toity paint brochure.

P.S. – I drove to Topeka and popped in Lowe’s to look at tile and who did I find there? Martha! Her paint has moved to Lowe’s But alas – it was not the same…

She is now a part of a snooty clique that includes Eddie Bauer and Laura Ashely and Waverly. They were nice to me, but I knew they were talking about me behind my back. Martha and I tried to rekindle the old spark. I mulled over her display. I tentatively reached for a color chip. But it was too late. My heart had already fled into the arms of another. And his name is Ralph and it is not because Martha and I didn’t have something real and true – it is just that people change…evolve…it is not anybody’s fault. Plus,long distance relationships are hard to maintain in the paint department. It is difficult to drive to Topeka to pick up an extra gallon or two. So Martha and I had to go our separate ways. I will always look back fondly at our time together. She threw a wine bottle at my head as I walked away.

Interior Door Choices

March 3rd, 2008

It took a while to make up our minds. We stood in front of the door display in Home Depot flipping through the various door profiles for what seemed like an eternity, Our four boys entertained themselves by having shopping cart races, building forts in the lumber section, playing hide and seek in the insulation display, and opening and shutting every kitchen cabinet in Home Depot 4000 times. We pretended that we did not know them.

While there, several good friends stopped by and gave us their opinions. And though sound, we eventually chose otherwise. In fact we chose a door that I fell in love with years ago. A door that I saw, and thought, the country doctor will hate that door. He will think that door is too contrived. He will think that door is pretentious. He will think it is just a little too spiffy. But he didn’t. He liked it as much as I did.

Then we had to decide if it was too busy of a door to go on all the room doors and all the closets. So while our children knocked down old ladies with their shopping carts we debated and debated and debated. Finally we just decided to do every door the same.

Here they are. They just seemed to scream farmhouse with quirky people living inside.

JELD-WEN : Molded – Molded Interior Doors – Passage – Door Designs

On the main floor we are going to do solid wood doors from Koch and Company – a Seneca Kansas Company.