Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER SERIES: The Farmhouse Keeping Room


Definition of KEEPING ROOM:  a common room (as in a colonial house)
usually used for multiple purposes
Looking at these before photos, it still amazes me how well our vision for THE COUNTRY FARM HOME came to life. . .Out of all the rooms,  the KEEPING ROOM and KITCHEN are probably the most photographed and the place that catches everyone's attention. . .Most of our visitors come to the back door, so it's these two areas they see first. . .I wanted it to be dramatic but welcoming. . .and honestly I had no idea it would come together so well. . .even though it took years to accomplish. . .Lots of years. . .
In the beginning, I only knew I wanted a huge room and open space. . .lots of light streaming in. . .a big walk-in fireplace for our fire cooking. . .the look of an old farmhouse. . .The rest sort of. . .how should I put it? . ."EVOLVED". . .as we added one layer onto another. . .and as we shopped Antique Malls finding items we could incorporate into the rooms. . .We armed ourselves with a tape measure, scratch pad, pencil and camera no matter where we went. . .More than once it paid off. . .

"This wasn't like building a new house. It was like putting a puzzle together."
A puzzle it was. . .especially the keeping room. . .Before the renovation, it looked something like this from the backdoor. . .
My first goal was to take down walls, take out the bath, and enlarge the room. . .We only added ten feet to the length but it sure made all the difference. . .You can see the addition from the outside at:  THIS OLD FARM HOUSE

As we look toward the fireplace,  the ten foot addition is obvious--all new materials. . .If the walls were still up, I'd be standing in the bathroom taking this photo.
John thought I was a little crazy at first with my plan. . .but I had a vision. . .I could see it finished in my mind's eye. . .
Once the walls were painted the same cream color as the living room ceiling, John began installing the pine floor and staining it to look vintage. . .Looks old, doesn't it?. .The boards were extra wide and John laid them very randomly, which helped make them look original to the farmhouse. . .



At this point, I knew we needed a lot of cupboards on that long, blank wall opposite the windows. . .We didn't want them to look new. . .We wanted them to look as if they had been a part of the house for decades. . .We hunted and hunted. . .checking Antique Malls and Flea Markets in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. . .Nothing seemed to work. . .John began to sketch out a plan for building the cupboards himself. . .but there were too many other projects to finish before he could begin.
Then one day we visited our friend in Dyersburg, Tennessee, who happened to own an Antique Mall. . .I was telling Bill what a hard time we were having finding anything for that wall. . ."Come back here with me" as he led us to the storage room. . .There we found the 1898 cupboard. . .and a quick search turned up the 1936 Baker's cabinet, too. . .But it still wasn't enough. . .John suggested he build a copy of the 1898 cupboard and place the 1936 cabinet in the center. . .We did the math, only to find that we were still short by about 20".  I put my thinking cap on and asked if he would build an open shelf unit to display the cast iron pots. . .It would put them close at hand for our open hearth cooking. . .John grinned. . .We purchase the two antique pieces that day. . .


I did have John replace the open shelf of the 1898 cupboard with a drawer in the new one. . .He went a step further and lined the drawers with cedar for storing my vintage linens. . .
Surprisingly, the addition of the wall of cupboards made the room look larger. . .For Christmas that year, John crafted the FARMHOUSE TABLE from Native Cypress. . .and about that time, I happened upon a great find at a Goodwill Store. . .the Windsor chairs. . .stained in oak. . .We painted them black. . .
It was all coming together. . .BUT. . .I wasn't satisfied. . .not enough visual impact. . .not enough definition between the kitchen area and the keeping room. . .My thoughts went back to my years of working at Colonial Williamsburg and the checkerboard floor cloths often used to help define different areas. . .Why not paint a checkerboard on the floor below the table?

It was hard to put paint on that beautiful floor. . .but John said we could always sand it down and start over if we didn't like the checkerboard look. . .That winter we got underway. . .


Of course, once it was finished, we loved it! . .What a focal point for the room!!!!
Now, I could decorate!!
Let's start at the backdoor again. . .

 







 










A VISION. . .Lots of TIME. . .Oodles of PATIENCE. . .and a TALENTED CARPENTER. . .
our Formula for SUCCESS!!!!!
Don't we make a great pair?




Monday, July 11, 2016

Extra Large Rag Rug Loom or Extensions Available at Our Old Country Store





GOOD NEWS!!!!
Many have asked for a larger Rag Rug Loom,
so John has designed a big one. . .

The RAG RUG LOOM is 62" long,
and will make a Rag Rug approximately 25" X 60"

or

If you already own a set of John's looms,
order his EXTENSION KIT.
The side bars will fit any of his looms.

For more information:








Wednesday, July 6, 2016

No Sew Memory Pillow Tutorial


This is absolutely the fastest, easiest out-of-the ordinary pillow I've ever made. . .You'll see the end result of my MEMORY PILLOW when I share the BEFORE AND AFTER FARMHOUSE BEDROOM. . .I've had this idea in mind for a couple of years but could never find the right pillow. . .As I worked on this one, I thought you might want to make one of your own. . .




Nope. . .I won't reveal the entire pillow in this post. . .(SMILE). . .
You'll have to wait. . .
One day soon. . .




Thursday, June 30, 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER SERIES: The Farmhouse Living Room Part II: THE REVEAL



PLAIN AND SIMPLE FARMHOUSE STYLE. . .What does that really mean? . .Would you believe that the day I came up with that theme, I had no idea what plain and simple style meant. . .What I did know was that I was ready for a new start and it had to be toward a simpler life. . .I was telling you the truth when I said this has been a journey for me. . .The thing that I will ever be grateful for is that through blogging I little by little  began to embrace a decorating style that truly reflected us. . .Along the way, I figured out how to do more with less. . .and how to use neutrals with pops of color for huge impact. . .I learned this not with a specific plan. . .I just followed along as things evolved.
 


A couple of days ago, I ran across a book and was astonished at what I read. . ."Start with black and white and you'll develop a scheme that's as versatile as it is tasteful and ever stylish. Strong in it's own right, the neutral noncolor scheme gracefully accepts a vivid third element. . . " from Express Yourself With Color. . .That's exactly what I had learned these past four years. . .It would have been much simpler if I'd read the book first. . .but maybe not as much fun. . .


When it came time to add those pops of color I thought that I would go with the usual choices for a farmhouse style. . .play it safe . . .But I soon found I wasn't happy unless there was a bit of whimsy to make me smile. . .and raise the eyebrows of others every now and then. . .I giggle every time someone asks, "Why do you have cows in your living room?". . I tell them that even though we live on a cotton farm, it wasn't always that way. . .When Granddaddy bought the farmstead, a few acres could be cultivated, but much of it had been cut-over by the logging companies. . .There were still stumps everywhere that had to be removed. . .That meant time and money. . .So Granddaddy put cattle on the stumpy, land. . .and he built huge barns to shelter them. . .Simply put, there were a lot more cows on this farm than cotton for many years. . .


But I'll tell you the real truth about putting cows in the living room. . .I love their sweet faces. . .and the pops of color that brighten the neutral pallet. . .You can't help but smile at them, can you? . .It's all in fun. . .They also blend in well with the soft denim blues elsewhere in the room.





 



Black and White. . .Soft Denim Blues. . .Pops of Color. . .Plain and Simple
Surprising choices. . .even to me. . .but I couldn't be happier with the outcome. . .I think John gave me the best compliment of all when he saw what I had done. . . "Now it feels like HOME, doesn't it?". .He likes the cows, too. . .(grin)




If you missed Part I, here's the link to it:
















 






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