Celebrating the Nouns of Southern Living

Celebrating the nouns of Southern living comes quite easy to me.  Remember back during the holidays when I shared with y’all about receiving a surprise gift from my nephew and niece-in-law, Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture?

Southern-Living-50-years-a-celebration-of-people-places-and-culture

I finally found time over this past weekend to sit down with a glass of sweet tea rimmed in fresh mint and take in some southern exposure.

Derby-hats-pink-blackGetting down and Derby in all the excitement of the Kentucky Derby is a Southern socializing-first weekend in May tradition.

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As horseshoe good luck would have it, the floral department at the local grocery store put a slew of red rose bouquets on clearance Friday afternoon just in time for Derby Saturday.

I love when the clearance sale stars align.

boiled-crawfishOur Louisville meets Marksville crawfish boil shakes a dash of south Louisiana into the c’est si bon.

Boiled crawfish with traditional fixin’s thrown into the pot makes for good eating.  Potatoes and corn have never met a crawfish boiling pot they don’t love to be a part of, but don’t stop there.

Back when Dave the Builder was in the corporate world, we would host the annual crawfish boil.  One of Dave’s coworkers introduced our taste buds to a new way of boiling crawfish.

At first I questioned the addition of cabbage, smoked sausage, onions, lemons, whole carrots, mushrooms, celery stalks, and eggs to the seasoned boil, but quickly became a flavor convert.

The vegetables, sausage, and eggs boil to perfection in the seasoned water, picking up the unmistakable taste of the South.bottle-crawfish

I’ll say this about celebrating the nouns of Southern living- you learn and taste something new at every event, festival, and boil.

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Southern Living

Blue and white is the classic color palette of choice of many Southern decoristas.

It is seen in the hydrangeas we plant, the china patterns we place upon the Southern dinner table, and the porcelain pretties we decorate house and home with.

Dolly Parton Southern Living

Going up to the mountains (my Tennessee family calls all of Sevier County including Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg “the mountains”) is part of the landscape when we go home to East Tennessee.

I fondly remember the days of family style meals served at Trotter’s restaurant, wild wild west afternoons spent at Goldrush Junction, and the stories of Dolly performing on the Cas Walker radio show.   

A proud daughter of Sevier County who has never forgotten the region, the town, and the county she calls home, Dolly Parton was recently awarded the FBI 2018 Director’s Community Leadership Award for the work done to raise money for those affected by the Gatlinburg wildfires in 2016.

For this, the music, the voice, and the local love, we will always love you, Dolly.

Southern exposure

Antoine’s is Louisiana restaurant royalty-a French Quarter icon.

How gorgeous is this facade?

Antoines-restaurantAntoine’s Restaurant

Southern chefs

From pan to page, southern chefs and southern writers craft a delicious, unique, and enduring story.

Southern writers Southern Living

Summer suppers give a Southerner yet another reason to host a get together, not that we need one.

summer suppers

I’m seriously contemplating changing my rule of KISS- keep it summer simple to KISSED- keep it summer southern entertaining delightful.

Field Pea-Tomato Salad With Lemon VinaigretteField Pea-Tomato Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

We celebrate everything summer from a good crop of garden tomatoes to  a barbecue on the bricks music festival.

soul of true barbecue

Courtyards, patios, and porches replete in lush greens fashion and shade southern exposure.

lawn gate Southern Living

Chicken coops are a thing in the South.

People go nuts for these chic henhouses.

Planning, constructing, and styling is serious business, and rival that of the south’s most phenomenal architectural wonders.

chicken coop Southern Living

Distinctive, indelible, delicious, gracious, hospitable, and charming customs, styles, and traditions influence, define, exemplify, and celebrate the nouns of southern living.

love your style

A Formal Introduction to the Primitive Dining Table: Pairing the Formal with the Primitive

Formal is defined as being in accordance with the usual requirements or customs.

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Fabulous, by my design definition, is being anything but in accordance with the usual requirements or customs.  Pairing the formal with the primitive such as dining chairs and dining tables creates a surprising contrast, becoming the focal point of the space.

Cottage Haven Interiors

I highly recommend seizing every opportunity to show and express personal style through home decor and home furnishings in an original way.  There’s a place and a time for keeping with well, that’s the way it’s always been done, so…  

The cure for decorative complacency can be found in the mixing of styles. 

House Beautiful

House Beautiful rated the above example by Designer Suzanne Kasler as one of their top kitchen tables.  Formal meets primitive in a traditional setting- how many design styles can you identify in the above image? Flattering in presence and stunning in design execution, the pairing formal Louis XV-style dining chairs with a 19th-century French farm table is a stroke of tasteful genius.

House Beautiful

As showcased in Atticmag,  formal Chippendale dining chairs paired with a primitive three plank farm table equals a comfortable formality that steps out of the expected comfort zone.

The first primitive dining table I purchased was at an antiques auction in 1999.  Dave the Builder and I previewed like it’s 1999 the night before the Saturday afternoon auction, and as my eyes zeroed in on the mark, a late 1800’s primitive harvest table in pristine condition, my antiques loving heart began to race.

Dave the Builder, who questioned my judgement, thought I was crazy as I wrote the item number down in my notebook.  “Why do you want a picnic table?”  he asked.

elegant-refusal-dining-roomCountry Living

That picnic table, which I won at the auction, turned out to be a magnificent addition to the Hopefully Classic inventory.  It sold within the week, and remains the primitive piece that got away.  I definitely regret selling it.

Better Homes and Gardens

The next year we purchased a late 1800’s Cypress farm table.  The grayish patina threw me a curve in the pairing department.  I recently brought in a set of six Mahogany Regency Sabre leg dining chairs, not really knowing what piece to pair them with, but knowing I could not pass them up. Dave the Builder was arranging items, and I was with a client so I was not paying much attention.  Dave had placed the chairs around the farm table and the look blew my mind.  The woods, patinas, and styles played perfectly off each other and hit a note of design accord.  The set sold the next week.  The Regency dining chairs and Cypress farm table were great stand alone pieces, but when matched together the look was flawless.

Austin Architect

Dave the Builder and I were drinking coffee one evening and found our conversation focused on a recent buying trip.  Authentic antique farm and harvest tables are becoming more scarce and prove difficult to locate.   Artisans, custom wood and furniture makers, and DIY aficionados are rising to the occasion to produce gorgeous interpretations and meet demand.  Dave the Builder has built farm tables for 4 of our clients.  Our school of thought is to introduce a new twist on an old way of doing things.  One custom table was built from Victorian square grand piano legs and Louisiana reclaimed Cypress planks.  He dry brushed the piano legs with paint to match the patina of the Cypress.  The table now resides at a cattle ranch in West Texas.  Talk about formal meets primitive!  

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The table featured below is the most current one he has built.  We purchased the antique legs and married them to our first choice, Louisiana reclaimed Cypress planks.  The  patina is achieved with a two step process.  He begins with a dark stain application until the desired patina is reached.  The  formal introduction was complete upon returning from a friend’s antique shop with the finest set of six formal white washed wheat back rush bottom dining chairs.  A designer friend scooped the set up for a client.  The chairs did not stay in the shop long enough for me to photograph.  I like that!

The final step is the trick.  We recommend and use Johnson Paste Wax. Available at hardware and home improvement stores,  Johnson Paste Wax gives furniture a safe, hard, and protective  finish with a soft luster.

Don’t be afraid to blend formal with primitive pieces.  The contrast surprises, complements, and is easily capable of becoming the focal point of the space.

Love your style!