A Most Fetching Friday First Day of Fall Autumn Home Tour

Today’s A Most Fetching Friday greets the first day of fall by welcoming you all into my home for a fall autumn home tour.
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I try not to complicate the art of seasonal decorating.  Decorating is meant to be an enjoyable experience, after all.  Natural elements, seasonal fruits, vintage china, antique porcelain figurines and regional items familiar to the landscape of our small Southern town never disappoint the eye or occasion.

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Simple, neutral, and inspired by nature hit the high notes of this less is more fall autumn home tour.

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Working with what you have extends to lawn, garden and pantry.  Fall is nowhere in sight in Louisiana, presenting a canvas devoid of traditional fall colors and foliage.

ginkgo

Dried hydrangeas (dead hydrangeas as my Mother so eloquently puts it) and ginkgo leaf holdovers from fall autumn home tours of past accentuate the crimson and gold Anjou and Bosc pears found in the produce section of the local Kroger, lending a simple yet elegant touch of fall to the dining room buffet.

fall-cake

This so simple it’s delicious spice cake with maple syrup flavored frosting follows through with the less is more for fall theme.  I’ll share the recipe with you next week.  I’ve also got a fantastic serving suggestion for the pears to share with you.

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If you would have told me a week ago a wasp nest would factor into my fall autumn home tour decor I would not have believed it, but…

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My brother sent this wasp nest to me with the express intention of it being incorporated into my fall decorating plans.  It is oddly beautiful and quite unique- a step away from the expected.

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A pair of vintage porcelain figurines seem to fall frolic among Loropetalum branches and magnolia leaves.

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Fall Autumn Home Tour

Welcome home, fall!  Hope you all have a most fetching Friday and a lovely first weekend of fall.

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A Dream Home, Weddings and a New Baby Boy: Love is Blue

Love is Blue wedding week officially kicked off yesterday when the bride and groom to be dropped by to put a bow on last minute it’s all in the details wedding planning.  They love the wedding week themed accents and decorations on the dining room table and sideboard- save the date cards for both weddings (local and Canada), photos from family weddings past, and custom wrapped wedding gifts.

custom gift wrap

Vintage ivory and wedding white lead the color palette, and a subtle hint of light blue celebrates the baby boy coming into our oldest nephew’s family this August.

learn laugh love happiness

Light blue ruled the color scheme of the 1960s and 1970s wedding.  As I primped and prettied the wedding themed vignettes, the phrase love is blue popped into my head.  Boy, does that bring back a fabulous memory!

Mr. and Mrs. Ron Howard ~ June, 1975
These Happy Wedding Days are Yours and Mine

What a difference four decades make!

navy blue tuxedo

Elle Decor ~ Chaz Cruz Photographers

I have always loved the song “Love is Blue” by Paul Mauriat.  The beautiful instrumental was a favorite song of a childhood friend. Each time I heard the song over the years my thoughts immediately went back to times spent at her house- one of my favorites in our neighborhood and one I spent countless hours in when growing up.  I had no idea a come full circle moment was in my future.

love is blue

Who knows why I was coming over to my parents house on this particular late Tuesday afternoon in the summer of 1986, but it turned out to be a fabulous decision to do so.  As I was getting close to my parent’s house (now our home) I noticed a U-Haul truck backed up to the garage of the house referenced above.  Flippers can spot a potential flip property a mile away.   This time I spotted a property a block away that maybe, just maybe we could buy, remodel, and call home.  I hit the back door heading straight to the kitchen Trimline telephone (no cell phones at the time) to place a call to Dave the Builder.  The Trimline telephone was about to put a new home in our remodeling hands.

trimline telephone

That phone call was a life changer for us, and the call to action fished out the information I was hoping to hear.  The owner (the father of my childhood friend) retained ownership of the house when the parents divorced.  He lived in the house a few years, eventually turning the house into rental property.

ranch house

Financial issues caused the one and only family to rent the property to vacate without notice (the owner learned of their departure when Dave called to inquire about the property).  Being in the right place at the right time opened the door for us to put in an offer to purchase the property.

house becomes a homeStyle at Home

Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it.  Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled with the house however, disrepair is the best way to describe the interior of the house when we purchased it.  A state of disrepair proves a powerful bargaining chip in real estate negotiations, and being seasoned flippers we were unfazed.  The ink wasn’t dry on the closing papers when Dave and the crew got down and dirty with the demo. Once the nasty carpet, outdated parquet floors, tacky paneling and biting fleas went bye bye, it was time to make things pretty again. Working, measuring and consulting demands concentration, and I concentrate so much better when music is playing.  Standing deep in color fan deck thought, the sound of music pulled my attention toward the Nutone intercom upon the wall.

As if on cue from an afternoon in 1967, “Love is Blue” began to play on the radio.

Fate?

Happenstance?

navy blue wedding utensilsElle Decor ~ Amanda MacDonald Photography

Whatever it was, the impact of this love is blue very special moment stopped me in my tracks of joyous tears.  Special milestones such as realizing your dream of home ownership, celebrating the weddings of a son and a nephew, and the arrival of a new baby have a way of doing that.

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Deliveries. Issues. Solutions. That’s the Way It Goes With Major Home Improvement Projects

My posting plan to bring you the companion piece post to Do You Know What It Means to Love the Decorating Styles Characteristic of the New Orleans Garden District didn’t quite make it to deadline.  Deliveries, issues and solutions have taken priority over my normal posting schedule, but that’s the way it goes with major home improvement projects.

roofing shingles delivery

Home improvement projects are not without problems, delays and contractor issues.  Don’t you just hate that?

roofing supplies

We are now back on track, and from the looks of things it’s time to get things started up on the roof.

home improvement projects

Lawn and garden cleanup is on schedule.

And loud.

Dave reminded me, “if you think this is loud, wait until the roofers get started.”

tree debris removal

A good suggestion for surviving major home improvement projects is to always be prepared.

bose headphones

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Sage Advice and Astute Observations

Sage advice and astute observations to ponder on this first Friday of fall.

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What Mr. Lagerfeld said.

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I simply can’t argue with this observation.

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I miss the days when no one gave a thought to licking cake batter drenched beaters, raw eggs and all. Lest we forget the days of eating raw cookie dough without an E. coli care in the world.

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Love.

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It really is all you need.

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Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home to recharge your battery.

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I hope you enjoy the splendor of the season on this first weekend of fall at your little house on the prairie.

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Feathered Friends On A Cloudy Afternoon

Storm clouds are hanging heavy over our part of the world this week. What’s up with this weather pattern?  Houston, we have a problem took on a whole new meaning and a whole lot of water Monday morning. Everything is bigger in Texas, including this most recent flooding event. My mother, channeling her inner Jim Cantore, kept me informed of the worsening weather conditions and rescue situations in the Greater Houston area throughout the day.

sunshine-in-my-soul-todayPinterest

Funky weather conditions can dampen even the sunniest of dispositions. We’ve had just about all the sadness we can take around here lately, making the distract and deflect act I have become abnormally good at a necessary part of a cloudy day.  Lighting plays such a significant role in our moods and energy levels.  The right amount of the right kind of lighting can promote a calming, serene and pleasing atmosphere.  Sunny days and the pristine natural lighting are favored, but not a 365 day reality.

What to do, what to do with the cloudy one at hand?

I know.  Let’s take a gander at what’s going on with our feathered friends on a cloudy afternoon.

bread-for-birds

Dave the Builder put out bread and filled the chandelier bird feeder pots with seed late Sunday afternoon.  We kept watch to see how well the birds would respond to this first feeding of the spring season.

Robins, blue jays, doves, cardinals, mockingbirds, sparrows –

Feathered Friends On A Cloudy Afternoon

nature is well represented right outside our kitchen window.

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You would think a rainy, cloudy day would keep them away, but it seems the weather was just right to entice these creatures to turn out to feed and frolic.

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See the tilted and empty clay pots?

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Meet the culprit.

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Never underestimate the will of an alpha squirrel and the king of the yard swagger that goes along with it. This greedy gut and his partner in squirrel crime worked in tandem to tip each of the full clay pot feed holders over.  This was one seedy ground game.  A determined blue jay with expert aim dive-bombed the spotter squirrel and it was game on from there.  Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal and the sparrows circled the wagons, and the doves noshed in couldn’t care less fashion.  Victory was declared by the feathered finishers, and a pair of crestfallen squirrels cried “fowl” and retreated to the neighbors yard.

Just a view from my window on the world.

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Food For Thought

Food, cooking, and the gathering together of family and friends is an essential source of sustenance and life beyond the kitchen and dining table.  Consider the role food plays in our all things house that make a home life.  Over the prepping, preparing, plating and partaking of a meal we connect with family and friends, build and strengthen personal and business relationships, indulge in the art of expression and discovery, and create delicious and lasting memories.  Food for thought.

contemporary-kitchen-1Houzz

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

 Virginia Woolf

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RieslingCamille Styles

Essential-EmerilEmeril Lagasse

Cheese-and-honey-HonestlyYUMHonestly YUM

 “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” – Mark Twain

Chef-John-Besh-red-beans-and-riceChef John Besh Red Beans and Rice

J. Kenji López-Alt, author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, debunks  five common Southern cooking myths over on the Garden & Gun blog Daily Shot.  I was surprised to learn…  Click on the link below for details.

Five Southern Cooking Myths Debunked

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Just a little food for thought.

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For Rent: Rental Refresh Upgrades

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the letter R for rental refresh upgrades. The conversation of late between mama and papa Places In The Home and our soon to be college graduate son heading up to the Great White North to begin his career has revolved around rental property viewings, interiors, exteriors, accents (eh?) and scads of all things house that make a home (rented or owned) furnishings.  This is the time of year when thoughts of apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family houses for rent and rental refresh upgrades begin to take center stage in the minds of college bound students, career starting college grads and newlywed couples.  According to recent real estate and business reports, millennials trend more toward renting than buying.

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The genius of internet listings, video viewings, real estate apps and Skype proves an essential tool in locating a property.  With a few clicks, well placed phone calls and virtual tours, our son has successfully rented a two story Victorian-era style home.  Now comes the fun part- the rental refresh upgrades.  He and his girlfriend are currently in putting a stylish spin on his new abode mode.  This is not our son’s first time at the rental rodeo.  He knows all too well renting comes with caveats, and property management firms have rules and code restrictions that must be adhered to.  Addressing the aforementioned right off the bat clearly defines the can and cannots.  Fortunately, the home owner is on board with the updates and rental refresh upgrades our son wants to do to the property.

BM-revere-pewter-framedBenjamin Moore

Fresh paint  rules the rental refresh upgrade playbook.   I ran across this quote yesterday and it really hit home.

“Color is the least expensive thing to put in a house.” —Ruthie Sommers

Color often gives the biggest return on your interior decorating investment. Paint is an instant update and covers a multitude of previous tenant color choice sins and the scuffs, streaks and uh-ohs made when moving out.  As a housewarming gift, Mr. Girlfriend’s Dad is painting the entire interior and key exterior areas of the house.  Going with a neutral color palette allows more breathing room in regards to accents and furnishings.  Landlords and property managers love neutral palettes, and come closer to approving the request for painting with this color choice.

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My inbox is experiencing a high volume of before, during and after pictures.  It’s exciting to be in the loop, share in the progress and to be asked to be a part of the process .

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Does it makes sense and cent$ to make updates and improvements to a rental property?  Absolutely!  Focus less on the fact your new residence is a rental and more on the fact that your new residence is where you call home.  All things house that make a home come together to make the out of your own pocket rental refresh upgrades worth it for the sake of your comfort, convenience and personal style touch.

Rental Refresh Upgrades

So worth it rental refresh upgrades good to go as in take it with you when you go ideas range from a programmable thermostat, stylish mirrors in bathrooms, accent rugs, light switch and wall plates, cabinet knobs and pulls, new shower head(s) and focal point light fixtures to exterior walkway lighting, planter boxes and a decorative mailbox.  Renting or buying, it really is amazing how a sense of personal style, displaying objects of individual interest and decorating with accents that capture and convey your personality makes a house a home.

studded-rug-FlooringHall’s Flooring

I’ll leave it there for today’s post and pick it back up with more pictures and suggestions for rental refresh upgrades.

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Do Drop In: Entertaining With Ease

The welcome mat at Places In The Home is working overtime. Several of our family members are taking to the spring holiday road, and our house is do drop in central.  Good visits begin with good hosting and good hosting begins with a stress free host or hostess.  Entertaining is supposed to be a fun for guests and hosts alike, isn’t it?  I know I have a much better entertaining experience if I access and assign a theme, go with the entertaining with ease flow and keep the focus on comfortable surroundings, inviting touches and relaxing times.

Texas_bluebonnet_plant_lupinus_texensis_with_dark_blue_flowers_with_white_topTexas Bluebonnet

Texas times and family memories will be a hot topic of conversation.  Our company’s travels begin in Texas Bluebonnet country, and with Texas being the common denominator of our family tree, I played it up in theme and setting. Farmhouse chic makes an effortless foundation to build your theme upon.

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A simple arrangement of carnations mixed with greenery and placed beside an even simpler arrangement of apples and bananas in a milk glass center bowl provides a nice centerpiece in a farmhouse chic kind of way.

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Fresh flowers from the floral department of the local grocery store are my weakness, and when the word clearance enters into the picture my shopping cart runneth over.  You really get your money’s worth with carnations. Carnations can last for weeks with an every other day water change and a quick stem trim.  I use tepid water, scale back leaves from the stems to prevent contact with the water, and place a couple of drops of food coloring in the water.

pink-carnations

From recipes to table setting decor, I like to source from within meaning I like to use what I have on hand.  A great home decor clearance sale and dollar store items purchased in bulk can provide all the entertaining with ease elements needed for a well designed themed tablescape.

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kitsch
art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

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Into each case of design and decorating a little if kitchen kitsch is wrong, I don’t want to be right will fall.  The method to my madness lies deeply rooted in the from which I came from principle. I picked up several sets of rooster dish towels at the local dollar store back during the holidays knowing full well they would come in handy. Paired with copper napkin rings I found on clearance at Dillard’s a couple of years ago, the dish towels made great dinner napkins.

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The Places In The Home gang comes from a long line of hen on nest dish collectors.  The women of our family felt no respectable kitchen and/or breakfast room decor complete without the addition of at least one hen on nest dish.

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Rubylane

On the menu front I aim to please.  Round our dinner table, quality rules over quantity which lines up perfectly with easy menu planning.  As long as the iced tea is sweet and I keep the serving sizes in just a bite territory it is all good and tasty. The culinary rule of KISS (keep it salad simple) always applies.

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I set up a salad buffet for first course serve yourself ease.  Individual Mason jar salads layered with shredded iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato, chopped ham, green onion, Feta cheese crumbles, homemade buttermilk dressing and a dash of kosher salt and fine black pepper were a hit with the just a bite crowd.

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Biscuit BLTs with Peach Mayonnaise bring back memories of summers spent in Texas at my great-grandmother’s house.  Traditions tastes so good!

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Entertaining goes hand in hand with spring and summer, and entertaining with ease goes hand in hand with y’all come back now, ya hear!

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