We moved into our 150-year-old home in Charleston, Illinois in the fall of 2013.
Right now we are looking forward to Spring (but also wishing for some late February snow).
Here is a shot of the exterior of our house from last Spring with the dogwood tree (aka Harper’s tree) and the groundcover on our hill in bloom. Every year we add more drought-tolerant perennials with the hope that one day the steep hill will be covered in color. I really enjoy mixing different heights, textures, and colors to create a patchwork of lovely for all to see. I grew many of the plants from seed and some came all the way from our last home. We love to garden. We moved from a typical Chicago postage-stamp lot to a huge yard that hadn’t been tended to for decades. There are always so many projects going on at once. It is a lot of work, but is so rewarding each year.
In the fall of 2015, we painted our house in Sherwin Williams Dark Knight, with a slightly darker custom-mixed trim in a glossy finish. The house had been white with (decorative) green shutters for at least 100 years so we get lots of double-takes from passersby. It took courage to go for the dark color, especially since we are a relatively new family to a very small rural community, but I am so glad we took the risk. The house looked disjointed before, starting out as a Carpenter Gothic in 1864 and then being morphed into a more Georgian Colonial Revival style in 1920. I think the dark color solidifies the look.
Since we moved here we have made many changes. Here are the most recent shots of the house interior.
Take a look at our Holiday House Tour for even more photos.
To see what the house looked like before we moved in check out the “before and after” post.
This color is Sherwin Williams “Nervy Hue,” isn’t that a perfect name! The doorbell is original and in perfect condition, the door plate and knob were eBay finds (We ordered many and tried them and resold the rejects, it was hard to find the right fit. Who knew antique door hardware was so complicated?!) and the mail slot is a reproduction from Signature Hardware.
In our old house we made a great little mudroom. Last week I showed you the before and after of the bookcase I used for shoe storage. Well, across from the shoe shelf there was room for another storage piece. This time I went rummaging in my basement and found this old chest.
It was from my grandparents’ bedroom. When my mom and I were cleaning their house out I was working in their bedroom and right inside the door there was a pile of laundry. There was always a pile of laundry there. I never really thought about it because I knew it was clean, folded laundry. I guess I assumed that the pile was sitting on a table, but it wasn’t. It was set on top of a chest and the chest was covered with a small blanket. Total mystery piece. My mom had never noticed it before either so we have no idea where it came from. I am not a fan of its style, which I call “pirate-ship chic,” but I guess it’s really “Early American,” I decided I would put it into my storage space with all of the rest of the furniture and “treasures” I found. Finally it came in handy.
Sanding, primer, red glossy paint did the trick, just like with the bookcase. I had some Marimekko fabric leftover from working on a girls’ 1980s bedroom for the John Cusack movie “High Fidelity” (I save everything cute!). I added some poly fiber fill from old pillows and stretched the fabric over the top and the back piece. Now it’s a colorful and comfy place to sit, perfect for a mudroom.
Hold on to those old, good quality pieces and repurpose them!
My daughter Trixie loves to take care of her special rag dolls. Her favorite is her Wee Wonderfuls doll my mom got her for Christmas a couple of years ago from The Land of Nod. She gets the whole bed to herself.
They are tall, soft, and lovable. The girls pictured below are Clara and Agnes and are available at The Land of Nod.
Sometimes Trixie lets Harper play with her special girls, which is lovely when it happens. He usually gets pretty frustrated that he doesn’t have his own doll. It doesn’t matter how many rag dolls we find him in our stash, Harper wants a boy doll. I decided that I would find him a boy doll for Christmas that is equally as fabulous as the Wee Wonderfuls are.
I spent hours searching online whenever I had a spare moment during the pre-holiday madness, and finally, after days of looking, I found it!
Our former house had a small breezeway/entrance that was created when the back porch was removed to allow for a rear deck. I knew right away that it was the perfect size for a mini-mudroom. The previous owner had covered the walls with sheets of “wood” bead board. Some paint cheered it right up!
I was excited to use some cool vintage hooks I had, but needed some shoe storage. A quick trip to my mom’s basement brought me to a very dirty old book shelf that had been used to store paint. It wasn’t pretty – yet!
All it needed was a sanding, a coat of primer and a few coats of glossy red. I really love what a little paint will do to brighten up your world.
Being out of grade school for so many years, I forgot what an important holiday Valentine’s Day is for school kids.
In 2010, when Trixie was in Pre-Kindergarten, I wanted to find something easy for her to do that was creative and fun for both of us. I had her paint on watercolor paper and fill the whole page. After the page dried I cut out large heart shapes. Then we attached the hearts to pieces of patterned scrap paper I had lying around, added some drips of Elmer’s glue, and dusted the glue with glitter. The glitter kept flaking off, so I made simple envelopes out of tracing paper and closed them up with a sticker. They were so cute!
After school that day, we looked through her valentines and I was surprised that they were all store-bought character cards or candies.
What had I missed in the 25 years I had been out of the valentine game?
Our home tour from Design Mom that was published 5 weeks ago, shows our house ready for the holidays. Here I have included even more shots of our “holiday house” for you to enjoy.
Our holiday card photoshoot produced some good shots at Lake Charleston.
Here is our 150-year-old house in the only snowstorm we had this season. I love using classic holiday decorations on the exterior of our 1864 house. Wreaths on every window, and a garland swag at the entrance are simple and pretty, especially in the snow.
A blog! Can you believe it, just what the world needs, another blog.
What can I say, I am inspired.
Last fall, while I was promoting my business, Kistner Supply, and the latest edition of our keepsake baby book, Mother Stork’s Baby Book, I turned to three all-star bloggers who were great supporters of mine from the early days of my buisness: Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends, Liz Gumbinner of CoolMomPicks and Gabrielle Blair of DesignMom.
These ladies amaze me! While I was was struggling to raise two kids and run a small business, these women were rocking their mom-lives and have created reputations as the go-to experts on everything moms want and need for modern families. I “met” each of them over a decade ago when I was first introducing the world to Mother Stork’s Baby Book. I found their support vital to the health of my business and the creation of my new products.
Fast forward through the past ten years: now that my littlest one has started Kindergarten, I needed to put myself back “out there” to promote my business and support my family. I turned to Nicole, Liz and Gabby for help and again they came through for me with unmatched support and enthusiasm.