Sunday, May 30, 2010

Take a Look at This Clever Dining Room Table -- and How About This Kitchen Sconce!

At first glance, can you guess what these homeowners used to create their dining room table?
Old concrete pillars or vases serve as the legs.

It's an old door! Yep, the table top is an old door. And within the door panels, they layered some small colorful rocks and then created a swirly design:
To keep the rocks in place, they had a glass top made to fit the door.

How about this kitchen "sconce:"

It's a tin panel with a small plain wall light installed behind it. The panel is situated a couple of inches from the wall.

Just a couple of ideas to get your own creative juices flowing. 
(Hope you're having a great holiday, if you're in the U.S.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Renowned Photographer Selling Her Own Texas Town, Complete with Homestead and Old Buildings

A recent photo shoot for Traditional Home magazine indirectly led me to the small town of Shelby, Texas. I found out you can own your historic Texas community, complete with chapel, school house, farm houses, country inn and mercantile building for a total of $699,000. Sounds pretty good to me....
Meet the owner of Shelby, and take a look around:

The chapel -- all ready to host a wedding. Photo picked up from The Shelby Web site .

While you may or may not readily recognize her name, you do most likely know Jenifer Jordan's work -- especially if you've turned the pages of any of Interior Designer Charles Faudree's books. Jenifer has repeatedly turned Faudree's highly recognized Country French style into fine art.  When she isn't on assignment for the famous designer or shooting for national magazines (i.e. the Traditional Home shoot) and other clients, she enjoys retreating to her own small Texas town.

A photo from The Shelby Web site , showing a winding path leading to the various buildings/dwellings.

Jenifer lives in the town of Shelby , which she owns and that was founded in the 19th century by a German settler.  Her historical town, and bed and breakfast sits on 4 acres, located 8 miles from Warrenton and 8 miles from Round Top (the area is widely known for hosting large antique fairs held in the spring and fall).  

As said, Jennifer's town is now FOR SALE, and I think I read or she told me that it includes most if not all contents and furnishings. Check it out on her Web site for certainty.  Her property includes 7 buildings. One notable dwelling is The Shelby Inn, a Greek Revival building once known as The Shelby Mercantile, the former focal point of commerce in Shelby. It once housed the post office, a saloon and phone company. 

Here are just a few photos she sent me to show various parts of the property:

(Photos by Jenifer Jordan)

You can see more photos (such as the ones below) and details on The Shelby Web site.

Jenifer also sent along a recipe favored by her B&B guests: Strawberry Scones:

14 to 16 large scones
4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (minus 2 tablespoons) cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry or brandy
3/4 cup small-diced strawberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour,
2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest
speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs, heavy cream
and sherry or brandy quickly adding them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until
just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, add them to the dough,
and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour
your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of
butter in the dough. Cut dough with a heart shaped cookie cutter or you may cut into
squares and then triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until
the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

The addition of the dry sherry or brandy gives these scones a special flavor.

Remember that when mixing the scones to work the dough as little as possible to keep
them tender. The more the dough is worked the more gluten is formed from the flour
and makes the end product tough. These will be tender and with the addition of crème
fraiche (or whipped cream) and strawberry jam, they will be wonderful.  

If you're wondering, Jenifer plans to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where her work (she's doing another book with Faudree) continually takes her. She says it's time to share this wonderful town/property with someone else seeking serenity and something rather unique.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Great Transformation: A Before & After Look at Our Colorado Kitchen

This kitchen belongs to me. It's the heart of our "log cabin."

The After: We earmarked most of our monies for new flooring and new countertops.

Here's the Before:

Tile floor. Tile countertops. Cheap white fridge. Black appliances. Plain-Jane cabinets.

The "Great Transformation," as someone over at HGTV called it, began with a few cans of Benjamin Moore's "Enchanted Forest" paint and an opportune time when my husband was out of town for a while. He seemed a little squeamish -- at first anyway -- when I talked about painting this wood. So, I thought it best that he not be around when I pulled out my big quality brushes. He's since become a convert! 

Here's my guy sitting on a stool in front of the kitchen. See where white carpet meets white tile? (Now gone, gone, gone!!!) And look what the previous owners left me: a great vintage-style Elmira stove. A keeper, most definitely! I don't understand how they decided to marry that stove with the cheap white fridge.

Guess what happened?!  Husband Jimmy liked the paint job so much that he thought we should change out the countertops and floor. (I had thought I could live with tile countertops but not a tile floor. So, I was doing a little campaigning ....) But he thought the paint job looked good enough to warrant going the extra mile. "Let's do both," he suggested, and "while we're at it, let's expand the eating bar."  yeah!!! My "I'm-only-gonna-paint" plan worked. 

I know what you're thinking . . . we went a little crazy with those Dash & Albert rugs. Well, that was a compromise I made. My husband upped my kitchen budget with the stipulation that I protect the hickory wood floors. So....OK. The little ones are indoor/outdoor, and the long runner is woven cotton. From 

This wasn't our first time to renovate. However, I think it might have been our first to use the existing footprint and cabinets. In past, we tended to gut and rebuild. This way definitely proved more cost effective!! We did replace the appliances (fridge, dishwasher). I like and suggest color continuity with appliances. I didn't do stainless, in case you're wondering, because I have it (elsewhere), I've done it, and I don't really like the upkeep my stainless refrigerators demand (I tend to want to buff out the streaks and tarnish; yep, that can happen.)

My husband wanted granite, and I preferred quartz for our countertops. We compromised. We placed granite on the "eating bar," which we had extended about 5 inches. We placed a complementary quartz on the countertops.

A few more BEFORES:

We moved this old 1930s refrigerator to the mudroom. We use it primarly as a "bar."

A few more AFTERS:
The honed quartz from Cesarstone is called "Misty Carrera." It appears more white than it really is. I'd say in person it shows more gray. The granite we chose for the top counter has swirls of gray, too. We also replaced the hardware -- from gold to a silver/pewter finish.

The table on the left comes from The Green Plum ; we topped it with left-over granite -- for continuity sake.
The island table is something I had and decided to stain.

Just a little space I took where I store my cookbooks -- and sit and select one.

I removed the doors and hung this little curtain for country style. We had installed the under-mount sink and new faucet.

We use our kitchen daily! So we keep it prepped for convenience. I didn't really place anything on that odd top overhang, because I wanted the eye to remain downward, in the kitchen. I did choose the iron elements from The Green Plum  for architectural interest. Some have suggested I place a finish moulding on top of the cabinets, and I still might do that. (Thanks for the suggestion!)

Perhaps the moral of the story is to take baby steps, especially if you're trying to convince someone in your household that things could be better. Just start with painting and see where it goes!

If you have any questions about why we did this or that, I'd be happy to share. 

If you'd like to read about our wine rack, please click here . And if you'd like to know about our engineered wood floors, click here . Scroll down two or three for info on quartz.

I am participating in Between Naps on the Porch's :

I'm also linking to Tools Are for Women, too :

Friday, May 21, 2010

Winner of the CSN GiveAway...

UPDATE:  Since I didn't hear from or have an email for Linda #1 (who's name I randomly selected yesterday), I drew again today. Coincidentally, Linda at Lime in the Coconut won!  I guess it was in the cards for a Linda to win this . . . .  
I'm sorry I had no way of reaching Linda #1. I did say when I launched this GiveAway that I would give 24 hours for the winner to contact me if no info/email was left. (bummer) With that said, congratulations to Linda #2. I hope you get something amazing!!  Thank you everyone. -s

Drum roll please . . . the winner of the CSN GiveAway is Linda who left this comment:

 Linda said...

BTW- I am feeling very energized just thinking about making my home even more comfortable and cozy as a result of your creativity!

I don't have an email for you, Linda,  so I hope you return. As previously stated, I will wait 24 hours to receive contact info. Hope I hear from you!! Congratulations! 
If I don't hear from Linda by this time tomorrow (Saturday), I will draw again.
Thank you to all who stopped by and entered! We'll have to do it again another time....
My best,


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here's What I'd Like to Tell You: About Quartz Countertops & Upcoming Posts

Inside one of the homes in the Texas town for sale, an upcoming post here on "Love Where You Live."
 -- photo by Jenifer Jordan.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet. Can you relate?! During the last couple of days,  I've wanted to post but couldn't obtain a consistent and fast enough connection. (It's taken crazy amounts of time to download photos, even for these two....) So, I will need to wait until I can get the service I need to show you our Colorado kitchen redo, inside a small Texas town that's for sale, an artist's studio, home and work, and more!  First on my to-do list:  Announce this Friday evening the winner of my give-away, thanks to CSN Stores . Click on the photo at the top right side of this post to get the details. Good luck y'all.

This is where we gather, cook, mix up icey batches of margaritas, talk, bake, share -- and even blog. I'll be sharing our Before & Afters later this week, after announcing the give-away winner on Friday evening).

Here are some things you should know about quartz countertops:

1. There can be inconsistencies in color. I've been reading and hearing that many think otherwise.  Be sure you hire an experienced fabricator who will apply necessary quality checks when picking up the quartz material from the distributor. This QC is an important step, especially should the material come from two different "batches" that you may or may not be aware of until later.

2. You can order a honed version but don't be surprised if the company asks you to sign a waiver that says you understand that it could possibly stain or require more elbow grease (with a Soft Scrub pad) to remove a stain.

3. You could have seams. Some people, I understand, think otherwise.

4. Make sure your distributor can readily access the material from the manufacturer. I've heard some markets have had difficulty with distributors, especially during a down economy. Get your fabricator to check first thing....

5. Your fabricator will likely need to make a template. Be sure to demo the area first if it's a remodeling job. That way he/she can get more accurate measurements.

Personally, I like both the look and feel of quartz. I love that it's 96% real stone. It's durable. It comes polished or honed. There are colors from which to choose. Not the cheap way to go . . . but really fabulous stuff. It's also gaining in popularity, it seems. 

Good luck with the Give Away  (scroll down or see top photo to right)!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pretty in Pink: A Guest Bedroom

I'm feeling rather quiet this Saturday afternoon. So, feel welcome and invited to help with the commentary today. With fewer words comes more concentration on the photos below. The lovely woman who decorated this room did so to accommodate and comfort her two step-daughters who occasionally come to visit. It will be no surprise for you to learn that the lady of the house adores the color pink -- and green. With that . . . wishing you sweet dreams....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fabulous GiveAway!! In Celebration of My New Blog Design & Spring.

Alessi's Nuvem Wire Flower Vase by Fratelli Campana. (SKU#AAS1362)

Is this gorgeous vase the give-away item? Well, yes . . . it could be if you end up being the lucky winner and want it! The absolutely greatest thing is you get to choose what you want, courtesy of CSN Stores -- a place where you can find virtually anything you need -- from sofas to cookware.  

CSN Stores ' offer to have Love Where You Live host a give-away came at a time when I just re-designed my blog. They asked if I wanted to review an item or give away something. The blogging community, and all readers and visitors have been so kind to me that I wanted one of you to get something great!

So, what do you think? I've got a new "header." And a new look overall. Did you notice? Before, it was a spectacular view of the Colorado Rockies (now pictured on the sidelines). Meet our handsome Australian Shepherd, Sam. He's standing (and smiling even!) in the sitting area of a historic home (circa 1892) we once owned on Galveston Island. I plan to share some photos of that house soon, because I still love it. We enjoyed some good times there! So, keep an eye out. I'd love for you to visit. I also plan to list -- sooner as opposed to later -- on the side here some of my favorite books on architecture and design. If you don't have them, you might want to take a look. I hope you like how it's all evolving. Oh, and I may rotate out some photos for the header -- just for kicks and to keep it interesting. I say that in case you come here and don't initially recognize "me."

OK . . . on with the give-away! I had an especially great time browsing CSN's 
All Modern site!! So fun.  And they had all the names: Hermann Miller, Knoll, Kartell, Alessi, BluDot, Emeco, Dwell Studios as well as others. I lean mostly toward traditional decor but, yet, I do love mixing it up! I like to add touches of modern to keep a space youthful and unpredictable. Here are a few of my picks from either All Modern or their cooking site (but, remember, the winner will have full access to all of their store sites ):

Vondom Fano Cuenco Flower Pot (SKU #VOM1040)

KOKO Company's Yellow and Turquoise floormat, 4x6 (SKU#TKC1208)

Bloomus Greens Planter Wheels (SKU#RY1311)

Le Creuset 12-oz. mugs (SKU#LEC 2085)

Cuisinart round Classic Waffle Maker (SKU#CUI 1093)

nonNeutral Season Metal Lantern (SKU NON1200)

My give-away winner will be able to choose his or her "prize." CSN can only ship in the U.S. and Canada. (I will look into hosting another giveway another time where all my other friends can participate. So stay tuned, please.) CSN will give you -- the winner of this giveaway -- a promotional code for up to $60 to spend. You also will have the option to apply it to something that you find and costs more. Here's what you do to get a chance -- or 5 Chances -- at winning:

1. Leave a Comment.
2. Join my blog as a "Follower."
3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog or share it on Facebook. Or Tweet. 
4. Join my Facebook "fan" page
5. Browse the CSN site(s) and let me know what you'd pick.

After you leave a comment, you essentially can receive four more chances. You will have to leave a comment each time to note you've done this or that, though, so you get appropriate credit. 

I will announce the winner on Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m. central time. Be sure to leave your email or check back on Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m. central time. I'll need to know how to contact you in order to get you the promotional code. (If there is no email initially left, I will wait 24 hours before drawing again an alternate winner's name.)

Thank you. And have fun....-susan

Monday, May 10, 2010

Turning Our Interior-Exterior Kitchen Window Into a Wine Rack

AFTER photo of our new wine rack -- in our kitchen.

When we bought our log "cabin," situated on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, we inherited a rather bare-bones design. That's not such a bad thing, since it opens up all kinds of possibilities. We've been working on the house, as of late, to make it ours -- to reflect our own personality and tastes. 
A little history behind this particular project:  The previous owners had decided soon after the construction of the house to add another room. As a result, the back exterior kitchen window became an interior one, which offered a nicely framed view into the newly added mudroom. Here's the BEFORE window:

BEFORE shot. I had to zoom in to show this area of the kitchen. So, it's fuzzy.

My BFF, Barbara, visited this "cabin" before it even became ours. I think her first words were "wine rack," as she pointed to this odd interior-exterior kitchen window. My husband, Jimmy, tackled this project soon after he retired. As you can see from the AFTER photo at the start of this post, he applied some creative genius (I think).

Here's an up-close look at the shelving (can you guess what he used?):

Jimmy used old dead Rocky Mountain Juniper branches found on our property for shelving. You can't really tell here, but each shelf is comprised of two similar-sized branches. 

Jimmy found these little Juniper pieces and transformed them into shelf braces. The other wood -- the top shelf and backing -- is cedar lumber.

Some pointers and tips (in no certain order) from Jimmy, should you be inspired to undertake a similar project:

1. Make sure any found wood you might use is dead, dry and void of any sap.
2.  Scrape off the bark and sand it.
3. When using found wood to form shelving, as in this case, select pieces that are similar in width and bend.
4. Apply Tung Oil to bring out the color and luster of the wood.

Before screwing in the back cedar lumber pieces, he used screws to secure the branch shelves. And he placed small plastic bumpers (found in the photo section of stores) on the limbs to prevent the wine bottles from rolling around. Alternatively, you could sand out groves in the limbs to hold the bottles. 

On the back side of the wine rack, inside the mudroom itself, Jimmy added open shelving. Since it's where my washer and dryer are located, I keep supplies there on those shelves.

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