Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | March 29, 2012

15 Decorating Questions – Question and Answer Style

15 Q&A’s About My Decorating Style

ESTY has a “Get the Look Decor” section that I enjoy. Each weekend a writer, by the name of Christine, reviews and interviews in a Q & A format of an ESTY shop owner/home owner with an emphasis on their personal decorating style.

This is my interpretation of that piece. Go to “ESTY Get the Look Décor” for ESTY’s version.

How did you find your home? I discovered White Oak Acres when I was driving by the house on my way to a rural art gallery for a meeting.  I saw the “for sale” sign, then the Indiana limestone sided home and the large pole barn. My husband and I had made a list of 10 items we wanted in a house and land and this house had many of them. It was an “estate” home and the owners significantly lowered the asking price for us. We sold our city house to the first couple who walked through our door and three weeks later were in our current home. It was a whirlwind few weeks and I took it as a sign that this is where we were meant to be.

How did you come to live in rural SW Michigan? We moved to grow our own food, build an art gallery and a blacksmith forge, live an outdoor lifestyle and work with our hands. This property afforded us the acreage, outbuildings and location to meet these goals.

How do you feel about living in such a small community? I grew up in a small rural community and found it friendly and comfortable. These are our retirement years and we need to control the percentage of our retirement income we pay on property taxes. Rural Michigan allows us to pay less.

What is your decorating style? My decorating style is rather eclectic; think….1970’s traditional meets turn of the century antiques with a dash of vintage and lots of original art.

Did you decide to decorate in this style or did this evolve over time? My style has evolved over time. When my husband and I married in 1995 we blended two households worth of furniture and this began the current mix of traditional pieces with antique and vintage items.

You have a lot of artwork in your home. Who are the artists? I love original art work; after all I am an artist myself! I buy art from a number of artists, many of them friends and most of them whose art I carried in the White Oak Gallery when it was open from 2001-to 2008. I like paintings, art boxes, photography, assemblages, sculpture and mosaics. I like a lot more mediums as well but my walls are now filled.

What is your favorite spot in your home? I love, love, love our 3-season’s porch. This 13 ft. X 24 ft. size room is light and air filled and overlooks our beautiful back yard with our 150-year-old White Oak trees. We eat, read and entertain there from April through October.  I am trying to figure out how sleep out there!

Where is my favorite place to shop for home items? At this stage of life my home is pretty filled. So I’m not buying much these days. I do buy from thrift shops from time to time or items for my three granddaughters at garage sales.

What inspires your home decorating? The single biggest influence at this time is the decorating blogs on-line. There is so much talent out there it astounds me! These blogs help me to re-envision items I already own and find different ways to use them.

Does your home hold strong memories?  We have live in this home for twelve years. It does hold wonderful memories because this is the first home my husband Gene and I have owned together.  We hope to live here for many, many years. We bought a diamond in the rough and have spent years making it our own.

What the last room you remodeled and why? I just completed an update of our kitchen countertops and sink adding a lovely granite patterned counter in a gray, wood toned, white and black mix that looks wonderful with our existing maple cabinets. Our 20-plus-year old laminate counters were falling apart and the granite countertop company was a “do it in a day” process that I loved.

If you had to pick the one treasure you love the most, what would that be? My hot tub! I don’t know if that’s considered a “treasure” or not, but it’s the thing I own that I love the most. I use it every day in the cool weather.

What would be your second treasure? I have a handmade wall hung “art box” made by Brenda and Paul Bonnes from West Virginia. They are a husband and wife team that works with wood. Paul built the box out of safarass with hand carved hinges in cherry, and Brenda painted the front in a “Dianna, Goddess and Protectress of the Animals” theme.”  It’s a very unique and special work-of-art with a secret drawer, a wavy copper panel in the back, a wood burned description on the inside front door and a painted front panel. My husband bought this art box for me at Tamarack, an amazing source for handmade arts and crafts in West Virginia. When I picked it up this box it literally “called to me” and my whole body tingled and the hair on my neck stood up. This one present represents my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Anniversary gifts for two years…but it was worth it. I absolutely adore this handcrafted piece of art. It hangs on the wall of my family room and I keep special, spiritual items in it.

What’s the biggest decorating mistake you ever made? I used an old Red Wing crock as the color combo to mix paint for a hallway in my old house. My plan was to paint the walls tan and then stencil the stair risers in blue and rust to match the crock.  I thought the paint would look tan but it turned out a battleship gray. I knew immediately that I had made a mistake and could not live with that depressing color. By the time I was done, I had painted the walls five times. I was exhausted.

Besides decorating what are your other hobbies? I practice yoga, love to kayak, walk with my Labrador retriever, “Spirit” and enjoy writing and photography. For more than 20 years I free lanced for newspapers and magazines and took portraits of people. Now I work in my White Oak Studio as an artist making handmade paper and artwork using those highly textured, plant based papers I transform from non-protect native plants such as iris, day lily’s, hosta and more.

Teaching hand papermaking in the paper studio "The Smithy" at work on his portable forge


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