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Stuart House Tour 2010

February 6, 2010

Here it is! The long-awaited house tour. Are you ready for this?

I’m going to try my best to give a lot of details about each room. We’ve put a lot of work into our house since we bought it in July 2008, but we’re not even close to finishing it. (Maybe we never will be?) There are some big projects I’d love to do but all in time, my friends.

Our front door. (Can you spot someone’s little face? As you will notice, she followed me around on this tour…)

If you would describe my style in just a few words, it would be: inviting, personal, warm, and classic. When I see stuff around our house, I want it to remind me of specific events or people who gave it to use or used it before us. I hope to explain all the little stories as we go.

Formal Dining

The formal dining room is the first room off to the right of our front door. I’m torn about this room… I love that there is a special place to have celebratory dinners marking big events, and I really like having a room to hold our formal china. (I think some people are in a different camp on me about this, but I want our formal china to be used for holidays, birthdays, etc.) But I also wonder if it’s a frivolous space… do we really need a formal dining room? Eventually, I could see this room turning into a home office or something of the like, but for now, I really like the way it is set up.

The table (solid cherry) was a gift from JD’s parents, and it belonged to his grandmother. The sides fold down, and the legs are in different places than normal tables, but I like the character. The chair is a sewing chair from my late grandmother. The seat folds up for extra storage under the cushion. The photo is a historic picture of Ponchatoula from the early 1900s. It was a gift from my dad to JD, and I love it’s large presence in the room. (JD wanted to hang it in his office, but I “convinced” him that we should put it in our home.) The print in the corner is mine from a printmaking class I took two summers ago. The art, specifically the painting and the sculpture on the wall, are from my mom. (This is a recurring theme throughout the house…. we are so fortunate to have so much free art because my mom stays busy!)


You remember this area from earlier, right? This is across the way from the formal dining room.

By the front door… someone loves this spot!

Front Half-Bath

Remember this front half-bath? Mom and I repainted the room (see the before and after here) in October 2008, and it is still one of my favorites. I love the brown, teal, off-white color combinations in here. I made the little pom pom display (tutorial here).


I am so thrilled with our kitchen. It is set up so that it overlooks the living room but has easy access to our kitchen table and formal dining table. It has so many counters, shelves and cabinets, that I still haven’t filled all of them. I’m sure you’re used to this countertop because you see it in so many “Friday Feasts” but I love that I can cook in our kitchen while still being part of the action of the living room. When people visit, they are drawn to hanging out here.

I stuck with a navy hue throughout, with a little dark green and red splashes here and there. My favorite part of the kitchen are the old Ponchatoula strawberry flat labels hanging above the cabinets. Growing up, Mom and Dad had these hanging above their kitchen, and I always loved them. After their kitchen renovation, they didn’t quite fit, and I was thrilled to inherit them.

This little spot is my favorite place in the whole house. It’s a little nook to the right of the refrigerator, and it’s my Grand Central Station: cookbooks, my address book, our homeowners’ association handbook, emergency phone numbers, my Susyjack calendar, and whatever random wines we’ve managed to collect at a given time. This is the first place I go when I get home from work.

The kitchen table is where we do all of our living… lunches, board game playing, some of my crafting. The table was our the first piece of furniture we bought for ourselves (everything else was a gracious hand-me-down or gift). We called it our 2008 Christmas present to each other, and I could not be happier. I love the look of it.

Also, check out the new addition to our home: Rexbo from IKEA! This was JD’s birthday present to me (he ordered it through ModerNash!), and I love it. I don’t know what I’m doing yet on each shelf, but for now, a birthday present from my parents is going on one shelf… an antique camera. So cool.

Living Room

The goal of our living room was comfort. And we definitely found it when we finally ordered our own living room furniture after being married for five years! Our poor old couch had seen so much… it was original my parents’ and it had witnessed the cleanings after coffee, spaghetti, a 9-year-old’s urine (!), and cranberry juice, just to name a few. It was time to purchase a set of our own. We were thrilled with the deal we got from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams when we ordered it during their “Summer of Love” sale. And, because we ordered it on the last day of the month and the rep needed her monthly quota, she waived shipping! We were so thrilled to come out on top considering we just melt into these seats.

The machine on the table behind the couch is actually an old calculator! How cool is that? My dad gave it to me, and we tried to make it work but it doesn’t quite crank. JD’s uncle Fred said that it was called a “comptometer.” Anyway, I am letting it share a shelf with our wedding pictures!

Master Bedroom

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m only showing you one picture of our master bedroom. It is my least favorite decorated room, mostly because it seems silly to put so much effort into a place that only JD and I see. I’m coming around and starting to make adjustments to it, but for now, not for your eyes. Maybe I’ll show you some before and afters when I get the configuration right. For now, it is the catch-all for things I don’t know where to put: our computer, Lucy’s bed, Mom and Dad’s old Bentwood rocker, our old sofa, my old wicker shelf from college, etc.

One thing I do love about this room is our duvet cover from Crate and Barrel. We bought it on our annivesary trip to Chicago when we decided to go — on a whim — into the four-level store on the Magnificent Mile. We don’t have a C&B in Tennessee (which helped with tax when we ordered this awesome bed spread), and when we came across this pattern, we both agreed that we loved it. It was so striking, different and colorful, and we had to have it! Every time I get under the duvet, I remember the wonderful time we had in Chi-town!


When we first looked at this house, this bridge (that Lucy is sweetly modeling for us  — again) is the #1 reason I didn’t want to live here. The long “catwalk” seemed … silly? I don’t know, I didn’t like it. I imagined our college friends wrestling (a common theme in the dorm) on the bridge and falling to their death off the side. (Isn’t that terribly graphic? I know!) But, the more I’m in this house, the more I love it. People who stay upstairs don’t feel disconnected from the happenings of the bottom floor, and it’s uber convenient when doing laundry…. just throw everything off the side into a pile in the living room!

The bridge actually looks really nice at Christmas.

The other rooms upstairs include a bonus room where I do a lot of my crafting and art stuff (it also doubles as an extra guest room), two bedrooms and a bathroom.

The Bonus Room

The drafting table with all my art supplies is from my mommy. The table can tilt and swivel to different angles. It holds all my craft supplies, as does a few cabinets. (Can you tell I’m into everything? Pictured above: spray adhesive, Prismacolors, markers, colored paper, fabic, old photos, printmaking supplies, painters tape and stationery.) The drafting table window looks north and to our very sweet neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. James.

The Guest Room

Remember this room? I took Claire’s old headboard, painted it a hideous Smurf color, and voila! a guest room!

The bed quilt was a wedding gift that I have always loved (thanks, Mom and Dad!). The tapestry over the window is an old college find from Pangaea, a Hillsboro Village staple. Mom suggested I use the pattern on the blue tapestry and stamp it on the headboard to “calm” it down a bit… I might. The painting is mine from when I was very little. Apparently I explained it to my mom as a “rabbit on a coconut under a waterfall.” (Do you see it?) The orange chair is my best friend/old roommate Mary’s that she found at a Goodwill our freshman year of college. It has moved to several of our friends’ homes, and when our friend Krammy was going to get rid of it when he and Della moved, I wouldn’t let him! It brings back so many memories of college. The chair quilt is an old old one from my parents’ house. I don’t remember where they got it, actually.

The Future Nursery

… is actually a junk room. I anticipate this room would be where a future, not-yet-conceived or adopted child will live one day. I’m saving it as a big upcoming project, mostly because I can’t decide what I really want to do to it. Any ideas would be appreciated! It does contain famous, young-JD artwork, though. Look at that overlapping! What talent!

Other Spots

I loooooove our laundry room. Look how much awesome space we have? I want to do some fun random mural or wall decal in here. We’ll see.

This is our first stop when entering our house from the garage. The blue case is an old toy chest from my dad’s old family home, and I put my purse and JD puts his briefcase in there. It’s a perfect way to contain our mess right when we come home. The star hanger is a piece I bought at a cute shop at the Marietta Square that holds our Vanderbilt athletic tickets. (JD insists that we have football, basketball, and baseball season tickets, and since I work for the university, we can manage to afford that.) Currently, it holds our ranked men’s basketball team tickets.

Also, our back yard and garage are awesome (but alas, no fun pictures until spring). Regardless of all the work it takes to maintain a home and a yard, it is so worth it.

Ok, everyone, that’s it! I hope, now that you have an idea with what I’m working with, you can give me suggestions, ideas and encouragement as we continue to decorate and make our house into a home!

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