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Danna’s House

THB! Where do you live?

Danna: Kalamazoo Michigan, midway between Detroit and Chicago—hills & trees, culture, university & colleges, friends, & extreme seasons. my adopted home where I landed after much wandering.

THB! In five words or less, your home is…

DANNA: Sanctuary, beauty & great messes, archive, dreams

THB! What do you do at home?

DANNA: Write, read, sleep, cook, clean, stretch, watch TV, listen to a wide variety of music, play with cats, yell at cats, talk long distance to my sister, stare, light fires, entertain friends on occasion, knit, rearrange furniture, grade papers & prep classes, rearrange books, shower, dress, undress…

THB: What’s your favorite room (and why)?

DANNA: My study—where the life of the mind & heart can explore, discover, compose, ponder…

THB! What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

DANNA: I have several pieces of original art that I cherish and love to live among, but I think my fav thing hanging on the wall is the handmade embroidered Serenity Prayer that my sister made me years & years ago. We grew up with one on the wall of our home that our mom made. It is a prayer that has guided me over the years in so many ways, and connects me with my roots/genes.

THB! What could you never throw out…though maybe you should?

DANNA: Nothing in particular comes to mind, but I suspect it would be something from my long marriage.

THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you ever got?

DANNA: A place for everything and everything in its place. Nice theory I do not practice.

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

DANNA: Downsizing, which will help me get to the essential, and let go of the rest. mid-life, empty nest stage.

THB: Got color?

DANNA: Yes, more lately, as accent or splash across the neutrals. This climate demands it in winter for sanity’s sake. I’ve painted the kitchen green, the bathroom will be mango & pink soon. My sun yellow bedroom is my 2nd fav room.  Also chose bold colored dishes from Pier One a short while ago.

THB! Any last words?

DANNA: What I will take with me from this 1350 sq ft home (where I raised my son, and grew into a confident teaching-artist) to a 3 bdrm apartment next year (one mile from here) will be instructive & spiritually important.

Hitting the Links (2/23/10)

Dreamscape. These dreamy paintings by Brooks Shane Salzwedal made me exclaim out loud. Not quite sure what it is   . . . the moody color palette, the delicacy of the botanical elements, or the fact that they perfectly capture that feeling of being perfectly grounded yet feeling anchored no place at all. Or maybe this is one of those cases where I don’t know why these works work on me, they just do. (via aesthetic outburst)

Picture Perfect. I’m loving these nostalgic but not treacly photos by Andrea, which you can get your hands on in her Etsy shop Hula 70. I love the saturated colors, and, especially with the polaroids, the way the photos looked as if they’ve been ripped from a vintage magazine. My especial faves are “Cigar boxes” and “Plink plink.” (via creature comforts)

Voila! Click here to oooh and aaah just like I did over this Paris apartment. Mon dieu people, it’s a Paris apartment—do I really need to say more than that?!? (via design*sponge)

Oh, yes please. You did just ask me if I wanted you to get me a ticket to Australia lickety split so I could check out this magnificent house in person, right? I mean, I’m all aswoon over the exposed cords of the pendant lamps which form such lovely aerial loops and I’m agog over that absolutely fantatstic clawfoot tub sitting right smack in the middle of the bathroom. Oh pretty Australia house, I so heart you! (via A Cup of Jo)

I’d love to come up, thanks. Uhm, my NYC aerie (by which I mean my childhood bedroom with the pink walls, black and red carpeting, and Scooby Doo sheets) didn’t quite look like this. I am always quite envious of any space that has windows chock full of light just begging for plants. Some day, sigh . . . (via design*sponge)

Spoiler alert! If you’ve given  up chocolate for Lent, don’t click here. No, for realz! I mean it! Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you! (via the selby)

Next stop, Chelsea. More fabulous apartmentage from NYC. I love that this place is chockfull o’ treasures and is wonderfully messy. My favorite moments are the window ledge of plants, the fireplace and mantel, and the cute kid. (via the selby)

Is it Spring yet? I confess that I have braved neither cold nor snow (nor the dang alarm clock) during any of these winter Saturdays in order to see if the Silver Spring winter market has, in fact, been alive and well. Thank goodness for this lovely series from the selby to give me my farmers market fix. (And point of order: why don’t we have any gorgeous chefs wandering our market . . . who are hopefully single and looking for a nice, Christian, part-time blogger/full-time public servant to take home with their vegetables? I’m just saying . . . ) (via the selby)

The Home Beete! Questionnaire with Sierra Bailey of Manic Trout

I first discovered Manic Trout, the jewelry line by Sierra Bailey, in the 2008 Christmas edition of Real Simple. (Read my interview with Sierra about her jewelry work here.) I’m not quite sure how, but I managed to resist buying myself a pair of her Sweetest Things earrings in every color in favor of actually getting something from Manic Trout for my sister. Not only do I love Sierra’s jewelry, but I also love her boldly impressionistic paintings. (And c’mon, how can I not adore someone who—as the photo above attests—is as magazine-crazy as I am?)

I couldn’t quite believe it when Sierra said yes to letting me feature her home on The Home Beete! (She’s about to move—thanks to a yucky flood—and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get a peek into her new digs as well.) I am, of course, loving that her home is filled with books and art and then more books and art. I’m also heartily hearting the pintucked linens on her bed. Thanks for sharing with us Sierra!

THB: Where do you live?

Sierra: Smack in the middle of the village in Millbrook, New York.

THB: In five words or less, your home is . . .

Sierra: Where I love to be.

THB: What do you do at home?

Sierra: The Manic Trout studio is in my apartment and I tend to work excessively, so I’m in there great deal of the time I’m home.  I do, however, manage to find some time to sleep, hang out with friends, exercise and read.

THB: What’s your favorite room (and why)?

Sierra: My library/painting studio, this past summer I put half of my living room in the Manic Trout studio, so I can literally live where I work and then made a second studio space in what was the living room which is crammed with books, a comfy couch and where I have my painting studio.  I love having a more “personal space” to create in and retreat to during the rare times when I need to shut the door on work.

THB: What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

Sierra: I have recently noticed that every piece of furniture and thing in my home has a story that each piece has been brought in because I love it.  I do however have a horseshoe from my first pony that has been by the front door of every dorm room, apt and house that I have lived in since I was a little girl.

THB: What could you never throw out . . . though maybe you should?

Sierra: I am pretty good about throwing things out, the only way you can continue collecting things is if you get rid of the stuff you no longer want every so often.  I would however have to say that the obvious answer is my wedding dress from a marriage I am no longer in.  It’s preserved in a pretty big box and lives under the bed, and I know its weird that I still have it.  There is no sentimental value, but I wore Vera Wang and convinced them to do a few custom details to the dress, how could I get rid of a custom Vera Wang gown!?!

THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you ever got?

Sierra: As long as you love it, you can make it work in your home.

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

Sierra: I love furniture, but have absolutely no room for anymore where I live now…but if I could fit one more piece it would be an antique black pedestal table.  There was one years ago that I fell in love with and didn’t buy for some reason and I have regretted it ever since.

THB: Got color?

Sierra: Yes!  There is color bursting from every corner!

THB: Any last words?

Sierra: It’s amazing what a different rearranging can make in your life; when life throws you lemons, move the furniture around!

Hitting the Links (2/1/10)

“Through the Snow at Dusk” (Charlotte, North Carolina, January 29, 2010)

Pretty as a Postcard. I love this series of street scenes by illustrator Lehel Kovacs. Each view is based on a Google Map street view. The colors remind me of hand-colored vintage postcards, and the lettering has a mid-century feel to me. It doesn’t look like any of the street views are for sale, but you can check out buyable prints—like the cheeky (pun intended) beach volleyball diptych—in his online shop. (via Cool Hunting)

Flower Power. I’m loving these paintings by Australian artist John Baird. His use of color and pattern feels both formalized and “visionary”  to me. Sort of like when someone writes a sonnet that hues more to vernacular than heightened language. By which I mean, buy me one, okay? Preferably Elsie, Flora, or Gertrude. (via dear ada)

Get it Together. I’ve been really enjoying this collection-a-day blog by the artist Lisa Congdon. I love that she’s documenting her collections both real and imaginary. It’s interesting not just to see Lisa’s trove of treasures, but also to see how people react to them. Today’s grouping of owls, for example, reminded me of watching Mr. Rogers. It also made me start to ponder why owls have had such resonance for me lately. A search for wisdom perhaps? As a side note, Lisa also had a folk-arty/60s-ish print on 20 x the other day.

Tea Off. Just because the kitchen is a place of eminent practicality, it doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty too. I love these graphic tea towels by studiopatro. They’re a little pricy, until you consider that they might just help put a smile on your face when you have to tackle a sink full of dishes or wipe down the counter after a near-fatal food processor accident. Not to mention they make a heckuva housewarming giftie.  I’m partial to the Fig/Fern and Facade patterns myself. (via Fine Little Day)

Great Scots! I love this sneak peek into the home of Rosie Brown, mother of Verity Belle (sweet!) and proprietrix of Papa Stour, one of my wish list stores. I love all the commissioned artisan work in their house, especially the driftwood shelf and the backsplash behind the sink in the bathroom. Anyone up for a quick jaunt to Scotland with me in August? (via design*sponge)

For the Heart of Art. I’m loving these abstract-ish paintings by Tyson Anthony Roberts. They feel like a contemporary take on paint-by-numbers, in which each shape is broken into color blocks. I also love the elongated ovals that Roberts uses as “building blocks.” They remind me of the wee plug-in lites from the Lite Brite sets of my  kidhood. (And yes, now the jingle is stuck in my head: Lite Brite, making things with liiiggghte, Lite Brite . . . ). Lucky for you, Messr. Roberts also has been a featured artist on 20× recently so you can spend some pennies on “The Garden,” which I read as a riff on Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” (via Aesthetic Outburst)

Art Works. As both artist and collector, it warms my cockles to know just how many visual artists are selling editions to raise money for the relief efforts in Haiti. Here’s a link to an auction on Flickr that’ll be taking place until February 14th. With more than 155 images up for grabs to date, you’re sure to find something that can grace your walls as well as advance grace to Haiti. And if you’re a photographer—amateur or otherwise—consider joining the group pool. You’ve got nothing to lose and the potential to give a whole lot. (via 20×200 blog)

The Home Beete! Questionnaire


I first encountered Jennifer Grey over on Design*Sponge, or rather I should say I encountered a few swoon-worthy photos of her gorgeous Southern California home. When Jennifer was sweet enough to chime in on The Home Beete! to thank me for my gushing response to her D*S spread, I took the opportunity to invite her to be the first ever person to answer The Home Beete! questionnaire that’s not me.

Once you’re done with your own oohing, aahing, and general gushing, check out The Old Painted Cottage, Jennifer’s equally swoonworthy online site. With categories like She Makes Things, Curious Finds, and French Country, I have a feeling you’ll be making a (very long) wish list just like moi! (And keep an eye out for more from The Old Painted Cottage when I get around to launching my weekly Shop This! column.)


THB: In five words or less, your home is . . .

Jennifer: My Sanctuary, Love, and Life.

THB: What do you do at home?

Jennifer: I run my own online business out of my home, so when I’m not taking care of orders, I’m doing projects, moving things around, or contemplating moving things around.

THB: What’s your favorite room (and why)?

Jennifer: That would have to be my dining room. The custom built shelves we had made to showcase my ironstone collection take my breath away every single day.


THB: What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

Jennifer: Can a floral loveseat be considered a piece of art? I think it’s the most special thing I have. Purchased at an antique store several years ago, I’ve convinced my husband that when we’re old and gray, we’re making room for this tufted baby in our retirement home.

THB: What could you never throw out . . . though maybe you should?

Jennifer: I’m not sure this is something I would ever “throw out,” but I have a lot of my grandparents’ things. My grandmother adored Victorian style, but her things just don’t go with my current look. I’m not one to put things away out of sight, so I have found a home for her things in nooks and on shelves to keep them in my heart.

THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you’ve ever received?

Jennifer: Two pieces of advice actually. The first came from my mother when she said “Paint covers all sins,” which rang especially true with this house. And the next came from my mother-in-law when she said, “No matter how much you do, you’re never done decorating.” How true, how true.

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

Jennifer: I can’t wait to remodel our master bathroom, which needs a major overhaul, and I’ve been dreaming of a white picket fence since we bought this house one year ago. Or since the day I was born really.


THB: Got color?

Jennifer: Yep, two of my favorites: A great taupe – Ralph Lauren’s Canvas Natural (seen on my walls in my dining room, kitchen, and living room). And a fabulous creamy white – Behr’s Seaside Sand (seen on all my white furniture, doors, trim, fireplace wall, and ceilings).

THB: Any last words?

Jennifer: Are we there yet?

(See more pix of Jennifer’s digs and get the inside scoop on some of her treasures and marvel–when you see the second image–that we have the same, exact vintage clock on her blog.)

Hitting the Links (9/19/09)


A detail from the Freeman house tour on style/swoon

Behind the seens. An interview with architect/designer Dee Dee Taylor Hannah thanks to Ronda over at All the Best.

The cat’s out of the bag. Uhm, not really sure how I’m going to keep my tote bag (it’s-almost-an) addiction under control when people (like Oh Joy!) keep pointing me to (easy-on-the-wallet) cutie patooties like these from MAPTOTE. Go Queens!

Icy hot. This is the coolest housecleaning (by which I mean, of course, making a humongous mess while I move the furniture yet again) tip ever! Thanks for giving me a clue Shelterrific.

Picture this. Do I really need to explain why I think this is the coolest idea ever? Hmm, wonder if I can barter for this using my roll of 4th-of-July-in-the-neighborhood photos I never developed by which I mean uploaded or even downloaded from the camera . . . . (BTW, this is thx to Shelterrific.)

Full House. I’m a little in awe of this house which mixes country, vintage, and Old Hollywood elements (check out the chandelier collection!) with aplomb. This is the kind of place I’d never get invited to simply because they wouldn’t be able to get me to leave. I’d be too busy ogling, groping, and otherwise interfering with all their treasures. I particularly like how well their collections are integrated into the decor and the folk art elements that are scattered throughout so they add a bit of sweetness rather that kitsch. Yep, I’ve definitely got a heart-on for this habitat. (Thanks to style/swoon for sharing.)

Hitting the Links (9/9/09)


“New York City” by Shawn Rocco from Cellular Obscura

Baby’s got background. I heart this house-themed desktop wallpaper-slash-calendar from Lena Corwin.

Garden Pretty. If I had a deck or a porch or even a sunny enough spot in my living room, I’d consider splurging on this planter I found by way of Cool Hunting. It reminds me of those old-fashioned multi-neck vases meant for tulips.

Map Quest? So you’ve probably figured out by now that I have a heart-on for anything travel-related, especially if it’s also vintage and/or handmade (or at least handmade-looking). These gorgeous maps from A La Carte certainly fit the bill, and—bonus points—you can even order customized versions marking your favorite spots.  I’m jonesing to get the DC one ASAP and the Paris one as soon as it’s out in December. (And yes, that was a giant hint as to what you can get me for Christmas and/or my birthday and/or just because.)

Lickety split. Let’s face it. You can never have too many recipes for a good, tummy-tempting, split pea soup. This one’s by way of All the Best: A Passport to Stylish Living. Let me know if anyone tries this one out before I do. (And don’t be scared by the mention of the pressure cooker; a few lines down the recipe assures us that we can also use a regular pot. Just plan on it taking a little while longer for the peas to soften. And by the by, does anyone still use pressure cookers? Hmmm, might have to steal my mom’s.)

You had me at “Come in.” Another ooh-worthy moment from All the Best (thanks Ronda!) Check out this house tour courtesy of Eric Kohler design. I particularly love the stairwell-as-gallery—an idea I encourage you to steal immediately if you’ve more than one floor to your abode. I’m also in love with the various tablescapes, which encourage you to spend some time taking a good look at the various treasures.

Book’em Danno. So I never met a coffee table that I didn’t want to adorn with a coffee table book or five. On my wish list is photographer Shawn Rocco’s new book cellular obscura (also the name of Shawn’s blog). What’s utterly, absolutely, impossibly cool about this volume is that he’s taken all of these amazing photos with various CELL PHONE CAMERAS! Don’t believe me? Check out the neck-craning view of the Empire State Building above. Despite being shot using digital technology, I love how Shawn’s photos display all the moodiness of film. (Yes, you can get me this for my birthday if you’ve already gotten me an A La Carte map for Christmas.)

I’m still catching up with my Google reader, so more “Hitting the Links” or “Favorite Things” or whatever I decide to call this post tomorrow. . .perhaps . . . .

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