Monday, January 18, 2010

Renovation Inspiration

A few weeks ago, the Etsy Finds Decor article really stuck with me. Titled A Faithful Restoration, the article provides photos from Alyn Carlson's Flickr photostream detailing the restoration of her home, a converted church. I have been mesmerized by the images of her home, struck by the similarity of her decorating style to what I aspire to, and the complete dissimilarity of the architecture of our homes. For instance, I am likely to never have a fireman's pole in my home. I spent some time thinking about how wonderful it must be to have a home with unique architecture. Though I dearly love my home, and hope to stay here for 30 years or so, part of me does wish that we lived in an old factory, an historic rowhouse, or something with a lot of character. I live in a suburban home that was built in the early 1990s. Part of why we bought this house was its very vanilla interior. We liked the bones of the home, and we knew we would not feel guilty about ripping out the beige carpet, tearing out the laminate counters, and painting the white walls. If we had found a home that someone else had personalized, we would have felt bad removing expensive installations (that we would have paid for in the purchase price as well), or we would have unhappily worked around the choices of another family. The Flickr album of this renovated church also mentioned that this renovation has taken 28 years. So I got to thinking that maybe over the course of 28 years or so, I would be able to fix up my home pretty well, too. And my challenge is something that a lot of folks experience - creating a personal home out of standard, vanilla, suburban house. I decided to embrace what I've got, and renamed my Flick album of home pictures - now Extreme Home Transformation: Suburban Edition. As we slowly personalize and improve our home, I'll still be looking to images of the homes of others to inspire me. Alyn's home is the perfect muse. The rest of this post will feature more pictures of her home, a few pictures from my home to show our similar taste, and some items I found on Etsy that can carry the same inspiration into your home. Someday I will have a lush garden grounded by hardscaping. I've often thought of making a mosaic with broken dishes (or discarded pottery...). I have been known to drag home branches I find to use in decorating my home. I have also extensively documented my fascination with cubbies and drawers and things to put things in. I love the ethereal quality of these birds against this cloudy blue wall. This collection of items reminded me of my home. Bits of nature, remembrances, and letters with wood as a backdrop. Above and below are pictures of my studio. I keep mementos of my childhood, printers blocks, tiny antiques, and stones collected from experiences I want to remember. Below is another vignette from my home - feathers collected from my yard (and one ostrich feather from my feather duster), a basket my mom made, glass rhinoceroses, wood turned vases, and a large printers block G.

I wanted to find an array of items on Etsy that would bring a bit of the special quality of Alyn's home to your home and mine.

Shopping for letters on Etsy yields a number of attractive options, including this large Q printers block from ThreeOldKeys. I grew up with those World Book encyclopedias; they're not small books. This vintage marquee letter N could be leaned up against a wall or in a bookshelf. Find it at VintageEmbellishment. Remind yourself to mind your shop with these ETSY printers blocks from JillRuth. adripofcoffee has this vintage metal T stands alone quite handsomely. everyeskimo's metal J would be perfect in a natural and lettered vignette. I love wooden printers blocks with a wood tone contrasting with the darker background. These are from luckylittledot. This family of owls from onegiftoneworld would be right at home among vintage letters and natural mementos. Shoeforms, like these from everyeskimo, are a small, sculptural way to bring woodgrain and retired vintage into your home. 26olivestreet has a more rustic shoeform option, with less shine but just as much character.
This picture from Alyn's home reminded me of how much I love copper in a kitchen. I have a number of copper accents in my kitchen, and it goes so well with the slate I plan to use in the floors and backsplash. I found a number of copper pieces inspired by these patterned measuring cups above - snatch them up before I do.
I have a copper bowl just like this one from SunnyDayVintage. Mine was covered in green gunk, and was about to be donated when I saved it. A few coats of ketchup later, it was good as new. The person who was going to donate it didn't even recognize it as theirs later.
This set of vintage copper coffee and tea canisters would love to sit on your counter. Unless I buy them from storybookcharm first.
Don't you love the shine on these copper scoops from ModishVintage?
The texture, the shape, and the coiled handle on this copper teapot from SarahAnntiques make me swoon.
LucindaAndJane has this copper coffee maker, sugar and creamer set. I have a mug in hand and am already pulling up a chair.
I don't know that I would be able to decide between chocolate or cheese first for this solid copper fondue pot from GoodEyeVintage.
CometWreckage has this fantastic lidded jello mold that would be an excellent addition to your kitchen decor.
Alyn's home has an array of beautiful furniture, and this library filing cabinet from ShopGreenOwl reminded me of the drawers behind the fireman's pole.
This unique piece from bauerwood also had a special quality (and lovely drawers) that reminded me of all the pieces with drawers I noticed.
Be sure to check out Alyn's Etsy shop, and her blog. I am grateful for the inspiration I have gotten from Alyn's home renovation. I am equally grateful for the realizations that this kind of incredible home doesn't happen overnight, and that while my home isn't starting with unique architectural features, it's no less a home. And I intend to enjoy the journey from suburban house to personalized home.


NewDominionBlues said...

I just went back to the original Etsy Finds article, and "discovered" that bauerwood's drawered table was actually one of the featured items. Of course I saw it the first time, but I found it separately in my search. I did say this took me a few weeks, right?

Aimee said...

love it, thanks for featuring us!

everyeskimo said...

oh you know i had to click on that library filing cabinet. good god i love drawers. and all the sweet little bits and pieces you have in your home. you really put together some very nice posts, i always find things i desperately need in them!

Alyn said...

so touched by this posting. i love seeing how similar objects bring us joy. there is so much that needs to be fixed and loved back to shape around my place it's easy to forget how far I've come. thank you!