Sunday, June 27, 2010

Carnton Plantation - Franklin, Tennessee

I just spent the most delightful evening at Carnton Plantation. If you aren't familiar with Carnton, it played a pivotal role during the Battle of Franklin here in Tennessee. The home served as a large Confederate field hospital and there are still bloodstains on some of the floors upstairs. Ultimately, over 1,400 soldiers were buried on several acres adjacent to the house. The cemetery is haunting. If you ever get the chance to visit, you should. Thousands of visitors come every year... even more now that Robert Hicks published his bestselling book The Widow of the South, which is based on the events during the Battle of Franklin.

I'm on the Advisory Board of the home and they have a summer concert series on the lawn, the first of which was tonight. I walked around the home and gardens and took these photos. It's truly breathtaking.

Please note one of my favorite features, the "haint blue" paint on the ceiling of the porch. It's a charming Southern tradition and was historically meant to ward off spirits, or haints.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Old Florida design

Like many Southerners before me, I dream of having a place in Florida. I imagine a vacation home in the Santa Rosa/30-A area. I'd love to have an old Florida style cottage that looks as if it has had the same decor since the 1940's. Picture a corrugated metal roof, clapboard and huge screened porches.

The room above is from House Beautiful and it looks perfect for my little dream cottage.

You can get the look on a budget. I found a $77 oil painting on eBay that would be a great addition to my design. Find five such vintage marine paintings, all of ships or beaches, and hang them together.

As for the side table, the room above is using a small woven table (which is great since I'd be willing to have a bedroom that's a shoebox in order to get the house), but I would probably use the tree stump side table from West Elm. Kind of like I found an old cypress stump and used it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Well, I'm back (again)

I seem to go through phases with my writing. Obviously, my last break lasted nearly a year! Yikes! But I love to write and shop and take/peruse photos, so I'm going to try to get back on track.

I found this charming piece (a sideboard? modified Welsh dresser?) at a local antique mall a while back. It was priced at $400, but the booth was closing and it was available for $200. I very seriously considered the purchase because I wanted to bring it home and save it. I was absolutely aghast that someone would ruin such a sweet piece with the fleur de lis paint. The hardware was all original and the barley twists were just lovely.

I'm not a big fan of painting furniture, as you may know from reading my past blogs. (I would say that the caveat to that would be painting furniture a totally over the top color... think a high shine powder coat of bright red paint on Chinese Chippendale chairs that don't have a great pedigree.) Faux painting or decorative painting generally leaves me let down.

So I let this piece go and I regret it every time I click through these photos. Even if I didn't want to use it, I could have brought it back to life and given it away. I really can't emphasize enough the importance of striking when you see something that speaks to you on a deep level... and also speaks to your checkbook. At $200, this was a bargain, even when you factor in the costs of the materials it would have taken to strip off the paint. If you are decorating on a budget, keep your eyes peeled for the hidden treasures like this one. They might need a little love, but the payoff could be huge.