Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Antiques, "new"-tiques, "dear"-tiques

When walking through the Charleston homes that graciously allowed visitors to peak inside during the annual Festival of Homes and Gardens, my eyes caught something I already loved. Isn't that the way we are?  We are drawn to the familiar.

When we're interested in a specific car, we see all the others just like it as we drive through town.

Before visiting any houses we had to make a stop at the Shops of Historic Charleston Foundation to secure our tickets. This shop was filled with beautiful Charleston memorabilia; classic pieces of Canton ware, pineapple decor, and more. This shop is as far from the typical souvenir store as you might get. These were beautiful items that would actually be used in home decor.

MySouthernHome2014 photo

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A work in progress...

After scavenging resale shops, antique stores, off price stores, Hobby Lobby, and other local haunts, I finally gathered a collection of blue and white transferware that reminds me of the pieces in some of the stunning china cabinets in Charleston, SC homes.

I still have art to hang; plus tweaking will always be a pass-time as I decide to move things around. But at least the dining room finally looks like someone has tried to use design principles to create a room with a plan.

Since our goal was to create a room that has the character of a home in the early days of Charleston or New Orleans, we used furniture that was created to remind people of that time period.

MySouthernHome2014 photo

Monday, July 10, 2017

Houston ASID showcase home 2017

The first weekend open and I've already visited this 10,000 SF home twice. It is a refreshing beauty after the overload of dark spaces in some previous show homes. Adding the inlaw suite and barn, there is a total of 14,000 SF, as advertised by the ASID.

The tour boasts 30 distinct spaces designed by multiple designers. To tour the house, tickets can be purchased online, at the door, or from various design firms involved in the showcase.

MySouthernHome2014 photo of ASID 2017 showcase home

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Historic patio furniture???

Regular readers know that I enjoy finding a used piece at a great price, as much to recycle items as to save money. Also, we all realize that late 1800's and early 1900's furniture are not today's trends in stores. Creativity and ingenuity are often required to solve a problem of not being able to find the perfect solution.

When it was time to find patio furniture, I started looking at local classifieds, plus websites for patio furniture stores in the area. While I've seen a regular parade of used  pieces of patio furniture in local classifieds, none or it looked like it would be "at home" in our backyard. We passed up the pieces, continuing our search.

"At home" is the key we used when searching for every element of our historic-like home. "Would this style have 'fit' into a late 1700 or 1800's home?"

Saturday, June 10, 2017

What is that smell?

I must laugh at this one. It only took one year to figure out an answer to a "problem."

We have floored in attic storage and are in that space regularly. Periodically we would notice an odor that we couldn't find. It would come and go.

But we could find NOTHING!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The beauty of historically appropriate hardware

While designing our dream home, we searched for nostalgic style hardware that was modern in function. Although we found hardware that we felt to be appropriate, I would have loved to have known about Nostalgic Warehouse at that point.

We like the hardware we chose.

Interior hardware
Plain, privacy, or keyed

Monday, May 22, 2017


There is something so southern about magnolia trees and their flowers.

We have a large southern magnolia in the front yard, plus a mig tig in the backyard. This bloom was on the mig tig.

Property of MySouthernHome2014

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wire shelving

While one of our children was in college, we owned a condo with wire pantry and closet shelves. I pretty much hated them, especially in the pantry where narrow things were always tipping over.

I just noticed a Facebook advertisement for a product called Help My Shelf. It's an American company with a product that is made in America.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Creating a calm background

While this is a personal opinion, more and more of my friends are also expressing the same thoughts lately. "Less is more!"

Not only was the paint carefully chosen to function as a relaxing background, but the window coverings are not busy. There are no heavy draperies or window toppers in our house.

Window trim dresses up every window. The windows on the front and sides of our homes have plantation shutters that are the same color as the white trim on the windows. The windows across the back of the house have shades that can be lowered and raised.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Enjoying sunsets

There are many "favorites" in our new home, most of them carefully planned.

Probably the absolutely favorite part of living in this house are the evening sunsets that never fail to amaze our family and friends.

The fact that we would have an incredible view of the evening sun was not something we thought about while planning or building, yet was a wonderful "surprise" when we got our focus off planning and started enjoying the house after moving in.

Monday, May 1, 2017

SAFETY! trust your gut instinct

What a strange experience, but it is happening too often these days.

Maybe sharing this experience is my therapy to get rid of my frustration. DRAMA ALERT! :-)

We are closing on a house at the end of this week. While on the market, the house was staged with various furniture.

We are now trying to sell some of the items we used for staging. One of the listings is for a bedroom set.

A lady contacted me by Facebook private message last Wednesday afternoon, telling me she was interested in the bedroom set if it was still available.

I told her it was still available and had to be picked up from our garage on Thursday or Sunday because of our schedule. And it was a cash only sale.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Found on Pinterest

Pinterest has revolutionized our ability to save ideas and helpful hints. One of my recent favorites is totally simple, yet a great find.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hard work, tired muscles

Part of living in a house that reminds me of history, is that I often think about how our grandparents and great grands might have lived. Neighbors shared plants with each other, grew cutting gardens for flowers to bring inside or share with their neighbors, and grew many of their own vegetables.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Keeping wood away from an outdoor kitchen

While planning our home we visited local Home & Garden Shows, sitting in on a few instructional classes and talking to a few dozen experts in their field. It was at one of these shows that we met the gentleman who installed our hardwood flooring. 

One of the classes that interested us was about outdoor kitchens, taught by the owner of a company where we had purchased gas grills for our previous two homes. But those were both portable grills and this home needed a built in grill. 

We intentionally had limited space, which only needed a grill and outdoor sink. One of the starred items in my class notes was not to use wood products in the construction of the cabinet where the grill was to be installed. We have noticed multiple houses with outdoor kitchens constructed on a wood frame. A few homes even used wood in the entire construction. 
RCS grill

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dining chairs with a history

If you have read much of this blog, you probably realize I love historic Charleston, SC homes. The annual Festival of Homes and Gardens started March 16, causing me to wish I lived closer to Charleston than I do.

While looking at the website, I discovered the following picture.

Charleston Festival of Houses and Gardens
Antique Show 2017

Shopping tips

I will readily admit that I have bought things I should not have purchased, simply because marketing got to me.  Maybe it was at Marshall's in a shelf near the line to pay. Maybe it was precious, pink Easter bunnies on an appliqued set of napkins. Or my purchase might have been a result of sentimentality. It could have been a classic styled milk jug that reminded me of a jug my mom or grandmother owned.

Whatever the reason, I would come home with my purchase and then search for a location for it. Would it look better in the living room bookcase, or on a bedroom nightstand? I might move it around the house a bit, then sometimes relegate it to a closet in case I could ever use it.

Then we moved! And all of those "treasures" had to be packed, sold or donated. Friends wanted some of them while other things were sold. I still have a few piles in the garage that need to be donated.

What caused this access? Instead of worrying about that; I prefer to consider how it can be avoided?

I am now committed to working to make sure home accessory purchases fit these criteria:

  • Make sure I love the item, and am not just falling pry to marketing
  • Is it a style that fits into my decor?  I can love a purple, Easter table runner, but it will not "work" in my dining room with blue walls and a dark red Oriental rug.

    Many of us have seen houses that contain a random collection of items. If the homeowner is pleased, there is nothing wrong with that home decor.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Unique table runners

Why is it that I look through racks of table runners in stores, yet rarely seem to find one I want to use? It may be partially due to a decorating class I took where Lauren explained we should not make purchases unless the item is absolutely essential, or if we actually love it and it fits perfectly into our home.

Lauren's lesson took a while to grab hold of, but it finally helped me stop making impulsive purchases. I now stop to evaluate items before going to the checkout. Last week I had seven items in my shopping cart. Before I got to the checkout, all seven had been returned to their original shelves. None of them were needed/perfect/or loved!

Or maybe it is because I recently moved and had to clean out items that I did not want to bring with me. Since moving into our new home, I have tossed out other items as well. I simply do not want extra baggage to carry with me if and when we move again.

As one of my neighbors shared, "The more stuff you have, the more you have to take care of."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Subway tile

In the early planning stages of our home, I entertained the idea of using subway tile, but was not sure how or where to use it. As I scanned magazines and looked through photos on, I noticed builders/designers incorporating a great deal of these tiles in showers and bathrooms. While I like the look, it was never a "must-have" item.

"It will probably not come as much of a shock that subway tile was originally designed to be placed in subways. Designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge created the distinctive 3" x 6" rectangles for the very first station of New York's then brand-new subway in 1904." -

I found myself making multiple trips to the design showroom with my long list of items to find, one of which was for a kitchen back-splash and  coordinating tiles to use behind my free-standing range. I knew both of these choices needed to work together.

I briefly entertained the idea of a mosaic since they are so popular in this area. If you have read much of this blog, you might realize that we were not trying to reproduce the same style home that is prevalent nearby, but working on a completely unique style instead. The mosaics I have seen are stunning. However, I realized they were all in homes that had a Tuscan theme.

Additionally, we had an unspoken goal to create a beautiful backdrop of calmness so the people and the furnishings could be the focus of the home. In order to accomplish that, we needed design elements that did not take center stage, but blended into the space with grace and elegance. That pretty much ruled out mosaics since they demand attention.

Cold morning treat!

Once upon a time (or at least that is the way my elementary-school-self once believed every story was supposed to begin)....................

........I was an avid tea lover! Hot tea or iced tea? I loved both. In fact I loved tea so much I seldom, if ever, drank water.

It was a habit that needed to be broken, and it was. My main beverage is now H2O.

When I first stopped using tea as my primary beverage, I still loved the taste of a glass or cup of tea. I would allow myself to drink tea only when traveling away from home. The last few years I rarely even think about tea.

On cold mornings when I want a warm drink, I sometimes indulge in a mug of  hot chocolate.

The over-sized Bell jar started out full of my favorite cocoa mix last fall. My sweet daughter-in-law also shared a jar of cocoa with me.Winter in south Texas has given way to warmer, sunshiny days and the cocoa mix is almost gone.

This is an easy Christmas gift for friends who like chocolate.

Collecting containers throughout the year, mixing a batch in a large bowl, and you have homemade gifts to share.

There are tons of recipes online so you can find your personal favorite. My favorite (below) was shared with me by my daughter-in-law.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Freshly planted seeds
At times, a new home seems to come with a seemingly bottomless list of expenses, one of which is the landscaping. The landscapers were asked (by me) to choose from a list of plants I had created, as long as it fit in the budget (agreed on by my husband). The yard was stunning the day we moved in. (It still is!)

But after the first winter in our house, spring came along with promises of another humid, hot Texas Gulf Coast summer. The winter annuals were not going to be able to handle the upcoming heat.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ginormous pool?

Infinity Edge Pool
By Texas Pools
Photo property of Our Southern Home

It is one of those rare mornings before the pool pump starts running, and the lake behind our house is as smooth as a sheet of glass. Brief moments like this fascinate me, reminding me why we wanted an infinity edge pool on this lot. 

The water in the pool flows into a lower basin which returns the water back into the pool. Beyond that is a raised flower bed, then a few feet of grass before the yard reaches the bulkhead. That few feet of yard totally disappears from this angle. The view from inside the house is only of the pool and lake.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


I have to smile when I hear a man say his wife is the most beautiful woman he's ever known (or seen). There couldn't be that many "most beautiful" women, or they would all look identical!

However, as my wise, wonderful mother used to tell me, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

As a child I would think, "sure, it is!" probably with a hint of sarcasm in my thoughts.

As the years tend to do, they have left me hopefully wiser than in my childhood. I now realize the expression is full of wisdom. As each of those men honestly feel like they married the most beautiful woman, all of us tend to enjoy or find more beauty in certain styles, more than in others.

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder!

I've shared that we love historic home styles. Yet there are some historic homes I will admit I find more appealing than others. While others might like the turrets on castles, mid-century modern, or homes reminiscent of historic Mediterranean structures, my favorites tend to be Georgian, Queen Anne, and cottage styles.

Friday, February 3, 2017

"Please" and "Thank you!"

As I stood in line waiting to enter a government building earlier this week, I was near a lady and her young granddaughter. When another lady mentioned how polite the child was, the grandmother beamed with pride.

The stranger had asked the little girl a question, to which the child replied, "Yes, Ma'am." For some reason, the grandmother proceeded to share how the child's mother had taught her to say, "Yes, Sir," etc. when responding to adults. However, her other grandmother who lives in a northern state would not allow the child use such terms when speaking to her. She believes it puts the child in a subservient position.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Our home is not a replica of any single home, but simply designed with details that suggest another time period. Lanterns hang over our kitchen island and breakfast table. (A historic home would have had a separate kitchen building because of the fire hazard.)

Beautiful medallions grace the living and dining room ceilings. (Medallions in a historic home would probably have been created of plaster. Our medallions were simply created from a historic pattern.)

Looking at other replicas can also provide ideas for a new build, since the creators of the replicas most likely were detail-oriented architectural history buffs.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Nottoway is for sale???

When I saw the private Facebook message, I had a split second thought that Nottoway could be for sale. Oh, no! What if the new owners get rid of the resort, with the bed & breakfast? What if .......

Photo property of

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tulip experiment

This GRAND TULIP EXPERIMENT has just started, so I am not sure these tulips will live and if I made a good investment. Yet, they make me smile every time I look through the front windows.

I noticed hundreds of bare bulb, flowering tulips at the local grocery a few days ago. Before I knew it, there were 10 each of red, pink and yellow tulips in my cart. They just jumped in and came along for the ride, I assume. Later, my daughter brought 12 more purple tulips to me.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Television inspiration

Most of us know about HGTV and how much inspiration can be gained from our favorite shows. I remember an episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper that had a cabinet exactly like I wanted. I must have hit rewind a dozen times to get the picture I wanted to save.

It can be helpful to keep a notebook and pencil handy when watching these shows. Even a smart phone with a camera can catch images we want to save. Ideas can be found anywhere and television is a favorite source.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trust your gut instinct

When building a new home you will periodically need to TRUST YOUR GUT!

Your best friend, the man/lady at the store, the designer, the builder, your parents, your children, me, or nobody else knows EXACTLY what YOU want. And your home deserves to be a reflection of your tastes, your style and filled with things you enjoy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Time to study replacement plants for our "dead" garden

It is time to make a quick study of my heirloom gardening books. When I wrote the previous post on heirloom gardening, I didn't realize I would need to begin studying the books sooner than later.

Anniversary time, my dear!

Today is the 77th anniversary of Gone With The Wind

Incredible movie, my dear! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Antebellum home video tours

Antebellum architecture (meaning "prewar", from the Latin ante, "before", and bellum, "war") is the neoclassical architectural style characteristic of the 19th-century Southern United States, especially the Deep South, from after the birth of the United States with the American Revolution, to the start of the American Civil War.[1] Antebellum architecture is especially characterized by GeorgianNeo-classical, and Greek Revival style plantation homes and mansions. -- Wikipedia

Homes in Natchez

I'm not a big bed & breakfast fan, but one of the few we have stayed at was a historic home in Natchez, Mississippi. Our our first trip to Natchez, we reserved a suite in The Burn, which is a wonderful home to visit.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Virtual walking tours in New Orleans

Years ago, a taxi dropped us in front of a hotel in the famed French Quarter of New Orleans. We strolled the streets, took a carriage ride, and discovered a tiny part of a city that we would return to visit several times. Each visit brought new discovers, new food, and new sites.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cleaning appliances

Do none of us read anymore?  I searched online before starting to clean my gas range, just to make sure I knew exactly the recommended method. Instead of the product manual I found a video.

I must admit it was easier to watch this video that was provided by the manufacturer than it would be to read instructions. I was simply surprised the video existed.

Maybe I'll look for additional videos about other products. That would be a time saver!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Keeping it together

While roaming through a store 2 or 3 years ago, I noticed a beautiful little journal. The cover is made of cork, with lined pages and a ribbon bookmark inside adding to its charm.

The embossed anchor on the cover made me think of our new home.

I hadn't thought much about the journal until unpacking, but it brought a smile when I discovered it in one of what seemed like millions of boxes. (Thankfully, it wasn't actually a million.) 

"Maybe I should place this in the guest bedroom and ask guests to leave a favorite quote or Bible verse, along with their name and date of visit?"  That idea was quickly ruled out.

We had our first big dinner last Easter Sunday and the next day, I realized how helpful the journal could be.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Discover Savannah

In the 1950s many of Savannah's historic homes were demolished to make way for "progress." Seven local women demanded this destruction stop before losing the 1820 Davenport house, forming the Historic Savannah Foundation and stopping the demolition only a short 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin.
Property of the Davenport house

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Piss poor" & other colloquialisms

Although many of our colloquialisms are understood, we often find ourselves wondering where on earth certain expressions originated.

If there is any truth to the article below, shared on Facebook by Dan Steele, we have all learned a great deal today.