Friday, May 22, 2015

Design Project: Bringing it In…

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How fun to be invited by designers Cindy and Maryann  to take part with other bloggers in a Project Design
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The object: To inexpensively refresh your living room.
Ok….here are a couple that I do pretty regularly
… involving  bringing the outside in.
I am often in the jungle garden with a machete in hand…by necessity
But dayum the cuttings…the strays…are often gorgeous! Not all. But many.
I don’t want to just compost their green and trying so hard…and maybe choking out the other plants souls.
so years ago,  have taken to having a big Talavera jar in the courtyard that happily holds  the cuttings savings…strays of the day or week…or month.
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Happy. but more importantly it is a holding area of ever changing greenery I can bring into the casa.
It beats buying house plants that inevitably bite the dust. saving, re-using.
These guys can be happy for weeks in fresh water. Dare say months.
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ok…agreed I can get carried away…and it can sometimes look like a bohemian florist warehouse.
A different leaf shape can create a whole new feel in your room.
And I am NOT shy….I manhandle tall limbs and fronds into tiny pots.
everyone lives. everyone happy. keep moving, folks.
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I am not beneath bringing in actual pots from outside…moss draped and earthy…they have their own feel.
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But….
inevitably…they, too, get filled with the cuttings and seeds
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Another freebee with character are collections from nature or gifts from the sea…Rocks, twigs, hornets nests…whatever floats your boat. Amazing how it can serenade the seasons…or remind you of where YOU live.
I am always just plopping these gifts down on a coffee table…
and rearranging again and again. Calorie-free and FREE.
Best game ever.
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sometimes the green foliage pulls out a color I had never noticed in the room
…often it is a replica to a color in the house
dog wags tail…tail wags dog?
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Another easy fun for the kids one…bamboo grows in our yard out front you may have tree branches…
and it BEGS to be painted once it is cut and dried.
Didn’t know that it begged like that, did’ja?
House paint… acrylics…It’s not fussy.
Never needs to be perfect. Like everything in this house…it just needs to try.
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See that piece of wood co-mingling with the flamboyant Liberace  bamboo?It was found a decade ago by my youngest…she would wear it on her shoulder and pretend it was her pet snake.
Hard to let go of THAT kinda friend. So…he joins the happy stray family.
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Painted bamboo can move throughout the house and room at whim…perhaps it even does while we are sleeping.
But by far….the most cherished outside in…and inside out stray…
happens to like cookies…and cheese…and chicken wings.
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and orange chesterfields…
Now go find the REAL talent….and check out how these lovely bloggers have refreshed their rooms:

Monday, May 18, 2015

In our corner of the world…

Things are heating up
pretty darn fast
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The sand is hot to the toes….we begin bringing the outside in…
slowing down a bit
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looking to water to cool and calm.
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A nice Pinot Gris works, too.
very well.
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Join me and a host of MUCH more talented bloggers
This Friday (May 22nd)
To Refresh Your Living Room With  Inexpensive Tips…
My ideas are kinda sorta free….and involve the ocean….and the “gifts” of summer.
and yeah…maybe wine.
I may get kicked out.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bohemian Blue Florida Cracker: A house tour

‘If you are lucky…
you may one day live in a house that is so effusively a part of who you are and how you live
that it will become a main character
in your life,
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It will escape the bounds of geography, topography, street address and square footage,
and be, instead, the perfect backdrop for a life well lived.
A life you live.’
                                                                      ~Debra Shriver (foreword in House Proud by Valorie Hart)
Enter Vero Beach local, Dale McGee
House saver, soul soother, designer, boho spirit, 
Mother of 5 Grandmimi of 8, friend to many many.
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A colorful local character who, in saving a 1920’s Florida vernacular cracker cottage….
found her self. and a neighborhood.
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I first met her 15 years ago when she and an artist friend were fixing up another 1920’s Spanish cottage
next to ours, in this same ‘full of history’ hood.
Lucky for us…
She has left her creative mark on a string of local gems she has touched around our town.
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Don your flip flops….grab a straw hat… a cool drink… and
Join me on a tour of her Florida Cracker home
then, for extra fun… walk up the street with me to come peep
into another 1920’s cracker cottage she helped renovate and design…
let’s do the neighborhood. shall we?
Even the old oak that had to be cut down in front of the Boho Blue house many moons ago… lives on with personality… and you will get the Boho when you enter…trust me.
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She saw a sun in the vestiges of his trunk….she got a sun.
who does that? Dale does that…
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driveway is lined with our local ocean floor….washed and sun bleached shells….
and kitschy flamingos….cuz it is Florida, folks.
There is such a true love of old, collected kitschy Florida in this abode.
You cannot help but smile.
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as you enter into the sunroom… you are greeted by sisters  Alice and Audrey….
Yoga Yorkies yep they do yoga. I saw pics
….Seriously adorable.
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The home is a treasure trove of vintage rattan and bamboo furnishings. Authentic Florida.
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The main rooms are awash in color on the walls….and Dade county pine floors…These cracker homes live
much bigger than they look. Just enough room. Never too much.
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Many of the paintings are from local narrative artist Deb Gooch…  Dale’s five kids
adorn the green wall of fame…
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Vintage Florida Kitsch…In the 40’s and 50’s Coconut heads were the tourist attraction of the day…Each coconut was hand carved and painted to reflect their own personality.
Sometimes they were decorated with feathers and beads,
but always with shells to create eyes, teeth and earrings.
Dale has been collecting these time worn funky treasures for decades.
They stalwartly  guard the fireplace
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The kitchen puts the FUN in functional
I want a steel drum on my table to hold fruit now. right now.
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Three bedrooms and two baths create this Cracker.
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Outside is a small paradise… festooned in tropical color begging you, no…
demanding you to relax
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a small Key West sized pool…a winding path to a once pole barn, now  shrimp colored art studio,
…and a palm thatch tiki hut. What more does one need?
seriously?
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personality around every corner….behind every shell…
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a self admitted housie from the early childhood days of creating homes of sticks and blocks
…Dale continues to create small wonderland habitats of moss and succulents
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Can you hear the palms swaying…cicadas crooning?
But…don’t relax too much…just yet.
Lets head down the oak lined street….
Her neighbor to the direct north is this gorgeous cottage. breathed alive…House CPR..full of soul.
Two houses down we meander upon another sweet  1920’s cracker…designed by Dale for her friend and neighbor.
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Peeking out behind a natural Florida yard…shells replace grass. Tropical's happily roam
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Just stepping into the sun warmed, window lined room….warms your heart
Dale’s love of vintage Florida art and furnishings are found throughout.
and work beautifully, expressively  in this cottage.
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IMG_9144 A cool and functional addition to the home were spyder solar tubes…small portals that deliver reflected light
into hard to reach places. Florida sun washes the room without the FEEL of Florida sun.
kinda ingenious.
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This cracker home has two bedroooms….but also a bodacious loft up some turquoise stairs
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That I forgot to get pics of….stellar little original room that currently  housed two pop out  bean bag twin beds. The room  originally was rented to Navy soldiers in the 1940’s while they did their  pilot training. seriously.
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I Loved the tiny original closet doors….were we all 5 foot nothing in the 1920’s? 
fascinating.
Great  re-done galley kitchen…looking out to palms through their wind out windows
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Outside….another lulling paradise
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Fabulous firepit  newly crafted by Dale’s  middle son
so new…it has not even seen its inaugural fire yet…
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IMG_9208  vines will soon be climbing up this bamboo
window to the world…
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This cracker also houses an artist studio in the back yard….bathed in light…white cement floors
hammock in front.
Quietly…or perhaps not so quietly…this sweet neighborhood is becoming an art enclave.
tucked away. creating genius.
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Thank you
Dale and all of those that
  save and celebrate these venerable old souls
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My straw hat is so off to you…
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seriously.

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