Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Design should do the same thing in everyday life that art does when encountered: amaze us, scare us or delight us, but certainly open us to new worlds within our daily existence.

Aaron Betsky, Curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects, SFMOMA

A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...or at least to decorating it. When I began to dream of updating the 1970's vibe of the farmhouse I had envisioned a Pottery Barn modern meets rustic kind of decor. I knew I would literally be starting from scratch and be on a meager budget. So, while I was contemplating how to get "the look" for less I was continuing to sort and inventory what was already available.

While cleaning out the storage shed I came across an old box full of vintage pleated drapes in various patterns and colors. Hmmm, too floral and funky to be Pottery Barn, so back on the shelf they went as I thought I might use the fabric for some art project in the future. Little did I know that one particular pattern and color scheme would become a huge part of the design for the farmhouse living room...

One major budget buster was the need to replace the sad sagging 70's sofa and side chairs. Handy Hubby and I went sofa shopping and came home with an empty truck, no luck. Small room, even smaller budget, and specific seating needs limited our choices. Not wanting to sacrifice style I decided it was OK to watch TV across our knee caps a little longer, I mean we could just rest our chin on them right? I exaggerate, it really was not that bad, but, I really did want to replace the furniture that bad!

The decorating course was set when I received a " hand-me-up ". Most of the time people receive " hand-me-downs ", the older generation handing down to the younger, in my case it was in the reverse, the younger handing something up to me...a sofa!

Long story short, it was the great sofa switch: Darling Daughter got married and bought new sofa, Daughter-in-law adored Darling Daughters vintage sofa and was gifted with it, Daughter-in-law was about to call donation place to pick up Todd Oldham sofa but then thought of me. Score! My first " hand-me-up "! Free! Even though it is more modern in style that I personally prefer the warm honey tone is very neutral and would work well with what I had in mind.

(Country Living)

Fast forward a few days and Handy Hubby and I are browsing an estate sale. Deep in the recesses of the twisting house (very bizarre lay out) I spy a small sofa that is almost the same honey tone of the " hand-me-up " and it has the same lines. A pregnant lady was giving it a test and seemed very taken with it and I was wishing we had gotten there sooner. The next morning I woke up still thinking about that sofa and convinced Handy Hubby to just go back and see if it was still there, it was the last day of the sale and I knew it would be discounted.

Another score! The sofa was still there, deeply discounted, and here is the best part...we needed a hide-a-bed for extra sleeping in the two bedroom farm house...I lifted up the cushion to inspect the sofa...and it was a hide-a-bed!!! This sofa still had the tags on it, dated 1982, and was NEVER USED! We got it for $105.00. We found out from one of the estate heirs that the lady who lived there was an heir of John Deere. She had one of the best collections of original art works I had ever seen, wish and I could have scored some of those but the discount was not nearly as deep.

Now that the sofas are settled we need two side chairs, still looking for those. I turned my thoughts to window coverings. I always seem to need a tactile inspiration piece to jump start a room decor and two honey toned sofas were not it. A little buzzing in the back of my brain kept my thoughts returning to that box of drapes, maybe, just I dug them back out. Yes, the buzzing was correct, in two funky floral pair there is that same honey tone as the sofas, along with Fresh Apple Green...
Spent Poppy... Wildflower Yellow...Farm Fresh Egg... Rusty Objects...Dusky Pine Cone...Fallen Leaf... Silver Leaf Maple... Summer Daisy... Mottled Native Stone...Fuzzy Weed... Golden Hay...Chocolate Weed...Dark Shady Green...Dandelion Wishes...Twisted Vine...And Whisper White...(Hey, I think I just invented my own paint chip line!)

Yes, a funny thing did happen on the way to the farm, or, to decorating it at least...that 1970's style and color palette is getting a new twist. Handy Hubby said the drapes look too old school but I have asked him to trust me to make them fresh modern cool. I have begun the remake on them by giving them a good laundering and removing the pleats, more to come on these after I get all the sewing done.
I have pulled two colors from them for paint colors in the room, Farm Fresh Egg (a creamy off white color) and Summer Daisy (a crisp true white). I may not end up with Pottery Barn style but I am amazed, delighted, and even a little afraid of the color palette all of which are opening up a new world of possibilities.

I would love to hear what you are up to and
I hope you all enjoy a bliss filled weekend!


myletterstoemily said...

pottery barn and country living should take
their tips from YOU! i love the draperies.
i'm sure your sweet hubby has wonderful
taste, but if those are 'old school', then
bring it on!

Charlene said...

SANDY!!!!!!!!!!! I have missed you! I know you have taken some breaks in blogging being so busy... and then it seems you came back & I was taking a bloggy break as I was gone with hubby! Saw the post about Ellie... Yes, sad to say we have a "Lion Lovey" for our GRAND... I had to rescue him as he left "Lion" at our house & I got a tearful phone call at bed time... But, Nonna thinks he is WAY TO OLD to have "Lion". But, it's not my place to break this habit & I sure wasn't gonna be the bad guy so, into my van I hop to return "Lion". Glad your little one has Ellie back.

Now, I'm off to catch up with your world.

Tina said...

Sounds like a good deal with those sofaes Miss Sandy - I´m sure it´s look pretty. Can´t wait to see the finished result with the curtains.
Have a wonderful day.
xo Tina

Vee said...

Oh you made me laugh with your lovely color descriptions and photos. I see those colors in that fabric! Can't wait to see how you make this work, but you will make it work. That I know for certain. How wonderful to get some furniture...neat stories with both pieces. Have fun with it all. Enjoy the process...

Anonymous said...

Sandy, I am so totally waiting for PICTURES of what you finally do with the sofa purchase AND the curtains! I know it's going to look fabulous! Old doesn't have to look "dated" at all. Given a new twist, which I'm sure you're going to give everything, it will be beautiful, welcoming and comfy!

Hugs, Diane

Sonya Badgley said...

Dear Sandy,
I love the colors! Wonderful colors of nature! The curtains will look fabulous, I know. Those colors are coming back and I'm so glad. Can't wait to see the finished room. What luck with the sofas!
I had my sister visiting for a couple weeks so I haven't done much in my studio. A lot of garage sales! ;) And we are having one this weekend. :P We are trying to sell our "too big of a house" and downsize. That means getting rid of a lot!
Have a great weekend.

Unknown said...

Its always nice to have that one bold splash f colour! The drapes will provide you with that and I cant wait to see what you do next! :)


Becky K. said...

You'll be the one to singlehandedly bring these colors back! When you tie them to such beautiful things as these Summer photos.....Can't wait to read more about the process.

Marianne said...

all i know is if i am ever in your neck of the woods, you and i are going shopping together. period.

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