Our Very First Home In California

When we first moved to California in 1961 we lived in a motel until we could get military housing on Camp Pendleton. We had left our belongings with hubs' parents and didn't get them for a couple of years so we basically had to start from scratch. We went to a local hardware store and bought 2 plates, 1 mug because I didn't drink coffee and we only needed one, 2 forks, 2 knives and one spoon as I didn't need a spoon. We had to be frugal. We somehow had a radio and I listened to that all day long. It was very boring for several weeks before we got housing.

Then we received word we had a place to live in on base—a trailer that slept four people. That's one bedroom and a fold-down sofa with a tiny kitchen and a tiny bathroom that we couldn't get in together. The shower was the bathroom. We were thrilled to get it even if it was tiny. We even had a clothesline though. Geraniums lined our little path from the street and we loved it.

Then a couple of months later our plumbing backed up and since there weren't any 4 sleeper trailers, we were given a 6 sleeper trailer. We loved the extra bed. We didn't qualify but since I was pregnant and would have our daughter soon they let us "upgrade" to that trailer. We were stylin' then!

When we were still in the motel room we lived just a few blocks from the beach and I remember we walked along the beach on Christmas day. It was wonderful. And the very first thing we noticed when we arrived on the train was the orange trees and the smell. It truly did smell like orange blossoms. To this day when I smell the orange blossoms, I remember stepping off that train.

We looked at rentals on the beach but they were so far out of our budget it wasn't even funny. I think they were $125 a month. Today they're probably that for 1/2 a day! But we loved it. We were so young and stupid then. ;-) Much wiser now.

A quilted-type sofa.

Notice th' rug...th' rug!!!

Darling wall sconce. See what you can do with a little imagination!

Another gorgeous decorated bottle.

Another quilted-type sofa.

Elegant living room staircase.

Another cute sofa.

Bavarian homes.

I really do like that pinkish counter top.

Requisite roses. ;-)

Beautiful living room.

I love this old mannequin with the handmade roses on it.

Christie Repasy is one of my favorite artists. I wish we lived near enough to her to attend her Flea Markets.

Sweet little shop in Europe

Love this darling chair and the homeowner was very brave in her colors.
In Chico, California, the city council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits. (Your tax dollars at work.)

Style Guide: French Country

French Country is an Old World style of design that emerged in the US after the first world war when soldiers were coming back from Europe and building homes inspired by the cottages and manors of the French countryside.  French Country style homes have steeped pitched rooflines and place the main entrance of the home front and center.  Such symmetry is a common element both in exterior elevations and floor plans.  The materials used in this style reflect pastoral elements, like stone, wood, straw and botanicals.  Even the colors are naturally inspired, like lavenders, blues, oranges and reds.  The style combines the rustic and the refined, which can.  Ceilings may have rustic wood beams while wood furniture and elegant architectural elements may have hand carved details.  Its partly the dichotomy of those two ideas that make this style so sophisticated, yet comfortable and inviting.

A few Visbeen Architects' designs with French pastoral flair...

Montrose:  This incomparable Old World European home sets a new standard for design details and construction artistry.  Inspired by the palace halls of French royalty, this masterwork is unique in every way.  From the rugged permanence of the stone and brick walls to the decorative copper and wrought iron accents, the curb appeal of the home is immediately apparent.

Claremont:  The charm of this single-level country-inspired design begins with the covered porch and continues as you step through the welcoming front door.

Muirfield:  Luxury reigns in this French-inspired estate, with its distinctive Mansard roof, European-style stone fa├žade and copper detailing.

Parkland:  The best of European cottage style is apparent in this charming five-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home.  The exterior features stone accents, dormer windows and picturesque wooden shutters.

Penhill:  This picturesque yet luxurious design exhibits Old World details including stone, shingle, a charming cupola and wooden shutters similar to those found in cottages throughout the countryside of Europe.

Barrington:  Pitched and gabled rooflines and shuttered French doors point to this distinctive design's French origins.  Close your eyes and you may think you're in the south of France.

Oakhurst:  Built around a stunning central courtyard, the three-bedroom, four-bath Oakhurst is a stand-out when it comes to style.

Hot off the press: This stunning European-inspired residence boasts stone archways, wooden architectural details and steeply pitched rooflines that pay clear homage to manors of the French countryside.

If you are looking to achieve the look of a French Country manor, here are a few products to consider...

  • Roofing:  GAF Roofing has a Sienna line of shingles with rich appearance and clean lines that add distinction to any home at a fraction of the cost of traditional slate or wood shakes.  It has a custom color palette, stain guard protection and a lifetime ltd. warranty called Smart Choice.

  • Shutters:  One of the key elements that give many French County homes their distinctive style is wood shutters.  Timberlane offers a variety of custom made, wood shutters that fit perfectly with this style, especially, their board and batten designs. 
  • Doors:  Craftsmen in Wood has been blending old world craftsmanship and original design for over forty years, creating some of the finest custom wood doors and hardware in the business.  Their products represent quality and timeless beauty.
  • Exterior Lighting:  Since 1945, Bevolo has been manufacturing the highest quality traditional, antique, and custom designed hand-made lighting fixtures out of the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Today, they are the largest manufacturer of hand-made, open-flame copper lanterns in the world.  We have been spec'ing their lights for years because we know they add an authentic touch of style to the exterior of our French Country designs.

My Answer To Hubby's Questions

Even though my hubby is wonderful, there are a few things that irritate me to no end. One of them is this: When he's away from home during the day, sometimes teaching a class and sometimes volunteering for something, he'll call me when he's on his way home. He's very good about keeping in contact so when he occasionally forgets, I get worried, but that's not common. Anyway, it's gotten to the point of this discussion verbatim.

He: I'm on my way home.
Me: Good. Drive carefully.
He: What's for dinner? (Can you hear my teeth grinding here now?)
Me: Not sure. But be prepared to travel. (Dine out, get it?)

Another thing is when we eat out he never, ever leaves enough food on his plate to bring home. For me, most dinners out at a restaurant are at least two dinners, not for th' hubs. He eats it all. Incomprehensible to me how someone can eat all that food on the plate.

Another thing is dessert. Usually I don't order dessert, but when I do, I don't share. I tell this to hubs beforehand. Invariably, he'll try to take a bite of my Black Tie Mousse Cake at Olive Garden. The last time he tried that I snatched it away so fast it almost flew over my shoulder into the wall! I said I don't share dessert. Of course, there have been times when we're trying to lost a bit of weight that we order dessert and eat it together but the waitress cuts it in half for us so there's no fight. (This one waitress at Olive Garden knows us well. ;-) ) When I'm as hungry as a painted cannibal coming off a fast, you do NOT want to mess with my food.

He graciously helps me make our bed now that he's retired. I never really asked him to do it but with the things I've gone through this past year he just does it or helps me. So, here's the conversation:
Me: Make sure you have enough blanket on your side.
He: I do.
Me: I think the quilted bedspread needs to come over to my side a bit. Get the 3rd ruffle even with the edge.
He: No, it's perfect.
Me: I'll tell you when it's perfect. ;-)

I think I'd better stop while I'm ahead here on this discussion. ;-)

I was on the treadmill the other day and had the radio on out in the garage while walking. I couldn't believe it but I heard a commercial for borrowing money. It was pretty much the ones you hear with low or no interest if repaid by a certain time. It had a few more creative things, which I can't remember now. But when it gave out the name and phone number, I was stunned. It was an Indian Casino! Since Indian reservations are sovereign nations they don't pay taxes and can do pretty much what they want, but that was a new one for me.

If you are ever in London, this is the place you want to visit for yummy cakes.

Clever idea using vintage wallpaper.

Beautiful vignette using perfume bottles.

I used this photo to do one of my own. I had all the basics and didn't have to buy a thing. I love mine! You can do this also.

A gorgeous living room. Love just about everything about it. I'd put in pink of course.

Stunning winter display.

Vintage tins.

A magnetic tray.

Old doors set up in a garden. Lovin' it!

Pretty office in an old loft.

Beautiful ranunculaceous.

Pretty pink clock.

I fashioned the chandelier in my dining room after this one. A few differences but I couldn't find the chandelier shades like this one has. Had to adjust my thinking!

Darling, darling home office out of a closet.

Love these old trailers but don't want one or Love Bunny would insist I go camping and we all know how I feel about camping!

Walter Anderson's two claims to fame: inventing the hamburger bun and co-founding White Castle.

Michigan Blue: A Great Lake Story Preview & Lakestyle Cottage

The Spring issue of Michigan BLUE Magazine is out.  That's right, SPRING!  Ah, I can almost smell the daffodils now.  Get into the season with this lovely new issue, featuring our lakestyle cottage, the Tamlane.  This modest sized stone and log cabin is a beautiful retreat, with rustic, fairytale style.  Also included in this issue is a little sneak peak of the next Great Lake Story that begins in their cottages issue.

Want more information on how Carlton Shores pushes the limits in lakefront living?  Check out our blog post feature on this contemporary twist to the American lodge.

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