Saturday, April 18, 2009

A-muse-ment


My husband is an artist and a lover of beauty. He is also a professor of history and is one of the most brilliant minds I've ever known. This juxtaposition of right/left brain tendencies has confirmed to me that creativity knows no boundaries. After a long three week run of my play, La Diva, we here at the Little House on the Northeast Side of Town are ready to attend to more domestic issues such as gardening, home renovation and spring cleaning. On a recent interview, I asked my husband what his muse has been to inspire him to create the haven that we call home. He states: "I grew up reading fairy tales and envisioned a world in harmony with nature where there was the possibility that something magical lurked behind every verdant corner or where animals talked."


Twenty-seven years ago on our honeymoon, he introduced me to his world and I have never wanted to leave it since. We spent two weeks in Carmel-by-the-sea where I saw nature and humanity exist as close as possible to a fairy tale. The seaside forests of oddly shaped trees, the call of the sea lions and most of all, the little cottages that dot the winding streets of the town captured my heart.




After that initial visit, it took us 15 years to buy our first home. Immediately, my husband applied his vision for our little post-war cottage. I too, had ideas. My muse has been the old world charm of the French countryside, which matched very well with his idea of a charming setting.

For both of us, stone, plenty of vegetation and natural materials evoke the feel that we want to surround ourselves with; timeless and enduring elements that have been here and will remain long after we are gone. The challenge for most people, is the expense to obtain these materials. Leaded glass windows are a must for the cottage look that we were looking for. One window alone adorned with leaded glass could cost several thousands of dollars. However, during an online search one day, I found a solution. Out of England comes a sturdy, industrial strength adhesive lead application that works like a charm. If you want to apply the leaded glass look to a window or a curio cabinet go to decraled.com and you will find numerous sizes to fit your needs. We needed to replace some old windows anyway, so we opted to buy plain Pella© windows and make our template and apply the decraled. The results have been very satisfying.Months ago, I had reported on the progress of our bathroom. My husband did all of the plumbing and the reconstruction of the entire bathroom. With a busy school schedule, the final tiling had to be done by a professional, and after a long winter of anticipation, we are finally done. We had wanted the limestone look of a Roman bath, but again, natural stone is very expensive. We were able to find an affordable porcelin tile that looks just as good. What is left to do is to install the fixtures and we are ready for an Old World spa treatment!

Spring is around the corner here in our neck of the woods. Verdant paths of wild thyme and stone structures will soon greet us during the early hours of our walks and during our summertime soirées with friends. Our little haven is that much more special because it has been created by loving hands, inspired by the beauty of nature and fantasy.

You might say that the only thing missing here is the talking animals, but if you listen hard enough upon entering The Little House on the Northeast Side of Town, you just might as our friend Angela lovingly says, "Get sucked in" and hear the chatter of creatures both great and small.


36 comments:

  1. Bonjour mon chere!

    What an incredible post! And yes, I can hear the darling creatures of the enchanted land you have created for you and your darling hubby. I really love the leaded glass look and will check out that site for the future. What you have done to your windows is awesome. You have really succeeded in creating a peaceful haven to envelope you. The tile in your bathroom has the perfect look!

    All the photos are beautiful. I can't imagine staying in such a sweet seaside atmosphere! The photo of you in the stone street is so adorable Anita. I dream about places like that.

    I see on your sidebar something exciting is coming... can't wait!
    I've been sewing and working and still have lots more sewing to do. But it's sewing projects of love which makes it fun.

    Have a wonderful Sunday mon amie!!

    Bisous, Sherry

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  2. Oh my gosh! I love those pictures...The house with the gnarled tree in front of it, is that yours? I defintely see the "fairytale" in every image~You are so lucky to be married to guy who believes in fairytales...

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  3. Bonjour!

    Your post is just enchanting...as is your home! Your neighbors must be just thrilled that you bought the home and made it into such an attractive retreat from the harsh realities of 21st century life!

    ...and I'm pea green about your spa-like bathroom! That walk in shower is to die for!

    jusqu'à la prochaine fois !

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  4. Yay!! More about your house!! I simply can't get enough.

    I'd love to someday visit Carmel by the Sea. For now, drooling at pictures on Flickr will have to do. And you truly did accomplish the same sort of look in your own home.

    Did you husband make your shutters as well, with the shields on them?

    Your home is such a huge inspiration to anyone that you can take a home without the cottage look (although your home was charming to begin with!) and turn it into a Carmel-by-the-Sea paradise! :)

    Grace

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  5. Hello Anita, what a romantic you have for a husband - lucky girl!

    That was a glorious post you wrote and I love that picture of the crooked little cottage with the picket fence. I have yet to visit Carmel but I've heard lovely things about it.

    Have a wonderful Sunday and love the new look of your blog!

    Bonnie

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  6. Having lived near Carmel-by-the-Sea for 3 1/2 years while we were stationed at Ft. Ord I can only agree that there is no place like it anywhere. It was delightful to walk leisurely down its streets and watch the kids play on the beach. There was the coin and stamp dealer, the art galleries. Oh, yes the art galleries. Much of the art we own here now was invested in some 35 years ago from there. Thank you too for the memories. Seem wherever I travel today I am reminded of things past! Cathy

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  7. Beautiful post! Love the charming perspective you and your husband have about creating your lovely, enchanting home. I really love what you did to your windows -- beautiful and practical.

    Karen

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  8. My dear friend..this is wonderful..you and your husband being so happy together. Like your husband mine is also some sort of professor..in music. I fell in love with him when I was 4 years of age..he was 5. We then knew IT was ment to be..
    I love your house..its like living in a fairytale...

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  9. Blast it, Anita, I am now obsessed with the idea of scooping up all my dear fey girlfriends and taking a trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea. I had drooled over pictures of the town before, but now your description makes me want to visit even worse!

    Ahh, a summer tea party! If only they would invent transporter beams for instant travel...

    :)

    Grace

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  10. Where did you stay when you went there? I can't help but feel like that place would be a money-sucker for me. The sweets shop, the tea shops, etc...I'd want to buy all sorts of things there!

    Now if only we could afford one of the houses! Ah well...I like your concept...if you can't go to Carmel, bring Carmel to YOU!

    Looking forward to the post you previewed on the sidebar too btw.

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  11. What beautiful pictures. I LOVE that kitchen, I might have to steal some ideas from it as I have black granite counters too. The paint treatment is especially lovely.
    Cheers,
    Tracy M.

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  12. Hi again,
    So glad you got the crown, and that you like it.
    Thanks for your sweet comments.
    Rosemary

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  13. My goodness-I feel like I just visited a fairy tale! The pictures are amazing! Your house is charming and I love all that you wrote about your husband and your home. I am looking forward to seeing more pics of your bathroom rennovation. We rennovated our master bath last year and it was quite a comedic ordeal:) Thanks for sharing-your post brightened my day:)

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  14. You two have created the perfect fairy tale home. I love it!

    Hugs!
    Nancy

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  15. Oh Anita,
    Your home is so enchanting. It would definitely be a favorite to walk by and dream if I happened to live on the Northeast side of town. Talk to you when we return next week. Happy week to you and your husband in the Land of Enchantment there! (Love the photo Français!)
    xo~Tracie

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  16. Oh Anita, What a magnificent post. I love your new header, the background and the birds singing. Your home does look like the fairytale. How blessed you are to have a husband who shares your love of beauty and creativity. Those photographs are stunning too.

    Karen

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  17. Anita, I just added a link to your blog on today's post. Your blog is becoming a fairytale. I always feel transported back somewhere in time when I visit you.

    Have a lovely day. Oh, and that little door on your new blog, I can't wait. You create enchantment effortlessly.
    Karen

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  18. Oh my goodness - THIS IS YOUR HOME!!!! What a work of perfection!!!! AND you made your parkway part of your garden! Anita, this is perfection!!!

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  19. Hello again, My Vanilla Caramel tea is a Bigelow tea product. I get it at Krogers which is one of our local grocery stores. Bogelow does have a web site.... www.bigelowtea.com
    Charli is a little girl dog :>)
    Thank you for your kind comments on my blog.

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  20. I am in awe with all the beauty in this post!
    Carmel is my favorite place in the US, such a fairytale land.

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  21. WOW...I love your home. Thanks for the info on the leaded glass, I too will check it out.

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  22. unbelievable....you and your friend from Frenchgardenhouse (love her) should write a book together labeled: SIMPLY AWESOME!


    I loved this post- absolutely!

    pictures were great, but the feeling you evoked in both pictures and writing, well, I truly admire someone for that.

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  23. Your home is truly magnificent!!! Post more pictrues for us to enjoy!! Have a lovely day. xxoo

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  24. Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today and for leaving those nice comments. It is a long story about how we came to be in East TN on this farm, but we have loved every minute of the adventure. One day, I will be able to rest and admire all the hard work that we have put into it the remodeling process. I look forward to following your blog as well. I hope you didn't find too many errors in my attempt to apply the French language(i do try to use a French dictionary and online traslation)in some of my blogs.

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  25. Anita, does your house have a name? I just read that each house in Carmel doesn't have a street number, but a name! If you haven't named your house already, you definitely should! It has enough character to have a living, breathing name too!

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  26. What a lovely, lovely, post. Your house is fantastic in every sense, and utterly inspiring. Thank you!

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  27. What a beautiful, charming and romantic post...loved it...sigh ♥x

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  28. Hi Anita,
    You have a great weekend!!
    I can't stop looking at these photos.
    Merci,
    Rosemary

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  29. Hi Anita,

    What a wonderful post. You can never leave the blogging world.

    The photo's are enchanting. What you have done with your home is truly fabulous. You and hubby make a great team.

    I love Carmel. It has been years since I've been there but I can see it in my mind. So much charm.

    Thank you for continuing to visit me even when I am not visiting. I hope to be able to catch up some this weekend.

    love ya,
    Barb

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  30. Rabbit Hill, what a great name!

    I love how as soon as you give a house a name, it becomes 10,000 more times as charming.

    Which I suppose makes your home astronomically charming :)

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  31. Your cottage is just lovely! The contrast between your home and the one next door (no offense to your neighbors) is amazing. Tract home? I don't think so! I live just north of Carmel-by-the-Sea and I think you've captured the spirit wonderfully.

    Robin@Miscellaneous Thoughts

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  32. I don't have much time but beautiful pics- i can't wait until our european vacation this summer! :) and htanks for visiting my little spot :)

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  33. Dreamy! Yes a true fairytale! Sigh.
    xxx C

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