Saturday, June 14, 2014

At home in our soulful Row-home

After awaking today, I've decided to stay home, to joyfully allow my spirit to play and roam.
In peace and calm a soul can celebrate in it's own unique way, I guess best described staying home is very similar to a mental health day. So today my mind gets to sing it's song, one that is creative, happy and strong, for I truly know in this blissful day being at home is where I belong.

Join me at our row-home for a little revealing and sharing of things that make my heart sing in happiness today. Every morning we wake to our Hopscotch rug. It reminds us to remember to embrace the child within, as we walk to our Shoji screened bedroom closet. An antique Burmese Buddha from the mid 1800's greets us with positive energy.

Our Buddha from Burma has a rich developed patina and is carved in a spiritual teaching position. I adore how this Buddha has aged gracefully. 

As we round the corner of our bedroom we take notice of a cross designed by Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe and smile at our vintage Philips poster.

A vintage poster purchased on impulse that brought a smile to both of us cat lovers. Simply framed in a glass poster frame with a charcoal grey mat cut by John. 

We recently purchased a Bowler hat pendant light, handmade from a real felt derby in England. We decided to put a Edison filament bulb in it. As it is not needed for task lighting, just as an accent. We have had a fondness of Bowler derby hats ever since the TV series the "Avengers". The British spy-fi cult classic. A television series created in the 60's, produced until 1969. I fell in love with the rugged trench coat wearing agent John Steed, the savvy Seville row suit wearing guy always sporting an umbrella. Amazed as he would spin his derby on his fingertips and glide it into place on top of his head with a pat. Oh and Emma Peel played by Diana Riggs ... OMG I wanted to be her. Sexy, cunning, smart and holding her own next to John Steed.

My favorite "Avengers" year was 1967 which included "Winged Advenger". We own the 1967 collected digitally remastered series ... And I am willing to admit there were times I was completely perplexed understanding some eposides.

We looked for what seems forever to find the perfect wooden sign to hang against the exposed brick wall upstairs.  I found this huge oval one many years ago on eBay. It is a hand painted double sided sign that hung outdoors in Wisconsin. Fanny Farmer was an American candy manufacturer and retailer that started out in Rochester New York in 1919. The store grew to over 400 stores then in 1992 it was purchased as a sister brand to Fannie May. Sadly in 2004 Fanny Farmer filed for bankruptcy and merged into Fannie May.

I try to collect things that have a sentimental heartfelt meaning for us. Fanny Farmer is a fond memory from my childhood. My Dad had two favorite stores to shop at when I was young and when he asked me to come along I jumped right into the car to go. One of Dad's stores was Finkles Hardware in Lambertville, NJ which still exists. I loved that store of curiosity that was situated along the canal. The other store was Sears in Trenton, Dad loved buying his power tools. Driving there meant we passed the Fanny Farmer store and that always resulted in having a little white paper bag filled with candy for me with Dad saying "Don't tell Mom". A sign very similar hung outside the building in West Ewing on route to Trenton.

At Sears we would wander through the power tools, the appliances and always the Television/Electronics dept. Sears was located in the city of Trenton and there was a multi level parking lot (free of course) to park in. Our visits always ended on the top floor at the hot dog vendors stand. Both of us always ready to enjoy a dog with French's yellow mustard, relish and a frosty ice cold Root beer soda. It's been over 30 years since I've eaten beef or pork but I still can taste those hotdogs on the toasted bun that spun around on a grilling rack done to perfection. In my mind's eye I can see my Dad's smile and pointing gesture letting me know I had mustard on my face!

Meet Harvey, a needle felted swinging bunny that was purchased at Easter time from an artisan in Italy. Why the name Harvey? Well looked like a Harvey to me. He captures the essence of playful bliss.

A new summer purchase for my sitting room, a starfish pillow from West Elm.

I love white pencil starfish and we purchased the wire basket from Crate and Barrel and this is where I'm displaying my collection of Starfish this season.

Walking down the steps you notice 3 vintage folding camera's and 2 photos from the 50's of Paris. Just part of a large vintage camera collection John and I own. I will do a future blog post on the collection.

Now we are almost on the first floor

I like to incorporate architectural interest in our home. I purchased this very old (said to be from the 1800's) barn glass-less window. It had a strong smell of musty age, OK mildew. I tried just about every suggestion to rid the smell. Finally a wash of bleach and water and a long day laying out in the sun saved this piece. I applied a white limed paint technique to it.

We hung it equal height to our Living room double hung windows on a delicate chain 3 inches away from the wall. I wanted to enjoy shadow play and it captures it nicely. The number 9 hanging down is our number that seems to play out throughout our married life. It's become our favorite number followed by 5 for me.

I admired this hand-carved Corinthian column capital from Restoration Hardware for the longest time. 20% off was motivation enough to recently purchase it.

We needed additional table space when entertaining and since I've always loved the idea of layering under surfaces.I placed it under our vintage lucite waterfall table. Looks like a museum piece ... lol

A close up view

Sitting on top of our Sapien bookcase from Design Within Reach is Christopher Mouse. A needle felted mouse handmade in Amsterdam and a gift from John. He playfully rests upon a book titled "Cat Crimes" my son had picked up at a vintage store and gave me saying "this book may stink, don't know, I haven't read it, but thought the title was cute". The book remains unread and serves merely as a prop.

An antique riddling rack from the champagne region of France sits at the ready filled with fine wines in our Dining room. Always ready to uncork a bottle in celebration.

A wire basket contains corks infused with memories and laughter of times spent with friends.

OH .. If these corks could talk! Want to know my favorite music? Well it's the sound laughter and conversation makes when it blurs into a fun evening. Oh and we love sultry Jazz playing throughout our house,

Summer time and we're entertaining with light refreshing menus. John bought this French galvanized bucket for me. What could be better than it filled with bubbly Prosecco and Pellegrino on the countertop. 

Close up, love it.

So in my playful way I leave you with wine and roses and Lavender from Provence and end with my poetry of Soulful Home. The Peach roses were given to me by John and I dried them.

All photos taken by me - Vera

Soulful Home

It doesn't take much cash to inspire and dwell in a soulful home,
where beauty and creativity exist and your spirit can playfully roam.

Perhaps perplexed but determined, you wonder what to do with your place,
aware it will take personal expression to make it your own unique special space.

Your home is where your personal style comforts you and proudly welcomes each guest.
Reflecting your hobbies and family interests as you lovingly over time layer your nest.

Why not incorporate ephemera like collectible memorabilia you have acquired,
let go of your worries and embrace your homes nuances and you will be inspired.

A combination of vintage mixed with new can mingle with high end displayed next to low.
Restoring, reinventing, up-cycling while envisioning a new purpose your efforts will bestow.

Try a composition of the past, present and a nod to the future to establish your look.
Personalize a corner into a cozy reading nook, relax, be inspired by a new decor book.

There are vintages stores, recycle and repurpose shops within a short drive right in your city.
Seems to me not exploring their items to envision potential possibilities would be a pity.

We all appreciate a patina that overtime develops it's rich character from a proud past,
honestly all it takes is a little effort to bring back beauty that will forever last.

© Vera


  1. Oh Vera, I am so happy to see these snippets from your home! I love the sojhi screens, the Budda, the bowler hat lamp and so much more. You have an amazing style about you and it all comes together in a very sleek, fresh way.
    Love it!!

  2. Good Saturday Morning Vera. Love love love this post. Love the poem just beautiful and love all the things around your home. That Fanny Farmer sign is awesome. I remember Fanny Farmer candies and I love that you have that great piece of history with such a wonderful memory attached about your dad. Just made my heart feel good to read this post today. Have a peaceful day.

  3. I am finally here! Though it is raining outside, we drove to the mall for our daily walk. But Vera, your post is perfect for this late spring shower/storm. I honestly love days like this when you can relax amongst your favorite things, at home. Reading and dreaming are on my schedule now.

    There is so much to rejoice in on your post. The playful bowler hat as a that is BRILLIANT! And then your reminiscence of your dad and the Fanny Farmer candy! I too had weekly outings with my dad to the "swap meets" and excursions to the ice cream shop...just the two of us. There's your Harvey bunny, the harlequin walls, that gorgeous patina Budda; this is home.

    Your poem expresses the warmth that everyone wants in a shelter. A place to dream and recycle, to reinvent and rearrange. Enjoy this glorious day even if it's raining. Much love my friend, Anita

  4. Oh, oh oh!!
    Vera I am so glad to see so much of you in this post. You have taken us on a little tour through your home sharing your fancy for collecting. I loved the old poster reminding me of days spent on a weekend visit with my dad and his parents and being surround by the 50's and 60's the Derby hat is great, I've often wanted to purchase a lamp that creatively uses a hat for a shade and then time got by and I moved onto other creative ideas.
    Your touching story of your days out with your father reminds me so of the pleasure trips with my dad. When I made a visit with him, his weekend to have myself and my brother we would head of to the go-karts tracks and race around the track what seemed like for hours, off then to a favorite stand for lunch and Shirley Temples!
    So touching that you have these memories of your father and his kind gentle love in hush-full candy treats between the two of you. My father passed away when I was 14 and the memories faded through the years, I often take out a photo to recall a face or a moment not, wanting to forget a thing stored up in my 14 years.

    I am also honored to have your friendship and contribute to the collections in your home that touch your spirit ever so creatively :)
    I love that brick wall, over and over I will tell you this, I will never tire of telling you how much I love that wall :)
    Your Buddhas, of spiritual freeness have a feeling of a place of Zen...EAT! PRAY! LOVE!
    How fun it would be to walk into your home up close and take it all in personally, ooooh, and awwww-ing! Over everything, and perhaps I might have to say longer then a day to take it all in :)

    Your poem was writing for my home as well, and the useful spaces of pieces that encourage a mood, decorating books, and things I collect.

    Vera I adore your spirit, looking forward to the camera post because I love your gallery styled wall with yours and Johns collections.

    See you soon love!
    A beautiful weekend to you and that amazing husband of yours.
    He so knows you well.


  5. Love your whimsical collections and thanks for sharing some of your personal sweet memories too!

  6. You have amazing home,love your vintage Buddha !!! Enjoy weekend ! xoxo

  7. Dear Vera,
    What a beautiful collection you shared today.. I adore the Fanny Farmer wooden sign, especially the story behind it, along with the Sears story.. Such wonderful memories of your childhood with your dear Father..
    Your Corinthian Column is beautiful... I am looking forward to hearing more about the vintage camera collection. Oh! Harvey is simply adorable! What a gifted artist.. His name fits!
    Your poetry is always such a joy to read.. Thank you so much for the lovely post.
    Wishing you a relaxing evening.

  8. I read this with my morning coffee on Sunday morning. Thank you for the tour, it was inspiring.

  9. I just wrote a really, really long comment and it was deleted when I scrolled back to see what I had forgotten to comment on. So, since it is late, this time I will just list everything I loved:

    bowler hat lamp
    Edison bulbs
    felted animals
    starfish in baskets
    galvanized tub
    cork collection

    the beautiful poem

    I sometime look around my house at what I choose to put on display and wonder if I am crazy. But, it is my house, my memories and I want to look at things that bring those memories to mind.

    Enjoy a lovely Father's Day tomorrow - or possibly today since it is late and you will probably not read this until Sunday morning. Our son and his girlfriend just got back from Turkey. Our daughter's boyfriend is in town. So, tomorrow morning the kids are making dad a wonderful brunch with too much food and it will be wonderful.

  10. At home is a lovely place to be. Yours is a place of contentment. I will be back after the weekend to visit again and take it all in. xxo Kerrie

  11. Dear Vera! Good morning my friend! I hope the storms have abated over on your side! The winds and rain here have swelled to frightening proportions and I even dreamed that we got snow and that my flowers were damaged! AH!

    It was lovely to see that you visited last night. I am enjoying the process of being a part of this magazine for which I am soley a contributing writer, but will soon be helping out a little with editing. It's in process, but is fun to see my name in print!

    Enjoying this lovely home of yours? How I adore that vintage Budda. This weekend was bliss because Ruben was home, we read, read, read, and today more.

    Enjoy the book, The Waiting. It's true, and the story pierces despair. Much love to you dear friend, Anita

  12. Beauty and creativity certainly exists in your soulful home, Vera! Loved traveling the road down memory lane with you.
    Mary Alice

  13. Oh, Vera, what a special post and tour! Your home is the essence of a 'soulful' home!! It's a place that truly reflects you and John, evokes special memories, and showcases things that make your heart sing...just as a home should! I don't even know where to begin, I love so many things...the rug, the Bowler hat pendant, the sign (I remember those candies!), the cameras, the column capital, the galvanized bucket...on and on...I have to go back and look at everything again! I adore your quirky style and your truly unique spaces :)

  14. Vera,
    Your home is a view into your heart...there is meaning around every corner and in every nook and cranny :) Your screened area with antique Buddha creates such calm and space for meditation. I believe it is my favorite corner of your home.

    Merci` for your email this morning...I cannot wait to receive your gift {from Jerusalem~the holy land}! My best friend since 2nd grade married a man from Israel...she has brought me back little treasures from her is a tiny tiny book of the Psalms written in Hebrew. Her photos and stories are always amazing to see and hear.

    I have that admiration for other cultures and lifestyles of the world in common with you Vera. I feel that connection with you.

    All my children were home this weekend for my son's birthday and Oh what delight it was. The Honey Moon sealed our time together making it a cherished memory now written in our family history. It truly was a glorious time of dancing, laughing, singing, and embracing each other. I linger in its goodness today.

    Sending beauty,
    xxo Kerrie

  15. This has been such an enjoyable visit with you Vera!
    I just love the bowler hat light!
    Pour us some prosecco and I'll be over to watch The Avengers with you, loved that show!!

  16. Love the pieces that decorate your home, Vera. Each piece has meaning...even the little felt animals. I think that makes your place filled to the brim with "heart". Debbie

  17. I love how you write Vera and the poem is beautiful! I enjoyed every word of this post and the tour of your amazing home was so much fun, because I didn't know what I would see next. I feel that you are an 'old soul' and really connect with your surroundings...I love that about people. People who really live, and not just exist.

  18. Hi Vera, Love the treasures about your home, your style with a bit of whimsy thrown in too. Love your poem and I so enjoyed the tour. Your heart and talents make for a cozy and inviting space. I love the bowler hat pendant. One of my favorite styles.
    Thank you for sharing and for the inspiration.

  19. Soulful indeed. I adore all of your art and how you display your treasures. The cameras are amazing!! Thank you for the tour and the wonderful poem…

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  21. Hi, Vera - Such a treat to enjoy a tour around your fabulous home. I love your collection of vintage cameras. Please do share a post on this collection.
    Happy first day of summer!

  22. Good morning, Vera ~

    I stopped by yesterday to read this beautiful post, but was unable to leave a comment (the Internet service is anything but reliable from the tip top of a mountain).

    I love all your artistic collections and the stories that go with each one ~ and the poetic advice you've shared on how to turn a house into an extraordinary, welcoming home. Absolutely lovely!


  23. Good evening dear Vera,
    Thank you so much for coming over to meet Abby, and leaving such a sweet note...
    I hope all is well with you... Keeping you in my thoughts.

  24. Good morning dear sista!

    It was delightful to see your comment this morning! I was thinking of you, and yesterday especially because I put up a quick post in Nowhere in honor of our dear Penny's birthday (which I missed last week!)- there you will see all of the animals she has made me in felt.

    I understand completely that you can't join in on the European tour party; you will have your own FUN and relaxing excursions to prepare for! I look forward to an email when you are able. MUCH LOVE! Anita

  25. such inspiration...I hope you are having a summer filled with joy