The things we love now … Dreaming of a midsummers night

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Doing research for some posts I decided to see if it was possible to get everything a person needed for a vacation home on Ebay including the home itself.
Some people fall in love at first site, the same can sometimes be said about a house. Some houses call out to their future owners like beckoning lovers. Come here they whisper, love me.
I decided to choose from the homes available on Ebay with no concern for the location. Hey, we are dreaming here after all. In dreams location doesn’t matter only emotion.
I picked a house because of a feeling. Because I liked what I saw.
The house I selected for this experiment looks like the perfect place to hide away and spend a summer entertaining friends and family. With the unlimited budget of pure imagination I set to work trying to assemble the perfect getaway.

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Here is where we found our cottage by the lake.
The first thing I see missing from the picture is a boat, summers by the lake mean canoe races or having someone paddle you around while you sip lemonade and read poetry under a parasol. What ever your into, we won’t judge.

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Get your fix for vintage boats here

We love the look of these vintage metal motel chairs and picture a line of them along the lake. You can relax with a tall glass of iced tea and make absolutely no plans at all.

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You must have a fire pit handy when the nights get chilly or you can’t live another minute without a s’more.

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We liked the simple clean lines of this fire pit.

For the porch, cozy furniture is the best choice to encourage long conversations over a bottle or two of wine. We love a modern take on traditional wicker, and this set comes in a bright teal that will make snuggling up and listening to the frogs memorable even on the dreariest of days.

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This porch swing will be a family favorite for sure. We love the idea of hanging two of them on the side porch that faces the water. This is the sort of swing that forces you to take a nap every afternoon.

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Scatter a few of these rugs to keep things from becoming to ordinary. The pattern hints at the traditional Native American textiles that are associated with summer camps with a fresh twist.
The living room fireplace can be a place to gather for a mug of hot cocoa before heading off to bed. We found this antique mantel that would look perfect.

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For a new take on the classic duck decoy we found several of these aluminum decoy molds, displaying a few of them in the living room nods to the lakes resident ducks without being predictable.

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We fell in love with these

Never under estimate the potential for an endless parade of overnight guests. Adding a few daybeds into the plan will make quick work of accommodating last minute tag alongs. They are comforting, cozy and easy.

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For a coffee table we consider this one to be a great choice

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A few easy to move side chairs will make adapting the living room to last minute arrivals a breeze. We liked these for the bold colors and the woven texture.

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To anchor the room we wanted to stay away from traditional so we found this rug and thought it would do the trick.

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A lakeside retreat wouldn’t be complete without a furniturepiece or two made from branches

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We are smitten with these simple light fixtures and think scattering them across the living room ceiling and hooking them to a dimmer would bring the night sky inside.

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For the dining room we want these.

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We are picturing them hanging over this salvaged wood table

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We see it surrounded by company sitting pretty in these.

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We want to honor the mantel we picked for the living room and echo it’s lines but step it up several notches in the dining room with this buffet

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The master bedroom will be a welcome retreat from the rigorous activities associated with vacationing. We want to pick pieces that make us feel like we are in the country but not be cute or precious. We love the look of this quilt
We see it folded across the end of this four poster bed.

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We want this pair of table lampsto give us plenty of light to read by.

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The lamps would look lovely on these trunks turned side tables.

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Stocking the bath with plenty of towels is a must do. We like the look and feel of traditional turkish towels. They look great and dry quickly which comes in handy if you are boycotting laundry duty.

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Roll them up and stash them in plain site where guests can grab them on the way to the pool under this vanity.
Speaking of the pool… This house comes with an above ground pool that would be replaced with something more like this.

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The shape will look fresh surrounded with simple unassuming decking. We would skip the slide and add a few of these.

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With a couple of these.

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When we aren’t feeding the ducks or swimming in the pool an occasional trip to town for supplies in this would make fetching groceries or hauling firewood a pleasure.

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We even like the name painted on the door.

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We would love to hear from you and what you think we should do for our next The things we love now post. Loft apartment? Refurbished barn? Converted garage? Let us know!

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The things we love now: be unforgettable

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The guys and I love to surround ourselves with objects that have strong personalities. In our quest to always be inspired we are constantly on the hunt for new objects that push our buttons. Recently we discovered that an artist we admire has made his work available on a variety of items that we use everyday. Items that we love to give as gifts. Nick’s work is colorful, bold and absolutely unforgettable. Just our cup of tea. Here are some of the things we can’t get enough of and where we think you should stick them.

A collection of these pillows will wake up your living space and have your friends chattering about you every time you leave the room. Try tossing them on a Victorian inspired fainting sofa and watch the sparks fly.

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http://society6.com/product/fizzox_pillow#25=193&18=126

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http://society6.com/product/snow-white-girl_pillow#25=193&18=126

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http://www.amazon.com/Skyline-Furniture-Tufted-Fainting-Aubergine/dp/B005VY987Q/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1418420127&sr=8-5&keywords=Victorian+chair

Anchor your space with an eye popping pattern that is sure to develop a cult following. We are flipping out over Nick’s recreation of the carpet pattern used in the set decoration for the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film based on Stephen King’s book The Shining.

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Let’s imagine these shower curtains framing our dining room windows, shall we? Yes indeed we shall. With a few minor alterations these durable curtains can be ready for life outside of the bathroom. A quick trip through the sewing machine can make these ready for your choice of curtain rod.
Nick’s take on the traditional floral pattern is the perfect solution when you are looking to stray from ordinary. If you really want to shake things up a bit. Sit down to an evening meal surrounded by hungry wolves. Those wolves have our mouths watering and would be the talk of any dinner party.

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http://society6.com/product/floral-garen_shower-curtain#35=287

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http://society6.com/product/run-wolf-run_shower-curtain#35=287

Don’t keep it all to yourself, art is best when shared with people you love, so Give Art! Useful gifts are always appreciated but don’t make them mundane. If you are gifting someone a coffee mug, you better make it stand out in the crowd. Simple thoughtful gifts don’t have to be ordinary. Here are a few things we love that kick ass and are sure to be used everyday.

This Clint Eastwood tote bag will turn heads when you whip it out at the grocery store. When they ask if you want paper or plastic.. Tell them that you want it dirty and Harry.

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It is inevitable that someone at the office will try to pretend that your I heart Atlantic City mug is theirs. Don’t give anyone the chance to claim what is yours. Make your go to coffee cup extraordinary, just like you. Pick a mug that says Good Morning, don’t talk to me until this mug is empty. This should do the trick.

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Want to buy some of the things we love?
You can find these things and more here

You can also get your fix and find more about the artist over on his facebook page.

The fainting sofa pictured above is available from our friends over at Amazon

The things we love now :: at home with the artist :: Andy Warhol

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I have been obsessed with Andy Warhol since I was a little kid. His playful images loaded with bright color and graphic punch. Visiting the museum dedicated to this pioneer of pop art in Pittsburg is a must do if you are in the neighborhood. We have imagined what building a room or two around his work might look like. Here are some things that inspire us.

The Warhol images you see in this blog are available online as prints from The Warhol Store

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I think Andy would have been drawn to any of these good looking kitchen must haves. Each of these iconic pieces can be found in a multitude of pop inspired colors. We love to mix and match to keep things interesting.
The items we have found to put our perfect Warhol kitchen together can be yours over at Everything Kitchens

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Marilyn radiates pure sex appeal. She defines stardom. We found a few things over at Target.com . to put together a Warhol inspired guest room. We selected pieces that spoke for themselves but chose items that would let our leading lady steal the show.

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How about a living room with a reason to live. Never ever be afraid to make a statement. Start with the art. We picked Warhol’s cow prints as a starting point. From there we mixed livable textures with more traditional lines to really make those bovines stand out. Adding in some country references with weathered wood, a ticking stripe rug and rustic iron lighting fixtures keeps this room from being to formal. Then we found a signature piece of furniture. The bright yellow bookcase is imaginative and playful company for our cows. Toss in some texture with some pillows and a cozy throw and this living room just became a good place to curl up and read a book. We found the perfect pieces online over at One Kings Lane

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The things we love now

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Filling your home with personality is a must.
Boring people rarely get invited back to parties. Your furniture should stand for the same kind of scrutiny. We love bright or bold pieces and are also drawn to comfort. Think of your furniture as friends and surround yourself with pieces that you really love, pieces that inspire and comfort you.
We found inspiration for a sexy sitting area over at Dot&Bo

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The things we love now.. The objects of our desire

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The guys and I are always on the lookout for unique and interesting objects. Here are some more of the things that we love and where you can get them.
From the folks over at uncommon goods

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Here are some things we love from the Moma online store

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The Metropolitan Museum is always a must visit when we go to New York. Here are a few things that we found in their online shop that make us want to visit there again soon.

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A Haunting at the Harrison Street Inn

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Just stumbled on this story I wrote a few years ago. A little story to put you in a lovely Halloween sort of mood.IMG_5134.JPG

Mysterious Heartland

by Timmy Valentine

Several years ago my Husband John and I purchased The Harrison Street Inn. The Inn is a lovely old home tucked into the sleepy little town of Sullivan, Illinois. We fell in love with the Inn as guests. Both of us more than enjoyed staying here and when we found out the property was for sale, we jumped at the opportunity to live in the Inn full time. This place is special, you can feel it when you walk up the front steps. You feel as if the house smiles at you with that big front porch. This place feels like home. The history here envelopes you. Its not over whelming or stodgy in any way, it is comforting. Like your favorite pair of jeans or a warm bowl of soup on a snowy day. You just feel like you are a part of the placeā€¦

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Let one ripple sing for me.

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Today Tyler and I took a day off from the store and went on an adventure. We took some new friends to one of my absolute favorite places on the planet. An antique shop situated between the highway and a Dairy Queen in St. Joseph Illinois. Winter Wheat Antiques has been a part of my life for close to twenty years. I would even dare to say the contents of those unassuming buildings have fueled my imagination since the first time I stepped through the doors and probably caused some of my more attractive quirks and eccentricities to surface and be celebrated. Some of my most prized possessions have once hung on the walls or occupied shelves here. It’s easy to get lost in time among precious heirlooms and stacks of books while being stared at by a tiny stuffed elephant with button eyes and his companion a monkey that at first glance appears to have once actually swung from vines in some remote jungle. On closer inspection the painted features and delicate time worn fabric reveal the monkeys true identity, a well loved very realistic children’s toy.
This paradise captures my love of juxtaposition. Today I sat in a chair built around 300 years ago its sturdy arms proudly showing the wear of countless hands that have caressed its gentle curves while surrounded by Christmas ornaments from the 1950’s.
I must admit I am equally in awe of both. Rendered breathless by the thought of the owners that this chair has outlived while mesmerized by the glitter clinging to the snow capped rooftops of miniature houses built to prepare mantles for the arrival of St Nick. It doesn’t stop there, standing in an isle filled with delicate China and precious dishes no doubt handed down through generations and fought over by squabbling sisters before their mother’s death bed has even grown cold, I spy a tall vessel atop a cupboard that has been filled with aboriginal arrows carefully bundled and labeled. The chaos is kept at bay by careful and deliberate organization. I live in a world where random things are treated with great respect as long as the madness is neatly organized. I thrill at opening a drawer and finding it filled to the brim with blown glass ornaments from World War Two each nestled among its kin, each sporting a hand written tag tied on with thread. Pure bliss. Ceramic statues of sleepy looking saints may share the company of chalk ware dogs in hats carried home from depression era carnivals but they must remain on their own shelves. Each object your eye falls on in this kaleidoscope of color and texture is a time machine. I learned as a child accompanying my father to antique auctions that the things we create are destined to out live us. This is very clear at Winter Wheat. The things that crowd around you are not clutter. They are memories. Each whispering for attention. Recognition. Most hold great value more in sentiment than in the worth of the materials that they are constructed from. You will not encounter boxes clad in gold and rare gems. You are more likely to find a box stuffed with twenty sock monkeys. Each one different. Each one reflecting the child it was made for and the person who made it. That’s what these things are to me. Memories. Proof that people are capable of truly extraordinary acts of love, like making a sock monkey or keeping a shoe box filled with letters from a lover who’s words caused you to read and reread them so many times the envelopes are tattered from your touch.
In this place you are not surrounded by things but objects. Belongings.
I have spent hours impossible to calculate bent toward boxes of old photographs here. One of my passions. Tiny time capsules. Fragile but potent. Photographs carry the weight of human history. They summon up the reality that our world has been shaped by many individuals whose names you will not read in the history books passed out in high schools. I rummage through history. Not imagined history but history in vivid truth. Weather studio portraits of siblings in their Sunday best posed for posterity wearing button shoes or candid shots of a picnic where blankets are spread out near a model T. These are windows into a real world. Echoes of real people. The people who truly built the world we live in today. I love looking at these faces and knowing that this group of women fought for their right to vote or that these workers were the ones that paid for the railway they are standing near with sweat and determination. Knowing that the couple standing on their front porch holding a newborn would see the dawning of the civil rights movement. That is real history…. And some of them are just strange as hell. I mean come on, two old ladies from a hundred years ago standing on a porch holding up a chair with a white cat perched in it. What the hell? That one is coming home with me. I only buy the ones that speak to me and I never know what that is going to be.
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Today Tyler and I were caught off guard by three autograph albums. We joked before we opened them about the famous signatures we would discover inside. Instead we found beautifully hand written notes of encouragement to friends moving away or pieces of poems penned in 1893 to the host of a New Year’s Eve party. To say I was moved wouldn’t even come close. I was transported. To a time when friends spoke of the love for one another in words that suggested that their friendship would endure any hardship including time itself. One sentiment has stuck with me all day. ” in the river of your memory let one ripple sing for me.”
Beautiful. Priceless.
As I left today the amazing woman who owns and curates this collection met me out in the sun with a gift. She presented me with something I will treasure always. An album covered in soft leather the embossed flowers barely visible. This book contained a handful of remarkable photos and enough blank pages to inspire more collecting. As I looked over the album again this evening I noticed that several of the pictures were of a lazy river. “In the river of your memory let one ripple sing for me.”

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Today was an adventure, a red van with a handsome man and a couple of feisty gypsy women. A good burger, an even better beer and of course I can’t forget about the time traveling.
A good day indeed.

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