Country Mouse Dream House

The new issue of Country Living has a really cute little feature on the playhouse at our farm that we gave Grace for her Birthday last year.

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They came out and shot the playhouse (custom made by Lilliput Playhouses inspired by Gruene Hall) a few months ago, and the kids had the best time hamming it up. It helped that their were ice cream floats involved. Becki Griffin, who we worked with when Country Living shot the house last year, did SUCH a cute job styling it. I’ll post more when I get the pics, but for now you can check it out – including pics of the inside- all shot by Buff Strickland in the new issue!

Those of you who follow me on Insta know we spend every weekend we can out at “The Shmamptons”. We love it even more than we could have imagined- the fenced yard around our house feels like endless wide open spaces where the kids can run and be free. We cook & cocktail, swim, play games and just generally feel like lucky, peaceful little country mice. Speaking of which, those of you who follow me on Pinterest might have noticed me blowing up my “Country Mouse” board of late.

As much as we love having our family time at The Shmamptons, we enjoy sharing the place with our family & friends even more. While our house- an early 1900s Victorian- works wonderfully for us, things get tight quickly when we are hosting. My two best friends are cousins, and I grew up going to their family farm that could accommodate as many people wanted to pile on a sleeping porch. I would love for ours to be the same kind of “More the Merrier” place. Especially since it’s just a short drive from Houston it’s easy for people to make impromptu visits- and so we have started to think about adding a guest house sometime next year.

Writing this post, I realized I still haven’t given y’all a tour of the place beyond my instagram pics- I should do a proper shoot of the place. Putting that on the list.

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“The Shmamptons” Shot by Roger Davies January 2015

In the meantime, for those that need more info to visualize, the current house has three bedrooms, two baths and a bunk loft. There is a wee kitchen and a big combined living/dining room. We did our renovation (adding a bath and converting the front parlor into a bedroom) in about 3 months two years ago. Last year we did a few landscape projects (fire pit, fencing the pool & adding a pavilion etc.) but otherwise have just taken our time to enjoy the place.

And I am glad we didn’t do any major projects right away. After spending two years out there, we know so much more about the property itself- the best spots to watch the sunset or catch a breeze- and what sort of setup we need to host our people.

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Shmamptons King Bedroom with Daybed

For instance, the bunk loft will be great when the kids are older, but for now the stairs are still too steep for me to feel comfortable letting Grace sleep up there. Most of our friends are just starting to have babies, so it will be awhile until the loft gets much use. However, the daybeds we put in the king & queen bedrooms have been great and allow us to be flexible in sleeping different combinations of friends & family. Depending on who we are hosting, sometimes our whole family puppy-piles into one bedroom; other times the kids have a sleepover with friends in one room, and the adults have their own spaces.

So! Now that we know we need more bedrooms, we are thinking about the best way to go add them. Several small casitas or trailers ala El Cosmico or The Prairie?The Prairie By Rachel Ashwell

The Prairie B&B, Round Top, TX

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Images via The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell

The Prairie is actually nearby our place, and during the Round Top Antiques Fair this year I did a little tour. I loved how all of the buildings had their own character and worked together to create a cozy compound. I have always been obsessed with tiny things, and especially Tiny Texas Houses, so I do quite like the idea of a few little guest houses.

However, the point of having our friends out to visit is to spend time together and I worry that having people separated in their own quarters will work against the QT, which makes me lean towards adding full-size guest house. Especially because we only have one small oven in the house now, so another cooking space would be helpful.

If we do go with a bigger guesthouse, it would be important to me that it fit with the scale and style of the existing home- and so I have been on a search for renovation inspiration. One of my favorites I have found so far is this house by Cuppet Architects that was in Country Living a few years back.

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So charming- this one is getting saved to the board for sure. I have also been obsessing over this book we just got in…

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So. Much. Fancy. Farm. Fantasy. And they are all in Virginia I think? I think I need to plan a road trip.

Ok, well I hope you enjoyed our little tour down the proverbial country lane. There is much, much more Country Mouse Dream House action where this came from, and we have already been working on a little something to increase our hosting capacity until we decide what to do longterm. So stay tuned for lots of bucolic inspiration to come!

Springtime Baby Shower

We have had a Biscuit Baby Boom this spring, 3 new babies in the past 3 weeks! Chelsie had her sweet baby boy at the end of April, and Valerie’s twins surprised everyone with their early arrival in May. We hosted Valerie’s baby shower at our house just in the nick of time, it turns out, and recently got some pictures from A Fare Extraordinaire (who catered/created the event) that I thought were worth sharing.

Valerie was having boy/girl twins, so we wanted the decor to be gender neutral, with a nature-inspired/Spring overall theme, with a little Where The Wild Things Are thrown in.

Inspiration Board

This was the mood board we sent to AFE, and they took it from there…

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Val’s shower was the first proper event we have hosted at our new house, and I was curious to see if the house had the flow for entertaining I had tried to create in the design. We lucked out and had a beautiful afternoon, so the party flowed out onto our patio which was perfect!

I always love working with A Fare Extraordinaire on events, at this point we have worked together so often that I trust them to run with whatever I give them without meddling, and they know me well enough to take my inspiration and push it to the next level. I love entertaining and sweating the details myself (please see Harry’s Birthday cake for evidence), but it is also so nice to hand over the reins to someone else so you can actually be a guest at your own party.

To celebrate our new Biscuit babies, we put together a little Winnie The Pooh inspired pop-up over at Biscuit which has some cute items if any of you are looking for a baby shower gift this Spring!

Winnie The Pooh Collection

Party Images by A Fare Extraordinaire

(post was not sponsored, just giving credit where credit is due)

Heirloom Entry

We are finally at the fine-tuning stage of decorating our house. The majority of the big things are set, and I am enjoying playing around creating pretty little moments. Truth be told, I am not normally about the details. I am a terrible shelf stylist, and I can’t hang a gallery wall for the love of Pinterest.

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But, in the past few years I have collected some meaningful treasures and pictures of my loved ones, and I am enjoying displaying them throughout the house more properly than I have in the past. Part of that is because we have more breathing room here. Our old entry was purely utilitarian- more of a mud room. Here, we have a mud room at the back so I wanted our entry to feel lovely and inviting- a reverse mullet if you will. Business in the back, party in the front!

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We just started carrying one of my favorite lines, Match, at Biscuit and I mixed some of their pieces in with our entry vignette for a Mother’s Day edit. We only used one of the images for the site, but I liked the others so well, I thought they were worth sharing here. If you already got this email from us, I apologize, but this is what I had written for the newsletter:

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“My Grandmother spent her entire first paycheck on a pewter candy dish. Growing up, I remember visiting her house and sneaking Krackles and Mr. Goodbar’s from that oyster shell-shaped container on a side table by their front door.

She gave the candy dish to me when I made my debut, and it now sits on the entry hall table in our home- always fully stocked. I love how seamlessly it blends with my more recent pewter purchases- good craftsmanship is truly timeless. While I will probably not pass down the same financial advice, I will give this sweet family heirloom to my daughter Grace one day.”

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The pewter dish in the pictures is, probably obviously, the one I was referring to in the newsletter. My Grandmother gave it to me as a present for making my debut back when I was in college, told me the story behind its acquisition, and I cried like the tender mushy heart I am. But I was in college, without an appropriate place to display such a treasure, so it went into a box stored for safe storage at my Moms house. It’s so special to me to have the dish out on display now.

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I love the way it works with my new pewter frames- which, brings me to something I have to ask from all of you:

Where do y’all get your pictures printed? I have been derelict in printing since the invention of Instagram. I looked around the other day and realized the only framed pictures of the kids I had were gifts! Shameful. But! When I went to go print some, all of my old photo stores were gone!

Are there any online resources y’all like for printing photos and/or putting albums together?

Allow me to reintroduce ourselves…

Hi! Hi! Hi!

How are y’all?

I’m great. I have so much to report I don’t really know where to start.

False. To start?

Biscuit has a whole new website! I am not talking like a fresh new theme, I am talking a whole built just for us gorgeous showcase for our line. We have been working towards this launch, in one manner or another, for well over a year. Hanna, who y’all may know as the delightful Gadabout, came on the team last year and created this beautiful site that at once embodies our brand, and pushes us further.new site 3

It was important to us that the site stayed true to our roots, and provide a showcase for our bedding first and foremost. You can now peruse by print, piece, and even through some of the rooms we shot for our lookbook! Plus…there may or may not be a couple of new prints…but we know many of you have been patiently waiting so we didn’t want to hold out y’all any more than necessary.

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I would love for you all to go check it out and let me know what you think! I would also highly recommend you sign up for our newsletter- to be in the know, ya know? Our hope is that this makeover offers you a fresh perspective on how to build your own dream home with Biscuit. We are working hard to not only to expand our line, but to bring you complementary products we love, and content that is valuable and entertaining even if you aren’t coming to shop.

In white houses…

Like many people, I have a thing for white houses. The first childhood home that I remember was a traditional white brick house, and I think I must have imprinted on it or something because nothing captures my heart to this day like a charming white house. My ultimate, ultimate favorite is a house by architect John Staub who designed many Houston houses through the 1920s & 30s. I actually wrote a paper on his work in college. I should go see if I still have that somewhere. What a treasure that would be! My first design-blog post, if you will.

Anyway, the cover of the most recent book on his work (which is fantastic if you are in to traditional architecture) features my favorite- and I know many Houstonians favorite- of his homes.

Country Houses of John Staub

It’s my favorite of all the homes, in all the world actually. I grew up roller blading past it and even as a little kid knew how special it was. Many times I tried to get up the courage to leave a note in the mailbox introducing myself and asking for a tour, but never did. My love for the home is well-known amongst my friends and family and so when it was announced it would be a stop on this years Azalea Trail (an annual tour put on by the garden club where certain homes are open to the public- a Miles Redd house was on it a few years back which was a real treat) I was inundated with texts and calls from people reminding me I had to go see it.

There weren’t pictures allowed inside- and honestly I was in such a dream haze I forgot to take many elsewhere either. This was pretty much all I got-

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It was even better than I had dreamed. Original wallpaper and finishes throughout, perfectly maintained interiors that were sparingly updated versions of how the home was originally decorated 75 years ago. There is a large vegetable garden in the back where I am pretty sure the whole Beatrix Potter gang resides.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it, so naturally I went on a pinning spree. So please, on this lovely spring Tuesday, enjoy a virtual tour of a few of my personal favorite big ol’ white houses.

GP Schafer GP Schafer 

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RIchard Skinner & Associates

Richard Skinner & Associates

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Ferg & ShmamFerguson & Shamamian

Delightful, no?