9.16.2011

My Mother's House

My parents have lived in a lot of houses in their lifetime; whether it's an apartment, tent, or grand log cabin, my mother always knows how to make it a home. This is a talent I largely took for granted growing up, and then as an adult, I expected I would naturally inherit the ability to do the same. As it turns out, it's not that simple. To this day, I love going home just to bask in the curated coziness of her home. As of this week, they've moved on to yet another house, so I'm glad I snapped a few shots of their tiny {truly! it was tiny!} cottage in Olympia, WA. Here's a peek:

I love all the white-- it really opened up the space and made it feel light and spacious despite it's location in the Olympic Rainforest. {I've since vowed that I will have white sofas someday!} My dad built that amazing cabinet against the far wall and it's always served as a perfect surface for photos and collections.

A slim entry table lines the wall as you walk in. It's topped by Rear Window posters {a slight inside joke, as they've taken to calling the place their 'Rear Window' house because dad pays so much attention to the goings-on in the neighborhood}. An elegant bowl accepts keys and loose change while a wooden hand {which E named Thing} stands ready to hold the mail.


Unhindered by the small space, my mother is bold with large scale art. One of my favorites is this large piece of plywood painted in oceanic tones and topped with the equation for the atomic bomb done in silver leaf.

On the opposite wall, a huge map hangs above the desk and serves as a backdrop for numerous collections. I love that their house is filled with objects that they find beautiful or interesting. I always feel I have to have a purpose for owning something, but have found that display alone is purpose enough. {Above: collection of sea glass from beaches all around the world; vintage metal seedling planter filled with perfumes.}

The objects displayed always have a story or sentiment attached. My dad actually attended the Worlds Fair in '61 and the cameras are quintessentially mom. {part of the reason I found J so attractive was because my mother shares the same passion for the art of film and photography.}


Everywhere I looked, a story was being told. The entry table {which also served as toy storage} was lined with all kinds of beautiful images of vintage alphabet cards and storybook pages. A large frame on one wall was filled with movie ticket stubs collected from years of Friday-night dates together, and what could have been an ugly door to the fuse box was covered in magnetic poetry.

I wish I'd taken a more pulled-back shot of the kitchen, but this shows a bit of how white and bright it was. Tiny pops of red livened it up a bit, and she managed to have open shelving without it looking cluttered.


There was so much more I should have taken photos of, but I'll sum up with this seemingly simple arrangement of art. I found it so touching that after all this time, I could come home and find art on the wall that I remember her carefully selecting, saving, framing and displaying over the years. I can remember where and when each was found, and that history is beautiful to me.

In fact, I think one of the reasons I love her house so much is that it's infused with personality and history in a way that expensive-but-decorated-in-a-week-on-television homes never are. After a summer spent there, I'm inspired to attempt the same for my own home.

Goodbye lovely house! I can't wait to see the newest incarnation. :)

5 comments:

Marci said...

LOVE their house!!! My mom seems to not have passed on her decorating genes to me and I'm always sad about it :-)! I think you definitely got some of your mom's though. Whenever you post your projects or pics of your home, I always love your style!

creole wisdom said...

Wow, that is a stunning home! I love the large scale artwork, too. Thanks for posting these :)

Crys said...

This post almost makes me home sick. I am so glad you got pics of this place, it represents a lot of good times, family and Love. Mama R sure knows how to make a home, and make it perty. :)

Apis Melliflora said...

I can see you had an excellent role model for home styling.

The Queen Vee said...

Now this was an extra special treat. I can see where you get your talent and also some inspiration. I love that you love your parents home no matter where it is and I'm sure it always feels like home to you.

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