The thrill is in the Hunt!
A Modern Country Farm House
How does one infuse a brand new house with old world charm? I believe this can be done in many ways that we will explore throughout this process, but for todays purposes, I want to focus on what is perhaps my very favourite part of my job. Treasure finding. Exploring the nooks and crannies of shops, stores, friends and families to find that PERFECT original thing to make a space really sing and express the character of the client.
The thrill IS in the hunt! I'm no psychiatrist but its my guess that it goes back to child hood when your told its fun to scavenge through the wilderness for sticks and twigs or heart shaped rocks. Or to seek out your sibling in the basement of your grandmas house, or even perhaps look for hard boiled eggs in the tall spring grass.
I always feel its necessary to have an original and unexpected piece in every room. Something your neighbour can't find at a big box store. A piece that could tell such stories if given a voice. So to accomplish this, I head to the local antique shops and consignment stores, farm markets and garage sales. These are the obvious places to go, but I also recommend going to your laptop. Here in Kelowna we go to Castanet or CraigsList. Oh, and let us not forget e-bay.
Even closer still... look in your moms basement or your great aunt Dianne's attic. There are treasures to be found in the most unlikely of places. These family heirlooms come attached with personal history! For example, after the passing of a beloved aunt, my uncle offered me their china. Little did I know when I accepted that it was to be the very most beautiful china I have ever laid my eyes on! Hand painted on white. It's called "Old Silver Lustre" I think fondly of my aunt and uncle every time I look at the display. I now get the privelage to find more pieces to add to my collection. This kind of experience you cannot buy.
Perhaps however, my favourite place to find treasure is at the auction! It's a night out and a thrilling experience! Some people like to sky dive, my adrenalin rush comes from raising that numbered card and bidding on a desired item. A perfect stranger becomes an opponent bidding against you until one of you backs down. Sometimes you come away with a vintage lamp and sometimes you lose an antique headboard. Okay, sometimes I do. But honestly I am absolutely exhilarated when I hear the pounding of the hammer and the call out that the object of my desire is SOLD to Home at Last.
However, treasure hunting comes with a cautionary warning. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and over spend or impulse buy whether on e-bay or in person at the auction. So I offer these treasure hunting tips.
- See whats up for auction in advance.
- Take a note book to jot down lot numbers.
- Decide ahead of time how much your willing to pay. Stick to your guns!
- Buy only what you need and no more.
- Have your home measurements with you, and take along a tape measure.
- DON'T raise your arm unless you are bidding. Infact your better off not to even make eye contact with the auctioneer until its something you want.
Leanne's Modern Country Farmhouse is still in the drawing stages, but that didn't stop us from making our first purchase for the house. In fact buying a permanent furniture item now is perfect because it allows us to give the measurements to the builder so that it can be built in custom.
We found an antique filing cabinet on castanet for $100.00. The woman who sold it to us tells its been in the same family for generations. The assumption might be that the filing cabinet was purchased for the office when in fact we had the kitchen in mind instead. There is a niche in the pantry intended for a phone desk. I am personally not fond of a counter top cubbie cluttered in all of the items that have no permanent home and a phone hiding somewhere under the pile. However Leanne and Chris insisted on having a home for their phone. This cabinet re purposed was the perfect solution. Just enough counter top space to hold a phone and a pad of message paper. It' taller than desk height therefore making it less convenient for kids to drop items in passing. It has enough file drawers for each family member to tuck away such things as homework or important papers and at the top a small row of drawers for pens and pencils, keys and what not. Leanne and Chris both love the character of the piece and as always, form follows function. This piece definitely makes the grade!
My Creative Call
I view my artistic side as a gift from God. It’s my calling. Artists are a unique, complicated and often misunderstood breed, and I am one of them. I once believed that to be a "real" artist I would have to be making a living selling my art. There is a reason us creators are coined "starving artists". Not many of us actually make money until after were long gone from this world and that's if were lucky. Never the less, we paint, draw, sculpt, photograph, write, sing, play, craft, refurbish, design build. I now believe that an artist is just someone who can’t help but to create. It’s built into my DNA. I see a tin full of paint brushes, or a tube of paint, and I’m instantly inspired. An old barn window excites me like a set of super swamper tires on a land cruiser excites my husband, Terry. In the same way, I don’t understand his love of motorized vehicles with a lift kit so high one needs a ladder to get into the vehicle. He looks over my $2.00 solid wood, dove tail joined, potential to be refurbished into a bathroom vanity, garage sale dresser, with confusion written all over his face. His once peaceful drive through the country to hunt down our next meal is now dotted with countless stops as he humours me at sights I deem scenic enough to photograph.
My personal creative outlets are painting with oils; when I get the chance having 4 kids wanting to partake in the process that is; photographing scenery and portraits; usually of my friends and family and in an attempt to stay true to my creative self and not be one of those starving, I design interior spaces for a living. I find great joy and fulfilment in all of these mediums. My family on the other hand more tolerates my need to stop three times on the way to school to photograph the two love birds we have affectionately named Romeo and Juliet; who have made a nest on the top of a local power pole; consequently making my kids late for class.
Despite all of this I occasionally hear my husband or one of my children talking about one of my creations with a hint of pride in their voices and I think to myself, that's good enough for me.
This post is dedicated to my biggest supporters and the people who went to great lengths to encourage my creativity as far back as I can remember.
Thank you Mom and Dad!
Follow Home At Last as we design a Modern Country Farm House in Lake Country; from beginning to end.
Leanne and Chris and their two boys Seth (13) and Ajay (11) are our clients. This is their first home. They have inherited the farm where Chris grew up in the Okanagan, complete with barns, out buildings, farming equipment and accessories and loads of character. There is much sentimental feeling attached to this project. It is their desire to marry their love of modern estetic with the beauty of time worn character of a bygone era. Where Chris loves dark moody woods and industrial flare, Leanne longs for light vibrant and colourful clean lines. At the same time both of them wish to stay in keeping with the country feel the property silently demands.
It is my job to help this couple build the home of their dreams taking into account their every desire.