Old: colonial brick fireplace | iron coal carrier from grandpa, or as we use it, soot collector | utensil crock turned vase | antique cloth-bound books | vintage mirror
New: woven birch basket for firewood | birdie wallpaper | Rodin “The Kiss” anniversary gift to Andrew, his favorite sculpture I found at The Nelson | sugar birch candle | branches from outside | wood Buddha statue from my dad’s trip to India
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” – Winston Churchill
Howdy, friends! Blame on the sunshine, the birds already chirping, or all the fresh veggie juice and Stumptown coffee I’ve consumed over the last 48 hours, but I’ve got a creative itch to scratch and the energy to do it, so pardon me as I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of the Rest Retreat to talk about homemaking for a bit.
But you know…isn’t this what the RR is all about? About finding our flow and letting the new rhythm we’re weaving into our day, the one seeped in quiet listening and restorative rest, guide us towards what makes us feel most alive? I think so! What is that thing or things for you? For me, it’s a combination of writing and making a home. Both are things I love and care about dearly, things that have always made me feel most like who I was made to be, and why Homesong exists.
Making our home is one of the most joyful and meaningful ways I express myself, and giving myself the gift of time and presence away from creative pursuits on social media has sort of cracked things open a bit for me over here. Have you been experiencing the same? I have taken exactly 5 photos on my iPhone since December 30th and four of them are of Andrew, Stella, Theo, and Alfie holding a baby gator (by themselves!) in the everglades on our most recent to the gulf. The fifth one is of our paper whites that just bloomed this morning. What a beautiful treat that was to wake to! And as for writing, I’ve taken a break on that too, mainly scribbling in my moleskin to journal each day, and then writing on the computer here with you when retreating.
How have you been creative lately? I’ve been using the time away from Instagram to seriously and ruthlessly go through our home to refine more and pare down to the essence of what we find to be beautiful and useful. I believe where we live our most intimate lives has a tremendous impact on our overall wellbeing. For me personally, living in a cluttered and un-curated environment that doesn’t get changed up and refreshed regularly with the changing of the seasons can leave me feeling stuck. I have always been this way, even as a tiny tot spending lots of time homemaking in my bedroom and forest forts. As someone who is very sensitive to her surroundings as a self-prescribed highly sensitive person, it makes sense to me that tending to the external world that engages with my senses day and in and day out would make an impact on my internal world. So that’s what I’ve been doing, freshening up the outside, to freshen up the inside. And spending lots of time teaching Alfie to chop and cook, which is a whole other post entirely!
If I had to describe how I most love making our home it would be to the theme of old + new. Blending both things of antiquity and historical memory + current, well-made, functional beauty is how I gravitate towards most things. Braiding old + new is how I prepare meals, how I dress, how I read, how I craft, how I design, and how I do most of everything in the wider scope of my life from a holistic perspective. I love things with character, flaws, chips, and patina. And I also love things that are crisp, clean, light, and minimal. I feel most at home when the two are folded into one another, when rooms flow with stories rooted in the past and hold energy from the natural world.
For the past few days I’ve been rearranging and making things fresh as can be for the new year, a winter spring cleaning, sort of. And for the first time in quite awhile, I grabbed my fancy camera to do a mini tour to share some of my favorite new + old parts of our home!
An Old + New (mini) Home Tour
The Master Bedroom
Old: my grandma and grandpa’s pine dresser | wood floors | mason jar vase | doily
New: black base lamp | paper white bulb | steel fan | lace curtains
The Living Room
Old: antique French vase from Paris | wood birdcage | wood bowl | wood bookshelf | wall sconces original to our home
New: French market basket from my birth mom | large white mum flowers | wood fruit bowl | Kinfolk issues | baby Stella photo
Old: Shaker pantry original to our home | crock bowl | vintage cookbooks | copper pot from Paris, my beloved gift from my brother-in-law this year | my grandma’s lantern | thrifted glassware and mugs | glass pantry jars from grandma
New: woven trivet | brass hardware | new edition cookbooks | ceramic plates and bowls | canvas bag | woven garden hat | black pencil sharpener
The Dining Room
Old: crock vase | my mom’s old dresser | iron antique coat rack | wicker basket | tall walnut dresser | glass front storage hutch
New: food poster and black frame | paper white bulbs | pine harvest dining table | modern windsor chairs | grocery bag | glass base lamp | wood ladder | market basket | handmade pine kitchen table
Old: Shaker ladder chair | woodwork is all original to our home
New: ‘The Heavens’ art and frame | hall runner with vintage look | glass moon phase art
Old: thrifted wool sweaters, vintage floral skirts, and linen tops | a tiny, ancient closet
New: wood hangers | clothing from various shops and makers
The Boy’s Room
Old: wire basket | ABC chalk board from an Iowa antique shop | old terra cotta pot |
New: books and art | shelves | lamp | amber glass lotion jar and handmade lotion | tiny wood animals | plant
Old: pug figurine that was mine when I was Stella’s age | wood bookshelf I bought as my first big purchase in college | cream crock vase | my grandpa’s vintage Winnie the Pooh books (a treasure!)
New: wood letter turners | Eiffel Tower souvenir | dried lavender | bunny bank | unicorn (with a makeover)
Old: original wood plank flooring | woven basket | antique ivory wardrobe | black blanket trunk | plant stand turned toilet paper holder etc.
New: white painted floors | jute rug | light fixtures | sheepskin rug | light blue velvet couch
There’s a peek into most of our rooms, each sharing some of my favorite old + new combinations. Are you a lover of blending old + new? Why do you think it speaks to you? I believe space carries energy and emotion, and when we infuse and use things from the past in our homes, along with the new in ways of art and fictional beauty, we’re weaving ancestral memory to our present story. I also love the idea of using things my grandparents used and loved in their homes to help keep their lives and the time we spent together living on in our home. Hope you enjoyed the mini tour! xx
Julia - Oh God. Your home will be FOREVER my favorite dream home. Even though I’ll probably never be able to afford a style like this (all the little extra tables and chairs and antiques and JARS AND BASKETS FOR EVERYTHING!!! – starving artist here..) it’s still nice to look at your pictures and daydream a little. Maybe I’ll just marry rich, ha!
Kirsten - Also cash strapped, but just wanted to say that if you’re into thrifting you can find SO MUCH STUFF for a pretty affordable price in thrift and even antique stores, depending on where you are (I’m in the midwest so there’s lots of little places). I love this style too, and over the years have been able to pick up a lot of baskets and crocks and even furniture (though it needed a little TLC) on a budget. There’s hope yet!
admin - Julia, I think one of the best parts about blending old + new is thrifty factor! Every single old item I’ve listed in this post was either a hand-me-down from family, a garage sale item, or something found second hand on a dime. I find crocks, cheap but sturdy baskets, old rickety tables, and unique chairs at thrift shops all the time, and feel like those items are extra special because they were previously loved. You can of course go to antique dealers and find these things at a much higher price, or get knock-offs from trendy shops or places like Restoration Hardware, but honestly I think this style is most reflective of a smaller budget, leaving room for you to spend on bigger items or to save. If you enjoy poking around a secondhand store you might be surprised at all the beautiful old goodies others give away! xx Amanda
Jordan Adamson - I can’t tell you how refreshing this RR has been for me thus far. I committed to writing everyday, reading more, and learning how to bake bread. All of the time I used to spend mindlessly scrolling and checking in between caring for my kids I’ve been taking moments to fit in one more chapter in my book, to write down my thoughts throughout the day, and to bake bread, mixing my dough in the morning and letting it rise and shaping and proofing it through out the day so we can have fresh bread for dinner- i may or may not have cried when my first loaf came out of the oven, it did something for my soul. Last night as i waited for my second loaf to come out of the oven while my kids were in bed I did my dishes and listened to the podcast you suggested- i loved it. One of my takeaways from the podcast was when Dr. Goldman said something along the lines of- “Is what I am doing in line with my intentionality?” I love that question because my theme for this new year is to be the person I want to be, free from fear or anxiety, free from my past that so easily tells me that I can’t. So here I am baking bread, finding my flow, allowing my mind the space it deserves to think and heal and to be free, only checking in with me for a while. Thank you for all of your encouragement Amanda, I owe a lot to you.
Amy - These are beautiful spaces. The winter light really brings out the blue in the wall paint. I really enjoy your homemaking posts. I’m not doing the retreat this year but I do need reminders to step back from the phone. Hope this month is wonderful for you.
Kendra - Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and inspiring old and new blends. Always love seeing your creativity at work!
Michelle - Hi Amanda. I’m loving this tour of your home, but I’m also wondering what you do with framed photos. I’ve found myself with TOO MANY probably, and although I’ve contemplated doing a gallery wall up the stairs, I really don’t want to clutter the walls. Thoughts? Is there a place in your home you tend to keep photos out?
Jenny - Hi! I just found your website. I love your beautiful home. Can you share more about the light fixtures in your loft?
Shaker Peg Rails and Other Fun Stuff: Friday Finds #85 | Town & Country Living - […] myself drawn even more to the simplicity of older homes and less cluttered rooms. Amanda’s sweet little farmhouse is pared back for winter. I’m especially loving the wallpapered fireplace wall. She also has […]
Anne - Great site..