Saturday, January 31, 2009

Behind the Fence

As promised, a peek behind the other side of the fence.

When we bought our house nearly six years ago, it was an expanse of weed-filled grass, melding into the neighboring yard. Oh, and it had a giant concrete RV parking strip adjacent to the alley in back. Perfect for Clark Griswold's cousin, not so perfect for young marrieds trying to cultivate a green thumb.

While there are so many elements that I love (concrete fountain and firepit, custom metal gates and fence, glass garage door), there are others I have come to wish away -- chiefly, our ugly wood fence.

It seems impossible for me to comprehend now the way we approached the building of the fence six years ago, but this was pretty much our strategy: build one. Build one fast. We didn't think much of anything about the design, opting for the premade trellis toppers at Home Depot (apologies to anyone else who has these, but UGH. What were we thinking?).

We wanted a dog, and we wanted privacy. So we built a fence around our entire yard (and by "we" I mean my husband) in a matter of days.

The good news? We got a dog (two, actually), and we got privacy.

The bad news? It's six years later and now we hate our fence. But there is a silver lining: over the last few weekends my husband reinvented one fence panel and installed a set of amazing vintage metal gates replete with--you guessed it--a greek key motif. Dreams really do come true. Photos of this development to follow.

But enough negativity: let's focus on the LOVE.

BEFORE: A view of our garage and backyard from the deck

BEFORE: From the aforementioned RV concrete pad, looking toward the back of the house

BEFORE: In all its glory, the concrete parking strip and back of the garage. (Side note: my husband used a sledgehammer to remove all of this concrete. Insane.)

Now let's move on to the AFTER:

The entry to our side yard, through our old, cobbled-together-on-the-fly wood gate (since replaced with fabulous new-old metal greek-key gates. Stay tuned for more on that project). The weird statue is now gone; it came from a good place, being an homage to St. Francis, patron saint of animals...but one day we both just decided it was weird.

The side yard, showing the detached garage at rear. Not sure if I am feeling the torches any longer, though they are super-functional for dining al fresco on summer evenings.

Reverse view of side yard, looking toward street

Entrance to backyard from side yard. My multi-talented husband welded these gates from pieces of pipe he cut, and the wood came from scraps from a friend's fence project. Growing across it all is a lovely climbing hydrangea that now almost completely shields the two areas from one another with its leaves in the spring and summer. This remains one of my favorite elements of the yard.

The backyard, showing the concrete fountain my husband made. I think this is my very favorite element of the yard.... The sound of running water is so dreamy and seems to be the closest to waterfront living I'm going to get for some time.

Our back deck

Looking toward the back of the house from what used to be the RV parking pad and is now home to a shade garden, firepit, patio and shed! The metal fence shown above was also made by my husband. We are growing privet on either side of the metal arbor to shape around the metal's slow going, but one day we will get there.

The mod shed living in the shadow of the RV parking spot....also built by the husband, who has certainly earned his keep. Its windows and doors all came from our favorite salvage yard, where I have also found amazing treasures for both home and shop.

Fence bordering the alley

Concrete firepit made by...yep, him. The patio under it was crafted from sledgehammered pieces of the former RV parking pad.

One of our splurges was installing a glass garage door where there was previously a homemade set of wooden "carriage doors." (I use that term loosely.)

Finances permitting, we plan to one day convert the garage into a guest house for visiting friends and family. Neither of us are from Seattle, and with a 1,300 square-foot home and two kids, we are desperate to add to our liveable space. The glass garage door was installed with that in mind, so that some day, we and/or our guests can lounge in the garage with an open door, fire blazing and music playing. Life doesn't get much better than that...assuming, of course, that there is easy access to alcohol of some sort.

Like all projects around the home, there remains much more to be done, more growing to occur and refinements to be made, but it is certainly rewarding to stop and reflect on how far we've come.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Home Sweet Home

In an effort to delve a bit more deeply past the store inventory and our latest vintage finds, I thought I would share a bit about another passion of mine: gardening. It feels funny to say as, since my initial idea to open the store last November, I have barely seen my yard, much less worked in it. But there was a time, not so long ago, when I could spout Latin names of plants as easily as if they were names of friends...which they were, really.

My husband and I bought our first home, pictured above, nearly six years ago. We were newly married, I having abandoned my first career in editorial and merchandising work to follow my passion for interior design, going back to school to pursue a second degree.

Our budget was small by Seattle standards, so we looked at double digits-worth of homes--homes in good areas with holes in the ceiling, homes in bad areas with slightly smaller holes in the ceiling... I was emotionally exhausted and ready to hole up permanently in our apartment when I found what is now our house. And it was just like the story you wish you could tell about your significant other: I walked in the door, and I just KNEW. Charm oozed from every corner: 12' ceilings, original hardwood floors, open floor plan, attic-turned-whole top floor master bedroom, huge yard...

Oh, but the yard. Not so charming.

I grew up in the South, in a lovely historic home built in 1808, in the middle of 18 acres of rolling green fields. My mom was an avid gardener, and with 18 acres, she had plenty to do. As a child and teenager, I never got gardening--so much work, all the weeding, mulching, dividing, and for what? Just to do it over and over again. I was sure the bug would never strike me.

But within the confines of an apartment, I found myself planting and tending window boxes, shopping for plants I had nowhere to put. I found myself wanting a--gasp--garden.

Come closing day, we tackled the yard head-on, even convincing my mom to travel from Tennessee to pitch in. We planted upwards of 100 boxwoods in our front yard, dug up all the grass from our planting strip, threw up a fence, planted trees--and this was just the first week. We were on fire.

Our pace kept up pretty steadily over the next few years, with sketches passed back and forth between me and my husband, compromises on plant selections and materials to use for various projects....all of it made our yard more lovely, but it also was something we could do together, something that reminded us of all the reasons we liked each other to begin with (and some of the reasons we didn't!).

Since having a child, then starting a business, then having another child, our time working in the yard has decreased dramatically. But like an old friend, it's out there waiting for us to remember it's there. I just hope it won't hold a grudge.

"Before" and "After" shots of our front yard:



Stay tuned for Part Two: The Backyard....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frankly Speaking

Since opening the store last March, one of the best parts of our job continues to be all the wonderful customers we've gotten to know by collaborating with them on design projects.... Whether it's helping them pick out the perfect fabric for their grandmother's old chair, overhaul their entire house, or track down that just-right item for the bare spot on their wall, we love to help people realize their visions.

One of our favorite customers--and projects--has been working with Sarah Penn, the lovely owner (with husband Felix) of the fabulous Pair and the just-opened (and also fabulous) Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor.

Sarah is a woman with a vision of her own, who knows what she wants and likes, so our role was very simple: we worked with her to select an assortment of commercial fabrics that could withstand the rigors of restaurant and bar clientele (yikes!), and we helped infill the space with items like our beloved faux-python benches, Obie dining tables, and Thomas Paul pillows. Oh, and the wallpaper in the bathroom is our all-time favorite and soon to be gracing the back wall of our kitchen.

The photos don't do full justice to the fantastic wall treatment in the space, and the custom lights--in particular the stunning overscaled chandelier in the the entry--are breathtaking. Sarah found a wonderful assortment of new and vintage upholstered pieces for the bar that we worked together to recreate in a mix of greys, reds, and blacks for a glam effect, a perfect contrast to the more masculine adjacent dining area.

We were lucky enough to enjoy a preview meal before the official opening, and it was heavenly! We especially loved the goat cheese deviled eggs. Yum.

Said deviled eggs

Long story slightly less long: eat at Frank's. Then call us to help you tackle a project of your own!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Did.... Extend Our Sale

Maybe it's due to all the inaugural excitement, but last night we had a dream of our own, a dream that ALL items in our ongoing sale were discounted equally.

In the spirit of today's monumental change, we are extending our floor-model sale to encompass everything in the store.

Yep, that's right: Starting tomorrow and lasting through month's end, ALL* items in the store are 30% off the original price. Your favorite design book? On sale. That fabulous Jonathan Adler needlepoint pillow? On sale. Those stunning orange lacquered nightstands? Yep...also on sale.

Come early to take home your favorite candidates.... And thank you for your support.

We are Revival Home & Garden, and we endorsed this message.

* Note: Sales excludes a few consignment items; inquire in the store for more details on exempt merchandise.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Turkish Delight

I have long loved Trina Turk for her fabulous clothes, eclectic style, bold use of color, and her good sense to pair with Jonathan Adler on numerous design projects. (Anyone who appreciates JA's style is aces in my book.)

So I was beyond excited to learn, thanks to our latest and most lovely Domino magazine, that she has a new line of outdoor fabrics through one of our favorite fabric houses, F. Schumacher.

I have long been a fan of using outdoor fabrics indoors on everything from throw pillows to seat cushions to sofas and chairs. As the person responsible for not killing two dogs (a Jack Russell and an Australian Cattle Dog, both of whom tempt me to kill them at least once a day) and two children (ditto), I learned long ago the dangers of mixing $200/yard fabrics with the reality that is my life.

In both my own home and in my design work work with clients who have small children and pets, I try to incorporate outdoor fabrics, vinyls, and washable fabrics whenever possible. These days the options are soooo much better than even five years ago, when seemingly all outdoor fabrics were either striped or emblazoned with hot-pink parasols or the like.

Take a look at the full fabric line from Trina, and let us know if anything catches your eye. We can get you pricing information and/or a sample, and order it for you when you're ready.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Peacock Print in Pool

Santorini in Persimmon

Arches in Bamboo

Trellis in Marine

P.S. Call me if you want one of those ceramic elephant side tables. Love!

Friday, January 9, 2009

But I Digress...

I started this blog shortly after opening the store last March, primarily as a way to communicate information about the store while having my "real" Web site built (still in the works, I am sad to say!), but over time I have thought more and more about what I wish my blog were. One of my goals for the New Year is to try and get there.

If you have followed our musings over the last few months, you know that one of our favorite blogs is Decorno. While of course we love her decor-related postings, the real reason we read is for HER--her snarkiness and her perspective on things from the economy to family to draped tables (yes or no?). She just makes us laugh, and reminds us not to take ourselves or our industry so seriously.

In my perfect world, this blog would be more like that. It would, of course, be filled mostly with things related to the shop, but it would also be dotted with posts about remodeling my home, my struggles in balancing two small children and a new business, my frustrations in finding any time left over for myself... things I think a lot of us out there are dealing with.

Would anyone have any interest in reading any of this? Maybe not. Is anyone reading this now? Who knows. But if you do follow along, please indulge some experimentation....and of course let us know if we are boring you to tears.

Thanks for listening. How much do I owe you?
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