Choosing a Couch: Vintage or New?

Whew! As this busy summer winds down and school ramps up, I find myself needing some down time in the late afternoon to recharge for my evening routine. It’s been pretty obvious that the rest of my family needs some time to regroup and refocus, too, which is why I think we all end up on collapsing on the couch shortly after five each day.

Our down time may only last 15 minutes, but its an essential part of our day that allows us to relax, disconnect from the outside world, and reconnect with each other. I’d love to tell you that the couch we congregate on each afternoon is a lovely vintage piece that I scored at an estate sale for an amazing price and recovered in designer fabric. But I can’t, because it’s not. Our couch is brand-spanking new – the only new piece of furniture in our house.

It took me awhile to come around to the idea of buying a new couch, but what finally sold me was the thought of snuggling up with my boys reading, watching football and family movies, and the comfy cushions. Mostly the comfy cushion. As much as I loved our vintage  green couch, those cushions just weren’t cutting it anymore.

So, about a year ago, my husband and I started saving and we bought ourselves a couch for Christmas.  Hello, adulthood.

I thought about our couch conversion recently when helping a young family choose a couch for the living room in their new house. They’re into Mid-Century furnishings and were torn between vintage and replica options.

After discussing their lifestyle and intended use of the space, it was clear that a vintage style new couch would best suit their families needs.  Playing off their freshly painted walls, I recommended dark blue upholstery to contrast with the gray walls and pick up the blue in the adjacent living room.  Darker colored couches also have the added benefit of hiding dirt, spills, and stains, making them friendly for families with toddlers or teens.

I narrowed my clients’ couch choices down to the following options (all in dark blue, remember).  They took a weekend to check out each model in person, verifying both style and comfort.  A couch is a worthwhile investment and its wise to choose a model that will last until it’s a true vintage!


Younger Furniture | The Louie Sofa


This is great quality piece with tons of fabric options in a true mid-century style.  The tufting on the back cushions is my favorite detail.

Younger Furniture | The Michael Sofa

Michael Collection 1

More contemporary that the Louie model, this lengthy sofa also features thicker lines and a more formal style.

West Elm | Peggy Sofa


Mad Men, anyone? West Elm has some stylish and well-priced options, and the Peggy looks especially striking in the Chenille Tweed, Nightshade fabric.

Dot & Bo | Graham Sofa


Here’s another fun option similar to Peggy, but with two seat cushions instead of three.

West Elm | Axel Sofa
img49oI threw in this leather option just to give them a little something different in a more masculine style.  The Axel would make a striking contrast with the pair of grey tweed Mid-Century chairs that my client already owned. You’ll notice it has the same lines as the Louie sofa and a bit of industrial influence in the metal legs.


Which couch is your favorite?  My clients chose Younger Furniture’s Louie couch. It’s currently in production, but I’ll post pictures soon.

And don’t worry – my green vintage couch moved to the back office where it receives a little less wear and tear but a lot of love.


Introducing . . .

. . . Hunt & Gather Home in film!

Early this summer I was preparing to launch Hunt & Gather, LLC, including converting the blog to a website. I struggled to cram my thoughts and dreams into a concise paragraph of 175 words. “If only they could see what I’m thinking,” I complained. “Let’s make that happen,” my husband replied.

A resourcefully creative high school teacher with an entrepreneurial mind, my husband contacted a talented former student, Elyse Reed of Reed Cinema, about filming a short promo video for Hunt & Gather Home. Elyse was on board with our goal for the video from the beginning, and filming with her was a delight. From corralling our kids to tromping through old buildings to climbing on ladders, Elyse brought the spirit and intent of Hunt & Gather Home out of my head and onto the screen.

The art of old house living . . . 


Thanks & Thoughts

Thanks to all of you who offered words of excitement and encouragement as I announced the official opening of Hunt & Gather Home: Vintage Design & Historic Preservation Consulting. Your words mean so much and I look back over them often to remind myself that I’m not crazy for pursuing my dream (or maybe that I am crazy, but plenty of good people support my craziness)!

I have several projects in the works – both design and preservation – that I hope to share soon on the blog. The ironic part about turning a design blog into a business is that you’re left with less time for blogging!  If you’re not already following Hunt & Gather Home on Facebook and Instagram and want to stay current with my work, click on over and start following today. I will also have a fun little addition coming soon to the website, so stay tuned….

As my household heads back to school, I find myself waking early to take advantage of a morning hour to myself, to ground my thoughts and produce my best work. I look forward to sharing it with you soon.



| Gathered | A Modern Mid-Century Kids’ Room

It’s been fun to see the modern Mid-Century paint colors we chose for our Alabama client (and friend) come alive on the walls of her family’s new home.  We’ve been receiving updates via text message and email.  The transformation looks amazing and is just what we’d hoped. Before | After blog update coming soon!

While the freshly painted walls are drying and the family is moving in, we’ve been working on design boards for the kids’ room.  Being the wonderful mother she is, Holly wanted to tackle her kids’ room first in order to help them adjust to the move and have a special space all their own.  Her two young children, boy and girl ages 4 and 2, will share a bedroom and have a fun playroom where their imaginations can run wild. We decided to tackle the bedroom design first and created a few design boards for inspiration.

Holly and her husband had already made two important design decisions for the room: the construction of  built-in, double bunk beds for the kids and the choice of navy and hot pink comforters. With these two elements in place, we began the fun job of filling in the details.

Since the room has wood floors, Holly requested a rug.  We knew this would be the main design element that would tie the room together and set the mood for the space. We wanted a rug with a gender-neutral pattern and fun colors.  We found several great options, which you’ll see on the design boards below.

After the rug, we knew the room needed one other stylish yet serviceable piece of furniture: a dresser or chest-of-drawers.  Given the size of the wall and the vertical nature of the bunk-beds, we chose a chest-of-drawers.  In keeping with the furniture in the rest of the home, we recommended a fun, Mid-Century inspired piece from West Elm, or a similar vintage find.  Though only one piece of furniture in this room will actually be Mid-Century in style, when combined with our rug options, it will help create a fun, vintage-modern look in the room.  Small Mid-Century accessories like a lamp and reading lights will add to room’s modern mid-century vibe. In this room, a little will go a long way.

Each design board goes a little further to recommend art prints, storage options, drapery, just-for-fun whimsical linens, personalized throw pillows and additional design ideas for further defining the space. We love putting together design boards as a tool for helping homeowners define their vision for a project and tweak their space. We definitely have a favorite board for this project, but the homeowner is still trying to decide!

1-Luther Kids Room 2-Luther Kids Room-001 3-Luther Kids Room-002 4-Luther Kids Room-003

What do you think? We’d love to know which design board is your favorite.

color consultation, design consulting

|Gathered| A modern Mid-Century Color Palette

I recently received a call from a friend asking for help choosing paint colors for her new house.  She explained that her family’s house hunting experience had been rather long and tedious. They would be closing soon on a newer house in a great neighborhood. They were excited and knew that their new home would really work for their family, but she’d been hoping to snag an older Mid-Century Modern home in a more established neighborhood. Did I mention my friend is awesome?

Mid-Century style is in the spotlight right now, but my friend has been a long-time fan. She associates the style with the warmth and love of family. Her grandmother’s home and furnishings were Mid-Century, and she really wanted her new home to have that vintage vibe, but in an up-to-date, less “grandma’s house” way. Modern Mid-Century, if you will.

We set up a secret Pinterest board to share inspiration photos.  Here are a few she pinned. I’m loving the colors.

kroehler 1 kroehler 3

| source |

My friend already has several pieces of Mid-Century furniture that were passed down from relatives and purchased from antique shops over the past several years. After taking inventory of the pieces she owned and planned to use in the new house, talking with her about future furniture purchases, and looking through her inspiration photos, I had a good idea of what direction to go with the color palate for her new place. Light, peaceful, and modern colors will bring in current trends and fit the style of her more traditional home, while setting a comfortable background for her fabulous pieces of vintage furniture. The perfect mix of old and new for this busy young family who values spending time together at home.

Foyer/Family/Hall:  HGTV Home Gracious Greige (HGSW2456)
Dining: HGTV Home Indigo Batik (SW7602)
Kitchen and Breakfast Room: HGTV HomeWhite Batten (HGSW4003) or Country Beige (Olympic D18-1)
Kids’ Bedroom: Valspar Woodrow Wilson Putty (6006-1A)
Kids’ Bath: Valspar Asiago (6005-1A)
Playroom: HGTV Home White Gallery (HGSW4002)
Master Bedroom:  HGTV Home Sky House (HGSW3297)
Master Bath: Valspar Asiago (6005-1A)
Can you believe that we didn’t have to tweak any of these colors! They tried samples on every wall, waited 24 hours, decided they love them and went back to purchase paint. These colors are now on her walls and really turned out lovely.
We’ll be working on the rest of the project in stages, which works really well for this type of long-distance project. Stay tuned for some kid’s room inspiration and design boards!


A Bright Sadness


This blog has been quiet for the past 40 plus days. This unintentional yet symbolic correspondence with the season of Lent and new life of Easter has not been lost on me. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the time to record what’s been going on in my head and heart for past weeks and the new path that’s before me.

I don’t know how many of you observe Lent or what your observation of the season looks like. Some of you may give things up while others decide to take something on. Whether sacrificial or charitable, the heart of our decision is the intent to prepare ourselves for Easter, and to be different and changed when we arrive.

It took me a week or so to decide what to do to prepare my heart this year. I have plenty of bad habits to give up and could list numerous good things to take on, but action of either kind didn’t feel right. Feeling the need to make some changes in many areas of my life and not knowing exactly what those changes should be, the concept of trust began to run through my mind. I headed to our bookshelf to look for others’ wisdom on the topic.

I chose Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. Manning’s descriptions of trust found early on in the first chapter of his book struck a chord with me and lingered throughout the Lenten season. The words below are paraphrased from Manning’s (and Henri Nouwen’s) writing:

Trust is our gift back to God, which demands a degree of courage that borders on heroic.

Trust was the heart and center of Jesus’ teaching.

Trust will not dispel the confusion, illuminate the darkness, vanquish the uncertainty, and redeem the times, but uncompromising trust in the love of God inspires us to thank God for the darkness that envelops us and to risk a journey into the unknown, letting go of self-made props and believing that God is with us and will give us what we most need.

These words became real to me over the past several weeks of uncertainty, hope, and difficult decisions.

Halfway through reading Ruthless Trust I brought home a copy of The Little Way of Ruthie Lemming following a library trip with my boys. I thought it would be a fun, light read after finishing Ruthless Trust, and decided to peek through the first chapter that evening out of curiosity. I’m not sure if it was my love for Louisiana or the author’s writing style, but I was immediately hooked and couldn’t put the book down. What I expected to be a light-hearted, quick read became a soul-searching tear-jerker, meeting me in the middle of my Lenten journey.

The Little Way of Ruthie Lemming introduced me to the beautiful concept of bright sadness. In the Orthodox Church, Lent is called the season of bright sadness, because it is a time of simultaneous celebration and mourning. Unaware of this spiritual concept before reading The Little Way, I realized this was exactly what the current Lenten season had been for me and was reassured that I was on the right path. The book gave me the words to describe the climate of my heart, one of joyful mourning, knowing the hard decisions it was time for me to make and trusting that God would be present as I moved forward. With this knowledge, the joy and peace I expected to arrive at the end of the process entered into my period of darkness.

Now on this side of Easter, having walked through my darkness and made the hard decisions, my heart is changed. I am thankful for those that walked beside me – authors, family, friends –  listening to my frustrations, speaking words of encouragement, sharing hope. Through you I experienced God’s grace.

As I emerge from this bright sadness into a new beginning, I am hopeful of what is to come. May this blog also bring a new life to my passion for preservation, Louisiana culture, and old-house living; there is a bright sadness in the process of bringing new life to old things.

I hope you will join me on this journey.

event planning

A 3rd Birthday Party Animals Celebration


Welcome back to the blog! We’ve had a lot to celebrate around here and it’s kept me busy. From birthdays to Mardi Gras to finally painting my living and dining rooms, I’ve been on the go, but I’m glad to have the chance to sit down and share with you the party animal celebration we recently held for my youngest son.


We managed to keep it simple, sweet, and handmade. The party was held at my home and we included a handful of family and friends. The kids entertained themselves in the backyard and came inside briefly to eat cake and ice cream.  Planning on this, I kept the decorations simple, yet fun.


After posting several fun ideas for a handmade banner, I chose to use what I had:  leftover striped party favor bags, washi tape, and baker’s twine (tutorial coming soon).  The bags are originally from Target and were stashed in my party box.  I realized they were the perfect size for a banner and would prevent me from spending the time cutting out scrapbook paper.


I decided to go with a homemade cake and store-bought cupcakes with the intention of topping the cake with “party animals,” i.e. plastic animals with party hats.


It was fun to accessorize the little woodland forest animals. Completely unnecessary, but fun.  Using wrapping paper and a mini pom-pom garland I already had, I cut out small bits of paper, folded them into party hat shapes, secured with a hot glue gun, and glued a colorful pom on top. They were easy and fun to make and really made the cake.


Since the cake toppers had party hats, the kids needed them, too, right?  Instead of making these from scratch, I found pre-made party hats at Target and Hobby Lobby and embellished them with rick-rack, pom-pom garland, and poms on the top. I added a hot-glue glitter three on the birthday boy’s hat.  Again, the hats were quick and easy to make and turned out really cute. The kids all wanted to wear them when they ate their cake and ice cream!


The birthday boy enjoyed his hat and kept in on for quite a while!


I didn’t get around to making the gummy animals for the birthday party, so I decided to make them for the low-key class party.  Using gumdrops, mini M&Ms, and a mini tube of icing, I created these cute characters  you see above.  My favorite may be the turtle and the duck!


Placed on top of store-bought mini cupcakes they look even more precious, but not too precious to eat! Most of the 2 year olds in my son’s class ate their gummy animal along with their cupcake.  They were a hit and I will definitely make them again!

The party animals theme proved to be a fun and simple one to pull off. I had a fun time planning and preparing for this party and the kids (and parents) all seemed to enjoy themselves, which is what it’s all about!

event planning

Party Animals!

It’s February! In our house, this means its time to celebrate my No. 2 – one of the sweetest little guys you ever will meet. I’ve written before about his nursery and transition to a big boy room (still getting around to that final room reveal post), but at the end of the week he’ll turn three, so right now I’m focused on planning a sweet, simple, and fun afternoon party for family and friends.


I love planning events for children – it’s just fun to make things fun for them! Sometimes I have a party theme in mind and other times I’m inspired to create a theme based on a photo, activity, color scheme, or any other random element that catches my eye. This past December, I found this adorable photo of a gummy animal menorah in a magazine. My first thought was that the little gummy creatures would be adorable on a birthday cake, so I tore out the photo with this party in mind.


Planning with these little cuties in mind, I decided to go with a party animal theme. I found these fun invitations on minted.com and personalized them for my own little cutie’s birthday.


And what’s a party without a party hat? For children


…and animals, of course!


Any good party needs some fun and festive, DIY garland. There are so many options, it’s easy to go overboard!


This beautiful mix of pastel and foil strands courtesy of the always fabulous Martha Stewart.


An equally cute and perhaps less time-consuming option, thanks to Jones Design Company.

Let’s not forget the food. Along with veggies and fruit, frosted animal crackers and goldfish are kid-pleasing favorites and will tie in well with the theme.  I also love the idea of animal shaped PB&J sandwiches for picky eaters.


These dipped oreos aren’t animal-themed, but the colorful sprinkles make a festive addition to any party.  They would also be super-cute to send for a school party treat instead of cupcakes.


And finally, favors.  I’m not a huge promoter of party-favors, but these DIY animal-topped jars are pretty cute.  You can fill them with a variety of treats if the kids are too young for gum, and the jar can be reused to house a variety of trinkets and treasures. Perfect for have boys who love to collect rocks and bugs and equally as cute for little girls’ baubles and bracelets.


It’s completely unrealistic for me to think I will accomplish all of these projects before the party on Sunday, but it’s fun to dream a little and have some inspiration as I’m preparing and decorating. I’ll let you know what I do accomplish and be back soon with photos of the day. I hope this post spurs your imagination as you plan future celebrations for any littles in your life. I always strive to find a balance between making my kids feel special and not going overboard when planning their parties, probably erring on overboard more often than not! Here’s to keeping parties simple, fun, and kid-focused!


Going Grey: Choosing a Paint Color

Happy Thursday! Thanks for all the Facebook feedback after my last post.  Grey is such a popular color and it’s fun to hear what shades all of you have chosen for your own homes.  Two colors many of you mentioned were also colors I’d considered for our living room:  Chelsea Gray and Revere Pewter (both Benjamin Moore).


(via Southern Living)

I’ve had the above photo pinned for quite some time now. I just love the deep warmth of the lighter gray walls (Revere Pewter) as it contrasts with the island (Chelsea Gray). Both colors give off a vintage vibe and I love that they pair well with a variety of accent materials such as copper, oil-rubbed bronze, natural wood, gold, silver, and marble.

Knowing Chelsea Gray was darker than I desired, I choose to start my paint search with Revere Pewter. I’d  heard so many great things about the color, I was sure it would be perfect before I even opened the sample can. This would be the easiest paint choice ever.


Chelsea Gray


Revere Pewter         

Wrong. I loved Revere Pewter when I first painted it on our walls, but as it dried, it got much darker than I desired. Still a lovely color, but not what I was going for. After seeing Revere Pewter on the wall and observing the contrast between trim and wall color, which was greater than I expected, I knew I’d need to go lighter than I thought to obtain the seamless look I wanted. I took a second look at my inspiration pins and realized the wall color was barely darker than the trim, so I headed to Lowe’s and Home Depot to look for a paint color that would fade gently into the background and let my furniture make a statement. With more direction and focus, I grabbed a handful of light gray paint color cards even crossing over into the tinted white color section. When I got home, I held each color up against the trim in various location in my dining and living rooms, easily crossing out all but two options.  I set those two cards on the edge of my dining room table and left them there for a week so that I could monitor them at various times of the day to make sure they worked in all kinds of light.

I also searched online and found the following colors that helped guide me to the right shade and intensity:



Cloud Nine (Benjamin Moore)

While I monitored my paint cards and pondered over Pinterest recommendations, I made one last-ditch effort to make Revere Pewter work.  I took it to my local Sherwin Williams store and had them lighten it by 75% by adding white to the original color.  Again, I came home, sure that I had made the world’s best paint color even better, but again was not pleased with the results when I painted it on my walls. It just looked purple.

By this time, I was starting to warm to one of the colors that had been sitting on my dining room table for the past week: Silver Birch by Glidden, picked up hastily at Home Depot.


Silver Birch, Glidden

I decided I liked it enough to buy a sample. When I painted it on my walls, it looked nearly white, but as it dried, it took on a subtle warm-grey tint that just slightly contrasted with the trim.  I let it dry fully and then continued to monitor how it looked in the morning, noon, and afternoon light, and most importantly in the evening with artificial lighting.  I was pleasantly surprised that I loved the color variations throughout the day.  As different light hit the wall, Silver Birch ranged from a white to a warm grey, but never took on yellow undertones.  Sold!


 The physical work of painting lies ahead of us, but the hard part of choosing a color is done!  If there’s anything I learned from choosing a color, it’s that natural lighting makes all the difference.  What works in one home might not in another simply due to lighting. The paint-card-on-the-table was a great trick that worked well for me.  It required some patience, but it really helped me to see how paint colors varied throughout the day before I purchased and painted a sample on my wall.

I can’t wait to show you the final results of the room.  We’re planning a paint party within the next few months – anyone care to join us?


Going Grey

It’s a long story, but when my husband I decided to move back to our hometown four years ago, we were lucky enough not to have to hunt for a house we loved. It was one of those “perfect timing” things that led to our house never actually going on the market. We sort of fell in love with it at first sight during the restoration and claimed it for our own. Because of our relationship with the previous owner, we were able to have input on many finishing details, consult about certain aspects of the rehab project, and even help out with a few tasks. A win-win for all involved.

Of course, we were fortunate that the previous owner also had good taste, so most of the chosen paint colors were ones we also loved. The dining and living rooms were painted a calming neutral called Canvas Tan (Sherwin Williams). When we moved in, the only furniture we owned to outfit these rooms was a dining room table and a couch. The color has worked well as we’ve collected additional pieces and defined our style over the past four years, but the time has come to make a change.


We’ve decided to go grey.

While Canvas Tan is a fantastic neutral that I will keep in my paint color arsenal, it’s beginning to feel too yellow to me. I’m craving walls that disappear with a grey that is warm, but barely noticed. Both living and dining rooms receive plenty of natural light, which we take advantage of by leaving the curtains open most of the day. In searching back through my pinterest board, I came across the following photos that capture the look and feel I’m hoping to achieve.

02-pretty-little-things-living-room-0414-lgn-83250734   via Country Living


via  Coco Lapine Design


via Country Living




via Vintage Whites

Choosing a warm, pale grey that acts as a quiet canvas will enhance the architectural details of our old home and the vintage pieces we’ve had fun collecting over the past few years.  It’s a small change that I’m hoping will make the perfect difference.  Check back soon for a reveal of our pale grey paint color candidates, our completely informal and unscientific process for narrowing down our choices, and, of course, the big winner!