Dream Project

I’ve been keeping this one a secret for awhile now, but I just can’t hold it in any longer.  I am so pleased to show you my newest historic preservation tax credit project in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana.


Isn’t she lovely? I’ve had a crush on this nineteenth-century Queen Anne cottage for awhile now.  It was the steep pitch of the hipped roof that first caught my eye.  Then, those shutters – a common sight in New Orleans, but a rarity here in downtown Alexandria, which, has lost over 80% of its historic structures in the past thirty years, the majority of them residences.

Located on what is now the edge of downtown, this little cottage managed to escape all known threats to historic structures: demolition, vandalism, re-muddling, interstate highways, and fire.  I’m not quite sure how she made it to this point in such good shape and with nearly all of her original features, but I am so thankful she did. I’ve been known to drive by just to check up on her and make sure she’s doing okay.


Can you see her potential? Sure, she needs some TLC.  But her bones are good. She’s sturdy and strong, made of virgin Louisiana cypress and pine, and built by the hands of local craftsmen skilled in their trade.


The more of her history I research, the more I’m learning to trust in my knowledge and instinct about the age of old houses and regional architectural trends. She’s reinforcing my love for Louisiana buildings and building my self-confidence.


This little cottage knows that life isn’t always easy or pretty. She’s seen better days. But she offers a picture of hope for the future.  Hope that, because her foundation is strong and her walls are solid, good will still come from her.


She’s come along way, but her journey is just beginning.  You’re invited you to follow along.  I suspect she has a lot to teach us all.




Gathered | An Outdoor Adventure Inspired Nursery

If you follow Hunt & Gather Home on Instagram, you know that I post a lot of historic preservation related photos. Preservation is one half of what Hunt & Gather Home is all about, and designing inspired and livable spaces within those restored walls is the other.  While I love working on and in historic structures, having an older home is certainly not a requirement for a design project.

Case in point: Watson’s nursery.  My dear friend, Christina, recently asked me to help her gather ideas for a nursery for her third child, and first little boy, Watson. Christina and her husband are currently renting with plans to buy soon. Not knowing what size room Watson will have when he arrives, Christina let me run free with the design. She gave me only one thing to go on:  she loves the crib sheets and changing pad covers from Woolf with Me.

Watson's Nursery-001

Knowing Christina and her husband well, one pattern jumped out among hundreds of designs.  I knew the deer crib sheets would be a hit with her husband, a hunter, while Christina would approve of the cute design and gray color. To complement the modern hunting theme of the crib sheet and bring in a pop of color, I chose the gold arrow changing pad cover.  You’ll find those basic pieces in each of the three design boards I created for Watson’s nursery.

Since Christina has two older (and precious) girls, an heirloom crib, a comfy glider, and a chest-of-drawers will need a few updates to get them ready for little brother.  The crib will remain white, a nice contrast against the gray crib sheet.  With the addition of a black and white buffalo check throw pillow the glider will be ready for late-night rocking.  A quick coat of paint will transform the currently pink chest-of-drawers into a boy-friendly focal point in the room.
Watson's Nursery-002

Because Christina already had the three main pieces of furniture for the nursery, I decided to have fun with the rugs and chest-of-drawers and make them the statement pieces in the room. Black, white, and gold can be used interchangeably in all three designs.  All Christina needs to do is decide if she prefers orange or green accents!

Watson's Nursery-003

As Christina, her husband and kids prepare to welcome Watson into their family, my hope is that these design boards will to guide them into creating a special space for a little boy who is sure to love all things outdoors.


Driving the Backroads | First Methodist Church | Columbia, Louisiana

FUMC Columbia 7

Happy Halloween! I’ve been on the road a lot this month on several trips to North Louisiana. The drive through rural Louisiana farmland is always a beautiful one lined with cotton fields, sugarcane, and vernacular architecture (my favorite!). After years of driving through the small town of Columbia, Louisiana, and thinking, “I’ll stop next time,” I finally decided to pull over and photograph this fantastic early twentieth-century wooden church building.

The First United Methodist of Columbia was constructed in 1911 by contractor Frank Masselin and Son of Monroe, purportedly from plans brought from Europe by a church member. The rectangular church is clad with wooden clapboard and features a combination of Romanesque, Gothic Revival, and Craftsman architectural elements. Most prominent are the two towers of unequal height with low, overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails, all Craftsman features.  The recessed belfry at the top of the taller tower features false buttress-type supports and rounded arch louvered vents.  Beautiful stained glass windows grace the second-story levels of both towers; the windows on the shorter tower are stylized quatrefoils of Gothic design. The main doors to the church are located beneath pointed arches in each tower. If you look closely, you will notice a Gothic mouchette motif on the wooden doors.

FUMC Columbia 3

The church was expanded in 1939, and the addition appears seamless from exterior view.  Wood siding, paired wood windows, and a consistent use of similar stylistic features blends the 1939 addition with the original structure.


The church was closed on the day I stopped to take photographs, but this photo, courtesy of the National Register nomination, shows the interior of the original 1911 sanctuary.  I would love to see the semi-circular railing in person. This photo also shows the original wooden pews.

FUMC Columbia

It was a special treat to catch the church decorated for fall, but it is beautiful at any time of the year. Next time you’re driving up LA 165, make a stop in Columbia. The church is on the edge of Columbia’s cute little downtown on the banks of the Ouachita River.  Kudos to this congregation for taking such good care of this beautiful building.

P.S. – I’d love to know more about the history of the church, those European architectural plans, and the members who brought them back.  Please share what you know in the comments!


| gathered | from little to big boy bathroom


A few short weeks ago, my boys’ bathroom was full of color, energy, and lots and lots of letters.  It took me awhile to gather all those letters and frames.  The Anthropologie sale room, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, craft stores, estate sales, and flea markets slowly but surely provided letters of varying sizes and styles perfect for an alphabet wall.


But it’s been five years.  My oldest boy has outgrown alphabet walls, though I’m not sure how that happened! The alphabet wall still suits my youngest, but frankly, I’m ready for a change as well.  


I took down the shower curtain . . .


. . . and removed every letter.

They’ve gone on to a new (and loving) home.


I’m left with bare walls. They are simple and pretty.


But, they’re far too quiet for two mischievous little boys (and their design-loving Mama)!


I have an idea up my sleeve, that will suit these two perfectly.

| Adventure + Nature + Red Canoes + Black Labs + Plaid |

are just a few things of the things that have inspired me.


I’m looking forward to showing you some of my inspiration soon.

For a peek at what’s in store, follow @huntandgatherhome on Instagram. Say, “Hello!” and let me know what you think!

What would you do with this blank bathroom canvas?


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.