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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.

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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.
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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!

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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.

event planning

A 3rd Birthday Party Animals Celebration

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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Dreams

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…and make it your ambition to  a quiet life, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…

These words, found in Thessalonians 4:11 -12, have been running through my mind lately anytime the conversation turns to resolutions.  There was a time when I made resolutions for myself and strictly stuck to them.  Giving up carbonation my sophomore year of high school just to challenge myself?  Check. Being a nazi about how many miles I ran a week? Done that too.  All in the name of personal improvement.

But in recent years – since getting married and having kids – it’s so much harder for me to stick to personal goals, I suspect due to my somewhat serious case of mom-guilt that makes me feel like a jerk when I spend time on myself.  I know I’m not alone here, but lately I’ve been thinking about personal goals – for my career, for my health, for my family, for this blog.  I’ve resisted the urge to write them down and make them specific.  I prefer to keep them swirling around in my head.  Goals, I call them. Goals, not resolutions. Resolutions are too strict and permanent.  They have no room for the twists and turns and unexpectedness of life.  I would feel like a failure for breaking a resolution, but a goal can always be re-routed and carried over to the next year. Life happens, you know?  Goals have room for grace.

So what does all this have to do with design? I keep asking myself the same question.  Why did I start this blog? Is it important? Is it making a difference?  My answers to those questions trace back to those opening words.

lead a quiet life

Believe it or not, my goal for this blog isn’t merely to showcase our design work. Sure, that’s part of the purpose, but not the main goal.  What I hope you really glean is the feeling of comfort and quiet that our rooms tend to generate. If anything, I hope our work emanates peace and tranquility – a quiet life – in the midst of the everyday chaos we all experience.

mind your own affairs

In terms of blogging, I struggle with this one.  I fully realize that following and commenting on other blogs, sharing via social media, and virtually “connecting” with others will grow this blog.  But, you know what?  It feels so insincere and fake to “connect” with the underlying purpose of increasing my own blog traffic. I feel a little self-promoting even sharing posts on my personal Facebook page.  I secretly hope people will stumble on this blog, feel a connection, and start following and commenting.  Maybe that’s unrealistic. Do any of you struggle with this?

What I think I’m getting at is that I desire for our work and our words to be sincere.  That we will not get caught up in design trends, but listen to our clients.  That we won’t provide content that is popular for the sake of a few more “likes” and “shares” on Facebook.  That we will continue to be true to ourselves and that beauty will flow from that truth.

work with your hands

Literally and symbolically.  One of the most satisfying parts of this adventure is the search – the hunt, if you will. It requires us to get off the computer, get out and about, discover new places, meet new people, and experience life. We take great care to get to know our clients and source pieces that fit each of their lifestyles. Often, we get creative – remaking,  reinventing, repurposing the old into something new.  It’s life-giving to each piece, to the project, and to our spirits. And finally, putting a room together for the first time really is invigorating and exciting.  To see all the things we’ve collected  come together, to work out a room so it is both practical and pretty: gathering. This is what we love doing.

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So somehow, in some little way, I hope this blog makes a difference.  It is my goal that it inspires you (and me) to look for peace, joy, and love amidst the craziness of life.  It is my goal not to focus on blog stats, but to be true to myself and sincere in content.  It is my goal to do more working with my hands – to delve into the real relationships that the hunt brings about and to gather graciously so that all feel welcome.

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Master Bath Remodel…At Long Last

Since I was a very small child, I have had an obsession with claw foot tubs. They are so extraordinarily romantic. Synonymous with roses, candles, bubbles, and soft music, they seem to whisper, seductively, “Come on in, sweetheart. I’ll take excellent care of you.” They are therapeutic; step inside of one and all your troubles (pardon the pun) are washed away. While the other little girls dreamed of Barbie houses, I dreamed of having my own house one day. The most important detail within that house? My very own claw foot tub. It was so much more a need than a want–numero uno on the old bucket list.

It is with great pleasure and big smiles and a swelling, swooning heart that I announce that my dream has finally come true. A few months ago, demolition began on what was my final room in my home to renovate: the master bath.

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What began as a hideously green, small closet-sized room that was no longer functional, soon became double the size with the breaking down of an exterior wall, expanding (and almost doubling) the square footage.

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Then came the fun part! WALLS!! Sheetrock day is always my favorite of any remodel. The space finally is defined and bound, like a present that is wonderfully and beautifully wrapped. The jutting small portion of wall was a surprise. A giant plumbing pipe appeared with demo and threw me for a bit of a loop. Walling it up was the only option, which worried me at first, but it turned out to be a nice little feature, separating the tub from the rest of the space. I chose hexagonal tile for the floor because of its vintage look and cost efficiency.

The finished product is something that still wows me.

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That tub. MY (it is the most important adjective) glorious, romantic, seductive, beautiful tub. Purchased at a flea market at less-than-perfect condition, it was refinished and restored back to its former glory. Sometimes when I am soaking it all up (again, the puns…you must forgive), I wonder if there was another woman who once loved it as much as I, perhaps with the same struggles and worries needing to be forgotten, letting them all go as only such a tub allows. At first, I wanted to fashion my vanity from an old dresser, but could find nothing to fit the bill. I opted, instead, for a double-the-normal-size pedestal sink. I adore it. With a large Hobby Lobby basket with towels below and a framless, vintage mirror (thrown in FREE with my purchase of my tub at the flea market–yes, please!), it perfectly pairs with the tub. A simple stool, rug, and a few other small trinkets and do-dads here and there create a tranquil, relaxing sanctuary.

We all need a sanctuary. I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to finally have mine.

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From Blue to Beautiful: A Bathroom Remodel

Today we are so very excited to bring you the story of our first design consult job! Heather contacted us a couple months back, asking if we would be interested in helping her with the design of her upcoming bathroom remodel. It was rather surreal, as our dream of consulting was finally being realized. We headed on over to see what we were working with and…holy wallpaper!!!

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The floral wallpaper and blue fixtures were visually overwhelming and we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but were excited to take on the challenge. The first big decision to be made was color scheme. Monochromatic (all whites and grey tones) or contrast (add in some dark wood and color)? Heather readily agreed with our initial suggestions of subway tiles for the shower surround, hexagonal white tiles for the floor, and grey for the wall. The vanity cabinet, however, was not such an easy decision. After nights of pinning ideas, shopping online and in local stores, and wrestling and grappling over choices, we all decided finally on a dark wood, stream-lined, carrera marble-topped piece. Beadboard, a shelving system above the toilet, and lots of primary colors for decorative accents rounded out the decision making to transform this dated bathroom into a classic, yet playful bathroom suited for kids. Here are the fabulous results:

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The styling was an absolute blast. An impromptu photo shoot of the family’s four beautiful kiddos provided sustenance for cute frames, purchased from Target and Tuesday Morning. The artwork is a mixture of framed pages from the family’s favorite bedtime story, “Goodnight Moon,” a fun graphic print, and an framed anchor. The anchor is fabric from Hobby Lobby and the mat surrounding it was cut from scrapbook paper from the same store. An estate-sale frame provides the contrast needed to complete the look. Another personal touch comes from the fun, polka fabric-covered initial for the family’s surname. The fun vase on the vanity countertop is a recycled bottle, covered in yellow burlap, mirroring the whimsical knobs on the cabinet doors, another Hobby Lobby find.

We could not have asked for a more wonderful job for our first. Heather and her amazing family were such a pleasure to work with. She never got overwhelmed with the decision-making process and listened to each suggestion with great attentiveness and consideration. Thank you, Heather, for reaching out and giving us this opportunity to express our creativity in your home.  We hope your family enjoys their new room for many years to come!

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Featured Vendor: Ebenezer Estate Sales

The second in our series of featured vendors is of a different variety than the typical flea market or antique shop. Estate sales excite us so because of their intensity and the promise of a new crop of treasures. Because we lead such busy lives, it is often hard to keep up with when these are taking place in our area, but today’s feature makes this easy through their Facebook page, where posts and photos of upcoming sales tease and excite us! Ebenezer Estate Sales always promises to have a fabulous sale, filled with any and everything you could imagine–they are like garage sales on steroids! Here are some of our treasures from their last sale:
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I love the kitchen scale I found to add to my growing collection and the sturdy brown basket provides perfect storage for paper and other art supplies for my children. Megan was especially excited about her matching floral chairs find! She’s been looking for a matching set of vintage chairs for her living room for quite some time now. These were not exactly what she had in mind, but as life often teaches us, sometimes the best things come to us that way. As you can see, they work beautifully, providing excellent design appeal with their fun and vibrant pattern and color.

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Even I found a chair to work perfectly in my son’s room. At fifty bucks, this one was a steal:

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Here’s Ebenezer’s history and mission:

WHO WE ARE:

This business is run by Debi Lee Upshaw of Alexandria, Louisiana. I have a dedicated staff of workers that I LOVE and could not do without! My sweet family has been on board to help since our first sale back in 1992 (Jacob and Hannah were 10 and 9 years old respectively). Grammaw and Paw Paw and Aunt Debbie have been loads of help too! We are from Central Louisiana but we have conducted sales in West Monroe, Nachitoches, Lecompte, Louisiana, as well as Jacksonville, Florida.

OUR STORY:

Ebenezer Estate Sales began in June of 1992. We are now operating in our 20th year!!! I began as an avid estate sale fan and regularly attended every estate sale I could find. I was a “picker” for local antique shops in the early 90’s. Then a friend asked if I could help her liquidate the contents of her father’s home. I had been to enough sales to know what I thought worked and what didn’t so I told her I would sure try! From that experience I began putting sales together for folks and got jobs from “word of mouth” advertising alone. I later decided to get my occupational license and the rest is history.

Sometimes the most successful and wonderful businesses get started that way!!

Each time we visit a new home liquidation, we always reflect on the sense of sadness we get, rummaging through someone’s life. There is a sacredness about an estate sale, a sense of closeness to a life you know nothing about, but also an idea that you can take their things and bring them new life and a new beginning. We try never to forget this as we scoop up our new treasures; they have a story to tell and we are honored to let our homes continue to tell these stories.

If you would like to visit Ebenezer’s next sale, where we PROMISE you will find something you can’t live without, just like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EbenezerEstateSales. Tell ’em Brandie and Megan sent you!!

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Life with Little Ones: Nursery + Guest bedroom

I’ve been reflecting this past week on the fact that my youngest will turn 2 in six short days.  I can hardly believe it.  My heart is full of joy at the beautiful child he is becoming, yet at the same time it aches for him to remain a precious babe just a little while longer.  Such is the wonderfully complex love of a mother’s heart.

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The realization that the past two years have flown by even faster than I remember with my oldest son has made me want to slow down these last few  days of of my Sweet P’s second year of life just to make sure I have every little precious detail of his babyhood ingrained in my heart and mind so that I may ponder over them when I am old and gray.

So, bear with me this week as I sentimentally celebrate the life of my almost-two-year-old.  What better place for me to begin than by sharing photos of his nursery.

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I have fond memories of creating this space especially for him.  Even though he is my second child, this was my first nursery to design.  (We were renting a small, four-room shotgun house when my first son was born and had practically no flexibility in space or paint color.) My desire was for this nursery to be sweet yet boyish with hints of vintage and modern elements.

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I chose the wall color before I knew if le bebe would be a boy or a girl, intending to accent it with navy for a boy or coral for a girl. It’s been fun to find the perfect navy accents, mostly stripes and polka dots.  They give the room a playful air.

The small wardrobe dates to the 1950s and was originally used by my mother when she was a child. She even scribbled her name on one of the drawers in crayon.  My Grandmother handed it down to my mother, who handed it down to me.  It has now been used by three generations.

The sweet outfit and baby shoes framed above the wardrobe were my husband’s when he was a baby.  My Mother-In-Law thoughtfully passed them down to me when my first son was born.  A collection of 12 vintage and modern silver frames are ready to capture the sweet smiles of our little one as he grows so quickly his first year.

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This crib has also been used by three generations:  my mother, myself, and my two boys.  It has been restored and repaired for each child and continues to hold up well.  I love that it rolls easily.  Should we have guests, it is takes little time and effort to roll the baby’s bed into our room for a few days.   Above the bed hangs a darling  print by Sarah Jane Studios. It reminds me of one of my favorite childhood movies, a short French film called The Red Balloon.

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The room is large and doubles as a guest bedroom, so it also has a double bed.  My husband helped me cut plywood to form the headboard frame. I found the blue and white stripe fabric on the remnant table at the fabric store and knew it would be perfect for the room.   The quilt at the end of the bed belonged to my husband’s great-grandmother. It is soft, perfectly warm, and introduces a bit of color into the room.  The navy polk dot crib sheets pick up the same hundred-year-old pattern on the quilt.

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    We had recently relocated the original wood shutter closet doors to the exterior of our home.  Because I knew we’d be using the closet often, I chose to hang simple white curtains at the opening to make the closet easier to access.

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My husband built the cornice and I covered it using leftover fabric from the headboard project.  He also added the removable countertop and lower hanging rack.  We use the countertop as a changing table and baby clothes are neatly hung below.  Two rows of shelving hung along the top of the closet, along with four shelves  tucked neatly on the left side, give us plenty of room to  store everything from diapers to socks to outgrown clothing in neatly labeled navy cloth bins.

As children grow and change, their rooms must change to suit their needs.  Soon, the closet will be converted from a changing station to a toy rack,  the baby bed will move to the attic, and framed hand-me-downs will be packed back in a box.  Of course, I have plans for tweaking and updating this space, but before I begin, I felt it only appropriate to document the space that nurtured my little one during the first precious years of his life.