Finding Vintage / coastal farmhouse

How tall am I now?

How tall am I now?

When we purchased our house about 14 years ago we went from one antique home to another.  

Our home was built in 1906 and was a guest house on this farm property.  When we moved in our neighbors were happy to share the history of our home. Fun fact: Walt Disney, Jane Mansfield and Betty Davis all stayed in our home.  The early owner of Holiday Farm (the main house ) had strong friendships with his Hollywood friends and when they would visit him they would stay in our home - the guest house.  Back then it was a standard Cape style home. When you entered the front door you would immediately see the good morning staircase.  The first floor was a basic four room lay out, like a square and at the top of the stairs there was one room to the left and one to the right.

As antique homes go, there were renovations that happened previous to us moving in; a sunroom and a kitchen addition. We also moved forward with more renovations as our family grew. We added bedrooms, a real garage and of course kitchen and bath reno’s. Because we are “old house people”  the integrity of preserving the past was always important to us but having an updated kitchen was also important and realistic.

Deciding what to keep, paint over and update was pretty easy. The kitchen island, bathroom cabinets and that weird laundry closet built into the staircase space needed to go.  The charming antique bedroom doors, vintage hardware and height chart drawn on the inside of the dining room door frame had to stay.

Wait . .. what?  The height chart that wasn’t even related to anyone in our house was staying?  Yep.  

The dining room walls, paneling around the fireplace and all the trim was getting a refresh. While painting the door the painter asked “should I just paint over this?”  I had to pause for a minute. Not our kids and not even people I knew but something didn’t feel right about painting over that history. Years of measuring and the excitement of walking up to the door and seeing that you’ve grown an inch over your brothers height from when he was 12?  The feeling of erasing that history didn’t seem appropriate. On top of that, this was a small piece of the home that no-one would ever see.  It was personal.

“No, don’t paint over it.” was my response.

This began our tradition of measuring our childrens' height on the dining room door. Not every year and not on a set date.  Just when we remember to do it.  The kids stand back against the door, we mark a line with a pencil, get out the measuring tape and the name and date goes on the door to join all the other names and dates. Some written over each other and some surprisingly holding their own space on the door. 

Our family history now joins the house that has been a home to many.

Tracy Foley
Read more
Table Settings

Table Settings

We are quarantined (  #stayathome ) which has brought many stresses to our household. It has certainly forced a slow down and because of that we are having more family dinners for the six of us.  

Coming up with new meals is a challenge but it’s also an opportunity to be thankful.  Setting the table each night reminds me of a time my kids never knew.  A time when I was a child and we would have to set the table for dinner and show up when we heard “ DINNER” yelled throughout the house.  (That part might actually be the same.) 

I’m not a great cook but I am a good hostess, which means I can set a darn good table with themes, props and centerpieces. Back in the day, it was important to follow the rules of how a table should be set ie. the flatware should be placed to the left and right of the plate, the water glass placed just above the spoon and knife.  Those rules don’t apply if you are trying to create something special.

My non rule-rules to follow:

Mix and match: There’s nothing I love more than mixing up my vintage blue willow plates with other blue and white patterns.  Using varied pieces of antique tumblers or cut glass so each place setting is also different.

Napkins are another category on their own.  They can be placed traditionally under the fork but could be on the plate or in a glass. Using tea towels or even swatches of fabric (washed) leaves endless possibilities for color and texture at your table.

Napkin rings are a fun touch.  Vintage napkin rings are not that difficult to find it you have the patience to scout the glass cabinets at antique shops.

Lastly the centerpiece could be the first thing people notice as they approach your table. Flowers are always amazing and make a table feel fresh and alive but it doesn't need to stop there. You could fill glass containers with candy or anything depending on your theme. Instead of one centerpiece use several but scattered.  Anything goes when it comes to the center of the table.

Lastly, use what you have!  I’ve done place settings with vintage Hardy boys books under each plate so that the dinner party can take a fun turn when everyone reveals what mystery book they have.  I’ve set the table and used house numbers placed at the center of each plate instead of place card settings.  I’ve also used different antique brass figurines placed at the top of each plate setting to add an interesting touch to each plate.

Whether it’s your kitchen table, your dining room table or a tray table, setting the space can be just as important as the meal.

“After all, the way a table is set contributes to the ambience of a meal as much as the food and wine” - Martha Stewart.   

Tracy Foley
Read more
Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart