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Monday, April 16, 2012


This year, I am going to take you on a journey.  Please join me.  I am starting to decorate my lake home, in the Iowa Great Lakes area.  Two years ago my husband and I purchased a 3000+ square foot condo in a triplex on East Lake Okoboji as a summer retirement home.  It is located in the romantically named town of Orleans, but our mailing address is Spirit Lake.

I will begin posting the journey of our transition from our Minnesota home (of 27 years,) which was full of French antiques, to this casual summer home.  Come along for the ride!

First a peek at the old house:

There were a pair of chairs in the living room that I purchased at The Woman's Shop in Spencer when they went out of business.  They were originally red velvet.  Now they have a Schumacher silk striae on them. The sofa was originally a cream damask purchased from a friend and subsequently upholstered in a floral chintz before ending up in the taupe chenille.  Don and I purchased the Venetian screen in Dallas and mounted the panels above the stairwell to give the room depth.

The accessories were a combination of antique Chinese Export Pottery and French Lalique Crystal.  I purchased the French Boule clock in Minneapolis.

My favorite purchase was a wonderful Porter's Chair or hooded chair that I found in Arizona.  I had planned to recover it for this room.  As of yet, I have not recovered it and it is back in Arizona!  I have had the Baker amoire for 30 years.  The French engravings are for sale!

My most recent purchase was a wonderful French Victorian library table.  It will soon be for sale!

The little Victorian French bench is upholstered in a Ralph Lauren leopard cotton velvet.

This room was always very dark because the only window is on the north....let's move on to warmer, more inviting rooms!  For instance my sun room!  It was surrounded by windows on three sides of the room.  It was pleasant in there even when it was snowing out!

This is my view when I was sitting in my love seat in the sun-room.  I could admire my collection of 18th century Wedgwood Caneware game dishes!  I planted two white lilac bushes (memorials to my mother from friends) to obstruct the view from the street into the room.

More collections.  Antique spongeware:

Majolica plates:

My loveseat!

More Majolica in  a small corner in the the dining room.  Mostly asparagus servers.  In the lake house this has been painted blue, relegated to a nook in the guest room and holds a collection of English Ironstone molds!

A wall in the kitchen.  One of two rush seated benches that we own (this is in the same guest room at the lake.)  The other is in Arizona now.  This bench as well as the pair of ladderback chairs in the sun room had French Market cushions with roosters on them.  I tried the hanging shelf in a guest bath at the lake, but didn't like it and sold it.  My ever-present stack of design books works as a side table!

Moving around the kitchen

 And into the hallway towards the front door

Our only wine storage was in the hallway.  It had a perfect nook just the right size for this armoire. Lots more Majolica and French baguette baskets and a couple trenchers, too.  Most of the oil paintings have been sold now.  The French barometer is now in the master bedroom in our Arizona home.

When you enter the front door, you could go down the hallway to go the kitchen, go down the leopard covered stairs to the lower family room or go into the living room.

The stairway to the lower level was in the living room.

Another favorite wing chair covered in a taupe/blue Randolph and Hein damask in now in Arizona.


 In the dining room, I had a French Victorian farm refectory table and rush seated, ladder back chairs.

We had a family room off the dining room, too.

I know it is cluttered, but remember I am a collector!  The gorgeous needlepoint rug is now a wall hanging behind the Living Room sofa in Arizona, but that is another story for another blog!

 We did so much to this room.  I should show you how the fireplace looked when we moved in, but since this house has been sold, I won't dwell on that.  But we took out a large window where the sofa sits and added two long windows flanking it.  We also took out a sliding glass door where the armoire sits (with large screen TV inside!) and added to patio doors onto the patio.  Otherwise we had no wall space in this room.

 My gate-leg table is now in my daughter's possession.  The corner cabinet was a find at Jerry and Sandy Twetten's moving sale.  It is filled with Pullivuyt game dishes. 

The rest of the room:  

A few details our my collections so you understand my personality: 

Just to show you a our little piece of heaven!

Next see how this all translates to a summer lake home!