Monday, February 25, 2013

For The Love Of My Dogs....

For Sale In Monroe. View the Keller Williams listing here.

I'm working on my new book about living with my pack of dogs. "Six dogs is a way of life. Six dogs define your lifestyle." I wrote those sentences a few weeks ago. I learned more of the meaning of  those words this weekend. Six dogs define your back yard too. I'd forgotten that when I fell in love with a cottage in Monroe this past week. A perfect early 1900s bungalow in move-in-condition. The cottage in my mind was close to becoming a reality.

Friday, my feet barely hit the beautiful hardwood floor in the living room when I turned to the agent, my voice just over a whisper, "I want this house, I know."

I'd seen all the photos online. The house in person took my breath away. The price, amazing at $115,000. It had to be mine.

I could walk to my antique booth at Hodge Podge Art, Antiques, and Interiors. Almost two thousand square feet of hardwood floors, nine foot ceilings, two bathrooms, one with an old tub, the other more modern with a shower, and a built in pantry in a small side room off a white kitchen. The center hall, which closed off with doors, would be the perfect place for a couch and chair, a dog den so to speak. The six-pack could sleep there, have access to the kitchen for water and food, and I could go about my business during the day. The dogs would be safe and comfy.

It didn't stop there. Storm windows outside, pocket doors inside. Lots of natural light. My heart raced as I entered each room.

Did you see the white porch swing? I saw myself on it this spring, waving to the neighbors as they passed by. A lovely space for summer reading and dreaming. A side screened porch with steps that went to the back yard would hold all my old rusty (with charm) iron garden chairs and tables. Lunch with girlfriends on the porch was put on my mental calendar.

The back yard would make a sweet cottage garden  Small and easy to manage. Not like my big yard that required a hired yard man to mow it. My dogs did not even cross my mind. I pictured rose bushes and a white picket fence.

The nicest agent met me and listened kindly as I rattled off my dream...the cottage in my mind! The paint outside was rough, but brown is not my cottage color. All the colors of the rainbow swirled in my brain as I thought I could paint the outside!

The double garage might make an artist's studio.

All my large painted cupboards and cottage chests would fit. My Tommy Bahama plantation sofa ( a thrift store major find) was made for the living room.

The wide tree lined street was full of old houses. The street was one I'd driven many times looking at houses. It was one of the streets in downtown Monroe I loved best.

Creative financing, lease purchase, owner financing. I needed time to sell my house. If I could do a lease purchase, I'd move the dogs and my furniture up, then put the house up for sale in Decatur.

"Do you think the seller would work with me?"

"I'll check with the broker and let's meet back here on Monday to make an offer."

Yes, let's!

I knew the universe had found my house. I was on my cell as soon as the van door slammed shut. I called a few friends. I ran into my booth at Hodge Podge, "I think I've found my house!" A friend at another antique shop knew the house well. "We'll do things when you move."

All the pieces of the puzzle were coming together.

One large piece, the one that finishes the puzzle, was still missing.

The dogs vs. the yard.

How did I miss that in all my excitement?

It still had not crossed my mind later that night when I met the Decatur Boomer Babes ( a small group of girlfriends I'd recently met and get together with regularly. We'd named ourselves that!) and told them about the house.

I would be sad to leave them.

After dinner I drove home. As I pulled into my drive the hounds from hell heard my car, and the barking and howling inside the house, could be heard before I turned off the engine. The dogs barked and yapped as I opened the kitchen door and let them into the back yard. Six dogs ran out growling and rolling over the other. Bray barked his deep bark, the one he started sharing with the world six months ago, to announce he wanted dinner. It doesn't stop until his kibble is placed in front of him.

Loud, barking, yapping, howling dogs. Six dogs. All in a yard that is large, private, and safe. No one cares they are there. No one hears them except me. My huge yard is their haven. My yard keeps them from annoying the folks next door.

The yard in Monroe? My neighbors would hate me with the noise my pack makes. The dogs would bark everytime they saw someone next door. There was no privacy for the dogs, no place for them to run. Just a tiny yard I would make into a larger pen, that would not work for anyone. The yard in Monroe was a two-dog yard at best, no matter how many privacy fences would go up, there was no room for a six-pack.

I was blinded by love. I loved that house. I love my dogs more.

Sunday I called the agent back. "I forgot about my dogs. The yard won't work. I don't want you to waste time asking about financing. Six-dogs are a way of life for me, and six-dogs won't fit in the yard."

When you live with a pack of dogs you love, they come first.

I watched TV surrounded by my dogs in my Decatur house last night and smiled. What a silly bunch of dogs. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

The cottage in my mind? It is still there. Only this time I've expanded my dreams to include at least an acre of land!

"I loved that house!" I cried to my good friend.

"You love all the houses you see." She was laughing at me, not with me. I knew that tone.

Perhaps she is right. Each house brings something I love better.  If the yard had worked for my dogs, this cottage would be mine. Each time I learn something about living with dogs and what works for us. Perhaps in the long run I'll realize I'm already home.

This house is still for sale. You can contact the broker by linking here  . Isn't it perfectly wonderful?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mad Hatter

Living the cottage in my mind.
      I was a mad woman yesterday. Not mad as in angry, but mad as in c-r-a-z-y. The house bug bit me again and the entire afternoon was spent on Google researching homes in the Athens/Monroe area. Saturday's lunch in Monroe to talk about the publishing world brought back my hidden desire for change! A visit to Hodge Podge Art, Antiques, and Interiors flamed the fire, as I thought I could spend more time working my booth. The forty-mile round trip drive does not appeal to me most days. But what if I lived within a few miles. Would I do better? What if I had a dream job in the area. Would I love that?
     The same old question of change filled my mind with visions I could not put to rest. Change. A word I love. I word I fight. There are days I win that fight and change is huge. I'm living proof that someone who loves to sleep late and nests in to her home, can still accomplish miracles. Some days I surprise myself, other days I fret.
     Yesterday I did what I do best when I try to imagine myself in a different place. A different house. A new neighborhood. I spend hours looking at real estate ads. I fell in love with every click of my mouse. My imagination went wild as I saw myself living on four acres of land in an 1800s cottage. Romantic notions of an intown cottage with a white picket fence where I could sit on my porch and wave to neighbors danced through my head. One huge Victorian with its many bedrooms brought back my desire to have a bed and breakfast. I was on visual overload.
     It isn't silly to think about moving. I am still on a journey trying to find my place. I am happy where I am, but time will take me where I am supposed to be. My heart tells me I am moving forward and a new location will speak to me. The last laugh will be on me if I finally figure out I am already here. My hope is that I won't be in a straight jacket for that revelation!
     At 5PM yesterday I was still in my PJ's, bed head hair, and six dogs napping, so happy I was back in my manic computer house hunt mode, that I was home with them. At 6PM I was due to meet friends for dinner at a little Mexican restaurant two miles from my house. A fast shower, a quick change into jeans and a sweater, a fluff of my hair, a bit of lip gloss, and I flew out the door. Once again I chided myself on my inability to get somewhere on time, but applauded myself on how quickly I can pull together to be presentable! Another schizophrenic trait of mine. But I talk about that on a different blog.
     My two girlfriends waved as I rushed through the doorway. They had their Margaritas. I eased down next to them and flagged the waiter, who brought me the same.
     “Late again. So what were you doing on the computer today?”
     The room was cozy, the company warm. I was two miles from my house in the heart of Decatur. Some folks think it doesn't get any better than this. They may be right.
     My love of houses may be my undoing, but it is a fun way to go.
     Below are pictures of my latest picks, all within my price range, but all need work.
     That is not a reality factor for me, the work. It doesn't matter. These are simply the cottages in my mind. Look at what I found this go round!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Maxfield Parrish House on Ebay "A Piece Of History For Sale"

Houses and Art. My dreams are full of both. Imagine how exciting it was to find a house on Ebay that combines the best of both worlds. No, I can't buy it - but I can share it with you here. A bit of history that could be yours. Visit the Ebay sales link .

For Sale: Large house and 12 acres of land, “The Oaks,” New Hampshire estate of American painter Maxfield Parrish known for his illustrative depictions of magical landscapes. Home and gardens in a magnificent unspoiled setting with spectacular mature spring and summer gardens high on a hill with unobstructed 180-degree views of Mount Ascutney and the Connecticut River Valley. 

The property is set in a rural, peaceful setting, while located a few miles from an airport, shopping, hiking, skiing, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, and Dartmouth College. There are excellent local public and private schools nearby. 

Modern home built in 1979 is 7,200 square feet and includes six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a paneled library, two large ballrooms, two completely equipped kitchens and four fireplaces. Large enough to be divided into two spacious town homes, the property is also a wonderful year-round retreat for an artist, writer, or nature lover.

Affordably priced at $475K. For more information, please contact us at the eBay link above.  All inquiries welcome.

Being the house hound I am, I contacted the seller for more information! His reply to me:

In 1898 Maxfield Parrish purchased 50 acres at the top of the hill from the Freeman family. He designed and built his house on the site where the present building is, and lived there until the 1920's. He then moved to his studio directly across from the main house and lived there unit his death in 1966. We bought his property, including his house, in 1978. After a major fire which destroyed it, we rebuilt, following many of Parrish's original designs. It is the rebuilt house along with 12 acres of Parrish's original land that is for sale.

What a wonderful home for sale. If only.....but I live in the cottage in my mind! Today, I am in the estate in my mind!

Enjoy the photos! I love how the seller included artwork in his photos!


About Maxfield Parrish:

Maxfield Parrish 'Stars'

Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) was born in Philadelphia, studied at Haverford College and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and worked as an illustrator in Philadelphia until 1898, when he settled in Plainfield, New Hampshire. He lived and painted at his beloved estate there from that time on, and all of his famous works were created in the studio building located in the rear of the main house. This studio building is not open to the public, and is not a part of the museum.

Parrish painted until he was ninety-one. He died at his home, "The Oaks," in Plainfield, in 1966, having lived to see a strong revival of interest in his work. Parrish pictures are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Detroit Art Institute, and the M. H. De Young Museum in San Francisco, among others.

Maxfield Parrish 'Daybreak'

Monday, February 11, 2013

OMG - Ebay Has Houses For Sale

Temptation sits one hour north of Atlanta and a click away on Ebay!

OMG. I googled cottage houses for sale, don't ask me why, but it is a late night activity of mine, and I found several charming places on Ebay. How much trouble can I get in there? Too much sherry in my lovely vintage etched glass and.............who knows? I might wake up in the morning and find I'd bought a house. NOT! But it sure is fun to look. I wonder if I could pay with Pay Pal's line of credit??????? Just saying....

Here is a charming, slightly newer, yellow cottage in Ellijay, Georgia, on two wooded acres. Perfect mountian getaway. If you click on the link and decide to buy this property, remember to invite me up to whine over win, that you bought it and I didn't!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

OK, I Lied.

A display cupboard that followed me from shop to shop, and is now in Monroe at Hodge Podge Art, Antiques and Interiors. Don't ask me to sell it.

I'm done buying furniture!”

Those words flew out of my mouth as I closed one of my antique booths a few weeks ago. I didn't want to deal with moving more furniture, so I sold below cost, and gave away many items. In less than twenty-four hours my space was empty. All handled with three phone calls. Another dealer even swept the booth floor for me after all was gone, as a thank you for her bargains. I never stepped into the shop, except to pick up the small old green washstand I wanted to bring home, after everything else was gone. The relief of not having to haul things again made sense to me. I lost money, sure, but I did have a check waiting for me the first of this month. Some of my dealer buddies who read this will laugh. They know me well. They know my crazy buying and selling habits

Been there, done that, got a T-shirt. I really should wear that shirt. This is how I've always done business. Good thing I had a full time job when I started this insanity I label 'antique dealer'.

Smalls have never interested me. I love old furniture. The bigger the better. (The disclaimer here, I am an art addict, we'll talk about that another day!)

Over the years I have bought my share of old wonderful cottage cupboards and tables. I've never sold one for profit. I cling to it until I have to let it go, then a dealer friend takes it from me, and I sigh watching it leave. Sometimes I'll buy it back, only to repeat the process.

Big old cupboards painted in soft colors; green, pink, blue, and white. Great farm tables in pastel colors. Old paint that crackled from age naturally, and when touched, small dried droplets flake to the floor, and smooth old paint that felt slick and cool, under the touch of your hand. I love them all.

Old paint. Pastel paint. Dark paint. Paint weathered over the years. Doesn't get any prettier in my book.

When I find a piece I love, I buy because I am smitten. I pay too much, if I mark it for sale at all, I price it to high. Then I work hard to find ways to keep it.

Two words helped me put off the inevitable. Display piece. That's a term that has cost me mega bucks. My shop in Lawrenceville (and before in Old Town, Lilburn) was full of old white cupboards, not for sale, but for display. They followed me to Monroe, and sit proudly in Hodge Podge Art, Antiques, and Interiors, surrounded by vintage clothes and stuffed with old western belts and purses. You won't find a price tag on them. Don't call to ask me how much? My answer is the same, for display only.

My house is full. My booth can't hold another cupboard. Like a drug, I swore off furniture. Regularly. For a few weeks. Maybe longer.

Then yesterday, I went to an art exhibit, but stopped into a shop I love that was right next door. One of their display pieces I've coveted for years, sported a price tag. A huge old white paint primitive cupboard. I stopped dead in my tracks. My heart rate flew into stroke pace. I am glad the cupboard was tucked in a back corner so no one saw me snatch the price tag off like it was free money in a street gutter.

It was full of charm, the paint chipped so perfectly. It was the type of farm cupboard that dreams are made of. Worn and friendly. Condition is shakey at best. It had been cobbled back together. One quirky corner was replaced on the backside. Two doors opened to reveal a few deep oversized shelves. I think it could hold a TV, if I tried. But I have a piece that I love for my TV. I didn't care. It was for sale.

Mine. Finally.

I trotted up to the front desk, flopped the tag down, and, knowing the shop policies, pulled out my check book, and spoke.

"Layaway, please."

I could have paid for it, but what would I do with it? There is no room at home...not yet.

"I'll get it next month. That way you don't have to unload it today."

The shop owner smiled as she wrote up my ticket. She knows my buying habits too well. I used to be a dealer in her shop a few years back. When I left, I left her half my booth.

I danced out the front door to meet a friend for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Seated in our booth, I ordered a Margarita.

"I've got to tell you about my new cupboard. Just put it on layaway!"

She shook her head as she laughed at me. “I thought you swore off large pieces of furniture."

I was about to pop a chip, dripping with salsa, into my mouth, but took a second to answer her silly statement.

"I lied!"

I know myself well, and this won't be the last time you hear me say that.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dreaming Big In Monroe, Georgia

See Listing Monroe, Georgia $275,000

My vintage clothing booth, Gypsy Lace Boutique, is in Monroe, Georgia, at Hodge Podge Art, Antiques, and Interiors. I love this charming town and its old South feel. Small and cozy, it is a fun place to visit. It is also a gathering place for antique dealers who sell out of the old cotton mills. Anything you want to find, you will see in Monroe. Including some wonderful old houses, some for sale in the downtown area.

I am always looking at the real estate ads for Monroe and wonder, what if? Of course, we know I live in the cottage in my mind and Decatur, but I feed my dreams. Today I am thinking big as I look, and am sharing some of the houses for sale with you.  Come dream with me!

See Listing Monroe, Georgia $269,000

See Listing Monroe, Georgia $214,900