Today, we’re beyond thrilled to share Natalie Ensor’s Nashville home with you. The hardest part about putting this post together was picking out which photos to use—every room is so creative and inspiring. You’re in for a treat!
“We purchased our Southern Colonial home in February of 2017. We had been searching off and on for 2+ years (basically since our move to Nashville from sunny Southern California). This house in particular had sat on the market for about a year, and once we stepped inside it was clear to see why. The previous owners ran a rehab called “Teen Challenge,” which means anywhere from 9-12 men lived in the house at a time. Every door had been kicked in at some point. We found hidden knives above doorways and when we opened the walls, we found empty bottles of booze and leftover cigarette packs. Regardless, we were able to see the potential through the mess, so we began to remodel with a mighty fury!
I homeschool our kiddos, and we had completely underestimated the need to have space in the house for the kids to play when we are shut in for the winter and on rainy days throughout the year. This last requirement caused us to add additional criteria to our home search; that being light, bright, open spaces and more light! You will notice this theme woven throughout the house. l have incorporated bright colors along with fun and unique elements that pay homage to my California roots, love for vintage, and Tennessee’s rich musical heritage.
The ”rainbow room,” as it is affectionately called, is our primary room for low-key hangs and movie nights. This is the only room in the house with a TV and has plenty of seating for all on this cozy sectional which also is a pullout bed for guests. The rainbow wall was inspired by a kids educational television program called The Who Was? show. I wanted the space to be bright, fun, lively and welcoming to both kids and adults all at the same time.
We refer to the formal living room as the “pink room” and I am not exactly sure why. I think it’s because for the longest time the only piece of furniture we had in that room was the crescent pink velvet couch. Haha! My family and I love to travel and we love hotels. My approach to this room was to set it up like a swanky hotel lobby with multiple seating areas that can encourage smaller intimate conversations and still be able to facilitate large gatherings. The gallery wall features pieces of art we have collected on our travels, pieces from our dear friends and even pictures created by our littles. Above the fireplace is a fave of mine. It’s a custom made weaving I had commissioned from the amazing talented Rachel of Smile & Wave.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. This room experienced the most change during the renovation process. We tore down the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room, we sealed up a doorway that went to the hall, and blew out the pantry. The footprint of the kitchen changed from a confined square to a long galley. The tiled backsplash wall was actually mine and my husband’s first foray into tiling. Completing this wall gave us the confidence to tackle our master bathroom floor.The focal point of this space and my favorite appliance ever, is the matte black and gold oven range. At one end of the galley kitchen we built in a green velvet lounge with two bistro tables. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or a French 75 depending on the time of day.
On the opposite end of the galley kitchen is the Marble Sarineen Tulip dining table. The dining table opens up to the grand pink room, which makes this space perfect for hosting and entertaining.The room l was most excited to go wild with is the downstairs powder room! For this space, l wanted to go big, bold, bright and of course, use florals. l wanted something that represented California to me. A nod to the nostalgic San Pedro of where my parents grew up and l spent most of my life visiting my grandparents. True old classic Californian style with a modern twist.
Embarrassingly enough, trying to find the perfect wallpaper to get THE look took months—like six months to be exact. I sampled 15 different wallpaper options before landing on this gem! The artist behind this is actually a native Californian, like myself and felt she just “got me” and my style, so we were a match made in wallpaper heaven! A homage to California would not be complete without a wink to Disneyland—l found this Alice In Wonderland doorknob on Etsy.
My favorite space in the house was a toss up between the master suite and the powder room. We have moved many times as a family and the master bedroom has always taken the back seat to be the last room to get any love. In fact, this is the first time in 16+ years of marriage that we have selected furniture that was not thrifted or gifted, so this space holds a special place in my heart.
The living plant wall is an homage to Elvis Presley’s infamous “jungle room” at his home at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. The pink velvet bed is such a dream and l am stoked to have a husband who doesn’t mind pink or velvet, for that matter. A fun addition was the neon light above the bed reading “Melt With You,” which reflects our love for ’80s music in all of its forms.Mirrors / Sconces / Light Fixture / Abstract Painting
The “piece de resistance” is our master bathroom. Prior to renovations, this bathroom was actually three separate rooms: shower/bathtub and toilet in one room, double vanity in another, and a second closet in a third. We blew out all of these walls and extended the room just beyond one of the existing windows in the bedroom so the bathroom would have its own natural light. This gave us room to plumb the clawfoot tub where the closet once lived (my favorite item in our home) and we built a glass framed standing shower where the old bath once lived.
My husband DIY’d a 1920s buffet into this dual vanity with quartz top. l am so proud of how he repurposed this piece, bringing it back to life! The tile in the floor is by far the biggest conversation piece in our home. We were already in DIY mode when it was time to tile. We knew what we wanted but quotes were coming in around $15,000 in labor for this amount of detail (border and wording). So what did we do? YouTube “how to tile” and my husband and l did this ourselves and l couldn’t be more excited about how it came out!
Across the hall from the master is the big kid’s room, their shared bathroom, and the nursery. I love having our fam all up on the same level. We knew we wanted to create a magical and whimsical room for the kids but also something they are able to grow with. The ceilings in this room are low (like so low) so l had to tamper expectations quite a bit of the designs I dreamed up, but we took some measurements, l sketched out a rough design on a napkin and my brother did an absolutely amazing job building the loft house beds! My daughter’s loft bed features a reading nook on the top level and a desk on the lower level. My son’s bed has space below for reading and building Lego creations.
In the kid’s shared bathroom, my husband repurposed a mid-century dresser into their dual vanity where there had been a single vanity previously. He also followed A Beautiful Mess DIY transforming their once ugly linen closet door into a fun pop in here. We wanted this bathroom to be fun for the kids but not “kiddy” and still flow with the rest of the house.
As far as the nursery goes, we had no idea we were actually going to need a nursery when we started the remodel. It was going to be a playroom for the kids, but God had other plans (surprise baby!) It is still half playroom, half nursery, so it’s kind of a work in progress as I’m constantly trying to balance big kid toys versus baby items. But it’s the only natural toned space in our entire home, making it have a completely different vibe and feel, which l love that about this space.
The greatest blessing we have realized with our home and these spaces is that we are finally able to host events, invite people over and foster community with those around us. There is still work to be done and projects to tackle, but for now we will pause and enjoy this season of life in the colorful spaces we have created. I hope you have enjoyed our home tour and if you are ever in Nashville please stop in and say hi!”
Pure magic. Follow Natalie on Instagram for more inspiration! 💛
This green bean macaroni casserole was my favorite dish from Friendsgiving this year. I’ll admit, casseroles are not the most photogenic dish, but to me, being from the Midwest, casseroles are an ESSENTIAL part of Thanksgiving. This one is extra special as it combines my husband and I’s favorite side dishes. Yes, that’s right, this casserole is like if green bean casserole and baked macaroni and cheese got together and had a casserole baby. 🙂
Fresh green beans are essential in this casserole, as we’ll blanch them and then bake them—and you don’t want them too mushy.
Then everything gets topped with the good stuff—French fried onions! Which is a very classic topping for green bean casserole and it makes a great replacement to breadcrumbs which is what I normally top baked macaroni and cheese with.
There are two additional things I love about casseroles for Thanksgiving, and this one in particular. You can easily make this ahead and refrigerate overnight. Then just top with the French fried onions and bake before your big meal. Make ahead dishes are essential to me as I don’t like feeling rushed or stuck in the kitchen ALL day, even if I’m hosting.
Second thing, casseroles are my favorite leftovers from Thanksgiving. I know, I should be making some kind of crazy sandwich from the leftover turkey, or eating these pie bars for breakfast the next day. But to me there’s nothing better than rewarming this casserole the next day, when family is still around or while I start my (online) Black Friday shopping. So if you have been tasked with bringing a casserole to your Thanksgiving this year, I highly recommend this green bean macaroni casserole. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma
Prepare the green beans by cutting off the ends and chopping into bite-size pieces (maybe 1/2 inch or smaller). Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Strain and immediately rinse in cold water (to stop the cooking process). Set aside.
Clean and slice up the mushrooms, discarding the center stem. Mince the garlic. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the mushroom and garlic and cook for just a minute or two until the mushrooms begin to soften. Whisk in the flour and cayenne, this will become a paste. Season generously with salt and pepper. Then slowly whisk in the milk and vegetable stock so it incorporates well (you don’t want a bunch of chunks of flour paste floating in the mixture). Then stir in 12 ounces of the shredded cheese. Once it begins to look melted, or mostly melted (sort of stringy on your mixing spoon), then stir in the green beans and noodles.
If you want to make this ahead, you absolutely can. Just don’t top with the French fried onions until you are ready to bake. What kind of shredded cheese should you use? Really any kind you like. I prefer a mixture of pepper jack and sharp cheddar.
Who doesn’t love freshly baked muffins? It’s something I love to do every Sunday so that we have some snacks to throw in the kids’ lunches or for breakfasts, or on the go! These pumpkin banana muffins with chocolate chips are super yummy. Total win with the kids!
Taking these fresh out of the oven and having one with a cup of tea? Heaven.
They are the perfect Fall snack!
You can skip the chocolate chips if you want a healthier, sugar-free alternative. You can also replace the honey for other sweetener options if you want (maple syrup or applesauce are both great!).
Will you be trying out this recipe?
If you’re looking for a high protein, carb-free, nutritious snack (that even the kids will love!) then these zucchini tuna cakes are perfect.
Easy to throw together and the perfect way to use up a zucchini you might have in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with!
They come out of the oven looking seriously tasty! Eat them warm with a dollop of greek yogurt and fresh lemon. Delicious!
Baking soda - i had no idea
This should probably be a hearse.
The joke is that dead people vote in Chicago. Apparently they go to school in Indiana. Stephanie Wang, reporting for Chalkbeat Indiana, has an article about the Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathway Academy which, among a number of other abuses, kept a dead kid on their claims for state money for two years after he died.
Five years after two students moved to Florida, they reappeared on enrollment records for Indiana Virtual School and its sister school.
And nearly every one of the more than 900 students kicked out of Indiana Virtual School and its sister school in the 2017-18 school year for being inactive were re-enrolled the next school year, included in per-pupil funding calculations that netted the two online schools more than $34 million in public dollars last year.
These were among the ways that Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy allegedly inflated their enrollment to at least twice its actual size, according to the findings of a state examiner’s investigation released Monday.
Definitely click through to see the whole article. If the allegations in there are true, someone should go to jail. Heads would roll if this was a public school manipulating its Average Daily Membership (ADM) in this fashion. The virtual school superintendent responded by reminding everyone that these weren’t great students and also freedom.
In a written response to the state education board, Clark did not address the enrollment discrepancies but defended the online schools for serving “last-chance students” who have dropped out of or been expelled from traditional public schools — even if they weren’t active.
He accused state education officials of trying “to remove educational choice and force students to remain in school environments in which success has evaded them and where hope has abandoned them.”
“The beacon of hope has just been doused,” Clark concluded.
Also, I’d add that if you make public money for voucher schools contingent on providing actual services to actual students then the terrorists win. Obviously.
There are studies that suggest that, with rigorous oversight and a generally solid public education system, charters can sort of work a little bit. That is not at all the route Indiana is going. Subsidizing religious schools, busting teacher’s unions, and diverting public money to friends and well-wishers does not require that sort of oversight. So, we’re not likely to get it.
[Edit: I improperly used the word “voucher” in the title, edited to reflect that these schools were charters. As the article points out, “Daleville Community Schools, the rural district that oversees Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy . . . receives 3% of the virtual charter schools’ state funding, a fee for monitoring the schools that amounted to about $1 million last year.”]
After Sandy Hook, I wrote a blog post with the modest proposal for mandatory firearm insurance. There is a cost of firearm ownership imposed involuntarily on innocent third parties in the form of their injuries and deaths. Injuring or killing someone is a statistically unlikely event for any given firearm but one with high costs when it does happen — costs that you don’t see at the same level in other Western countries without our abundance of firearm ownership.
I envision something with strict liability that runs with the weapon — your firearm injures someone, your insurance policy pays. I think there would be some kind of cap on an individual policy and then, something like the medical malpractice system in Indiana where a state fund pays out for damages in excess of the individual limits. I would also suggest a tax on firearm dealers and/or manufacturers with different rates based on type of firearm and the experience of that particular dealer/manufacturer. If the guns you sell don’t often wind up being used to kill or injure people, you wouldn’t pay so much. If your shop somehow winds up with a lot of guns being used for criminal activity, you’re going to have to pay more. (A bit similar to the unemployment system. If you end up firing a lot of people, you pay more into the unemployment system.)
This is the relevant portion of what I wrote at the time:
We mandate liability insurance for cars. Why not for firearms? Bring market forces to bear on this issue. More firearms make things safer? Insurance rates will go down (if true).
Anyway, what I envision is a requirement that a firearm owner obtain liability insurance that covers injuries caused by that particular firearm. (Runs with the weapon – provides an incentive for people to secure the weapon in a way that ensures, for example, kids don’t have access to the weapon.) I would also envision a policy surcharge used to subsidize coverage for uninsured losses, treatment of mental illness, enforcement of existing regulations, and safety education efforts.
this week i’ve curated a collection for picture this that’s bold and graphic. i love every one of these works of art because they allow you to figure out how they make you feel because they are completely abstract and most of these make me feel very happy. there’s a looseness to them, and those that are colorful help us hang on to summer just a little bit longer as we head into our last hurrah — labor day. from classic pieces from matisse and calder to contemporary works from artists like Maureen Meyer and kat klerks, have a gander at abstracts graphics.
clockwise, l to r: matisse via forest london; Tiny Little woodblock on vintage paper by Kate Castelli; kat klerks; Najia Mehadji’s Végétal N°2, 2000; Vintage Sun Print from american posters; Pablo Palazuelo’s s.d. Painting Goauche on paper via macba; Maureen Meyer Plans Original Work on Paper from the tappan collective; kat klerks; Bauhaus Anniversary 1919 Print from american posters; Puzzle paper collage by Berit Mogensen Lopez from Stilleben Print Collection.
• all other credits in order of appearance: Bauhaus Exhibition Posters from 1923 German Exhibition from american posters; portland opera la traviata by ellen higgins; Alexander Calder’s Untitled 1946 via jenn wren; minimalist wall art print from american posters; Masha Miteva acrylic on paper via ornamelle; Henri Matisse Exhibition Poster from american posters; When life gives you lemons art print by hôtel magique; best days by Waldemar Stepien.
Prison rock, blues and soul songs/albums are a genre unto themselves but prison jazz albums aren’t nearly as common. This early ’70s album is one of the rare exceptions. Recorded by inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, OH, Hard Luck Soul, despite its name, is a modal/spiritual jazz album, comprising of just four songs, all between ~5-10 minutes in length.
The background behind this album was chronicled when it was reissued by UK’s Jazzman Records in 2012; I’ll just quote a bit from what I assume were the reissue’s liner notes:
“Band leader Reynard Birtha was originally from North Carolina, where he played in a band called The Outer Limits… [He] ended up in Cincinnati, and through a mutual passion for music, he met fellow musician Logan Rollins, nephew of jazz legend Sonny Rollins. They became friends and jammed at local clubs before both ended up in the State penitentiary, for reasons not entirely clear. At the time it was customary for musicians to visit the prison and give concerts…these visits were not only a source of entertainment for the prisoners, but they were also a source of inspiration for musicians like Reynard. He and Logan formed the 511 Jazz Ensemble, incorporating the remnants of the prison Pit Band. Reynard recalls that “the number 511 was the P.O. box address of the prison, and we would perform in the yard during every holiday, while the prisoners marched around and got their food.”
I was very fortunate to luck into an original copy of the album, signed by all the inmates/players but what was mostly notable was that it also came with a mimeographed two-sheet that was a memo sent by a trio of inmates to the prison warden to propose the creation of “‘511’ Jazz Society,” which was a different entity from the 511 Jazz Ensemble. To summarize:
The ‘511’ Jazz Society was originally proposed in November of 1970 by a trio of inmates (Cartier, Cook and Chappell). They were fans of the “Jazz Roundtable” radio show, put together by the Columbus Jazz Society, for air on WOSU (which I assume was the college radio station at Ohio State Univ.). The three inmates wrote:
“Music-wise, Columbus is predominantly “Country-Western” oriented; consequently, we devotee’s [sic] of jazz, America’s only original “ART FORM” suffer from lack of exposure to our preferred medium of musical entertainment.”
(Is there a racial subtext here? Oh my yes.)
Therefore, Cartier, Cook and Chappell proposed the formation of a jazz appreciation group in the prison, aka the ‘511’ Jazz Society, that would regularly meet to “hear the latest innovations in this particular field of the ‘Musical Arts.'” They suggested that they would hold “panel discussions between the members…concerning the artist, his style of playing, improvisational and expressionistic ability; the general progress of Jazz, harmonically and culturally, since it’s inception early in this century.”
They had already gotten permission from Rabbi Zelizer to hold society meetings inside the prison chapel (“either Monday’s or Friday’s… From our point of view, Monday’s would be the most suitable.”)
On the second page is a list of rules for the Society, established after the warden had given his permission. One of the rules stated “25 members should be the quota. As a member leaves the institution or drops out, another man can fill the vacancy.” The inaugural group of 25 members, listed by inmate number and surname, are included.
Best as I can tell, almost none of the players in the 511 Jazz Ensemble were part of the inaugural Jazz Society (the only exception could be George Williams, lead guitar, as there was a “Williams” listed as a Society member). However, it’s entirely possible that the Jazz Ensemble players joined the Society later; the liner notes for the reissue don’t mention the Jazz Society at all which is curious but it’s possible that Ensemble leader Reynard Birtha simply didn’t recall the Society some 40 years after the album had been recorded. In any case, this kind of random ephemera that sometimes comes with vintage records is one of the great things about collecting said vintage records.
And in any case, even without it, this was still a wonderful find. The music by the Ensemble makes for a sublime end-to-end listen. There’s a lot of atmosphere in the sound that I assume is a product of the acoustics of the chapel they recorded it in and that enhances my experience of listening to it, especially since, overall, the engineering is pretty solid for an album that wasn’t taped inside a proper studio. I dig all four tracks but the ~10 minute songs that begin each side – “Psych City” and “Counterry Bosa Davan” – are my favorites given how they unfurl over time. Enjoy!
We are so honored to feature this space on the blog today! Elsie and Emma recently attended the grand opening of The Russell, a gorgeous new boutique hotel in Nashville. This isn’t any ordinary hotel—it’s actually housed in a 115-year-old building that began as a church and they support an amazing cause (more on that below). The original stained glass windows are SO incredible, and it’s such a colorful, bright, and magical space.
Here’s what it looked like before:
Keep reading to learn more about the space (and see some amazing photos) from Brittany Wilson, the hotel manager.
“The entire design of The Russell was based on and inspired by the stained glass windows in our lobby! We knew when we saw them we wanted them to be the cornerstone of the entire design process. They are incredibly unique, with custom stained glass created in Venice, Italy.
We cleaned them and kept them exactly how they’ve always been, designing the rest of place around them. The most difficult part of converting a church into a hotel was that our building is located in the historic neighborhood of Edgefield in East Nashville. This building has been a part of this community for 115 years, so we wanted to make sure we heard and worked alongside the neighbors in the area while planning out The Russell. Once all of the planning was finished, the hardest part during construction was all of the hidden costs that came up throughout the project that we needed to do to preserve as much of the history and structural integrity of the building as possible.
However, both of these “most difficult” parts of this process were so worth it. We firmly believe that not just being in, but being a part of the East Nashville community is worthwhile. Our building has served the East Nashville community by providing refuge, safety, and belonging to people in need. We love this legacy and believe in continuing it, which is why we decided to expand our Rooms for Rooms program to The Russell.
We give away a generous percentage of each night’s stay to local nonprofits who are helping those experiencing homelessness here in Nashville. All of these organizations love Nashville’s homeless community by providing a safe place to find relief, resources, and the support of a community. The average weekend stay provides one of the following options:
-6 nights in a bed
-100 free showers
-30 free meals
We love that The Russell turned out so colorful and full of character; it’s unlike anywhere else.”
If you’re in the Nashville area, you have to visit! We’ll definitely be back. xo.
It’s been a while since we shared a guest house tour around these parts, but we’re back in action today with Lea Johnson’s beautiful Minneapolis home. If you’re into a light, casual-yet-glam eclectic mix of mid-century modern and traditional meets farmhouse aesthetic, you’re in for a treat today. Lea, a stylist in her own right, can be found over at Creekwood Hill, a blog she started as a “digital diary” to document the build of her home. What was really just for herself and close friends transitioned into a full-blown passion after about a year or so and her site and Instagram account sort of evolved organically from there. She started styling more for family and friends, and then eventually, for clients. But back to her home that we’re giving you a tour of today. Lea and her husband never actually intended on a new build as they really loved and admired homes from the 1920s-1940s, but after many failed offers (and realizing their lack of renovation experience might have ended up being too much for them), they started looking at empty lots and thus began their home building journey.
To make sure it didn’t end up feeling like a “builder grade box” essentially, Lea has filled the home with so many enviable, thrifted treasures. Read on to get a look into all her rooms, how she was able to add character to a new build and how she effortlessly mixed-and-matched retail and vintage finds. I’m going to step back and let her take it from.
Take it away, Lea:
Our entryway is tiny and since we have an open floor plan in a very modest-sized home, you pretty much see the entire home from walking in the front door. One thing I knew when building was that I wanted to create a sort of “hallway” so that, one, it creates a little privacy from the kitchen and, two, we could install a closet to stash coats, shoes and gear. I like to keep things fairly organized in our home (as in everything has a place). It’s something I learned growing up with my grandma who lived through the Great Depression and I would say that is probably why she kept and reused everything but it was always SO fanatically tidy you would never have guessed that she had so many things. So I found a little desk (from World Market but no longer available) that was small enough to fit and that is where we keep mail, keys, sunglasses, change, etc. To that, I added a few pieces of art as I have yet to master the art of the gallery wall (I’m working on building up a collection). The light fixture was my first DIY in the house, one that was inspired by my love of Schoolhouse.
Rug | Marble & Wood C Table (similar) | Side Chair | Rust Lumbar Pillow | Sofa | Bookshelves | Blue & White Table Lamp | Wood End Table | Brass & Black Metal Side Table | Curtains (custom) | Curtain Hardware (Custom) | Roman Shade | Black Side Table | Black Poufs | Wall Color | Decor, Art, Busts (Vintage)
Because of this home’s open concept, I really had to take into account that all spaces needed to flow cohesively with one another from a design perspective. You’ll see a pretty consistent color palette throughout (mostly neutrals, pops of rust, brass, blue), starting n the living room, which sits right off the front door. In here, we added paneling to the walls for texture and a trio of bookcases from IKEA as I wanted to store books and other tchotchkes that I’ve picked up from my many thrift store jaunts. Almost everything displayed, I found thrifting. I make a habit of thrifting before buying new. It’s my way of balancing high and low as well as one way I can try to help keep the planet a little greener.
I knew I wanted a neutral sofa and one with a bit more interest to it, however, we also have a dog and two cats and we want to LIVE on our sofa (not just look at it) so when I found that this one came in this amazing woven performance fabric, I was like yesss! Style, comfort and performance (the trifecta for sofas).
Okay, let’s talk curtains. I would typically go with a neutral solid but I was ready for something bolder. I found this fabric which has a traditional feel to it but the pattern is more whimsical (there are pandas! I mean who doesn’t love a panda?!) The rug was sourced by a really good friend of mine.
Our dining room is located in between our kitchen and living room. We live in the city where houses are built really close to one another so I had piano windows installed because they reminded me of an older home and also provided privacy from the house next door. I mean, I really like them a lot but I don’t necessarily want to eat dinner with them every night. Another “form and function” decision that was made was installing a ceiling medallion. We had to move the electrical box and were left with a hole that needed to be covered, which the medallion hides. It’s also beautiful and again reminds me of the older homes I love so much.
The corner cabinet was one I found in an antique store about 15 years ago; we had moved it from house to house and it was in storage for about three years until we finally found it would fit in our current dining room and provide storage as well as character. One goal of mine while building on a budget (similar to ballin’ on a budget—sidetrack note, there should be a TV show called that) was to keep our home from feeling too “builder grade” so I tried to incorporate pieces that would provide interest and keep it from looking too boxy.
Because I love mixing styles, I found a mid-century Saarinen-style Tulip table to keep the space from feeling too traditional and then I found these beautiful black and cane armchairs. I didn’t want all four chairs to match so I went thrifting for side chairs and miraculously found these vintage Thonet chairs that were almost too good to be true ($15 each). They looked like they were always meant to be family.
I love supporting local family-owned businesses so when I discovered Golden Age Design, I ran (literally) to find a sideboard for this space to hold all our dishes, barware, and it also acts as our liquor cabinet. The owners make two trips to Denmark twice a year where they source vintage pieces and then containership everything they find back to the US. They completely refinish and fully restore the pieces, and they truly are heirloom quality. Ours was a bit of a splurge (to me) but it was one investment piece I that really spoke to me and I knew would last forever.
When building our kitchen, I added a large kitchen window to our must-haves list though it didn’t leave much room for cabinetry. We couldn’t fit fully custom cabinets into our budget so we went with a semi-custom version which allowed me to create very tall “uppers” to flank our kitchen window which creates a sort of hutch look. Since the kitchen sits at the back of the home and every view from the front door looks into it, I wanted it to look as clean-lined as possible.
Originally, the kitchen design was drawn out with a peninsula but I changed it to squeeze in an island, and because of that, it created an L-shaped kitchen style that left a big blank wall on one side of the room. I hated that it looked really unfinished as well as looking like an afterthought (which it sort of was) but there wasn’t enough clearance to fit full cabinetry and provide enough walking space around the island. Determined to find a cost-effective solution, I found these really shallow cabinets (9 inches deep). They provide enough storage for things like pet food, supplies, kitchen towels and food storage bags. I also love the look of open shelving so I added these three VERY inexpensive floating shelves to fill the wall space.
One thing we originally cut from our budget was a tile backsplash so instead, I asked the builder to install shiplap but we were inexperienced and didn’t seal it and it started yellowing in the knots of the wood (it also became really greasy and grimy after a couple of years). I ended up working with another local (woman-owned) business when it came time to replace the original shiplap. I originally met Mercury Mosaics‘ owner, Mercedes, at a couple of events and she reached out to collaborate on our kitchen project together. They make beautiful handcrafted mosaic tiles right here in Minneapolis. I was over the moon, as she and her team are amazing to work with. My friend Morgan with Construction2Style—another local family-owned business who had previously worked themselves with Mercury Mosaics on a project—installed it for us. To me, it’s more than tile. It’s the symbol of three Minnesota women in business who came together to support one another and create something meaningful, one-of-a-kind and beautiful.
Our laundry room is still under a bit of construction in that I would love to add cabinetry to frame around the washer and dryer. In here, I tried to maintain that classic look with the shaker cabinetry and vintage looking farmhouse sink. We were able to save quite a bit in here because we went with inexpensive flooring (VCT tile) that made me think of my grandma’s kitchen floor and a laminate countertop that really mimics the look and feel of a butcher block. I really love the hanging drying rack especially living in Minnesota so we’re able to hang up all our wet winter gear here.
Peg Rail | Leather Fly Swatter | Broom & Duster via HomeGoods
I most recently added a peg rail on the adjacent wall to provide some storage solutions for things like brooms, aprons and baskets (below).
Blue & White Blanket | Lumbar Pillow | Flushmount Lighting Fixture | Curtains (custom) | Curtain Hardware (custom) | Rug | Wall Color | Bed (no longer available) | Dresser, Chair, Chest, Nighstands, Decor, Art (vintage)
We started to work on our bedroom about a year ago. The bed, we’ve had for around 15 years and I love it so I didn’t want to change it. The dressers and nightstands were all thrifted. I love mixing materials and styles so here again you see traditional mixed with mid-century and vintage.
The powder room may just be my arch-nemesis as I recently just wallpapered it and it’s so tiny in here I could barely fit a ladder so being the non-DIY-er that I am, naturally, I thought it was a good idea to put my kitchen stool on top of the toilet seat to try to hang the paper. I completely wiped out faster than I could even realize and hit the floor. I may have even checked myself over to make sure I wasn’t impaled. As if that weren’t enough, I also electrocuted myself while I was cutting wallpaper out around the electrical outlets (okay, I shocked myself. Not fully electrocuted myself but it felt like it).
The only good thing that has come out of the powder room is the vanity. It was an old child’s dresser I found on Craigslist. I knew it was narrow enough to fit into the tiny space but it was really low. My dad is handy (unlike me) so I brought it to his house where he stripped it of the many, MANY layers of chalk paint down to its original beautiful oak and then cut it around ¾ of the way up and added another drawer to add the height we needed and then reattached everything. He stained it (without consulting with me, my heart sank a little when he told me what he’d done) but now I find that I love it and it reminds me of him all the time.
Blue Sofa | Chandelier | Curtains | Curtain Hardware | Motorized Window Shade | Pillows (left to right on blue sofa): Tweed Lumbar, Check Pillow, Mustard Plaid | Coffee Table, Floor Lamp, Side Table, Art & Decor (vintage/thrifted)
Our upstairs hallway is pretty wide so I added a few inexpensive bookshelves for more of our book collections and other thrifted pieces. We added a barn door to close off a little room that we use as our TV room. It was supposed to be an office but I like working from all over the house and having one dedicated room would make me feel too closed off so instead, we made a small area where we kick back and watch our favorite shows. In this room I wanted it to feel cozy, so my dad and I worked on paneling a wall and added a vintage fireplace (that doesn’t really work). Here, I again mixed in mid-century, vintage, some rustic and traditional pieces.
***photography by Erin Francois
An Exclusive Home Tour from Leanne Ford | A Stylist “Undecorates” a 1929 Tudor(ish) Cottage | A Before & After House Tour Full of DIYs You Might Actually Do Yourself | A Home Crush a Year in the Making | A Mid-Century Modern Inspired Home | A Warm Scandi Inspired Home
The post Tour a Stylist’s Mid-Century-Meets-Traditional “Farmhouse” Full of Thrifted Treasures appeared first on Emily Henderson.
Anytime we try a new restaurant, Ben Blair checks to see if there’s any kind of slow-cooked meat on the menu, because if there is, it’s a good bet that I’ll order it. I don’t know if it’s the texture, or that the meat has had a chance to soak up the salt and spices and herbs, but I inevitably love it.
Ages ago, Lindsey told me about her Chile Verde Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder recipe, and I was immediately on board. I’ve been begging her to share it, and today’s the day!
Here’s what Lindsey says:
I’ve been wanting to share this Chile Verde Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder recipe for months and months and months… maybe even two years. (Ahem.) It’s been sitting in the draft folder for long enough!
The delay seems to be that every time I make slow cooked pork shoulder with the intention of taking photos, it magically disappears. It starts with me telling my husband he can sneak a little taste. My kids think that means I’ve given blanket permission and it becomes a free-for-all. And then poof! Gone in a flash.
Making the slow cooked pork shoulder all those times has given me ample opportunity to fine tune the recipe so that it has just gotten better and better. I think this is by far the best Chile Verde Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder I’ve had. I’m sure the authentic Mexican chile verde is even better, but for now, this recipe is a keeper.
The sauce is comprised of Mexican-style salsa verde (made with tomatillos and green chiles), onion, ground cumin, garlic, a little brown sugar, and vinegar (the secret ingredient). The other secret ingredient is nothing more than time.
The beauty of this recipe is two-fold. First and foremost, it’s easy to make in a slow cooker, on the stove-top, in the oven, and I assume in an Instant Pot. (I don’t have one yet.) I’ve made this all three ways and the difference in taste is minimal. The stovetop and oven slow cooked pork shoulder is a tiny bit more flavorful. ; )
Second, it’s one of the most versatile big-batch recipes you can make. That means cook it once and enjoy it several times during the week or freeze in portions to use later.
If you need some ideas on how to use slow cooked pork shoulder, here is a short list: nachos, enchiladas, soup or stew, tacos, burritos or wraps, over polenta or rice, taco salad, a base for tamale pie, etc.. And the photo above shows a tostada piled high with Chile Verde Pork and a slew of toppings.
Traditional Chile Verde is a Mexican stew that uses most of the same ingredients I’ve included, but is definitely more stew-like. This slow cooker pork shoulder doesn’t have as much sauce or liquid, which makes it more versatile in that array of dishes I mentioned above. But you could add an extra bottle of sauce, plus some chicken broth, and turn it into stew, if desired.
The cut of pork used makes a big difference with slow cooking. The leaner cuts, like pork loin, dry out too quickly and that long cooking time doesn’t help. So I tend to use a shoulder roast because it has more marbling and ends up super juicy and flavorful.
Tomatillo salsa is my favorite salsa of all. I could drink (and I have) the green salsa from Trader Joe’s. It’s very mild, so it’s super kid-friendly, and has great flavor. I also recommend Frontera, Herdez, La Costeña, or LaVictoria. There are others, but these are the brands most readily available in grocery stores.
Frontera is probably my very favorite because it tastes almost the same as my favorite simmered tomatillo serrano chile sauce recipe from Frontera’s founder, Rick Bayless. It’s just incredible. I’ll link to the recipe in the notes.
Talk to me about green chiles. Are you a lover or a hater? Does it depend on how spicy the green chiles are? I’m 100% on board with them. I think my family may even be a little tired of me adding them to so many recipes, but I’m not tired of it. No, never!
Bottled, canned, or fresh green chiles can be used interchangeably in this recipe. The canned or bottled are super easy and taste great. Fresh takes a bit more effort, and even more so if you go the extra mile and roast them first. In the summertime/early fall when Hatch chiles are available, I stock up and freeze them to use during the rest of the year. Trader Joe’s also usually carries frozen fire-roasted Hatch chiles. It’s all about how spicy you want to go.
I experimented with adding vinegar and bay leaves to the green chile pork after looking at other slow cooker recipes for pork roast. I’m not exactly sure what the science is behind the vinegar, but it really makes a difference. The pork doesn’t end up tasting vinegary at all. The bay leaves add another layer of flavor that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you’ll miss if it’s not there. I sometimes add brown sugar depending on how I’ll be using the pork. I recommend adding it the first time you make it and see what you think.
1. If desired, heat tostadas briefly in a hot oven to crisp them up a bit more. Otherwise, place the tostadas on serving plates.
2. Layer the following onto each tostada:
-1/3 to 1/2 cup whole or refried beans
-1/4 pound Chile Verde Pulled Pork
-1/4 -1/2 cup prepared coleslaw
-1-2 tablespoons crumbled or shredded cheese
-Any other toppings
3. Serve immediately.
-Use store-bought or make your own by lightly coating corn tortillas with oil and baking in a 425°F oven for 6-8 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
-To make the corn salad, preheat oven broiler. Place 4 cups fresh or frozen corn, 1/2 cup diced red onion, and 1/2 cup fresh or canned diced green chiles on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Broil for 3-4 minutes if using frozen corn, or 2-3 minutes for fresh corn. Remove pan from oven and turn everything over and broil again for 3-4 minutes or until corn has blackened in spots and smells toasty. Transfer to a bowl and season well with salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a big pinch each: ground cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Serve warm or cold.
Oh my goodness, Lindsey. This looks so good. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you. And hey Dear Readers, if you get a chance to try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes. I’m especially curious if you prefer it with or without the sugar.
Photos and recipe by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.