A closer look at stone cottage details in the Alabama home of home our blogging partner Allison.
Our two-part virtual walk-through of Allison’s house was designed to highlight highly original living spaces she has worked so hard to create. This one will focus on her stone cottage details. If you haven’t yet toured the main rooms in part one, or explored her elegant French Gray Island Kitchen, or the private spaces in part two, I suggest you do that first. That will help put this next dozen photos into context and make them even more enjoyable. However, many people like to eat dessert first!
As I spoke with Allison about various objects in her house, it became clear that she loves accessories and goes for certain textures. She also has the heart of a collector whose passion for certain types of objects and themes is instinctive. Like every collector, she loves her stuff, remembers the stories attached to each object, and arranges and rearranges her things in harmonious ways.
In the great room, tucked behind the main sofa, is a well worn table. That is the backdrop for neatly arranged groups of collectibles. Allison likes to buy books with pretty spines or covers and stack them as mini-pedestals for small objects. Nearby is a Chinese soapstone sculpture of a man carrying a fish (symbolizing wealth and prosperity), and a reproduction Chinese calligraphy brush that was a gift from a close friend. Glass paperweights are another of her interests – she liked this one for its metallic flecks and bit of blue.
When her husband traveled to Japan with her dad, he wisely returned with this Japanese mirror, the big coin, and bronze parts of an antique sword that are arranged in the small box.
In addition to her passion for chairs, Allison is a lamp person. “I have a really good local source that makes lamps for me,” she explains, hence the brass incense burner base here, paired up with a hand carved Asian trio, and a German plate stamped Heidelberg that bears the image of a lion rampant.
A vintage powder horn, the bear with a basket on his back, and an etching of a English country landscape with bridge live on the mantel in the downstairs den. “A lot of my etchings feature bridges and water.” Allison explains.
On the flagstone front veranda is a Mexican-made bench, olive jar and picturesque wooden hay fork.
Antique German antler plaques from the Black Forest hang on the wall at the entry to the master bedroom. They are in keeping with a clear passion for dogs, horses and every type of animal motif.
This pair of marble urns filled with blue faux-hydrangeas (perennials) sit in the master bedroom next to the armoire.
The concrete lamb “is extremely old. I don’t know where it came from but like half the things in my house, I got it at a local antique store where I’ve been shopping for 27 years. I love that lamb. It’s on the breakfast room floor and it always makes me smile.”
Arranged on one of the kitchen hutches is a tray “I purchased because the rim was black and copper and it tied with this black metal cash box I already owned,” Allison says. “The design on the tray was of potted geraniums. So I found some old deeds with pretty writing and seals and I decoupaged them on them the tray. I used to have a lot of creative hobbies. The mustard jar holds upside down spoons.
In the laundry room, Allison had a shelf constructed over the washer and dryer specifically to display these birdcages. “I knew I was going to put them there,” she says. “I started with the one on the far right, which has tiny Asian men latches that releases the top. I bought the others because of the shapes and the colors. One of the ironstone pitchers was my mom’s and the other one was a freebie, discovered in a warehouse we owned.”
Atop the chest in what’s now described as the “dog theme” guest room (where her son sleeps when he visits) are a couple of small dogs, plus a box her grandmother received from a boyfriend at age 15. The etching is a hunting scene with dogs while the trophy holds a nest of styrofoam Christmas ornaments covered with lichen. “I cut off the strings and threw them in the bowl,” Allison says. “I like a lot of texture. I don’t think I could live in a house with a lot of shiny marble.”
Now for the $20 dog-lamp story. Some of us remember when Allison first found this Pointer lamp and showed it off. “I was looking for a dog doorstop to make into a lamp. I ran across this on eBay – it was a 50s TV lamp with a small bulb in the back. I had it made into a lamp — all it took was a crooked arm and a nice shade. It’s a lamp nobody else has – unique.”
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