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Home Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

Today I had a nice chat with the talented Sara Hicks Malone from Hicks Paper Goods where she is a designer who works with owner Whitney English and who also authors the blog Sara’s Party Perfect. Sara lives and works in Nashville and has such a fantastic home that I simply had to share a tour of it with you here today. Her home was built in 1967 and she completely renovated it three years ago into a gorgeous gem…

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

I asked Sara some questions that I thought decor8 readers would be interested in learning about her personal style and home so sit back, sip a cup of hot tea, and read along as Sara tells us about her lovely abode.

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

How would you describe your personal style, Sara?

Evolving. I think I’m often trying to discover ‘who I am’ through home decor. I haven’t figured it out yet. My first house was very beige and matchy. Pretty but didn’t have much personality. My second home was full of really bold color, but ultimately it didn’t feel like me. This house, to be honest, doesn’t quite feel quite right either… I think I’m much more gray and muted with subtle pattern and hints of color instead of the knock-‘em-down pink and yellow in parts of the house. But this color palette felt appropriate for the house because of all the white (white walls, white exterior) — it needed some major hits of color to keep it from being bland. I love the house itself, but if given the budget and the go-ahead of my husband, I would probably redecorate in a heartbeat.

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

What are some favorite pieces in your home?

The Saarinen table was the first big investment piece we purchased that I truly feel like we will have forever (I’ve bought ‘forever’ pieces before but quickly realized that they were not FP’s). The peony painting was a $40 bargain on eBay 5 years ago, I still love it. The gateleg table has been in my family forever. I’ve struggled to find a space for it in this home because it is in stark contrast with the contemporary architecture, but I did not want to keep it locked away in storage. Our white dining table was designed and built by a friend. The dining chairs were a gift from a friend (she found them at a flea market). I love anything with meaning or connection to people I love.

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

How did you decide on the Cow Parsley wallpaper and why yellow?

I had a really hard time making design decisions for the house while in the renovation process, but the yellow wallpaper was the one thing I knew I wanted. It gives our home personality, it’s a very pretty shade of yellow, and just about everyone who comes in the house loves it. That wallpaper has taught me to trust my gut and really only get things that I have a visceral ‘I must have that’ reaction to. I really wouldn’t describe myself as a yellow sort of person, but this wasn’t a scary yellow decision. I think because it is yellow wallpaper, and not yellow paint (notice there is no yellow paint in our house other than the front door!), it was much easier to digest.

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

When people visit your home, what are some common opinions about the decor?

Well… I can definitely tell right off the bat whether or not someone likes our house. People tend to have strong reactions to it one way or the other. The house is in direct contrast to the typical traditional homes in this area. But people who ‘get it’, whether or not they like the style, tend to be complimentary. I think there is an edited feel to the house, and oftentimes people ask ‘where is all your stuff?’. And then they tell me they want to go home and take some of the ‘junk’ out of their own homes.

You mentioned earlier that this home doesn’t exactly fit your personal style and I’d love to learn more…

I feel like I’m constantly experimenting with my personal style. Sometimes I have imaginary critics in my head telling me what’s right or what’s wrong. The older I get, the more I am starting to feel comfortable listening to myself, listening to what I want, and not so much decorating for an imaginary audience. I think some of the decisions I’ve made in the past (and some in this home, initially) were made because I was designing what I thought people expected from me, not necessarily what I wanted/needed. Don’t know if that makes any sense. So I guess to answer the question, parts of the house feel like they reflect my personal style, and other parts are evolving.

When approaching the redesign or even “spruce up” of a room, what advice can you give decor8 readers?

My husband will laugh at this and probably disagree (that I do this), but I’d say spend as little as possible! I find the more money I spend on something the more stressful and less enjoyable the purchase becomes, because I tell myself I *have* to like it. Small splurges at thrift shops, consignment stores, and on Etsy tend to give me much more pleasure than buying big ticket items. I also once read that you should never purchase anything for your home when you’re in a bad state of mind (you + your husband just got in a fight, someone close to you died, etc.) because every time you see that piece it will bring back a negative connotation, whether or not you like the thing itself…which I think is so true. So I try to not do any shopping when I’m feeling down!

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

House Tour: Sara Hicks Malone

What are 5 things that you love to do at home?

Our home is my haven, i love to relax here. Our home is also my office, so I have tried to carve out a creative space as well. Our home is where I prefer to entertain (smaller parties are much more my style), so I love to have dinners here. Our home is a play space for our two kids (almost 1 and almost 3), so I’ve tried to make a home that is completely accessible to them. Our home is in a beautiful setting, so I feel connected to nature and ‘spirit’ here. We feel very fortunate to call this our home!

Thank you so much Sara, this is a gorgeous space and I can’t wait to see what decor8 readers have to say about it. Lovely, lovely!

Does anyone else ever feel like Sara – unsure whether or not your home reflects your personal space or you love your home but aren’t sure it’s really YOU? It’s an interesting topic to ponder, isn’t it???

(images: sara hicks malone)

Posted by decor8 in uncategorized on October 25, 2010

Your comments...

  1. Margot Madison commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 6:55pm

    That was wonderful! I’ve loved Sarah’s stationery for years and it’s so interesting to see how her home is still an expression of her designs. Simple and clean, colorful and sophisticated. And on the evolving style: I think creatives can’t keep to one style–the more they create, the more it changes. I used to beat myself up about that a lot until I just accepted the fact that I would want to change a lot and often. ;o)

    Best to you both! Glad you got back from your trip safely Holly!

    xom

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  2. Lynn commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 7:00pm

    It’s a VERY interesting topic to ponder, indeed. We are decorating and furnishing what will probably be our last home, at this very moment, and I am determined to not settle for anything I don’t love, and believe in. That is not to say that we’re breaking the bank – on the contrary, I accept that replica DSR’s are the only way to the dining room I envision, and Ikea does not always constitute “making do” – but my husband’s patience is being seriously challenged due to my insistence on not settling for “nearly”.
    I have no doubt that I will find THE sofa, THE table, THE paint colour, THE lighting: I will, given time, gather the perfect elements, but I am fearful to how they will all work together, how they will mesh into a portrait of US. I need to trust my instincts, and have faith in the great compatibility of cherished things, however diverse, and believe in my own ability to weave the bits and pieces into something that feels like the me I have become.
    We’ll see how it goes.
    Lynn´s last blog post ..caffè freddo

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  3. Kat commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 7:30pm

    Sara has such a nice place, to me it feels like a good balance of colour with white and happy yet relaxed too. My favourite piece of hers is that sofa the colour is beautiful. A soft coral.
    In such a large space the yellow wallpaper works well too.
    Love kat
    Kat´s last blog post ..We love trees

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  4. Lisa commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 8:19pm

    Hah! I’m laughing now because I certainly hope my house doesn’t reflect who I am! I’ve never really decorated because I wanted to wait until I owned – I’ve never wanted to put too much time and effort into something that wasn’t mine. I’ve actually lived for several years in places without completely unpacking.
    Then there is the ever-changing taste issue – or the conflicting taste issue. I know there is much more freedom now in terms of what “goes together” than there ever has been – but somethings just don’t mesh.
    But, now that I’ve seen Sara’s lovely house, I’m inspired to at least neaten and get rid of some things.
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Wrapping Up Le Petit Cadeau

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  5. Christine commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 8:57pm

    I feel that way about my home sometimes but I am aware that my style is still evolving and that is definitely reflected in my home. It’s all part of the fun!

    This home is so beautiful and cheery! It would make me smile the minute I walked through that beautiful yellow door!!
    Christine´s last blog post ..Dreaming of my warm bed

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  6. City Chic - Jamie commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 8:58pm

    Such a lovely & honest interview! And beautiful home! I love Sara’s answer about her personal style – that it is evolving. What a perfect answer! I can definitely relate :)

    My favorite pieces are the mirrors and wall decor, as well as the colors and textures mixed together! And that cute pumpkin at the entrance! Thanks so much for sharing with us!
    City Chic – Jamie´s last blog post ..Sweater Pillow Tutorial

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  7. Mariela commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 9:31pm

    Lovely home. Looks very relaxing and beautiful.
    Mariela´s last blog post ..Halloween también puede ser gracioso

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  8. melissa deakin commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 9:58pm

    sara’s home is just lovely.
    i love the peony painting and the fabric covered cubed ottomans.
    i especially love how she has photographs infused throughout the space.
    i’d love to know where she purchased the white frames.
    unfortunately i don’t have an ikea close by and that seems to be the place most people purchase frames. alas, most are not available for online purchase either.

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  9. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 10:26pm

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I love Sara’s home and love the small colorful touches, they are right up my alley. I completely understand what Sara is saying about her decisions in the past as well….it makes perfect sense. Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous home with us.
    xo
    Melis
    Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog post ..Monday inspiration

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  10. Stacey commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 10:46pm

    What a lovely home! I love the “edited” look in other people’s homes, but it would never work in mine. I’m just not a minimalist at heart. But her home looks sweet and inviting and delightfully uncluttered.

    I definitely feel like my apartment isn’t quite “me”. It’s cozy and pretty, but there are so many things I wish I could do decor-wise, that just aren’t in my budget or can’t be done because I’m renting. Someday, when my husband and I are making more money, and when we have a house of our own, I’ll finally be able to invest in good pieces and do things like put up wallpaper! But for now, I try to be content with what we have.
    Stacey´s last blog post ..Quote of the day

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  11. Morgan commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 10:50pm

    Beautiful blog!

    :)

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  12. Sarah commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 11:12pm

    I like it, though the kitchen is my least favorite…too sterile…but I love the living room with dressers on either side of the sofa instead of the usual side tables…I do like the colors used throughout the house (so soft) and that there is not a lot of ‘stuff’ – I love the yellow wallpaper and front door too. Thank you for the interview!!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Sunday in the kitchen

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  13. ~ Junkyard Jennfer commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 11:25pm

    Such a pretty home. I especially love the yellow wallpaper!

    ~ Jennifer

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  14. kayce hughes commented
    October 25th, 2010 at 11:53pm

    Such a treat to see your beautiful home!

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  15. Adrienne Audrey commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 12:53am

    Gorgeous! So charming and cozy!

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  16. drey commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 2:13am

    How glorious is this home? Carefully edited… and beautiful furniture pieces… Dunno if i could ever be that edited :) But I LOVE it.
    drey´s last blog post ..My first real kinda interior design gig!

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  17. kristen commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 2:29am

    absolutely gorgeous!! i just love that house! the pillows and couches and tables and walls…i could go on and on! just love it! and love your blog and great questions!

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  18. Marie@etincellestudio commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 3:10am

    Stunning peach sofa! my favorite piece in her house by far… and the huge embroidered pillow is gorgeous… hmmm, inspired!
    Marie@etincellestudio´s last blog post ..A little red bag

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  19. Corinne commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 3:57am

    I loved Sara’s comments about being comfortable about decorating for herself and not an imaginary audience. I think I’m just reaching this point (and about to redecorate a new home) and there is definitely a freedom that comes with that. I have always had ‘edited’ houses (and I LOVE the kitchen) but felt that restricted my personality. It’s so great to see that you can have both. Thanks Sara (and Holly).

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  20. Lily @ Birch + Bird commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 7:34am

    I really love this home and the bursts of colour and personality throughout…especially the yellow wallpaper! I whole-heartedly agree that thrift and Etsy finds give me much more satisfaction than the big ticket items I’ve purchased! Much more of a thrill minus the bank account anxiety! Thanks for sharing :)
    Lily @ Birch + Bird´s last blog post ..Simply Spooky Halloween Decor

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  21. jennifer ramos commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 8:38am

    WOW the door is my favorite part…so pretty and yellow..bold. :)))
    jennifer ramos´s last blog post ..Thinking About My Dining AreaVia Made By Girl

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  22. Dolly commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 12:24pm

    Mindblowing!!!!!!

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  23. mari anne commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 2:04pm

    Lovely home! You might want to consider replacing some of the painted pieces with natural surfaces and textures. I bet that would take care of the “missing element” for you!

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  24. Stephanie commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 6:33pm

    Sara, Holly, this home tour is outstanding. And your advice, Sara? Equally stellar. Thank you for the much-needed inspiration this morning!

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  25. Sugar commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 7:31pm

    This house is beyond fantasticness. I love the yellow touches, and I love hearing what Sara’s take on it as well!
    Sugar´s last blog post ..Blog Giveaway- CSN Stores

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  26. Mary Anne commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 11:53pm

    Hi Holly,

    Sara’s house is one of my favourite house tours I have seen on the blogs and it was great that you had new pictures of her place! What I loved most about this post were the questions you had for her about her style and home. It was really interesting to find out that she is still finding out who she is with regards to her home decor, but would redecorate in a heart beat if she had a different budget. I also wonder how I would decorate my place if I had all the money in the world. Thanks for giving us insight into the ‘person’ behind the house as I think at the moment I am in beautiful interiors overload from blogland and feel “oh yeah just another gorgeous home – tune out”. You got me on this post Holly!
    Hope you get unstuck Holly with your decorating – I often feel like that when I think about starting to make a quilt – I feel overwhelmed, want to do this and that, change my mind, obsessing about getting “this” fabric even though I already have lots of great stuff etc etc!

    Mary Anne from Melbourne :)

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  27. Audrey commented
    October 26th, 2010 at 11:56pm

    What a warm and inviting home with the yellow door!

    I adore the white console table- where could I find something like that?

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  28. sara hicks malone commented
    October 27th, 2010 at 5:23am

    purgatory, and am instead able to occasionally think about what things I would do differently, rather than have it consume me and feel the pressure of not having it done. Not saying that this is what you are going through, but for me, it was very liberating to make some choices even though they weren’t perfect so that I could fully live in our home and enjoy it while we are here!

    On another note- we had a near-death experience (big bus accident) a couple of years ago- and yes, even in the midst of all of that ‘real-lifeness’- I was mortified by our home decor! Of course that is when everyone came over to bring food and visit and I had been so paralyzed by making home decor decisions that I hadn’t even hung anything on the walls (this was in a different house). So I guess what I took away from that experience was that I want to fully live life in our home while we can, because who knows what is going to happen tomorrow (yet another too deep thought for home decor, but there you go).

    3) sources: Target has great white frames if you aren’t near an IKEA, you just have to keep checking back because often they are out (you could look online too). So does West Elm (though more expensive) and Restoration Hardware (same) in the spring/summer collections. The white console table was from a friend’s store closing (they did manicures on that table), so I’m not sure where to direct you for that…sorry!

    4) as far as the sterile/edited look goes, come over on days when I’m not photographing the house for decor8! Plenty of life and piles around these parts, I promise.

    Thanks again for this opportunity Holly, it’s allowed me to ponder some ‘deep thoughts’ about our home! I agree, at the end of the day, it’s all fun. And thank you again for the kind words, readers. -sara

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  29. sara hicks malone commented
    October 27th, 2010 at 5:39am

    ok- the first half of my comments deleted, for some reason, so I think I will try to paraphrase the first part again….

    1) Thank you for all the sweet comments- home decor is both a hobby and a passion for me, so I take your comments to heart!

    2) Since I design a line of bright/graphic/’clean’ invitations I think I put pressure on myself that my home should reflect that. That look/style feels very me. However, an equal part of me gravitates to a muted and textured palette. So I’m currently trying to bridge the two me’s and in the process find a style that is distinctly my own… which is why I believe my home, for now, is evolving and experimental.

    3) Lynn- I totally get where you are coming from on not buying something until you have found the perfect thing. However, having done that myself in the past and feeling in a constant state of unsettledness, I gave myself a decorating deadline in this home (which I am so happy I did!). Though there are definitely things I would change, I am no longer living in house purgatory, and am instead able to occasionally think about what things I would do differently, rather than have it consume me and feel the pressure of not having it feel done at all. Not saying that this is what you are going through, but for me, it was very liberating to make some choices even though they weren’t perfect so that I could fully live in our home and enjoy it while we are here!

    On another note- we had a near-death experience (big bus accident) a couple of years ago- and yes, even in the midst of all of that ‘real-lifeness’- I pondered and was mortified by our home decor! Of course that is when everyone came over to bring food and visit and I had been so paralyzed by making home decor decisions that I hadn’t even hung anything on the walls (this was in a different house). So I guess what I took away from that experience was that I want to fully live life in our home while we can, because who knows what is going to happen tomorrow (yet another too deep thought for home decor, but there you go).

    3) sources: Target has great white frames if you aren’t near an IKEA, you just have to keep checking back because often they are out (you could look online too). So does West Elm (though more expensive) and Restoration Hardware (same) in the spring/summer collections. The white console table was from a friend’s store closing (they did manicures on that table), so I’m not sure where to direct you for that…sorry!

    4) as far as the sterile/edited look goes, come over on days when I’m not photographing the house for decor8! Plenty of life and piles around these parts, I promise.

    Thanks again for this opportunity Holly, it’s allowed me to ponder some deep thoughts about our home! I agree, at the end of the day, it’s all fun. And thank you again for the kind words, readers. -sara

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  30. Laura_NEAPOLITAN commented
    October 27th, 2010 at 6:15am

    Reading this, I had to laugh because I related to Sara’s comments on so many levels – including the “where is all your stuff?” comments she gets from visitors who react to the de-cluttered spaces. I appreciated her honesty about not knowing whether the home yet reflects her true aesthetic, as well as feeling pressure to design according to others’ expectations. If I was lucky enough to visit her home I would absolutely fall into the category of those who “get it”!
    Laura_NEAPOLITAN´s last blog post ..Napoleon and Josephine vintage recovered book

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  31. j commented
    October 27th, 2010 at 9:40am

    I’m bummed. I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t “get it”. I don’t see much that I like other than the front door and the yellow wallpaper.

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  32. Jane commented
    October 27th, 2010 at 4:00pm

    GORGEOUS!

    Sarah, can you please please pleasssseeeeeee tell me where that floral fabric on the cubed ottomans came from?

    Thanks!

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  33. sara hicks malone commented
    October 27th, 2010 at 4:31pm

    j- ‘getting it’ was not meant to be an insult to any of the decor8 readers who don’t like the house. Believe me, you are not alone- I can definitely tell some friends of mine (who I love dearly) aren’t down with the vibe of the house. But I do think you can still appreciate the aesthetic and design of our house, whether or not you like it (or have a similar style). But you can be among those that either don’t get it or just plain don’t like it, I’m okay with that!
    sara hicks malone´s last blog post ..french party

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  34. Sara commented
    October 28th, 2010 at 6:59am

    Soooo beautiful!!!
    I love how fresh everything feels. Any one know where I can get a teepee like that? I just had a baby in August and have been searching for one.
    I like the plain canvas ones as shown and only seem to be abler find patterned ones

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  35. sara hicks malone commented
    October 28th, 2010 at 9:02am

    jane- bought on ebay (sorrrry!) I know that’s the worst answer ever.
    sara hicks malone´s last blog post ..ladies lunch

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  36. emily commented
    October 28th, 2010 at 8:56pm

    Please tell me where you found the child’s kitchen. I love how realistic and understated it is. Oh – love the adult kitchen, too!

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  37. j commented
    October 28th, 2010 at 9:57pm

    Oh, Sara, thanks for replying. I didn’t feel insulted that you said some people don’t get it. :) I think it IS a matter of totally different ends of the design spectrum. I still am trying to figure out my style. My current home is full of really bold color, like you said your second home was. So it’s possible if I saw pictures of your second home, I’d totally love it. I think I’m doing bold color because I’ve lived in white-walled apartments/dorms for the 10 years previous to buying my home. Also, my personal style is more traditional function, with great antique finds, plus some modern style mixed in.

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  38. Gina malewicz commented
    November 3rd, 2010 at 2:28pm

    LOVE! I would love to know how to get that print above the white side console in the dining room. Will you reveal?? :-)

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  39. Olives and Daisies commented
    November 4th, 2010 at 7:05pm

    I think this house is quite beautiful! I really love the mix of old and new peices, this is something that I have tried to do in my house and I agree that sometimes I know people come into my house and don’t “get it” but I love it and really all that matters is that you go home at the end of the day and you love your space!! I would have to say that the kitchen in this house is my favorite – all those penny tiles, so chic!!
    Olives and Daisies´s last blog post ..Table Lamps in the Kitchen

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  40. Jenni commented
    November 4th, 2010 at 11:06pm

    I am taken by the fabulous Parrot pillow on the couch, where did you find it????

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  41. katy commented
    December 4th, 2010 at 5:37am

    Maybe it was already mentioned and I missed it … but I LOVE the artwork above the console table in the dining room. where is that from?

    wonderful house tour!!

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  42. Whitney commented
    October 24th, 2011 at 8:50pm

    I know I am a million years late with this, but where is that gorg pink couch from?!?!

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  43. Sarah commented
    February 9th, 2012 at 6:13am

    Simply beautiful!! Your sofa looks so comfy! Would you mind sharing where you found it? It seems as though my husband and I are constantly on the search for comfortable furniture with little or no success. Everything is so much more comfortable in the show room and much less at home.

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  44. Liz commented
    March 4th, 2013 at 12:45am

    I am in love with the calidescope painting in the dining room (over the Saarinen table). Who is the artist?

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  45. christi commented
    August 8th, 2013 at 7:08pm

    Where did you get that pink couch? I LOVE IT!

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  46. Brianna commented
    September 26th, 2014 at 3:35pm

    Where is the yellow painting from? It’s awesome

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