Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekend Finds: Oh, The Places You'll Go Edition (Plus Bonus Interior Decorating)

Good morning!

Well, I hope you had a fabulous fourth of July! In spite of my YMCA ambitions, Matthew and I spent our afternoon and evening in slothly splendor, watching the Billy Crystal HBO special 700 Sundays (uh, yeah, I actually cried three separate times in the course of two Crystal...), drinkin' shandies, and talkin' trash. It's a good life! I will say I felt somewhat productive that morning, however, as I picked up my dad around 9 to go hit the estate sales. Who would have thought they'd have like four sales on a holiday weekend? And four GOOD sales? Not me! But I would have been wrong!

The biggest draw of the sales this weekend were the houses they were in. Two in particular were knock-your-socks-off gorgeous, and had real estate listing photos so I could oogle and ogle them ahead of time. Let's take a look at the tied-for-first residences:

1) Mid Century Marvelous (1966 dream house):

This house was waaay out on Highway 70 in Nashville...on your way to the Loveless, you would pass the Ensworth private school's high school campus, a couple of friendly looking horses, green grass as far as you could see, and this house. At a listing price of $350,000, it ain't exactly cheap, but my Lord, the parties I would throw in this house if someone would go ahead and sell me the winning Powerball ticket. Patterson and Fox, who were a midcentury construction outfit in Tennessee and apparently built "Tynewood Estates" (see this "air conditioned home" ad from Life magazine in 1960, that was the most I could dig up on them), also built this house, and the lovely details of the structure itself bear out its professional provenance.

See the spacious front porch? The fleur-de-lis wrought iron railing? Then you step inside:

And I start raving ad nauseaum about the faux-stone, probably-actually-marble foyer, the octagonal cut outs in the door, the baroque little light fixture in the entryway, and how completely at home I would look in my Alfred Shaheen best, greeting guests at the door as they file in for my cocktail party. I love this entry way so much I made a Polyvore of what it would look like with little old me in there:

My Mid Century Entryway

Wouldn't that be life?! I digress. Here's what the actual owner put in the house. You may be surprised at the 1880's furniture at odds with the 1960's building, but to each their own! Some of the stuff down in the basement dated back to the eighteen twenties. "No one was alive then!" you might say, but honestly, I was impressed...the oldest heirloom in my family probably goes back to the 1930's and is beat to hello to boot. Could you actually die over the wallpaper mural of rolling, nineteenth century hills and foliage? I've been trying to look up "wallpaper panels decorative scenic" and every other thing I could think of, but haven't spotted any non-applied-to-wall-already examples. Le sigh.

The most impressive part of the house, bar none, was this den, which wound its way around this massive central fireplace. I am deeply in love with the idea of hanging baskets from the rafters, as it reminds me in a good way of costume designer Edith Head's hacienda we were talking about just a little while back.

I am disappointed the people didn't take better advantage of how tiki-rific this room could be with a couple touches. The baskets are something, but why not kick out the jams? Here's what I thought would look tacky perfect in this room:

Mid Century Tiki Room Fabulousness

Am I wrong to want a cowhide faux zebra skin rug as badly as I do? I'm thinking about committing to one at the flea market next time I'm there and just hanging it against the wall if I can't find anywhere good for it to go on the floor and/or if I can't bear to stamp my undainty feet on such a beautiful thing.

See the whole shebang here, including a long vanity-sinked bathroom I'd love to call my own, and more antiques, antiques, antiques.

I picked up a couple things here, and then Dad and I moved on to this sale on Ensworth Avenue (weird the connection, right?) in the heart of Green Hills:

2) To the Manor Born (1918 mansion in the heart of Green Hills)

Ddddddang, right? I always say one of my favorite things about estate sales is how many different houses it takes my dad and I to-- if you figured we've gone to at least three estate sales, pretty much every weekend, for the past seven years, that's roundabout a thousand houses we've been inside...everything from tiny condos to sprawling ranches to...THIS gorgeous thing. Built in 1918, this house was owned in the latter half of the twentieth century by a succession of doctors as their personal residence-- note to self, in next life, become and/or marry a doctor. Because truth told, I could get USED to coming home to this:

Ugh! Eleganza extravaganza! In my mind's eye, I'm imagining some Lily Bart like character making her slow, two-step entrance down that staircase, taffeta and bustle rustling. THIS is the kind of place I would cuckoo gaga for tricking out in 100% antiques. My taste running more towards the absurd (act like you didn't know that) and my hypothetical bank budget running more towards the unlimited, I would go for something like this in the entryway:

1920's entryway

It is so difficult to find the kinds of antiques I wanted online! Everything on Google Shopping doesn't have a clear enough background to put on Polyvore (the achilles heel of the program as far as I'm concerned). Know that I would add a brass rubbing of a skeleton and maybe some kind of oil portrait to this tableau if given the opportunity. However! Overall, I thought the house looked magnificent. All those built-ins, and all those windows! The house was all elegance and light. I really like the gold and red in this study off the entrance, if not that couch and ottoman. Again, to each their own!

The wallpaper in this room had a very faint metallic to it, and was vintage to the sixties', I would say, which was a nice thing for them to leave intact when the new owners took over in the 1990's. How about that chandelier and the matching (HUGE) wall sconces? I APPROVE, THANK YOU, GOOD WORK. Isn't this lovely? We were trying so hard throughout not to do our usual mouth breathing in the face of stately surroundings, but gee-hosephat, you would have been doing the same. I kept thinking how you could have two million dollars and build some gross subdivision house in Brentwood, or you could spend two million dollars on this. Guess what my vote is?

The neatest part of the house doesn't appear in the real estate listing, but my dad and I know it's there! On the second floor, down a hallway between two bedrooms, there was a cupboard-like door that lead to (no joke) a tiny, twisting staircase that went both up and downstairs. Down would take you to the back kitchen, which was not a dine-in at all-- what, are we farmers? Who besides the staff of the house eat in the kitchen, asks the 1918, Stanford White-esque architect? At any rate, up would take you to a raftered room that had been set up in recent years as an attic, but could have been any kind of catchall space in its original incarnation. Verrry spooky. There was a plastered up part that Pappy pointed at and went, "I bet they sealed somebody in there, like that Edgar Allan Poe story." Me: "Sure, 'Cask of Amontillado.' " Dad: "I knew what it was called, I just didn't know how to say it. I think they made a Night Gallery episode about that..." We are obviously related by blood.

Oh, and there's a tennis court. #ofcoursetheresatenniscourt PS, that's what the BACK of the house looks like. Isn't it gorgeous?

Well, tomorrow I'll round up my goodies and let you see what loot I lucked out on in these beautiful houses (and two other that were nice but more or less unremarkable-- how can you compete with these?!). What about you? Did you see any magnificent houses this weekend? Gone to any sales? Which house appeals to you the most? How would you furnish it if you could get in there and get your grubby hands on the furniture? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll be back tomorrow with my weekend finds. Take care, have a wonderful Monday! See you then. :)


  1. Fun sales! Also, re: zebra rugs....I have a real zebra rug. My father went on safari and long story short...yeah. I have never had the kind of d├ęcor that works with a zebra, so it's in my son's room.

    1. STOP, YOU'RE KILLING ME. How cool is it that you have a safari-serious zebra rug?! I hope I come across one some time in my travels. Talk about Man in the Yellow Hat realness...

  2. oh wow! that first house! i'm a little bummed i didn't try to get out this weekend! that den is so beautiful!

    1. I just loved the baskets, too...I would never think to do that, but it was so gorgeous!

  3. Uggh. Missed them both. But most thoroughly enjoyed this post! I'm glad that ranch is so far out. That makes me want it a tiny bit less.

    1. Haha, I realized the other day the only time I'm ever that far out of the county , it's for estate sales. Imagine driving into town every day from out there. Still, it was beautiful!

  4. This is why I LOVE being a Set Dresser, EVERYTHING IS RESEARCH! Haha I adore getting to create rooms and worlds of other people's lives. Going to sales is a double bonus because not only do you get to do field work/research BUT you get to BUY the field work/research!

    1. Seriously, you picked a pretty good gig! I love the idea of "buying" research (as I start looking at career opportunities in the set dressing field...) :)



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