January 17, 2012


A cozy sitting area perfect for a little reading or knitting by the fire.
It was William Morris, one of the major players in the Arts and Crafts Movement, who said: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."  This has come to be my Platonic ideal of housekeeping and decorating.  Of course, I am nowhere near living within these parameters, but I do strive to at least move in this direction.  I know a few people who seem to be a little closer to the mark, and they challenge me to create a living environment for my family that is both functional and inspiring.  Two such people are my own parents.
This space was originally an outdoor atrium.  As a sun room, it is used year round and fills the house with light. 
I grew up in a modest rancher in the Oakland Mills neighborhood of Columbia, Maryland.  My parents were among the first to move into the new community in the early 70's, but they began transforming their house into a distinctive and unique home from the moment they moved in.  Comparatively few of their changes have been major structural overhauls.  They've worked within the innovative, open floor plan, adding architectural details here and there, infusing the entire space with antiques, finds from their travels, books and art, and other treasures from their life together.

Though the kitchen has been completely renovated, the large footprint of the room is an original feature of the home.

Because of the flow to the house, the formal dining room is really multi-purpose, working as a central space for congregating.

After traveling in Japan, my parents were inspired to create a spot for quiet reflection in the more private section of the home, overlooking the garden and the public open space beyond.
My parents have now lived in their work in progress for almost 40 years, tinkering all the while, and what they have created is truly exquisite.  My sister and I both feel strongly that growing up in an aesthetically stimulating environment made a huge difference in our world views.  Square footage is not the secret to a beautiful, functional home--love and creative vision are, and I am lucky to have parents with both qualities in spades. 


  1. What a lovely tribute to your parents and to the importance of living surrounded by beauty and function.

  2. Thanks, Karen Lynn. You really don't appreciate these things fully until you are older and trying to manage your own home!

  3. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog; checked your shop too, full of fun and functional beautiful things. You are very creative :)

    1. How nice! I enjoy your work, too. We are like-minded moms!