Dear Architectural Digest,
I am a big fan of your magazine. I’ve been reading it carefully for several years now, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the celebrity homes, the vacation places, and the adorable country estates in foreign countries. As I turned the last page of your most recent issue, it occurred to me that I’d never seen a home in AD that looked like mine. Perhaps because, until now, I hadn’t thought to make the opportunity available to you!
Therefore, I would like to invite you visit my home and possibly consider featuring it in an upcoming issue. I’m sure you get a lot of requests like this, so I’ve taken the liberty of providing some photographs and commentary, to make the choice easier.
When you arrive in our neighborhood, we’ll be easy to spot because our house was recently painted in some shade of Sherwin-Williams blue, the name of which I’ve since forgotten but we refer fondly to as “smurf-blue.” I’m sure I can find the swatch.
The squirrels recently dug up my flower-pots on the front porch, but I’ll be sure to fill them with something stunning before you arrive. The rest of the landscaping could use some attention (and a deer hunter, but since we live in Town, that option is, alas, not available to us). It’s probably best if we don’t focus on the landscape but head right into the heart of the home.
My daughter and I stenciled birds in the mudroom, which, although we have a front door, is where we almost always enter the house. The custom-designed cabinets were hand crafted by my husband and me to provide the darling shoe nooks and work surface, which acts as a collector for the flotsam and jetsam of our home. I like to think of this room as The Liver.
Our favorite bird is the one inside the pantry, bringing a bit of whimsy into the days.
The kitchen is a busy place, which we use for practical things like cooking and which is occasionally cleaned. I would describe it as “minimalist in size” and “heavily influenced by real life.” The appliances reflect our eclectic approach to redecorating. A collection of practical pottery and dishes too large to fit in the cupboards occupies the above-cabinet space.
The dining area, laid out for a weeknight meal, is framed by our collection of musical instruments. I’m totally tone deaf, but it’s apparently a recessive trait, thank goodness. You will also notice the collection of original artwork throughout the house, including the barn painting, done by the owner (that’s me, but I know you prefer to say “the owner”) which reflects some sort of subconscious infatuation with Midwestern architecture.
The living room is furnished with a collection from La-Z-Boy and the owner’s great-grandfather’s office furniture, hand-crafted by someone in Illinois a long time ago.
Since you like to include pets lounging in the layouts, we thought you’d enjoy this charming image of our dog, Felix. The cone is temporary, so by the time you arrive, we can pose him without it. He's a natural, don't you think?
We’re pretty big into reading and writing, so we have this special nook with a custom-designed built in desk (my husband is pretty handy, I have to say) where a lot of deep thinking and homework happen. I also refer to this space as the Print Gallery, for obvious reasons. There they are again, those barns!
The portrait gallery is in the atrium (which doubles as an aerial silks work-out space), opposite the “crow and Paris” gallery. We also have a “paintings my sister made” gallery and a Monet/painting-my-father-made-me in the Master bedroom so I can pretend I’m waking up in Paris instead of in North Carolina sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with North Carolina really. Except our legislature, but with time that should change too.
Speaking of bathrooms, this is ours. Tiny, I know, but we have room for shampoo and bath products although most people featured in your magazine apparently don’t. I feel fortunate we can store ours right there, where we use them.
That reminds me of something I’ve wanted to know. Sometimes, your photographs show a tub filled with water. Sometimes, the tub is empty. It has vexed me, trying to discern the logic behind these decisions. I wrote you a letter on this topic many months ago but have yet to receive an explanation. Perhaps we can discuss this when you are here?
Now this area presents a special opportunity for our collaboration. I have noticed that not an issue goes by where you don’t use the word ‘bespoke’. Well, here you go.
I bought this pair of chairs from a shop in town and you should have seen them. Foam crumbling out of their saggy bottoms, threadbare and sad looking. But I could see their potential. Plus, I’d promised myself that some day I’d have some comfy chairs and bookshelves for my writing area. Well, I snapped those chairs up and went to the Loomcraft factory outlet down I-40 and, voilà, I found that bespoke blue-gingko fabric and a local guy redid them for me and I’m just in love. That’ll be a lovely feature, don’t you think? Perhaps I could even go so far as to suggest a cover photo?
That’s my daughter. She looks pretty comfy, doesn’t she? Good thing I lucked into two of those chairs, right?
There is a second floor and, to be honest, I almost wasn’t going to show it to you because my teenagers, unlike the ones in your magazine, don’t actually make their beds every day and pick up.
But I reconsidered, after all, we're in this together aren't we? Maybe you’ve got some tips you’ve learned from those other families? I’m sure we can figure out what to do with these rooms. Maybe just shove everything under the beds like I did when I was a kid and my mom told me to clean my room? I’m sure your photography team has run into this situation at least once before and will have suggestions.
Speaking of your photography team, you might want to bring some lights and those white tent things that make it look like there’s adequate lighting inside. I don’t live in the tropics or have vistas to the ocean and apparently, when the architect designed this house, he didn’t think we’d need a lot of windows, hence my collection of interesting lamps.
I know we said we wouldn’t focus on the landscape, but I did want to mention that we have chickens. It seems that many of your most charming homes have a few decorative chickens roaming the grounds and we could turn ours loose for a while if you’ll help us catch them afterwards. The chicken coop is pretty cute with its little doors. It’s out back, behind the shed. You guessed it – we built those too!
I’d be happy to take some more photographs if that would be helpful, but I suspect you’ve got enough information here to make your decision. I’m delighted that it finally occurred to me to reach out and I certainly hope you’ll work us into your editorial schedule. I suspect there are others out there who might relate to our intimate setting.
Oh! I almost forgot. I don’t want to be too presumptuous, but I do have the perfect title for our article. I think it captures the essence of our home and provides relatability to the readers. I encourage you to consider: Fluffed Up By Living.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Your devoted reader.
originally published June 26, 2017