Whew. So much has happened over the last few months, really, almost the past year. By early 2014, we were head over heels enjoying our loft in our hometown-on-the-prairie, which we had created in a building very sentimental to us - it had belonged to my parents and was the home of their long-time mom and pop jewelry and gift store. Mother and Daddy owned and ran HUGHES JEWELRY from 1952 until they closed, at the ages of 87 and 83, in 2007. So proud of them and their service to their community! We built the loft in order to have a place that would not only preserve a building that was once theirs, but to give us a home in Frederick in order to look after them, find caregivers, and be there for them as they aged.
After years of planning and months of work, we moved into the loft in July of 2012, after my HERO of a husband - Paul - and some wonderful people we hired to help us - built this Oklahoma 'nest' for us in this precious old building. I like to believe that we were able to give comfort and time spent to my parents during their last two years in Frederick, to ease their journey. We renewed old friendships and made new ones. We hosted our own personal guests, Arts Council events, even United States Senator Jim Inhofe in our hometown hideaway.
As Mother and Daddy declined, it became clear it was time to move them to assisted living, so in April of 2014, they did just that, with their family's help - we got them moved to a lovely place on the banks of the Brazos River in Waco, TX, not far from our Texas home -- and in the hometown of BAYLOR UNIVERSITY no less! (My Daddy's long-loved team, THE BAYLOR BEARS).
Shortly after we moved them, the loft suffered a plumbing 'tragedy' -- a plumbing fixture failed and flooded part of the loft, causing extensive damage to one end, AND flooding our as-yet-unfinished downstairs. This mishap and resulting damage has required many months of cleanup and repair -- and it all had to be done slowly, since I needed to be in Texas near Mother and Daddy's new assisted living home. What started in Frederick - the goal of helping my parents - now moved to Texas - and easing them into their new lives in assisted living and memory care, and being there for them.
They did well for several months, then much to our dismay, at separate times, each fell and suffered broken hips and began to decline. We lost Daddy to heart disease and other complications on November 4, 2014, and then Mother, even though she wasn't told outright that Daddy had left this earth...somehow seemed to know. She followed him to Heaven just four days later, on November 8, 2014. My grief has been pretty overwhelming.
So "LITTLE LOFT'' served it's original purpose - that of preserving an historic landmark (the original BANK OF COMMERCE with TOM WAGGONER of TEXAS' WAGGONER RANCH as it's very first president) in Frederick AND giving us a home here - and is now almost done being repaired, and we will be back - good as new - (or we should say, good as renovated!) very soon. **The SECOND Time Around!
Our love for our hometown remains the same as always, and we are excited to see what the future of Frederick holds!
One thing we DO know for sure...to save and preserve and re-imagine small-town downtowns all across America, and not just in Oklahoma...it first takes people who share a COMMITMENT. Then...it takes VISION. It takes COURAGE, it takes MONEY, and it takes TIME. It takes HARD WORK! It takes a WILLINGNESS TO SEE WHAT CAN BE...and to make those CHANGEs.
One of my favorite, and very appropriate quotes is: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
Here's to NEW EYES to our fellow Frederick, America hometown friends and neighbors!
And to those of you who follow Frederick on Facebook or who honor us by following our website and blog - we see you saying you miss us. You miss your hometown. So....come on home! Join us in the efforts to revitalize and restore a charming MAYBERRY of a city we all love - Frederick.
We'd love to have you!
Oh, wow, the month we have had. Thanksgiving and Christmas...did not happen traditionally for us...no big turkey dinner and tabletop done to the max, no Christmas FANTASIA decorating that I normally do....read on to see WHY. And to see pictures of progress! Not sure I'm going to be very 'verbally creative' today, but it's TIME for an update.
We have now....MOVED. That means moving 42 years worth of antiques, art, tableware collections and belongings....in the time-space of about 3 weeks, from Nov 20 - Dec 9, due to the quick sale of our Denton, TX home AND the homebuyers needing very quick possession. The loft is NOT finished, nor is the golf home renovation finished...so we're currently in 'transition' mode. Temporary housing! (more on that later!)
We moved...right smack into my Daddy being desperately and seriously ill - hospitalized 3 weeks due to dehydration, kidney failure, and pneumonia - and needing care after his hospitalization. So it's been hectic, to say the least. He is now doing MUCH better! I am so very grateful to his amazing Dr....and to God.
We have been working on the loft, though. We have made some AWESOME progress!
Here are several pics of the beautiful Victorian white kitchen cabinets...starting with the 'mantel hood' that will be above the stainless steel gas range:
and the cabinet above the refrigerator opening:
The farm/apron sink opening - with plate rack above:
And a 'not so happy' pic...just part of the damage caused to a new ceiling when our BRAND-SPANKING-NEW ROOF...leaked : ( ...even after the new roof installers came back to do a 'patch' job...
Paul did finally go on up to the roof himself though, and hopefully applied enough patch to stop the leakage. We think.
On to a happier note.......a pic of the CORNER of a tile border design that will be in the master bath:
And...some more of the kitchen cabinets once the CARRERA MARBLE counterop was placed...ooooh la la...
And a closer-up view of the countertop:
And here is my hero, Paul, who can leap tall buildings with a single bound! Oh Okaaay...it's just that his accomplishments are so many and so unfathomable to most people (how unimaginably long and hard he is willing to work to reach a dream - and never once complain) that I do border on obnoxious when I go on and on about him. In fact...I just came back in and re-wrote this part, as I was REALLY on my PAUL IS SUPER-MAN soapbox. So instead of bragging insufferably on all his accomplishments, I'll tell you about his most precious-to-his-own-heart treasure: He is the finest Daddy'Grandfather/Husband on earth. He adores his Mother. He treats my mother and father as if they were his own, and loves and serves them dearly. He is an amazing, amazing person. He is 'DADDY PAUL' to the grandchildren...and he is honestly like a 'child whisperer'...they *adore* him. So there. Hope that's not TOO over-the-top. But, as my daughters would say...true dat.
And so....that's about it for today. Will post more progress...soon.
Come back and see us at LITTLE LOFT!
We've got a funny conversation going - we being my husband, my 90 year old Daddy, and me - on the dynamics of hauling our lovely 120+ yr old ebony Steinway parlor grand piano..up the looong stairwell to the loft. A stairwell that TURNS, I might add...you reach the FIRST landing, do a 90 degree turn, and head up to the upper landing which leads to the loft's heavy-duty entry door.
The piano, a treasured anniversary gift from my husband to me, is 6+ feet long and I forget how many feet wide, but it is going to be verrry interesting to see how on earth it will go up those stairs. The stairs are WIDE enough...it's that turn that has us wondering. Still we are determined, so we shall see just HOW this works out.
(Update: We've measured carefully -- it will fit!)
Daddy just laughs and laughs when he thinks of the piano going up those stairs to the loft's living room -- and considering his day-to-day caregiving responsibilities with my mother, who is ailing with alzheimers, I am glad to finds something to chuckle about. He keeps telling us we need to sell tickets, so folks can stand down on the sidewalk and watch the action. : ) Personally I doubt anyone really cares, BUT it will be an interesting move! However, we did just recently visit with a gentleman there, a friend who my Daddy had told about the upcoming 'piano move', who said he was going to bring his lawn chair and sit across the street and watch! You gotta love a small town : )
I remember seeing many a movie, typically set in a big city somewhere, where a giant crane is hauling a big black grand piano many stories high, up into someone's apartment atop a building in wherever-big-city-USA. I would watch with some amusement, as I always found the idea of high-rise apartment living an oddity, having lived my entire life in wide-open-spaces county, Texas or Oklahoma. Having room to roam has always been normal to me - the 'piano moving issues' which folks who live in the high-rise aprtments might have - never even crossed my mind. Until now.
Not that the loft is a high-rise -- not by a long-shot. Still...it will mean there is a living room on a second floor, and our homes have always been single-family homes on lots in a city or out on a ranch, with living room on the main floor. So this WILL be different!
Right now, our piano is sitting in our current Denton, Texas home's family room, overlooking our back yard. Now...our home is for sale, and we're relocating to two places - LITTLE LOFT ON THE PRAIRIE in Frederick, OK, to be near and help my folks - and to the new home in Texas, halfway between our two daughters and their families - the grandchildren! : D
GRAND AVENUE and the GRAND PIANO...
It DOES seems like alot of trouble...BUT...since the home in Texas will be more Mediterranean/saltillo tile/casual, I wanted the piano in the more historic, Victorian and formal LITTLE LOFT. In historic and precious Frederick, Oklahoma.
And here is the truth: aside from the fact that in order to be near my precious parents,
I'll soon be living at and spending most of my time on the corner of Grand Avenue and Main Street at Little Loft on the Prairie and that if I want to play my piano, it needs to be where I am...there's still another reason:
Little Loft's hometown, Frederick, Oklahoma...has a GRAND history.
A thriving city established at the beginning of the 1900's, it was a bee-hive of activity in business, social activities, the arts, agriculture, education and religious life.
There is SO much documented history and photography, showcasing our storied past, from 'Catch-em'Alive' Jack Abernathy and his famous sons Bud and Temple, to the visit by President Teddy Roosevelt, to the pomp and celebration surrounding the laying of the cornerstones of our many churches,
to the railroad executive whose favor granted to our town assured him that the town would be named after his son Frederick...and so much more.
I myself remember Frederick from the early 1950's on...I was almost 2 years old when my parents moved to this Mayberry-of-a-place in 1952, and I remember the HEIGHT of the business community, the activities, the HUGE Christmas parades
with float after float after float (my now-86-yr-old mother posing as the beautiful 30-something BRIDE on one of them). I remember sidewalk sales and Crazy Days and all kinds of town business promotions. I remember the multiple clothing stores, the numerous drug stores with literally nickel and dime soft drinks, the 5 and 10 cent stores, the department stores. (Daddy and Mother owned the town's independently owned fine Jewelry Store, so that my be why I remember so much about he business life of the town.)
And OH, I remember the arts, too.
I remember we had SO MANY piano teachers, (mine was Miss Laura Hall), and every Spring those teachers joined forces to present us students in what we called 'THE FESTIVAL". I can't even remember HOW many spinet pianos were hauled in and placed down on the old wooden floor of the FHS gymnasium, as all of us well-tutored pitno students, who had practiced together for MONTHS and months on our duets, sat side-by-side with our duet partners at each piano. We performed IN UNISON, a duet at each piano, with probably eighteen or more pianos.
I CAN STILL HEAR IT.
And how we dressed up for it! We wore tulle and satin and lace and..and...it was just SO very, very special. I didn't realize that other towns didn't do that...I mean, I lived in Frederick, Oklahoma...and we did things WELL. We had GRAND style. We had Arts. Community. Business. Church. Sports. School. And most of all...Family and Friends.
And we still DO -- thanks to the fabulous people who have stayed here, raised families here, supported and been a part of this community their entire lives - AND to those who've moved back to 'Mayberry' out of love, to retire and invest their time and talents and energy into Frederick.
I am coming back to Frederick, along with my husband Paul,
(Here is his FHS Senior Class picture!)
...Paul...whose love, hard work, tireless energy and generosity has made it possible for us to reclaim and renovate this old building as a family home for the two of us...because I believe in Frederick.
I can see and feel something special, a presence, an aura of hope...the small-town 'magic.' Because even though, as is the case with so many small towns, it has struggled with declining population in the last couple of decades, it STILL has that 'glow' about it, to me. It is magical...it is home.
It radiates memories...and hope for its future.
Because sometimes...the FUTURE of a place relies strongly on remembering and capitalizing on it's rich HISTORY.
The architecture..of .these 100-plus year old buildings that line GRAND AVENUE...speak to me.
They say...come invest in me - you can afford me so much more than you can afford one like me in the city!
They say...invest in me, and you'll be rewarded with a town that makes leaps and bounds towards a healthier life!
They say...just LOOK at the joy, culture, art, history and entertainment that has been provided already by the foresight and hard work of Mrs. Dana Greer and the Frederick Arts and Humanities Council in the purchase and restoration of the historic RAMONA THEATRE, as well as theTillman County Historical Society in their vision and energy and hard work to create the PIONEER HERITAGE TOWNSITE & MUSEUM!
They say...invest in me, and you could be rewarded with a town full of arts and artists and galleries and gifts (as is the case with K C's on Main Street in Frederick!) and MORE.
It already has so MUCH of that...and I firmly believe it will have MORE. Having restored and renovated a historic landmark Queen Anne victorian home in Denton, TX's Oak-Hickory Historic District, our love of historic architecture now is focused on restoring and renovation our beautiful old family treasure, the HUGHES BUILDING, as our own family residence - the LOFT of our dreams!
Frederick has SO many quality, historic buildings.
So what BETTER place for my stately 120 year old Steinway grand...than GRAND AVENUE? in Frederick, Oklahoma?
Birthplace of... "THE FESTIVAL"? : )
Home and launching pad of talented and dedicated educators, businessmen/women, bankers, attorneys, physicians, coaches, professors, preachers, cattlemen, ranchers, rodeo champs, artists, successful entrepeneurs, founders of national companies, beauty queens, songwriters, singers...and the list could go ON and ON...
Because Frederick...is GRAND.
Don't let a little wear-and-tear-of-time fool you. It is GRAND. It once was, it still is, and OH it WILL BE even MORESO in the future. If you look at our downtown's time-worn historic structures with their handsome, quality-never-to-be-seen-again, historic architectural bones with possibilities out the wazoo...and you simply see dirty old builings...then might I suggest new EYES.
Like the character Lieutenant Dan in my favorite movie EVER - FORREST GUMP - got 'new laigs'... new EYES are the ticket!
Because it's true:
"THE REAL VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY CONSISTS NOT IN SEEKING NEW LANDSCAPES, BUT IN HAVING NEW EYES". - Marcel Proust
The GRANDNESS is still emanating from these lovely old buildings and cobbled brick streets in Frederick, Oklahoma...do you FEEL it? Can you SEE it?
And my cherished antique Steinway Grand...belongs on GRAND.
So THIS is what happens to little innocent girls who grow up in jewelry stores. Jewelry stores which also carry fine china, crystal, and sterling silver.
Diamonds and gold aside, I had no CLUE when I was younger, that my childhood surrounded by Daddy's and Mother's jewelry store, HUGHES JEWELRY of Frederick, OK (lots of history and vintage/historic Frederick pictures on the HISTORY page at http://www.hughesjewelrysince1952.com/) -- would turn me into a dishes *freak*. Note, 'dishes' being the umbrella term for china, crystal, sterling, etc...
But...that's exactly what I have become. Somehow, watching brides come in the store to shop for and register their fine china, crystal, and sterling silver patterns...wormed it's way into this girl's heart. Flipped the switch to "ON" in that inner collector in me, at a young age. Turned me into Medusa, the 9-headed fine dinnerware monster (holding a different maker and pattern with each head!) The fact that I am not alone, that several if not most of my friends also suffer from this affliction...is little comfort.
It goes right along with being a lover of historic architecture, which, if you grew up in the hometown of LITTLE LOFT - Frederick, OK - we were surrounded with. Beautiful turn-of-the-last-century buildings, brick streets, and wonderful people.
I learned to love *real* wood (not veneer), solid hardwood doors (not hollow-core), genuine brick and stone walls (not the fake stuff), real paintings and art (not prints), custom homes (not cardboard-and-staple cookie cutters), anything vintage, custom, and real -- I approve. In terms of buildings and architecture, it may be dirty, it may need work, but if it was made or built 60 or more years ago, you can bet it was made with quality, and hopefully, if it's been cared for at all, still has that quality.
Back to the porcelain passion...I can no longer remember all of the different patterns I have...and am running out of room to store them all! It's a sad (Paul might describe it that way, which is code for 'great' in Paula world) state of affairs.
I remember Lenox, Noritake, Haviland, Syracuse china. I remember Fostoria, Lenox, Noritake crystal, and the store probably carried more makers whose names I just don't recall. There was Wallace, Towle, Lunt, Reed and Barton sterling, to name a few. And 'the Store' as we always called it, carried the Metlox pottery - the craze of the 70s - my Sculptured Daisy was Metlox, and I remember Charlotte Marcom McPherson had Sculptured Daisy too. My friend Kathy in Denton has Sculptured Grape. I did get over my love for the Sculptured Daisy, and no longer use or collect it.
WHICH is lucky for me, since I collect almost every *other* pattern under the sun now. : / Because of the internet, and sites like eBay, replacement-style china sites, and more... I (and you) can find ANYthing your little heart desires or discovers.
Years ago, I began collecting antique English, German, and French porcelain patterns, as well as several other heavy gold Lenox patterns which I had always admired in Daddy's store, and in which I now have complete services. I do believe I could seat the town of Frederick at a sit-down dinner, and have dishes to spare. How 'sad'. (great).
But it doesn't stop there. I have sterling silver sewing items, as well as beautiful sterling manicure and grooming items. The antique Kirk, Steiff, Watson, Alvin, and other wonderfully ornate old Victorian sterling makers of the late 1800s and early 1900s have *stolen* my heart, when it comes to silver.
A little sampling of some of the hoard / addiction / illness:
The above is an English pattern by Royal Chelsea. I so love the turquoise enameling! And of course...the gold. Duh.
These gold-encrusted vintage Pickard charger plates have the most elaborate, elegant pattern...perfect as chargers/service plates...they could be dinners, but I don't want to damage the gold with knives and forks!
These English salad plates, made by one of my favorite old makers, Coalport, look fabulous on gold-rimmed dinner plates. The ornateness and swirls of the gold border is what I particularly love.
I have dinner plates and salad plates in this lovely old embossed pattern by German maker Black Knight, which was a fine quality manufacturer...the ornately embossed border around the edge of these ivory plates is raised, just exquisite.
One of my all-time favorites for simplicity and elegance:
This is, of course, Lenox WESTCHESTER. I remember as I was registering for patterns at my parents' store, this was the one I wanted. However, Mother didn't think it appropriate for me to register for a higher-end pattern when my parents owned the store from which friends and family would likely give the gift. So I chose Lenox Eternal, with the simple gold band. I later added this Westchester pattern and have a service for 12. (Oh, and this pattern looks FABulous with the above Pickard gold chargers/dinners...)
And below, I think I have mentioned this one before, it's a 'new' (newly acquired by me, not a new pattern) favorite, as I adore birds:
This is the England maker Royal Crown Derby pattern "Old Avesbury" - and how I love it.
And STERLING items, other than flatware for the table:
Here's a favorite:
This is an old sterling initial stamp/embosser for letter-writing, etc. Love it.
Then this - though I don't know how ladies used it, can anyone tell me?
It's called a 'darning ball'. Did they use it to hold on the other side of the fabric, as a firm surface for the needle to touch, when mending? I don't know...just love the handle and the unusualness of having one today.
I love this one, too:
It's either a crumb brush, to remove crumbs from the table, or a clothing lint brush. Either way, the handle and the base that holds the bristles, are gorgeous and ornate.
Here is a new treasure: I commissioned a wonderful artist to paint an oil painting of several of my favorite antique and other ornate sterling spoons, some of which I bought to sell, and no longer own. Others I do own, and I asked her to paint the monogram "C" on one of my favorite antique patterns. Here are two excerpts from that painting:
and another section of that same painting includes the front and back of a set of sterling demitasse I bought to 'flip' -- almost kept them, but decided to turn the profit. Here is that section:
(the two images at left are the front of the handle of a set of antique Victorian demitasse spoons, and the lattice-work *etched* back side of the spoon's bowl, which had a gold-wash on the inside. The handle was also engraved "Father" on the back -- an amazing antique set.)
So...there you have it. A small example of the terribly sad (code: absolutely great) thing that happens to little girls who grow up in jewelry stores around sterling, china, and crystal. They become addicted to shiny things.
I've thrown in the towel, and I admit it, I'm hooked.
Is there a 12-step program for this?
Am I talking about the NFL players and their recent negotiations? (Poor under-paid babies...how do they EVER manage? ; - ) Am I talking about the Dems and Repubs and the USA debt crisis debate? (Don't get me started...and anyway, I'd need a WHOLE LOT MORE 'waaaahs' for *that*...)
No. It's just me, whining because progress on LITTLE LOFT has reeeeally slowed down, due to the awful heat. It is 109 degrees at 6 pm today in Frederick, Oklahoma. That is just wrong. I have never been much of a global warming fan, but this is tempting me. It's just ridiculous. Lord of Heaven...please send cooler temperature and rain to these parched lands!
He will. Eventually. When it DOES cool off, we'll be back on track.
And now - enough whining...here is some GREAT news:
BIG BIG YAAAAAYY! We are so excited! LITTLE LOFT has a NEW ROOF!!
Thanks to ABOVE and BEYOND CONSTRUCTION of Frederick, OK ... Casey Dombrowski, Michelle and Joe Wood and crew...we have a SUPER quality, brand-spanking new roof, that should keep us in the dry for years and years to come...hopefully about 100! : )
They did a great job, and Michelle was kind enough to share some pics with me, so here are a few:
Here is the CRANE that lifted the STUFF, that went on the ROOF that JOE built.
(and others built it too, but using just one name makes my poem better)
And...here is the VIEW from the top of the ROOF after the CRANE lifted the STUFF to the roof that JOE built.
Next....here is the GUY carrying the STUFF to make the new ROOF where you see such a VIEW from the ROOF that JOE built:
And lastly, here is the GUY whose name is JOE standing on the CRANE that lifted the STUFF to the top of the ROOF that has such a VIEW from this ROOF that JOE built!
THANK YOU, ABOVE AND BEYOND CONSTRUCTION!
Now, for ANOTHER HUGE "YAY!" Want to tell you about this awesome, awesome fine cabinetry shop near Denton, DOZIER CABINET WORKS, owned by our friend Kevin Dozier - who also created the cabinets for Little Loft's 'parent' - the Queen Anne Victorian we restored in Denton.
They've sent us the drawings/plans for the NEW KITCHEN CABINETS for LITTLE LOFT! Oh yes, we are SO pumped, to almost be this far along...first we need to finish several projects, before the cabinets can go in, but the drawings are absolutely wonderful! We're pumped. If I can figure out how to do it, I will post the pics...(well, they'll be tweaked some from what you see here, but it will be close). Ok, here goes:
Nope. Didn't work. Ok, so I can't post the drawings, but I *can* post an image of the 'general idea' that we're going for in the loft's kitchen, aka white cabinetry (think Victorian vintage kitchen), two tiers of upper cabs with the top ones being paned glass fronts, white carrara marble countertops, farm apron-front sink, wood floors. Here is a picture I googled/bing-ed and saved, b/c it reminds me of what I want, albeit LITTLE LOFT's kitchen does *not* have this much space - but you get the idea:
So you get the idea. Our uppers will be taller, with the top glass-front tier, and our floors will be wood. And about half this size. : ) And my knobs won't be dark, they'll be...not sure yet.
Hmmmm. While I'm waiting for the weather to cool off, I've been searching up pictures online that give me inspiration for how to use things I already have, and here is the 'feel' of what I will be shooting for. Note: These are NOT my things/furnishings, but mine are quite similar, and this is the general 'idea' of the loft. Think neutral, pastel walls, black and white vintage tilework in the bathrooms, white cabinetry, marble counters, pedestal sinks, wool and needlepoint rugs, antiques.
SOME "STYLES" *LITTLE LOFT* LIKES:
(very close to my style)
(love these lines - will also have these Queen Anne lines and some wingbacks)
I *do* love PINK. And ROSE. And RASPBERRY. And IVORY. And CRYSTAL.
The tall ceilings, pastel walls, rosey damask, area rug...even the coffee table...have elements of the things we have that will go into the loft.
And, started not to put this one, as these furniture pieces are a bit more bulky and the wood tones are lighter and newer than our more delicate antique ones, but the room colors, and the tufted leather are things I really like. The wall color here, the buttery gold, is something we'll be using. And, as I said, I DO LOVE DAMASK:
A little too 'new' for my taste, but the colors, the fringe, the leather...that's what I'm liking.
So. You get the picture. The kitchen appliances have been bought and awaiting delivery since we bought them during a Spring SALE...and we're just waiting to get everything ready for them! Big YAY!
Check back with us...it's not ALL about the great roof or the 'look of the loft'...I want to write about the REASON for the loft, and our heart's deepest feelings about WHY we wanted this little haven in our hometown. And I will. Soon.
NOTE: To see the FIRST installment of "our favorite things", scroll down and read the entry just after this one.)
We continue to move along with the 'raw materials' that will be incorporated into LITTLE LOFT...based on historically appropriate materials that would have been in a circa 1900 home - in our case, a home in the upstairs of a Victorian era bank building. (Our building was originally the BANK OF COMMERCE, in it's 'first life', and that bank shut it's doors in 1929 - the year of the notorious stock market crash.)
The living/dining rooms of the loft are ONE HUGE SPACE, however we will have a little 'room divider' type of design on each side, where the two areas meet. Here are some pictures of ORIGINAL materials salvaged from old Victorian structures up near Chicago:
and another set:
and still another:
And...here is a 'room setting' which shows how these would have been used: (look at the left side of the below photo...) --
And another setting to view the 'columns idea', though our ceilings are much higher, 11' 5" - still it gives you the idea:
AND NOW...here is the drawing of the two columns we've ordered, to sit atop a short 'divider walls' on each side of the space where our LOFT LIVING meets LOFT FORMAL DINING:
If you OWN a Victorian /Edwardian era home, original columns like this may be 'old hat' to you, but we are excited to bring to LITTLE LOFT ON THE PRAIRIE's interior upstairs - originally professional offices (lawyers, financiers, insurance agents, etc) a little taste of the gorgeous interiors of our former home which we restored in Denton, TX:
We're very excited about the materials that are arriving!
Our former historic home, above, had GORgeous original stained glass...and lots of it. So, it kind of worked it's way into our souls. You don't 'get over' living with big stained glass antique windows, and watching the shadows of the tree branches dance, lit from behind by the sun in the west. The one in this home's dining room was especially enchanting. So we had to find some for the loft! This stained glass window, purchased at a Fort Worth, TX salvage company, is already installed:
And there is one MORE stained glass window going in - don't have a good pic of it, quite yet.
The terrible heat is slowing everything down, but we're moving along, slowly. When will LITTLE LOFT be inhabitable? Hmmmm....not sure right now. It will be whenever it will be.
We'll keep you updated!
The loft decor is something I've spent ALOT of time thinking about. Since even BEFORE the days of restoring our Denton, TX 1898 Queen Anne Victorian on a street that was known as "Silk Stocking Row" (it was where so many of the architectural gems of various eras and styles were built)...we have collected alot of antiques over the years. We just love old things --the patina of old wood. Hand-carved curliques. The smell of freshly oiled wood. The wavy glass in doors and windows. The gorgeous details in 100 year old backplates and doorknobs.
So here's a 'sneak preview' of some of the things we'll likely include in the LOFT -- and honestly, some of them might never make it there, they may stay at home. We'll see.
The top of a lovely old armoire from a Denton antique shop:
A favorite treasure: An ornate floral Victorian/Edwardian sterling serving fork - I like to collect a variety of patterns as serving pieces, rather than have them match my flatware. FUN! I have been fortunate to find some lovelies...
I kind of have a 'thing' for needlepoint rugs...
Original Martha Robbins watercolor of my girls, Tracy and Tiffany, on the gingerbread-laden porch of our Victorian home - based on a photography portrait by Don Barnes of Denton -- this was part of a series of large works of Martha's that made the rounds of various art exhibits and galleries in Denton...before we purchased it. Not sure I can let this one come to the LOFT...I adore it so. We shall see. My children at age 5, almost 6, about two weeks after we bought our historic home in Denton:
Pretty old PUNCH PAPER MOTTO from Victorian times - I love these old things and have just a few. Back then, FAITH (Christianity) was something people openly and frequently wrote about, in their novels and poetry, and ladies (and maybe some men, who knows?) did needlework that depicted that faith.
A favorite picture frame:
Vintage artist limited edition of the lovely old home we restored in Denton - a gift to Paul and me from Elizabth Lomax, the lovely lady who grew up in the home - she moved there as a child in 1906 and was 79 when she sold us the home she had inherited:
I'm sort of (understatement) a 'dishes freak' -- I blame it on growing up in a jewelry store, looking at all the china patterns the brides chose! -- and this one is OLDE AVESBURY PATTERN, made by Royal Crown Derby, England. Introduced in 1932, a design taken from an embroidery. It is *maybe* my FAVE pattern yet! I LOVE BIRDS!
A closeup of a part of a vintage Madeira tablecloth-
The faucets in the master:
Some of the exposed brick - not finished yet:
A closeup of a corner of a mixed media art piece my daughter Tracy of TRACY WADE ART did for me. Recognize the picture? It is the FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of Frederick, the Victorian one before our current structure - she included it in this painting called 'LOVE' - her gift to me:
The beadboard ceiling in what will be our Study (the whole loft had beadboard, most of it was covered up by old dropped ceiling tiles, which we (Paul) took down:
So there are just a FEW....of MY FAVORITE THINGS... as well as 'raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens'....and all the other lovely things from that song.
If you were thinking this would be one of those industrial/modern/lots of steel and pipes showing.......noooo. First of all, that's not my style, and second...well I guess this is related to the first...we're not going to invest in doing that style when we already have this look. But we WILL have exposed brick in some areas...the old bldg and the things that have been done to it in earlier years isn't going to allow us to remove ALL the plaster....but we will expose as much as we can. I'm determined!
Check back, as I'll probably expand THIS blog, rather than write a new one with the same decor theme.
I look forward to using some of these elements, once the LOFT is ready to live in!
Work on LITTLE LOFT ON THE PRAIRIE continues...but it has DEFinitely felt the effects of the 100+ (as in 109, 110, 113!) degree heat wave. Things have slowed down, but our wonderful drywallers have been at it faithfully. They sometimes come in at 3:00 a.m. and work till 10:00 or so, to beat the heat. It's just nuts. Paul and I were there working yesterday, repairing the beadboard (btw, it's HOTTER up by that 11 1/2 foot high ceiling!) and doing some other things in town, and we can verify - it is just CRAZY, STUPID HOT.
I've *always* wondered WHY on earth SW Oklahoma was such an oven in the summertime, when it seemed our city-of-primary-residence -- Denton, TX -- which is further south than Little Loft Land (Frederick, OK) -- is always about 10 degrees cooler. I don't know. Maybe it's the topography, maybe it's the air flow, maybe it's all the trees down in Denton...whatever it is, it's not as hot there. But close.
Speaking of PROGRESS on the LOFT...as I said, I want to brag on the drywallers and the fabulous work they are doing. The LOFT is looking wonderful! I CAN SEE WALLS! I know where everything is going now, because I can see the actual sheetrock! Paul and I have been looking at it on the plans for a good long while now, so of course we knew where each room was, and when he got it framed up, that was even better. But the sheetrock....helps so much!
CHECK IT OUT: (below pic is entry hall looking at open LIV & DIN doorways)
AND...standing in the LIV room looking out toward the entry hall through the LIV and DIN doorways...
NEXT is a nice LONG SHOT of the OPENNESS...looking through the LIV, DIN, into the KITCHEN and beyond to the STUDY DOOR...in which Paul is standing...
HERE IS NICE SHOT of the SOUTH WALL of the DINING ROOM...where a nice buffet will one day replace the piles of insulation, we hope...
AND HERE IS A SHOT of the KITCHEN - imagine a dishwasher, sink, gas range w/hood, microwave, refrigerator -- you know -- the usual suspects you'd find in a kitchen...ONE DAY SOON (if it will cool OFF, have mercy!)...
And of course, the HALL BATH...from the doorway, looking into the SHOWER (through a ladder : )
And it will include the other 'amenities', aka pedestal sink and toilet.
NEXT is the MASTER SITTING ROOM...gas fireplace insert framing... (this is where that lovely Victorian mantel and over-mirror - pictured on one of the PROGRESS ON THE LOFT pages - will go...but NO flames, NOT woodburning...)
the DOUBLE FRENCH DOORS with STAINED GLASS TRANSOM ABOVE going from MASTER SITTING ROOM into MASTER BEDROOM:
MASTER BATH, several areas: Double sink vanity area, toilet nook, clawfoot tub...in that order:
(but this old toilet is not the one we're using...ha! Can anyone think of a creative use for it? I don't know yet...it has pretty lines, but after all, it *IS* a...toilet.
Clawfoot tub area;
The future bookcase wall of the STUDY...
(and there is a "NOOK" with a window, off the study...didn't get a great pic of it yet)
Then the TRANSOM on the MASTER SUITE ENTRY HALL WALL, going from the STUDY entering the MASTER SUITE - installed to let some natural light into the master bath behind it:
Some of the BEADBOARD CEILINGS - as of yet, not painted/finished:
and some of the hardwood floors, which will be either repaired, sanded, and stained...or replaced, depending on which room:
Sooooooooo...........that's a little preview of the rooms, only I didn't include the guest bedroom shots. Another day. Or should I say another wee hours of the morning when all normal people are in bed asleep. I *have* to go to bed.
Can't WAIT to be able to post MORE shots of the actual rooms all done! Or at least being painted/stained/woodwork going on.... it's a process.
A looong, hot process. That we are SO excited about!
So here is the deal...I put the title word 'local' in quotations, because the artist may LIVE here, but the ART is now all over the country! You may already know it -- but if you didn't, I'm proud to let you know that Frederick, OK (LITTLE LOFT'S hometown) is the home of JENNY PERRY, a faabulously talented mosaicist. That's the *real* word for a mosaic artist...and wow, is Jenny wonderful!
Nationally recognized for her meticulously crafted works of art, and quite a successful businesswoman, Jenny can be found in her studio on MAIN STREET in Frederick, OK...just a stone's throw from LITTLE LOFT. In fact, I can look out from the LOFT...and see Jenny's studio. Love that! She's patiently waiting to come 'have tea' with me in LITTLE LOFT...soon, Jenny...soon!
I can't WAIT to own one of her works...she does these FAB angels that I love...but not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill cheesey angels. Hers are COOL. They have ATTITUDE. I *WANT ONE*.
Just to show you what I mean....check these out:
....OH how I love this one...and another:
I know! I hear you -- you're already wanting to commission Jenny to put together YOUR next fabulous piece of art for YOUR home. Here's how to contact her:
Then, Dana Greer, a driving and creative force in the Frederick community, is the widow of the late Larry Greer, who was a treasure. He was a renowned artist, and one of Oklahoma's most acclaimed artists. One of my favorites is his depiction of the old (now gone) KATY DEPOT in Frederick, which was partially destroyed in the 1973 tornado, and was later moved. (The Frisco Depot has been restored and is part of the PIONEER HERITAGE TOWNSITE near the Tillman County Courthouse) -- here is the artist's rendition of the old KATY DEPOT:
The ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL, begun by and still spear-headed by Mrs. Greer...continues to grace the community with concerts, festivals, and other art and music events, which enhance the quality of life in our sweet town!
THANKS TO DANA and her LARRY...and to JENNY...for ALL the aesthetic beauty and enjoyment you've added to Frederick, OK! We know your art now resides EVERYwhere...and we are proud of you.
And...I can't close a blog on ART without mentioning the lovely OKLAHOMA ARTS INSTITUTE at QUARTZ MOUNTAIN RESORT --
it is a WONderful offering, showcasing and training budding artists from all over our state. You'll want to not only find out MORE about how you might be able to attend (or teach), but also on how you might acquire some of the fabulous art from the alumni of this great art institute, right here in SW Oklahoma -only about an hour from LITTLE LOFT'S home of Frederick, OK! Here's more info:
Hey...are YOU an artist, looking for a lovely place to live/work/open a studio? You'll never find nicer people or a more welcoming community than Frederick, Oklahoma! We'd love to have you! AND...as mentioned...you'd be only an hour from the lovely ART INSTITUTE at Quartz Mountain Resort. Check our LINKS pages to contact our Chamber of Commerce Director, Sharon Bennett. She'll give you all the info you need!
We're getting there!
We have had plumbers, electricians, sheetrockers, helpers, movers, HVAC guys, people helping us salvage the vintage wood...you name it...we've had the people there! And, just so you know, Paul and I have both been working on design (both of us), putting up walls (Paul), picking out fixtures (me) ... and on and on and on.
It is all taking - of course! - longer than we'd hoped - BUT, we've done this before, so we KNEW this would probably happen. Still, it's been awhile, so we're antsy to get it done. And of course, things keep adding up...our budget is blown, but it's gotta all be done, so be done it will!
As I type, I'm watching DIY and thinking about all the antique pieces and accessories I'm going to bring into the loft. I've been mentally cataloguing my 'collections' (of everything!) and trying to decide what goes to the loft, and what stays home. Making a list, and checking it twice! At LEAST twice!
The coolest thing that's been happening lately...is that old friends and new, in Frederick, have been seeing our 'open door' and coming on upstairs to see what the loft is looking like. Hopefully they're 'catching our vision!' (NOTE - IT'S A DANGER ZONE UP THERE, lots of *OLD RUSTY* **NAILS** and "STUFF" so PLEASE don't enter without permission, for your own SAFETY'S SAKE - and our SANITY : ).
Till a week or so ago, it still had LOTS of old storage items from the days when my Daddy owned the building, now moved out for him to decide what he'd like to do with those things. And, the stacks of cool old wood we saved from tearing out some non-original closets (built with GORgeous old floorboard wood!) have been taken out by some great guys we hired to do some 'heavy lifting' and taken to another location to work on. The sheetrockers are covering the walls now, so FINALLY...our *vision* is becoming obvious as the rooms take shape!
Our design/floor plan includes an upper entry landing and secure door and entrance, beyond which is our loft ENTRY HALL. This hallway used to extend almost the full length of the building, 100 ft, but has been modified to accomodate our plan.
Located in this entry space is what we refer to as the HALL BATH, which is a 3 piece - shower, toilet and corner pedestal sink. Also, from this entry hall are two large open double doorways, one of which opens onto the LIVING ROOM...a large, open space that flows right into the DINING ROOM, separated only by a low pony wall on each side of the room, topped with a round column we've added, which rises to the ceiling. This 'frames' the 'entry' to the dining room, nicely. The dining room also opens out to the entry hall via another large double doorway.
(These spaces used to be very closed-off -- offices and 'cubby holes' constructed to serve the purposes of the lawyers, insurance agents, financiers, and others who 'officed' upstairs long ago. Each office was CLOSED OFF by a heavy wood door and transom, so there WAS no openness. Now there is! Sooo cool to look down through that space! And, before you ask...no, we didn't take down any load-bearing walls. You would not BELIEVE how well-built and sturdy this old building was and is!)
Going on -- We've also included a GRANDCHILDREN'S BEDROOM, which will probably also serve as a craft and hobby room...
Of course there's our KITCHEN - a great u-shaped work space which includes all the necessary appliances in stainless steel, one of which is a Sharp under-counter microwave...looked so cool, and gave us that added upper cabinet space, so we had to try it -never had had an under-counter one before - we'll let you know how it works out! The kitchen will also have (maybe not right at first...but we'll get there) a great wrap around window seat. There's also a wonderful walk-in pantry - one bit of our limited storage!
We also designed the space to include a LIBRARY/STUDY, complete with beautiful mahogany desks and bookshelves, buffet, lounge chairs, all working together to create a very warm, rich atmosphere - enhanced in this room in particular, as here we are restoring the gorgeous vintage woodwork in is original stained color. (Much of the rest of the loft's vintage woodwork is or will be painted.)
There is a combination of exposed brick and plaster on the vintage walls (the brick exterior walls), and the beautiful new smooth 'plaster look" interior sheetrock walls. The interior walls will be a combination of exposed brick, neutral shades of paint, off-white woodwork, along with the beautiful deep wood tones and antiques.
The ENTRY HALL to the MASTER SUITE features a unique, stunning antique door, salvaged from an old Frederick pastor's parsonage years ago. The lady who lived there (it wasn't a parsonage then) didn't want the door, and sold it to me, and it has lived in EVERY home we've had since then - including the 1898 Queen Anne Victorian home we restored in Denton, TX's Oak-Hickory Historic District. (the home we call the loft's 'parent' -- it got us going on historic renovation!)
That lovely old home, which we bought in 1980 and raised our children in for the next 17 years, featured *8* gorgeous Victorian mantels - they get into your soul - had to have one for the loft. I finally found one that originally came from an old mansion in FORT WORTH, TEXAS. Now, since Ft Worth is the place my parents, R.W. and Dorthy Hughes met and married, and since we bought our loft building from my parents, who owned and ran jewelry/china/crystal store was there in this building for 55 years... I felt the Ft Worth mantel was *screaming* 'pick me, pick me!' -- AND it was an easy drive over to pick it up! So (I'm getting ahead of myself here)...we bought it to grace the MASTER SITTING ROOM...which I'm getting to.
Now...back to the ENTRY into the MASTER AREA...
The afore-mentioned 'angel door' is a wonderful Victorian paneled door with ornate carvings, and features an upper window of original frosted glass with angels in a belfry etched as the design -- just perfect for our space!
It opens into the MASTER SUITE ENTRY HALL which will have a console table and mirror (or painting, whatever seems best...when we get to that point!)...and it leads directly into the MASTER SITTING ROOM.
NOW! To what I was saying...the 'piece de resistance' of this sitting room which adjoins the actual MASTER BEDROOM...has to be that fabulous Victorian mantel. It features grooved columns, candle stands, and a lovely beveled mirror over the mantel, just lovely. And, like I said, it came from FORT WORTH...can't beat that! Where R.W. and Dorthy met and married...and then their path wound around, and finally led them to FREDERICK, OK!
The SITTING ROOM will likely include a sofa, chairs, dressing mirror, etc...a place to enjoy the fire, read a book, get dressed.
Double french doors with paned window-lights will open from this room into the MASTER BEDROOM. Above these double french doors is a transom (transoms will be throughout the loft above any of the remaining doors) - but this one is special. It is a lovely stained glass piece which I bought there in Frederick from SWEET MAGNOLIA'S ANTIQUES, years ago. It's home! (or it will be, soon!)
The MASTER BEDROOM also features a beautiful stained glass window - another great find from FORT WORTH, TX, from an architectural salvage place, there.
And of course, ahem, it's quite likely we'll have to 'use the facilities' while we're there...so we've included a MASTER BATH, which will feature a double-sink vanity, a shower, an old Victorian claw-foot bathtub (from our old home on West Oak Street in Denton, TX), and a little toilet alcove.
Then there's the closet...the master closet, which will back up to and be accessible to the laundry room, which features a tankless water heater. Always wanted to try one, now we are!
Forgot to mention the grandkids' bedroom also has a closet...one we created...Lord knows we'll need one! I have *stuff* and need closet space!
There is also a beautiful windowed space, which was created when we divided up the once-very-long hallway up there to create an HVAC closet. In so doing, we *also* created a lovely space accessible from the LIBRARY, which we call the LIBRARY NOOK. It has a great window and a view of the TILLMAN COUNTY COURTHOUSE, and will be the *perfect spot* to read a book or work on...whatever.
So...are you getting the picture? We're SO excited! Have always wanted to do a loft, and this one enables us to be in Frederick - where my parents live - to help them through their elder years. MY HUSBAND ROCKS! His heart is PURE GOLD...he wants to do this not only for us, but for them.
And so there you have it...till the next time. Tired of typing, hope I didn't mispell too many words! : /
This will be a 'short and sweet' one... just was reminded of how important it is to let people know how much we love them. This reminder came when I stumbled back over recording artist JEWEL's video of her song, "SATISFIED". Thanks, CMT. And you can see and listen to the video on this page, below left...WELL worth the listen -- you might need a hanky. I did.
What a lovely reminder...to pick up the phone to call those you love; to hug that precious one you live with and love every day, but maybe don't always tell them; to do it while you can.
I thought this might be appropriate, since it's right in keeping with one of the MAIN REASONS we're doing our 'Little Loft' in the first place...how much we love my parents.
Just a little part of Jewel's lyric says...
"...did you say it, did you mean it...did you lay it on the line, did you make it count? Did you look 'em in the eye 'n did they feel it? Did you SAY IT IN TIME, did you say it out loud? 'Cause if you did, hon...then you've lived some...and that feeling inside...that's called SATISFIED."
What a poignant message...and what proof that beautifully written (& delivered) music can indeed touch the soul, melt the heart...and change the person.
I was particularly struck by 'DID YOU SAY IT IN TIME?' So, if you still can, call your parents and tell them how much you love them. Or your children. Or whoever you need to call.
Just sayin'....you never know.
So THERE! A little 'straight from the heart' of LITTLE LOFT...
(Note: This first post actually should be dated 3-27-2011; can't figure out how to change the time from Feb 2010, when I first began thinking about blogging...)
Here is the deal on our 'new journey' of historic renovation:
About 15 years or so ago, my husband and I bought this beautiful old building in Frederick, Oklahoma from my Daddy, who had run his business there for over 50 years...55 to be exact. We had already restored a knockout gorgeous old 3-story Victorian home in Texas, and so saw the potential of the wonderful second floor of this circa 1903 former Bank Building-turned-office-building (the loft!) - a second floor that Daddy used mostly for storage. But...wow. To actually decide to DO IT...to spend the money...to go for it. *Gulp*. Still...we just can't resist! It is a 'labor of love', and we never have any intention of selling it...talk about "places of the heart"...! This definitely holds a HUGE place in our hearts.
Here are our thoughts on the reasons why we want to do it:
**This little town was good to us. We both love it. It's streets are filled with wonderful memories...it's homes and businesses are filled with wonderful people. It's FUTURE...we believe...is filled with wonderful opportunity! It was "MAYBERRY" in the 1950s and 60s when we grew up there...and we owe it something. Hopefully our revitalizing this wonderful old building will be good for this town we love.
**Another thing is...so MANY things change. People move so often, jobs change, houses change, kids grow up & move away, bodies change, we grow old, we lose ones we love, life's seasons change. But...with this building...IT IS STILL THERE. Even through all the years and all the changes -- that the town has undergone, that we have undergone. It's a part of my heart. I remember playing there as a child, in the upstairs. I will always remember that my parents ran their business and were in this building for 55 years of my life...MOST of my life, up until 2007 when Daddy retired at age 86. So...now that he's 90 and Mother's 86...it gives me a sense of 'home' that fortunately, my husband feels too. He adores my parents, he adores me, and he is willing to work hard, spend his/our money revitalizing this old building...just because he loves me. When the time comes that we no longer have our parents living...we feel like we'll always have a sense of their presence, because of the building -- even more than the memories, gratitude and love that we'll always feel.
And so...even as we 'change' this building to a more beautiful state of being...the feeling is 'some things NEVER change'. The sense of home, of roots.
**My folks are elderly, my husband's mother is in a nursing home in the same town, and we want our own place so that we can be there part-time. Our kids are grown, busy with their own kids, and we have the time to do this. So if our thought was that we owe our little hometown something...multiply that times a million -- and you might have a fraction of what we owe our parents.
**We think this little town has a BIG future! We think it could build on the start of city leaders and concerned citizens, all of whom are also visionaries...and become even more of a 'destination' small town. A piece of history, a charming, artsy, weekend 'drive-down-from-OKC' ( or 'up-from-DFW' ) kind of town. It already has events that people from all over the state and country flock to several times a year... it has talented artists and could easily become a magnet for more! It has lovely old downtown buildings which could follow our lead...and become wonderful, restored, historic architectural treasures -- filled with life, flowers, business, art, music, and more. What a fabulous town for this to happen!
Sooo...enough for now. It's March 27, 2011, and we are SERIOUSLY underway with the demolition, wall framing, electricians and plumbers bringing everything up to 2011 code...it's on the way. Like I said...HERE WE GO...