4.30.2009

A small slice of the country life in Ojai

Here is our crazy and exciting attempt to capture a small slice of the country life just a few hours from work and not so far from the city that you can't find a home depot near by.  Ojai is about 25 miles south of Santa Barbara and about 12 miles inland from Ventura and the beach.  The population is about 8,000 and the valley is only about 12 miles from end to end.  No malls or parking meters to be found. We chose to look for real estate in an area called the Arbolada.  It is historic for the miles of winding roads, lined with native California Oak.  Most are 80 plus years old and because of strict regulations for preservation,  the trees have survived undisturbed by development.  Each lot is at least one acre with the  adjacent country side dotted with orchards of oranges, lemons and tangerines.  The Arbolada and much of the town of Ojai was envisioned by glass entrepreneur Edward Libby.  His home is still here and is a classic example of Early California architecture in the Spanish Revival style.  The Libby Stables,  designed by Wallace Neff are just up the road  and were recently sold to actress Reese Witherspoon. Prior to that the home was owned by designer Kathryn Ireland.  See the details of that house with this link www.housebeautiful/decorating/ireland
Our house was built in 1957 and is of no particular interest architecturally.  We purchased this house for the lot and setting among the spectacular oaks.  This is the rear of the house with a rather forlorn looking screened porch.
The prior owner live here for almost 30 years and most likely had some fun with a small home garden.  There is also a family orchard of citrus, about  a dozen trees in all.
Thing got a little out of control in the yard as the prior owner got more elderly.  We are now on our 5th dumpster to clear the site of the ivy, weeds and some really scary looking bushes.

And what country home would be complete without a shed!!
This is the front drive and front porch area.  Many of the windows were completely covered by bushes.


The Kitchen, in all its glory.  
Master bedroom. YIKES!  And yes, we now are using the fireplace in the corner.

Living room.
This shot gives a sense of the scale of the trees.  There are about a dozen Oaks scattered throughout the property.  I see a tree swing in my future.

Here is another shot from the rear of the house early this spring.  We had the house painted white and have cleaned up most of the lot at this point.
Well, things are looking better.  Just a glimpse of the progress made to date with more posts to follow.  Best to all~*~kelley

4.24.2009

More about Vintage Fabric

Here is a quick follow up post about vintage fabric.  Everybody is crazy about old printed feed sacks.  The down side is that now we are seeing reproductions and pretty soon they will be everywhere.  I particularly like the bolder stripes and like to keep the edges simple without ruffles or too much detail.  These are hemp and linen on a tobacco colored linen sofa.
Rag rugs are another great source for pillows.  You can find vintage runners on eBay fairly easily.  I usually wash them on the gentle cycle and use lots of fabric softener.  Almost all of the old rugs fall apart but are perfect for pillows.  I backed these with linen.
More rag rug pillows paired with a soft salmon colored french ticking from Textile Trunk.

This is one of a pair of wing chairs done in a vintage duvet cover on the horizontal with the seat in a graphic french burlap feed sack.  The pillow is a rag rug rehab!

Love this bold blue stripe.
This little bamboo day bed is outfitted in white denim with ticking bolsters and vintage pillows.
The blue floral pillow is linen. I found this one at East meets West Antiques in Los Angeles.  The also sell on 1stdibs.
Another view of the cool bergere chairs and a pair of love seats with tight backs.  The seats were pieced together with solid hemp the match the colors of the vintage striped sacks used.
This is a simple headboard purchased from Pottery Barn and slipped in a red stripe.  I used white denim for the welting and the back and sides.
Love the little bird pillow and the bark cloth sham.  I added another over sized bolster like the two used on the daybed.  These are really fun projects and don't cost a fortune.  I usually have my upholsterer make the pillows for me but the ones with no welting are easy for the home crafter.   Hope you like the end result.  I am working on a few more similar projects and will share when they are done.   best to all~*~kelley 

4.20.2009

California getaways#1: Catalina Island

Welcome to Catalina Island, just about an hours boat ride from the mainland off the coast of Southern California.  It is almost all in the hands of the Catalina Island Conservancy, thanks to the Wrigley Family Trust and will never be developed.  It really looks much the same as it has for the last 50 years.  The idea of Catalina as a resort destination really took hold in the late 1880's.  A lot could be purchased for $500 dollars. 
This is Avalon Bay as you arrive by boat into the main Harbor.  No need for a car over here,  you can walk everywhere or rent a golf cart and do a scenic tour of almost all of Avalon.
Lets start with a walking tour of some of the most beautiful vintage tile work anywhere.  This is the entrance to the historic Hotel Atwater which opened on July 1, 1920.  
Sprinkled throughout the island are tile plaques featuring birds and fish.  This is a fountain in the central plaza area.  The colors are really amazing.

I love the marlin plaque and the striking black on the front of this building.  It almost looks like a quilt.
T-shirt and tourist stuff every where you turn. There are also some great little bars and restaurants all along the main walkway of Crescent Ave. Try Anthony's or Steve's for seafood.
More historical tiles on the fountain walls
Incredible new tile work done on the Via Casino walk way by RTK Studios in Ojai, California


This building on the main walk way was once the Security-First National Bank, built in 1930.

The famous Tuna club and fish sculpture.  The Tuna club was built in 1924.  It looks pretty much the same and is still in operation.
The Holly Hill house is the oldest structure on the island with its interesting circular roof structure.  It was built in 1888 by Peter Gano the engineer who built Catalina's first fresh water system.  Mr. Gano was aided in the construction by his horse Mercury, who helped pull ropes to bring the lumber and construction materials up the hill.  True story!
Via Casino walkway arch.  It has newer decorative tiles to replace those lost in a destructive storm in 1988.
The weather on Catalina is always a little cooler in the summer and a little warmer in the winter than on the mainland.  It also tends to be less foggy during the months of May and June.

The Green Pleasure Pier located in the center of Avalon Bay can't be missed.  It was the official weigh station for sport fishing through out Catalina's history.  There are info booths and tour guides all along the pier.  Have at drink at Eric's and try the fish and chips at the end of the pier
The Harbor entrance is where all boats coming from the mainland must check in at.  If you want a mooring for the weekend the Harbor Patrol will guide you through that process or if you are coming over on the Catalina Express from Newport or Long Beach this is where you will get off.
Avalon harbor has a very Mediterranean look to it.  It really could be any where in Europe with the colorful houses and rocky shore line.  Almost every weekend the moorings fill up with boaters from all over Southern California.  If you don't have your own dingy to get ashore you can get a ride from the shoreboat for about 5 bucks.
This is the famous Casino built by William Wrigley Jr. (think gum) in 1928.  It is an amazing structure even today and you can see a movie on the inside or just walk the perimeter and check out the murals and vintage tiles around the sight.  Descanco beach is just west of the casino and is a great spot to rent a kayak or have a picnic.  The water is clear to at least 30 feet down. Its a bit like your looking into a fish bowl.  Look for the bright orange Garabaldi fish. 

Hope you enjoyed this quick tour.  For more information go to the Chamber of Commerce web sight at www.CatalinaChamber.com  Oh and guess what?  The Flying Fish Festival is just around the corner during the month of May. Now who could resist that!  ~*~kelley
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