Changing States
“Movin’ back ta Texas!”

“Weeaaalll….” She said in her Texas southern drawl, “We sold the haaaaoooouse! (House) Weeeeeaaarrrrrrrrr moovin’ back taa Texas!” I was in a state of shock and not believing what I just heard.  “What? I did not know you even put the house on the market!” I said with disbelief. “We did for six hours! That’s all it took six hours!” She said with excitement. “Well, I want to come by and take more pictures before you take it all apart.” I said both happy for them and a little deflated myself. “Why are you moving?” I asked. She listed many reasons, all family related, two grandbabies, and good Tex Mex. I am a Florida Southerner raised on a diet of fried chicken, cornbread, and oranges but this Tex Mex food must be pretty good to cause you to get your boots on and get on back to Texas I thought as I hung up the phone. I drove in silence for a while and I let me mind wonder back to my first meeting with Paul and Pennie. Since their new house was still under construction we met at the Starbucks in Lake Sumter Landing three years ago.It was there at an outside table with a car alarm blaring at intervals in distance that I listened to their requests for their new home. “We want our house to have Hemingway, Tommy Bahama, and Key West Look” they said.  All these words congealed in my mind and I made a notation in their file “Eclectic Tropical elegance” with a nod to Papa Hemingway. I left the meeting looking forward to getting started since I know the Hemingway house and I have Key West in my bones.

• You know where it all starts…Paint
I had samples of cabinetry, granite and tile and based on that, I painted color boards for the house. We chose Quietude for the kitchen; it enhanced the beauty of the granite and cabinetry and Bagel complemented the grey and tan tile through the living room, dining room, and foyer. Both of the colors are from the neutral line of interior paints. Tip: I always use a Satin Finish because it reflects light and that enhances the color to keep the room bright.

• Establish a focal point
Paul and Pennie brought with them from Texas the console from their large entertainment unit. The console was made of burled wood and was perfect to house all the TV components. However, just a console with a TV sitting on it looked like early apartment and Paul and Pennie are all grown up now. We needed to create a strong focus to work with the console and accommodate the TV. The wood working specialist engineered a top piece (fake wall) that would fit to the console and create the illusion that the console had become an entertainment unit.  The faux wall created a sturdy mount for the TV and a user friendly place to hide the wires. The specialist created this wall by applying support boards to the wall and covering them with plywood. He then applied molding all the way around the faux wall to tie it into the console. The console slipped right under the finish molding and it looked like one piece of furniture. Tip: This has been such a great idea and I have used it many times for my customers. It takes up little space, it is user friendly to the TV, and creates huge visual impact. (An idea I borrowed from The W Hotel in Atlanta)

• The Illusion that two are one
To make the fake wall and the TV console look like one unit, this required the skill of a faux finish painter. She recreated the look of burled wood on the newly constructed wall and you cannot tell that they are separate pieces. To watch her create burled wood out of nothing is mind boggling.

• Furniture
The living room sofa and two chairs are from Lexington. I chose this set because it had the look of hand turned wood that reminded me of chairs in the Hemingway house. Tip: Anything with hand turned legs or arms is fabulous.

• Window Treatments
We had custom window treatments made for the living room! We chose a cornice and side panels for the slider. Beneath the side panels on the slider we changed the vertical out for a slide view. A slide view is like a honey comb shade that moves left to right rather than up and down. We chose side panels with an attached valence hanging from a beautiful decorative wooden rod, for the windows in the living room. The fabric on the valence and the cornice match and it looks lovely!

• Crown molding
We had seven inch crown molding installed throughout the main body of the house. Tip: This is a must have in any home. Also, nine foot ceilings and above should always get seven inch crown.

• Art work
The artwork in the home is a mixture of landscapes with boats, fish, and two amazing Sea Turtles. I was able to buy unique pieces for the home and they all pay homage to Key West and Papa.

• Accessories
The accessories are a mixture of blue and white pottery in the foyer, to crystal and glass in the dining room and a large tray of seashells on the coffee table. We mixed it all up to look more coordinated than contrived and matching!

• Rugs
All the rugs in the house are traditional wool rugs and they are beautiful and very durable. Why a wool rug and why traditional? That is what you find in Papa’s house!

• Chandelier
The chandelier above the dining room table is all glass and it is one to be envied. I chose this chandelier as a tribute to Hemingway’s wife Pauline. Her pride and joy was a hand blown Murano glass chandelier. This glass chandelier from a local retailer provided the clear glass look of Murano without the huge expense.

• All together
I love the way this house feels. It has the feeling of eclectic tropical elegance and there are lots of items that pay tribute to the historic inspiration of Hemingway. The only thing we don’t have is a six toed cat….. it isn’t really the Hemingway home in Key West if we don’t have a polydactyl or two.
So, I have mixed emotions about Paul and Pennie leaving because I have a sense, even if it is false, that I have a little ownership of this space. I so thoroughly enjoyed finding treasures to make their house a home that it does tug a little on my heart that they are going and it will be no more. That being said, the author Alan Watts penned, “The only way to make sense out of change, is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” So it is my wish for Paul and Pennie, that whether it is here in Florida or beneath the stars in Texas, I hope they dance!Attention all club presidents! We give free decorating seminars. It is lots of fun and very informative.

P.S. –Attention, club presidents! We give free decorating seminars. It is lots of fun and very informative. Call and schedule your club today or call Ruth your full service decorator in The Villages of Florida – Call Ruth your full service decorator at 352-804-2056.