Guidance and Inspiration

My maladjusted middle child got into the car on Saturday sweaty and a bit grimy and queried, “Why does life have to be so discouraging?”

Which is serious business when you’re eight. Or the mommy of an eight year old. These are the kinds of things that keep us awake at night wondering if they are ok, if they are over-scheduled, if they have friends.

He had just played soccer with his friends, blocked four shots as goalie, received a medal and had a popsicle. Seemingly boy heaven. And yet, discouraging.

As I am prone to do, I over-reached the moment. “Life, darling, is mostly what you make it. You can focus on the sweaty and tired or the beautiful day spent playing a game you like with your friends. Happiness, sweetheart, is a decision.” And on and on. No surprise, in real life, as on the page (screen) I have a lot to say.

Which is a lesson I needed to repeat to myself yesterday. The last few days of the boys’ school year is always a bit hectic and frenetic. Meetings and field days (which I always dodge thanks to Mr. Blandings) practices and games seem to multiply in May.

Other mommies must be a bit over-extended, too, as I have been on the receiving end of a fair bit of testiness.

So, I sat down last night, wanting to post. Needing a little inspiration. Courtney had wondered yesterday about Gambrel ever using red and white stripes and it made me wonder myself.

I clicked on over to to cruise through the portfolio. Unlikely, I supposed, and it appears that I am right, but look what I found on my hunt.

A new little number right there under “Country.” Chic, as usual. Lots of blue, which is what keeps me from full on cut and paste from his inspiration to my dream house. Gambrel seems to steer clear of yellow and in the last Elle Decor layout (which featured a lot of yellow) he mentioned that yellow can be tricky; he prefers to use it in fabrics more than on walls.

I adore his work. (Really? Gosh we hadn’t noticed as you mention him once a week.) And seeing something new is always a treat. I like city Steven, but country Steven soars.

Botanicals, baskets, lanterns, yes, used lovingly, but not unexpected. But the Robsjohn-Gibbings stool set just off from the periwinkle-felted pool table? Delish.

Like a hot steamy shower, suddenly I was refreshed. Invigorated. Ready to face another day of reports and notebooks and calendar-watching children.

And, just in case you were worried, number 2 seems just fine. After my moving soliloquy he said, “Um. OK. But, Mom?” “Yes?” “My shin guards are itchy.”
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20 thoughts on “Guidance and Inspiration

  1. “When, the dog bites, when the bee stings, these are a few of my favorite things, “- discouraging yes, but going home to those rooms, would be so encouraging even, even with itchy shin guards! The end of the year is like “whip-lash” – Put on your neck guard!

  2. Oh to be 8 years old again! The SG photos- well, what can I say. They’re perfection, and so very you Patricia!

  3. That first image in your gallery of Steven Gambrel rooms suggested that rules can be broken in a subtle way. He’s painted the window mullions and sashes blue in an otherwise white room, and it works!
    Sometimes it’s the small things that make a satisfying impression.

  4. Mrs. B, I just love you and your boys. You are my morning medicine. Thanks for this wonderful dose of real life!!!!

  5. what a treat to read and look at! I love the country Gambrel too… I could move into any of those houses right this very moment!

  6. I’ll just repeat what everyone else is saying: I love country Gambrel too.

    It’s always a lift to find a new projects from our faves. (BTW: Your boys often seem to say things that suggest they are deep, sensitive thinkers! Maybe they are already really articulate like you.)

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so grateful to have my attention drawn to an addition to Gambrel’s website. This strikes me as one of his loveliest projects. I love how in his “country” work, he tends to bring in those strong, interesting, clean-lined antiques to mix with the upholstered pieces of his own design that dominate in the “city.” Am I alone in fantasizing that he will bring out his own line of furniture? What I wouldn’t do to visit an eponymous Gambrel store!

  8. Toby – I adore the mullions, but if you had tried to describe them to me it would have been a hard sell. That’s vision.

    Courtney – hmmm…I think that is a nice way of saying “high maintenance.” 🙂

    Zim – not too much to look at, just to live with. I’ll hang with you and Gambrel in your blue rooms any day.

    Anon – furniture store, yes. Book? And how! I just had a friend ask me today, “How is his book?” Oh, how I wish.

  9. Ha! I am right there with you in the Mommy department…fast forward to 12 and 15 yr. olds.

    Thanks for the brief respite from the hectic pace. Like a cool breeze.

  10. I get the same reaction when I try to give one of my girls some inspired speech on life. The same thing – “Life is what you make of it – yadda yadda yadda.” I realize I am really talking to myself since the moment they unload their woes to me, they’ve already moved on to the next thing.

  11. Katie – a cool breeze is a perfect description!

    Marie Louise – this is exactly my experience. Usually, when I finish my speech someone asks something like, “Can we go to Target?” I should know better by now.

  12. Mrs B, you read my mind! I noticed the update to his portfolio online yesterday and was going to let you know…because, yes, I had noticed you were a bit of a fan of his work 😉

  13. Suzy – thanks – always do let me know. I still have in the back of my mind that I don’t have the Cottage Living layout. Obsessed.

  14. Patricia, your blog is a delight to read! Jill Haney introduced me to it when I was staying with her on the way home from picking my daughter up from her freshman year of college. I’ve bookmarked it!

  15. Ha!! I love it all… I am also a mom of boys, a blogger and a KC girl. I just stumbled upon your website and I LOVE the pics. Looking forward to seeing what comes next!!

  16. Beautiful post. I wonder where this country home is located? I imagine somewhere like Southampton, or possibly Greenwich. I guess that would be considered country for a New Yorker.

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