I discovered Maria's blog, Dreamy Whites, last Fall and have been hooked ever since. I love her beautiful photographs as well as all the many lovelies in her shop, which she styles in the prettiest ways. Her images are an inspiration to me as well as her appreciation for all things French. You can also tell by reading Maria's blog, that she is a genuinely nice person too--added bonus!
Maria lives on a horse ranch in northern California, where her husband is a professional trainer. They live on a gorgeous piece of property with their five kids no less...that's five homeschooled kids. Can you believe she gets anything done? Like manage a growing business and a beautiful site? It's pretty amazing if you ask me and she most certainly has my full attention.
I've really enjoyed the photos of her children and family life, as well as the way she's transformed her home into a French-inspired farmhouse. You will love this home tour...promise.
For those of you just tuning in, this series showcases living spaces decorated by people who are not formally-trained interior designers; people who mix new finds with antiques and secondhand pieces from Craigslist (or the like). People who have figured out, on their own, what looks and feels good in their living space, be it a free-standing home, an apartment, or in one particular case, a tower :)
Maria's faux fireplace mantle and Roost Numero clock are amongst my favorites in her home. If you're interested in trying your hand at making one yourself, try this DIY tutorial.
Oh, and I'm all over these white walls (she uses "Decorator's White, Benjamin Moore fyi).
Five kids, a couple of dogs and a white sofa? Are you wondering how they all live together in harmony? I know I was! Well, Maria's secret lies in a few house rules:
1. No shoes in the house (we do this too and I have to say it's a fabulous idea--cuts down on cleaning big time).
2. No eating on the furniture.
That's it! Maria claims that it's actually pretty low maintenance and cleans up nicely too. When it comes to keeping those whites white, she's found continued success in Oxiclean and Mrs. Meyers detergent. In lieu of fabric softener, she tosses handmade lavender sachets in the dryer. Isn't that a great idea? I love it. We don't use dryer sheets either (eliminating them from the home helped my son's exzema tremendously) so I'm game for giving this idea a go.
Her vintage furnishings tucked here and there add a lot of character and warmth to a new-ish home. And those antique blue jars from France...swoon.
A giant chalkboard, neatly stacked books serving as a side table, and containers of fresh fruit all add charm to the space.
A vintage painting from a flea market and a recently-upholstered chair tucked next to a French-blue mirror (you see this color all over France--particularly on the shutters). Darling!
Maria also shares on her blog that she doesn't distress most of her furniture after she paints it. She allows the aged look to naturally appear...and appear it does with kids, pets and just plain life!
And now her kitchen nook and bedrooms (I seriously want to pin everything in those two rooms...)
Maria is truly a beautiful stylist...just look how she arranges dishes, furniture, linens, tchotchkes, etc.
One of her favorites...an antique cupboard she painted that same glorious shade as the mirror. I love seeing this piece pop up in her images.
Breakfast inside or outside? The joys of living in California...
Crisp and clean...oh how I dream of my girls' room looking like this...
How fabulous are the pom poms on the bed? (for styling purposes only, but still!) I also think the way she rolled up some of the blankets, but left a throw strewn on the bed is really beautiful. I would've never thought of this on my own and I love that Maria did!
She is also an avid gardener...but that's pretty obvious, yes? Raise your hand if you're jealous of those hydrangea bushes? I think that's all of us, right?
And now the lovely master bedroom...
There is a great story behind the tin ceiling you see above. The tins were from an fire-ravaged church in New Hampshire--one that was built in the 1800's. Maria's sister actually found them in a salvage yard and picked them up! Maria and her husband posted a brief tutorial on how they added them to the home...you should peek. Also, if you're interested in the paint color, the tin ceiling was refinished in Country Cotton, eggshell finish, Kelly Moore.
Maria admits they do play "musical chandeliers" occasionally and what a good sport her husband is to humor her rearranging :) This antique French chandelier is currently resting in her bedroom, but who knows where its final resting place truly will be! Also noteworthy are the birch branch curtain "rods"--a lovely and unexpected way to bring the outdoors inside. Pillows are made from vintage grain sacks and the lampshade was sewn by her talented mother. The bedskirt is from Anthropologie.
I hope you've enjoyed this "real life home" as much as I have!
Wanting to view more real life homes decorated by regular folks like you and I? Here you go!
Real Life Home No. 16 - Chelsea's Michigan Farmhouse
Real Life Home No. 15 - Erin's Upcycled Hollywood Glam
Real Life Home No.14 - Nadia's Converted Barn in Vermont
Real Life Home No.13 - Dottie Angel's Mossy ShedReal Life Home No.12 - Aunt Patty's sophisticated mid-century home
Real Life Home No.11 - Rubyellen of Cakies and her French-inspired flea market finds
Real Life Home No.10 - Julie's coastal home with reclaimed materials
Real Life Home No. 9 - Petra's Tower in downtown Seattle
Real Life Home No. 8 - Kayce's Nashville Home that's both Southern + sweet
Real Life Home No. 7 - Sara's colorful and eclectic Portland Home
Real Life Home No. 6 - Amy's Calming Neutrals in California
Real Life Home No. 5 - Lynne of Sugar City Journal and her whimsical details
Real Life Home No. 4 - Emily's gorgeous whites and woods in Dallas
Real Life Home No. 3 - Kirsten of Simply Grove's clean and textural Idaho home
Real Life Home No. 2 - Maria of Two Peas and a Pod and her white kitchen
Real Life Home No. 1 - My sister Cherilee's eclectic, mid-century home
all images by Maria Carr of Dreamy Whites