The House

Kitchen Mantel: Blue & White China

One of the really wonderful things about a kitchen hearth mantel is having a space to make a display.



Our kitchen is a bit of a blank canvas. What do I mean by that?  Well, that the colors are neutral.  Neutral back grounds make it much easier to decorate with color.


The kitchen can be changed just by displaying splashes of color on the mantel and the counter tops.


In the case of the Blue and White China theme, it also allows me to bring in some of my personality. I love English Transfer ware and I collect many colors and variations. But, one of my favorites is the Blue and White.


Blue and White China is a classic look that never goes out of style. It always looks fresh and clean–which I think is a wonderful look to bring into the kitchen.


The pieces don’t all have to be antique or one particular style. The beauty of the blue and white color ties the collection together. Being too matched can make a collection look boring. You want a variety of shapes, styles and sizes.  This same concept can used on a mantel, table, bookcase, curio cabinet…the possibilities are endless!

Thanksgiving Guests

Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday in the United States. The chances are pretty good that you will travel or someone else will travel to visit you. Sometimes that may be a day trip, but there will come a time when you have to provide a place to sleep for a guest.

This was the first guest room that we used at Spring Rose Cottage. This Red Bedroom is decorated with Red/pink/cranberry English Transferware.  Since we didn’t have a designated “guest room” at that time, the least used bedroom in the house was used to serve that purpose. Our primary concerns were how to make the most of the space and solutions that we used to help our guest have a pleasant stay.


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The most important thing of course is a bed.  The next  would be the bed linens, blanket or quilt (depending on season and indoor temperatures), and a pillow are pretty much the basics. The only thing I will say about that is if you can provide a variety of blankets and pillows that is a plus.

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A vintage Lane hope chest serves as a place to lay out a suit case. But in many guest rooms space is tight so try to provide some space either for suitcase or hanging space in the closet.


It is very helpful to have a bedside table with a lamp, tissues, a waste basket nearby and a coaster for a cup. Ours is a small room and really only has room for one small bedside table and we put it to good use.

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This bedroom does not have an ensuite. So I have provided water bottles so the guest doesn’t have to leave the bedroom to find water.


I like to have a desk and chair available that someone can sit and write a letter or journal or use a laptop or tablet to do work. I keep the top drawer clean of personal items except some envelopes, pens, pencils, stamps and stationary. There is a power strip next to the desk for charging phones, laptops, or other devices.


Especially in cases of a bedroom without an attached bathroom, it is helpful to provide bath towels, washcloths, and various sundries in the room. I like to use red English transfer ware to hold the washcloths and sundries. The red English transfer ware on the desk ties the color theme together with the artwork and plates on the wall.


Another really nice thing to have is a comfy chair or settee with a reading lamp next to it—and maybe a few books or magazines.  The important thing is to make your guests feel as comfortable and welcome as you can manage. We had this antique settee and it fit perfectly in this room and the color went beautifully with the Cranberry color English Transferware.

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Do your preparation ahead of time. When your guests arrive, you will be truly thankful for the opportunity to spend time together.

The Magic Closet

From the outside, it just looks like any other normal door. But, turns out it is a “Magic Closet”—an elevator!


Safety First!! There are several features that prevent the elevator from moving unless the metal grate is closed and the outer door is closed.

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The popular trend in home design is to move laundry facilities to the bedroom levels of a home because of having to carry laundry up and down stairs. The elevator made it possible to keep the laundry in the basement and use the prime spaces upstairs for other things (extra bathroom). We use laundry carts to move laundry to the basement. No heavy lifting or carry up and down stairs and no laundry noise up on the bedroom level


The elevator runs the full four levels of the home–including a heated and air-conditioned area of the attic that I store my decorations for holidays, items for tablescaping and some of my china.


Wayne has a utility cart that he uses to carry tools which makes them easily moved from floor to floor wherever they are needed.


I use a utility cart to bring decorations to and from the attic, move picture hanging stuff from floor to floor, and bring groceries upstairs.


This is our forever home. So when we were laying out the floor plan, we really tried to think of ways to make the house accessible. We widened hallways, made sure a wheel chair could get through doorways, and  even made a wheel chair accessible shower. Our goal is to be able to stay in this home forever and the elevator helps us to achieve that goal.

Kitchen-The Heart of the Home

At Spring Rose Cottage, we love to cook. The kitchen is a gathering place to feed the family, hang out with each other, entertain friends and be creative.

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When we designed the kitchen at Spring Rose Cottage, we had several main concerns:

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Would there be enough room to have a crowd of people in the Kitchen. We wanted to make sure there was space to move around easily.

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There needed to be enough work surface space for several people to work at one time.

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There needed to be a variety of storage cupboards.

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We designed the room to have lots of windows facing south and it is so lovely almost the whole day long. It is always a pleasure to be in this room, regardless of the task or time of day.


The Blue and White Tower Room

It’s that quirky, not quite octagon shaped room off of the master bedroom. It isn’t painted blue, but it is known as the Blue and White Room, for one obvious reason.


I love to collect china and there is nothing more lovely than Blue and White China! This room is my space. No one else in the house ever uses it. This space has all of the things I love–china, porcelain dolls, lace curtains, books, pillows…even blue and white china depicting scenes of England!


The tower space also has a painting of me that has a blue background that looks really nice with the china on the walls.  The oil on canvas painting is by Theo and every time I see it, it makes me smile. Not because I think I look wonderful (I have never looked good in photographs)…it is because he puts so much heart into all of his art.


There is a small upholstered bench, where you can curl up with a throw and read a book or magazine, relax, do some writing, or meditate. The little side table next to the bench is actually an antique sewing table that holds all of my sewing thread, needles, and other miscellaneous sewing items. I sometimes embroider in this spot because the lighting is so good.

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The actual function of this little space is that of a dressing room it holds my antique hand-carved walnut vanity. The light in this space is brilliant because of the really tall windows, it is a wonderful space to style hair or put on makeup.


I love to use china in ways that are unusual.  Here is a pierced bowl. It is shallow, so it makes a nice tray for the vanity and it is fun because it is unexpected.

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For such a tiny room, roughly 8 ft x 8 ft, with the angled walls and 12 foot ceiling, It really packs a punch!! This is one of the spaces in the house that makes it feel like a cottage!



Welcome to Spring Rose Cottage

It is such a pleasure to welcome you our blog about our home–Spring Rose Cottage! Most of the topics I write about are home related in some way—albeit sometimes a remote connection.

Spring Rose Cottage Exterior

I will be sharing some of our family’s favorite recipes, activities, shopping spots, crafts, gardening, hobbies, travels and of course some of the unusual features of the house.

Tower and WitchesHat

I might write about hanging out around Spring Rose Cottage, especially if it involves “Parlor Dwelling”—one of my favorite things to do.

Inside Parlor

The topics will be interesting to me and I hope a bit thought provoking. Feel free to share ideas, thoughts and reactions with me.

Patriotic Pennant Craft Project

I have wanted to do a blog for many years, but could never find the time to devote to it. Well, children do grow up and all of a sudden…one does have time…and the “children” might even help with the technical stuff! (Thank you Theo Leiss for being an amazing webmaster, 3D modeler, animator, sound engineer and my go to person for anything technology related—if you are into that sort of thing, check out Theo’s web page at ).

I really can’t even express how much I enjoy reading other people’s blogs, facebook posts, pinterest pins and appreciate our shared experiences and love of life. My mission is to share some of my experiences, life lessons, and passions—because happy thoughts are infectious. This world of ours could use a whole lot of happy right now and I will try to do my part.

Looking forward to sharing the journey,


The Lady of the House