I am HGTV's worst nightmare

I love watching home decorating shows.  I pour over interior design magazines, looking for ideas and inspiration.  And I delight in the thrill of a home tour.

Recently, a few of my friends and I went on a holiday home tour. 

It was a really fun day ... we laughed and joked and ate. 

We were totally inspired ......... to clean our houses!!

But that was it for me.  Four beautifully decorated homes ..... that were nothing but houses.

I searched and searched and searched for something ... ANYTHING ... that told me about the people that lived there.

Three out of the four homes (and I use that term loosely!) had no books.  Oh -- there were small shelves in the designated offices with a few books.  But a coffee table stacked with books ... no!!!  A library ... no!!! Even bookcases in the children's rooms showed trophies and awards ... but no books.

There was nothing "homemade".  I searched for quilts.  I searched for embroidered samplers.  I searched for hand knit throws tossed over the sofas.  

I thought there was a score when I saw some Christmas stockings.  But it was not to be ..... there were skillfully-made needlepoint stockings .... direct from China.  I guess it was from someone's home!!!

And few ... very very few ... antiques.  There was a dresser in one home.  Maybe a bed in another .... but it might have been a great reproduction as it was a queen-sized bed.

Yes .... I had entered the "Staged Zone". 

The "Staged Zone" where beige carpet and off-white walls live.  And any trace of the home owner's personality has quickly and quietly been swept off to a storage unit.  And you .... the tourist .... should be able to imagine yourself living there.

NOT this girl!!!

So as I single handedly evoke nightmares in the executives of HGTV by having a creative idea that does not include the color white ...... let me show you our new shelf/mantle.


 I love our woodstove.  There is nothing like it for putting out heat on a cold winter's night.

But I missed the mantle of a fireplace.  So I ordered some cast iron brackets and asked Honey to put up a shelf for me.  Well --- that project grew a little bigger as I decided I had an antique mirror that needed a home.  And as he questioned how much stuff would go on the shelf .......... it was "beefed" up!!!

Which is sooooooo appropriate because it is under a sign that Jen painted for me.


This is our family room that is filled with farm antiques, folk art and resonates with our love of agriculture and the history of our families.

So the shelf is personal.

Honey's Dad sold Purina feeds for years so we had to have the poultry chow sign.

The wood and barbed wire chickens were found at an art fair.

The milk bottle was from Norris Dairy in New Windsor .... where I grew up.  It is a war time milk bottle and has victory slogans on the back.  I loved to ride on Norris's ponies and Bess always knew where there was a new litter of kittens.

And then .... there is the pile of books.

A 1924 copy of Standard's of Perfection-- the last word in poultry production in America.

Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders of Warren and Henderson Counties in Illinois from 1918.  Many family members are listed.  But I find the list of automobile owners the most interesting. 

Yes ... they listed who owned tractors and automobiles.  My family was well represented with automobiles in 1918. Uncle Arlene owned 2 Overland,  Uncle Cecil owned a Ford and my great-grandparents owned both a  Ford and a Velie.

And finally, there is a 1917 copy of Principles of Feeding by Sleeter Bull.  Sleeter Bull was my Dad's professor for Feeds and Feeding class when he was in vet school.  He went on to update the classic animal feeds textbooks ... Feeds and Feeding by Morrison and Bull.

Homemade.  Personal. Antiques.

I think Honey's shelf turned out great.

But it is no secret .... HGTV is going to hate it!


HGTV can suck it. I love it! There's something so perfect about a wood stove. Our woodburner is my favorite. It's used all winter and is such an energy saver. I love your new mantel. It looks great and so very you.
melanie said…
Go, kim! Couldn't have said it better! HGTV can DEFINITELY suck it!
colleen said…
Love love love your shelf and everything that you have on it. My daughters have made shelves out of pallets and they are awesome and very easy to make..Would like to have them help me make one soon :) and i think your shelf gave me the little push i need
Gary said…
Haha - I grew up hearing stories about Sleeter Bull from my dad (class of '53). To tell you how different things were back then - the athletic department had to get permission from Sleeter Bull in order to park football traffic in his pastures.
Miss Effie said…
Oh -- I loved Sleeter Bull stories!!! Dad would tell about how you would buy a NEW book to take his class and if you flunked the class, you bought another NEW book,

You don't get royalties off used or borrowed books!

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