Southern Romance House Door

Remember the story of my friend Esther and Alabama and the house that dreamed?

I have an update.

I felt it was important to state that in a declarative sentence because just between us….

….sometimes I forget to finish out the story.

It’s just like my house.

I’m so busy updating and painting and moving furniture and rearranging rooms and announcing that I’m decluttering that I forget you aren’t my next door neighbor.

So let’s have coffee together and catch up.

Southern Romance House Texture

To go all Julie Andrews and start at the beginning….about seven months ago, several bloggers (including me) were invited to visit Alabama and learn about an amazing woman named Esther and her dream of restoring a historic home to its original glory.

The house was mid-restoration.

Down to the studs.


When we last visited the house it looked like this.  Open ceilings and walls and floors covered in paper and re-framed windows and doors.

A whole lot of construction and dirt and progress.

Lots and lots of progress.

Southern Romance House Pocket Door

And here’s a sneak peek from my last visit to the house.

I say sneak peek because the grand reveal is coming up soon and I can’t give it all away before the unveiling.

But you can see the progress.

The floors have been refinished and the walls put up and painted glorious colors and the original architecture of the house has been preserved.

Southern Romance House Window Pane

And now it’s time for furnishings and textiles and lighting and fabrics and furniture.

This is where I entered back into the story.

Esther contacted me and asked me if I would be willing to help design three of the rooms….the front parlor, the master bedroom and the back porch.

Southern Romance House Patina

It was one of those moments when you turn around and look to see if the person is actually talking to you or if they were waving at the person in the coffee line.


She wanted me to help accomplish her dream?  She trusted me with the vision for the house?  She wanted me to join her on the journey?

I literally couldn’t even.

Southern Romance House Entry

I was nervous.

And excited.

And thrilled.

And my purple fingernails were waving in the air and wondering where to start.

Southern Romance House Window

And so I listened to the house.

I let it do the talking.

I tried to honor the past and the history and the architecture and let the house guide the design choices.

Southern Romance House Parlor Door

Here’s a tiny glimpse of the front parlor.

We decided to keep the doors the original wood.

That’s what the house needed.

And the house was so right.

Look at that incredible patina next to the molding and that beautiful wall color.

Southern Romance House Fireplace

I can’t wait to show you the finished rooms.  It’s been an incredible journey and one that I am so honored to be a part of.

Here’s to following your heart.

And dreaming.

And believing in the almost impossible.

And listening…..

….especially when a house is doing the talking. 🙂

PS  If you want to follow along, Esther writes a blog that documents all the progress.  You can see all here blog posts, here.

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  1. Image for Peg Peg

    Seriously? Who wouldn't want YOU to help them accomplish their dreams, trust you with the vision, and take the journey? I simply can't wait for the reveal!! Love, love. xoxoxo : )

  2. Image for Terri Terri

    Okay... first of all.... OF COURSE SHE ASKED YOU... ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? :) ... second of all, do you ever pinch yourself ?? you know... just to make sure you're not dreaming!!! Amazing!!!!!! and ... third of all I drool... over the doors..ohhhh the doors!! that window sill.... and that molding......... sigh.... don't you just want to reach out and rub your hand across that history?????? I am soooo excited that you are sharing all of this with us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Whaaat??? You mean I'm NOT your next door neighbor....? LOL You know, Miz karianne, that is just one of your many charming characteristics.....making everyone feel as though each one of us is your single, most valued friend and confidant. Seriously. Sometimes I have to pinch MYSELF in order to snap back to my reality....sigh ;) Another charming characteristic is that you are seriously humble, even though you 'know' you have a great talent, you don't let it go to your head and you still feel that sense of wonder that somebody values what you do. Oh yeah....lots of somebodies value what you do....I know those three rooms will be aaahhh-mazing!

  4. Image for Leslie Leslie

    Can't wait for the reveal!! And we ALL love your ability to decorate and inspire!! Love that she we all get to experience your creativity!!

  5. Image for lela lela

    How exciting! I love old houses, and you're totally right, they do talk. That natural wooden door is so beautiful! Can't wait to see more!

  6. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    If you ever run out of people begging for your design input, feel free to come to Texas for a cup of coffee, and LOTS of work to do on my house. But back to this house - that wall color is to DIE for... going to check out her blog to see if it's listed. Literally CAN.NOT.WAIT to see what you did with the house!

  7. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I always knew you were a good listener. Sometimes the creaks and groans a house emits are just its way of letting you know what it wants or thinks :-) But I have all of the confidence in the world that you will be able to interpret exactly what the house wanted. I can't wait to see the end result!! Have a great weekend.

  8. Image for Marian@CMShawStudios Marian@CMShawStudios

    When. Do. You. Sleep? do fit all this in? What an awesome gig for you. I love it when the house or room or furniture starts talking to me. It usually has such better ideas about what it should be than I do. Truly all my best design ideas are the result of conversations with inanimate objects. I am laying a paver stone patio today and have been for about 2 weeks...and by I...I mean me and my two little hands. The exciting thing is that I'm almost done. The other exciting thing is that it's fall in Virginia and it's glorious to spend a big chunk of my day outside. Have a pleasnt weekend and think of me up to me knees and elbows in gravel and golden paver stones, The Other Marian

  9. Image for Lisa Mothersead Lisa Mothersead

    I like the idea that the house talks to you. Older, architecturally interesting homes probably say something about how they look best non-cluttered and well edited so the details of the home pop. Can't wait to see the end product. It will be perfect!

  10. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I bet it's gorgeous! So far, with the new pics, it looks like it's gonna be divine:) Anxious to see if you used any of your fabrics too!!! Can't wait to see it!

  11. Image for prince snow farm prince snow farm

    Kari Anne I cannot wait to see! I have a feeling that even though you have the gift of gab,you are an INCREDIBLE listener.See, even through all of those remodeling and redecorating and refluffing your home, your readers can see your heart. {and in case you are ever on the farm coast of MAssachusetts,we have an 1830's extended cape that would love to chat with you :) }

  12. Image for Susan Susan

    Who better than YOU and your purple fingernails? I can't think of a single soul! Can't wait for the reveal...thank you for taking us along on Esther's dream journey!

  13. Image for Patricia Krank Patricia Krank

    You delight me! WE all know that you've got it in you even when you don't. I can't wait to see what you do with the space. By the way, when you're done come on over to my house ;) Blessings to you, Patti

  14. Image for Sheila Sheila

    I am always telling people to "listen" to their house. Listen to it to learn about the warm spots, the cool spots, the sunny spots, the dark corners. If it is a city house it will tell you what it needs. If it is a country house, the same. Once a family begins rambling around a house...the house will also make suggestions. Yes...your house will talk to you! I just recently told my daughter this as she moved into "her" first house. Like minds Karianne! Ha! Sheila

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