Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Green Mountain Falls

[This is summer, so Traditions has invited guest writers to tell their summer stories.]

Green Mountain Falls, altitude 7,800 feet, is located north of Pikes Peak, and 10 miles west of Colorado Springs, off U.S. Highway 24. The town has less than 700 year-round residents, as most folks now-a-days prefer to commute, or just come for the summer.

Pikes Peak Colorado

               In the heat of the summer, why not ditch the hot windy Midwest for the cool mountain air?

               Recently, I (I being Traditions' guest writer for the summer) vacationed in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. Everything about the trip was peaceful and gorgeous. We stayed in this beautiful old craftsman style house that has been in my friend's family since 1940. The craftsmanship in the home was detailed, yet natural. 

A sign directs us in life

                By definition, a vacation home should be smaller, more intimate and charming, not to mention the plain fact that there is less to clean. The essential features to a proper vacation home are a porch to sit on in the cool summer evenings, the couch and fireplace to relax on and around which to tell tall-tales, the bathroom to wash up, the kitchen to fry up the day’s catch of Rainbow trout, and the bedroom, of course, to lay your head down after the day’s work. 

Leather is indestructible

           I call it play. Summer and vacations are a time to get away from work, to recharge the life's internal battery with a walk in the forest, or a fishing line in the lake.

               Green Mountain Falls is tucked in a peaceful mountain valley, and its natural assets include three creeks, waterfalls, a lake, rugged hiking trails, forests, wildflowers, and wildlife. The nature we witnessed on our daily hikes was breath-taking. One day, we hiked to the top of a mountain and then over to the town reservoir. From there, we could see Pikes Peak covered in Aspen and pine in all of its glory; it was simply amazing. 

Aspen leaves rustle in the wind

               The trip got me thinking, though: How can I bring the relaxing, effortless feel of this vacation home with me? I think it comes down to one central idea: be natural in your design. The mountains are all about serenity where nature speaks softly. 

Shapes and patterns

             To give your home the feeling of a cabin retreat,  use natural colors and textures, like brown leather. It adds a woodsy, refreshing feel to your home. Adding simple but beautiful accents in different shades of green will give your home a lush, fresh-feel look. You can do this by adding pillows or throws. 

Pillow with fern and maple leaf

               The most important thing to remember is to live in that place of serenity that the mountains encourage. Find a few special pieces of artwork that show beautiful landscapes reminiscent of the mountains and add those to your home. A Meissenburg sign is an ideal way to give your home a cabin feel. Most have customizable words, indicated by the green arrows in the picture. 

Add your own place name

               In the end, it's all about making your home feel like an oasis from everyday. All you need is find your happy place and go from there. And if you bring back a woodsy pillow or a sign of the great times, you will always remember the great time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

White is the color of the brightest light. White is the solitary cloud on a summery day. White is fresh milk or pure snow. White is the color of the daisy petal that your true love picks for thee.

For those who like the color white, a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant might describe your personality like this - "You are well-balanced, sensible, self-assured, discreet and wise."

Rarely is white a favorite color of choice from childhood. Rather, it is an acquired taste, something chosen upon careful reflection. White means you are neat and immaculate in the way you present yourself to the world. By definition, you are confident and self-assured, relaxed in your environment, but personally fastidious when the mood strikes.

Diane Fletcher, senior designer at Traditions Home in Wichita, says "White is right for any season, the perfect canvas to add color to as the occasion requires." Don't think you can pull off an entire  room in white? In shades of ivory, cream, eggshell, pearl, beige and taupe, white is perfect the perfect color when you add texture and shape to liven the look. An ottoman in a leopard print makes an imprint in the center of the room.

Ottoman in leopard print

The shape of the white sofa is round, complementing the ottoman, or vice versa. Nail-head trim, in both small and large nails, outlines the shape of the sofa and gives definition to the seating area. It is a place of comfort and security.

White Sofa with nail-head trim

Pillows add flair and provide an opportunity to make a bold statement. You have confidence in your choices. You have impeccably high standards and expect others to adhere to them.
Pillows add flair

Perhaps in selecting white you discover that your deepest need is to create simplicity in your life. You do not need the distraction of other colors. Or perhaps it is that white permits you to adapt to the change of seasons, mood, and time. Whatever the reason, trust in your instincts and relax in a setting of intimacy and privacy.

This room in white is by Sherrill Furniture. Traditions Home, with locations in Wichita and Overland Park, has interior designers to help you with your color of choice and hundreds of fabrics to choose from.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

America on the Fourth of July

America on the Fourth of July is a day we associate with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, and family reunions. Historically, it is more.

It is the birthday of the American Republic, a nation not founded on lineage or language, race or creed, but on the simple principle set forth in the Declaration of Independence that,
"[A]ll men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Independence Hall 1876
The Continental Congress, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the birth of America, celebrated with an official dinner in Philadelphia at Independence Hall with prayers, speeches and toasts, parades and a 13-gun salute, and, of course, fireworks. It matters that we continue this tradition, safely of course, remembering those whose sacrifices made this day possible.

Happy Birthday America!