Michael Lee West is such an inspiring Renaissance woman. She writes novels, she styles a never-ending variety of beautiful tablescapes, she curates recipes, never stops searching for and collecting antique treasures, has an Etsy shop
, and even manages to raise Pygmy goats (among many other critters)! Luckily for us, we are able to check in with her every day on her beautiful blog, Designs by Gollum
Michael was kind enough to share images of her lovely home and advice to budding decorators. As you browse them, you can see how much inspiration she gleans from the pastoral beauty around her. Also, pay attention to how many different tables she has set up around the house. There is a place to sit and eat for every size, occasion, weather condition and mood in her house. The table settings
shown here are just a small fraction of her creations.
Please tell us about your "first meeting" with your house.
Twenty six years ago, we bought 20 acres at an auction. We finally started building in 2005, and moved in the summer of 2007. I was writing a novel and overseeing the daily construction and design--this taught me to manage my time. :-) (But I would never do that again.)
What was the first step of your remodeling process?
The first step was to find house plans. The architect was Stephen Fuller.
What was the biggest renovation challenge you faced?
Every single day was a challenge--mainly getting the house "dry." The basement kept flooding, and so did one of the upstairs bedrooms. As for the decorating, I made a design board, bought many cans of paint, collected fabrics. I knew I wanted neutrals
, but I also knew I needed color. I'd grown up in a house that was decorated with cheery yellows, browns, and orange, so I brought in a splash of drama in the dining room with terra cotta walls and ran the color through one end of the house.
What is your favorite style? Colors?
I like eclectic rooms--with a dash of romance. I haven't met a color I didn't love. However, I am passionate about neutrals--I never grow tired of beige and white (I have a huge white Ironstone
collection, which set off this passion for white), but personally, I need "pockets" of color. I have the best of both worlds in the master bedroom--a soothing white palette in the spring and summer and deep, hearty reds and golds during the winter. Our basement is mostly blue, with touches of chocolate.
Please tell us about a spot in your house that makes you very happy.
I love my little side porch--it has a view of the pond, and in the evening I like to write in my journal and watch the animals head to the barn.
What is your most precious accessory/furniture/art?
My grandmother's pottery frog collection is very dear to me.
What is your next house project?
I'm making a dish room in the basement, which has turned the whole house upside down, but I'm slowly making progress.
What are five things that houzz readers need to know about you and your blog?
1. I dearly love meeting the talented ladies and gentlemen who blog. I have friends all over the world--all met through blogging.
2. I host a weekly meme called Foodie Friday where food bloggers link up with recipes.
3. I have a newsletter
, which is very different from my blog. A little cozier and more personal.
4. My blog centers around food, table styling
, and decorating for exhausted people. As a working mom and full-time writer (six books, with two novels forthcoming in 2011), I have learned many short cuts.
5. I just opened an Esty shop with vintage tablescaping items--the Esty Bitsy China Closet
What is your best tip for the remodeling beginner?
Nail down a color scheme. Have at least one set of white china
or Ironstone (it works with everything). Don't be afraid to break design rules. Mix antiques with items from Salvation Army and flea markets. If you love it, it will work.
Last but not least: as a Houzz friend, Michael has chosen a Williams-Sonoma giveaway gift card to one of the lucky readers that will share their thoughts about her house and interview.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful home Michael!
For your chance to win the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card selected by Michael, comment on this interview by Sunday, April 4, at 5pm EST.