WEDNESDAY WHIM! Newest additions

Posted August 30th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Wednesday Whim!

Where is all that chirping coming from?

4 little yellow chicks that will grow up to be white Silkies and 4 Americanas.

Fun days on the farm!  Guess I better start the “coop” renovation…

Coming girls…

Wild about our creative God!!



Renovation update

Posted August 28th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, LR Interior Design

Things are looking “white” around E. New York Ave. these days!  The plaster work will be complete on Tuesday and the painters started their sanding and prep work the end of last week. After studying the staircase, I decided to remove the grid of squares which closed in the staircase and gave it a bit too “Craftsman-style” architecture for my style.

Look how much more open the staircase looks.

DeLand Metal Craft Co. is fabricating this design in a French Steel finish for the opening.

We enjoyed some close friends from North Florida stopping by Sunday morning.  Jim and I were delighted to show them our progress and the guest room that we hope they will frequent.

The guest bath door is now installed and it is one of the few doors we needed to purchase.  It can be awkward for two doors to open against each other, but due to light switch placement and the floor plan of the bathroom, this could not be installed as an in-swing door. To help make it less awkward, I had it installed with an 180-degree hinge so it will swing flat against the wall.

I removed the over-mantle on the fireplace so I could install cut mirrors above which will create a wonderful reflective quality in the Living Room.  The pattern will be 12 x 12 squares {an ode to the gird I removed in the staircase} with 5 x 12 pieces surrounding. Can’t wait to show you!  A cut mirror pattern over the fireplace {or somewhere in the living area} is part of my signature style.

Tomorrow morning I will write one of my favorite Scriptures on the wall before they adhere the mirror squares…

Be still and know that I am God.  

Psalm 46:10

And, I will then be still and decide how to address the red brick surround!!

Saturday after a design consultation in College Park, I stopped in an “antique/vintage” shop and found some “good stuff”. Unsure where this light fixture will go, but for $185.00 it had to come home with me.

On the left side of the fireplace in the Dining Room, we created a small bench with simple framing and sheetrock. I plan to put loose raffia cushions on it and hang artwork above.  Since the bench is standard dining chair seat height, I can use it with a bistro table for overflow seating when needed.

The kitchen hood was installed

and the back staircase in the Kitchen is taking shape.

It was a challenge to hide the large plumbing waste line, but I am pleased with this column effect and the minor amount we dropped the ceiling.  I would like to find a column capital, maybe gilded Corinthian style, to place at the top of the column.  It would be an unexpected touch in the kitchen.

Once the kitchen walls were closed up, I really got excited!  I think I am going to love, love, love our kitchen!

My bathroom floor and tile baseboard received a major scrubbing {all afternoon} and it cleaned up very nicely.

This is a view of the upstairs hall toward the guest room.

After removing the interior door hardware and cleaning it up…I think I may sell it on Ebay. But not all of it. I combined some of the round decorative backplates with some of the new cabinet knobs I purchased and they look wonderful together.  A bit of old and a bit of new…

We moved into the apartment behind the house 8 weeks ago and I am in hopes that in another 8 weeks we will move into the house and start renovation on the apartment. I have high hopes and everyone is working hard toward that end!  Look at my desk!

Besides the small gilded chandelier, I found 6 “vintage” dining chairs to mix with our Mid-century modern Dining room table.  The lines are very sculptural.  An antique is considered over 100 years old, but these are considered vintage since they were crafted around 1960.  I plan to refinish them with a dark walnut stain.

If you have wood furnishings or handrails that have dark stains where the oil from your hands have caused discoloration, you can use denatured alcohol to easily remove it.

Thank you for all your encouraging emails!  They really keep me going…

Day by day…day by day…oh dear Lord, 3 things I pray.  To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly…day by day!

This week I will remind myself by reminding you…one day at a time.  All will get done…one day at a time.



WEDNESDAY WHIM! turned serious…Marriage

Posted August 23rd, 2011 by Leah and filed in Wednesday Whim!, Word of Encouragement

 Whatever spouse did

 For tomorrow you will wake up to a new day and remember the words of your grandmother…

 so unpack the suitcase and get on your knees and pray.

Lately I’ve noticed a common lament and prayer request in my emails, also in my personal conversations- Marriages are in trouble. Marriages are struggling, really struggling. I looked up stats on the divorce rate in the Christian community and it is just as high as the non-believing community.

In my book, Interior Wisdom, I share some of the marital struggles Jim and I faced. Marriage is not easy, especially when many of us go into it overloaded with unresolved baggage from previous relationships.  I remember an especially low point for us that I really didn’t think our marriage would survive.  Those shadowy days of feeling like a failure, again, drove me to my knees knowing that only Jesus was the way, the one who would impart truth and breathe life into what laid limp and lifeless.

Do you remember those school days when you knew the answer?  Your hand shot up so fast and oftentimes waved to get the teachers attention…choose me, choose me you shouted.  I am waving this blog today because I know the answer some of you so desperately need to hear.

Choose Jesus.

Regardless of what you feel, the woundedness and brokenness, the anger and regret, the words of close friends…Spouse will never change…

Choose Jesus. Choose to believe all things are possible with our huge God.  Choose to tackle a personal remodel and build your marriage on God and His Word.  Believe He will turn tears of sadness and regret to joy. Believe Him.

See, I know. God healed my heart and my marriage in spite of my mouth, my mistakes.  His grace transformed a landscape crawling with creepy caterpillars into beautiful free flying butterflies of renewal, trust {which I thought was forever lost} and real love.  His grace changed me and I watched, day by day, as God restored my marriage bed through his Word.

When we open balled up fighting fists… we can receive.

When we decide God’s presence is the only thing that truly matters, counts, is needed…we let go.

When we stand on God’s Word that He is power, love and strength to keep going… that He will keep us safe, on the right path…we open our eyes to see the good, because there is always a remnant of good.

{I wanted to do a funny on marriage today, but the Holy Spirit poured this out of me for you, whoever you are.  You who thinks there is nothing left and no hope.  He wants you to know that there is.} 

Oh Lord God, marriage is not easy.  Our marriages are under constant attack. The world tells us the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But as deep calls out to deep, you whisper into the bowels of our broken hearts “that grass needs water and attention too.”  Reality check- The neighbor’s dog poops on “that grass” too! You’ve tried all the world has to offer, now try me Jesus says.  I know the plans I have for your marriage and they are for good and success. Be strong in me and trust my power. Trust my Word.

Let no corrupting talk {words are very powerful} come out of your mouths, but only such as is god for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.   Eph 4:29

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Eph 4:32

And walk in love…  Eph 5:2

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.  Eph 5:33

Jim and I took a marriage class under Pastor Paul Kummer and we used the book LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs. I highly recommend this book.  The Lord used it to jumpstart love and respect back into our marriage.

I am praying for you.



images via

New Windows!

Posted August 21st, 2011 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, LR Interior Design

Remember these aluminum windows in the studio that were incased in plastic which obstructed the view?

It was a race against our wonderful Florida summer rains this weekend to replace them with

new “storefront” white metal windows.  I just love them!!  They were less expensive than wood, along with the benefit of being maintenance free and pushing the design of our 19th Century Farmhouse to a modern edge.

You can clearly see the difference.

Jim cut back the tall shrubbery to help the workers and clear the way for a wonderful view of Lake Winnemissette.

This is the view back toward the orchard with the side door open.  Our plans are to remove the shutters on the sides and back of the home and make a fence out of them, which will enclose {hide} the air conditioning units.

I will have this door removed and use

the matching French door leading to the studio installed giving me light and a view.  It is an interior grade door, but with the overhang protection it should hold up for a number of years before I will have to replace it with a true exterior grade wood door.

 Some years ago, I worked with a couple remodeling a late 50s ranch which overlooked the the Gulf of Mexico.  The budget was tight, so to achieve the look of a full window wall capturing the view of those emerald green waters, we stacked standard size windows instead of ordering large custom windows.  It created quite an architectural element and turned out to be a great look too. Initially I thought that would be a good application here and worked with the window department at Lowes to stack Peachtree Windows.  Standard size wood interior and clad exterior was almost double the storefront.  When I called Goetz Glass to get an estimate for bathroom mirrors and a shower door, I mentioned my window dilemma.  Don Goetz said he could install the storefront with tempered glass, which significantly reduces noise and heat levels.  I am a fan!  Also, a little of this look will take your kitchen, sunroom addition or enclosed porch in a very interesting design direction.


Thinking on windows...

So it came to pass, at the end of forty days,

that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.

Genesis 8:6

God gave Noah very specific instructions for the design of the ark, even the window size and placement.  The Bible tells us God personally shut Noah in the Ark. Not a dark windowless ark, but a place designed by God with one window where light and hope could shine. Then God remembered Noah and made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

A window was set up high, causing Noah to look up.

When the dove returned with the olive branch, it rested on the windows ledge...Look up Noah…look up!  See, once again, God has remembered you and acted on your behalf to provide for you and every living creature.  Look up!  The Holy Spirit is whispering these words to us today.

Lord Jesus, open the windows of our heart this week and blow a refreshing wind, your precious Holy Spirit, through our lives in a new way. Blow away the stale, stagnant air and replace it with deep abiding breaths of heaven.  Teach us to really breathe…to step back from life and its struggles, and breathe deeply. Create a view that shows us your perspective, a perspective of hope and confidence in the One True Living God…yes Lord, a fresh wind.  Throw open all the windows, for we want to see the reality of you in our everyday lives.



p.s….each time I walk in studio I smile as the Holy Spirit sweetly reminds me what it means to release every stone I desire to cast…yes Lord, no broken windows here!

Remodeling Tips

Posted August 18th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, LR Interior Design

Since Jim and I are back living in the “rural” South, I have few design resources readily available. So, I challenged myself to order EVERYTHING {such as plumbing, lighting, door and cabinet hardware and closet systems} online.  I found some great resources I want to share with you. Two benefits of ordering online is that you do not pay sales tax, and quite often, shipping costs, which add up.   Since supporting “local” and shopping “local” is important to me, I hired “local” contractors.

Before you start your next project, I encourage you to join  It is an amazing resource and you can create your own virtual pinboards. Here is an example of my Bathroom Board and you can see some of my other boards listed in the right margin.  There is a search box you can type in Chicken coops to cashmere fabrics and find images to inspire.

When you review your boards, you will see a common thread, your personal style emerging. Although I am quite the neutral girl and white is my very favorite color, I wanted to do something a bit different in our “Modern Farmhouse”.  The interior and exterior will be painted a beautiful milky white, Ultra White by Olympia One Paint.

BUT all the interior doors will be Ben Moore Ice Formations #973.  You won’t be able to see the exact color since all our browsers are different, but it is a pale taupy mushroom color…just yummy!

The front door will be painted Puritan Gray, Ben Moore HC-164.

This is my inspiration.

With each project, I search all my files, design books and magazines…looking for inspiration.  This advertisement for Pollack Fabric captured my heart.  And, of course, I love the name of the new line…PURE!  This was my inspiration for the color palette I finally decided upon.

When looking for inspiration, don’t consider price or availability…just collect images that inspire you, strongly appeal to you and make you smile. Doing this always clarifies the direction of your design and jumpstarts creativity. Specific selections will come later.

Remember to make a separate stack of any images that reflect current fad or trend.  You can go back to those for an accessory, art, pillow…but make sure you build your design on a good classic foundation that will stand the test of time.  Well thought out design only needs refreshing over time, not an overhaul.

Organization is key when starting your project. I buy a 3-hole punch and 3-ring binder with tabs to keep everything in one place.

For most of the trades {plumbing, electrical, plaster, paint, floor refinishing…} I solicit 3 bids and make hiring decisions based on remodeling experience {quite different from new construction}, price and availability. Time is very important, especially when you want to fast-track a remodel. My initial plan was a 90-day completion, but 120 is more realistic.  After making my decisions, I call everyone together for a meeting. My goal is to introduce the team, review and address any questions. P.S….finding a trade that will think outside the box is invaluable! I don’t take “no” well.

Next,  I schedule appropriately so everyone has room to do their work.  No need for plumbers, electricians and cable guys trying to crawl up under the house on the same day.  Be considerate of your workers and you will get that extra mile out of them. “Rough in” comes first {placement is absolutely crucial} then they come back to “trim out” at the end of the job.  I spend countless hours doing my homework and making selections before the plumbing and electrical rough in.  It is a good idea to print out pictures and specs to show them before you order.  We walked through the house for the initial bid, but now they have the exact items.  For example, I had selected a valve that was too long for the existing wall thickness in my bathroom and needed to reselect.  Precious time was saved.

Since I have put myself on a strict budget, I found everything I wanted and then searched websites to find a close match for less. Some of the online vendors offer Pro Discounts too.  Be sure to ask about that.


Plumbing:      I selected the Margaux Collection by Kohler for the bathrooms.

and  From Vintage, I bought a 30 x 18 Fireclay Farmhouse sink for less than half of most of the published prices I found.  This sink weighs 120 pounds, but shipping was free. Both of these resources are very helpful, especially in selecting the rough-in valves.

Although I love the look of bridge faucets, I am not a fan of having to turn on hot and cold separately at the kitchen sink.  I ordered this

Lighting:,,,   I will be using the beautiful Foyer chandelier that came with the home in the Dining Room.  When I took it down to protect the crystals, there was a tag on the very top “Made in Spain”.

These French Library wall lamps will light the Kitchen counters and

this simple chandelier will hang above the kitchen island.

Door Hardware:   I was unsure I could do this retrofit online, but they walk you through each step and explain backsets, etc..  I ordered Emtek egg-shaped knobs with an oval back plate in satin nickel.

Cabinet knobs and pulls:,,  Remember to note the projection on the pulls, especially if you have large hands.  I recommend a projection over 1″.

Appliances: (during a 15% + extra 5% sale) for my KitchenAid refrigerator and dishwasher.  Since I use my Grandmother’s sterling silver flatware daily, I love this dishwasher with a third tray at the top for flatware.  I did go to Southeast Steel appliance warehouse showroom in Orlando to purchase my FiveStar range.  I opted for the antique brass trim and plan to mix a lot of antique brass throughout the house.  This is new for me, but the mix of stainless and antique brass lends itself to a European influence, which I know I will love.  After 25 years of specifying granite countertops and stainless appliances, I am having cabinet panels installed on my DW and refrigerator.  For the counter tops I am using Quartz and Roth and Allen solid surface.

Closet system:

With online access my industry has changed tremendously over the past 5 years.  You can purchase 90% of what I have access to as a designer. The lines have blurred when it comes to “Trade only” resources.  The good news is that we can all have a beautiful, custom home. AND…My hope is that you will still need my expertise in some way. (;

I pray these tips will help you on your next design project.  We all need a little help from each other now and then. Help that expects nothing in return.  Helping each other…just because.

I call that grace and I enjoy being gracious.

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.

Proverbs 3:26

When you’re kind to others, you help yourself…

Proverbs 11:16

May the Lord help you with everything you need this weekend!

xo  leah

WEDNESDAY WHIM! what’s a girl to do!!

Posted August 16th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Wednesday Whim!


leaving a legacy

Posted August 14th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom, Leah Richardson, LR Interior Design

Jim and I love God’s plan for Sabbath rest and refreshment.  After church and a nap, we rode over to Lake Helen, which is only 5 minutes from the farm.  There is a home for sale in Lake Helen, Florida, that looks exactly like ours. The Blake House was built in 1892 by Ohio architect John Porter Mace.  He built several homes and buildings in this area, including Stetson Hall at Stetson College here in DeLand.

In googling around, I found nothing documented that Mace designed our home, but there is too much design evidence to deny it.  The first picture I found of him was taken standing next to his Victorian shingle style home.  Please note the design of the porch railing.  I believe this is a “signature design” of this architect.  As an interior designer, I witness this quite often and have “hallmark” designs that I leave as my “signature” in many of the homes I design.

John Mace was born in 1847, which means he designed the Blake House around age 45 after he moved to Lake Helen.

This is another image of his home, which is directly across the street from the Blake House.

Our home, named “El Stucco” by the former owners, not only has an identical floor plan to the Blake House, but exact architectural elements.

{still batting names around…if you have any ideas, please pass them on}

Please note the staircase in our home

and the staircase in the Blake House.  See any similarities? What about his signature “square” design?

This is another home credited to Mace and you can see his design of the “square” detail mixed with very simple pickets.

Also note this balcony railing detail on one of his homes,

and here is another of his homes…

and this is this is our home.

Around 1925, our home was remodeled with larger Colonial style columns and covered with stucco and these small pebbles.  But originally it was clapboard below and fish scale shaped shingles above.  This was a very popular Victorian style at the turn of the century and one that Mace used in most of his designs.

It was fun to find out history on our home, but it also caused me think about the legacy I am leaving to the next generation.

What legacy are you leaving?



Something left behind

handed down…

an inheritance.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on our hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road {sit in carpool}, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates… Deuteronomy 11:18-20

Are we leaving a legacy of living a life worth imitating? A legacy of






Trust and obedience to God and His Word.

We have this one life, let’s make it count.  Start with family first.  We have a goodly inheritance. God has given you a signature style, a unique hallmark, a design that only you can leave for the next generation…what will your legacy be?

I pray mine is sharing Interior Wisdom for everyday holiness…

xo  leah

Making progress

Posted August 11th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Interior Wisdom

Making progress on “the Farm” {still listening for a name}

Remember our guest room with this dark {not wood} paneling

and the drop acoustical tile ceiling?

We removed all the paneling and tiles and called the AC man to cut the ducts to appropriate height.

I am standing in the doorway between the guest room and small study looking at the study closet.

Here is a view from the study back to the guest room.

And here is the view from our Master Bedroom closet door through to the study {back wall of closet now removed} to the guest room.

Note the blue textured walls…

I closed up the doorway between the guest and study to create a larger, private Master bedroom/sitting area.

The far wall will house a built-in with bookcases to the ceiling.

Removing the adjacent closets creates a beautiful delineation between the two areas.

These 2 niches are perfect for small  built-in chest-of-drawers.

Look at the progress

and what a difference the first skim coat of plaster makes!

Michael has just finished the final coat on the far wall…wonderful job!

This is the doorway I closed up in the guest room, which will give me a large solid wall for a chest and chair.

I love all the windows {17 upstairs alone} but sometimes a solid wall is needed.

Progress in the guest room too.

The painters will start Monday prepping and priming. All the walls, ceilings and trim will be my favorite color {white!} but I am painting all interior doors a pale taupe, which is outside the box for me. {I’ll share colors at a later date}  In new construction, I prefer to keep most header heights the same height, but in an older home like this one…impossible!

You smile and appreciate the irregularity.

Larry is my new hero!  He started doing this work at age 17 and he is 70!

He skims the level coat of plaster on the ceiling 12″ at a time!

Patience proves Progress!

Thank you Larry!

The test we are using to determine if we need to replace the plaster with sheetrock is called the “palm-fist test”.

If we hit the wall with the palm of our hand or fist and the plaster falls to the floor…

we sheetrock!  This is the back stairwell that needs major attention.

Larry moves downstairs next week and Bud is busy closing up the kitchen, butler’s pantry and powder bath so he can move back upstairs to complete baseboards and install crown moulding.

All the weights in the windows have been re-roped and they are operating beautifully.

We are on schedule…Yeah for Progress!

Next week I will share my resources with you and tell you more about my approach to this renovation,

which has been a bit different from past projects.

I pray that you will have a wonderful weekend…


PROGRESS: making headway, advancement, betterment, growth, improvement


What area of life do you need to carefully consider this word?


All that is required is the next right step.


…so that your PROGRESS will be evident to all.

1 Tim 4:16




Posted August 9th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Wednesday Whim!


Just for today…

Posted August 8th, 2011 by Leah and filed in Word of Encouragement

A word for Everyday Holiness

You can’t receive all at one time.  Let the plan for life unfold.  Unwrap it like a daily present- with joy and thanksgiving. I want you to enjoy your life…




Worry kills.  Worry destroys.  Worry is deadly.

Trust Transforms!

I sacrificed the most precious when I could have done less.  I did it all.  It is finished…




You will never comprehend completely on Earth, but in Heaven, oh glorious understanding.  I have prepared unparalleled beauty just for you my child.  Yes, you.

Let your daily bread be a memorial in your heart that all comes from me. I am the one who has provided all in your life.  I am the One who has allowed any hardships, trials, difficulties.  All were to bring you to the end of self-reliance so you would, just for today, understand that the only One you can fully rely on, depend on and trust…is me.

Just for today, release all worry, doubts, fears and sadness to me.




Just for today, focus on me.

I love you.  I will not fail you. I go before you and I have plans for your good, your success and peace.

Inhale today, exhale tomorrow…




Just for today…

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

xoxo  leah