Zandra's Living Room

For our first month of introductions, Karen and I decided to invite you into our homes. You can probably see that my living room is a rather modest space and we often wish it were bigger to accommodate more friends.  But, we also happen to love old homes so it’s a trade-off that we’ve decided to live with.  My husband and I sort of accidentally began collecting art on our honeymoon when we bought a big wooden fish.  We’ve tried to buy a new piece on our anniversaries…although repairing leaky roofs and springing for new plumbing has stood in our way on several occasions.  We certainly aren’t hoity-toity collectors or anything.  We just buy what we love (and can afford).  


This is where you enter the room from the front door. The large painting of our two boys in the room beyond is by a very talented painter, Ruth Scotch, who is also a close friend.  She works primarily with a palette knife in oils and her subjects are often candid portraitures.  She does commissions like these but her paintings really stand on their own and are bought for their own sake, regardless of who the subject is.

The piece hanging over the red couch is a photograph printed on watercolor paper by Barbara Bowles.  It’s a close-up of an old Chevy pick-up truck and we love the abstraction she’s created using the lines and chipped paint as a focal point.


Here you can see the two archways that lead into my dining room.  Over 10 years ago I had been looking at antique shops for a barrister’s bookcase because I have this (some would say ridiculous) aversion to dust.  I thought that people who first made these were brilliant dust avoiders and kindred spirits.  (Since having kids, a lot of things have lost their ick-factor for me, including dust.  I still hate cleaning but at least I don’t gag while I do it anymore).   

The painting hanging above the bookcase is one of three pieces we own by Alvaro Cardona-Hine.  He lives and works in Truchas, NM and we met him at his studio through our dear friends, Catherine Morrison and Charles Tandy.  The Tandy-Morrisons are far more advanced in their art collecting and have graciously encouraged us along the way. This painting is of the sun rising over a minaret in Morocco, one of the places on our wanderlust wish list to visit someday.  

The collage sitting on the bookcase was the first piece we ever bought on our travels to Santa Fe.  It’s by Darlene Olivia McElroy.   We chose this one, in part, because of the boy depicted in the center.  We had taken our three-month old son with us on this trip and being with him in this beautiful town, doing what we loved, was magical.



This next shot is simply a close-up of some of my globes.  I have a small collection that my husband reluctantly has come to see as useful when our kids ask us where their sitters are from.  Pete works at Wellesley College and we are fortunate to have a babysitting repository of smart, kind and entertaining young women from all over the world who relieve us of our children from time to time.


I’m using a Huston Biscuit shipping box as a side table.  In 1869, my great-great grandfather started the Huston Biscuit Company in Auburn, Maine and I have a couple of these boxes in our home.  My favorite advertising campaign was for the Sebago Lunch Biscuit, which apparently was made only with water from Sebago Lake, the “cleanest lake water in the country” according to government chemists.


Here you can see another Cardona-Hine painting called “Three Birds in the Morning.”  I think this one is my favorite.  The hand-turned wire frame was made by a friend of his who he contacted on our behalf.


This room is where we generally spend time with friends when they come over for cocktails.  I wish we had more seating but we make due with the window seat or pulling in chairs from the dining room.   Adding the chevron rug (which you can see in the other photos) really pulled the whole room together.  When I found our mid-century modern dining room set on Craigslist (one of my best scores EVER), I recovered the chair seats in a black & white pattern that I thought would work with the rug whenever we had to pull the chairs into the living room for extra seating.


Here you can see one of Karen’s sweet surprises she made and left on my front porch.  I love these mustard-yellow pom-pom flowers (and some of you may recognize them if you’ve bought our September box)!

xoxo Zandra