Friday, July 21, 2017

French Country in the City

Yearning to go to France?
The breathtaking French architecture, street cafes, gardens, and markets?
Yeah, me too.

But guess what?
You don't have to travel to France to experience that French je ne sais quoi.
It's more accessible than you might think.

I set out on my bicycle, camera in hand, to see what I could find in the middle of Denver.
It had rained overnight and the air was fresh and cool.
By the time I was done with my ride, I could smell the fresh cafe' au lait and baguettes.

Here's a little sampling . . . 
Entryways with gorgeous French details, 


some with real gas lamps and winding walks.


Whether they're grand with a tower and a porte cochere . . . 


 or small and charming with an arched glass portico in a misty morning, 


their French roots are showing.

These beautiful balconies could be in France.  



Love the modified fleur-de -lis design on this one. 


Here's one more beauty with fancy wrought iron and blue shutters. 
Oh, wait! This one is in France. 


This amazing glass sculpture at a light rail stop in Denver could be in Paris.


To say nothing of the breathtaking gardens . . . 


or the tantalizing street markets.


Flowers at every corner remind me of Paris flower shops.


This little touch of France is right outside my own back door, my Cafe Bleu.
If you missed this post, you can read about it HERE.


And here's my Frenchy patio.
Want to read more. Click HERE.


So, look around your own neighborhood.
You might be surprised at the French touches here and there.
Now, let's have that cafe' au lait and baguette!

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Friday, July 14, 2017

The Three R's: Rethink, Revamp, Reuse

Isn't it fun to find another use for an object . . . something that it was never intended for?
I love to mix things up and re-purpose my finds, scratching that creative itch.

One of my favorite re-purposed finds was this French wine crate
transformed into a unique centerpiece.


Hey, what's that behind door number one?
This heavy old door that I found in an alley and actually got into my car all by myself 
covers up the electrical and fuse boxes on the patio.


Look what's hiding behind door number one!


Here are a few other ideas.
A paint-splattered scaffolding is transformed into a long bench on the patio.



Top an old sewing machine base with a slab of stone or wood
to make a unique outdoor table.


The orchard ladder my neighbor threw away is a perfect rustic plant stand.



An old cast-iron fireplace grate finds a new use as a pretty planter.


Inside the house, there are possibilities everywhere.
This child's hamper makes an unusual container for flowers
or extra pillows in the guest room.


Vintage suitcases? Stack and store photographs and mementos inside.


And what about that vintage wicker planter?
 I turned mine into a bookcase for my favorite interior design books.
 Easy to access and pretty to look at.


An old window frame becomes a shadow box for sweet little bottles.


We found this old adobe brick mold in a dump in Taos, New Mexico.
It sure puts a new spin on "dumpster diving"
and is perfect for displaying some of my white collectibles.


So, the next time you look at something, think outside the box . . . the hat box that is!
My vintage hat boxes hold tissue paper, bows and ribbons.


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Friday, July 7, 2017

My Happy Place

My favorite thing about living in Denver is being so close to the mountains. 
From my front door in the city to a peaceful mountain meadow is only about 40 minutes. 
So, on the day before my birthday, I was happy to trek up to Mt. Falcon Park for a weekday hike.

Although this open space can be crowded on the weekends, weekdays are much quieter 
with mostly older hikers, a few shiny black ravens and an occasional hummingbird.

My happy place!


Signs are posted to be aware and alert to other denizens like bears and mountain lions. 
Although I've seen a few deer and a black Abert's squirrel, I've yet to have a "surprise encounter."


These bear-proof garbage cans do remind you to stay on your toes!


A loop trail encircles this lovely green meadow and the great thing about it is ... it's fairly flat!


The meadows are dotted with amazing rock outcroppings.


You might see an occasional mountain biker on the trail. Although they are generally polite to hikers, we noticed a new sign saying bikers with "bad behavior" would be fined. 


One of the most amazing things about Mt. Falcon is its castle,
not something you'd expect to find in the mountains. 


Now in ruins, this historical site is bittersweet to explore. 
Built in 1909 by John Brisben Walker, a self-made millionaire who owned Cosmopolitan 
magazine among other investments, this was once a grand home with ten bedrooms, 
five fireplaces, a music room, an observation deck and servants quarters.


Tragically, Mrs. Walker died just seven years after the mansion was built. 
Two years later, the house was struck by lightning and burned down. 


Although Mr. Walker left his dream house behind, the four thousand acres 
he'd purchased became what is now Mt. Falcon Park.


By preserving this beautiful land, Walker left a wonderful legacy that many people enjoy today. 


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