There was a time long ago when I believed everything was perfect. Gadora (before I assumed the moniker Gadora) had taken an exciting editing gig in The Big Apple, moving there from The Big D. I hadn’t figured my new life would afford any friends, I was there for work… and fearing NYC was cold and soulless, assumed I’d simply work. I would simply only work. But sometimes life offers us a needed diversion, and when a friend from Dallas introduced me to some friends who also called the city home we quickly became a tight-knit group of independent women. We led our lives, each on a path of discovery and self-fulfillment, and came together as often as time would allow. It was a glorious, magical time. We enjoyed the shit out of one another. Then slowly the picture began to fade. We took chances on new opportunities, or fell out of love with our hurried, cramped city lives, and systematically began the exodus. Sometimes even with the most ardent plans laid out to the contrary pieces will fall into place. I swore I’d never—never ever—return to Texas. But in fact life would prove otherwise. I did, eventually. And luckily one of my NY lady-loves was already paving the way in Dallas, as if she knew I would eventually return. Our new lives would prove busy too, and though Dallas never felt like home… being in Penny’s presence did.
Life happens. Gadora would find happiness in Texas. It’s true—Austin IS awesome. And Penny found love. She and her Love moved to Salisbury, NC many moons ago, and it wasn’t until this past weekend that I’d see her again when we original five starlets ALL gathered to be with her as she married her Bride. She’d been busy planning her perfect wedding—sewing canvas butterfly boxes for each guest, crafting what looked like hundreds of Mexican paper flowers, and choosing a discerning menu. All I had to do was get there. This post isn’t about their wedding. Though it was one of the most personal and delightful small weddings I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. This post pays homage to the lovely home Penny and Laura have made for themselves. It’s filled with all the interesting bits the two have collected along their own life-journeys and now share together.
Theirs is a roomy mid-century Ranch on a sprawling leafy parcel of land. Much of the gathered family found their way to the kitchen, and spilled into where to spread was laid, natch! They were eager to show their space off, and where they weren’t… Gadora simply helped herself. The metal hanging lamp, originally purchased for the roomy pantry, was relocated to the dining room. And it was a perfect, perfect choice.
Opposite the wall shown above was a lovely shabby chic cabinet with a collection of candelabras. It’s hard to spot in this shot, but get a load of the bigger-than-human hand-carved, French antique wood fork that rests beside the cabinet. A less nosy guest might have missed it. But Gadora went in close, even touched it.
A pair of porcelain Day of the Dead cups, by American artist Michael Corney, glared back at me as appreciated the contents of the dining room’s nook. I. Love. Them.
The dining room spilled into the cozy family room. Just last week the duo reworked the wall of mirrors, added a rug and brought in seating for their guests. Just outside the glowing wall of windows, the pair’s pups swirled in their spacious yard. The same robin’s egg blue from the dining room found it’s way in here. The effect is positively soothing.
Various collections of themed trinkets found their way to one another, and together made the prettiest vignettes. To know Penny and Laura is to understand their deep appreciation of ritual. Their collection of Buddha hands (in various gestures) dotted the warm brick mantle. The winged sculpture was a show-stopper.
Years ago Laura gifted Gadora a sweet “hand with heart” ceramic sculpture. Placed prominently above my stove, it gives me a smile each and every day. I’m not so sure, but I think this is Laura’s heart, and me thinks it’s from the same Dallas artist. Laura?
Opposite the family room the kitchen gave way to a converted carport. I imagine this is where Penny spent her hours crafting for her big day, and from the wicked, golden velvety couch we three freed from a landfill-fate long ago. It’s hard to make out, but the golden coil in the spindled lamp is a lighted Buddha figure. Clever girls.
Towards the front of the room, Laura had her nest. A corner filled with musical instruments, and trinkets and things to please the soul.
Case in point. Any less-witty musician would simply have a harmonica. But Laura rests hers on this Mexican carved skull. At that very moment, I wished I could channel Big Mama Thornton. Oh Mama!
A colorful homage to the State Laura grew up in, a decoupaged paper mache Lady Liberty, from folk artist George Dukov, beckons passers by to try her on. Gadora didn’t then, but knows there’s a story in there somewhere. Laura mentioned, “he started this whole mask creation with George Bush, Monica and Clinton, and then the lady liberty series.”
A world of space separated the living and sleeping quarters in their home. A stroll between the two offered another glimpse into the early autumn yard. It’s so nice here, Gadora sighs. The neighbor’s hand-constructed 1-room barn sits just out of view.
Each spacious sleeping room was warmly appointed, just as the more trafficked rooms had been. Gadora toured them each with the same appreciation as the one before. This Joan of Arc sculpture is from closer to home, a duo of of San Marcus “Eye of the Dog” ~ Billy Ray and Beverly Mangham. Savoring pictures of their sleeping quarters without the aide of an iPhone, they each told a story of love, and life, and welcomeness.
I saved the best for last. Life is about our journey, isn’t it. We find happiness, and we’re challenged with disaster, and it’s about how we navigate between the two. And in the end, it’s not the things that make our lives grande… but the people we fill it with. Penny and Laura have made a lovely home in Salisbury, and are making friends of their own. They’re all a talented bunch. Robert Crum and Cherie Turner, friends whom we can now address the same, painted a surprise wedding portrait of the two. It will soon find its place with the other sweet things Penny and Laura have filled their home with. A reminder of their big day, and that they are loved.
• • •
Some of Laura’s other faves (some how I missed snapping a pic of their wares on the tour):
Mary Fischer – above the ledge where I snapped the lounging figure and bright red heart, stood a mini village of buildings (all white with black tracings). Laura adds, “They are my VERY favorite top loves….”