Patti Edmon Altered Attic: A Haven in the Country

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Haven in the Country

Some people have the knack. I don't, but wish I did. My husband's aunt, a former New York jazz singer, definitely has it in spades. When she moved here to be closer to her sister (my mother-in-law), two sons and one grandchild (and us:), she found a one room house for rent on a farm in the middle of lots of other farms. What might look like a big empty space took on an aura of charm once she took over. She's managed to create one of the most fabulous homes I've seen.

I'm always amazed by the many faces of creativity - music, art, writing, cooking and decorating. Before Gail this was a concrete walk with a plain door (which she stained). She transformed the entrance, where my son hung out, into a quaint garden laden with flowers... they're everywhere you look - planted in the ground, in pots, on vines, and window boxes, a talent I wish I had; unfortunately, I have a brown thumb (raw umber:)

Along with the lake - my absolute favorite place - I love being in the country; even when it's hot and muggy, it's like dipping into a poem, resting on metaphor and the vivid color, scent and absence of sound. I've already written two poems since our visit and hope to revive that part of my old writing life, as a way of not taking it all for granted, seeing beneath and beyond the surface.

My beautiful daughter, stunning in the sunset, was the inspiration for the poem, maybe when it's cleaned up a bit I'll be brave enough to post it with the photo that, like a seed, blossomed in my head one evening, late, so near sleep and the words came like a gift...

Gail has made dozens of trips to Goodwill, estate and yard sales and is very handy with a paint brush and tool box. And, being the kind of person who never meets a stranger and always makes a friend, has received an eclectic array of gifts - pieces, from lamp shades, to carvings, fabrics, signs... all the treasures that make her place the one of a kind you don't want to leave.

I am a total sucker for old barns and this one, weathered and black, took on a sheen of pure gold in the waning sunlight.

The Queen Anne's lace is stunning. Actually the uncultivated form of the carrot, it falls in the weed category. I don't know why or who decided that one but it's obviously one of mother nature's finer offerings.

She made her famous pasta salad and dinner quite a feast. We also had pies, of course, and sweet tea and coffee for later when we had our percussion session.

The light was low and my flash doesn't have a good reach, so I wasn't able to capture the inside like I'd have wanted. The bathroom has a door, but the other 'rooms' are sectioned off with screens and other partitions.
I'd like to see our local magazine do a piece on her house and photograph it in a way that does the detail justice. I managed a few close ups that give a sense of her style.

I don't know about you, but I shove pots and pans in cupboards; when you lack storage space, the obvious solution is to choose well and display your wares on shelves, hanging from the ceiling, in window sills and counter tops.

A beautiful lace shawl with crystal beading looks like it belongs draped over the chair. She has used black and white patterns to lend unity to the space so that you'd never know it wasn't supposed to have four distinct living areas.

gotta love horses...

The jam session started after we'd cleaned up the pie. Jim's cousin is a renowned percussionist who teaches and plays with some of the most noted musicians across the globe. He started teaching my son to play the djembe, or African drum, years ago and we have one in the house. Tripp usually has three or four in his car, along with a collection of exotic noise making devices, all of which are great fun. I'm certainly no pro, but I can hold my own when the room starts vibrating.

right Henry??


Diane said...

What a wonderful feast for the eyes! Your husband's Aunt Gail is an exceptional artist!

Angie said...

Great pictures and it sounds like everyone had a wonderful time!

peshe said...

wow. if i build my own shack, think she'll adopt me???

Anonymous said...

Thanks for let me sede the home of my dear friend Gail Wynter, a great great jazz singer and a wonderful person.
Jorge Lardone
San Rafael > Argentina

ma thet zin said...

I am also enjoy visiting your great blog.

Sharmon Davidson said...

I envy the ability to decorate like this. When is Aunt Gail inviting me over?


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