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As a follow up to my earlier post on Farmhouse Tables, I’ve thought a lot about the perfect chair to compliment. I’m one who favors a mix of styles. Modern with traditional, rustic with contemporary, cheap with expensive, the combination of these creates a textured, more interesting space that looks like it has been cultivated over time. So, to compliment the rustic, clean lines of the farmhouse tables, I chose the Marais (or Tolix) chair.

Designed in the 1930’s by Xavier Pauchard, the Marais chair (also called the Tolix chair) was a classic among French cafe life. Reproductions of the original are now sold at Design Within Reach and Pottery Barn.

During our trip to Spokane over Labor Day weekend we visited a few antique stores to see what we could find. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but without much else to do besides eating, drinking, visiting family, and then eating some more, antique store browsing seemed like something fun. The strip of antique stores we visited were on Main Street in an area that had recently been “revitalized” with old-fashioned street lamps and improved sidewalks. Although it appeared to be desolate, this small street outside of downtown Spokane had several antique stores housed in old buildings that gave the appearance of a pioneer western town. We left Main Street with nothing more than a vintage Stanley thermos (similar to one a reader sent in earlier) but had a lot of fun looking through the treasures of times past.

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Farmhouse Tables

One of the challenges we’re facing when we move out of our condo at the end of the month is that our small four person dining table will seem lost in the massive dining room at our new home. The home we’re moving to is a 100 year old craftsman style bungalow. It packs in the historical charm with built-ins and period details. While weighing the options, we’ve decided a chunky farmhouse style table would go well to balance both our modern tendencies and the traditional architecture. Since the antique farmhouse table I really want is out of our price range, here’s some of the more conventionally available reproductions (some of which are still out of our price range but are nice to look at anyway). I have my favorite, which do you like best?

Pottery Barn – Hyde Dining Table

Crate & Barrel – Basque Dining Table

Crate & Barrel – Pacifica Dining Table

Restoration Hardware – Gun Barrel Dining Table

Restoration Hardware – Farmhouse Dining Table

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in any sort of regular school routine. However, this coming week, I’ll be hitting the books again in pursuit of an MBA degree. Graduate school at night on top of working full-time, moving, setting up the Dundee General Store, and trying to maintain some sort of social life, will significantly decrease my available free time. In the end, I think it will all be worth it. Plus, I tend to succeed more under pressure and stress. It’s sick, I know…

Whether you’re a parent sending your kid(s) back to school, or if you, like me, are going back to school yourself, here’s a roundup of some educational essentials for Fall semester.

Take lecture notes in a Moleskine notebook from Powell’s Books

Protect your laptop with an iWooly for MacBook Pro from The Good Flock

Brighten up your desk with multi-colored three-ring binders from Russel+Hazel

Control your clutter with storage baskets from Restoration Hardware

Carry those heavy textbooks in this tote bag from Filson

For late study nights, a Bodum travel French Press mug from Sur la Table

Something I could have used in yesterday’s freak downpour, Hunter Boots from Zappos.com

I’m addicted to the iPhone photography app Hipstamatic that imitates the old grainy faded photos once produced by Kodak’s Instamatic cameras. No matter the price of gas, family road trip’s have a permanent place in American nostalgia. So, on our Labor Day Weekend road trip to Spokane, WA, I tried to capture some of the magic of a scenic road trip in my Hipstamatic photos. Of course there are some pictures of the abundant natural beauty, but some of my favorite pictures are of the dry, rusty, gritty-ness we found as well.

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Here’s a map of our route from Portland, through the Columbia River Gorge, and up to Spokane. On the way home we took the same route but stayed on the Washington side of the Gorge which is a smaller two lane road but in my opinion a much more scenic drive. We stopped at the Maryhill Museum and the picturesque town of Stevenson, WA, and were surprised at the vineyards that dotted the mostly barren landscape.

We are off on our last road trip before Fall arrives to visit family in Spokane, Washington. Although a lot of the six-hour drive is pretty desolate, there is some amazing scenery through the Columbia River Gorge past Multnomah Falls and steep forested cliffs. I’ll try to take some pictures to share along the way. Hope all of you have a safe and fun three-day weekend!

Recently I accompanied some friends on their search for the perfect wine country wedding location. Since my friends now live on the east coast and I never pass up an oportunity to explore the Dundee hills, I played tour guide for the day and visited several wineries and bed & breakfasts with them. We saw many spectacular locations that day, but none compared to the Black Walnut Inn.

As we drove up the winding driveway, suddenly the trees opened up, the view unfolded before us, and an Italian style sprawling villa at the top of the hill appeared. Our jaws dropped, gasps sucked the air out of the car, and we stopped a moment to let the mirage sink in. It was as if we had just been transported to Europe! We parked our car and walked through the massive arched gate (so massive there are guest rooms built into it) and entered a cobblestone courtyard crowned with a bubbling fountain in the center. To our right, literally endless views of the Dundee countryside, valley below, and Cascade mountains in the distance. In front of us, the stuccoed main building topped with a tower and red tile roof.

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The interior of the inn was just as stunning yet comfortable and inviting. Traditional furnishings in the living room center around a roaring fire, framed by French doors looking out at the view. Each of the nine guest suites are well-appointed with luxurious linens, soaking tubs, and king or queen size beds, and most offer private patios or sitting areas.

The Black Walnut Inn’s central location is convenient to all that Oregon wine country has to offer. However, if you just want to relax on the property instead, the inn also has its own wine label to enjoy! For more information, visit their website at http://www.blackwalnut-inn.com/

P.S. In the end my friends went with a different venue for their wedding because their guest list was too large, but I’m hoping to stay at the inn during their wedding anyway 🙂