When we moved back to Hidalgo after our short stint in a medium sized city, my dear husband tried very hard to find a house that I would want to live in. I was excited to move home, but I wasn’t happy about any of our housing options.
The homes that Brad thought I would like, and that I should have liked, just didn’t do it for me. At one point I know I cried because I was afraid we would end up in a new-ish house that would never be quite right, but too nice to tear down or move away from. I didn’t want to feel trapped in an ugly house on the prairie. (I know. I can be a brat.)
|Seagrove is a totally unique area at the beach. It is literally a grove of little trees and is very shaded. The houses are close together on sand roads. So cool!|
|The first room when you come in from the porch. What do you think? I love the denim slipcovers and the curtains and the way the shelves are arranged!|
I really wanted to live in an old house that I could totally make ours, knowing that nothing would be permanent. And then build a new one.
We found the perfect fixer upper for me in Hidalgo, right across the street from the community building and ball diamond and down the street from the elevator, Bob’s Hardware, and the little grocery store. I remember those days and that house very fondly. The house was far from perfect, but I thought it was so darn cute with its wrap around porch and gingerbread trim. And I loved it!
The nicest people lived in the village with us and the boys and I liked to take long walks and drop in (uninvited and unexpected, now that I think about it!) for visits with Fred and Lela, Richard and Kathy, Don and Ilene, Miss Flossie and Edna, to mention just a few.
|I loved, loved, loved this room! The space. The light. The everything.|
If the weather was nice, we spent lots of time outside and we had lots of company, too. As the boys rode their Big Wheels up and down the sidewalk, I shared glasses of tea and our porch swing with many people who would stop for a quick visit as they drove through town.
I missed those drop in guests once we moved to our new house, built on a very quiet road and less convenient for casual dropping in. Now, I needed to extend invitations if I wanted company and I didn’t extend nearly enough of them.
I regret that.
We lived in that old house in “town” for much longer than we originally intended, so I had a lot of time to dream of the new house we were going to build someday. I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed. I used to have gobs of back issues of Southern Living and Country Living and a big old notebook filled with inspiration pages torn from other magazines and carefully placed in page protectors.
Eventually, we built our new farmhouse, and I got to implement some of those ideas. But I still like decorating and changing things up, so I’m always on the lookout for pretty ideas. I no longer have my old magazines and I emptied up those page protectors and refilled them with other information that interests me. My decorating inspiration is all stored on my Pinterest boards now.
|Tiny, tiny bath|
|Great floors, don’t you think?|
One magazine that I still enjoy is Coastal Living and I was so tickled to learn that the design house for this year was just down the road from us in Seagrove, Florida. I couldn’t wait to see it, and as the pictures prove, I wasn’t disappointed!
It was just beautiful and made me smile from the minute I walked in the front door. I was so inspired and gobsmacked by the designer’s creativity. I especially loved the warm and welcoming kitchen/family room combo. I just know the owners of that home will entertain many friends and family there after long days spent at the beach.
|Master Bedroom with a map of Seaside, which is very nearby|
This year has me thinking a lot about hospitality. I’ve dined (and I mean “dined”) in the fanciest places I could imagine on our trip to Italy, eaten dishes I can’t even remember the names of because they were so complicated. And I’ve eaten simple food in a house with a dirt floor in Mexico.
The food was delicious in both places.
|the back porch|
Here’s what I learned….
It doesn’t matter if you live in a million dollar mansion, a cottage at the beach, a modest typical family home, or a house made from pallets and cardboard.
It doesn’t matter if you prepare food from recipes that are pages long and garnish with flowers and elaborate sauces, or the food is served family style in big old unmatched serving dishes, or you bought a bucket at Kentucky Fried chicken and eat it on paper plates with sporks.
If the food is served with love and enjoyed with people you want to know better, it will taste good.
So, throw open your doors and have company. Invite people in. We are all just looking for a place at the table.
You can read about our visit to the Southern Living Design House a few years ago Southern Living Design House, and my visit to Italy Farm Girls Go to Italy, and our mission trip to Mexico Grateful on Mission.
I would love, love, love to hear what you know for certain about hospitality. Please share in the comments!