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The Journal

A Nashville photographer's story blog.

Filtering by Category: Home

Green Beginnings: An Apron, A Clothesline

Amy Roberts

Our home is the definition of farmhouse. Lingering in the very bones of this place are reminders of its origins - a laundry shoot, a real well, and a dinner bell on the back door tether this space to the habits of rural life. But the most obvious bit of history built into the backyard are two concrete T-shaped posts erected beneath the gnarly maple - a permanent clothesline setup.

It makes me laugh to think that the builders of this home were so certain that clotheslines would be the way of things forever that they actually installed these massive, everlasting posts into the property itself. I have no idea how deep they are, but a friend recently stood for several seconds staring in confusion at the empty statues and finally asked if they were massive anchors or something (like from a pirate ship) because that’s all they could fathom.

Yet this house is influencing me, I think, because if you looked at my recent search history, you’d find the phrase “what to know about clotheslines.” We’ve hung two lines on either side of the posts, and we’re going to start giving this a shot. I love the idea of drying my clothes in the open air, of having crisp linens against my skin, and of saving a bit of money and electricity in the process.

(I should probably pressure-wash those posts.)

I bought standard clothesline and a pack of pins, and had Justin help me find the right knots for hanging it. We ended up using a Tautline Hitch knot, which you can find a tutorial for here.

I started finding out about the concerns with leaving washing out overnight (spiders might want to build their nests in your clothes, so… NO), freeze-drying in winter, and which clothespins were the best. The best resource for me was definitely this post from The 104 Homestead, so if you’re interested you should definitely check out her article.

One piece of advice I found in my research was to secure an apron with hefty pockets so you don’t have to lug around a bag of clothespins. I didn’t have an apron, but I could envision a dreamy old-world vibe where laundry included fabrics in the breeze and linen tied around my waist. I clearly needed a linen one, because vibes. 

I didn’t have an apron, but I did have an old linen hand-me-down shower curtain from Target that I’d been saving for a project. I love re-purposing things (Sound of Music coordinating outfits, anyone?) because it keeps items out of landfills that much longer, and Mama Nature really appreciates that.

I looked at some beautiful apron patterns. This free one from Purl Soho was particularly tempting, but I’m not really someone who does things properly the first time.

It so happens that I’m a barista by day, so I was able to simply use that apron and whip up a simple-and-easy pattern of my own.

I’m really happy with the results! So, I now have a new apron from an old curtain, and I’m employing a new way of doing laundry, except that it’s actually an old way that is only new to me. In my old house, which is also my new house, and is Justin’s literal old house from his childhood, but is now... kind of his new house?

I’ll make the coffee while you think on that.

If you have any advice for clothesline beginners, please let me know in the comments!



Renovation Series: The House That Made Us

Amy Roberts

It’s been a very busy summer.

If you’ve followed along with me on Instagram, you’ll know that we’ve been working hard on renovating a home we bought in June of this year. You may not know, however, that this is actually the home my husband grew up in. Throughout our relationship, this has been the home of his parents. I’ve known this house since I was sixteen years old (twelve years ago now!) and now it’s in our very own hands. We couldn’t be prouder or more excited.

I can’t help but reflect on how much this house has meant to us through dating, engagement, and marriage. We always had an almost unspoken plan to buy this house whenever the day came for Justin’s parents to move on. It was one of two spaces (my parents’ house being the other one) where we really got to know each other and fell in love. We learned about each others’ families here, fell asleep on the sofa downstairs… I even had a stomach virus strike once when I was around seventeen and spent the night with my head in their toilet, unable to even make the five minute drive home. I mean, I grew up here almost as much as my husband, and it’s surreal and grand and really amazing to be trusted with it now.

For any who don’t know, it’s the original farmhouse for our area, built in 1961. Surrounded on three sides now by subdivisions, this entire swath of land was once dedicated to farmland for the original builders of our home. Yet we are not in a subdivision ourselves. The house has retained about four acres of that farmland, which we now own, and it is bordered by old, gnarly trees which block the views of the neighborhood. With three acres of field in front of the house and no neighbors across the road, it still feels very much like we live in the thick countryside, except that we are conveniently close to town and even have a trail being built through the protected forest next to our mailbox. We’ve really got it made.

So, this post is to catch you all up on what I’ve been up to this summer. I want to share bits of our home on here and update things in this series as they get completed. I’ll also show you a few images from my inspiration board for areas that are still under construction.


My Design Preferences

When thinking about my ideal design choices, I immediately jumped to a minimal yet bohemian style. I love neutrals, textured surfaces, and a less-is-more approach to knick-knacks. I also wanted plants everywhere, spilling out of the corners and making the house feel alive and homey. I wanted to be careful not to betray the spirit of the house in my eagerness, though. This is a farmhouse through and through, complete with a white picket fence, farmhouse doors, and a dinner bell still stuck to the back door. With that in mind, I’ve tried to find a sweet spot between bohemian and farmhouse decor, which I have a lot of anyway due to my own heritage and heirlooms. It’s been a fun challenge that I’m sure will continue to morph as my vision shifts.


The Living + Dining Room

This space is an open floor plan, which was pretty new for the 60’s. It’s bright, with a giant floor to ceiling window centering the living room area that faces the sunrise. There’s a brilliant exposed beam across the top of the ceiling from which we may eventually hang a long fan to circulate air upward better in the muggy Tennessee summers. We plan to replace the carpet soon, and later to put in hardwood to match as close as we can to the stunning originals in the other half of the split level. I’d like to work on window treatments (if not curtains, at least nice blinds) and I really want mismatched chairs. That might be goofy, since I have a great matching set, but, you know, I’m just weird.


The Foyer + Library

This is the space that people walk into from both the front and back doors. Wood paneling was so popular back in the day, and I keep waffling on what to do with it. I think I will end up painting it, but I love the wood trim and the gorgeous wooden shutters facing the back garden. I’m not a fan of light walls against wooden trim, though, so I’m at a loss. I’m considering painting the paneling dark, perhaps charcoal or indigo, but I don’t want to regret it later. I hope to make this room feel worldly and cozy, but it also has to serve as a pass-through for any traffic in or out of the house. Lighting updates and built-in bookcases will finish the room up nicely.


My Office

I was so excited to finally have an office again! This room is on the same level as the library and is extremely cold, even in summer. I love it. This is where I want all my whimsical notions to find a home. I only want to hang art in here that really means something to me, by artists who inspire me, and all my handmade items can find their places here. A thrifted wooden desk chair, a bed slat turned to a shelf, and some old wood blinds I found in the basement make this room one of my favorites. There are twinkle lights bordering the ceiling above my desk that give the room a warm glow at night. I still want to add a rug to make it cozy and to protect the beautiful floors from my chair.


More Plans

This is probably enough for now - bathrooms, bedrooms, and the basement will be for another post, and they all have more work to be done anyway. The plans are as follows:

The laundry room is the tiniest one I’ve ever seen, so I’ve tried to be very economical with my plans for it. I will need to turn the appliances to fit better, remove cabinetry, and free up the laundry shoot (YES! I have a laundry shoot!). Simple, minimal, and economical is the goal for that room.

The bedrooms will be cozy, fairly bohemian, and very neutral. I’d like to play up textures and minimize tech in those rooms. 

All three bathrooms will be remodeled to some degree. I’ve already got the half-bath downstairs stripped of half its wallpaper, but a paint job, a new sconce, and maybe a different sink will finish that up. The two upstairs, however, will be full jobs as I replace pink toilets and tile the now carpeted areas. They will earn a full blog post when they’re done!

The basement is my husband’s sanctuary, where all our technology and music equipment will live. We have very different interests, but that’s what makes our house so well-rounded! I hope to bring a lounge-y, exposed brick sort of vibe down there, with the possibility of an added wet bar and plenty of paint.


What a haul! But we love this process so much. We’re so grateful to have this chance for a taste of the countryside and space to spread out. Thanks for following along! For updates and tidbits on the house, check out my Instagram Stories.