A historic home full of friends and family

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Spencer and Melody Ratliff live in the Oakwood/Lincoln Park neighborhood and have transformed their wonderful historic home into a space of hospitality and beauty. Spencer is a furniture designer and maker. While he’s recently branched out into commercial work including build outs for restaurants and work at Blackberry Mountain, he really loves helping people make their ideas a reality and does a lot of custom work for individuals. Spencer owns and operates his own business Old North Designs . You may know Melody from her days of running Flips Batter Bar- a pop up gourmet pancake bar where she served a variety of home made pancakes with all kinds of topping options and dozens of creative syrup flavors. While the batter bar is no longer operating, she occasionally caters and has plans for bottling and selling her batters and syrups in the near future. We are so excited to give you a peek into their awesome home and for you to hear about their heart for hospitality.

The front porch— Spencer and Melody recently repainted and rearranged the whole thing.

The front porch— Spencer and Melody recently repainted and rearranged the whole thing.

The columns had layers of paint covering some pretty incredible marble. They stripped the paint to expose the wonderful stone.

The columns had layers of paint covering some pretty incredible marble. They stripped the paint to expose the wonderful stone.

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How long have you lived in your home? What initially drew you to it?

We’ve lived here for 5 years as renters and just bought it a few months ago! Before we moved in, it was a bachelor pad owned by some friends of ours and when they moved out, we were immediately interested. The home had already served as a community hub with a reputation of being open to whomever. We had been living in a 600 sq ft before, so we were really excited about the space upgrade. We love having rooms for guests and plenty of space for hosting.

What does home mean to you?

It’s a place of peace— a place where you can fully be yourself and don’t have to impress anybody.

Dining room

Dining room

Dining room- original fireplace.

Dining room- original fireplace.

Looking from the kitchen into the dining room

Looking from the kitchen into the dining room

How would you describe your style of decorating? Do you have any favorite stores or go to spots for furniture/home decor?

I try to focus on what works with the architecture of the house. Because our house is very traditional, my style has become more traditional. I definitely have an eclectic streak but I try to cater to the home that we are in.

Estatesales.net!!! it’s a weekly check for me.

Living room

Living room

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Looking into the living room from the dining room

Looking into the living room from the dining room

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Has your style changed over time?

I definitely used to be a bit more cluttered. I’ve gotten a lot pickier about what I keep. If I don’t love it, I don’t keep it. As I get older, I’m more likely to spend money on one piece that I really like vs a lot of little things that I kind of like.

Do you have any collections?

Not officially but we lovingly refer to many items in our home as “The Patty collection”. Spencer’s late mother, Patty, had incredible taste and we inherited many of her pieces.

What is your relationship to your belongings?

Very loose-- so many of our things are hand me downs or bought second hand. We aren’t super attached to material things. If something breaks or gets spilled on a rug, its not a big deal- everything is replaceable.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Spencer created this custom box wine cabinet.

Spencer created this custom box wine cabinet.

We love the creativity and innovation that this couple has!

We love the creativity and innovation that this couple has!

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When people come into your home, what do you hope they feel?

I hope that people feel peace and a sense of welcome and comfortableness. It’s’ really important to Spencer that our house always feels comfortable. He never wants it to feel so nice that it makes people feel uptight.

Upstairs sitting/yoga room. Art by Cayce Anthony

Upstairs sitting/yoga room. Art by Cayce Anthony

Do you have a style or home philosophy?

I care about things working well for hospitality. I arrange furniture for conversation. We intentionally choose pieces that play to that function for example- our dining room table fits a TON of people. We are part of a 5 night a week dinner share with our neighbors, so there are constantly people in and out of the house. Hospitality is our number one deciding factor in decorating and we’ve always been adamant about having a guest room.

How is your home an extension of yourself or your family?

Back to the whole hospitality.. we care a lot about making people feel welcome and comfortable. That’s why we care so much about our house and how it functions. We host “friendsgiving” every year and host many out of town guests.

Gallery wall of family photos, friends, and loved ones. Spencer made the live edge console table!

Gallery wall of family photos, friends, and loved ones. Spencer made the live edge console table!

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Do you have a favorite room in your home? A favorite piece of furniture or piece of art?

Our master bedroom and bathroom make me really happy. They are the most finished out of all of the rooms.

My favorite piece is the porch swing. Spencer made it and every morning we have our coffee on the porch.

Vanity in master bedroom

Vanity in master bedroom

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

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Master bath

Master bath

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What do you love most about your home?

The neighbors. We love the house, but it’s the neighbors that make it so great! The 4 houses surrounding us are literally our best friends. My biggest piece of advice is that if you are looking to move or buy a house, look for a place where your friends are.

Details

Details

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Interior part of an old piano that Melody repurposed into decor.

Interior part of an old piano that Melody repurposed into decor.

Thank you Spencer and Melody for opening your amazing home to us!

Spencer, Melody, and Butter (the rabbit)

Spencer, Melody, and Butter (the rabbit)

Being Present in the Middle of May

Spring is in full swing now and all the events of the season are coming at us from every direction! Graduations, travel plans, spring performances, festivals, sports tournaments, and end-of-school year parties and events are filling our calendars and brain-space as we try to survive one of the most beautiful months in East Tennessee.

We’ve gathered a few tips to help you be present, enjoy these last couple of weeks and finish the month with success.

Take a break from social media

For the rest of the month, hit pause on scrolling through your social media feeds. There are lots of fun things to post about on your own page - be it your kids, a fun travel spot, a memorable gathering - so go for it! But create a personal rule about not looking at other’s lives for the rest of the month to help you focus more clearly on your own.

Be willing to say “no”

Do someone a favor, and say “no” to an event, volunteer opportunity, or extra appointment and allow someone else the chance to say “yes.” Many of us are natural-born helpers (Enneagram 2’s, you know who you are ; ) ), but we’ve got to allow others the opportunity to help out in the classroom, take some food to a friend, or offer to help with the neighborhood newsletter.

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Schedule (at least) a 30-minute window every day to unplug

Take some time each day to do something without your phone in reach or earshot. I know many of us rely on our phones for our business and to be available for our families, but we also need a break. Just putting it away for short windows to allow yourself to be fully present in some quiet space, especially in such a hectic month, can be very refreshing.

Try to get into bed 30 minutes earlier as often as possible

Sleep is imperative when our brains are in overload, and even if you can’t every night, choose an early bedtime as many times this month as you can. Find a magazine, book of poetry, or an easy read to allow your mind to unwind and lull yourself to a peaceful sleep.

Drink water

Don’t leave home without a full & refillable water bottle. With busy schedules and lots or running from one place to the next, it’s easy to let this simple habit go by the wayside. Plus the weather is moving towards summer, so as our bodies adjust to warmer temps, a little extra hydration is needed.

Lastly, enjoy the moments when you’re in them. This month will be gone before you know it, so hang in there, laugh when you can, hug those you love, and celebrate the milestones of all your people as they graduate, finish a sports season, or start a new adventure this spring.

Wherever you are - be all there.
— Jim Elliot
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Loving Mom Well this Mother's Day

My mom & my girls 2016

My mom & my girls 2016

After leaving the home of a client who recently lost his mom, I’ve been a bit more reflective thinking of my own mama and my life as a mother. I am so very fortunate to still have my mom here and healthy. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters by encouraging me, toting my kids from here to there, attending all kinds of her grandkids’ games and performances, and mostly loving me well in all my ups and downs that motherhood, marriage, and owning a business can bring.

We’re 3 days away from Mother’s Day 2019 and I’ve been contemplating how do I really celebrate my mom, let her know how priceless she is to me, and create a memory that I can enjoy when she’s no longer here. As some of you who know my mom or may have read in previous posts, my mom is quite the collector of things. She’s got some mad skills when it comes to finding deals, personal shopping for family and friends, and creating an amazing storyboard of all her finds and family pieces in the place she and my dad call home. Having lived in the same old farmhouse for over 40 years allows one to create quite the collection. : )

I say all that to explain why giving my mom some of my time, a little muscle, and some serious purging encouragement would (wink, wink), by far, be the best gift I could give my mom this Mother’s Day. Now for you, your mom may be a natural born minimalist and giving your time in her home may not be the best help. My encouragement to anyone reading who has a mom that they’d like to love well this Mother’s Day is to take a minute now and think about her. What’s her season, her newest hobby, a restaurant she’s always wanted to try? There are lots of directions we could go here, but my hope for you is to be able to find one act of sacrifice on your part that would be life-giving to her. Below is a short list of ideas, and I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Whatever you land on, I hope you get a chance to connect with your mom, be it in person, over many miles, or in your memories.
And to all you mamas out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

Big love,
taryn

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IDEAS FOR MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS