hello! neighbor - jenn

I can't remember who contacted who first but a few months into my blogging foray I started emailing back and forth with another blogger named Jenn Hannotte. It turns out we lived in the same neighborhood and were both obsessive about everything and anything to do with design. Jenn finds time to write for not one but two blogs; she is a contributor to Arren William's Design Lab and also her own blog called The Interiorist.  Jenn's first home (also in the neighborhood) was featured in a local magazine called DesignLines. When I heard she had bought a second place I was eager to see what she would do with it! As I watched the progress unfold on her blog, I knew I had to ask her if we could show her place here. Luckily, she said yes! If you like what you see, you will soon be able to hire Jenn to help you with your own place. Starting in September, Jenn will be offering her design services through Russet Empire. Now on with the tour!


Jenn Hannotte Occupation:

Jenn is excited to start an interior styling service out of Russet and Empire in the Fall.

How Long Have you Lived in Your Home:

9 months

Any Kids or Pets?

Two kids, Willa (6) and Beatrix (19 mos)

Which Room Do You Spend the Most Time in? Why?

We spread ourselves pretty evenly over the first and second floor. I really wanted to make sure we use the space we have, so having the play room on the second floor means the kids spend a lot of time up there. The third floor has a master bedroom and an office/gym/spare so we only go up there when we need to! Is there anything you would change about your house? Future Plans? We'd like to finish off the basement at some point, and renovate the third floor. The backyard is pretty abysmal. So is the front. The windows are ugly and inefficient. Nearly all the walls and ceilings have some kind of hole that needs repairing and painting; pretty much every light fixture needs to be changed...the list is really, really long! But, for only being here 9 months I think we've come a long way. What is your favorite moment/object in your home?

The amount of light this house draws is unlike anything I've ever lived in before, and I especially love when it floods the playroom in the late afternoon. I also love all the doors on the main floor. Closing or opening any of them totally changes the mood. And, the front entrance - it's like having another room on the main floor and it's the most architecturally interesting space in the house, but we haven't started decorating it yet. What influences you? Where do you get your inspiration?

Lately, set design from old films. I'm so interested in learning about how people would have decorated and lived when our home was built. But other than that, the usual: blogs, magazines, tv, books, music, life, seasons, memories. Where is your favorite place to visit?

Saskatchewan in the summer. If you had to choose one object that best described you what would it be?

I'm far too complicated and full of life to be described by an object. (yuk yuk) What are you reading at the moment?

The Internet ruined reading for me. Or maybe it was the kids. Any links, acknowledgements? Cera Stone, Arren Williams, Russet and Empire, The Arthur, Craigslist, Crate and Barrel, IKEA, Mom, Dad.

Thanks Jenn. So many great ideas to steal from your home!

All images by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.

jennifer's history lessons

I can't remember how I first met Jenn, I think maybe she sent me an email. Anyways, it turns out she lives in the same neighbourhood as me and is in the middle of renovating a beautiful old house. This is her second home in our neighbourhood. The first one was amazing (it appeared in Design Lines a few issues back) so I'm excited to see what she does with this new house. You can follow all of her designing madness over on her blog The Interiorist. In fact, our neighbourhood is a little mecca of design blogs. You might also want to check out Roncesvalles Victorian Reno Diary. Hi Marion House Book-ites! I'm Jenn, I guest-blog over at Arren Williams, and I've started my own at The Interiorist that chronicles the verrry budget renovation of our new-old house just 7 blocks north of the Marion House. I was super excited when Emma asked me to share something, but instead of blogging about what's hot and new, I thought I'd share some of what's old. Really old. Old like my house, and old like a lot of folks homes in our neighborhood. We're so lucky to live in these homes that have been standing for a century bursting at the brim with histories. I spend a lot of time wondering how the original owners of my home would have lived. How they would have decorated, entertained, and celebrated, and those stories I put together guide my in how I'm renovating the house. There are a lot of clues in my house - one of the first mysteries I searched for an answer to was a small brass plate in the dining room floor.

Turns out it was a foot buzzer the head of the table would have pressed to alert the STAFF that the guests were seated and it was time to eat. I keep pressing and pressing but no one is bringing me any food so it must be broken.

I've also discovered the original Lino flooring in the kitchen, which lead me to search for what the kitchen might have looked like when the home was built.

Maybe this?

And finally, my laundry sinks - these huge gorgeous cast iron sinks with turned legs that sit totally unused in the basement now, but back then, would have been considered to be livin' large on easy street! They, and this cute sink sitting in the garage inspired my choice of sink in my bathroom renovation (the big reveal will be on Arren Williams soon!).

I would love to hear and see some of what you might have found in your old house and how you've used it to inspire how you live now. Head over to my blog and let me know, I think it's really important to remember these places we live in have hearts all their own.

Image credits
All images Jennifer Hannotte except Vintage Kitchen - Henry Ford Museum