Summer 2017 Issue

I got great news from our printer today – the Summer issue is ahead of schedule and will be mailing out the end of next week! But remember, it can take up to three weeks to arrive in your mailbox. This issue is packed with 132 pages and 5 HOMES! You won’t want to miss this issue!

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On the cover, and our first home tour is Jerrilee Cain and Ted Claydon’s 17th Century Gambrel in Worthington, Massachusetts. This amazing early home has a museum quality collection and gardens fitting a period house.

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Rob and Jayne Reed live in Coldwater, Michigan in an 1852 Farmhouse. It is warm, cozy and inviting and rests on a little piece of country heaven where Jayne tends many gardens and has several country outbuildings.

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From Ontario, Canada – this wonderful 1867 stone farmhouse belongs to Jeff and Donna Kish. Donna is an artist and has decorated this amazing home with an artist’s eye.

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Jeffrey Morgan rescued this amazing 1710 cape from destruction back in 1999. He moved it to his sprawling property in Kent, Connecticut and painstakingly restored it, and then filled it with the best of the very best period-appropriate antiques.

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Larry and Sheila Terrell live in North Vernon, Indiana in the cutest 80 year-old-house that you would guess was much earlier once inside. Sheila has an incredible eye for decorating and filling their home with 18th and 19th Century treasures.

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These five amazing homes and wonderful homeowners – plus SO MUCH MORE coming in our Summer issue! Stay tuned later in the week for more sneak peeks from this great issue! Get your subscription started or renewed on our website at,  Or visit a store near you!



Looking back on the “Settlement” book

On this beautiful Sunday afternoon that feels like spring, I invite you to join me in looking back over the wonderful homes of Carolyn and Rich Green, Lizzie Arakelian, Mary and Phil de Buhr, and Marion and Chuck Atten – all of which appeared in the Settlement book.

Each home is distinctly different than the others, each one unique in its own way. But all four showing a wonderful early American country spirit. I always marvel at the different decorating styles using wonderful early antiques from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Carolyn and Rich live in an early stone house in Missouri, and she and her partner, Amanda Canter, operate a wonderful shop – “Friends Together Antiques” in Rocheport.

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Lizzie Araklian – author of “Lizzie’s Diary” in A Simple Life Magazine, lived in Ohio when we featured her home for the Settlement book. Lizzie has a love for make-dos and  frontier style decorating. She now resides in Missouri.

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Mary de Buhr has been a leading dealer in the antiques business for  many years. Also an incredible stylist and decorator – her home has a wonderful calming sense about it. She has added on a log cabin addition that we will revisit in another “looking back” segment.

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Marion Atten, a dealer of 17th C. antiques, lived in Pecatonica, Illinois at the time of this photo shoot. Her and her husband Chuck have since moved to DeWitt, Illinois to be closer to their family and you can look forward to seeing that home in an issue of A Simple Life later this year.

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I’ll tell you a funny story from the day I spent with Marion in Pecatonica. She lit a fire in one of the back rooms of her home so that we could get a good photo. But before long the room was totally engulfed in smoke. I don’t mean just a little smoky, I mean can’t see anything “smoky!” And we both were thinking along the same lines – “Awesome! Hurry! Get some good shots because it makes the room look really early!” So we are both dying, with tears running down our faces making sure we got a good photo! And it worked! To this day when I’m with other homeowners who have trouble with their fireplace, I think back on that day with Marion and I’m so grateful we didn’t burn her house down! ha! But we did get some wonderful photos!

Music City – Nashville, TN

What a wonderful visit I had in Nashville last week! My cousins came out to the farm here in Virginia for a few days and then we rented a big house in Nashville. My cousin Greg and I are very close – and have been since our growing up years. His beautiful bride, Carolyn, is like a sister and his two girls – Amanda and Kaylee are like my own. I’m so proud of the beautiful women they’ve grown into. And they even still like to hang out with us old folks! ha!

After going to Colonial Williamsburg, Carter Fold, Floyd, Asheville and the Grayson Highlands National Park, we hit the road to Music City.  We crammed a lot of fun into a few days and experienced many places. I had some great photos on my phone but many of them won’t “save” once I get them to Photoshop. I have this problem a lot with photos from my phone – anyone out there have a cure for that?

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We visited the Ryman:

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Where we saw lots of memorabilia (above is Bill Monroe’s hat) and got a backstage tour. I learned that George Strait is not a member of the Grand Old Opry – WHAT?! Get this – it’s due to lack of showing interest on his part! And Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are the only two members who have gotten kicked out of the Opry!

We spent a long time at the Country Music Hall of Fame – a place you could spend two days! I saw my hero, Ralph Stanley’s banjo, Webb Pierce’s awesome car, and Hank William’s boots.

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One of my favorite stops was the Johnny Cash Museum.

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And no doubt we ate a LOT of GOOD FOOD! Nashville has become famous for their “HOT” Chicken and one of the best for that is Hattie B’s.  You have to stand in line outside for quite awhile but we all agreed, “It was worth the wait!”

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Guess what? I actually saw a DONATOS PIZZA in Nashville! What?! They must be branching out. I want to give my dear friend Jake Coy a big thank you for my Donatos gift card I got in the mail! You can bet I’ll be using that when I’m in Ohio for Simple Goods in two weeks!


Lots more great memories were made and I’m already thinking of my next visit to Music City!

As promised from before – here are a few more photos from my first book, “Homestead.”

The wonderful log home of Ralph and Linda Miller:

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A visit to the Lone Star State to see Pat Evans. I’m going to call Pat this week and see if we can arrange another visit to her home for the magazine!

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And another photo from a reader favorite – the home of Carolyn Thompson!

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The summer issue is going to print TOMORROW! And I’ll be back this weekend with another trip down memory lane – looking back over some of your favorite homes! Stay tuned!

P.S for my readers in the upstate New York area – be sure and visit my friends John and Barb O’Brien at Good Old Days Country Shop in Pultneyville.  After many wonderful years they have decided to retire and everything in the shop must go! They’re having a great sale. I will miss John and Barb – they have always been a wonderful, loyal supporter of my publishing business. All the best in your retirement guys!

Looking Back, #2

I never could find more of my photos from the first book, “Homestead.”  But in the next couple of days I will get the book out and scan some of them for you.  Tonight I have some great homes from my second book – “Settlement.”  This was a great big book – filled with such wonderful folks and homes,  and I loved every minute I worked on it.

In this book I thought I would share a couple of folk artists that I admire, with you. First out was Anne Childs. Anne and her husband John live in Arkansas and it was funny because I had known Anne and John for quite awhile but they had never mentioned their home to me, and surprising – neither had anyone else. I’m not even sure if I knew they lived in a log cabin, but I might have. At any rate, I was totally under the assumption I was going to photograph a few of Anne’s amazing paintings and head to the next shoot. LANDS! What a surprise I had in store! I walked in the door to the most amazing, big log house I could ever imagine! And it was filled with wonderful, early things – all displayed by the eye and hand of an artist of course! Literally within five minutes I asked them what they were doing for the rest of the day AND tomorrow because this suddenly turned into a house shoot! What a great day and surprise that was! That has never happened since. Anne and I had such a connection over so many things that unfolded over that trip and boy we had an awesome dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant too. I’d have to give that trip a TEN! And I know you’ll agree when you see these!

John was a landscaper when he and Anne met and he has done amazing things with their property.

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Steven Stout and Robert Strauss live in Ann Arbor, Michigan and their house has been photographed by countless wonderful publications. You can see why! They both have a keen eye for the very best early American antiques and also have a shop in their home.

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They love all the things I do – mortars, hornbeams and brooms!

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Back in the day, I used to do a show down in Texas at my friend Dawn Hodges. Cheryl and I used to do Round Top together and we’d set up over at Dawn’s farm at the same time. Dawn’s show is still going strong and bigger than ever. She fills the grounds will lots of wonderful dealers. Although Dawn’s show is a big claim to fame – her real talent is COOKING and loving on people. I don’t know how many people in her church she cooks for every week – and I will honestly tell you that she is the BEST COOK I KNOW, hands down!

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Needless to say, she’s a pretty awesome collector and decorator too!

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Also in Texas are my friends, Jean and Roy Doty. They live down on the coast in Beaumont. I met this wonderful couple also doing a show – the Dolly Johnson show in Ft. Worth. They were my neighbors and they kept me entertained with wonderful stories about their home and collections. Both so knowledgeable about early things – I learned a lot from them when I visited.  We’ve been good friends ever since and I’m proud to say they are dealers at our Days of the Pioneer show too!

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Across the Red River, over in Oklahoma, I found myself at the home of Don and Pat Gaddy. Lots of you probably have a wonderful item in your home that was made by them. They have a Picture-Trail site where they sell their handmade reproductions that are the very best. They make amazing treenware , wonderful lighting and so much more – but you have to be fast because when they have an update they sell out within minutes. I had a wonderful, wonderful time with them in their home outside of Tulsa.

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So that’s going to do it for the home tour this go round. I’ll be back in a few days with lots more!

I wanted to share a quick photo of our cabin progress. It’s been too cold to chink the past week but a little bit has been done here and there.

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Also, I wanted to give you a chuckle – a couple weeks ago I had dinner with my friend Ken Reid while we were in Illinois for the shows. Prior to leaving home he sent me a curious email asking me if I liked chocolate. That was and easy answer! ha!  So when we met up for dinner – he gave me this beautiful little bag all tied up with pretty tissue paper and told me to open it later – that it was from a local Chocolate Company in New Hampshire who were quite famous for their candy.   We went in and had a great dinner and I kind of forgot about it. The next morning while sitting at the show I found the bag and opened it … and THIS is what was inside!

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Yes indeed – those ARE Chocolate MICE! They even had the prettiest ribbon tails. Ok … so maybe ALL mice aren’t bad !!!



Looking Back …

My publishing career began about eleven years ago with my first hard cover book – Homestead. Wow, that seems more like 20 years ago sometimes and yet, just yesterday at other times. It has been a wonderful journey through nine books and seven and a half years of magazine publishing. I’m very blessed to share in the lives of the greatest homeowners in our industry and they make every day a great day to go to work.

So over the next several weeks I’m going to be looking back over my career and sharing some stories with you, along with some of my favorite photos from each book project and each magazine issue. Sadly, I don’t have all of my Homestead book photo files, but I’ll be posting what I can find over the next week. Tonight I’ll start with these ….

On the cover – the home of Carolyn Thompson.

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My time with Lisha Holt in Kentucky was great. For those of you who know Lisha, you know how much fun she is and we had a lot of laughs that day. She has an eye for detail like no one else I’ve ever met. It might be time to revisit Lisha soon for the magazine! What do you think?

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I went to Iowa to photograph Steve and Rita Carnine and I remember being so nervous! Now Rita is one of my dearest friends and I love her and Steve like family. She has the absolute best vignettes – more of which were in my Fragments book. I’ve been thinking of doing a Fragments Two – get ready for me Rita!

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This is the Missouri home of Vernon Reeves. Since that time, Vernon has sold his log house and moved into St. Louis where we featured his townhouse in an issue of A Simple Life. Vernon’s log house was really special – just like he is.

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Vernon’s good friend and neighbor, Joan Lucas also lives in a log house, which is currently for sale. Joan was the first person I called when I was considering starting a magazine to get her thoughts. She has been a wonderful friend ever since I photographed her home all those years ago. I love you Joan! I will be looking for more photos from her house in the coming days, but this is an “iconic” Joan Lucas shot!

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Steve and Sharon Clymer from Paducah are co-owners with Lisha at American Harvest Antiques. One of the greatest early American and primitive antiques shops around. Sharon and Steve are truly two of my most favorite people on the planet!

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I’ve always loved this vignette of miniature books and tiny treasures in Sharon’s entryway.

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This was my buttery in our house in Texas. All of the things in this photo have long since been sold, but tonight I’m kind of wishing I had that red dry sink top back! Whoever has it – call me!

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And this last photo is from Carolyn Thompson’s home in Ohio. Carolyn has been a leader in our business for many, many years. I will find more photos from Carolyn’s wonderful home soon.

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So join me again, over the next several weeks for hundreds of more photos and homes to come – documenting the last eleven years of Homestead Publishing, Inc. !