Friday, April 30, 2010

a room made of maps.

Listening To: Sunday Morning Coming Down by Johnny Cash
Line Obsession: "Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waist it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know." - from Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

We were bored, going back and forth asking each other random questions.

He asked: "What would your dream house look like?"

I told him about the outside first. I said it would have a big porch, the kind where you sit in rocking chairs, and sip iced-tea, and watch for falling stars. But before you start picturing The Notebook (or Cracker Barrel), you should know my dream house is just a quirky old cottage. My dream house definitely would not have stairs. Carrying laundry upstairs isn't fun when you're gravity impaired. Ditto for furniture on move-in day.

My dream house would have lots of windows. Maybe even a window seat. When I was little, I used to sit on a white toy box in front of my window and pretend to be Little Orphan Annie. Remember in the opening scene of the movie, when she's staring out at the lonesome city streets, singing? "Betcha he reads. Betcha she sews. Maybe she'll make me a closet of clothes." I so did that. (I didn't mention that part out loud.) (Some aspects of my past are best left for public blogs, not private conversation.)

The house would be surrounded by shade trees. In the summer, the sunlight and the moonlight would filter through the trees and look like a fire-pattern spread out across the wood floors. I would fall asleep dreaming about patchwork skies.

My dream house would be full of original art, not by known artists, but by friends who will be known someday. Or should be. And I'll hang up art by college students and high school students who show their art at school shows, and look like you've offered them a free trip to the moon when you ask if their work is for sale. I would frame the music notes my papaw left on a yellow scrap of paper in his banjo case. That would definitely go on the wall.

My house would be full of built-in bookshelves. And there would be space for the bookshelf my dad made for me at the house where we used to live. There will be a place for the bookcase I bought at Target which is plain, and black, but kind of awesome. There will be no such thing as literary snobbery on my shelves either. Narnia, Diagon Alley, Avonlea, and Grover's Corners will all be located side by side. Sandra Cisneros and Zadie Smith can chill beside the random quirky books I liberated from the free pile at my used bookstore. My heart goes out to tattered covers.

My record player would be there. And on rainy days, I could listen to Johnny Cash records while I made strawberry muffins (while Biscuit plays with her toys).

Pictures of my friends and family will be there. And hopefully, my friends and family will be there in person, not just in pictures. Their smiles make me smile.

My house would have an office that felt like a little oasis from the world; a place with a big window, a desk, a comfy chair, my Mac, and my yellow notebooks. My coffee cup with the Shakespeare quotes would hold G2 pens. My I Jim Halpert mug would be full of warm coffee. And my heart would be full too. My heart would be decided. A few years ago I painted a canvas black and wrote "I have a decided heart" (a quote from an Andy Andrews book) in big, swirly white letters. I would hang that quote in my office, where I could see it everyday. And in that dream world, I'll write more books. And I'll be able to look at those books and realize, not only did I decide, I did.

I would let my niece and nephew decorate the guest room. Erin's half would be chic and magazine worthy. Andy's half would be full of Transformers, trucks, cardboard telescopes, and those plastic containers of clay you buy at Wal-Mart that make fart noises when you squish the clay down into the corners. The house would have a couple of bathrooms. (The bathtub would totally have jets. This is a dreamworld, after all.). I would have a cute kitchen. With a drawer for take-out menus.

My house would be welcoming, full of comfy pillows, a comfy couch, and lots of movies and board games. (Clue, anyone?) I would put pink roses in a turquoise vase on the center of the table. The quilts my great-grandmother made would be tossed on the couches. Biscuit's toys would be on the floor. And I would have magnets on the fridge from the states I've visited. Virginia is for lovers. You haven't lived till you've lived in Texas. See Rock City! Viva Las Vegas!

The house would look lived in, which makes it mostly ordinary, I guess.

But there's this other room, sort of a mystery room. I don't know what it would be exactly, but I know I would cover the ceiling with old maps. Every now and then, when I felt tired or cranky or bored or just desperate for some inspiration, I would go in that room and lie down on the floor. I would stare at the ceiling and think about the places I've gone, and the places I want to go.

Then I'll imagine a girl sailing across the blue paper ocean. Her flag is white with a single red heart in the center. She's standing on the edge of the boat, watching a storm made of words billow in the distance. The wind blows. The heart trembles.

She sets her sails for the storm and never looks back.

Question: what would your dream house look like? Happy Weekending. :)


  1. Natalie,
    You are an incredible author. This blog is so beautifully written. :) You got talent girl!!!

    My dream house:
    I have always wanted a house with a coffee shop but homey feel to it. Wood floors, comfy couches, a dark red kitchen ( don't know why I always picture my kitchen dark red) and lots of color. The rooms would all be different, ranging from burnt orange, cream, and red. I want a closet full of throw blankets and quilts; a room just for books, and a big chair to read them in. I want a porch and a swing on it. I'd do things the old fashioned way; cook from scratch and make my own cleaners so my kitchen would be stocked with spices, food, and vinegar.I love to cook, so the pampered chef would rule my kitchen. I'd have no fences around my house. Just woods and animals and lots of flowers. And a garden :) And lastly a table right next to my bed, topped with my favorite books, bible, and journal full of my life.

    Thanks for being so inspiring :)

  2. My dream house would be on a little street in old down town right here where I'm from, it's this beautiful little road that looks like it's from a book, and it would be painted a burnt orange, with chocolate brown trim. I'd have a library worthy of a scholar, and a beautiful office with an antique writing desk to inspire. I can already see the kitchen (which is weird cuz I hate cooking, nor can I cook), but it's small and airy and looks like something from the fifties and even though I love color it's all white in there, except for the old-fashioned plum colored oven. And there will be seven little kids running around, and a husband who loves me and an attic to go and think in, and in the hall I'll have shodowboxes filled with trinkets from my ancestors past. And I'll have to name it...but I don't know what yet. By the way, you've probably forgotten but got any more ideas on the oral presetation? Loved this post, as always.

  3. I love this post!

    My dream house would be an old farmhouse, with two stories. There would be a huge porch that wraps halfway around, with a swing (maybe two!). There would be a tin roof. There would also be a few huge trees in the yard, with a tire swing hanging from one, and orchard trees around the side or back. Inside, the wooden floors would creak and squeak and some of the doors would have those awesome antique glass door knobs. The kitchen would be sunny, with the colors yellow and red everywhere. And my Kit-Cat Clock hanging on the wall. The ceiling would be know that really cool looking patterned kind? The other rooms would be vintage inspired, but nothing fancy, with all of my collected vintage stuff everywhere, painted dark red and green and sky blue. There would also be a library crammed full of bookshelves. And my room would have a wardrobe. And there are a ton of other little details that I can't think of right now. =)

    Yeah, I think about this a lot, LOL. =)


  4. Steffanie, love the colors!! I've always had this theory that people who paint a room red are very confident. I like how red rooms beg to be noticed, but still come off so classy. And of course I adore your book room idea! :) I think living out in the woods sounds so dreamy.

    Little Fairy, the all white kitchen sounds gorgeous! I have a friend who did a room in all white and it's one of the prettiest rooms I've ever seen. I like the idea of so many shadowboxes too. Even though I like to sit around and daydream about a dream house, I've always said my family makes me feel like I'm home. So having all those things around you would be wonderful. About the oral presentation ... my mind is blank. I think the concept is so awesome, whatever visual aid you use will be great. If I have a brain storm, I'll let you know! :)

    Kristin, ... the wardrobe! You are such a kindred spirit. When I was a kid, I wanted to have a house someday with a room where the wardrobe was the door. I always thought that would be the coolest thing ... :) I'm smitten with old farm houses. When I see htem, I squeal my tires and pull over so I can take a picture. Your vintage savvy would fit perfect in a house like that! Sounds so pretty.

  5. Natalie, I'm SO happy you're a Mac person :)it's such a big deal for me!

    My dream house...
    It would be big, with enough space to house a lot of people, but not so big that it feels empty and lonely. It would be full of people, happy people who love each other and are happy to be with each other.

    The kitchen would be yellow, with big, bright windows that let the sun shine through. It would always smell like fresh bread and apple pie and chocolate chip cookies.

    There would be wood floors in the whole house, no carpet, but oak or pine floor.

    In every bedroom there would be big, old fireplaces that are always lit in in the winter, and in the summer, filled with fresh flowers.

    There would be windows everywhere, even where you least expect them. And in the living room, there would be a huge picture window facing the sunset. I, too, would have a window seat. Right next to the window seat there would be a little shelf of books that only the favorites are on.

    And speaking of books, there would be a library, the most lived-in room in the house. There would be huge build-in bookcases filled with every type of book. They wouldn't be expensive or important, just loved. In the library there would be huge leather chairs, perfect for curling up with a book.

    There would be several cats roaming around the house, big fluffy cats who beg too be held. A big, big German Shepherd would play with my kids and follow them around.

    In my office, I'd have a little desk with my little Mac, some of my favorite books, and quirky furniture I've picked up from traveling around the world.

    My house would be full of beautiful things that make you love them, and it would want to be lived in.

    And since you mention it, I want a map room too. I haven't decided where my house will be, but I'll leaning towards a little town in France. Either that, or my old town in Holland or my old village in England. Somewhere where you know everyone and it feels like home. I don't want a new house. I want an old house with memories and quirks. I want a house that wants to be lived in. My dream house is welcoming. Outside, there are probably a few chickens, even though I hate them, and a horse or two. My kids will grow up loving Narnia and horses and Avonlea and Meg Murry.

    I think that my house will be full of things from far away. I'll be dusting the little coffee cup that I got from a flea market in Paris and I'll tell my children the story about where it came from. My whole house will be full of things like that.

  6. (First off, let me say that this is my dream house only if there is a hubby and kids in the same picture)

    My dream house would be a newly renovated craftsman style on a well-to-do street lined with big oak trees. We would be close to the neighbors, but the plot of land would go far back into a woodsy area with lots of privacy and great places to set out a blanket and read on a Saturday. We would have a bright red front door and flowers everywhere!

    Example picture:

    Inside the livingroom, there would be dark hard wood floors, a muted gray/teal color on the walls, white crown molding, welcoming modern furniture, a built-in media wall, and a few vintage peices and eclectic flea market finds here and there. Big, colorful, coffee table books with lots of pictures of foreign countries would be displayed along with family photos and a basket of toys in the corner.

    I would have an eat-in kitchen, a big island with bar stools along the countertop for the kids to eat breakfast before school, stainless steel appliances and backsplash, sleek walnut cabinets, granite countertops, and artsy craftsman pendant lights over the island. The refridgerator would be covered with preschool artwork, and my colorful cookbooks would be desplayed on a shelf with vintage bowls. On the wall somewhere would be the family's master schedule with a calendar, white board and post-it reminders. Off the kitchen would be a walk-through laundry to the garage with a cute colored washer and dryer, built-in storage with a fold-out ironing board. Also off the kitchen would be a door leading outside to a screened in porch with comfy seating, a porch swing, and a ceiling fan, for spending time with family on summer evenings.

    My own personal office would be an inspirational haven of sorts. I would probably have a big tree painted on one wall. My desk would be modern, white, and would house my laptop. It would have a jar of sharpies on one side and a vase of flowers on the other. A couple rows of clipboards would be a headboard above my desk with photos, arkwork, quotes, Bible verses, and anything else I feel like displaying. My desk chair would be something vintage I've picked up from a thriftstore and reupholstered. I would have shelving full of books and all types of organizational boxes.

    I would have an exercise room full of stuff I'll never use... :) That's expected right?!
    A treadmill, elliptical machine, and one of those exercise balls that everyone suposivly has to have. The walls will have quotes painted on the walls, and I would have a TV and CD player to keep me from getting board.

    Thank you Natalie for giving us a little window into your hopes and dreams, and thank you for letting me do the same. That was WAY too much fun! :)

  7. This may be one of my favorites so far. :) I love your soul!

    Sometimes when I can't sleep or when I get all restless, I go to the playroom and look at the maps the kids use for homeschool.

    Unrelated: My best friend's Dad threatened to get me maps for my thirteenth birthday. I have yet to see him make good on that promise.

    Have a beautiful weekend!


  8. Girl, this is definitely my favorite post so far! I could picture every element in your description. Something about the I ♥ Jim Halpert mug made me grin insanely.
    My dream house has either porches on both the first and second floor or some sort of balcony off my bedroom (which, gotta admit, would channel The Notebook a little). I'd love to have an older house, with tons of stories attached to every square foot of the place. I'd love to have a spare guest room to turn into THE READING ROOM (yep, I've given it a name and everything) with bookcases painted white, the most comfortable chairs I can find, and a superbly awesome vintage typewriter somewhere.
    It would be bliss, all day and every day.

  9. Oh ur dream house sounds amazing! Invite me over when you get it! =]

    My dream house would be 10 minutes from town... a wrap around porch and shutter (Maybe blue LOL) I would have a room for all of my books and writings. it would overlook the lake. maybe even have a balcony... =] It would have a nice backyard with a large oak tree with a tire swing. My living room would be very cozy with a fireplace and warm colors.. and my fidge would always be stocked with food that never made me fat! (Dream house darling... dont forget lol)

    But i think the best part of my house would be the person i shared it with... but hey.. a girl can dream =]

  10. That post was so great! Very fun. I loved it!
    Okay, so my dream house...It would definitely have a wrap-around porch with a swing. It would be warm and cozy with the walls painted colors that make it feel homey. The carpet would be lush and thick! Just perfect for laying on to watch movies or read. In my room there would definitely be a window seat with lots of comfy pillows and a four poster bed (an antique one would be really cool). I would have tons of floor to ceiling bookshelves stuffed with all my favorites and ones that I've yet to dig into. The kitchen would be huge with lots of space to cook. I'd have a room set aside especially for my writing. It would make me want to dream up new stories and ideas that I could breathe life into. Then I'd make sure I did something special to remember my friends in Haiti and my dreams of going there one day to be a missionary.
    But I think it would definitely make it complete only if I had the man God has for me and sweet kids from all over the world running around :)

  11. um, can i be your roommate? You pretty much described my perfect house, except i'd throw in a few more pink things and some vintage stuff here and there! :)

  12. My dream house? That's a lot of pressure! I am officially reserving the right to make pretend changes to my pretend house. But for now... my dream house would be smallish, and made of limestone or rock; the kind that has warm gold and brown tones in it, not cold grey. I would LOVE to have a tin roof; I can't say that I've ever heard rain falling on one, but if the experience is documented in THAT many country music songs, then it has to be good. I would want it to be airy and open on the inside so that everyone who comes over can roam comfortably and be "together" even when they're in different rooms. Windows everywhere so I could take pictures wherever I wanted and not worry about bad lighting. I would want a pottery barn look as far as furniture/decor goes. Comfortable, simple, and very inviting. Lots of cushy seating. Lots of photos all over the walls. Lots of bookshelves that stay neat; come to think of it, I'd like the whole house to stay neat and organized. The kitchen would have to include red and chickens (my mom has always decorated her kitchens like that, so I'm rather attatched). I want a sleeping/sun porch on the back; it combines the happy, quaint aspect of a true porch with a bug-stopping screen. And somewhere in the house I would like a little closet/nook that has all my journals in it, a TV, pillows galore and football field turf for flooring.
    Hey, that was fun! Thanks for the post!

  13. Dear Natalie,
    OK. So I've been reading your blog for a while now and just hadn't commented yet. I hope that all the anonymous hits I added to your counter made you smile. I just want to say that I really enjoy your writing style; it's so colorful and there are so many sentences with so much substance and imagery that makes it feel like beautiful pictures got streached into words. (Yes, my brain can think like a poets/writers if I try.) I do have a dream house and it's so awesome that I get to share it...but it might be an odd one, so here goes.
    I want to live in a yurt (or gur, as the Mongols call them). It is a traditional Mongolian dwelling that is made of a colapsable round wooden frame, covered in thick insulating felt. Mine would probably be 25 to 30 feet in diameter, and I would erect it in the summer on a plot of land close to downtown (it's a small town, so farm land is not far off from main street). I would cook in solar ovens, raise sheep, and grow rosemary and mint. All the things I love to do would each have their own shelf allong the curved walls of my yurt; one for my spinning fibers and wool, one for my books, and one for letter writing stuf (because in my dream house I always write letters by hand). There would also be caddies with a pair of scisors, tape, a pen, a pad of paper and a dictionary spaced every 4 feet so I never have to hunt those items down. Everythig would be in the same large room to be seen and enjoyed all the time. In the winter I think I would live in a small bright apartment, because while I like the outdoors, I also appreciate central heat and indoor plumbing.

  14. I love this so much! I think I'll blog about it :)

  15. Hey, Thanks so much Natalie for leaving a comment on my blog! Your blog is absolutely adorable! Sorry I couldn't reply sooner, I was out out of town. Thanks again!


  16. Hey natalie! When I fist found your blog I found it because I was looking for an article that was in the Brio girl magazine. It was called "with a heart like a texas sunset" and it was by a natlie Llyod. Now, I understand if you're not her. But I don't believe you ever clarified whether or not u were here. I lots the article and must find it.

    Thank you so much...and you're blog is awesome as always. ;)
    With Love and Belssings,
    Bleah Briann

  17. Katie, love the sound of your yellow room! Yellow rooms always look so bright. I think they're so pretty in natural light.

    Jerica, how fun that you attached a pic! :) Everything sounds gorgeous. Love the tree painted on the wall. And the exersise equipment you never use -haha :) I would have a coat rack shaped very much like a treadmill ...

    Thank you Katie! Maps make me happy. When I was a kid, I loved playing with the globe we had. Did you play that game where you put your finger against the globe and see where it stopped spinning? I loved that game. I would always peak and move my finger so I could "live" in Europe someday.

    Hannah, vintage typewriters rock my world. I'm always keeping my eyes open for one (even though I currently have nowhere to put it ..). Your reading room sounds like total bliss!

    Haylie, you sold me at the tire swing. Those always look so sweet to me. Also, I'm always inspired when I'm around water. Living near a lake would be a dream :) And YES this is a dream world so there is no such thing is too much calories ... ;)

    Ashley, my college roomie used to put stuff on the walls from the places she'd visited doing missions work. I always thought it was so pretty and unique. So the idea of remembering your friends in Haiti that way sounds so pretty. Love your house.

    Courtney, just know that sometimes I'm a little bit messy and Biscuit assumes everybody who comes over wants to be her bff and let her snuggle with them 24/7.

    Ryley, your comment about the tin roof CRACKS me up! That is a staple in country music songs isn't it? Haha :) My favorite thing is the football turf for flooring. I like the way you think!

    Kaitlyn, I'm so glad you said hi! :) Thanks for all your sweet compliments. Your yurt sounds like a fairy-tale, like it's straight out of a storybook (with heat and plumbing!). What a cool house! :) That sounds so creative and unique.

    Amber, yay! I'll jump over to your blog and read it pronto! :)

    Madison, you're so welcome!

    BB, to answer your question, yes, I used to write for Brio. That article, with a heart like a texas sunset, was one of my most favorites :) I can't believe you even remember the title! Send me an email nat.lloyd(at) I'll look around this weekend and see if I can find a version I can mail to you. I think that one was fairly recent, so it should be on this computer somewhere ...

  18. Oh my gosh! LOL...thanks, thank you so much. Actually, my e-mail is down for the week( frusterating, don't ask). But here's my e-mail: If you find it and can e-mail me I will deffinetly check it when my e-mail is back up.
    LOL...I'm so excited. I've been looking everywhere for it, and all I have is a handwritted one I saved. I LOVE that article. It inspired me so much and I...I just can't live without it. Gosh...thank you so much!

    With Love and Blessings,
    Bleah Briann

  19. Hey Natalie - I'm new to the whole commenting thing and I don't have a blog, yet, but I wanted to say that I love reading your posts!! You are so amazing with words and your writing style is fun, energetic, and so descriptive! You truly have a unique way with words! I love the description of your dream house - I can totally picture every feature! You truly thought out every interesting aspect and intricate detail. I love dreaming of the perfect life... and then doing what I can to make it a reality... I don't have time at the moment to describe MY dream house (as it would be a mini novel) but I'll try to come back later. Love you blog and all of your posts!! (Especially the quotes at the beginnings! :)