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Oh my friends! I have such a treat for you today!
I’m working hard to keep my resolution of sharing one Your Gathered Home tour here on the blog each month – both setting dates for local photo shoots and reaching out to connections through Instagram to bring you some wonderful, inspiring home tours of fellow “kindred spirit” gatherers!
Meet Mary-Catheryn Baker: Copper Corners
I first connected with Mary-Catheryn on Instagram (you can find her there as @coppercorners) after I shared my pink kitchen with oak cabinets, and we started talking about our mutual love for warm wood throughout the house.
I took a peek at her own oak-filled kitchen and fell in love with her style!
Mary-Catheryn is an artist (you can find her original paintings and prints here on Etsy) who has transformed just about every space in her home with her artwork and hand-painted details!
She met her future husband Jordan at the age of nine, and they became pen-pals for the next seven years while her family was living in South America. When she was sixteen, her family relocated to the States and she and Jordan began dating and were married a few years later.
Now, they live in their fourth (and she hopes final) home on three acres in Grand Rapids, Michigan with three kiddos under the age of four – Boston, Valley, and Geneva.
Mary-Catheryn: Our home is our sanctuary. My record is 14 straight days in a row without leaving our house. I don’t know if that is 🙌 or if that is 😵. We love being here. Each possession that we have, from my late mother-in-law’s two-decade-old tree, to our couch in the playroom, to our bathroom side table, means something to us. With my husband, children, home, and job I just do not have time to dust and take care of extra meaningless stuff. So I don’t. There is nothing better than dusting or cleaning furniture that brings you back to a special time or person. That is everything. So I gather what is truly sentimental and what I won’t mind dusting in a few days 😉.
Mary-Catheryn’s Hand-Painted, Art-Filled Gathered Home
Since a road-trip to Michigan sadly wasn’t possible for this tour, all the gorgeous photos in today’s post are courtesy of Mary-Catheryn!
Inside the front entry, you are treated to fresh plants, a peek into Mary-Catheryn’s studio, and some prized finds – like a vintage La Barge mirror scored at a consignment shop, and lamp from the 70’s that belonged to her husband’s grandparents.
The stairway railing is a work in progress, as she is undertaking the time-consuming process of painting the spindles black. Only 70 more to go!
Why do you gather?
Mary-Catheryn: I gather for my children. Before I buy something, I think “Which child will I leave this to?” Gruesome?!
Because of my husband’s “no hoarding” rule, I try to purchase items that are of value. But on the cheap of course. A perfect example is a stunningly beautiful La Barge mirror that I spotted at a consignment shop. I didn’t NEED another mirror, but I did have a spot for it, I loved it, AND it was only $40!! I couldn’t get it to the cash register fast enough.
One of these days I plan on taping post it notes behind and under items of value so that my children realize the treasures that I have gathered for them. My note will say “Google ‘La Barge mirror’. $$$. Valley: first dibs.” Or under my couch a note that says “Pottery Barn sectional. Quality. Additional grey slipcovers in basement storage. Geneva: first dibs.” I make it so easy for them ;)
Inside Mary-Catheryn’s studio, pattern and color abound! She painted the large flower design on the walls – the perfect backdrop to her vibrant art!
What’s a favorite home decor piece you’ve made?
Mary-Catheryn: My artwork, whether on canvas or right on the walls, are my favorite decor items that I have made. My paintings on canvas get bought, so the pieces around my house are constantly different! Therefore, it is nice to have some artwork, my painted walls, that actually stays put.
The kitchen is where she spends most of her time, and while she cooks, her kids play – so there’s a basketball hoop on the door!
I’m so in love with these oak cabinets and their beautiful details! I’m firmly in the “don’t paint them!” camp as well:
Mary-Catheryn: When we first bought this house, almost everyone told us to paint everything white. I am so glad that listened to my gut and told haters to shut up. Wood is cool, guys. It gives a home that natural, rich feel.
The tile backsplash wasn’t in great shape, so she painted it black. The black works so well with the dark appliances and helps them blend right into the background!
The warm oak continues throughout most of the house in the form of casings, molding, and doors. Gray paint colors bring out the richness of the oak while subduing any overly-orange tones. The result: a home that celebrates classic details, but can still sport current trends.
And the windows in the dining room just sing against the dark walls!
The living room mantel is constantly changing as new pieces of artwork cycle in and out before they head to their new homes. Black paint, from the hearth up to the crown molding, brings so much presence to the fireplace.
Check out this cactus piece Mary-Catheryn painted right on the wall inside the bounds of a gorgeous gold frame! You can watch a video of her painting these here on Instagram.
The family uses the formal living room as a play room and embraces the mess that it often entails.
Mary-Catheryn: That little barn was a find from a small little antique store near our house. One of those things that I spotted and my heart stopped. The ottoman was my husband’s when he was a little boy. The tree to the left was my husband’s mother’s. It is around 20-25 years old. She passed away and it is one of the most treasured things that we own.
I think we can all relate to how easy it is to neglect our own bedroom while working on the rest of the house! Mary-Catheryn set out on a mission to make their master bedroom in this house a tranquil yet sexy retreat, with dark walls and earthy colors. (She even wishes she had gone a little darker!)
Mary-Catheryn: These side tables were also our grandparents’. When we first took them, I thought I would need to paint them or change the hardware or something, but once I started putting everything together, they just flowed exactly how they were.
A finicky orchid flourishes in the master bathroom. (Remember this other Your Gathered Home tour with a fern in the shower?) I’m thinking our master bathroom is the next place I’ll have to add some greenery in our house!
Mary-Catheryn refers to their home’s half bath as the “art museum.” The walls are filled with an eclectic mix of finds.
Do you have a favorite gathered find or story?
Mary-Catheryn: I have so many favorite gathered stories, because I only buy things that I truly love. One of them is a piece of artwork. A lady had posted a framed original oil painting for $70 on a Facebook sale site. No one wanted it. She eventually lowered it to a whopping $10, and I pounced. When I arrived to pick it up, the piece was even more stunning in real life.
The backstory was that her great grandfather had worked for Nestle, and he was so liked that the Nestles gave him this artwork. I was shocked that she was pretty much giving this away! Now it hangs in our half bath for all guests to obligatorily stare at when they need a restroom break.
I adore the coral laundry room walls paired with the oak trim – and I even spy an icosahedron-shaped light fixture like the one in my own peach and oak kitchen! This room has another free-flowing pattern painted by Mary-Catheryn.
The girls’ room is another cheerful coral, full of finds – from pillow covers found at garage sales, to the Craigslist trundle bed, to the sheepskin that was the girls’ aunt’s when she was a little girl.
Mary-Catheryn: Our girls share a room. I shared with my sister until I was 18 years old, and even though at the time we wanted to murder each other, I am thankful for it now.
When I imagined the girls’ room, I pictured a birdcage light fixture with birds in it. I had no idea where I would find this, but good ol’ Etsy came to the rescue!
I painted this sheep and named it Valley, after our middle daughter Valley Diane.
Mary-Catheryn’s son is current obsessed with Bigfoot and requesting a Bigfoot painting for his room, so she painted a forest of trees on his wall to tide him over in the meantime.
Just recently, Mary-Catheryn felt the kids’ bathroom was feeling a little plain, so she grabbed some gold paint and transformed the walls with this free-handed diamond design, purposefully choosing a hand-painted, imperfect look to flow with the rest of their home.
In the basement, there’s another hand-painted wall design by Mary-Catheryn, paired with white trim, since the space was more recently finished. Although, if they could have chosen, she would have preferred stained wood trim in this space, too!
The basement is where the family parties (“like twice a year”, jokes Mary-Catheryn). Well, count me in on one of those parties, mkay? And then maybe read up on what it takes to evict a squatter in Michigan, because I might not leave anytime soon!
Loving this shelf display with the giant letters spelling “Hola” and all the plants!
Mary-Catheryn: The 3 books in the H were my husband’s great grandfather’s. The Google of their time on how to build a house. Everything in those 3 little books! Amazing.
In the guest room, this ornate and heavy wicker chair that once belonged to Mary-Catheryn’s grandmother holds court in the corner.
Mary-Catheryn: I had to sneak all 50lbs of this awkward-to-carry chair into the house past my husband. Once it makes it in, it is fair game.
What is your best advice to others on creating a gathered home?
Mary-Catheryn: My best advice on creating a gathered home is to buy items that make YOU feel home. That serve a purpose or that speak to your heart. If a relative or friend is giving away items or you spot something inexpensive and it is quality, take it! Even if you don’t think it fits the mold of “cool”, a true gatherer can make anything cool. And even better if it is of quality craftsmanship or sentimental value.
And I will leave you with the wise words of my husband, “There is a fine line between gathering and hoarding.”
One: Paint is your friend!
(Except, perhaps, on beautiful oak woodwork.)
But seriously, isn’t it absolutely incredible how a little bit of paint and creativity can inject so much personality in a house?
I have a long wish-list of projects to tackle this year, but I predict a hand-painted pattern making an appearance at some point here in my own gathered home!
Two: Art, colorful art!
There’s nothing like a bright, textural piece of art to take a room to the next level!
I have zero skills with a brush (outside of painting an entire wall a solid color), but I love thrifting art and I hope to add more pieces from talented friends in the future! (I’ll plug Mary-Catheryn’s Etsy shop again here in case you need to snag the perfect piece!)
Share Your Gathered Home
1. If you are a “kindred spirit” gatherer with a love for photography and a home full of stories to share, I would love for you to get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by posting pictures using #yourgatheredhome on Instagram! I can’t promise to share every space, but I do promise that I will be absolutely thrilled to hear from you and connect over our shared love of finding and making!
2. If you live remotely near the Dallas/Fort Worth (or surrounding Texas cities) area and you would be interested in participating in the “Your Gathered Home” series and having me photograph your home for a home tour, I would LOVE for you to reach out! We’ll have a blast hanging out in person, taking pics, and I promise I’ll let you laugh at the funny positions I get into when I’m in the photography zone :)
Looking forward to hearing from you – either to share your own gathered home, or your thoughts on today’s fabulous tour! What was your favorite part?!
A huge “thank you” to Mary-Catheryn for snapping these gorgeous photos and sharing her home and stories with us today!