Friday, January 18, 2013

A Window-Look

To find an old Beverley Nichols book is to find a treasure to be savored. My latest find is his 1933 A Thatched Roof, his story of the 1540 cottage in the English countryside named Always. I am never sure if the houses in Nichols' books are built of real stone and slate, or made up of whole cloth, but I could happily move into the rooms of his house and settle down as cosily as do his cats named One and Four.

After Nichols has all of the cottage walls whitewashed, he takes a favorite piece of his Bristol blue glass to London and together he and the Bristol blue glass choose fabrics, furniture and china.

"Do you like these curtains, oh blue Bristol glass," I would say.
And always I received an immediate answer.
You would be surprised at the number of curtains it did not like."
Beverley Nichols A Thatched Roof

Doesn't this piece of Bristol blue glass look pretty in the window of the blog, Random Distractions? Please drop in and visit Maureen at Random Distractions. Here is another picture showing more of her blue glass collection.

Wouldn't you love to have that deep windowsill? Explore Random Distractions where Maureen blogs about the books she is reading and the music she loves, the children's aprons she makes for her grandchildren, her knitting projects, and their excursions around Devon. And absolutely do not miss the gorgeous Harvest Loaf she baked on September 27, 2012's post. I love being an armchair visitor to her blog and I'm sure Beverley Nichols would like peering out her window.

Windows were the first board I created on Pinterest, before I ever decided to try to blog. I have a thing for windows. So did Mr. Nichols. Also from A Thatched Roof, he writes:

"To me, all windows are magic casements. Whether they are bright or dim, whether they give onto green lawns or blink at barren bricks, or are shaded or sparkling, the life I see through them has a sweeter pattern. There is something terrifying about the wide spaces which the eye enfolds in the open air; and there are times in a man's life when he must always be darting his head from this side to that, watching from the corner of his eye to assure himself that the Enemy is not creeping towards him from the dim distance. But when he looks at life through a window he is safe."

Nichols goes on to point out that one can "frame" the view one wants through a window. "With a tilt of the head, a cloud is banished, a green branch dances into view, the church steeple lifts its gray finger in the foreground."

I do this when standing in front of our windows. By looking one way I avoid seeing the big red dump truck parked over to one side. We rarely use this in construction jobs anymore as it is easier to have dumpsters delivered and picked up when filled. So the truck sits there in my view unless I look the other way. 

On the south side of the house sits the huge propane gas tank that wild ferns mostly hide, except in winter. I don't like looking out at that either, but, as with the dump truck, it is sometimes a necessity. The gas logs and heaters it fuels come in handy when the electric power goes off in the winter.

Through another window I look up to the root cellar built into the hillside. We know that one time, back in the 1930s, there was a tiny house built upon the roof of the root cellar because two handsome cousins in their 80s dropped by a few years ago to tell us they stayed with their grandmother here during the summers, and their bedroom was a tiny house on top of the root cellar. Think of that! Now I avoid that window until we save the money the stone mason has quoted us to restore it.

Have you accomplished what is our goal? That of having something pretty to look at outside every single window? Or do you tilt your head to avoid something ugly?

And I wonder, what do you take shopping with you to choose curtains the way Beverley Nichols took his favorite piece of Bristol blue glass? This old woven throw is what I took with me when we moved here to Valley View.


  1. Dewena, I like your throw. All the blue glassware is pretty. Collections are nicer if included in your decor. I think we enjoy them more. Have a wonderful weekedn. xoxo,Susie

  2. I think this is a great idea... I am going to be painting soon, and have GOT to decide on color. Maybe I've been going about things the wrong way... so this has really made me think.

  3. That glass is lovely ...I will be sure to visit that blog when I get a chance. I am not familiar with that book or author either so I'll learn a bit more about that as well :0 )

    None of my windows look out on anything special...just my neighborhood. But out at my moms there is a big picture window in the living room looking out at rolling farmland. Now that's a view ! :)

  4. I am so glad that you like my window and blue glass. My house is very old, about 350 years. It was a farmhouse and, like many old Devon cottages, built of cob which is a mixture of mud, sticks and stones. It was a thatched cottage until 1948 when a spark from a passing tractor set the thatch alight and damaged the whole of the front of the house. The windows at the front were replaced with rather unsympathetic post-war ones but those at the back are original and have those deep sills set into the thick cob walls.

    We bought the house in 1989, when this was still a quiet village. Since then the holiday industry has developed and our beautiful beaches attract hundreds of visitors, especially surfers. The main road to the beaches passes our front door and is busy from May to October. That is the view that I try to avoid. The view from the back is my favourite, those windows look out onto my garden and the yard where lots of birds come to feed.

    1. Maureen, I know any of my readers will love learning more about your Devon cottage. Thank you for telling us a little more about it here. I know US readers will be amazed that your house is 350 years old! Yesterday I read more of your blog with pictures of your coastal Devon, and showed my husband. To think about you having all of that at your doorstep! The expanse of sand and those cliffs! I know that any of my readers who follow you there will love seeing it too, and who knows, maybe even plan a visit to this beautiful part of England.

      When you do, dear readers, please leave a note on Maureen's current page to let her know you have visited! You'll find her as charming as I have.


  5. Yes, yes, yes I want that deep window well-and well actually all the blue glass with it!
    Have a good weekend

  6. I would love a Bay window in my kitchen I would put nice cushions in the winter and in the summer I'd fill with ferns and Ivy's .. My sister has one and I just love it!! That Blue glass is so pretty :)

  7. Dewena,this book sounds like a magical read. Oh to have those wonderful deep windowsills! And then, the gorgeous cobalt blue with the sun shining in on it. Sigh. How fun to build a little house on top of the root cellar and be able to look out the window and see it. That sounds magical too, especially a little stone house - a place to play, a place to dream. Idyllic. It is so much fun to get a comment from you on my blog. You are always so sweet, and your prayers for our little Cooper mean so much to me. Have a wonderful weekend. laurie

  8. Dewena, I love the Brisol's always so beautiful sitting in a window. I have a Bristol blue bird and I love it sitting on the window ledge. I'm so happy that you will be participating in the Valentine's Marriage Challenge! Can't wait to see how it goes for you. I've been married 26 years so I need to do this!

  9. I have many old bottles (found in my ancestors woodland dump) that I have sitting in my kitchen window. I so love that color blue!!!

  10. I have one of Beverley Nichol's books and I want more! The one I have, sorry, I can't remember the title and it's upstairs, is absolutely delightful. What a treasure he was. Love that blue glass, Dewena.


  11. I have to admit I've never taken a pretty blue bottle (although I have several I love), when shopping for the house, but I do have a whole little notebook I carried around with fabric swatches, paint chips and wallpaper samples when I was first decorating Buttermilk Cottage. It "spoke" to me also. Thanks so much for visiting today. Have a great weekend,

  12. A charming piece about decorating, my favorite subject. Color and pattern, ever so much fun. I can't say I take anything with me. Last winter, when I rennovated our living room, I went shopping and waited until something drew my eye. I always wait for that intuitive spark that says, "this is the perfect bit of inspiration", then a take it from there.

  13. Love the book and yes, the blue glass is charming in the deep window well. Hope you are enjoying every minute of the weekend.


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