Origin of a Name

image via French Home - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com




If you are like me, you can pick up a home magazine or design book, thumb through it quickly (without even opening up the pages entirely) and know if there's something in it you'll love.

Within mere seconds I can tell whether it's worth taking home to delve into further.  

When I find something that speaks to me in that way, I am thrilled. It is such a treat and I make sure to create the ideal ambiance around me before I sit down to finally peruse its pages.  

This usually entails making the perfect cup of coffee or my favorite tea and sitting outside on my pillow-covered bench with a view of the garden and the sound of the fountain in the background. Then—and only then—am I ready to take a leisurely stroll through its pages to discover exactly what treasures await me.

image via Cote Sud Magazine - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

It is such a passion of mine, I relish every moment when I come across a wonderful building or an artful vignette or even just one piece of furniture that speaks to me in some way. It makes me happy just to see something I love—never mind actually recreating it.  

Oh, it might stir me to make plans for some version of it for my current abode or to be carried out in some future project of mine. If that's the case, I might make a little sketch and muse on how to make it work for myself or maybe for someone I know—but, if it never comes to fruition, that's okay. There is much to be said just for the "drinking in" part.

I realize as I write this that it all might sound a wee bit dramatic and even somewhat bizarre to someone who doesn't share my passion.  

"Do you really get that much out of it?" (I can hear someone asking.) And to that I respond with a resounding, "Yes! Absolutely!"  

I've appreciated the art of creating a beautiful environment since I was a little girl but it's really the energetic quality, the "spirit of place" or life-enhancing aspect that intrigues me more than anything.   

"...To have a hand in the creation of a peaceful, soulful environment—one that uplifts, nurtures and inspires its inhabitants—a space for dreaming and for realizing a life well-lived every day?...Well, that is the ultimate in my book."   —LeAnn, l&l life

Image via Cote Sud Dec 03-Jan 04  - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

Now I can hear someone saying,  "Yes, yes, yes.  'Spirit of place' and all that.—But how do you describe your personal style preference?"

Well, that will be evident and possibly more easily conveyed as you peruse l&l, but generally speaking, my personal preferences in the world of design run in the genre of what I term "European Country." I tend to lean more towards those designs using neutral tones and time-worn finishes. . .

Think Gustavian grays

image via cote sud, fev-mar 2005 - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

and mushroom-y taupes juxtaposed with dark espressos

Italian Country Living, Caroline Clifton-Mogg - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

and ethereal whites . . . and an abundant use of textures and natural materials;

elements Cote Ouest, Fev-Mars 2003 - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

(love!) Irish moss and maiden hair fern,

French Home, Josephine Ryan - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

figs and aubergine . . . 

I'll expand more on my design aesthetic another time, I promise. But for now, the site title I chose—linen & lavender—speaks volumes in answer to the underlying motivation and philosophy in all my work:

Linen, natural linen—is my all-time favorite fabric. On a trip to Nice I purchased several yards of a very old hand-made linen, dark and grainy—very earthy in its appearance and texture.  

unknown source - - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

Although I purchased artwork and several other items that trip, the linen was hands-down my favorite take-away and I thoroughly enjoyed the hours I spent mulling over the options—thinking about this incarnation and then that one it might become. Not unlike one might hold on to a bit of rare truffle they've splurged on—stowing it away until the perfect opportunity to incorporate it into just the right recipe—enjoying every moment of anticipation until they are finally sitting down to savor every bite with just the right wine and in just the right setting . . .

If you've ever had the perfect truffle dish paired with the perfect wine (say a great Brunello di Montalcino, perhaps?), I know you are right there with me now—Ahhh, Roma! Thanks for the memories!   But I digress.

Suffice it to say, these things can't be—shouldn't be—rushed! It's important to savor every memorable bite and as with most anything worthwhile, the time spent leading up to "the event" is part of the equation—the dreaming. . .creating. . .all that anticipation and tender-loving-care truly gives life to food and to a well-designed living space, as well. To overlook those moments, is to miss out entirely on the heart and soul of it all. 

The lavender aspect of the title speaks to my love of nature and the importance of it in everyday living and thus, in good design. The scent of lavender represents to me everything clean and restful—a bundle of associations and memories all in one little herb:  

It's a well-kept home and a day at the spa; it's my favorite b&b and summers in Provence; it's little brown perfume bottles from a flea market in Grasse and hand-made soaps and bees and honey. . . And I could go on, but here's my favorite:

Slipping into crisp white linen sheets, freshly laundered and laden with the scent of lavender.

image via Cote Sud, Fev-Mars 2004 - as seen in Origin of a Name by L for linenlavenderlife.com

. . .ahhh. Everything seems right with the world

Betwixt linen & lavender 

That's my idea of heaven on earth.

~Here’s wishing you yours!


"Our symbols of linen & lavender represent those special places and spaces that offer far more than the sum of their parts.  It is the linen and it is the lavender, but more so, it's the magical space between I'm talking about."

LeAnn, l&l - linenlavenderlife.com/about

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