Northern Michigan Travelogue

Posted on August 13, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

Just a few weeks ago, Derek, Lizzie and I took a family road trip to Northern Michigan to visit Derek's parents. Derek grew up in this absolutely beautiful portion of our country, and I always tease him that certainly everyday he lived there must have felt like a vacation! Since his family still resides in Boyne, we spent the week scouting around in Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Sturgeon Bay. Here are a few of my favorites sites and activities from the trip!

While we were in Harbor Springs, I had the opportunity to visit one of our favorite Rebecca Ray retailers Joie de Vie where Valerie has done the most magnificent job displaying our products. Her store is absolutely gorgeous; as you can see below, it's a visual treat!


During the evening one night, we went to Elk Rapids Polish Festival for not only the draft horse pull competition but for the Kielbasa, Sauerkraut and noodles - does it get any better than that? Here is the winning team!

Also, I was able to visit Rebecca Ray traveling retailer, Bead by Bead at the Traverse City Horse Show, where Ann has a beautiful set up and display of Rebecca Ray.

Another day was spent at the Petoskey Antiques show - foraging for great finds. It is always fun to be at a antiques show in a different region, as you tend to see different things. I loved this vintage stone stool and had never seen anything like it! As for these antique fishing creel bags, the natural bag farthest to the right reminded me of The Camryn bag! You can see where I get my inspiration from!

And, as usual, we did all of our regular vacation things like Tom's Mom's cookies, Guerney Store sandwiches, farmer's markets and beach time.  It was a great break and fun family time.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Until next adventure, Best!!


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One Year Later at the Farm: Sneak Peeks of the Renovation!

Posted on July 02, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

It's been almost a year since Derek, Lizzie and I uprooted ourselves to take an adventure buying a historical farm in the Chagrin Valley. We clearly have an unusual way to experience a midlife crisis, but at least we both had the same relative idea about what we were in search of!  As in any renovation, projects progress much slower than you anticipate and the time flies by, but despite blood, sweat and tears (many, many tears on my part!!) we wouldn't change a thing about our move. Even Lizzie is finally forgiving us for leaving our other home that we had already lovingly restored.  If you didn't see my blog about the move, here's a recap - it was one of our most popular entries (besides Tinsel, the Percheron)….

Rebecca Ray Design's Family is on an Extended Adventure Renovating a 1920s Ohio Farm!

Well - its is official! Derek and I now officially own a 35 acre farm in Chagrin Falls, Ohio!  We left our very beloved last home that we had poured our heart and soul into (see blog dated....) and we are starting over.  Lizzie, our daughter, did inform us early in the process that we had "ruined her life" by moving, but she might be have to admit that she is completely eating those words now that we have been in it for about 5 weeks. We have a historically significant home that was built by the architect who built the Cleveland Museum of Art and the very famous Westside Market. He Built it as his own home and then sold it in 1949 to the family that we bought it from. We feel truly privileged to be entrusted as the stewards of such a special place.  


So everyone keeps asking, what does it look like and what have you done?  Well - we have finally received approval for our barn to be built for our Percheron girls who are hitting their heads on the lightbulbs of the old barn.  We hope to break ground within the next few weeks. We've also come up with the most gorgeous preliminary house plans for a modest renovation that we will take place in the next few years. The addition will maintain the integrity of the historical house, just make it a little better for a modern family (air conditioning would be key here!). We are finding things on the property every day, and every season change is like getting a present from nature.  So without further adieu, here is a photo tour of one year's worth the work…

My trusty dogs welcome everyone at the end of the drive, where we have a pond and pretty bridge to drive over.


The view from the high point in the front pasture looking towards the front of the house…the yard is slowly taking shape and the grass that we are mowing is finally coming back...


The grapes had their spring pruning and are now loaded with fruit. I hope that this field will eventually become a hunt field for riding. And finally we unearthed the old orchard. We have peaches, pears and apples this year. The trees are loaded up!  Who is coming to help with canning week!?


The hedges are getting haircuts - we took about two feet off the tops. The Percheron girls (and Licorice) have all happily settled into their new pastures. We can see them grazing from the house. Also, we are putting in fences and more fences.  Every time we have a little extra in the budget (which is almost never by now!) up goes more fence. From the woods, you can see the dogs are out in their temporary paddock.


Kitchen renovation on a dime! Knowing that we have a major addition as soon as we save our pennies, we did a minor "refurbish on the kitchen". We added a new stone floor, painted the cabinets, put new hardware on them, and installed new appliances. After throwing in some can lighting, and new paint colors on the walls, our old farmhouse kitchen has a new life. Believe it or not, the stainless counters were there.  And we kept the great farm sink and faucet!



The powder room - how about that mini sink?!


Look how great the floors look - we haven't touched them yet - except for pulling up thousands of nails!!


We made a make-shift family room out of the old dining room, so that we had a sitting area just off the kitchen.


I'm beginning to find homes for all of my collections…I've actually found more storage space in the house than I thought that I would. New homes for all of my collections...kind of fun to create new vignettes. It's like a working studio !


In the living room, the fireplace tiles appear to be Rookwood Pottery.


I put old cabinets to new display use... This is in the corner of the dining room.


We been unburying and creating gardens for lots if flowers.  The original architect and owner of the house was a master gardener, so there are amazing plantings and trees that just need some attention... 


Along the path to some of the outbuildings, we've rebuilt the trellis and redone the plantings. Here is the climbing rose that we think is as old as the house, from 1924. We found this birdbath buried in the woods and resurrected it. The birds are quite happy.

We have a big painting job ahead of us!  But at least the buildings are all cleaned out and organized!

I will keep you updated on our progress so stayed tuned!

Best, Rebecca

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Hurray! Summer's Here at Rebecca Ray!

Posted on June 05, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

I do believe, that after a slightly contentious winter that hung on way too long, it appears that summer is finally here.  A chance to wear all of those bright colors that we have been longing for.  For me, it is also a time to pick flowers out of the garden almost every evening - I hunt and gather and run in to poke through all of my containers, vases and pitchers that I have collected throughout the years. Nothing perks up a room quite like fresh flowers! At our new farm, the peonies are particularly stunning this year all in pinks and whites in various shapes.  I'm pairing them with simple variegated hosta leaves that I also find in the yard.  The flowering trees are also a source of inspiration; I love placing branches in mid-century vases of strong greeks and blues.  Our hydrangeas are big and pink, and I love pairing those blooms with white ironstone or milk glass. Summer is also one of my favorite times because it is the start of all of our local, fresh farmer's markets. All of that fresh produce and home grown product inspires me to go home and cook!


From flowers to fruits, I have always been captivated by these bright colors found in nature, and the inspiration has translated into my designs! Whenever I see a dark red delicious apple, I am reminded of the time when I designed The Maryann handbag. I was trying to pick out a rich fall color for the bag and saw the apple I had with my lunch… and that’s how the red Maryann came to be! A pink Camryn handbag is always reminiscent to me of the pink peonies in my garden and a orange Croc Bracelet makes me long for sweet summer peaches. Hope you get inspired to both garden and embrace Summer style with Rebecca Ray!!




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Why We Love What We Do at RRD

Posted on May 13, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

Twice a year we descend upon the beautiful farm fields of Eastern Pennsylvania where we have a three day design session with our harness makers. While this is fun, the best part of this is that they include us as part of their extended family, and we get to enjoy the simple pleasures of their Amish family.  We'd be lying if we said that we didn't charge and check our phones, but besides that, we really enjoy a sense of tranquility that we don't often get in our over-teched daily lives. 

When the roosters crowed in the morning, Julie, our Marketing and Website Guru, collected all of the eggs for a farm cooked breakfast, ready nice and early.  After breakfast, we spend all morning in the harness shop, a bright, airy space (with the most glorious natural hardwood floors!), where all of the tools are either air-powered or treadle (foot!) powered.  The children deliver our mid-morning snack from the main house- a delightful, immaculate farmhouse that is warm and cozy.  We were spoiled with home-made lemonade, doughnuts and granola bars (I didn't say this was a low calorie trip!).  By this time, the Harness shop in full-blown chaos- everyone trying ideas out, the guys cutting leather as fast as they can for us and way too many opinions.  The floor is covered in scraps, and we are full steam ahead.  At lunch, we are all pitching our products to each other and by 5:00 pm, we've made some concessions, as is common in the design process.  

Dinner is shared by everyone around a huge table- including the children who are home from school by then; we number at least 15. It is like a holiday feast, but with everything out of their own garden; home-made salads, tomato sauces, freshly baked bread, pickled eggs, you name it!!  Oh, and by the way, there is desert, too - often a home-made pie or fresh ice-cream with strawberries out of the garden.  Then, we sit quietly on the porch, while a neighbor may till his fields with a handsome team of mules until the sun goes down.  We watch the birds at the bird feeder as the children play and discuss the days events, and share and learn more about each other's cultures (and maybe another snack-  home-made pretzels anyone?!).

This year, as a special going away gift, on the morning that we had to re-enter the world, the children's pony had a foal while we were there! Julie, a confirmed city girl, was able touch the foal just hours old before she was turned out in the paddock to meet her new friends. In honor of our special friendship, the children decided to name the foal Juliette!!  Did I mention that we absolutely love what we get to do and that we love bringing authentic Rebecca Ray designs to you, so that you can share in this very special partnership?


Until next time, Best!!



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