Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is Ranch Dressing?

This obviously, is not a blog about the creamy and tangy dressing we all love on our salads or chicken fingers. I will go ahead and say, I do like the versions you mix yourself and not the bottled variety. With all that said, Ranch Dressing: Interior Design Cowgirl Style is not only a blog but a soon to be brick and mortar shop that will go by the name, Ranch Dressing. Actually, it is board and batten if we want to get technical.

The blog has had a couple of goes before this. Some of you remember that this was the first name given to my art blog, Free Rein Art & Design. At the time, 3 years ago, I wasn't sure how to even use a blog and it was just a clever title I thought of to describe what it is that I do.

Next, it stood alone, separate from the art blog. I realized that I needed to keep my business name visible and Ranch Dressing would be my design blog and I talked about other western and rustic artisans as well as offered tips on decorating in the rustic style that is my natural bent. It was off to a good start but I wasn't able to keep up that, paint floorcloths, blog about them, market them and homeschool our son. On top of all that we thought we were going to finally get the opportunity to move to Wyoming so we were trying to finish up projects around the farm to get it ready to sell. So, Ranch Dressing fell once again by the wayside.

Now, things have changed a bit. Our son has gone back to public school. We are not moving...yet, and I finally have the time to do -not everything I want to, but- more of what I love to do, which includes being a shop owner.

Ranch Dressing - the shop - sits on our property between the house and the barn. It looks like a farm building with it's grey board and batten siding and galvanized tin roof. It is shedded on either side where the horse trailer is parked on the far side nearer the barn and my truck is parked on the side closer to the house. The upper level has housed my floorcloth studio since 1994. My husband built it from a sketch we drew up on a legal pad one afternoon, and as you know from reading my first post, the downstairs portion was all his...until now.

The shop, in the beginning will host several open houses per year and be open by appointments. And I truely mean that. I will be happy to meet you at your convenience. Please see my contact info for my email address and phone number to schedule your private shopping trip. Until our son gets his driver's license, I am on call to run him to activities in the afternoons and evenings so I just can't commit to regular hours just yet. I know you other moms know what I am talking about.

There will be something for everyone drawn to the western, rustic or cottage styles of design and decorating. In our own home we have used a combination of all three styles seamlessly and many visitors have commented that they feel like they are on vacation in a lodge somewhere in the mountains or lakeside. This may not be what everyone would want to live with everyday, but it is out of practicality that we have chosen these particular elements to furnish our home with. Isn't this where rustic came from? Practicality? I like to be able to let the dogs come in for a visit or prop my feet up on a coffee table without worry...and we do.

I envision interior designers using us as a source for furniture and accessories for clients with second homes..on that mountain or lakeside... as well as the individual with their own keen eye for detail. It will be a great place to shop for hand-made cards, gifts, original art and prints, vintage jewelry, functional art, original framed photography, floorcloths, vintage and antique furniture, garden art, herb plants, and lots of re-purposed items.  The inventory will be ever changing and you will want to take what you find with you that day because most things will be one-of-a-kind.

Upstairs in the shop will continue to be the place where I design and paint floorcloths and other functional art pieces. If there is a call for classes, we may start doing those again after the dust has settled from all that is going on. I am seeing floorcloth classes for adults wanting to make their own and other fun things, like ACEO's, hand made cards and altered books for teenagers and adults. This is so exciting.

I don't have any photos yet of hubby's new shop going up. It has rained off and on for a week so everything still looks the same on the outside. It is just as well I suppose, as our daughter is preparing for a move half way across the country and we are trying to spend as much time with her as possible this next few days. We will need to be very busy after the move so as not to think about the distance so much. Change is good, right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Breaking Ground

This shop has been a long time coming and we, my husband and I, are both very excited. We've contemplated opening a retail shop downstairs in the studio since closing our gallery in town several years ago. Right now it, the downstairs portion, is full of stuff that needs to find a new home...either here or someone else's, so we are building one more outbuilding here on the farm. This will be number 5, not counting the house. This is what happens when you don't have a basement.

We have broken ground, leveled off, made a plan and are ready to start building. Since my husband does all the labor around here and this will be his new workshop,  I trust that it will be done when he says and we can open the store by spring 2010.

In the meantime, I am busy painting, creating, and shopping for treasures, while at the same time, planning what both the interior and exterior will look like.

 I am using an idea board up in the studio with pictures pulled from magazines ranging from exteriors of country stores to custom boots that have inspired designs for my painted pieces. I've had the "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER  give up" page on there for almost 20 years. It's become my mantra when the future starts looking a little cloudy.
 I hope you will follow along with us as we plan, build and open Ranch Dressing.