Inside a Doublewide

What do I always say up there at the very top of the page? "It's not what you decorate, but how you decorate it that counts." I think that's true of everything, but it's especially true of my house - because it's a mobile home. The comment I heard most often throughout its first remodel was, "But this won't look like a trailer anymore!" Mind you, I might be trailer trash myself, but my doublewide is not.

Here's another doublewide that defies stereotypes. It belongs to Theresa and Craig Smith, who furnished it with architectural salvadge and antiques from their shop, Cottage Gardens in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Their imaginative work was discovered by the editors of Country Living magazine and is currently featured online in videos and photos, that I've reposted here.

As the interviewer says about meeting Theresa, "She whipped out pictures of her house that were just to die for, and I'm looking through them and ooing and ahing and getting so excited, and she says, 'Well, there's a little hiccup - it's actually a mobile home.' You could have pushed me over with a feather. It was amazing, so amazing. I just couldn't believe they were interiors based on a mobile home. In 28 years of Country Living, we had never shot a mobile home, so we knew we had stumbled upon something really great."

See for yourself . . .
(help the videos load by clicking "pause" for a bit)

The Kitchen
The secret behind this amazing kitchen? Repurposing and imagination!

The Living Room
Paint and architectural salvage create an economically-friendly room.

The Bedroom
Create an elegant personal space complete with collections and special touches.

The Workspace
Inspiration is key in a studio. Bright wall paint and other ideas here!

A Double-Wide Mobile Home

Designed by Theresa and Craig Smith
Photographed by Keith Scott Morton
Published by Country Living

Theresa Smith has honed her distinctively elegant salvage style through years of antiques shows — and it all comes together in her Glendale, Kentucky, mobile home.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Thirteen years ago, Theresa Smith was a single mother of three, moving back from a job overseas, with one week to find a new home. She ordered a 28- by 72-foot mobile home with as few walls as possible, so it would feel light and open. Five years later, she married Craig Smith, and they built a new home together. Soon after, the Smiths decided to go into the antiques business, selling at shows around the country, so moving back to her mortgage-free mobile home made sense. Inside this four-bedroom, 2,016-square-foot home, Theresa proves that "it isn't the structure you live in, it's what you do with it that makes it a home."
[Now, where have I heard that before?]

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

A double-wide mobile home on two acres of land offers a home base for Theresa and Craig Smith, who travel nearly half the year for their antiques business and their Elizabethtown shop, Cottage Gardens.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

An actual front porch, with mail still in the mailbox, from a house in Louisville now graces Theresa's sun room.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Craig Smith makes and sells candelabra such as this one out of old lamp parts. Find the Smiths' work at their store, Cottage Gardens, in Elizabethtown, Ky., and at the Marburger Antique Show in Texas the first weekend in October.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Theresa chose garden furniture for the kitchen because "the glass top and airy lines don't stop the eye." The chandelier is one of 14 in the house.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Antique antics find plenty of room for expression here. At last count, Theresa had 130 ironstone butter pats. "They have no purpose, I just like their looks," she says.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Theresa found a cache of old, heavy enamel letters and sold all but these three.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Red walls in Theresa's studio are the one exception to her home's ivory rule. An old restaurant prep table serves as a desk. Metal security grates are now bulletin boards.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

A commercial sink provides a sleek counterpoint to all the peeling paint.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Space limited? Try layering upward. Theresa used architectural elements to punctuate walls and shelves. Removed from their original purpose, they form intriguing silhouettes in the kitchen. Theresa replaced standard-issue oak cabinets with vintage cupboards and even a Sellers cabinet (left). An old store counter (foreground) now serves as a work island.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Round iron vents such as this once hung beneath the eaves of Kentucky homes to let hot air escape.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

In the master bedroom, "I like to pair worn metal or wood with something fabulous," says Theresa. The canopy is from an old store display. Theresa sandblasted it, left it out to rust, then sealed it and wove scrim in its curlicues. Displayed below: her grandmother's pearls, beads, hats, and bags.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

Vignettes juxtapose textures, shapes, and styles. A dining room cupboard showcases Theresa's overflowing collection of white ironstone. "None of it is pristine or perfect," she says. "It's stained and chipped and cracked, and that's the way I like it." Old dolls' heads add a touch of humor.

Theresa Smith / Keith Scott Morton / Country Living

In the master bedroom, a framed display of carved heads and a statuette, candleholders from a restaurant, and Italian chairs surround a salvaged mantel.


Law of the Land!

Obama Signs Landmark Health Care Bill

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The New York Times
March 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — With the stroke of President Obama’s pen, his health care overhaul — the most sweeping social legislation enacted in decades — became law on Tuesday.

Mr. Obama affixed his curlicue signature, almost letter by letter, to the measure, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and a raft of other lawmakers who spent the past year on a legislative roller-coaster ride trying to pass it. Aides said he would pass out the 20 pens he used as mementoes.

The ceremony included two special guests: Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who had been a driving force for health care legislation before his death last year, and Connie Anderson, the sister of Natoma Canfield, the Ohio cancer survivor whose struggle to pay skyrocketing health insurance premiums became a touchstone of Mr. Obama’s campaign to overhaul the system.

Mr. Kennedy’s son, Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, was also there, carrying a gift for the president: a copy of a bill his father introduced in 1970 to provide national health insurance. On it, the younger Mr. Kennedy had written a personal message to Mr. Obama.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. began the ceremony with remarks lauding the president’s “perseverence” and “clarity of purpose.”

The White House took on a festive air for the occasion, as senators mingled in the grand foyer of the Executive Mansion before the signing ceremony. A Marine pianist was playing as lawmakers and other guests, including patients and their advocates, chatted in anticipation of Mr. Obama’s arrival. As they filtered into the East Room, many lawmakers took out cameras to photograph one another and record the moment.

The landmark bill, passed by the House on Sunday night by a vote of 219-212, will provide coverage to an estimated 30 million people who currently lack it. Its passage assures Mr. Obama a place in history as the American president who succeeded at revamping the nation’s health care system where others, notably Bill Clinton, tried mightily and failed.

The measure will require most Americans to have health insurance coverage; would add 16 million people to the Medicaid rolls; and would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people. It will cost the government about $938 billion over 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which has also estimated that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over a decade.

Despite the president’s signature, the legislative work on the measure is not over, nor is the intense partisan fight over it. Republicans are already vowing to repeal the bill. And the legislative battle will flare anew in the Senate on Tuesday, where lawmakers are set to take up a package of changes to the measure under the parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation.

Law of the Land!


The Great Thing About the Health Care Law That Has Passed? It Will Save Republican Lives, Too


One more letter to share, this one which arrived in the wee hours of the morning, at 3:38 AM, on March 22, 2010. A feisty one that's probably kinder than I could be, considering all we have suffered at the hands of the lunatic fringe that has run and ruined the conservative party. Mind you, my entire family was proudly Republican. Not any more.

To My Fellow Citizens, the Republicans:

Thanks to last night's vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night's vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night's vote, after your cancer returns for the third time -- racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive -- your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.

Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we've made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need. I know you're upset right now. I know you probably think that if you did get wiped out by an illness, or thrown out of your home because of a medical bankruptcy, that you would somehow pull yourself up by your bootstraps and survive. I know that's a comforting story to tell yourself, and if John Wayne were still alive I'm sure he could make that into a movie for you.

But the reality is that these health insurance companies have only one mission: To take as much money from you as they can -- and then work like demons to deny you whatever coverage and help they can should you get sick.

So, when you find yourself suddenly broadsided by a life-threatening illness someday, perhaps you'll thank those pinko-socialist, Canadian-loving Democrats and independents for what they did Sunday evening.

If it's any consolation, the thieves who run the health insurance companies will still get to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions for the next four years. They'll also get to cap an individual's annual health care reimbursements for the next four years. And if they break the pre-existing ban that was passed last night, they'll only be fined $100 a day! And, the best part? The law will require all citizens who aren't poor or old to write a check to a private insurance company. It's truly a banner day for these corporations.

So don't feel too bad. We're a long way from universal health care. Over 15 million Americans will still be uncovered -- and that means about 15,000 will still lose their lives each year because they won't be able to afford to see a doctor or get an operation. But another 30,000 will live. I hope that's ok with you.

If you don't mind, we're now going to get busy trying to improve upon this bill so that all Americans are covered and so the grubby health insurance companies will be put out of business -- because when it comes to helping the sick, no one should ever be allowed to ask the question, "How much money can we save by making this poor bastard suffer?"

Please, my Republican friends, if you can, take a quiet moment away from your AM radio and cable news network this morning and be happy for your country. We're doing better. And we're doing it for you, too.

Michael Moore

"When we finally pass health care reform and when people understand what's in the bill and what benefits there are for them, they are going to say 'What took you so long?' " --Senator Edward M. Kennedy

According to his wife Vicki, that's what he often said. He considered health care reform the cause of his life, and fought for it fiercely for over 40 years.


A most beautiful House indeed

The United States House of Representatives, 1920

I'd like to share with you an email I received tonight, Sunday, March 21, 2010 9:19 PM, from a very good friend of mine:

Thank you, Melanie

For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:

Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we'll finally start reducing the cost of care -- creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

This is what change looks like.

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we've faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right -- and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Thank you, President Obama. Thank you.