The other day I was reading the Bayou Bohemain blog, and was amazed at what I was reading. JeLlyn and her family live such a warm, eclectic life full of friends, family and creativity. I feel lucky that she would allow us a look into her humble, beautiful world. She's a diamond in the rough, and what she shares is a perfect weekend read about a different kind of life.
This is Bayou Bohemain : By JeLlyn
We live in what we consider to be our very own village. Only blocks from downtown and the University where the roots of Cajun culture run deep. My family is rich with creativity and I am the youngest of three. Honestly, my mom deserves most of the credit at least as my original source of inspiration. She is quite an eccentric woman, she is wildly creative and she has lots to say. She has a passion for building little buildings with her focus being on small and fast while using as much salvaged, found, vintage and antique elements as possible. My mom's first 'little' project was the dollhouse. A handmade home in the backyard of her existing home canopied by two amazing majestic Live Oak trees. Built as a place for me to stay when I frequently visited from sunny San Diego. It became my permanent home when I moved back eight months pregnant with my first baby, a sweet girl. Then nearly two years later my new husband joined us, followed by our brave boy three years after that. It was a tiny space for a family but it has such character and charm. In August of 2010 my family of four bought our own home only two doors down and the dollhouse has become a place to retreat and create.
My moms second "little' project was a treehouse that resembles a pigeonnier. My Aunt lives in the bottom studio apartment and the tip top accessed by a rickety staircase is in fact a treehouse. My sister has her home, on the separate lot between us, which she shares with her hubby and two tiny chihuahuas.
For as long as I can remember my mom has been known to many as the one to drop off their unwanted and castoffs to, for her to rummage through often times keeping and sharing. A gatherer. A collector. From clothes and jewelry to old wood and rusted tin we truly get excited about these things. Before I grew up to be a lot like her I used to get embarrassed by her spontaneous curbside stops to score that random find she spotted in someones trash pile. Now it seriously thrills me to find a treasure amongst the trash especially if is something I have been needing or wanting. Like the screen door I recently found.
One of the bottom screens was busted out but my handy master woodworker husband fixed that up rather quick like. Along with my hubby's nightstand that I found only houses down the block. A quick sand and seal and voila it fits quite nicely.
A very charming salvage was an old door given to us by a friend that we worked on for a while. Scraping and sanding the old paint took some time but the outcome was well worth it. We originally wanted to use it as a door on the kid's room but it was warped a bit so we screwed it to the wall as a headboard for our bed.
In our new home we have made some small renovations with a big impact.
Doing all the work ourselves and as usual using salvaged, found, reclaimed and vintage elements whenever possible. We found our beautiful front door, with beveled glass panels and copper accents, at the Restore for $35. We covered three pickwick paneled walls of our living room with Sheetrock and added lime plaster tinted with mineral pigment to add some light. We plastered one and half walls in the kitchen but this time used coffee for color, yes coffee and conveniently from my morning brew, it turned out wonderful. Creating an antiqued white shade way better than the stark white of the natural plaster and very similar to the mineral pigment. We used salvaged tin and Cypress as a backdrop for our stove. With more reclaimed antique Cypress we replaced beams to support the ceiling while framing the doorway and half wall we created. We removed the wall heater in our bedroom and made a shelf using old fence board scraps and more Cypress. The bathroom ceiling had some minor damage and we pulled out the existing and replaced it using salvaged tin with a beautiful rusty patina. It adds that primitive, rustic, old age appearance that I am always inspired by and drawn to. By using what we have and reusing what others no longer want we have given our new house handmade touches that truly make it home.
Working together with a few local ladies and dear friends I have founded Boho Mercantile, a gypsy boutique. Driven by inspiration and our passion to create along with our deep appreciation for nature, folklore, native cultures and our sincere love for the community. Another one of my mom's 'little' projects, the tiny salvaged wood and rusted tin building once stood on the banks of the bayou and housed a claw foot tub but now proudly stands in town and is home to many creations of interest and re purpose. It is also where we host the monthly Bayou Bazaar. An open air event focused on local handcrafts, local food, and local music. Bringing together homegrown, handmade and vintage. Visit bohomercantile.com for more about the ladies and our creations.
So I am finally at a place where I can take this passion of 'ours' and share it. Take our addiction to gathering and collecting, and create something more with the whole thing. Something new, something different, something that respects and appreciates the story each relic has to tell of its journey while giving it a fresh new beginning. That something is Bayou Bohemian, born on the bayou with an unconventional aesthetic!
Thank you for sharing your story JeLlyn. Have a great weekend everyone!