Spring Light

One of my favorite things about my house and about this time of year is the light.  In March and April the days stretch out and the still-low sun casts long shadows all over the house.

Looking down the stairs into our hard-working entryway.

During deep winter, December and January, the sun comes up after we go to work, and is down again before we come home.  There’s little to no natural light in the house, and we rely on Christmas lights strung around inside and on the tree in the front yard for cheer.  March and early April are our reward.

spring light entryway

Cora, in her usual position, making sure she isn’t forgotten in case someone decides to go for a walk.

The painting above of a lush Hawaii scene by Carol Crump Bryner gives off a light of its own (this photo doesn’t do Carol’s work justice, check out her website to see what I mean).  To our great fortune when my in-laws moved they left us with a lot of original art work, including several of my mother in law’s beautiful and sought after paintings (You can see her work here and read her blog here).  I’m not sure if we are just the temporary custodians, or if we’ve adversely possessed them by now, but I’m glad to live among such beautiful originals.


My reading chair, a favorite find from a second hand store. The lion, named Olga by my daughter, is actually a book end but has become one of her loveys.

My in-laws also left a number of treasures that came from my father in-law’s childhood home in Kansas. That home was reportedly quite palatial. This home, not so much. The scale doesn’t always work, but I love having so many meaningful objects that connect me to family members I never got to meet.

Kansas rug spring light

You can’t tell from the photo, but this persian rug is enormous. It’s really too large for the room, but also too beautiful to put away.

Thanks to this being my husband’s childhood home, we also have a huge number of children’s items circa the 1970s. All kinds of books and toys, real classics that might have been donated during the brutal culling that goes on in an ordinary move, but that are treasures to us in this stage of life.

Opal's chair

One of our daughter’s favorite reading spots. The slippers actually did not belong to my husband: they are from Garnett Hill, and are the best kid slippers I’ve found.

I exhumed this sweet little rocking chair from the basement, and although my daughter’s legs aren’t yet long enough to really rock in it, she loves to sit here in the sun and read her books.

And now, because I’m committed to keeping it real and not styling the heck out of my house before taking pictures, here is another example of the treasure this old house contains, again, from my husband’s childhood:

playmobil sunshine

This might be the largest vintage playmobil collection in the world. My daughter plays with these every day, without fail, sunlight streaming in or not. This is her styling work.

One of the incredible things about this house is that every room except the small room that we’ve dubbed The Adult Lounge (the name sounds better than what it really is: the room where we watch House of Cards and Game of Thrones with a beer after our daughter goes to bed) plus one of the bathrooms (a before and after of that room is coming up next week) has a south facing window.

Thanks to a profusion of nooks, crannies, and jaunty angles, even the three small bedrooms and bathroom upstairs all have south facing windows.

Opal's room

The window seat in my daughter’s room. The cats must have been eating dinner, there is no other possible explanation for why they aren’t plopped down in these sunbeams.

Ah, there's Wolsey the sun-beam finding missile.  (In truth his shape resembles a missile not at all.)

Ah, there’s Wolsey the sun-beam finding missile. (In truth his shape resembles a missile not at all.)

I hope you are also enjoying long days full of lush promise.  Soon the trees will leaf out, and though the sun will be up for 20 hours we won’t have nearly as much light in the house.

I love this time of year, but summer can’t come too soon!

15 responses on “Spring Light

  1. Carol Crump Bryner

    Hi Mera. I enjoyed reading this so much this morning. I too love this spring light, as long as I don’t have to look at the receding pile of dirty snow in the back yard. You write so engagingly about all the things that make a house come alive. My grandsons would be green with envy at that pile of playmobils. Your house may not be palatial, but it’s so cozy and inviting and warmed by all the memories that fill it. Your blog has brightened up my spring days. Thanks!

    1. meramatthews

      Thank you so much, Carol. I also turn a blind eye to what the dirty receding snow yields up this time of year. My little one loves the puddles, so that adds a happy dimension. Thanks again!

  2. Susan Glassow

    We have darkness in the winter too since our home is in the McKenzie River Canyon. From the end of October to mid-March, from 11 am – 4 pm (you can see I know this exactly) no sunlight enters our home.The Winter Solstice is deeply meaningful in this setting, calling for beach bonfires and rituals calling back the sunlight. In this winter time, The woods to the east have morning light, the woods to the west afternoon. The sun passes across the south just under the canyon cliff tops and the light shimmers above it like a wall sconce. Like you, I’ve layered my home with art and color and lights, many kinds in many locations. My spirit rises with the sunshine, its light illuminating a mosaic of river rocks and violets, blooming on the forest’s edge.

  3. meramatthews

    Thank you for this lovely note, Susan. Though I’ve been there only a handful of times, your home is the place I retreat to in my mind when I need a bit of comfort. You have a magical spot and you’ve made it so lovely and inviting, but it’s the warmth that you emanate that draws me back. xo

  4. michellet2013

    Hi Mera, You’ve captured the spring light so well—it’s so blinding at breakfast but we’re all so thrilled that it’s here finally. I love how you’ve examined some of the little pieces of your house—it’s so inviting and cheerful. And your little stylist does great work! Thank you.

    1. meramatthews

      Thanks, Michelle. Inasmuch as styling is meant to add life and dimension, she really is a pro! Thanks so much for your support and comments!

    2. mcncampion

      Is this “my” Michelle (from the 2013 Workroom)?!?! I bet so! MICHELLE! HI! I’ve missed you and hope ALL is well. How goes the drawing? And the cats? And the view out your workroom window? xoxo

  5. Katy Gilmore

    Oh Mera, these posts are so wonderful, honoring your old house with your beautiful pictures and evocative words. Thank you for taking on all the handmedowns, fillIng the red house with young family love, and making art of your life. And thank you for your kind words and generous links – redhousewest is the greatest pleasure! xo

    1. meramatthews

      Thank YOU, Katy! Your support here and in the day-to-day makes my little forays into creative disciplines possible. xoxo!

  6. mcncampion


    Is this Opal’s house!! 🙂

    (I am a friend of Katy’s … and Carol Bryner’s cousin … so I have heard of Opal!)

    Lovely post, Mera. And the photos – and the light! – wonderful to see.


    1. meramatthews

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, this is Opal’s house–her reputation precedes her! I hope you’re enjoying a sunny spring too. Thanks!

  7. Bonny Headley

    How nice to see this delightful evocation of life in an older house with character! I live in a house with light, too, thanks to the same architect as yours 🙂 It is a complete joy, at every time of year. Please walk by with Opal someday and let me see her growing self. The reading chair really tickled my whiskers.

    1. meramatthews

      A brilliant architect indeed, Bonny! 🙂 Opal and I will pop in one of these days when the weather warms up. The phrase tickles my whiskers tickles my whiskers. Thanks for checking out Red House West!

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