My Journey : Finding Escalapia

The best advice I was given in regard to building a house was to find a word that was a perfect descriptor and then to base all my choices against that word.

It sounds simple but it wasn’t.

I am eclectic. I like a bit of this and a bit of that. On top of that I have very strong opinions on things I don’t like while I’m often not being able to fully verbalize the reason I do like a certain thing.

The woman who gave me this advice {the wonderful Adrienne of Animal Cracker Studio} noticed that lots of my boards had a Southern California vibe. She suggested I use that as my starting point to find my word.

So: California cabin?

West coast meets flyover?

A little bit country, a lit by rock and roll?

This was much harder than seemed necessary.

It wasn’t until my husband introduced me to the word “Escalapia” that I found my fit.  It was the name of the community that lived on our plateau around the turn of the last century. A community that is no longer there. But, not knowing that, I heard Escalapia and I thought about houses only fairies knew of and intricate sketches to the side of a large abstract painting and ferns and willows and wildflowers. To me it described the contemporary house that I wanted to fill with the colors and textures of the last century.


Did this have anything to do with formal titles {mid-century modern} or a hashtag {#SoCalCabin} that some national home magazine would love? No.

But it fit. It made me smile.

And best of all: it worked.


I started around paint choices and realized that Escalapia was natural without being terribly neutral. I took the blue we had previously picked for the cabinet color and found colors that resembled the world outside our picture windows to match: fog rising out of the valleys in the early morning, the deep blue of my husband’s favorite fishing hole, the deep grey of the storm cloud, and crisp white of the frost on an early winter morning.

Later on, I found myself looking at the tile I had already choose and realized, “That star doesn’t work. It’s not Escalapia.”

The brass Moroccan lamp from the antique store downtown? Totally Escalapia.

Contemporary four poster bed? Escalapia only after the addition of white linens and a second hand quilt.


Other things that are Escalapian-

Storage in natural materials : so that we could do life and then put it the “stuff” of life back in a box

Natural light : to read and make art and play and do all the things that don’t involve screens.


Unfussy landscaping : the day I remembered I was a plant lover but not a gardener was the day I called the landscape architect and said, “tell me what we should do.” Followed by a call a month later that hat went something like, “give me a very specific watering schedule so I don’t kill it.”


The aforementioned eclecticism : I realized that my “little bit of this and that” method was good as long as I had parameters. White tile, black plumbing fixtures, and blue kitchen cabinetry were my initial palette. From that it expanded to wood tones and low key stone and the occasional brass element. On top of that I laid on the piece I had inherited from my grandmother and treasures I’ve found.



Adrienne’s site: Animal Cracker Studio

Antique shop in Downtown Rogers: The Rusty Chair

Antique shop in Fayetteville: 410 Vintage Market

Antique shop in Prarie Grove: Southern Mercantile Antiques 

Landscape architect: Bradford Nursery

Bed: Restoration Hardware

Lights: Lighting Emporium Springdale

Bed lounger and side table and dining table: James and James Springdale

Round mirrors and counter height bar stools: Howse

Photos on canvas : Mpix 

Architect: Mathias Pearson