Let me go back to the Lucketts Spring Market a couple of years ago.  Suzanne, the owner of The Old Lucketts Store and Design House, came and sat with me on a slow Sunday afternoon.  We were chatting about all of the business opportunities we’re working on and the things we’re dreaming about.  And she shared about a manor house she purchased and was renovating.

She told me, “The woodwork in this house is so beautiful, it’ll make you cry.  I just couldn’t pass it up.”

It would be a vacation rental, a venue for small weddings and events and a place for creative retreats.  And, it would be something that could be finished.  Suzanne has described the antiques/home decor business as an “ice sculpture.”  You find/finish pieces, put them together, they are sold, the room is picked over and emptied, and then you have to start over again.  Again and again.

So, fast forward to a meeting a few weeks ago.  Kriste and I were discussing shooting locations for the second MMSMP look book.  She mentioned a couple of local places and then she was about to talk about another, but she stopped herself.  She looked at me, bit her lip and decided to go for it.

“There is this one place…it might not be in our budget, but it’s gorgeous.  It’s a manor in Virginia with the most amazing woodwork…”

“Wait.  Show it to me.”

She pulled out her laptop and as soon as I saw the first picture, I knew it was Suzanne’s manor.

“Well, I happen to know the owner…”

And, on Tuesday, Kriste and I made the drive down to Bluemont, a van full of pieces painted in MMSMP, to take pictures for the look book.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

Kriste said she had trouble sleeping the night before, because it was like Christmas.  I couldn’t wait to see the house, but I was nervous that my furniture pieces would look rinky-dink and out-of-place in such a grand location.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

The manor house, known as The Retreat at Cool Springs, was built in 1799 and has a rich history, as you can imagine.  The thing that makes this house so special, as both Suzanne and Kriste said, is the woodwork.  It is breathtaking.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

And, you can tell from the little bits of paint left in the grooves and grain that it was all once painted and someone carefully stripped it down.  I kept remarking to Kriste that I can’t imagine how long that must’ve taken.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

Sooo…that dresser between the two chairs is one we brought to photograph.  I was so pleased that it didn’t look dinky or lame, as I feared.  It definitely rose to the occasion.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

Shooting my pieces in a different environment was so awesome.  It’s easy to get in a rut in my own house and studio.  I go back to the things I like over and over, so getting away from the usual pushed me creatively.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

Kriste and I had the manor to ourselves, so we played our music, snapped pictures, arranged flowers, scooted furniture and soaked the entire experience in.  It truly was a privilege to make that house our “office” for one day.

the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed the retreat at cool springs | miss mustard seed

I will share more about the manor, share some design takeaways I came home with and show some of the before pictures, but there was way too much to write and way too many pictures to show in one post.

The Retreat is located in Bluemont, VA, on the Potomac river, and it is available as a vacation rental.  You can see all of the details and book your stay HERE.

If you’re interested in using the retreat as a venue for a small wedding or event, you can check out their website at www.retreatatcoolspring.com or send an e-mail to coolspringsevents@gmail.com.

If you just want to learn more, you can follow them here…

Facebook – www.facebook.com/retreatatcoolspring
Instagram – www.instagram.com/retreatatcoolspring/ #retreatatcoolspring
Website – www.retreatatcoolspring.com


  1. Leah Prevost

    Suzanne was right, that woodwork is enough to make you cry! Wowzas! I can’t imagine the feeling of being inside a place like that. I think it’s amazing how much Kriste has been blessed by working along side you Marian. She seems like a gem, she deserves it. Can’t wait to see more pictures.

  2. Dorene @ Seasonal Chapters

    Wow! That woodwork is breathtaking! I’m sure your creative juices were flowing in such an amazing venue. I enjoyed your first MMSMP look book, and now I simply can’t wait to see the second one. I agree with Leah…you and Kriste are blessed to have each other to work with. You have accomplished so much and share your knowledge willingly, and she has creative talents of her own. You make a fantastic team and your readers reap the benefits. Thanks for all you do.

  3. Marian@CMShawStudios

    Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! How cool to be able to use friend connections for that opportunity. I’m excited to see the look book.
    The Other Marian

  4. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    So so gorgeous!!! The perfect spot to shoot images of your furniture!

    p.s. I honestly don’t know how you could own such a property and not live there!!! I wouldn’t be able to leave!

  5. Julie @ Creating This Life

    Simply stunning! And it was like it was made for your pieces. Can’t wait to see more pictures.

  6. Bryarton Farm

    Gorgeous! I actually love the distressed patina created by the bits of white paint left in the cracks of the wood. It lightens the finish too. Sometimes a lot stained millwork can darken a space. Thanks for sharing this manor with us. It made my day!

  7. Leslie

    I grew up in Purcellville and went to school with kids from Bluemont. I went there for their yearly fair but never had the privilege of seeing this beautiful plantation home! It is so huge and the age of it – makes your head spin! Thanks for sharing these pictures with us!

  8. Cindy

    Ohhhh my gosh, it’s so beautiful. …and your stuff looks great in the mix! That must have been so fun, and how cool that you already knew her!


  9. Barbara Moore

    Yes…the woodwork, the floors, the paint colors….THAT DOORFRAME!! Scrumptious, absolutely scrumptious.

  10. Jelena

    Those are such gorgeous interiors! Can’t wait to see more pictures!

  11. Marlene Stephenson

    I love old homes and always wished i could live in one,but never happened. I think your furniture looked great in there. Thanks so much Marian and Kriste for sharing this adventure with us will be waiting for the conclusion.

  12. Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    That space is so so beautiful. What a peaceful and tranquil space. I love the combo of the woodwork, white, and light. I love that it isn’t “perfect”.


  13. Krista

    Wow! So gorgeous! You and Kriste are so lucky to have such a wonderful friendship along with your work relationship! Can’t wait to see more pictures!

  14. Tracy

    Oh my that is BEAUTIFUL! Looks like Heaven on earth!

  15. MaryLisa Noyes

    Beautiful home and an awesome restoration.

  16. Cyndia

    You had me at “woodwork will me you cry”! Anyone who understands the heart and soul of such an incredible house is a very special person. I’m a huge old house fan, but this one is exceptional. Would love to go see it one day, and be able to stay there. Thanks so much for sharing! Cannot wait to see the book.

  17. Marion

    Yes, that house is beautiful and so is that feeling in knowing your furniture fits right in. What a great way to enjoy the spoils of your vision!

  18. Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc.

    Wow such fate that Kriste would find the exact house that your friend restored all that time ago! Isn’t karma fabulous? I can’t wait for the next look book… it looks like it’s going to be amazing!

  19. Lori

    The Retreat is gorgeous…enjoyed browsing their site and look forward to the seeing more of your photo shoot there!

  20. Barbara Bussey

    True perfection! From the 1700’s! Beautiful light. What a treasure.

  21. Genevieve V.

    Just lovely! What an opportunity. Thank you for sharing. How blessed you and Kriste are to work together and to love what you do. Great ideas to possibly use on our 1840’s cabin. ?

  22. Dianne


  23. dolores

    We went to the Open House Suzanne had for the manor and were totally blown away with all the work they put into it. Your photos truly do the place justice. I can’t wait til your fans see photos of the grounds right on the river.

  24. Lauren Baxter

    Wow, simply breath taking. That is a beautiful location and your furniture fit right in. Can’t WAIT to see more

    Keep up the awesome work

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Décor


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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