Nature is cool.

The kids call it our “museum”, and they love to show and tell all about its inhabitants when their friends come over. For years Ben has been collecting exotic bugs on his travels. A few framed butterflies has grown into a rather large collection — butterflies, large moths, a bird-eating spider, scorpion, stick bug, and multiple giant and colorful beetles. We also have our own “private collection” of flying and crawling things that we have found around our home and community — you might be surprised how large and beautiful some of those are! We believe that teaching our kids about nature is a hands-on endeavor, so it’s not uncommon to hear someone opening up the cabinet where we keep some of the bugs to add a found specimen to the collection.

Besides being educational, these creations can add unique interest and color to a space. Although not everyone wants a tarantula or Goliath beetle staring out at them, most people would agree that there are few things prettier than a Blue Morpho butterfly or more amazing than a giant Atlas moth. We found a great source for these and other cool species and have begun making our own wood and glass picture-box frames for them. We plan to offer a couple of sizes and a variety of colors and stains in our shop. Stay tuned for pics of the latest additions to the collection.

Goliath beetle, native to Africa. In captivity they are actually fed commercial cat and dog food!
Goliath beetle, native to Africa. In captivity they are actually fed commercial cat and dog food!
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The butterfly drying and spreading process
And the result...a beautifully preserved Birdwing butterfly on one of our handmade floating glass frames.
And the result…a beautifully preserved Birdwing butterfly on one of our handmade floating glass frames.

By the way, we also collect skulls…but no plans to offer those for sale – at least for now:).

This guy is always staring at me while I am at my desk
This guy is always staring at me while I am at my desk

BackStory

I am excited to write about a project that I have been working on in my mind for many years. While my husband Ben and I work on creating some pieces and building inventory, I thought I would start sharing some of the ideas and inspiration behind Story Design House. As long as I can remember I have loved to learn about the story behind things – songs, photographs, old houses, furniture. I hunt for unique items and Ben uses his creative skills to build and/or repurpose the cool stuff I find. Fun right?
A couple of years ago we relocated our family of six from our home state of Texas to Northern Virginia. We are situated between the bustle of the DC scene and the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Virginia Wine Country – and in the middle of the backdrop for much of our nation’s early history. We love the notion that things were made to last and created with quality craftsmanship and we hope to honor that tradition. Even though I grew up around antique collecting and selling, and making things has always been a part of my life, the cultural and natural beauty of our new home prompted me to merge my passions and share some of our finds and creations with you. Our aesthetic is eclectic, but leans toward industrial-classic-rustic. We like old wood, metal, typography, symbolism, and nature. If you’re interested, stay tuned for posts about my conquests of local barn sales, estate sales, and flea markets, and pics of some of the pieces in progress. We will also feature other independent makers and sellers whose stuff we think is cool – because there is just too much talent out there not to. Thanks for checking us out and following our Story.