Friday, November 1, 2013

October moments, painting projects and a question




What a tricky month October was. So much visual beauty everywhere and yet my own little world was looking quite messy from the outside. No perfectly staged rooms over here, at least not yet. Funny, how it seems like just yesterday when I was swaddled in the comforting warmth of sameness and carrying on like always.


Who would’ve guessed that my favorite month of the year, the one that’s filled with so many of my annual Fall and Halloween traditions would be so different this year?


I’ve been doing a lot of letting go lately and I think I’m getting better at it. Although yesterday Mr. M called me out to the garage and motioned to all the bins of stuff out there and said,

“Come on Les, how many Christmas decorations do we really need?”

And I asked him if that was a rhetorical question..

Apparently it was not. 

Although, seriously. Could that be considered a trick question?

(ok…  maybe letting go of the tangible stuff is a bit harder than I thought. Any tips out there from practiced movers on shedding one’s stuff?)



This October instead of adding pretty autumn touches to my rooms or planning a Halloween dinner party I’ve been busy dismantling our home room by room. Emptying our closets, labeling boxes and painting doors and walls and anything else that needs it. And by the way, I can’t thank you enough for all your positive, uplifting comments about our move. It really does help.

It’s hard to believe the month is over but here’s what I remember …

Bill the Handyman worked around our house long enough for Stella to approve of him (German Shepherds are very picky).

Patrick and Michael both came home from school for two whirlwind weekends—although different ones. 

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Patrick had a work project to show his Dad.

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And Michael left sunny Southern Cal to come home for a prom.


Unfortunately when Michael came home I had a terrible cold and had to stay away from him so no pre-prom photos this time, but I did snap this blurry picture on his way out.

In the meantime I’ve been a crazy woman with the paint brush. After Bill sprayed this room I’ve been doing the touch ups.

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Dark chocolate master bath- BEFORE

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AFTER- with creamy white walls

(a much safer color)


Old storage cabinet for the Master bathroom;





ASCP-1/2 Old white 1/2 pure white

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(I’m still finishing it)


Shopping for a few accessories to stage our home:


A new mirror from Home Goods for this wall.

Fixing my painting mistake in Michael’s bedroom:

Years ago I had done a Ralph Lauren denim paint treatment in here but now it’s scuffed up in places… so I went through my old cans of paint and was delighted to find the original paint color we used on the wall above the chair rail.


How easy would that be? I would only have to paint the bottom half of the room… right?



After I painted the bottom I started touching up the upper part of the walls only to discover after it dried that it was a different shade of paint. Very close, but the wrong color.


So yes, add this room to my list of paint jobs.

And lucky for me that I have such a sweet Dad because this room has the high ceilings. And while I was painting in the Master one morning I heard him come down the hall  carrying his drop cloths and paint brushes. Before I knew it he had finished all the high spots for me and even painted the closet!

My Dad is amazing, at 72 years old he still runs circles around me with his energy. But we’re a good team.

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Afterwards I made him some home made chicken tortilla soup and peanut butter cookies.

There’s still lots I haven’t shown you but the painting is starting to wind down. Although I’m still not sure about the end of the island where I painted my chalk art.

My gut tells me I need to re-paint it before we list the house. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea.



What’s your opinion?





I’m linking up at these special places





Unknown said...

Good morning Leslie! You have been incredibly busy with all of your pre-move projects. Wow. The bathroom looks gorgeous in white. As for your chalkboard-I love that touch. It's such a popular inspiration for homes/families these days that I would be inclined to keep it. Your home is so charming. As for the move, I've done my fair share of moving so I'm pretty good at dumping or giving away. If you haven't used it in a year or 2 you probably won't. Take photos of treasures that you want to remember but don't want to haul around. Remember how fresh it will feel to be less encumbered in a new space. So glad you saw my post about the girlfriends this morning. They both go to St. Francis in Sacramento. As I recall your boys may have gone to Jesuit (related schools)?. It's such a small world.
Have a lovely weekend Leslie,
xx, Heather

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

to reduce your stuff, just tell yourself you're getting rid of 10 percent of it. That will get you going, honest!

As far as the chalkboard painted cabinet. If you think it looks great, leave it. It will stand out in the buyer's mind.

Art and Sand said...

Lots of comments today

1. I was commenting on The Dedicated House and saw your comment that you had just linked up. I went to the pictures and scrolled through to see which one I thought was your link. I guessed right.

2. Oh, I wish I could come help you, but I am the world's worst at painting.

3. But, homemade tortilla soup and peanut butter cookies might improve my skills.

4. I love the chalkboard message on the cabinet and would probably leave it, but I know the experts say to go with plain to allow people to picture the house with their "stuff".

5. I thought of you when I made my birthday plans. The November issue of the Auto Club Westways magazine had ideas for handmade gifts you make elsewhere. I just made plans for my sister, KC and me to brew our own beer and soda at a place called Brewbakers in Huntington Beach. We will also make your own pretzels while we are there. I don't know if you have settled on a house yet, but it will be a lot closer to where you are moving than to me. We just thought it would be fun to do something totally different. I will let you know how it turns out.

Custom Comforts said...

The makeovers look great, but I would leave the chalk board. I would be thrilled to move into a house that already had a chalk board, and if the new buyers don't like it, then let them paint it.

pugsmom said...

Gwen, I wish I could help you give up your treasures gracefully, but I'm letting go kicking and screaming and digging in my heels. LOL I lost my house last December after my husband died. I had to move from 3,000 sq. ft. into 1,000 sq. ft. I purged by having garage sales, giving things away on and donating to the local Teen Challenge thrift store. In the end I called Teen Challenge and they had to send the largest truck they had to my house. I helped them fill the darned thing and then I thought, "Now, I will fit into that small house." NOT!!! I'm still donating, giving on freecycle and even putting things in a rented storage unit. When you learn the secret to downsizing gracefully, please share it with me. As far as your chalkboard in your kitchen, I love it, leave it. It's such a great feature that a new person's message can personalize it and if they don't like it, then it is a very small area to repaint. Write a welcome message on it for the new homeowners. If I moved into your house I would love that. Good luck and God Bless. Sandra

Cathi said...

I am going thru this purging discussion with my mom right now as she is preparing to move back to a California. She's feels that she can't part with any if it even though it sits in storage. I just keep encouraging her to go thru things again and ask herself does she want it enough to bring it down to a California and if so , by all means bring it. I myself have no problem purging as I've moved so many times and I krypton telling mom she's lucky I'm not there. Haha! You're doing a great job with the prep! xxoo

Monica said...

As always your DIY projects are amazing. I didn't know that you were moving (and need to go back and read more). Wishing you the best, I know that your home space is important to you. Thanks for the inspiration today. xx

Irene said...

Hello Leslie!
Do you love it? Do you need it? Would someone else do? Would you use the extra cash if you sold it? Would you give it to someone ine need?
I think these are the questions to ask on decluttering.
As for the kitchen, do paint the chalkboard. It's not everyone's cup of tea , unless they fall in love at first sight :-)
Happy November!

Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

Wow! Have you been busy! Sounds like you've been able to get a lot done in a short amount of time. I'd sill be purging and I'm a real purge monster when I get in the mood! I don't really have a secret method. It just seems that when my taste changes, I relook at things and realize I can do without them. I tend to keep pieces that belonged to a family member. I think that your chalkboard painting is great! I wouldn't bother pain ting over it. It's a small piece for somebody else to redo and if it means something to you and brigs you peace and inspiration when you see it, it's worth keeping, especially during this time of change and decision making. Everything else is going to look freshly painted, clean and brand new so I wouldn't worry about it. Good luck with it all. I envy you for your ability to make a new start! Hugs, Leena

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

busy woman. First of all, looks like you have a really sweet dad...can't beat that. I say leave the chalkboard, if the buyers really hate it, you can offer to paint it back to normal.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

You look like you have a good start on prepping the house and deciding what will come to your new home...such a big undertaking! It can be very freeing to clean out, too...something I am reminding myself of daily...

Sarah said...

I'm no help on the purging stuff advice question. Wouldn't be much help with the painting either, but I can offer lots of moral support. Looks like you've forged ahead and are making great progress. Good luck as you continue forward. '-)

michele said...

you're doing a great job!!!

hmmmmmm. the island...i think it could charm the pants off a certain buyer but i also wouldn't want to distract a buyer who doesn't get it. i say paint over it but leave a photo of the 'before' in the kitchen in case someone loves the idea.

hugs and hope you find extra reserves of energy for these projects and the purge. (i have no earth shattering suggestions for letting go of stuff. all i know is i let it go, and i feel great.)


The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

I wouldn't change the chalk art until right at the last moment - then you will be conscious of letting go and will leave the space for new words from the new homeowner. You've worked so hard! Good on you! (I do think the Xmas decoration question was a trick one)
When I was a young bride we lost everything - home, photos, clothes, my wedding gear, my books and work. However it was a lesson that nothing really is important except the souls you care for. I worked out I moved house around 15 times when I was younger - that's why I haven't moved in 10 years. But my kids are getting older now, so change might be in the air.
Hope you've finished with that cold! Zinc supplements? Xxcat

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

WOW my friend you sure have been busy!! I LOVE LOVE the changes you made in your master bath...I'm sure your beautiful home will be a quick sale for some lucky buyer!! I love the chalkboard on the side of your island but your right it may not be for everyone:( Have you ever considered painting your whole island black...that would look beautiful with your white cabinets!
Looking forward to seeing more!!
Can't leave without telling you how HANDSOME your boys are!!

Cindy Albert said...

I love that your dad came to help you. The chalk board idea is very cute.

Linda said...

Wow Leslie I thought your home was already move in ready. Love all the changes though. That is once incredible mirror.

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

I would leave the 2 panels on the end of your island in the chalkboard finish and repaint the framing surrounding them. It leaves the fun element of a chalkboard, but if it's not the buyer's taste, they only need to repaint the panels.

I let go of a lot of my things when we moved to our current home, and there really weren't that many items I was sorry about selling or giving away. You've accomplished so much already, Leslie!

Jeanette@Creating a Life Studio said...

You are really making progress over there! You do have one pretty awesome dad :) I bet he appreciated the treat of that yummy looking soup AND cookies.

WE all love your chalkboard cabinet, but that doesn't necessarily mean the average home shopper will :) It *might* be best to paint it just to remove any potential negatives in a buyer's mind.

One thing that has helped me to get rid of things is to ask yourself if you saw the item in a store TODAY would you buy it?

It really does make it harder to let things go if you don't know exactly what the next home will be like!
You're doing great with the process, Leslie! One step at a time...

karen@somewhatquirky said...

I can't help you with the decluttering. I have never felt compelled to get rid of stuff that I like and I wouldn't expect others to do it either. Actually I find it easier to purge after I've gotten moved into the new house. Then I know what I want to keep and it becomes clear what I don't need. So what if you move an extra box or 20. Funny thing about all the repainting prior to selling your house...when we sold our last house my realtors came to visit and I told them I was ready to repaint anything. The house was pretty "far out". They told me not to repaint anything. I did take out some of the furniture and depersonalize the shelves by taking down family pictures. The house sold in 18 days. Leave the chalkboard as is.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Leslie, everything looks great! And like you have been doing nothing but painting and working since your announcement. Do let yourself get worn out.

I think you should keep what you love, and if you love it all, than keep it all. I gave away so many things I on my last move simply because I was sick of packing and decluttering and 5 years later I am still sad about a few things.

I hope that all goes well with the move, have you found a place in the new town yet?

Take care, Elizabeth

Tamera Beardsley said...

Good Morning Leslie! I am back to comment, after pinning your happiness quote onto my inspiring words board ... so much wisdom ... so succinctly said! Thank you so for sharing my dear!

Your painting projects are turning out beautifully! I am sure this transition must be an emotional one ... full of letting go and excitement for the future! I do think you will love it down here ... I have been here, literally a lifetime ... and I am still able to find new beauty every day! If you ever need any tips on the area's best places ... or just a friendly face ... I am here for you.


Donna@anangloinquébec said...

Oh I am soo good with the purge in most cases except those cases that involve "memories". I would imagine the type of decluttering you are doing involves a view pieces that speak to memories? Not easy. Wish I had some advice to inspire you in that process.
As far as the chalkboard art...I would leave it. It adds character and a sense of warmth. If the buyer doesn't like it, well, easy fix but otherwise it reveals the life well lived in your home.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

You are making great progress my friend! Someone is going you get one very lovely home. And I'd keep the chalkboard. It adds charm and character. Not everything needs to be neutralized. And it can always be painted over. It won't stand in the way of a sale. And if Mr. Moss thinks you have too many bins of Christmas decorations, he would surely cringe if he saw my basement!

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