Thursday, September 4, 2014

Embracing change…(sort of)….and some house photos…



Hello my friends!

Hello month of September (dear August where did you go?)

Hello Impatience and the rest of all my nagging character flaws.

Oh it’s so good to be back.

Ok. Here’s the question of this post. Do you want to learn about yourself? Do you want to dive in, get a deeper look at your state of mind? Discover your true level of optimism? Learn all about your inner peace (or in my case, your level of neurosis?)

Here’s what you do.

You relocate three times in five months. You spend the summer in a tiny, two-bedroom condo with your hubby, two (big) college age sons and an anxious German Sheppard next to a busy, insanely loud street while you search for a home in a surprisingly tight real estate market. And then--- you finally move into your new home which happens to be walking distance to the ocean—yayyyy-hallelujah-thank you Lord-pass the champagne- and did I mention?


It’s a bona fide fixer upper.

Isn’t life funny?  But the real truth is, we decided to go for location which meant giving up a “few” things with the place.

Although I’ll be honest. It’s been a LONNGGGGG… time since I’ve lived in a fixer, …as in, when you actually wake up with someone else’s old carpet and their strange design choices and they don’t go away.

Let’s see, where do I begin?

Light dimmers in all the bathrooms (what?) …but none in the dining room. Ahem.

A mysterious unfinished wall in the living room which is half real rock and half sheet-rock with a protruding fire box…

A concrete wall that runs across the entire backyard that was never covered with vines or greenery in twenty-five years-making it the ugliest view in the world from the kitchen window?

I know, honestly I’m annoying myself now. After all, how many times can I walk around my house looking at oddities and think, “What is that?!

Although I am discovering that living in a fixer upper is a fascinating life lesson. It’s making me take a long, hard look at my ability to tolerate glaring imperfections even when they really-truly-bug me. It means acceptance of the NOW. It means a healthy dose of humbleness that comes with the realization that no matter what state of prettiness or ugliness our house may currently be in, it is not us.

We are not our stuff.

See? I know these things, but still, it’s hard.

Maybe I can blame it on the pinkish taupe-colored walls in the new house. OK. I admit this color was so much of a downer to me that on moving day, I was already slathering my walls with BM’s Simply White. So that even Mr. M shook his head as he carried stuff inside and said, “Really Les, really? Painting right now?”

I know, but I couldn’t stop myself.

Remember this scene from When Harry Met Sally?



I’m just saying, I might--just might be able to relate…a teeny weeny bit ..…

I don’t know. Maybe you’re living in a fixer right now and you’re secretly thinking. Oh Leslie, please. Get over yourself. This is part of the process, and I totally get it. I really do. I agree I have a lot to be grateful for…

We’ve got incredibly friendly (and funny too) neighbors. A sweet, tree-line neighborhood with a distinct beachy vibe. We’re surrounded by a constant source of happy activity with tanned, smiling people riding by on pastel colored bikes and my favorite? The cutest three year old twins who live two doors down and ride by daily on their tiny tricycles to the beach with their young, blonde Mama. Talk about a visual joy. And of course, there’s that waft of salty, ocean air that flows into our home from my open Dutch door.

(yes! I love my Dutch door)


(my entry from the future)



Ok ready for some real pictures?

I still have to upload my cell phone photos, but here’s a few photos taken before the previous owners moved out….



Here’s the original mystery wall.


Except today it’s got a light coat of white and holes in the drywall because various contractors were trying to figure out if the rock is behind the entire wall. IF you were closer you would see the wall isn’t flush. The sheetrock protrudes four inches over the rock like someone just decided to stop mid-job.


And we’re still trying to figure out what’s under this ugly tile “hearth” …the demo process will be SO much easier if it’s not concrete….


So as I was saying….the entry is a bit tight.

(can you hear me giggling through the computer?)

The house was built in 1969 and evidently clearance requirements were different.


Here’s another view. As you can see, the rails are not code and luckily I don’t have little ones that could fall through the gaping spaces (i.e add new stairs and railing to our things- to-do-list)


DSC_1065 (2)use

If you’re new to my blog, this was my entry in my old home.

Now you can see why I was a little taken aback. But hey, I love a good challenge.

Back to the new place:

The previous owners had furniture in the other side of the kitchen but the good news is that now that it’s gone and the walls are painted, the kitchen looks surprisingly bigger.




DSC_0884 (2)



I have so many projects going on right now I can’t wait to share a few with you.


Since the dining room is so small I decided to go with color, maybe do something bold. Only I felt like I had two personalities when it came to picking the color.

In a beach cottage the softer gray-blue hues seem perfect….

But I’ve been wanting to do a room in BM’s Kendall Charcoal for awhile…it’s such a deliciously, dark color.

So which do you think I picked?



There’s so much you could do with either.

But here’s a clue.

Which color do you think would look most dramatic with my mirror?

(from my old office)



You guessed it. I’ve got more pictures coming.

And as always, I SO appreciate your visit. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.  Before I go here’s a few shares:


a house down the street. (love the picket fence)




12 Things Successful People Do Differently


My Summer Movie Crush 


10 ways to make an old home feel new


a design blog you should be following









So tell me. Did you have a good summer?






Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Leslie, I'm so glad you're in your new house! The charcoal color paint is gorgeous, and I can already begin to see glimpses of "you" coming through. The sheetrock/stone wall is a hoot. What WERE they thinking?

I think you should pat yourself on the back for surviving your cramped and crazy Summer and figure out how to enjoy the remodeling process. I've been itching to remodel a house lately. Wish I were closer... Since I'm not, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing all week long — going from one room to another and downsizing my stuff. Today I tackled my ridiculous vintage linen collection. Can't believe how much I'm letting go, but gee it feels good! Someday when it's time to build my smaller new "old" farmhouse, I'll be very glad it's already done.

Susan said...

Good luck on your new "fixer-upper" adventure! It looks like you will have lots of chances to use your creativity~

Patti said...

The day we moved into our 1960's ranch I started demo once my husband and grown boys passed out from the move. By the time they woke in the morning I had most of our kitchen pulled apart. How they slept through that is beyond me,but they did!! So I completely understand about paint!! Blessings on the new home!!

Anonymous said...

Good grief! You certainly have your work cut out for you, much like we do here. Summer was spent wishing, hoping and praying that our contractor would start our fixer upper reno. But, Mother Nature decided to rain most of June, and August, which meant all his jobs were falling further behind. We were in the cue so just started 2 weeks ago. I am not much on patience and it has been 5 months living in this yucky messed up house. Good luck to you when you start, we are sleeping in our trailer, using the kitchen there too, just in the house to shower wash dishes etc. Hope we both survive the pothole filled reno road and expenses ahead. Patty/NS

Patty said...

I love the charcoal! I can't wait to see your remodels! We're currently trying to get our house fixed up to sell. We're going to downsize and move from the country to back in town since two of our four kids are ready to leave the nest.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I think you were so smart to go for location...everything else is changeable. And with your design talent, it's going to be wonderful! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with that concrete wall...lots of possibilities! Congratulations on your new home!!

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

YAY I'm so happy your in your new house!! I know your going to turn that fixer upper in a stunner and I can't wait to follow along!! LOVE the color you chose for your dining room!!

Debra@CommonGround said...

Pinky-taupe you say? yes, I'm familiar with that color, but mine has been with a dash of salmon thrown in. I can't get the paint covered up quick enough! The house looks like fabulous potential. just keep taking in that breath of ocean air. God truly has a sense of humor! big hugs!

Karen said...

Hi Leslie,
Glad your back. Hey, fixers are okay once you get a few projects down and don't have SO many on the list. Still, I don't think its inappropriate to whine just a little. Who says that just because we are blessed with some pretty great things there's no room for a gripe here or there. :-)
The neighbors house looks charming, I know yours will too, eventually.
Love the bold gray. I think of all rooms, the dining room needs that.

Leslie said...

Leslie .. I totally get where you're at and ALL that patience stuff which, btw I've kinda tossed out the window. I will send you a couple pics from my day today and you will enjoy them. I've had to put all blogging aside as I can do little else but get through each day. Hang in there! xxL

Sarah said...

Leslie, I know a fixer upper is daunting, but you have such great style that this house is going to become a beautiful home in no time. Case in point……that gorgeous dining room color. I'm eager to follow along with this journey. Glad you are in and making progress. Good luck with the process!

Tamera Beardsley said...

So happy to have you back my dear! Sounds like you are settling into one beautiful neighborhood all right!

Your positive attitude is infectious to be sure! I look forward to the day you have time for coffee … because i do love your new neighborhood!


Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

Leslie! So good to see you back in blogland! I got so far behind in reading all the blogs that I missed some and then had no idea where you and some others had gone! A house close to the beach? Oh how fantastic! Dimmers in the bathrooms? Well, there are some things that go on in there that we really don't want to look at but that's still taking it a bit too far! I have no idea what's up with that stone wall. Maybe somebody did it as a fireplace focal wall, then changed their minds? You'd also think that they would have matched the tile hearth to the rocks. I hope you get to go bad on it with a hammer soon. That sounds like so much fun! It sounds like a lovely neighborhood in a great location and I'm sure that the adventure of remodeling and making it your own will have its moments but be exciting too! Please keep us posted! I love seeing how big projects like this unfold. Hugs, Leena

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Well, I know you're going to have your house looking fabulous in no time at all, Leslie, unless you turn into a beach bum and spend your days working on your tan instead. hehe

It sounds like you're in a wonderful location, so when the house projects get too overwhelming, you can walk out the dutch door and look at the beauty around you....and try to forget about your rock wall. Your dining room walls look fabulous, and I can't wait to see the room furnished! Enjoy your new home, warts and all!


Donna@anangloinquébec said...

Okay I will admit to staring at the image that was taken in the kitchen on the day the house was shown to you! They were obviously not instructed on the "tidy-up" rule. :)
Looks like a fun project Leslie...seriously, if you are that close to the beach and you already have homes on your street with curb appeal and pastel coloured bikes sauntering past your home then all looks pretty good to me. Top that off with your wonderful sense of style and I am almost certain mathematical prowess to deal with the door-stairs scenario so... let's go girl, get that place moving along because we need photos, lots and lots of photos!! :)

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

I love new have your work cut out, but it will be worth it...

cindy hattersley design said...

Here I am catching up on my blog friends as my computer has been out the last couple of days. I am on my way to purchase a new one! I am laughing hilariously at your post and I see you mentioned moi!! Thank you so much for the shout out. If you need any help (which I doubt!!) email me sometimes two heads are better than one! LOVE the charcoal!! I can't wait to see what you come up with. Downscaling is in my future. I am loving the size you have!

Carla from The River said...

This will be so much fun for us. You are so creative and the creativity is just busting to make this a Home~Sweet~Home!

Best of luck!

Sue said...

Fun times ahead. I hope you take a LOT of pictures. It is going to be gorgeous ~ I love the charcoal dining room.

Sheepskinsandfairylights said...

So happy to catch up with your news that you have a new home at last!
Looks like you are going to have fun. We have renovated 3 homes and when you do it feels so satisfying knowing what you went through to achieve a home with your personal stamp.
I must admit, I once went into the garden and screamed "I hate this house!" The kids thought I'd really blown my stack, Hana!
Good luck, looking forward to seeing what you do, xxxx

Art and Sand said...

I was so excited to look on my blog roll and see a post from Gwen Moss.

Congratulations! Hey, our house was a fixer upper and I honestly think it will be until our kids put us in a home. There is always something to be done. But, the short steps to the beach make it worthwhile.

Of course, I don't have the strange wall or different level ceilings in the kitchen.

When you feel more settled, I would love to come take you to lunch. Maybe sometime at the end of the month?

Linda said...

I know that once you cast your spell that home will come alive and look just as amazing as your last home.
Can't wait to see more!!

Unknown said...

Welcome back Leslie! I laughed my way through your entire post. It seems your sense of humor is serving you well with all the changes. Your new neighborhood sounds delightful. I just imaging that fresh ocean air. I can't wait to see updates and see how the charcoal looks against the gold mirror (one of my favorite color combos!). Yes, summer was fab-Portugal and Spain were beautiful. Now I'm back to the real psychologist work world with sunny memories. Happy weekend my friend,

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this post, and can relate! I will be checking back in to see how things are progressing. Great Post! Cheers, Nancy

Calypso In The Country said...

Yay! You're back! I love your commentary on all the flaws you plan to correct. I know you will make your new home beautiful! I love the direction you are going in the dining room - gorgeous color! Our summer flew by with numerous trips to the beach and outings with the kids. Now it's back to school time and back to the crazy routine. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Gypsy Heart said...

Not sure what's going on but I can't view the photos you shared ~ :( Only the top portion shows a bit.

I absolutely LOVE the charcoal wall! I know the entire place will be stunning when you finish. I can only imagine all the to-do's but I would choose location too. The 2 ceiling heights in the kitchen + the rock wall leave me contemplating if bodies might be found. Just kidding! :) Such weird people...and a concrete wall in the back? Strange...

I look forward to seeing more of your new space! Oh, and please cut yourself some's a miracle to me that you made it through the summer without becoming catatonic.


Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh Leslie, I know it will be hard work and take some time, but the idea of a fixer-upper actually sounds very exciting! The neighborhood sounds charming and the short trek to the beach is priceless. When you get discouraged, just watch an episode of HGTV's Fixer-upper and you will be reminded that magic is possible. Take a deep breath and remember it's a process. It will be worth the sweat and tears. (Let's just skip the blood!) I'm thrilled for you girl. This is going to be such fun to watch!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Congrats, Leslie! You can change the house but not the location. Sounds like a wonderful neighborhood and I have no doubt you will have the home beautiful in short time.

Lori said...

So excited to see your post and comment on it the same week!! Wow ~ you do have some challenges ahead of you but I know that you will put your own mark on things and it will feel like home before you know it. I chuckled at the front door and the stairs but do I see an island in your future in the kitchen? I cannot wait to see what else you do Leslie. xo

Unknown said...

Oh gosh, your new home sounds really exciting Leslie, SO much potential & I cannot WAIT to see what you do with it??!!

The sheetrock is astonishing....I've never even heard of that in a home??!!

I think you have been super patient during your search for your new home, it's a great adventure....and one that so many would never embark on, I really love that you have done it.

And how wonderful to live so close to the!!

Loved reading this post, something made me think of you in the summer while I was in France & I wondered how your house move was going :)

Unknown said...

PS Love the charcoal & LOVE love love the Dutch door!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...