Thursday, February 26, 2015

a room with a vintage soul: my office update



DSC_1130 copy

Hello friends.

It’s been awhile since I posted on the progress of my office

but actually there’s a good reason

First of all, the big lesson I keep learning with fixer uppers is that everything always takes longer than you think. Always.


And believe me once you accept this little fact it get’s easier.

(Sort of. Yoga helps)

The second reason this room has taken so long is ME.

I’ve realized I can only go so fast because I prefer to decorate with collected items. And although I really admire those of you who can go on a shopping binge and find everything at once, …that doesn’t seem to work for me.




I like to ‘feel’ my way through the process, and unfortunately that means waiting until I stumble on that certain item or idea that will fit my vision for the space.

Can you relate?


Previous Owners: Before

DSC_0868 (2)



(the base boards are scheduled for next week)


So here I am, finally with an update on my office.

And I have to say, so far it’s become My Happy Place in our new home, full of sentimental touches that make me feel so grateful.

Black or White? 

Here’s my answer.

As a lot of you already guessed, I went with white all the way.

The walls and the bead board wallpaper are painted with BM’s Simply White.

The bookshelves are painted BM’s Brilliant White left-over from another room—and the floors are painted with white porch paint.




I honestly feel like the bookshelves that Dad made HERE set the tone for this whole space.

When I’m in here I’m surrounded by all my funny-joyful memories of their recent visit. And I love how my beloved books span the entire wall.

Choosing between black and white bookshelves was made easier because I lived with this wall painted black for a while; it confirmed that even though I love the dramatic, chic look of black bookshelves in this little space all that black felt too overpowering to me.

Isn’t color selection a fascinating experience?

I find it so intuitive.

How do you pick a paint color?



DSC_1158 (2)


Before: Previous Owner’s Closet



After: My Closet


Can you see my TV?


And ta-daaaaa …

here’s the barn door that I made with my Dad

It’s hung with black iron hardware and I love the rustic vibe it gives to this feminine room.

Look closely. You would never know those are fake planks in the center would you?


PicMonkeybarndoor Collage

Painting the inside of the closet was a perfect way to get my dose of black in the room plus it’s a cool backdrop for the vintage globes and my TV.




BEFORE: Empty Wall



AFTER: A wall of bookshelves


Practically everything in here has been recycled or found in a thrift store. Remember this desk?  I originally painted it a deep blue for Michael’s college room with his soccer number on it.

You won’t recognize it if you go HERE to see it.


A few collected oils hang next to Michael’s art assignment. A pencil drawing of a pumpkin that he wanted to throw away. Kids.


This precious valentine framed from thirty-three years ago

adds to the feeling of tender memories in here.

I had just broken up with a boyfriend (i.e. no Valentine) when Papa gave me this carefully typed little paper and I was so touched.

“…the heart does not forget such things

I know this especially.

Because my heart is filled with thoughts

of all the things you’ve done for me.”



PicMonkeyhistory matters Collage

  • The clock that sat in my pink and red little-girl-bedroom and served as my night light for years.
  • A photo of my Mom when she was on one of her first ‘dates’ with my Dad,
  • A hook with the Rosary that my Grandfather prayed on hangs with my hubby’s rosary from his childhood.
  • Pressed flowers I found decades ago in a thrift store. Two framed and dated May 19 1938. There’s neat handwriting by someone I find totally mysterious recording their romantic outing on a Spring day

(at least that’s my version, wink)



And I leave you with one last photo.

This one actually made me wince:



Can you guess why?

Because it clearly shows the lack of a baseboard. Then I realized my cell phone’s on the desk too but not in a stylish way. And opps! There’s the remote for the TV.

And even though I liked this picture because the sun was going down and the roses appear lit, I thought about deleting it. Or photo-shopping the bottom out.

But then I remembered a line I’d read HERE about perfection.

How perfection is a synonym for stagnant, how it’s a mirage because it’s not real life.

We bloggers know that better than most because we style and shoot lots of pretty photos.

So this time I decided to leave my ugly base-board missing wall in the picture because I figured that any place or person with a true vintage soul should  be comfortable with lots of flaws.

What do you think?



thank you for visiting today

you’re such a cute little blessing.





I’m sharing this post at French Country Cottage, & Share your Style


Monday, February 23, 2015

do you ever wonder….?








I wish I had thrown out the bathroom scale at age 16.

Weighing yourself every morning is like waking up and asking Dick Cheney to validate

your sense of inner worth.

I wish I had known that I was beautiful by my 20s

and that what makes a body so lovely is Self-love and Care

smoothing delicious lotions

onto your thighs like a gentle yet ferociously committed mother would.

I wish I had not felt so shy and self conscious in a swimsuit

all those years,

because I don’t look quite as much like Brigitte Bardot or Sofia Vergara as I hoped.

I wish I had plunged into even more oceans and swimming pools than I did,

in front of God and who-cares-who-else.”

lamott two

‘I wish’ by one of my favorite authors Anne Lamott




"There's this youth culture [...] it really discards people once they reach a certain age. I actually think that people are so powerful and interesting - women, especially - when they reach my age. We've got so much to say, but popular culture is so reductive that we just talk about whether we've got wrinkles, or whether we've put on weight or lost weight, or whether we've changed our hairstyle. I just find that so shallow." ~Annie Lennox, turning 60.



"I don't work out. I am fatter than any movie star you have ever met.

But, you know, I don't care!"

Meryl Streep









Do you ever wonder …

why the nicest compliment we can pay another woman is telling her that she looks like she’s lost weight?




posted in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

February 22-28   2015



Thursday, February 19, 2015

note to self: how to get unstuck




Were you one of those people that began this new year feeling energized about your list of positive resolutions? 

In case you don’t know, I wrote THIS post about tackling my passion project this year along with some other positive habits I wanted to work on, and today I thought I’d take a moment to examine why it is I haven’t been able to make much progress on the one project that means so much to me.

Do you have something on your bucket list that’s been tugging at your heart?

Well here is mine.


This is one of the baskets I have that are loaded with material from my past life when I was a therapist working with (mostly) eating disordered women. Changing homes has helped me find them again. And frankly I couldn’t believe how many overflowing files and old notebooks I’ve been carrying around in boxes all these years. But for a good reason. These are remnants of a clinical world that represent an important part of my life; it was the kind of work that transformed me from the inside out.

Do you ever wonder why you save certain items? Keeping this paper trail is probably a lot like the shoebox of your parents’ old letters or the little locked diaries you still have, you keep them because they tell a story that matters to you, like a thread pulling together pieces of who you once were.

Well this was the year I wanted to prioritize this writing project, turn this paper collection into a single story, maybe one my kids can read someday. And I planned to launch it with the passion project I had read about HERE.

But so far I haven’t begun my daily ninety minute writing blocks yet. 

Can you relate?

Have you ever found yourself “stuck” before you even started something new?


Looking inward

For me, the first step in understanding my lack of progress –involves looking inward. Slowing down and listening to my feelings. Asking myself, “Do I really want to do this?”  Because my days are certainly full, and I’m finding time to get other things done.

It is true I’ve been sick for the last two weeks and only now, am I beginning to feel like my old self. Which explains the feelings of restlessness I’ve been having. I’m used to having an abundance of energy and it hasn’t been there. And writing my New Year’s post was like holding my feet to the fire, making me acutely aware of each busy day that I’m not getting around to my writing project.

But do you know one thing I’ve learned?  That often the clues to whether our lives are out of balance are the feelings of frustration or restlessness we begin to notice when we slow down.


being honest about our priorities

I heard someone say once that we’re always doing what we want. And the minute we acknowledge this we can get around to making different choices. It’s true that I keep getting distracted by our house projects. But the truth is, I’m not good writing amid chaos and ugliness which is what it’s often like in a fixer upper. So I tend to use my free time tackling those DIY jobs that give me the immediate sensation of progress. And I’ll be honest, it’s a creative process that I love. 



Although I realize it’s all about finding that right balance.

And I need to grow. I need to change my mindset that says, “I’ll reward myself with my writing project just as soon as this one other thing gets done.” Or, “I’ll feel better when this is done (bathroom ceiling is painted)  because even though it’s true, and I do feel momentarily good, there’s always something else that needs to be done right after.

This is Life in our new home. And it’s the life of a creative, there’s always something I see that I want to transform. 


the head trip of Perfection

Which leaves me with the choice. How badly do I want to write? It’s that simple.

If I want to tackle my writing project I’m going to have to make peace with imperfection. That yucky feeling of being surrounded with lots of half finished paint jobs and rooms that  need major work. I’m going to have to wait. Live with it. Get comfortable with that messy, unfinished sensation that’s part of being in a fixer upper.

Waiting for everything to be “just right” before I start my writing project means I’ll be waiting a long time.

How about you?

Is there something you’ve been “waiting” to do?



Let’s make this year the one where anything’s possible.





Can you relate to this post?





sharing this post with Grace at Home 



Thursday, February 12, 2015

unexpected bathroom remodel…decisions decisions


Hello dear friends.

I’ve missed you all. Seems like there’s been so much happening around here and I don’t really know where to begin.

So I guess I’ll start with the soft hissing sound in our bathroom… it was followed a few days later by a befuddled “Oh-by-the-way, what’s that noise in the bathroom?”

Although I’m sure you probably know this

but when you live in a house built in 1966 that particular question will not have a good answer...

( in fact, the answer will cost you money) 



If you guessed a leaky pipe you’re right.

Although I’ll spare you the pictures because seeing water damage on a bathroom wall and gaping holes in the drywall is very dull stuff.

In the meantime the insurance company has been in and out.

We stayed in a hotel for a short time when our water was shut off and damage was determined. 


BEFORE shot: wet wall not shown

And even though we had no plans to renovate this bathroom, once the vanity was ruined and the walls were opened up….well, you know how that goes.

So lately I’ve had bathroom choices running through my head.



If you’re a Pinterest follower of my Bathroom board you’ve probably noticed.

Right now I’m fixated on dark walls.  In shades of black or maybe gray surrounded by lots of white.  I just love this bathroom, but unfortunately we don’t have all that light flooding through a big window.


But it doesn’t stop me from admiring dark walls in a bathroom.

(If you love this mermaid painting by Kolene Spicher you can purchase her work HERE.)



I ran across this honed Carrera counter top, skirt and backsplash with the custom floating shelf (constructed with pre-finished hardwood flooring)


and found it especially elegant with those dark walls. But there’s a good sized window in there too. Hmm.. I’m still wavering.



But I’ve made other decisions. I’m going with glossy white subway tiles for our standard sized shower with this marble mosaic basketweave on the shower floor:



I’m splurging on a frameless shower door…(can’t believe how pricey these are.)



And I’ve decided to have the white paneling installed horizontally on the walls to mimic plank walls.


Although in most rooms wainscoting ends midway up the wall, I’m planning on going closer to the ceiling to draw the eye upwards.

Similar to this.

It’s my way of coping with these lower ceilings that I’m still getting used to.


We’ve chosen a white vanity with a marble counter to go with the subway tile in the shower. The grout colors are charcoal between the subway tiles and slate gray on the floor.

What’s your opinion on dark grout?


Doesn’t it seem like so many of our design choices

are a direct reaction to what’s there right now?

This bathroom has always felts like a dark cave to me with its tiny window that offers zero natural light and brown ceramic tiles underfoot that completes the gloomy vibe.

And this makes me instantly crave lots of white.


So for the floors I decided on a 24x12 porcelain tile that mimics marble only it has a matte finish which I love, because I’m always worried about someone slipping on wet floors.

Here’s the cell phone pictures I snapped this morning.


We’re running it into the adjacent laundry room too.


The other day the electricians came to wire the ceiling for THIS chandelier and my new sconces. Hot mop is done, walls have been floated and our shower is getting tiled today things are moving along.

I’ll share some better pictures soon.


But before I go here’s a quick update on my office: my barn door hardware arrived and we finally got my barn door hung!!!



As you can see I painted the inside of the closet black where the TV goes and I love how it looks now.



As soon as I have time I’ll share the entire room. But you can see how we made this beautiful barn door for under $60 HERE.

As always, I’m so grateful for your visit.




I’m sharing this post at

Wow Us Wednesdays

Grace at Home

Home and Garden Thursdays 

French Country Cottage





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