Hi and happy new year! As of this past Monday it will be my ninth year blogging… Hard to believe it’s been that long. The connection with you all is the best part, and that I now look at things differently – in a good way. I study things more closely, fully appreciate beauty in all its forms, and perhaps have become more comfortable as a writer too. My grammar, sadly, has not improved at all – lol. Anyway, thank you for reading and for the love and support all of these years. I’m humbled and touched beyond words.
A few years ago, I claimed an otherwise unusable space in my house as my office. Unusable because it’s narrow and long and has doors on both facing walls, making the configuring of furniture very difficult This turned out to be one heck of a happy accident (and I will tell you why in just a minute). What I discovered about work spaces and desk orientation has changed my thinking about how impactful furniture placement can be. Lest you think I’m about to go all feng shui on you, fret not! I know zero about it, although I do believe there is definitely something to it.
Having worked from home for most of my adult life, I have at times had to carve space out of some of the most obscure places including a windowless, cinder block walled room in the unfinished basement in our first Seattle house, I’ve tried all kinds of configurations.So, here’s my big life-changing serendipitous take-away… Putting your desk in the center of a room, instead of against a wall will make you more productive! Yep, it will. I know this is not always an option, I merely want to plant the seed of inspiration…
Hi beautiful reader. How are you doing during this time of year? It can be hard and it can be wonderful, sometimes concurrently, right? Just be mindful to keep centered and take good care of your self (see last post if you need some help getting started). I am knee deep in a couple of interiors projects with install deadlines the first week of Jan. The other work related project, and I know I’ve been talking about it for awhile so bear with me because it’s really coming together in such a big beautiful way is… the online shop is almost ready!!! I am beyond excited to share these home decor and fashion collections with you, so please, follow along or subscribe so the minute the shop goes live, you will be of the first to know!!!
The kids are home for the holidays, which I LOVE. That said, I have found it helpful when they and their friends abscond back from college, that a few military practices come in really super handy. One that I like a lot is “One is none. Two is one.” This basically means that if I have only one of something, say for example, peanut butter, it’s as if I am already out of peanut butter the same day. So, always have like 2+ peanut butters so you don’t run out. Another favorite is “Time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted.” I really like that one. It’s particularly helpful when, weirdly, your chargers all disappear and everyone ‘swears’ they have no idea where they went. I’ve also found that writing checklists of what you mean by “clean” alleviates gray areas and makes for fewer conflicts.
On my way to a holiday dinner party of girlfriends Top from 2 years ago from here, Black jeans from here. and ankle boots from here.
Bookshelf styling is an art unto itself. I find it to be one of the hardest things to do in the entire realm of interior design. Anyone else struggle with this too? Finding the right balance of stuff without it looking cluttered can be be challenging.
I’ve got a buit-in bookshelf that has been in need of attention…
I decided to educate myself on how to improve it and have consolidated the findings to this list and added a few of my own two cents:
Start with books. Duh! While this might seem obvious, it’s worth reiterating. I prefer hardcover books rather than paperback for the shelves I’m working on, but not opposed to displaying paperback. I’m contemplating taking the paper jackets off too…Books can and should be oriented horizontally and vertically to create visual interest. I’ve noticed on Pinterest and some popular home remodeling shows that faux books are used quite often for their color or size. I would suggest using real books over faux.
Use large and tall items. Pretty self explanatory.
In addition to framed photos, art can be used as a backdrop, leaned up against the back or hung on the bookcase frame.
Framed family photos shouldn’t be lined up in a row. Scatter them around or have them made into one large piece.
Lay out things that you love from around the house on a table or the floor near the shelves you’re working on- boxes, vases, bowls, baskets, objects of art and start moving things around. I read a good tip to not use anything smaller than an apple when styling bookshelves. Even if you only get a few shelves ‘just right’ you will now be thinking of your bookshelf when you are out and about and see something cool and wonder, “where would I put this?”.
More bookshelf and interior styling inspo, on my Pinterest page here.
Since completing our house remodel five years ago, I’ve received numerous inquiries regarding the specific details, manufacturers, colors and brands we used, so I created a series of posts that highlight each part of the house and include the information that you might be interested in. If I’ve left anything out, please feel free to inquire in the comments section below and I will reply there.
To start, I thought it would make sense to take a look at the exterior of the house before:
The biggest flow issue we faced, was the lack of a front door or even any sort of a clear entry to the house. That’s a problem! The glass doors in the center of the house (black square above) opened to a brick floored, 6′ x 6′ interior ‘courtyard’. There were two exterior doors – one on each side wall leading to different parts of the house. This was an issue because visitors would never in a million years know this. They would twirl around in the driveway looking around as if the entrance would eventually reveal itself. So, the kitchen door (where the stairs lead above) by default, became the main entry to the house.
Another big issue – there wasn’t a garage only a one car carport. Notice the driveway on the right. Whether or not to give up that extra parking and turnaround space was a big decision. In the end, we were able to take space from the basement to make a 2-car garage and the new driveway allowed for several cars, so we were able to add fruit trees, landscaping and a stone pathway.
You are probably saying to yourself right about now, ‘What on earth was she thinking buying that ugly thing?’ To be totally honest, it was love at first sight. To me, the house had the right bones – big rooms, not much wasted space, great natural light, but mostly it was because it just felt happy, like it had good ghosts.
So, to make things easier for you, I created a cheat sheet at the bottom of this post with all the specifications, links and details about each item for which I receive the most inquiries.
Recent updates to my house and missing David Bowie.
Hi sweet people. I wrote this post about a month ago, right before I thought I lost all of my photos and was having computer issues. Other than omitting the part about the bad weather we were experiencing at the time, and where I riffied on about how I've made yoga and meditation a lifestyle rather than a part-time hobby, I didn't change anything…
The passing of David Bowie this week hit me hard. His music was the soundtrack to my youth as I'm sure the same is true for many. I was with my Dad when he got the news that John Lennon had been shot. He sat down, covered his eyes with his hand and began to sob. At the time, I felt so awkward. An Ivy League graduate, college football linebacker and Korean War Veteran crying over the death of a musician… I get it now.
To the Thin White Duke…thank you.
Speaking of changes, I've been making some around the house lately. What do you think?
I went back and forth – modern or traditional for the dining room light fixture. As you can see, I finally decided on a traditional chandelier. The chairs and table are all modern, so to balance them out I decided a chandelier would be perfect. A mix of both old and new is what I strive for. I love how sparkly it is at night too.
I bought this early American table at an estate sale a few years ago thinking I would sell it. I don't know why I fell so hard for it, but I absolutely love it and cannot part with it. It bounced around the house in different spots, usually to fill a temporary hole, but I think it found a permanent place under this Hiro Yokose painting.
I wanted a table for next to this acrylic chair from the 70's that I found on Ebay (for $100!) but it had to be simple yet substantial. I opted for a petrified wood stump from here.
See that french daybed in the back? I've had that piece for awhile and am not sure what to do with it. I moved it to the above location around Christmastime when I needed to make room for the tree. I'd like to remake the mattress more like this and make big fat bolsters in a contrasting color like dark + light gray or brown + natural linen. I'm still deciding…. We'll see.
So now there's this big open space at the top of the entryway stairs and between the living and dining rooms where the daybed was… A round table would work, but it's not that practical and I don't want a formal feel. So, I'm thinking of a small 'conversational cluster'. I'm considering moving the coffee table from the living room (above) and adding 4 modern chairs. Ideas?
Hi sweet people. I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. A few days ago I received an email from a reader that besides making my day, got me thinking that a post on barn lights is long overdue…
First the email from sweet reader:
"OMG first of all I am obsessed with your house. I cant tell you what an inspiration it is for me. We are in the process of turning our 15 year old cape cod into a modern farmhouse, almost done taking it from yellow to white. Then I stumbled across your website. Whoa, I love it you are so talented. I love the wood porch. I have a real quick question for you. Im ordering the original barn light but am having a hard time figuring out how to find the size options for the straight arm. It on lists G1 and G4 etc and below it only shows "gooseneck" option photos. I noticed the first one you ordered was too long so just trying to figure this out. Thanks so much for your time Your newest and biggest fan"
She is referring to barn lights purchased from Barnlight Electric.Barnlight Electric has been my go-to resource for not only exterior barn-style lighting but anything with industrial feel for quite some time. I used it in my house (see photos below) as well as several client projects.
To answer the readers' question, my lights are the smallest shade size 12" and the shortest arm 14". I highly recommend you call Barn Light directly when placing your order! There are so many variables and options and they are SUPER helpful.
I opted for the straight arm vs. the gooseneck becauseI prefer straight lines to curved.
I chose the galvanized metal and I ADORE it.
Barn Light offers many colors and finishes from matte to high gloss. I ordered all the gray to black options for a client project I was doing in Sonoma. We ended up choosing metallic chrome which was gorgeous against the creamy white exterior color. I wish I had a photo, but the client is away and couldn't snap one in time for me to post!
I used barn style-lights in this client's industrial kitchen. To see the rest of that project click here.
While I was outside taking pictures…
The garden looked so pretty in the afternoon light.
Summer is officially here. The boys are back from college, the house is full of chaos, I can't keep the house stocked with food. It's as though locusts have come. I think there's a haiku there somewhere.
Powder Room renovation in dark gray with brass fixtures
First off – Happy New Year! The first week of the new year has significance for me, because it was during this week 5 years ago that I said to myself, “why shouldn’t I write a blog?” Thank you each and everyone of you for reading, commenting, emailing and showing your support all these years, even when I veer way off topic. As I say every year, I'm humbled and touched beyond words that you find inspiration here. I am bursting at the seams in anticipation for all the wonderousness that this new year will bring and look forward to sharing it all with you. I wish you all a new year filled with heaps of joy, abundant good health, never ending peace and overflowing, heart pounding love!
As you may remember if you've been following the blog for awhile, the original house did not have a powder room. When I was designing the new space, I took out the existing bar area (which was HUGE by the way) and replaced it with a pantry (click here to see it) on one side and a powder room on the other. Here is how the powder room turned out.
The vanity is made of soapstone which I don't treat with any oils. I prefer the ashy natural gray to the darker shiny. The base is made of two metal legs.
Instead of leaving the edges open, I added this curved piece to finish it on both ends.
All the other bathrooms have brushed chrome fixtures and white walls. In the powder room I walked on the wild side and went with dark charcoal walls and brass/gold fixtures and accents.
I found this antique candy dish at an estate sale and think it's the perfect recepticle for these multi-colored soaps.
This antique French mirror is one of my favorite pieces. It's constructed with fragments dating back to the 17th Century. The flash has distorted the colors a little, but there are touches of gold to the worn wood.
That's it, hope you liked the tour. Please feel free to add your questions to the comments below!
Hi, and welcome! I’m so glad you landed here and I hope you find this to be a place you visit often.
I started this blog in 2008 as a way to chronicle the remodeling of our nondescript Northern California house into our dream home. While that did happen, so did a lot of other things - life and all the messy, glorious, complicated, wonderful things that go with it. As such, in early 2017 I decided to change the focus from the house itself to the life that happens inside.
My wish is that this blog provides beautiful inspiration, creative ideas, connections to other like-minded folks, as well as stylish products for your home, to wear and to give.