Loving This Book!

13 May

love the home you haveMelissa Michaels of The Inspired Room blog, recently published this book: Love the Home You Have. I was so eager to get it, since I love her blog. She is very wise and keeps decorating and design in a real-world perspective that I totally respect and admire. I’m not alone in my sentiment, as she was voted Better Homes and Gardens Reader’s Favorite Decorating Blogger for 2014 and 2015. What’s more, she is based in Bremerton, WA, just like me! I’d love to meet her someday and pick her brain. Until then, her blog and book will have to suffice.

I’ll share a few of the nuggets that have truly helped me see my house with a fresh heart and new eyes.


1)”A well-loved home will always be a bit of a beautiful mess.” This is so true, especially when you have little ones at home like I do. While I sometimes get frustrated with the toys, bottles and burp rags that seem to reproduce as soon as I’ve put them away, this is my daily reality, and that is OK.


2)”Take care of the house you have, eventually you will feel that love come back to you.” While we were expecting Lucy, our second child, I kept saying, this house will work for now, but we will need a bigger, newer house in the near future. I wasn’t thinking of living in this old house long term, sort of always having one foot out the door. I kept saying to myself, “This house, this neighborhood, isn’t worth the investment of really fixing it up.” The reality is that we may be in this house for longer that I had imagined. And while we don’t have a pile of money to do major renovations, we can at least take care of things that we’ve neglected and look into small upgrades to enjoy living in it now. She’s helped me realize that I don’t have to forgo the dream of living in a larger, more updated house, but I shouldn’t forget to stop and appreciate the home I’m in today.


3) Melissa encourages us to create surroundings that feel like a “snapshot” of our lives, truly reflecting who we are and the way we live. This idea alone got me thinking about how my home already does this on many levels, and could function even better with just some imaginative rearranging. I’m able to paint my walls and furniture whatever color I want, I can make pillow covers until my heart is content and rearrange furniture to suit my growing family’s needs. We each have a bedroom to escape to. We have decent sized dining and living rooms and a kitchen with a dishwasher. Our basement allows us to store our prized possessions, gives us plenty of space for our hobbies and a much needed office for my husband who works from home. My home does these things for me now, I just wasn’t really acknowledging it.

Thank you, Melissa, for writing this inspiring book, you have helped me feel that, although our current home may not be look like the dream home I want in the future, it absolutely can be everything I need it to be.

Buffet Refresh

8 May Fresh look in the dining room!

Although it’s not technically a buffet, this wonderful piece which I inherited from my grandmother, was looking a bit dull and dated. It’s got great pull down bins, deep enough to hold lots of table linens and two drawers for candles, paper napkins and miscellaneous dining room things.

My grandma once used it as an island in her kitchen, which is why my grandfather retro-fitted it with a plexiglass top. After years of using it for everything except food prep, I finally decided to take the oppressive plastic off and reveal the beautiful wood underneath. I believe it is walnut, and it has a LOVELY patina.  I’m so glad I freed it!

The mirror on top is a great size and style, but the dark brown color was only dating it and making it fade into the background. It’s now snappy, happy and a bit more modern looking with a coat of white paint.  But, friends, please remind me never to paint this mirror again! It’s spindly little details made it impossible to get the 5 layers of paint and primer even. Don’t look to close! It’s so far from perfect!

I styled it with a few accessories in blue, white, brass and orange for a fresh, springy feel.

Jones Design Company Workshop!

4 May

Thank you to Emily and Ryan at the Jones Design Companyfor your amazing info-packed free blogging workshop! I’ve been blogging for a long time, but learned a lot in the quick fifty minute presentation. I’d love to sign up for the more in depth sessions as well. I would encourage anyone who’s a blogger to listen to the free workshop and spend some time on the JDC blog. It’s one that I visit everyday for design and life inspiration.

Home Organization Magic

2 Apr photo 2
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Game changer!

Take most of what you know about the home organizing process and toss it out with your huge pile of donations. Marie Kondo has arrived on the Western front and her book has completely blown my mind.  “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” will do just that.  Change. Your. Life. By focusing on keeping only the things in our lives that “spark joy”, Marie Kondo has streamlined the organization process and taken guilt and the what if’s out of the equation. Life is too short to be burdened with clutter that we hold onto “just because”.  Here are a few of the major take-aways from the KonMari method:

1) Storage space is NOT the issue. Stuff is.

Get rid of anything that does not spark joy when you pick it up. Using this question as your only evaluation criteria truly does make the process go more quickly. I was surprised at how much I was able to let go of that I had been hanging onto for “someday”.  And it felt REALLY good. You probably do have enough space, you just aren’t using it efficiently and you have too much stuff. Folding things properly and turning things to be stored vertically is a game changer according to Kondo. I have found this to be true as well.

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2) Purge by category, not by room.

This was a totally new perspective for me. I have always thought of any organizing or re-arranging project by room. Marie Kondo encourages one to start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous, and finally, mementos. In her method, you collect every item from that category, in one place, before starting the purge. Imagine having all your clothes in piles on your bed from tops, pants,  and sweaters to winter coats and swimwear. Once I pulled out all of my clothes from very corner of my house, I was surprised by how much I actually had, and I am not a clothes-horse. I got rid of 13 bags of clothing. I did the same with books and magazines, keeping only the ones I truly love or enjoy.

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I had two tubs and a suitcase full of clothes in the basement.


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The contents of the dresser, closet, storage tubs and suitcase.

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Sayonara, unjoyful clothes! Thank you for your service. May you make someone else happy now!


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Two boxes of magazines for recycling! (I did hang onto a few old Domino and Cottage Living issues because they still make me happy.)

3) You don’t need fancy custom storage solutions.

This was also new for me.  Whenever I tackled an organizing project in the past,  “shop” was my second to last step before putting things where they belonged. I would run out and grab more plastic tubs or baskets or bins. Marie Kondo insists that even shoe boxes and product packaging can be put into service corralling your belongings.  In my case, I already have lots of boxes and bins that, once I am done with this sorting process, will be empty and can either be re-used, or added to the donation pile.

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So, as I mentioned, I have conquered my clothing and books, and the next step is paper. Kondo says that we can and should get rid of almost all papers that we think we need to hold onto. For me, tackling this category is going to feel really good. I have spent lots of hours and money on filing systems and organizing solutions for the papers in my life. I am so looking forward to shredding them.

Practicing Marie Kondo’s method does take time, since it will only truly work if you go through the entire house, by category and subcategory: every junk drawer, every closet, every storage tub. The thing is, once you get started it’s sort of hard to stop. I’m already feeling a sense of weightlessness in my home, and its addicting. I just wish I had an entire week to myself to work on this without interruption. In reality, the process is going to take a while, but I’m motivated, so I’m confident that it will get done!


Dresser Makeover

31 Mar IMG_1655

The dresser that I’m using as a changing table was in a sad state when I spotted it at Goodwill.  The finish was yellowed and worn and some of the veneer was chipped. I loved its clean lined, mid-century style and could see that it was a solid, well-built piece.  Plus, it was only $14.99!!! Who could say no to that? I knew that I could uncover its true potential with just a bit of sanding and paint.

I had seen a painted/raw wood piece in West Elm that I loved, and used that for my inspiration. Sanding was the first step. Then I primed the body and painted it Behr’s Ultra Pure White in high gloss. The drawers got Minwax’s Pickled Oak stain, to give it a weathered, beachy vibe. The brass drawer pulls were beyond needing just a polish, so I spray painted them with Rusteolum’s Gloss White.

The final result is just the look I was after. It’s also the perfect size for all of Lucy’s baby changing needs, clothes, swaddling blankets, burp rags and crib sheets.


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