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03-21-2017

renovation update: the study

I’m a terrible blogger this time of year.  The lack of sunlight means it’s impossible to take good pictures around the house and projects start to languish because I’m ready for bed at 8:30pm, which is stupid early.  When I should be painting the upstairs foyer and hallway, instead I’ll snuggle the kids down in our bed and be like “Who wants to fall asleep next to Mommy while I read a magazine?”  There are always takers and it’s the snuggliest, squishy-cheeked, delicious kid breath bomb.  Yes, I still need to smell my kids faces every day, like a mother seal.

January through May also feels like a wasteland, design-wise.  Maybe that’s because of holiday-based decor on Pinterest and in magazines.  I swear that Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter egg wreaths actually burn their eyes.

Despite my general lack of motivation this time of year and loathing of four-leaf clover themed door decor, we’ve managed to make tons of renovation progress in our “study”…as I’m calling it now.

First, we popped off the scallop trim that was hiding a track system for curtains.

This made a hella mess and we had to go into mudding/sanding mode to smooth it out.  Then we added crown molding around the whole room.  The woodwork is BM White Dove and the doors are BM Mopboard Black.

The zig zag chair is getting a white slipcover next month, if I can fine a fabric gauge thick enough to cover it.

The ceiling fan came down too.  A ridiculous square hole was revealed (what?) so we covered it up with a ceiling medallion from Lowe’s.

The biggest elephant in the room was obviously the built-in.  While the exact design of these shelves wouldn’t have been my first choice, we definitely want some kind of built-in here.  So instead of tearing it out and building something else that looked very similar but with minor tweaks, we decided to keep it and paint them.  The scallop trim came off too and we added a flat fascia board and crown molding.

Initially I wanted to paint the built-in green but after testing a few samples, I realized that a dark blue made the green in the toile wallpaper pop out more (BM Polo Blue).  The blue also butch-es up what could be grandma sweet wallpaper.

Lots of styling to do, lots of books to snag from yard sales but at least it isn’t a pea green monstrosity anymore.

This thing is screaming to have brass picture lights on the fascia up top…but we aren’t dealing with any electrical stuff right now.

I found the vintage faux bamboo (Thomasville?) ottoman on Craigslist for $25.  It needs a tufted chartreuse velvet cushion.  For sure.

Clearly this unit was designed specifically for a ginormous TV.  Notice the gaping TV-shaped hole in the middle there?

But until the day this is a TV room again (we can see that happening down the line)…..that lonely hole needs to be filled.  To break up the big cavern, I’m thinking of leaning a piece of modern art behind the bar tray and adding vintage glasses on those weird half shelves.  Plus the bar tray itself needs to be tricked out.  You know, actual booze and what-not.  Oh and have no fear, I’m steadily murdering that maidenhair fern every day, no matter how much water I give it or sweet-nothings I whisper.

The bar tray is from Container Store.  A frigging steal for the size.

 

The color of the built-ins, doors and floors are cool tones (black and blue) so I want to warm things up with other elements, like brass, orange-spined books, old issues of Nat Geo, an antique persian throw rug, etc.

The silver peanut I found at Acushnet River Antiques (my go-to spots) is my new favorite and one of the reasons I love thrifting/antiquing/estate sales.  You never know what amazing stuff you’ll give a new home to.  Should this peanut have gone to the landfill and then Pottery Barn mass-produces a replica?  Hell no.

The other side of the study is our/my office

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Lots to do with the end of the room – hang art, put up a cork board for inspiration tear-outs, etc.

I added mid-century style legs from Lowe’s to the Ikea storage cube.  Stained them in Minwax Special Walnut first.

This room was one of the (many) things that sold me on the house when we first looked at it.  I’m happy that we finally got rid of all the nasty green woodwork.  And all it really took was primer and paint.

What do you think about the color of the built-in?  Was blue a good choice?

03-19-2017

a totally gorgeous teal kitchen

Okay, technically it’s a restaurant/bar but look at this beauty.  This is Dame in Portland, Oregon.

It’s probably my affinity for historical homes but I love dark, rich colors in a room.  The other day I was leafing through Food and Wine magazine (my sister-in-law gets us magazine subscriptions for Christmas and it’s awesome) and a feature about the restaurant/bar Dame stopped me in my tracks.

Dark teal paneling, brass, marble, touches of black, quirky art.  They’ve put a modern twist on it but it’s also classic and Downton Abbey-like.

Dahlias for life!

Normally when I hear “teal kitchen” I think of early 2000’s turquoise sickly-sweet awfulness.  It’s country.  And you look country in it.  (Name that movie).  But this take on teal I can get behind.

Brass mesh cabinet inserts too.  Oh yes.

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It reminds me of this deVOL kitchen

I love the sense of history and coziness you get from dark colors.  Here’s another great example of dark but lively.  I don’t know where this joint is – if it’s a restaurant or hotel or what – but the dining room is seriously gorgeous.  Old-school and masculine but the acid green curtains and striped dhurrie rug keep it from being too staid.

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When we renovate our 1950’s kitchen, I’ll probably stick with white cabinets but the dark side is calling to me.

03-16-2017

a glimpse of my day job

I don’t usually post pictures from my real job, in part because I spend more time these days in meetings than on boats.  (Spending 12+ hours a day on a small boat with no bathroom is for the young).  Also I can’t publish many of my best shots taken in US waters due to endangered species permit restrictions.  Right whales are high maintenance like that.  But I’ve always loved photography and when you spend enough time in the field with a camera in your hand…..the art-y marine biologist shots start to pile up.

The other day I was cleaning out some camera cards and came across a few good shots I’d completely forgotten about.  So figured I’d share….all photos taken by me over the years.

This was literally my view for much of the year 2000.  The stern of a gillnet boat.  Not pictured is a pickle bucket for a bathroom that you unfortunately saw the sternman taking a dump in earlier.  Why he had to do this in the wheelhouse, I’ll never know.

Provincetown, from an airplane the size of a Hyundai Elantra

Very large white shark and a dead humpback whale

From the Discovery Channel show “Jaws Comes Home.”  Alternate title “Erin spends 9 hours standing on the roof of the wheelhouse with no shade and no railing.”

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Gotta love those Fundy tides

Salem Common from the air.  Nick and I got married in that stone rotunda.

Grand Manan Island

Maybe boat life isn’t so bad, except for the pickle bucket.  I prefer to hang a ham off the gunwales.  Feel the breeze on my butt cheeks.

 

 

 

01-18-2017

lavender dining room

You may have seen on Instagram that I painted the dining room lavender over Christmas break.  This seems like a blatant crazy pants idea, even to me, who bought the paint, wielded the roller and purposefully made our dining room purple.  But stay with me, guys – this might be a good idea.  If it doesn’t turn out like an Easter egg.

Some background info….a year ago we did a mini renovation of our dining room, after living with the famous Pepto pink mural for a long time.  As many of you know, painting over the mural was a difficult decision (IG peeps had all the feels about this) but not even the glow of a thousand candles could make this shade of pink flattering.

This picture makes it seem ok but trust me, it was awful.

from the MLS listing

At dinner parties, I prefer my skin NOT to resemble rotten meat.  Also I think the artist used Side Show Bob as a model for those trees.

So, we ripped out the ancient emerald green carpet (oh the dunes of dust under there), painted the subfloor, and painted over the mural.

Notice the planter in the window….we’ll get back to that later

When we did the makeover, it was February (aka. zero daylight, vampire feelings) and I didn’t have a wall color picked out, so I just went with white (BM Swiss Coffee).  After the dank pink walls and green carpet monstrosity, this was a breath of fresh air, but a more permanent decision about the walls had to be made eventually.  For almost a year the inspiration lightning bolt did not strike.

Then right before Christmas I got this in my inbox from Habitually Chic.  The lavender entryway in Kate Spade’s NYC apartment.

I love how the traditional wainscoting and polished floors play off the unexpected wall color, plus the salon-style art on the walls is amaze-balls.  Touches of black look incredible with this color too.

Now…this color may seem a little close to the old pink dining room but I decided to go for it anyway.  However it wasn’t easy finding the perfect lavender-taupe-y shade that didn’t scream baby’s room or old pink dining room.  I went through 7 samples before landing on Sherwin Williams Angora.

Forgive my poorly-lit photos – this is literally all I could get out of this north-facing room on a sunny Saturday.

D-ig it!

I recently spray painted my Craigslist ginger jar lamps for the third time and the new emerald color (Rustoleum meadow green) is a gorgeous foil for the lavender.  The consensus on IG was for black shades on these puppies.

print: Society 6   //   frame: Ikea

I get most of my art at junk stores/antique stores/goodwill/estate sales and that process takes time. But I knew there should be big graphic modern piece over the sideboard.  This Matthew Korbel-Bowers print caught my eye when I saw it in Erica’s living room.

The hardest part will be filling the walls with cool art that looks collected over time and not forced #tallorder.  I have some cool stuff left in my collection (the lake painting below) and recently picked up a couple cool items at estate sales.  The gentleman sketch below and the Italian ruins photograph.

I also found French furniture illustrations for 50 cents each at Cove Antiques in New Bedford.

This room seriously needs more furniture too.  I’ve been eye-ing the Ikea Malsjo glass door cabinet for the spot where The Ladies are chillin’ right now.

It’s actually a very cool piece in person but it’s a little spenny, even for Ikea, so I haven’t picked it up yet.  380 clams!

And finally, the former planter-in-the-bay-window.  Some people suggested we keep it, maybe put boxwoods in there, which could be cool but this is a north-facing window and besides boxwoods smell nasty.  I can’t have that near my food, so we closed it up.

This definitely should be a window seat, especially since we already perch our little butts there.  But commissioning a custom cover in absolutely necessary performance fabric?  Benjamins!!!  Technically I could attempt this myself but I’m an angry sew-er.  My children, and my cousins’ children, who own quilts I’ve made….I’m sorry to tell you but they’re filled with rage.  The lovely Holly recommended Masterson Upholstery in the ‘Bucket so I’m going to hit them up for a quote.

That’s the dining room update for now.  Lots more work to be done.  What do you think about the lavender?  Am I nuts?

01-10-2017

new year, new updates

Happy New Year, everyone!!!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  I’m seriously looking forward to 2017, despite our current, ummm, political situation.  I’ll be turning 40 this summer (gulp) and hope that 2017 brings a lot of positive growth and changes.  Blogging took a backseat during the long holiday season but we were still working on projects around here so there’s plenty to update you about and of course talk about 2017 projects.

This is a ridiculously long post, so buckle up.

The Living Room
The goal was to finish this room before our holiday soiree in mid-December….and we managed to pull it off!  Last time I shared our progress, we had just painted the floor and the newly-battened walls but the fireplace mantel hadn’t been built yet.

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Designing and building the mantel was a major team effort with my husband, especially since we had zero experience and the design/trim was basically eye-balled from looks I loved.  Liking the look of something is one thing but executing it is quite another.  We  pulled this one out of thin air.  What trim do we get?  How do we build the layers of trimwork so it looks classy and not like inexperienced idiots (that’s us) slapped it together?  A lot of math, engineering, and freaky wood cuts went into this but the outcome is totally worth it.

First we built a flat wood base that encompassed the space the mantel would take up. Then we added the trim on top of that, along with the mantel shelf and dentil crown molding trim underneath.

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Not too shabby.

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This room is big and furnishing it will take time.  Plus I’m still trying to figure out what to furnish it with.  Most of it seems like pointless space.  Take this side of the room…..sorry this is the old  pic, I didn’t take a full view updated one….

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We don’t really need a second seating area back there, so I’m thinking maybe two tall bookcases flanking the window with articulating arm sconces above them and a round, skirted table in the bay.  ???  The bay window isn’t full height so that nixes the option of curtains, which is why I like the idea of bringing in fabric with the skirted table to soften things.

Something like Maura’s room.

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However, on the other side of the room I can totally picture pinched pleat linen curtains with this curtain rod from PB.  But would it be weird to have an asymmetrical curtain situation going on?

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Let’s not talk about the TV situation (yes it’s from 1985, yes it was free, yes it’s covered in stickers) and this terrible over-lit picture.

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It’s embarrassing.  I swear 2017 will be the year we come out of the dark ages.  Something like zees (French Kiss reference).

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The Powder Room
For the past two years I’ve blabbed that we’re going to renovate the powder room during the next round of ORC.  But of course it hasn’t happened yet.  Basically we’re reluctant to spend money on this room when the tile – although YELLOW- is in perfect condition and there are so many other more pressing projects around here (i.e. fogged up, broken seal windows; wonky electrical issues, etc).  Zap.

Here’s the room the day we moved in.  Trust me, in person, the wallpaper was dingy and gross.  Not Anthro at all.

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After stripping the wallpaper two years ago (and ditching the yellow toilet), I did nothing but prime the walls, thinking we’d renovate “soon.”  Since we’ve now decided to hold off on the renovation till 2018, I realized that the walls needed more than primer in the meantime.  Painting them black seemed like a good way to balance the sweetness of all that yellow.  We also knocked out that pointless vanity.

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Lots of black and white art to come on these walls and a bamboo bookcase in that nook.

The Office
This is really flexible space and the way we use it will probably change over time.  We used it as an office (and loved having dedicated space for that) until the living room renovation happened at which point we moved the sofa, armchairs and TV in there.  That turned out to be super cozy, especially during the warmer months since the screen porch is right off it.

Notice the weird scalloped 1950’s trim.  It needs to die.

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Anyhoo, the other side of the room looks like this.  Den central designed for a ginormous TV.  Hi, ceiling fan.  Also die.

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Long term, this built-in probably needs to be re-built but for now we’re going to work with it, see how things pan out.  Painting it is a must, likely BM Polo Blue.  Not the green you see tested on the side.  Oh and the green toile wallpaper stays of course.

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Again, inspiration by Maura.  If you’re not following her IG account, you’re missing out.

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We need to finish painting the trim and doors in this room too, once my husband muds and sands the ceiling from our tear down of the scallop trim.  Spoiler alert, that did not go smoothly.  The ceiling behind the trim is a different height than the rest of it.  In part because, according to our neighbors, this ceiling was re-done around the trim, after the bathtub upstairs fell through the rotting ceiling.  So glad we weren’t here for that.

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Phew, well that’s all for now.  Bless your heart if you’re still reading this tome of a post.  Lots going on here in 2017.    Thanks for your all support, dear readers of this lil’ blog.

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10-04-2016

living room renovation update

It’s been 5 weeks since we started tearing up the living room and we’re finally in the home stretch.  Well, I say that with optimism because the hardest part is still ahead of us – building the mantel.

Let’s revisit the oh-so-glamorous BEFORE.

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What I imagine a fireplace in Trump’s lair looks like.

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And here’s where we stand this morning.

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Please ignore the mediocre pics in this post.  It’s been cloudy for like a week and I just finished painting the subfloor last night so I didn’t want to walk on it.  It’s hard to photograph a room you can’t actually go into…..at 730am on a cloudy morning.

The Walls
It took a while to patch the many problems on the walls, including the former pointless cubbies.

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After lots of mudding and sanding and clean up, we were finally ready to add our batten wall treatments.  This room is too big for my taste (and furniture stash) so I wanted to bring the walls “in” somehow.  Adding texture would make the room seem smaller and cozier, more like a library than a bowling alley.

Initially I was thinking shiplap but then I worried it would be too busy.  Plus even faux shiplap like we did the mudroom would get costly in a room this size.  Floor to ceiling battens were the way to go.  Subtle texture that wouldn’t break the bank.

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You can see in this pic I’d started roller-ing on the wall color – BM China White in eggshell finish.

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For the battens, we bought two 4’x8′ sheets of 1/4” hardwood plywood ($13 each) and ripped them down to 2” wide strips with a band saw.  A lot of math later, we were air nailing the battens every 22”.

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The Fireplace
I swear we stared at the green marble colossus for a week, trying to figure out what to do.  Somebody cemented those slabs on real good and we worried that demo-ing it would open an expensive can of worms, possibly compromise the fireplace and get us in over our heads.  Not to mention that slate slabs for the fireplace surround turned out to be super spenny.  Then I found these black slate 12″x 24″ tiles at Home Depot.

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The color and texture was perfect and with the straight edge on the tile, I thought we could lay them over the marble without grout lines and they’d look like slabs of slate. ???  It couldn’t get uglier so we decided to give it a go.

To rough up the surround and make sure the thinset and tile would stick, we took a diamond blade grinder to the marble.  Hideous green marble.  Hideous.  Nobody panic, everybody breath.

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Then we laid the tile, using as few cuts as possible in the most visually logical layout possible.

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I love it.  You can still see the lines where the tiles meet but that makes a bit rustic and gives the eye a break, instead of just a cube o’tile.

The Floor
Last night, I finally painted the floor which was so satisfying after all the prep work.  I used Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor paint in Urbane Bronze.

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Now….to build the mantel.  Here’s the direction we’re heading.  Simple dentil molding mantel.  The mantel will be painted the same color as all the trim – BM China semi-gloss finish.

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We’re almost there!!!  And then the kids want to mantel to look like this for Halloween.

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What do you guys think?  Do you miss the green marble and seafoam carpet?  😉

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09-13-2016

my first trip to brimfield

Last week I finally made the pilgrimage to Brimfield Antiques Show!  My stepmom and her boyfriend were out for a visit (yes, she’s still my stepmom even though she’s not married to my dad anymore) so the three of us set our alarms for pitch dark o’clock and headed out.  Caution – iPhone pics ahead.

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I’d read a bunch about parking etc and what to expect, and had downloaded the Brimfield Flea Finder app, so we were fairly prepared.  The app also said there’d be clam cakes and fried haddock sandwiches but that was a lie.  A vicious lie.  I put on a solid mile of extra steps trying to find those clam cakes.

Given all the hype about Brimfield, my expectations were pretty high.  This was the mecca where my wildest hunter gatherer dreams would come true, right?  I’d find all the weird cool (and affordable) stuff I didn’t even know I needed.  And we’d live happily ever after, Julia Roberts laughing about how we found each other at Brimfield.  Oh chic vintage cheetah statues flanking my fireplace….you’re the best.  

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This was not to be.  At one point, I asked how much a nude painting cost and was told $1,200.  Twelvehundredfrickingdollars.  So I stood there, pretending to consider the offer, in my filthy Converse and disintegrating LL bean rain jacket.  Then bolted from the tent before I broke something.  What the florp?  You know what would make this all better?  A clam cake.

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Call me crazy but not much of what I saw blew my hair back.  It was either too Colonial or mid century or industrial.  And a lot of what I did see and love was out of my price range.  Overscale art apparently all costs $600.

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Mostly I was on the hunt for a 3×5 rug but finding one in the right size and color with just the right amount of wear, at a price I could stomach, was not easy.  This little cutie came close but ultimately I passed.

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In my defense, New Bedford has some amazing antique-ing and junking in town, so I was expecting that x10.  All in all, I would totally give Brimfield another shot.  For the spectacle and because you never know, maybe next time the stars will align.

The ginger jars on the right here….I really wanted to take two of those home.  But they were $150 each.

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What do you all think of the show?  What are your favorite things you’ve found there?  Does it live up to the hype?  Maybe I’m just too used to finding deals in New Bedford.  Or am I just enticing you to come down here and raid my secret spots?  Nevermind, nothing to see here….

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08-25-2016

good bye, seafoam nightmare

As summer winds down, we’re plotting what house projects to knock off the list this fall.  Keeping in mind the cost, bang for our buck, longevity, cozy factor going into winter, etc.  Luckily we still have plenty of heinous rooms to choose from.  What rose to the top of the heap though is….our embarrassing living room.  The seafoam bowling alley.

Here it is the day we moved in.  Shudder.

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We stripped the wallpaper off this past Christmas to reveal seriously funky walls.  Not sure what that smoke/dust is….

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Call me crazy but this room is too big, right?  I don’t have the furniture for this action.  You can see the retro step-down to the living room on the right here.

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It doesn’t help that our temporary living room in the office is cozy as hell.

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My husband and kids keep asking if we can keep the TV and sofa in here.  But my suspicion is, if we have a den, we’ll never set foot in the living room again.

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So we can’t abandon the living room.  We gotta make this work.

First up – add faux board and batten treatment to the walls from floor to ceiling.

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As for color, I’m planning to paint the walls and trim the same off-white.  BM Sea Pearl is my top choice right now.

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Or a tad lighter with BM Cloud Cover.

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But I’m leaning towards the more saturated Sea Pearl.  ???

These pointless wall alcoves are getting the sledgehammer.  The designers kindly recessed them into the wall (Liz Lemon eye roll) so we’ll have two huge holes to seamlessly patch with drywall.  Good times.

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I’m planning to put the TV on a dresser or sideboard in this spot and build a gallery wall around it.

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Next up is the fireplace – it’s the focal point of the room and desperately needs a face lift.  Also this fireplace wall is soooo long and totally without architecture.

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No more green marble and chintzy mantle.  I’m picturing a classic mantle with dentil trim and charcoal slate surround.

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I’ve picked out this mirror for over the fireplace.

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Now, to annihilate the seafoam carpet.

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As many of you know, hardwood floors are unfortunately NOT hidden under the green carpet in the living room.  We had a similar situation in the dining room and decided to paint the subfloor while saving up for hardwood floors. We’ll do the same treatment in the living room and stick with the same color too (BM Aegean Olive).

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For floor covering, I want something neutral and cozy and have been going cross-eyed researching jute rugs.  It has to be affordable, not filled with dust and shedding fibers, and have a cool weave that looks expensive.  A tall order.  But I think I found a winner with the Maui braided jute rug from Rugs USA.

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Our coffee table situation is shaping up nicely too.  I scored a vintage Ming-style coffee table off Craigslist for $40 bucks.

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The top was a wreck though, like a honey badger had been at it, but nothing wood putty and sanding couldn’t take care of.  I’m putting oil based primer on tonight and then it’ll get a few coats of BM Advance in semi-gloss White Dove.

There are sooooo many decisions to make in the living room!  Furniture, curtains, bamboo blinds, lighting, art.  This is a huge space and we basically have nothing to fill it with.

What do you think about plans so far?  How would you fill this room up?  Make it look cozy, collected, lived-in.  Demi lune tables flanking the fireplace with oversize art above them?  Console table behind the sofa?  I need your sage wisdom, guys.

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07-29-2016

obsession: garden obelisks

We’re having a seriously dry summer here in New England.  Our grass was basically hay when we got back from the lake.  And of course our back yard and side yards are still rolling on 60+ years of overgrowth, so naturally I’m dreaming of a tamed, verdant garden.

One thing that’s caught my eye lately on Pinterest are garden obelisks.  The fancy Martha Stewart-y name for them is the French, tuteur.  Garden obelisks are a great mix of form and function.  They add visual interest and height but they’re also functional, providing a climbing surface for plants.

I like the idea using them to bring year-round color to the garden.

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Be still my heart…..black with an artichoke on top.

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These weathered wood ones are cool too.

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These aren’t a pyramid shape but the idea is the same and they’re gorgeous.

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This one is simple and lovely.

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I need to start scoping a spot in our yard for one of these beauties.  And it looks like you could DIY it easily too.

Do any of you have vertical elements in your garden?

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07-24-2016

Lake George 2016

We’re back!!!  From two bananas weeks at Lake George.  Chocka-block full of cousins, fun, swimming, SUP-ing, cliff jumping, junk food and drinking rose during the day instead of water.

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For the last three years, a gaggle of my cousins have rented THIS awesome house in the historic Glenburnie enclave on Blair’s Bay in northern Lake George.  It’s a beautiful spot at the end of the road on a rocky peninsula in the shadow of Anthony’s Nose.  You can see the house and boathouse in the background in the picture below.

Me.  SUP master.  I think it’s those softball and figure skating thighs that help.

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Our raft.

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Oligotrophic glacial lake where you can see 30 feet down?  Yes please.

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This year we rented stand up paddle boards and it was the best idea everrrrrr.

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P-I-M-P…..ing.  Leah Brown.  Smoke show.

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This hottie.  M. Lang.

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About to eat a gut-busting load of fried food at Wind Chill Factory in Ti.

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Chilling at Adirondack Camp, across Blair’s Bay, where some of our crew were campers and counselors years ago.  It’s the bomb!  Like Parent Trap on crack.  June thinks she’s going there next year.  Yeah, just need to hit that Mega Millions first.

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The gorgeous gene pool of BK Porterfield

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And to my cousins whose pics I stole off our ADK 2016 photo share, you probably sat on me and farted when we were kids…..so we’re even.

Till next year.  Sigh.

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