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Plans for 2018

Hi everyone!  Happy New Year!  I hope all of you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday!  In early December, we hosted our annual holiday soiree, which is always a blast.  This year was our biggest blow out yet, around 70 people, many of whom were kids.  I’m a little Type A and controlling specific about the food and drink so we make almost everything ourselves.  Though I strategically ask a few close friends to bring certain dishes to help out.  They know I’m nuts and love me anyway.  

Here’s a peek at the dining room while we were setting up.

Pioneer Woman’s drip beef
Martha’s mac and cheese x1.5
Blue cheese and black pepper gougeres
Cocktails meatballs
Sauteed hericot verts with shallots, garlic and lemon zest
Fall salad with roast butternut squash, walnuts, apples, blue cheese and maple/mustard dressing
Crudites with green goddess dip
Cold cut platter

Serious Eats’ Pilgrim Punch x2
Lots more…

My attempt at baking.  Not sure I’d use this gingerbread cake recipe again (no eggs in the batter made it super dense) but it sure was pretty.

Needless to say, the party is a ton of work…but totally worth it.  It’s our gift to our friends who give us so much all year and I love hearing that people look forward to it and have a ton of fun.  Music to my ears.  I’ll shred 12 cups of cheese and spend way too much on booze for you fools any day.

After the mayhem of the party, we coasted through the rest of 2017 and had a very chill and lovely Christmas and New Year.  Anyways, now seemed a good time to jump back on the old blog, in part because Blue Host just charged my CC for another year of hosting.  And….I missed you weirdos.  AND we have a ton on the docket for 2018 including a full remodel of our kitchen!!!!  Finally!

Here it is, in all it’s original cabinets with 7 coats of paint glory.

Don’t be fooled – these cabinets are absolute shite.  The upper cabinets are unusually shallow, like around 11 inches, and have a lip in the back that makes them even more shallow.  They’re also a ridiculous 13″ off the counter so it’s impossible to work under them.  But then the bottom cabinets are weirdly deep.  It’s like Narnia, where pots and pans and colanders get lost but somehow I haven’t come across James McAvoy.  (What the smoke show???)

Oh and the cabinets are chipping paint like it’s their job.  You’re all thinking, Jesus you cooked all that food for the party in here?  Gross.  Thanks for the possible lead poisoning.

The stove wall.  That skinny cabinet next to the stove is an IRONING BOARD.  I mean, we all want our freshly laundered clothes to marinate in cooking smells, amirite?  1950 did not play when it came to multi-tasking.

The view the other way.  Hi mudroom – you’re so pretty.

And the final wall….the fridge side.  I hope you like melons and radishes and yellow Disco wallpaper peeking out underneath.  And beneath that are pink painted walls and then yellow painted walls.

Prepare yourselves for an epic level of scary archaeology when we demo this room.  Really the only thing that’ll soothe my nerves is ironing my husband’s dress shirts while frying something on the stove.  That’s my church.

So the plan is….everything, basically.  Soup to nuts.  Ripping up the old floor, laying new hardwood, finishing the hardwood on site.  Getting rid of the old cabinets.  Installing actual lighting, backsplash, open shelves.  And we’re doing all the work ourselves, which is terrifying.  So please send prayers.  And Xanax.  And wine.  And a marriage counselor.

Since I’ve already embarrassed myself with those poorly lit photos, I’ll go a step further and give you a peek at my Powerpoint moodboard for the kitchen.

The main takeaways are:
open shelves on either side of the sink window
an airy stove wall with sconces flanking the hood
vintage pendant over the sink
white, marble, pops of color
green table-like kitchen island

Another spot in the house that I NEED to finish this year (I mean this month) is the upstairs landing.

Lots to be painted.  Aren’t you glad the previous owners painted those 48 balusters a muddy green color?  (insert middle finger emoji)

What else, what else….anyways, lots of little projects and tweaks in 2018, as you would expect.  Though the kitchen will gobble up most (*cough* all) of our house project loot.

Two other big things….our brave and amazing 9 year old daughter applied for a scholarship to go to sleepaway camp for two weeks in the Adirondacks.  Fingers crossed she gets it!

We’re also going to Ogunquit, Maine for a week-long family reunion and I cannot wait.  OGT!

Lots to come in 2018!  Obviously I’ll be documenting the whole kitchen saga on the blog, so we can cry and pull our hair out together.

Stay tuned!


revamping our vintage bathrooms and more

Hi guys!  It’s been a while since I posted updates about project around here but we’ve been plugging along with things and recently started giving both of our vintage bathrooms a face-lift!  We have two very colorful vintage tiled bathrooms in this house.  I planned to give the pink bathroom a make-over for One Room Challenge this fall but chickened out at the last minute, much to the joy of my husband.  Although I wasn’t prepared to commit to the time crunch of ORC, we’re still sprucing up both the yellow and pink bathrooms.  Sort of an unofficial ORC.  More on that later in the post but first a few other happenings around here…

We started the summer by getting the screens up on the porch, although we still need to add the trim to cover the staples, finish the screen door and finishing painting.

The blue hydrangeas I planted last year along the porch are filling in nicely but I fertilized them too much this year.  They put on a ton of leaf growth but didn’t produce many blooms.  Lesson learned.

That’s a canoe tucked in the jungle of our backyard.

I also hunted far and wide for an affordable outdoor sofa for the porch….and came up empty.  I really loved the Cammeray sofa from Pottery Barn but couldn’t handle the $1,500 price tag.

So we’ve been making do with the old loveseat, which is basically big enough for 1.5 asses.  Here is it at our old house with a 3 year old vampire for scale.

Last year we also planted dwarf boxwoods and little lime hydrangeas along each side of the front walkway and they are happily settled in.  The boxwoods put on a fuzz of growth this year and hopefully will keep filling out.  The little limes, of course, are going bananas.

However any green in my thumb apparently doesn’t extend to finicky house plants.  I carefully coddled a maidenhair fern all spring and summer.  It was lacy and pretty.  I was so proud.

Then last week I was really busy and forgot to hand-feed it bon bons or whatever….and it DIED.  Like, brown crisp shriveled.  It even smelled bad.  Whyyyyy.  Now all I’m left with is a snake plant last watered in 2015.

On to some projects that can’t be killed…..painted furniture.

After hunting a year (yes, I’m crazy) for a round table to go in the living room bump-out, I finally snagged this one off Craigslist for $40.  A couple coats of Rustoleum black paint in satin finish did wonders.

The space behind the sofa is odd and kinda useless right now but I have visions for it.

On the table – drama, books and ephemera.

dransfield and ross via Elle Decor

Grant K. Gibson

I definitely want to make a skirt for it the table.  To throw on when I’m feeling skirt-y.

Then on the walls flanking the window…..symmetry.  Brass sconces.

Above stacked art, similar to Jill’s office here.  I’m going with these Ikea frames and having a smaller custom mat made at Michael’s.

With ottomans underneath.  Not necessarily these cuties from Ballard but you get the gist.  We entertain a lot so the extra seating will come in handy.

Speaking of entertaining, here’s a table my kids rigged up for a recent dinner party.  Lately they love being in charge of this.

Okay, let’s talk about the magic I’ve been working in the yellow powder room.  Here’s a pic of it when we moved in.

And after my lovely aunt stripped the wallpaper but before we knocked out the pointless vanity table.  (Stupid tiny drawer).

Gutting this room has never been a high priority, in part because the tile is in excellent condition and is probably backed with concrete, as people used to do.  Plus I love the shape and size of the vintage Crane sink.  But still….that’s a lot of yellow.

This spring I painted the walls and ceiling BM Space Black to cut through the sweetness of the yellow.

Much better.  Then this weekend I realized how much random art I have laying around, mostly pieces I’m completely sick of and planned to get rid of.  Maybe that action should go in the powder room?

Turns out, I don’t hate this art after all.  It looks so chic!  (The bamboo etagere is a CL find).

Also in here is my faux tortoise shell mirror, which turned an actual 90’s Martha Stewart from Kmart mirror into something slightly less crappy.

The powder room is REALLY tiny – about 3.5 feet by 6.5 feet.  Not the easiest space to photograph.  With my iPhone.

Still plenty of art to nail up there.

Now….moving to the pink bathroom.  I’m not entirely sure I want this room splashed all over the internet but here goes.  To refresh your memory and re-burn your corneas, here is the MLS photo.

The wallpaper and French Country piece of sh*t sink were installed in the last 10 years.  I can’t even…..

We suspect there was once a pink Crane console sink in here (like the yellow one in our powder room) but the previous owners removed it to make room for the French Country garbaggio.  They also left us the pink toile towels you see hanging there.  Yeah…..they left us fabric that once touched their crotch.

My plans for the space?

Cheetah wall stencil, black ceiling, black and white art, a chartreuse step stool (for the kiddos), vintage rug.

Last week we finally starting taking down the wallpaper.

The pink Crane toilet is in our garage right now, if anyway is interested.  Somehow I can’t sell that thing on CL.

Pink Coffin Shower.  In desperate need of a new glass door.  Like, yesterday.

We’re now in the process of priming and painting the gray trim.  And also using Grout Renew on every….single…tiny….grout line on the the floor.  The grout refuses to come clean so Grout Renew and tedium are the only recourse.

Wow, that was a lot.  More to come on the pink bathroom update…..namely what I suspect will be rage-stenciling.







my dream house is on the market!

Guys.  I’m having a coronary.  One of my New Bedford dream houses is on the market!

I’ve never seen inside the house, only stalked it from the outside.  We used to live around the corner.  The listing doesn’t have many pictures, which is odd.  Either the kitchen and bathrooms have major issues or the realtor has her head on backwards.  9 pictures?  Really?  But what I do see…I love!  I’d buy this baby furnished, thank you very much.

I can’t.  With this wallpaper.  Sooo good.

Look at this goodness.  Very Gray Gardens before cat pee rotted the floor boards.  And yeah, I see those Staffordshire dogs on that fabulous table.

I’m not even playing….we either need to buy this house or I have to sneak into the open house or make the estate sale my BITCH.  Seriously, I’ll camp out at 2am and train Iron Man style for it.

At this price, the house won’t be on the market long.  Probably not even long enough to need an open house.


vintage christmas

I lived with my grandparents growing up and our house was a bit of a time capsule, so it’s no surprise that I love vintage Christmas decorations, music and movies.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s album White Christmas is still one of my favorites.  If I hear the song “Baby what you goin’ to be”, I’m instantly teary-eyed and missing my grandparents so much it hurts.

Somehow we always had the branchiest, most retro-shaped Christmas trees too.  Take a gander at one of ours from the 1980’s.  That’s right, we were still rocking the tinsel which had to be carefully removed each year and saved in an old shoe box.


Here are the things that make my vintage Christmas heart all happy.

Putz houses


Pink christmas trees

luellaluella and june

pinktobi fairley


Winter paint by number scenes



Faux snow globes


snowunder the sycamore

Bottlebrush Trees

hulahula seventy


tinselvintage whites market

On Christmas Eve you can find us in front of the fire, wrapping presents and watching It’s a Wonderful Life.  This year I’m hoping to stay awake long enough to see the ending.  What?  I’m old.

Are you guys vintage Christmas fans?  If not, what’s your holiday decorating style?



our one year anniversary in the new house

It’s been quite the roller coaster.  Last year at this time, we were shell-shocked and homesick for the old house.  There were a lot of tears in December 2014.  But we’ve come a long way since then.  True, we’re still the owners of many, many interior design crimes.  Such as ZERO hardwood floors (don’t get me started).  Green carpet in two rooms.  Pink….everywhere.  But there are many more wonderful things about the new house that make us so grateful we were able to move.  The new house is bigger, the neighborhood is MUCH nicer than our old one (i.e. no shootings), we have incredible neighbors and there are kids everywhere.  Seriously, my daughter’s soul mates live next door.

We’ve done a lot of work to the house in the last year, as much as two lowly biologists with massive student loan debt can afford.  New high-efficiency furnace, insulation in the attic and knee-walls upstairs, new windows, new mudroom doors, new sump in the basement, totally ripped out the old “finished basement” (water issues).

Cosmetic improvements have been a little slower though, in part because there is so much ugliness to transform.  As many of your know, we re-did Hollis’ room and also the mudroom.  As for the rest of the joint, one of the first things we started doing after moving in was peel off the green damask wallpaper that coated the foyer, stairwell and upstairs landing area and start painting the green-glazed trim.

Foyer the day we moved in


Foyer today


I’ve almost fully rid this room of the green trim…but not quite.  I still have to finish the staircase – stain the treads, paint the trim and spindles (48 spindles!), put down a seagrass runner and decide on artwork.

Ideally I want hardwood throughout the house but for now the black vinyl floor in the foyer isn’t going anywhere.

Here is the scary before in the other direction….


Wow, I’d almost forgotten how bad things were.  Who thought this puke colored trim was a good idea?  It’s like a horror movie from the 40’s.  Weird glass sausage light dangling from the ceiling.

Foyer today


I’m still painting underneath the radiator but….a huge improvement, right?

The foyer has no windows and only gets natural light from the door, so when it’s closed, it’s a cave in here.  I want to get a 3/4 light door to lighten things up.


Something like this….

doortimeless paper

Okay, moving on to our living room – the seafoam bowling alley.  Prepare to be embarrassed for us.  We have almost no furniture.


I’m standing in the foyer, in the one entrance to this retro step-down room.  Green walls, green carpet with no hardwood underneath (this house was built when carpet was king), green marble fireplace surround with non-mantle.


Out those windows is a patio, so obviously there should be french doors there but that possibility is way, way in the future.


You can see behind the tree that I started peeling the wallpaper a bit. It’s gotta go.  Like now.  Also we’ll be knocking out those decorative mercury glass wall cubes, which I assume were for snorting coke during a key party in the 60’s.

I’m envisioning this for the living room…

Floor to ceiling board and batten

laurenlauren liess via la dolce vita

Faux wood beams


living spaces

Possibly paint the window trim black, even though windows themselves are white


And some general vibe ideas….

katekate marker interiors

1e906f97b35ca57ca9adc8952b588fb1green street blog

b40efda1fa70627d1e7175b39f839086country living

0dd879f812a0fe75326f13b919e26060glitter guide

76f80390f811b15aa2f4abf616d79af9design mom

And now…moving along to our pink and green dining room, complete with mural.


The pictures don’t convey how awful the pink really is but trust me, it’s not good, especially at night.  It’s like rotten grade school puke on the floor pink.


I love chinoiserie as much as the next gal and know some of you are obsessed with this mural and probably want to have me committed…but I officially loathe it.  Maybe the green carpet (with no hardwood underneath) is pushing me over the edge.

I’m saving my pennies for grasscloth.  Here’s the look I’m feelin’.  With a little blue thrown in there.

grasssource unknown

It’s exciting to think about what 2016 will bring!  Our plan is to install hardwood in the dining room and living room, which we’ve never done before, so fingers crossed…..

Happy Holidays!




striped vs seagrass stair runner

I’m this close to ripping up our heinous stair runner.  It makes my eyes bleed.  But before we can put down something of the non-gross variety, there’s a boatload of work ahead of me.  I need to sand and refinish the stair treads, paint the banister and spindles, and deal with the trim which still has remnant carpet fibers stuck to it.  Clearly I’m chomping at the bit to do all this.


That’s not nearly as much fun as fantasizing about stair runners.  I’ve narrowed it down to either black-bound seagrass (possibly THIS one) or stripes.

Rachel’s staircase has been my main inspiration for the whole shebang.  I love the neutral texture of the seagrass and the way the black binding looks against the white stair risers.  Our banister is almost identical to this one and will definitely be painted black.

southern exposuresouthern exposure

Here Carol uses the same Safavieh runner I’m thinking of using.  I love the subtle chevron pattern.


But maybe a striped runner?  To match the almost-exclusively striped wardrobe my kids and I rock.  (It’s a sickness).  Our foyer rug is an antique from ecarpet gallery which I love, and while I can’t promise another persian won’t hop in our car someday, I’m pretty sure the foyer rug will never be striped….so it’s okay for the stair runner to be.


But of course all the striped runners I love are super expensive wool or jute.  And spending $600-plus on this item isn’t gonna happen.

But aren’t they lovely?

tom sheerer house beautifulhouse beautiful


This staircase from an ancient issue of Domino has always been a favorite.

download (2)

We could go the more affordable striped route with something from Dash and Albert.  This blue awning is pretty.

charming doodlecharming doodle

Or this black and white striped one…

Staris-23-After-Straight-Up1young house love

But in the end I’m leaning towards the seagrass for durability, texture and the pop of black on the border.  I worry that the white parts of a striped runner will get show dirt too much and plus stripes will favor pretty heavily in the other fabrics I have planned for the house (i.e. pillows, ottoman).  What do you guys think?  Stick with the classic seagrass?



lighting options for the new house

Hey there!  We are sooo close to being in the new house, so of course I’m putting my efforts into the really important stuff.  No, not packing.  Geez.  I’m talking about cruising lighting options and sourcing antique push plates for the swinging butler door.

The ceilings in the new house are only 8 feet high and we’re working on a tight budget, both of which seriously limit our options.  Obviously choosing lighting isn’t the first thing we’re focusing on but a few of the fixtures need to be replaced right away.  They’re either non-functional or we bump our heads on them.   The one in June’s room is just plain creepy, like some Flowers in the Attic action.

Here’s where I’m leaning…..and the World Market lighting is on sale!

Dining Room

wood bead

world market wood bead chandelier


June’s Room


world market capiz lotus pendant


I really, really wanted a lantern in the foyer but it flat-out won’t work with the 8′ ceilings.  However I’m loving this option and think that, in the end,  a bit of sparkle will make a huge difference because the foyer isn’t terribly bright.


ballard design margeaux flush mount

If you tag along with me on Instagram, you may have also seen the foyer rug I recently picked up.



These two will play nice together.  And maybe toss in some Dodie shades on the console table lamps?  Animal print, Persian, sparkle… we’re getting somewhere.



Okay, crap, I have to finish packing….



painting our kitchen cabinets

Huh?  You may be saying to yourself.  I thought you guys decided to go with Ikea cabinets.  Well….there are HUGE potential changes afoot around here.

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sunburst mirror in the dining room

Wall space is a hot commodity in our house.  Like many abodes from the late 1800’s, we’re all doorways, windows and radiators, which has its perks but seriously limits where you can put a sofa or a bar cart.  Our house is also on the smaller side, adding to the decorating challenges.

So carving out space for a little zhush isn’t easy, especially in our small dining room.   While I love our built-in hutch, it’s been slowly taken over by the kids.  June refers to it as her office and judging by the state of her affairs, the IRS should really look into her.  Here’s a gander….


Cop: In the briefcase?
The Dude: Uh, uh, papers.  Just, you know, my uh, my business papers.  
Cop: And what do you do, sir?
The Dude: I’m unemployed.  

But this post isn’t about the fact that I need to tackle the messy built-in….it’s about the space between two windows.  This spot has evolved a lot over the years.  For a long time, it was a sad place.  Just a chipping radiator and drafty walls.  Then I added a $3 federal style mirror from Savers, a shelf and my wonderful husband built an awesome radiator cover.


However the federal style mirror was a bit small, so when I saw the Martha Stewart sunburst mirror on sale at Home Depot, I snatched it up.  Cut to a seriously skeptical glance into the cart from my husband.  I think the words “too Mad Men-y” escaped his lips.


But we can all see he was wrong!  It’s awesome.  I love the scale and shape.  Obviously the whole scene isn’t uber-styled but who doesn’t like dolphin bones and barnacles.





painting the living room and a new gallery wall

Like most kids, my two lunatics view furniture as their personal jungle gym.  The top of our tight-backed sofa is a good spot to rest a jelly jar of wine (I’m a classy broad) but it could also be a tree house or tunnel or climbing ledge.   Guess which one of these things isn’t good for the horsehair plaster walls?  It’s certainly not mom, kicking back with 30 Rock and some Savignon Blanc.  A recent bout of rough-housing led to a hole in the wall above the sofa and, like a tumbling house of cards, another project begins.

IMG_4224sneak peek of the new wall

On the bright side, I’ve been itching to change the wall color in the living room so this works out well.  And no, I didn’t surreptitiously punch a hole in the wall, then blame it on the kids.  But I’ll be sure to file that excuse away for later.

Here is a BEFORE picture – the gallery wall is obviously…..not working.


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