2022 punch list

does anyone else feel like 2020 and 2021 just crept along, mocking us by somehow having extra days and months that no one saw coming yet everyone felt? then january 2022 came ... and stayed ... and lollygagged ... and finally came to an end, only to have february shoot past like it barely happened?

just me?

anyway, it's march. MARCH. and ... almost mid-march. how? and ... how??

for the first time in a long, long, long time, i feel cautious optimism about moving forward into a new year. from october until the end of january, we had so. much. stress. like ... every day and week brought something that felt like that jenga block that slides out easily but then sticks at the end, and the whole tower wobbles while you're stuck, able to neither move forward nor backward. but as february left the building, the universe lightened, and things felt ... better.

(i mean, ukraine notwithstanding. or all the anti-gay and anti-choice bills being passed and proposed. and my general anxiety and disgust at what is happening to this country. but still: spring is coming, hey?)

we've filled the past year with fun, take-your-mind-off-reality projects that are mostly finished, but there are a few loose ends to tie, and a new project on the horizon about which i'm currently obsessing.

the upstairs guest room is pretty much done, i just need to take real, good photos with the real, good camera. (and maybe get some new bedding. but let's not mention that to marc.)



the basement guest room is done, with the exception of finding and hanging art. that's my spring project.




(i guess now we need guests ...)

main floor bathroom is done, just hasn't been captured on the real camera yet, either.



and now that the "final tweak" list is short, my mind has obviously turned to a new subject:

the basement.






(yes, the last time i took photos of the basement was christmas 2015.)

the basement has not been a priority project for me on any level since we moved in. it holds all of our furniture from our last house, it's functional, it's comfortable. marc is down there daily to work, but i rarely visit. when company does come, it's a great place to hang out, play games, watch movies. both of our kids have filled it with friends on many occasions, but those days are waning, and we are starting to think ahead about this space.

marc has waited patiently for 10 years to put up surround sound and make the tv room of his dreams. last year on black friday, he finally put all of his research and collected best buy gift cards to use and purchased the hardware ... and it's all still in boxes in the corner. we were talking about those boxes the other day, and he pulled out a speaker to show me. turns out, they are all going to be larger and more, "hey! i'm a bunch of big black boxes on your walls!" than i'd anticipated, knowing literally nothing about surround sound. he then mentioned that maybe we need to revisit the idea of putting up a wall between the tv area and game area, to keep the sound more contained. and my brain was then off on spontaneous pro/con list making.


a wall would create separate spaces, so we could paint the tv room a dark color and hide the speakers.

the opposite side of the wall could be built-in storage cabinets, for all the small, seasonal storage that i've wished i had over the years.

a wall would help support the ceiling right in a spot where it has been determined to crack for the last few years.


um ... we have to spend money?


couldn't think of a real con, to be honest.

we have a natural separation point between the two spaces, which you can see in the third basement photo above. that's right where we would put the wall. the game side of the room would stay relatively untouched; the biggest change would be a wall of cabinets. i'm inspired by these looks ...









other than that, no big disruptions. the current table and chairs would need to downsize; i'm thinking a round table with four or six upholstered chairs ... something comfortable to sit in and hang out. it also hits a nostalgic spot for me, remembering my grandparents' house and the game table they had in their great room. the orange chairs were cozy, had low arms, and both swiveled and rolled. there was always a game or art project or puzzle happening at that table. changing the table would also mean changing the light above it, but we have an unused five-arm chandelier that should fit the bill, at least for the time being.

the biggest change would be on the other side of the wall. wanna see where my head is going?












omg SOOOO dark and moody and enveloping!

it all started with needing walls as dark as possible to camouflage the speakers. next consideration was a leather sofa. marc has always wanted a leather sofa, and since this is kinda his space, we're going for it. we want to re-use our black media cabinet and console table, but that's pretty much all we're keeping. since we're going to get rid of the sectional, i'll need a place to sit; marc likes sofas that you sink into, but i need more support, so a chair for me is on the list. and while marc thinks this might be a good time to replace the carpet, i don't want to commit to that. the only carpet in the basement that needs to be replaced at some point is on the stairs, and if we're going to change the tv room, we might as well change it all, and frankly, i'd rather sink the money into THE couch and THE chair. and he wants THE tv. so: area rug is our compromise.

after considering two different sofas, two different wall colors, four different rugs, three different wall lights, and two different chairs for me, we have landed on this:



the only things we know for sure on this board are the sofa, the ottoman, the black pieces that we already own, likely the lights, and probably the swivel chair. i love the rug, and he likes it better than the more turkish-type patterns i was initially considering. we may use table lamps that we currently have upstairs in the great room versus adding a floor lamp by the couch. the curtains might be a bit too "patterned" and girly for his taste, and the art may go in the "minimalist movie poster" direction. but the general feel is there. and i'm super excited.

two weeks ago we went to four different stores to sit in leather sofas. we thought we found the perfect one at rejuvenation, then we sat in the maxwell sofa at restoration hardware, and that was it. love at first butt-on-cushion.



which, let's be honest, reminded me a lot of when marc sat on another restoration hardware sofa eleven years ago, fell in love, and totally changed the vision i'd had for the great room.




minneapolis has a restoration outlet, so i checked it out on monday, and lo ... they had the exact maxwell we want: right size, right depth, right cushions ... wrong color. but is the color a deal-breaker if we could save a bunch of money on it? marc went with me on tuesday and we examined the sofa all over, looked at every scratch and mark to see if there were any red flags. in the end, there was some wear on a corner that concerned us, and some stitches on the edge of an arm appeared to be coming loose, and we decided if we're spending that much on a piece of furniture, we wanted it to be the color we wanted, and without possible problems.

we did, however, leave with a lovely upholstered cocktail table to put in front of a sofa we don't yet have in a room that's not yet in progress.

and that's where we are. now we wait for contractors to call us back, because until a hammer swings, it's all just hypothetical.

as my crush, rachel maddow, says: "watch this space."

almost to the finish line

let me tell you about this little bathroom:

when we built 10 years ago, we were exhausted and over budget by the time we got to the bathrooms in the basement and off the mudroom, so we went as cheap and standard as possible. the only things i requested were specific tile in each shower because that would be more expensive to change later, and specific finishes on each vanity - again, something i didn't want to mess with later.

the mudroom bathroom is our most used, it's the one every person who comes to our house sees, and it was the least interesting room in the house. for years i've wanted to give it a makeover, and now we finally have.


i've known for seven years that this room needed different lights and plumbing fixtures; i wasn't thrilled with the modern edge of either since our house was trying to walk the line between vintage and farmhouse. the room was also screaming for wallpaper, as nearly all small bathrooms are, and i was pretty sure the wallpaper needed to be black. for the longest time i was determined to get nina campbell's perroquet ...


but at the end of the day, it was way out of budget and i needed to make a more realistic choice. i explored some other options and found a pretty plaid one and a floral, both from york.


the concensus in my house was the floral, but i had to cool my heels as i figured out everything else i wanted to change in the room (because obviously the project would snowball out from wallpaper), and we had to grow the bathroom fund to cover it all.

well, in the past couple of months we finally made it happen. i scheduled a wallpaper hanger, then changed my mind about the wallpaper at literally the last possible minute, when i talked myself into getting the one i really wanted - hydrangeas, from rifle paper co, which was more than the floral, less than the parakeets, but also i loved it more and decided if we're doing this, we're going to do it right. the wallpaper hanger was here in august, all the extras were ordered, the plumber put in all the new fixtures a couple of weeks ago, and today the lights came.

sneak peek ... because i need to put up some art and give the room a good clean before i take pix with the real camera. and i'm not being hyperbolic when i say this might be my favorite room in the whole house now. quite the upgrade from Most Boring Room In The House.





and let me just say that it's okay to live in a house for awhile before you get it right. budgets take time, collecting things takes time, figuring out what the house wants takes time. in the end, it's worth it to wait for what you want than to waste money on "good enough," because "good enough" is rarely good enough, know what i mean?

2020 game plan

it's january, in all of its first-page-of-a-new-notebook, fresh-blanket-of-snow, we-haven't-screwed-it-up-yet glory. we've recovered from a marathon three weeks of my husband's pto and the holidays and a quick visit from family. kids are back at school, christmas decorations are put away, shelves are freshly dusted, and it's now time to start the new calendar and to do lists for the coming year.

i'm resolving/intending/going to try to be better about sharing our projects. if i had staff or house cleaners or someone other than me trying to keep every ball in the air, it might be easier to bring a project to completion, clean, and photograph it. instead, i get 85% of the way there, realize i need to catch up on everything i neglected while doing the project, decide i can finish the details later, then we have to live in the space so it gets messed up, then there's never again time to brush off the last crumbs and make it look photo-worthy in the small window of time available between Doing The Work and Family Re-Invading.

like harper's room. remember when i finally got around to redoing that? (two and a half years ago.) i never shared pictures because of one unfinished thing: hemming the curtains. since then, things in the room have changed here and there, my daughter is ... not neat ... so it's never clean enough to photograph, and i gave up. but this year, i'm gonna deal with those curtains and show you the final project because it turned out pretty cute.


IMG_8198 (1)

and then there's my craft room. i teased it back in april, actually got it mostly done right away, but then dragged my feet on putting away the final stack of stuff that i really didn't know where to put ... so the room has never been officially finished. another build up and then ignore.



and last summer, a whole patio situation happened.




and nothing about it at all.

and this! what is this?




i have so much to share.

up until this house, our MO was to move every seven years. we are now in the ninth year in the home we built, the home which we swore would be long-term ... and we're getting the itch. so instead of scratching the itch by moving, we'll scratch by doing some big-ish projects that either bring the vision we had back in 2011 more into focus, or update a room for our 2020 needs. in the spirit of that and january, and in the hopes that putting it in writing will keep us accountable, here is our punch list of 2020 house plans:


finishing touches

we have one or two things left on the list to cross off before these project can be declared DONE (until we get itchy again): marc's office, my craft room, the mudroom (need to hang some art), harper's room (hem those curtains, hang her high school swim team photos), our bedroom (curtains in 2020!).




slighty more than minor tweaks:

tv room: this room will get an unintentional little update. we sold the keyboard (after harper got fired for the second time by a piano teacher, we realized the keyboard was neither useful nor beautiful), so now there is an empty corner in the tv room. i'm pretty sure i know what to do with it, but it will require a piece of furniture bought, another piece to be built ... which will likely cause us to re-paint the room, and there's a solid chance i'll choose to replace the rug, too.

storage: cleaning everything out of at least three closets this year and installing intentional storage solutions. and then putting nothing back in that we don't absolutely need to keep.


major-ish projects:

kids' bathroom: not a full-on reno, but we need to replace the sink, and that will trickle across the room to new fixtures in the shower. maybe more bead board while we're at it? and i'd love to have a light tube or two installed ... anyone have experience with those? do they really let in good natural light?

main bathroom: this bathroom has been on my hit list for awhile. like, for five years. i longed for the parakeet wallpaper for so long, before my husband gave me a not so subtle, "i'd rather you didn't." i've finally found a wallpaper he can get on board with, and we plan to replace the counter top, sink, lights ... mirror and faucet and shower fixtures are not ruled out. unfortunately, this project gets kicked down the road every time an unexpected expense pops up. (hello, trump tax bill, with cost us about as much as henry's college tuition this year. first time we've owed EVER. f*cking trump. but i digress ... )


IMG_0404 (1)


guest room: this project is the lowest priority, but i want it in the realm of possibility just in case. we really haven't done anything with either guest room since moving in, other than switch up the bedding on occasion. i would very much like to finish the basement guest room this year. ideas are always percolating. just need to make one stick and run with it.


and that's it. our big 2020 to do list. we're motivated, and are excited to feel like we have really moved in and made this home everything we always meant it to be.

if you give a husband PTO days

you've heard of if you give a mouse a cookie, i'm sure. it's a classic cautionary tale: one cookie, and things spiral.

well, i've written a new version, based entirely on actual events.




if you give a husband pto days a week before christmas, he's going to decide to rearrange his office.


if he decides to rearrange his office, all of the contents of the office will come out of the room and go all over your basement.


if everything comes out of the office and goes all over the basement, the husband will then decide to dismantle his desk, shelves, lights, etc.



if he decides to dismantle everything, the room will be empty.


if the room is empty, he will see how dirty the carpet is.


if he sees how dirty the carpet is, he will call zerorez and schedule them to come the next day to clean the carpet.


if they come the next day to clean the carpet, they're going to have to clean something else too, because they won't clean just one room.


if they won't clean just one room, now you have to drop everything to clear out and clean three bathrooms so zerorez can clean the grout.


if they clean the grout, you might as well re-seal all the grout, because now it's clean.


if you have to re-seal all the grout, you might as well re-color the grout in two bathrooms, because the white grout has bugged the shit out of you for eight years.


if you have to re-color the grout, you have to wait three days for dove gray to be back in stock.


if you have to wait three days, you won't be twiddling your thumbs, because remember that office? it needs to be painted ASAP, and you're the person who does the painting.


if you're the person who does the painting, you spend the next two days prepping, priming, painting, AND painting an accent wall, just to add a challenge.




if you do all the painting, your husband will run to ikea twice and build new cabinets and paint all of the legs of his desk and wrap all four desktops with carbon fiber because, geek.




if he does all that building, he can then use his remaining PTO to put the office back together.





if he puts his office back together, you will decide the heck with waiting three days for dove gray, you make the executive decision to use black because it's in stock, and you spend the rest of the week lying on bathroom floors, re-coloring and scrubbing grout, and cursing your lot in life as The Person Who Does This.




if you're that person, and your husband is on PTO, and christmas is now only days away, and your first born is coming home this very night for winter break, you might as well paint the mudroom and replace the light while you're at it, because you are insane.




and if you're insane, you might just start to drop paint brushes and paint rollers and fall off the ladder because your hands no longer grip after seven days of holding a paint brush.

and you'll start to rue the day your husband decided to take the week before christmas as pto.

a new project | the craft room(s)

after nearly eight years of sharing an art room with my brilliantly talented daughter, we are both moving into our own spaces. actually, it's more of a "purge, clean, retrofit, and consciously uncouple" from the original craft room.



(OMG how cute and little was she seven and a half years ago??)

when we moved in, we arranged the craft room into a space where harp and i could both work. i had grand notions of quiet days spent creating together. but like much of motherhood, the reality doesn't exactly match the daydream. harper is a bit of a slob (and by "bit" i mean omg so much slobbing!), and her part of the craft room is mainly drawers and bins of crafts she has abandoned over the years. there are also remains of the last few projects she's started, then ignored, then pushed out of the way on her desktop, creating sedimentary layers of ideas with which she became bored then moved on. the floor under her desk is a minefield of perler beads and bits of fabric and the occasional earring wire.

the solution seemed obvious: the loft space upstairs. initially, the space was for both kids' computer desks. now that henry is out of the house nine months of the year, it makes more sense for his computer to be in his room, which frees up the loft for harper's art takeover.

she is fine-tuning her interests toward graphic art and pencil sketching, and has big plans to try her hand at doll makeovers, with some latent interest in felting and clay. she needs more desktop space and access to her computer in her art space. what she doesn't need are all the drawers for all the craft supplies she's collected over the years. time for the outgrown media to find a new home, and to streamline her space into the things she loves and wants to do.



this weekend i'm going to give the walls of the loft a fresh coat of paint, then we'll get intentional storage installed on the wall and make her area perfectly suited to her needs.

which frees up the current craft room for me to stretch out my arms and embrace as my own space.

and ... just for a sec ... my. own. space. the kids each have their own room. marc has his office (and, inadvertently, the entire basement). but i've always shared space. and now? i get a whole room just for me. things will stay where i put them. i don't have to work around someone else's space and needs. it will be my own. and i can't wait.

once harper's stuff is moved out, the remaining components will be reconfigured. we're planning to work around existing shelves because we're lazy and don't want to fill holes and repaint and re-level and re-drill, but the layout of the moveable parts will change.

the existing ikea alex drawers will remain, and will provide the foundation for the entire back wall of the room. however, that is all that will remain the same. here's where the rest of the room will go:



currently, there is an 8x10 red rag rug in the space that was recycled from its life in the sun room of our last house. it's been fine, but the red isn't my favorite. it has worked this long because of the red vintage metal gym locker with wire baskets that's in the room, but that's getting a coat of olive green paint. so the red rug goes. in its place will be these tiles from flor, in the colorway "smoke."



three boxes of these tiles have been sitting in my garage for three weeks. it's time for them to see the light of day.

also taking up real estate in our garage for months is the campaign desk from world market.


i bought it months ago, during a great online sale, thinking this project would get done sooner rather than later. well, sooner didn't happen, so now it's later.

the biggest splurge for the room is this amazing ceiling light from neiman marcus.



i planned all the things in the room to work with the existing light - an ikea maskros pendant that i customized by painting all the elements silver and gluing pale green plastic dessert cups to each flower.



i sat in our previous home's dining room for hours, painstakingly trimming each flower petal and painting everything. and i love it so much. but the light it gives off just isn't bright enough for crafting or arting of any kind. i hope to find it a nice home, but it's time for something more substantial.

and that capiz shell-covered, three-tiered, scalloped beauty holds three light bulbs. that sounds sufficiently substantial to me.

a new desk chair, shelving unit (yes, more ikea), a lamp stolen from the entryway (which means i'm on the hunt for a new lamp for that spot), and some baskets and storage will finish it off.

i'm giddy. and i'm antsy. i want it done now. but first thing first: get harp moved and settled. hopefully, that will be done within the next week or two, and my space will be fully put together before may is over.

it will feel so nice to scratch two things off the "to do" list! about as nice as having my own room ... have i mentioned that i'll have my own room?

have you played with this yet?

(first of all ... yes, i still exist. i have no idea where the last eight months of my life have gone. between building the screened porch/deck, getting through graduation and the graduation party, summer, getting ready to move the big kid to school next week ... i've been living in a state of perpetual Keep Up!! and Do Family Things!! and GAH! DENIAL!! september will be a major life/heart/routine/goal-setting re-set, and i hope that means the blog will finally get some attention.)

anyway ...

have you seen the corian design moodboard maker?? it's way fun to play around with and daydream about new spaces and styles. not that i'm creating any new spaces in the immediate future, but a facelift of the main floor bathroom IS on deck at some point ...

to play, you first select a "mood" that best fits your style and personality - organic, minimal, relaxed, modern, refined, bohemian, and edgy. once you select one, you are taken to a page with a list of corian's countertop options, and a shape to which you can drag and drop your favorites. you don't have to fill every space, because on the next page you get to select elements that illustrate your style, and fit them into the shape to complete the mood board. each design style has different images to choose from, and i found that my closest style falls somewhere in the relaxed/minimal/organic range. interestingly enough, i ended up selecting nearly the same countertops for each style.












it really does help to see the images associated with each style. i'm much more drawn to water, moody shades of black and gray, and cool natural elements than warm colors and soft textures. and i tried real hard to come up with a modern mood board - my husband really wants to live in a modern home someday, and try as i might, i have a really tough time with his version of modern: hard lines, dark rooms, sleek surfaces. hopefully that bridge to cross is a long way off.

it was also interesting to note that i'm more drawn to veining than speckles or aggregate texture. i tend toward trypophobia, so that actually makes sense. the fact that corian's version of soapstone was on all three of my design boards was a great validation that we did the right thing in our kitchen.

go play. it's a fun exercise. and you might be surprised by your choices, or you might have your preferences reinforced. either way, it's both useful and enlightening!

when the world goes to hell ...

you throw caution to the wind and build a deck.

or, at least, that's our attitude.

when we moved in six and a half  years ago,

(and ... okay ... just for a minute: our first house was lovely, but at the seven year mark we knew it was time to move. our second house was lovely, but at the seven year mark we knew it was time to move. now we're staring down the seven year mark in this house, and we find ourselves thinking that we just got here. what kind of crazy wormhole did we cross that made seven years go so damn fast?? anyway ...)

when we moved in six and a half years ago, we knew building a deck and screened room was the next phase. we assumed we would get on that a bit more quickly than we did, but decks and screened rooms aren't cheap, right? finally, last spring, we realized that in one year we would be hosting a bunch of people at our house for a graduation party, and we needed somewhere to put them that wasn't, actually, IN the house. so we called six different contractors/deck builders, met with them all, some got our vision, some did not, some called back, some did not. in the end, we decided to go with our builder, because we knew the architect would make the aesthetic perfect for the house, and we knew the siding and shingles would be seamless.

we provided a few guidelines and inspiration pictures. what we knew: maintenance-free decking (who wants to spend their summer sanding and re-staining?), gray and white colors to go with the house and other porches, open ceiling with exposed beams, casual/rustic but not rusty/farmhouse/cozy.

we showed the builder ...











and my favorite ...



the builder took all the info, and came back with this:



and just before christmas, they showed up and started to rip off siding and put up beams.

fun fact: when you put a screened room off the back of your house, which happens to be where your kitchen is, and you have open shelves in the kitchen, you're gonna need to take all the stuff off of those shelves or the vibration from the siding removal will do that for you.

the more you know.

the guys worked so hard for about three weeks ... all the structure went up, roof and shingles went on, decking was laid, railings were installed ... and that's where we sit right now.






 we're just waiting on the weather to warm enough for everything to be finished at once - siding, bead board, paint, screens, install lights, pour the patio area. once we get to the finish stage, it will go quickly. and it will have to ... we're two months from that graduation party.

hopefully, the next update will be the finished product. we've started to order the furniture to put in it, and we're already dreaming of the day we can sit out there to eat a meal ... enjoy a morning coffee ... swing on a hammock in the space under the deck ...

this is the vibe:




the table and chairs are sitting in a warehouse until we have somewhere to put them, the armchairs are on the way, the lights and fan are sitting in the living room as i type. it's going to be fun to load it all in and grill some burgers and enjoy sitting outside without sitting outside.

(as long as it's done before the graduation party. that's literally all i ask. minnesota needs to warm up and the snow needs to melt asap.)

of course she did

i should have known. two weeks ago, when i was super pumped that harp had officially landed on and committed to a look for her new, more grown-up room, i should have known it wouldn't stick.

i mean, i've known this kid for 12 years. changing her mind is kind of her thing.

this was the plan that she was all, "yes! that's it!" about:



she wanted blue-gray. she wanted to make off with the guest room bedding. she wanted a metal bed.

well, guess what?

we went to the furniture store to order the bed, flipped to the ones i had thought she might like, and she was suddenly as cold-footed as playboy on his wedding day.

"i think i want an upholstered bed instead."


so we left. and i told her that was it; no more planning, no more room. i was out until she was fully on board with something.

about a week later, while walking through target, she spotted a pillow that was a blushy-peach geometric design with gray tassels ...

51588765and she had her a-ha moment.

"i really like this peach color. and the gray. that's really pretty."

we walked a little more and saw a gray quilt, and she oohed and aahhed over it, and said, "peach and gray. i like that."

i found some blush-peach sheets, put them next to the gray quilt and the pillow, and she was all, "yup: that."

(seriously: i'm trying so hard to not simmer at this point. do you know how many "yes!"es i've heard from her in the past year about this room?!)

i put the quilt and sheets and pillow in the cart and told her that they would stay there while we walked around the store. if she hadn't changed her mind by the time we were ready to go, i would buy them and we would fully commit to her room. she agreed, then said, "and if i change my mind again, you can slap me in the face!"

that seemed a little dramatic, but ... this IS harper we're talking about.

we wandered another half an hour or so, getting what we needed, and by the time we were done, she said that she really liked the peach and gray.

so: great. but that still doesn't solve the bed issue.

yesterday, i told her to go sit on henry's metal bed, and then go to the basement to sit on the upholstered bed. and take the new pillow with her. she did, and looked at the new pillow with each bed, and stated that she was 100% sure about a metal bed. 100%. and to make sure she couldn't change her mind again, we went to the furniture store, looked at the metal beds in their book, she picked one out as her favorite, and we ordered the damn thing.


while she did her homework, i played around with the design board i'd made for her. while talking about the new pillow, i said the peach and gray would still look nice with the gray-blue color she said she wanted on the walls, and she told me that she really liked the peach, and might like that for her walls instead. so that was the first thing i changed. then i removed the woodland bedding and replaced it with the gray quilt and peach sheets. after that, a few other options no longer felt right. i swapped out the idea of a print tray for her little knickknacks and clay creations for a gray hexagon shelf that she already has. then i looked for some sort of fabric or curtain for her windows that would tie it all together, and found what i think will be the perfect one at tonic living. the colors in the fabric inspired a change to the paint color for the desk - from the deep coral/peach in the previous plan to a more golden tone. then i found a nightstand at world market that has a similar lotus flower shape as the flowers in the fabric, and i had an a-ha moment of my own.

and then the design board looked complete.





we will also keep the copper and wood shelf idea from the previous plan ...




after looking at it all together, i told harper that the bed she picked was going to look great in the room because if you use the creative side of your brain, it kind of resembles a fox/wolf face. the serendipity of it makes me feel like this room is going to stick.

i'm still going to hurry up and paint before she can change her mind again, again.



time to get decorate-y

tap tap tap ... is this thing on?

a nearly four-month hiatus was unintentional, but life's like that sometimes. seriously, though ... how long and exhausting and existentially brutal have the past four months been?!

but now it's time for spring ... new energy ... things shifting. time to think locally. and what is more local than finally changing up my daughter's room?

we've been talking about it for nearly two years now, and harper has changed her mind four different times. last week, though, the one room challenge started again, and i decided that's it: time to jump in and play along from home and make this room happen. over the next six weeks, harp's room will finally ... hopefully ... get that makeover, barring any new surprises (like the $1000 we spent in the past two weeks to find out if our aging cat is dying (test results: he isn't), or spending the past 10 days watching marc try to fix our dryer, fingers crossed that he could figure it out (he did)).

the room will grow up and and warm up, and turn into the den of pre-teenage coziness that harper wants. without being a literal DEN of coziness, like she said she wanted. ("mom ... maybe we could make a wolf den! like, wood and sticks on the walls, and a furry bedspread ..." hilde santos-tomas would have loved that idea.)



we started with color ... what colors did she want in her room? she initially said dark blue, gray, aqua,  yellow. so i played around with that and came up with an idea. and she liked it. and then she didn't.



then i showed her the beautiful cole + sons birches wallpaper, and she loved that. and then she didn't.



i showed her rooms that used stikwood on the walls, and told her we could do something along those lines to bring in the "wood/den" feeling.





she thought that might be okay, then changed her mind.

after that, i sort of let the idea go for awhile. she wasn't in a place to be sure of anything, and i didn't want to make a move without her being on board. why waste time and money if she wasn't sure of what she wanted?

before the holidays last year, she said she was finally ready to get a bigger bed and update her room. we started with what kind of bed she wants, and talked about buying a wood headboard or making something, but then she spent the night with a friend who has an upholstered headboard and harp declared that she, too, wanted an upholstered headboard. we continued to talk through things, and then out of the blue she said, "i want bedding like what we have in the guest room." what we have in the guest room is this duvet cover from schoolhouse electric:



and i told her, "harp: if you love that bedding, you can have it. we'll do the room around that starting point. what do you think?" and she was 100% in, and stayed there. (bonus points for not having to buy new bedding, just new sheets.) i began the hunt for options for a new bed, since she will be upsizing to a full from a twin. i showed her some upholstered ones, but she couldn't really visualize what it might all look like, so i made some mood boards to help her out.

first was a background wall color, then the bedding, a picture of her dresser (which will stay the same) and of a writing desk similar to the one i've had since college (which she wants to keep), and the prints that she currently has framed and on her walls. then i pulled in a couple of other pieces, and different upholstered beds from world market and target and wayfair so she could see how it might all come together.





she ix-nayed the gold one right away, but thought the natural ones looked okay, and she really liked the idea of bringing in the coral color on the desk.

time went by and we didn't do a thing. (holidays, general sense of ennui after the first of the year,  you know ...) about a month ago she asked when we could start her room, so i looked up the beds again, and the same ones were no longer available, though there are others that are pretty close. i remembered her comment about liking the coral, and threw in this wild card from target ...



i loved it, but she said no way, jose.

i also showed her this bed which, while still upholstered, also has a dark metal element that would play off the black metal knobs on her dresser, and the proposed pipe shelves.



she loved this one. like, LOVED. because i'm an idiot, though, i hadn't read any of the reviews about it before showing it to harper. turns out, many people who had bought it didn't like that it felt cheap, that the metal was brown instead of black/bronze, the upholstery appears beige online but is actually white, etc.


i also saw someone on instagram had the same bed, and she said it was from pottery barn, so i checked there. yeah ... that bed has natural linen and a black/bronze frame, but it is also $1200 ... not the $280 that wayfair was offering. so i broke the news to harper, and she said that she really liked it because of the metal, which reminded her of henry's bed, and really ... she just wants a bed just like henry's.

yes, henry has an iron bed. not upholstered. iron. what harper apparently wanted all along but never told me.

again, uuugggghhhhh.

a quick search on wayfair later, i found a lovely metal bed that looks like a more feminine version of henry's. i did a little re-arranging of the mood board, and showed harp.

and she said, "YES! that's my room!"



the wall color is slightly lighter and slightly more gray. the bed is metal. the sconces in harp's room that we planned to keep will get replaced by these white and gold numbers from ikea. her ceiling light will get swapped out for a basket shade ... this ikea one, if the size isn't too big. her coral-painted writing desk will get these adorable bronze fox knobs from anthro. and the pipe and board shelves? i found this genius version on pinterest that will bring in a lighter wood tone and more of that coral/copper:





the only thing left to figure out is the window treatment, but that will come as we pull it all together.

harp loves this plan, i love this plan, and i can't wait to get it started for her! as long as she doesn't change her mind about something else in the meantime ...



a florida room

have you ever checked out the real estate firm douglas elliman? if you are a house voyeur like i am, this company is the holy grail, especially for dream vacation living. my usual preferred style is more new england (which they represent), but after returning from florida i'm fully immersed in vacation/summer daydream mode, and wishing for a tropical escape. and their florida listings are phenomenally inspirational.


a vacation isn't happening any time soon, and on top of that we are back to the drawing board on the screened-in room situation for our own outdoor escape at home. i know its primary function will be for outdoor dining sans bugs, but it would also be nice to have a sort of florida room ... a type of sun room or sun porch ... a room that is open to breezes during the warm months. a place to relax and stay cool on hot summer days. and as soon as i think about a breezy room for escaping the heat, my brain immediately goes, "the great gatsby."

what?? follow me on this.

remember when nick visits tom & daisy at the beginning of the book? (i'm not the only nerd here, right?) the description of where he first encounters daisy and her friend, jordan, is where my mind went:

We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea. The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house.

i love fitzgerald. can't you just imagine such a room, and such a day? all of the windows on our home's main floor have white linen curtains, and there is nothing more peaceful than sitting on the couch while those curtains move in the breeze. maybe i had gatsby in the back of my head when i chose them ... maybe because i'd been perusing those douglas elliman houses ...

but back to the florida room. my brain starts to swirl it all together: gatsby, sun room, indoor/outdoor, water and wind, relaxing. and i just assume my backyard looks something like this ...


and this ...


so my perfect florida room would be a little tropical, a little new england, a little fancy, and a lot unfussy and casual.


something like ...


let's assume that our florida room opens onto a patio, to have that indoor/outdoor element. and there are tall windows on two or three sides, which would of course be clad in long, white, floaty, linen curtains. you need comfy seating, so a soft indoor/outdoor couch is perfect for indestructible lounging. then you have the rattan daybed with soft pillows ... just the place for a summer nap. and the swing chair would be a great spot to curl up and read "gatsby" again. above you is a woven-blade ceiling fan, to assist the breeze on warm days.

a jute rug on the floor and a shuttered cabinet, to hold board games and extra books and blankets, have that beach cottage personality. of course there is a bar cart, for summer refreshments, and a coffee table on which to prop up feet or play one of those board games. by the daybed is a ghost table that mimics the classic design of the coffee table, but is 'now you see it/now you don't' to keep the room feeling light. throw pillows (that green kate spade one has the statement "this is the life" on it. perfect for a room whose soul purpose is relaxing!) and a pouf give the room softness and a little color, while the art on the bright white walls give even more color, as well as a vacation vibe. especially that aaron chang water photograph ... spectacular! looks like you can dive right into it.

simple sconces would light the corners of the room, while accent lamps on the cabinet give extra light during evening hang-outs. pretty vases bring out the green in the artwork, and a fresh bouquet of flowers from the bouqs and a fiddle leaf fern bring in the natural element.

and when you tire of all that comfortable lounging, you walk out onto the patio and head straight for that pool!

good idea?




outdoor couch: restoration hardware

daybed: serena & lily

ghost table: wisteria

pillows: serena & lily, etsy, kate spade

swing chair: pier 1

curtains: crate and barrel

cabinet: overstock

coffee table: maine cottage

ceiling fan: lamps plus

art: aaron chang

sailboat print: minted

watercolor: minted

pouf: annie selke

bar cart: wayfair

kantha blanket: imogene + willie

lamp: maine cottage

sconces: lamps plus

ice bucket: furbish studio

rug: west elm

flowers: the bouqs

vase: jill rosenwald

 planter: crate and barrel