Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Dining Room

The dining room has been the easiest and most rewarding room so far to decorate.
Before we moved in, I had the walls painted the same color as the trim for a clean look.
This room is the most visible room, so I've been keeping it filled with flowers and plants.
The orchids are the latest.

The sideboard is new, from Restoration Hardware.  I knew from the beginning that this was the one to fill that nook!
I'll eventually hang that mirror.

The day the new chandelier was hung, was like Christmas!
I could barely contain myself!

I chose the "Paris Flea Market" chandelier from Visual Comfort.
I like the gilded finish and its airy vibe.  Not too heavy.
Notice the drapes?
They're repurposed from our house in San Francisco.
So glad I saved them!

What's next?
Woven shades for a layered look.

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
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Monday, November 19, 2018

A Blank Slate

 When we got the keys and were able to see the house without the staging furniture, it was a little daunting.
Everything looked tired, but I viewed it as a blank slate.  Most of the rooms just needed a fresh coat of paint, like the living room above.

The sunroom off the living room was destined to be my favorite room.
The shutters are beautiful, but I think that window is even more beautiful!
What should I do, I wonder?

 The dining room is large.  Those doors need to go though and a new chandelier is in order.
What is that room off the dining room?
It's a dish room/bar/office.

 I especially love the French doors in the dining room.
Not sure if they will ever open, but I plan on keeping them even though they're pretty rough.

The kitchen.
No comment.

 One of the guest rooms.
Fresh paint for sure.  I wonder what's under that carpet?

The master bathroom.
So much space dedicated to the toilet.  So little to the tiny shower.
What if we reversed that?

No hesitation there.  This was priority number one, and exactly what we did.
Before we moved in, we gutted the bathroom and it's actually nearing completion.
Stay tuned for before and after photos.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

The Plan

When I was eight years old, I found a book of house plans at my grandparent's house.
I would sit for hours poring over each floor plan, imagining the possibilities.
The floor plan for our new old house intrigues me the same way.  I've stared at it for hours, imagining a wall opened up here, a bathroom reconfigured there.  

The family room is "Bedroom 4" on the floor plan.
It probably was a bedroom in its previous life.
It looks nice professionally staged and photographed for the listing.

 Once the staging furniture left, reality set in.  It looked tired and dingy.
In fact, the whole house did!
Not to be discouraged, I was lucky to find an amazing contractor who will tear down that wall and connect the kitchen, creating that proverbial "open concept" idea.

My attempt to visualize the room on the computer.
The kitchen designer comes tomorrow at 9 to see the space and hopefully come up with a great plan.
Ready, set go!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Going Home

 Thomas Wolfe wrote the novel, You Can't Go Home Again.  In it, the main character realizes "You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." 
I certainly believed that!

That's until one day we realized that while we left our community four years ago and embarked on a search for a new lifestyle, it wasn't working.
We missed our friends and family.
It was time to go "home."

Once we made our minds up, we found a fixer upper only a block away from our old home.
It is a single story, 1924 Normandy style cottage that needs everything!
The previous owners lived here for 40 years until they went into a retirement home.

It has great bones and a floor plan.  There's a back deck that is perfect for entertaining.
Nevermind that the deck is rotten!

Let's go inside and take a peek. 
The living room is to the left of the entry...

...with a sunroom next to it.

The dining room on the other side of the entry.
I love the French doors that look out to the front porch with its canvas awning.

 The master bedroom opens to the deck in the back.
It has a bathroom and walk-in closet.

There is a family room that also opens to the deck.
In true HGTV fashion, I plan to knock out the wall behind the sofa and create an "open concept" kitchen/family room.  
It was another selling point to this house.

The kitchen. 
I just want to point out that all of these photos are shot to make the house look bigger and to sell the house.  
This kitchen is tiny and not functional.  
A remodel is definitely in its future!

Since buying this house, I've replaced the roof.  I've gutted the master bathroom, which is nearing completion.  California Closets created a very functional master closet.  The interior has been painted and there is a huge landscape project underway.
We moved in about a month ago, so we're living through the reno.  
I'm planning on blogging again to share this project with the few readers that are still there.
Will you follow along as I take this old lady and gussy her up?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Centerpiece Of Multi-Color Roses

My mother had a wonderful rose garden when I was growing up.
She spent hours tending to them, and we always had a freshly cut bouquet in the house.
While I only plant white roses, she on the other hand had red roses, yellow roses, pink roses, lavender roses, and she knew the name of everyone of them!

That's why when I see multi-color roses at the grocery store, I buy them for a special centerpiece.
Recently, I did just that and filled a silver ice bucket with their glorious color!

 The tablecloth is a vintage African mudcloth.
The myrtle topiaries that I've managed to keep alive since Christmas flank the roses.  
Add a couple candlesticks and voila!

Not exactly like the tablescapes I used to create, but hey, it's a start.
I photographed this tablescape with my iPhone, experimenting with
the portrait feature which I think rivals my old trusted Canon Rebel that I used to use.  

What do you think?
This photo was taken with the iPhone on the portrait setting.

 This one from years ago was taken with the Canon.

 This was one of my favorite centerpieces ever!

 And here we are with the updated version!
I couldn't help thinking of my mom when I created this simple multi-color bouquet, knowing she could have named every rose in the container.  
Actually, I remember a few of them myself!

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Our Little Vegetable Garden, Now and Through The Years

 Every year for the last ten years, we've planted a vegetable garden in Asti.
This year we planted mostly heirloom tomatoes and a few herbs.

Mr. A loves to get his hands dirty.
He put in the 8 tomato plants while I offered much support and direction!

"Only two per bed please!  
Make sure they are spaced evenly..."
Yes dear!

For me, it's all about how it looks!
Since the raised beds are arranged on a slope, I like to see uniformity and a sense of symmetry to the garden.

 As soon as the tomatoes were planted, I gathered our bamboo pyramid trellises from the shed and placed them over the plants.
It gave me such a thrill!

It's all about those trellises!  
I love their purpose of supporting the tomatoes while they grow, but they also look great!

 Looking back over the years, this little vegetable garden has brought a lot of joy and memories.
Here is Mr. A about 5 years ago tending the herbs, while Oscar basks in the sun.  

Our son Aaron gathering herbs about 8 years ago!

A sweet memory from 6 years ago....
It has certainly been a family affair planting and tending to this garden!

Another sweet memory!
Our granddaughter watering the tomatoes!
How cute is she?

Most importantly though, the garden gives us such satisfaction when we see the fruits of our labor.
This little harvest was a good one!
Heirloom tomatoes and Armenian cucumbers.
Hopefully, we have a good yield this year too!

How does your garden grow?

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