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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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hotel Luna Mystica

 I've been dying to post about Hotel Luna Mystica, a vintage trailer hotel and campground located just outside Taos.  Following on the heels of my review of Tin Can Homestead seems like a good time to share our visit there, last summer.

Our daughter Ashley was hired to design the interiors of these vintage travel trailers, so I have a special interest.
She had a vision for each trailer and was excited to take her dad and I on a grand tour.

I acted as a consultant from afar, advising her on sources for fabrics and leather, as well as just someone to bounce ideas off of.
I love how she used shibori fabric pillows on a leatherette dining bench.
The American flag adds a special touch.

I really love the kitchen in this trailer with the stainless steel countertops and blue accent walls.

All units feature high quality bedding and linens.
Real down duvets, all white.

In another trailer, she used Mexican blankets to make pillows.
A friend made the table and shelf.

What a difference it makes to paint all the cabinets and paneling white.
Subway tile and wooden counters lend a light touch and make the space seem larger.

The interior of this trailer got a coat of plaster, which reminded me of the typical adobe cottages in New Mexico.
For more glamping inspiration, check out Hotel Luna Mystica's website here.
It's packed with photos of all the trailers, their history as well as things to do in and around Taos.

Thanks for indulging me with my travel trailer obsession!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Tin Can Homestead

Many of you already know of my obsession with Airstreams.  
I hope to someday buy a vintage one and completely renovate it top to bottom.
My inspiration?  The couple who did just that!

Natasha Lawyer and Brett Bashaw actually bought a vintage Airstream, renovated it and made it their permanent home in Seattle for a year and a half before selling the Tin Can and moving to Vermont.
I discovered their Instagram, Tin Can Homestead and was instantly hooked on their journey.

I love their style and am so inspired by the design.
No dark paneled walls here, but white tongue and groove paneling and pine accents.
It feels Scandinavian in design.  Light and airy.

This isn't your grandparent's Airstream!

Their new book also by the same name is now available.  I received an advance copy for review and have been devouring it since.
It's a great DIY book, detailing their renovation and all the issues along the way that comes with a 1971 Airstream.

I had not considered all the negatives like mice, leaks and rotten floors when buying a vintage trailer.
Not that they had to deal with too much of that, but I learned so much about what to look for and what to expect if buying an old trailer.
They bought theirs already gutted which is a good idea.
Then they added the electrical, plumbing and walls.

 I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this process.
The before above and after here are so dramatic!

Of course, their dogs were there through it all.
How adorable are they?

This book not only documents Natasha and Brett's amazing year and a half living and renovating their tiny home, the Tin Can Homestead, but it's also quite romantic to read about their adventure.

They have since sold their Airstream and the Tin Can now lives in California.
I actually thought about buying it when they listed it on Instagram!
Natasha and Brett are now in Vermont on another adventure.

Be sure to follow them on Instagram at @tincanhomestead and @sugarhousehomestead.
You can buy their book at

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