Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My husband and I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a dog a few years ago. I love the idea of having a dog to walk & take to the park, but when it really got down to brass tacks, I really can't stand all the jumping and licking that dogs do.

In the world of dog-lovers versus cat-lovers, the Dog People seem more like the people I admire (outdoorsy, adventurous, outgoing), but I'm going to have to go ahead and admit that I think I'm none of those things. I'm a Cat Person (neurotic, a homebody, someone who talks to her pets far more than is appropriate). I like dogs and all, I just can't see myself owning one.

The first cat Jeff and I got after we moved in together is Tesla. She's named for Nikola Tesla, because my husband is a nerd.

I tell her everyday that she's the prettiest girl in the whole world, because she is, but also because I think she needs to hear it. She might be insecure about her place in the world ever since we brought the second cat home. She doesn't like loud noises or other animals. She startles easily and meows at shadows, but she also starts purring the second you pick her up, and if (in a hypothetical world) I decided to strap her into a baby carrier on my chest, she'd be all in. I can relate - I'm a little scared of the world, but wouldn't mind seeing it from a safe and secure place.

Conrad is our problem child. We named him for Romany Malco's character on Weeds.

When we first brought him home he was sick, and we thought he was docile, but oh, were we wrong. I have to remind him often that he is a cat, because I think he wonders why he doesn't get the privileges of humans or why he can't go out and hunt deer like a huge predator. He is undeniably handsome, loves to rub up against the legs of strangers, and everyone instantly likes him - kind of like my husband (except for the leg rubbing bit).

I volunteer at the humane society once a week in the cat care room, and my dad says he is proud of me that I haven't acquired a house full of cats. It's because I love each one more than the last. And because I already allocate way too much of my time to cat hair removal in my house.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In college I got it in my head that I wanted - NEEDED - a laminate-topped, tubular steel, retro kitchen table, like the one that had sat in my Granny's home for 40+ years. I had no idea how I was going to procure one, but it must have been in the stars, because one Saturday my junior year, my roommate and I were at a flea market and she spotted one being used as a display for a merchant's wares. She haggled with him and threatened to walk away this instant, until he finally agreed to let me have it... for $40. I know, clearly I have an issue with "overspending" on furniture.

The table came with 4 disgusting vinyl covered chairs which I took home and re-covered, but eventually discarded. I took some steel wool and dish soap to the table and cleaned it up until it was shining again. I loved loved loved that table (still do!). I've never seen another in that style that I like as much.

It still currently resides with me, along with 4 chairs from Target that I got for $25 each.

It has fit perfectly into every apartment I've lived in, but now I have a little more room. And now when we have dinner guests there is barely enough room for 4 plates, let alone drinks and silverware!

So, while I love my retro table, I long to replace it with a chunky farm table. A farm table with a matching bench and seating for six. My mouth is watering just imagining it. The table I lust after is this Pacifica Table from Crate and Barrel (in the 60" version).

Possibly with some white wooden chairs like these from West Elm

I've sold Jeff on the idea, now I just need to save my pennies.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our First DIY Project

Before we bought our house I found this dresser at a garage sale. It was $15, but by the way Jeff and I discussed it, you might have thought it was $115. We just weren't sure there was room in our 2 bedroom apartment.

I loved the retro-feel; the slight curve of the drawers and the spindle legs (not pictured above). And I love finding inexpensive furniture in good condition that I can really make my own.

I imagined stripping it and refinishing it, until I realized the top was laminate and the drawers were just veneer. So we decided to paint it, and for reasons I cannot remember we decided on a bold orangey-red - Sherwin Williams "Red Cent."

It was the first DIY project Jeff and I tackled together. We did it in my parent's garage, and I impressed upon Jeff all of my knowledge of furniture refinishing.

She sat perfectly in a nook in the dining area of our apartment for a few years, and I was nervous when we moved to our house because I knew I wanted to paint the wall in our dining room where it would sit green. I wasn't sure how that would look, but I think it works. It's a happy pop of color, and all told we only spent about $40 on it. I use it to store odds and ends that don't fit in our kitchen cabinets: dish towels, wine openers, note pads, etc.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From The Top

As a kid I always loved entering people's homes. When a new friend at school would invite me over to play or I got a new babysitting job, I was excited to see where they lived. I liked to see how their personality translated into their homes. Sometimes I would (and still do), imagine how I would rearrange their furniture, tear down a wall, or what colors I would paint the walls.

I spent a lot of time alone as a kid, drawing - sometimes pictures of people or things, but more often I drew floor plans. I drew fantastical homes with 3 floors and 10 bedrooms all with walk-in closets, and I imagined the plush leather couches that would fill these homes.

When I was 11, and my family moved, I went house hunting with my parents and took extensive notes on each house. I pictured myself living in each one. Which room would be mine? Where would I put my bed?

I don't know where this fascination came from. My parents are both teachers, and neither one is very artistic, but they encouraged my obvious interest in architecture and interior design.

When I was 12 or 13, I saw an article in a magazine about teenagers with outrageous bedrooms. One girl had painted all of her walls like a forest and slept in a tent in the middle of the room. I asked my mother if I could paint a mural on my wall. She obliged. I went to town. This is what I came up with:

Please disregard everything else in the picture, including my Superman t-shirt - it was 1995

It's nothing brilliant, but I loved doing it.

Then one summer my parents went to a garage sale and came home with two wooden chairs, asked me to paint them. I spent much of the summer in the basement painting flowers, stripes, clouds, and then covering it all with a coat of polyurethane. My mom still has those chairs, however hideous I find them now.

A few years later I had a dream that I painted my room blue, so my mother took me to the paint store, and I painted over the mural I had since outgrown. Then I painted my brother's room and advised my mother on what color to paint her's.

There was no question I would go to college for interior design, and I loved every second of it. And yet, I still have not figured out how to turn this passion into an actual career that I enjoy. The interior designer of my childhood dreams did not sit behind a computer all day working from some Higher-Up's specifications nor was she a salesperson shilling expensive furniture for commissions.

I have been lucky in a lot of areas of my life. I was born into an amazing family, somehow found the man I want to spend my life with when I was 22, and have incredible friends. Yet, I am 27 years-old, and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

I know what I love, but I haven't figured out how to turn it into a career.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to it

I've been on vacation.

Now back to reality and looking for a job.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Befores

Our house is the second house we looked at while house-hunting. The first one smelled strongly of old people and had weird acoustic ceiling tiles throughout, so this was an improvement. At least I thought so. Jeff was less impressed.

We looked at several more over the next few weeks - houses with updated kitchens and bathrooms, houses with refinished hardwood floors, houses out of our comfortable price range. I kept coming back to this one. It was built in 1954 and had only had 2 owners over that time. It has a newer roof and furnace. I couldn't justify buying a house with a brand new kitchen just to have to turn around and drop a lot of cash on a new roof. I can't invite friends over to ogle my new roof!

This house was a blank slate design-wise. It had good bones, but not much else. Everything was painted just a shade or two off-white (and when I say everything, I mean everything: light switches, picture hangers, bulletin boards [yes, BULLETIN BOARDS!] were all painted over). It was perfect for someone like me that wanted to put her own stamp on it.

This is what it looked like when we moved in:

The entryway (with rotary phone)

The Dining Room

The minty green kitchen with the avocado stove/microwave combination

The main bathroom

One of the bedrooms that we use as an office

The "Master" Bedroom

The Guest Room (you can't tell here, but it was Pepto-bismol pink)

The "Finished" Basement