Introducing “The Mother”

Howdy Everyone!

Today I’m doing some work on a little doozy of a project that I’ve christened The Mother… why The Mother, you ask?!  Well, because (for me) she’s the mother of all projects!  And when she’s frustrated me, I’ll say something like “Mother!!”  It’s very PG around here so that’s as far as it goes, but you get the idea…Sometimes The Mother can be quite a mother.

I have been thinking about adding in shelves and storage to my dining area for quite some time.  Since I’ve had to give up my space to these kiddos, there is just nowhere to keep my fabric, sewing machine, you know, my grandma stuff anymore.  And it would be awfully nice to be able to display my growing collection of antique blue and white Chinese pottery.

Anytime you’re going to embark on a project like this you know there are several ways to go about it. 1. Hire someone; I did meet with 2 incredibly talented carpenters who would make my storage dreams come true for about 10 grand.  2. Buy pre-made cabinets and have the shelves made or go to a cabinet store; Also, investigated this and I would get close to what I was envisioning for about 4k (not bad at all) or 3. Do it myself, slowly over time, with unfinished cabinets to get exactly what I want; Super labor intensive but I could test out my chops.

Weight the pros and cons carefully, Folks!  This is your home and you don’t want a mess of a project.  DIY is cool, but you never want it to look DIY.  Am I right?!?!

My solution came to me on a trip to the ReStore Habitat for Humanity store.  I saw it.  A heap of cabinets and shelves.  The guys just wanted it out of there, so for $300 and a 16ft UHaul it was all mine.

I didn’t even know what I was buying, but it appeared to be in great shape, 100% wood (no veneer here!), and I liked the molding/trim detail.  Plus it came with a bunch of shelves, which is what I was looking for and I figure (I’m still planning it out) that I can make it work.

My garage today-

A view from the top so you can see it’s about 6 feet deep!
Mother! That’s a LOT of cabinets.


Close up of door/drawer detail
Close up of door/drawer detail
My inventory after measuring and inspecting my loot, with a bit of my son’s artwork at the bottom. 12 large pieces in all with a TON of trim, moulding and cabinet tops.

Where can you score something like this??  You’ll need luck, yes, but the ReStore is the place to go.  They get cabinets all the time.  Nothing near you?  Then I would put an add on Craigslist – people love to sell stuff they’re planning on dumping anyway.

So, there you have it.  The mother of all projects that will be my time zapper for the next few months.  I will keep you updated in real time with my progress so that you can be there with me through all the fun steps.  It’s so weird to me when I read a blog and in one day an entire room is completed – Hello!!  We all know it took like a gabillion years to get it done.

That’s the plan, at least.  Cut up some cabinets, patch some holes, use a chemical stripper, sand for weeks, prime, paint, configure, trim it out and put the bling on.  Easy, right?!?

In the meantime…. here’s some inspiration for your shelves out there and kinda what I have in mind.  Ta-Ta!!

33f1dec3afd0c5480114935af30dcbfd 0335de995eb0f92c01d8abdab6f6e646 00f3522179dd447006e465b5e50f9a06 ef2174738c664f7bfc9bf509e293fa78 2577b5cab4a9c853e87bc22a31800d92 eaa20dc0f33faeb02b1b6eb6895ffb9d 6615d08cf9a725263c86b97de3e330a5 18497b0a9739f2fe958d5b6ed208b28f.jpg

Why I can’t stop playing the field.

Welcome back Amigos!

Throughout the years I’ve read advice from designers who’ve said, if you want a smokin’ house, PICK A STYLE and stick to it!

Say what!?!  Just one?!?!  Panic.  ‘Cummon, it’s easier to pick a mate than one measly style!!

It’s just plain unnatural to cuddle up with one style all the rest of your days (well, until you redecorate, at least.)  Mixing it up is part of our DNA and hey, it keeps things interesting… there always seems to be a new trend that comes along and seduces you a little…and you can’t help yourself to a few Japanese vases, only to come eye-to-eye with an early American that’s got gorgeous bones, but your mother is pushing Greek Revival, when along comes Louis XV to put you in a tailspin.  Yes.  You always go back to old faithful, but (can we all agree?), it can be pretty fun to play the design field.  And all that enjoyment, leads to the creation of an incredibly pleasurable space.

Case in point…

My Favorite! Love the panels, suzani and (yowzer) the Monroe photograph. I might feel weird, though, sleeping with the vultures watching overhead.


01_248 3_MH1108_SAWAYA_dining_V 3_1303842336_sig_bergamin_0411_14


If you can’t have fun in your home, then where can you?!?  Never settle for just one style… at least when it comes to decorating with your eye candy, I can testify that English, French, and that sophisticated Mid-Century, can all get along very well.


Principles of Design – Mark Hampton Part 1

Hellosie Design Aficionados!

When you really love something, don’t you just want to know everything about it?!  I realize that this need to know everything is not always the best way to go about a love affair, but when it comes to design, yes, go all single white female on that B. (And when it comes to lovin’ your significant other, maybe tread lightly when you’re studying the inner depths of their psyche.)

I’ve come to believe that learning about the history and principles of design is just as important as actually practicing them.  It will ultimately make us better at what we love and (bonus!) we’ll sound very smarty-pants at parties.  For that reason, I’d love to share some tidbits that I’ve found interesting in books that are currently on my nightstand.  Today, I’m just finishing up Mark Hampton Decorates, which actually began as a collection of essays that he put together for a magazine and later turned into a relaxing, insightful read.  And although I can’t say that I favor his traditionalism, I have found some nuggets in there to take to heart.

Mark firmly believed that decorating is fun and that it should be enjoyed; The thrill of the hunt for the perfect piece is the best part.  Agreed!!  Here is a space he designed which looks like it just came out of Architectural Digest!


Hampton also heavily advocated small sitting areas within larger spaces.  He says that it’s more comfortable for guests when they can have a variety of seating options (like higher chairs for older people, or deeper seating for lazing) and have the ability to move seats around to create pockets of conversation.  One thing that got me, was that he recommended using those “off-limit” rooms to make them more, shall I say, enticing.  Once a year for the holidays is not enough!  I have a living room that rarely gets used by guests, probably because it seems restricted – we don’t use it on the daily, so why would our guests go in there?  The kids run all over it, so there’s nothing too fancy schmancy in there (well, not anymore!) but Mark’s commentary made me see that when a room is not used it looks/feels stagnant and lifeless.

*Homework for me – Use my living room to see what I can do to make her more inviting!  Crudités anyone?!


“The single greatest vulgarity in interior decoration is pretentiousness.  Understatement is a pain in the neck sometimes, but it is a good thing to keep in mind even when you are contemplating some ravishing excess.  Where rich materials are concerned, good judgement is required.”  Mark Hampton

The dining room is from 1989, so clearly Marky-mark knew what he was talking about.  Good design, stands the test of time.  Have fun, enjoy your spaces!  But don’t be all pretentious about it, sheesh!

So, let’s us pour a glass of whatever in our forbidden rooms to him.  He certainly made traditional cool.