Renovation Update: Blood, Sweat and Tears

This was our first full week in the house and it was a particularly trying one. Moving into a construction site is hard- you can’t unpack and settle, everything is filthy no matter how much you clean and if you are like me, you just start making lists of how many more additional things you want/need to fix.  While I know in my heart I am so lucky to have the ability and opportunity to renovate this house, I admit that I spent a good solid several hours last week absolutely losing my shit. I do miss the city. I know  I just moved and all change takes time to get used to. And I know that renovating takes time. A long time- like two years. Oh, and a boatload of patience is so crucial (which I don’t have in spades).  But these are all things that will hopefully test me and in time make me a better person. So Sunday I bucked up and worked on the house with fervor and enjoyed peeking around the neighborhood and spending time working on the yard with my parents and Andrew.

Andrew was also busy painting, like, everything in the house, so I focused on the stairs which were really bugging me because the previous owner had painted around the runner and they looked beyond ghetto and were the first thing I saw when walking in the door and set my mood on “foul”. I have one recommendation for those painting stairs with spindle balusters…. HIRE A PAINTER. Holy sweet mother of all things sacred, taping off and painting these things was one hell of a job. I nearly went cross eyed and lost most motor function in my right hand after FOUR hours of working on them.

Before I painted, but after I became intimately acquainted with blue painters tape… and a gallon of Benjamin Moore White Dove semi-gloss.


After, so so much better and cleaner. Also note Andrew has been making progress painting our hall Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist. And we hope that this year we will save enough to have the floors, stairs and banister re-stained a very dark walnut. Oh, and I’m gonna have a wool sisal runner made with banding for the stairs. Lots to do. Lots to pay for. :)

Looking down at the powder room you can see we still have to paint the trim but the new wood floors were laid in there and in the new hallway to the right where a closet used to be (awaiting poly)

See our new hallway- this small decision made a HUGE impact on light and flow. And because I love the original dentil molding so much we had to figure out how to finish this off. So we re-purposed molding from the walls in the dining room we plan to knock down when we do the kitchen next! Now we just have to paint the trim and walls and this space will be great!

But back to the powder room- pondering wallpaper for this teeny tiny space… really feeling the Hicks Hexagon on the right… the grey/blue colorway. I was thinking I’d do something crazy and huge scale and bright, but the more I see the house change the more I feel like it should be modern but subtle in color.

Also loving the new colorways from Cole & Son of the large scale diamonds, the large scale Hicks and the grey/tan smaller Hicks shown above…. decisions, decisions.

I have loved this paper my whole career so I feel like it would be a smart choice.

I also love this Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth in Chain Link pattern…. I have a client who has her powder room in it in orange and its adorable.

So gross before. UGH. That floor. Can’t wait for the new toilet and teeny, tiny pedestal sink to go in from Waterspot and the sconces from Lamps Plus!

Speaking of Lamps Plus, my Robert Abbey Bling Flushmount came for the master and I was so super psyched! Putting the individual glass drops on was quite a job though…. I poured a glass of white and rolled up my sleeves….

Two layers of individually wrapped crystals. On boy.

My fingers started to go numb at this point but I was loving the look.  Finding stylish flushmounts isn’t easy and this is such a great one!

TA DA! (Bedroom still not set up, styled or organized- that mirror has since moved)

My mom edged all my pachysandra with rocks my dad dug up from another part of the yard. Crafty folks.

The yard is looking SO SO much better!

Our view across to the neighbors from our chairs in the back (our wine time spot).

While out walking and exploring the neighborhood the other day I saw this adorable little sign outside a gorgeous house and it made me smile.

LOVE this house on our street. Columns make me weak in the knees.

Another house that made me drool. That PORCH!

Quite the entryway, eh?

Sweet Oliver LOVES our mulch. So much that he rolls in it and then runs up to my bed and rolls around in it making it look like I’m planning to plant a garden in there. But look at that face, how can I be mad?

And then there is my “first born”, who takes after his mom and is quite anxious about the move. We go splitsies on these.

And when I got in bed last night I found this book under my pillow with a bookmark it it to this page. I knew immediately it was from my dad who had been at the house working today. So sweet, I need to remember this.

Renovation Sponsors:

Table & Tulip

The other day Lindsey and I were walking to a client meeting in the South End and I was stopped dead in my tracks when passing this little alleyway that was transformed into a gorgeous garden!  Oooh-ing and Ahhh-ing I wondered aloud what it was- and then I saw a little box on the brick wall with business cards for, of course, a floral and event design company, Table & Tulip. I’d actually heard of Andrea Halliday, the owner, before after seeing some of her work at Chestnut Hill’s Portobello Road boutique, but this little slice of heaven in the middle of the city was awesome (my pictures do not capture it)

Here is some of Andrea’s beautiful work to brighten your day!

Flower Girl

Yesterday I fell in love with florist Amy Merrick’s work, website and blog. Her florals have such a loose, english country garden kind of feel- all loose and natural and never, ever prim and proper.  And can we discuss this GENIUS website welcome page? It’ probably the best thing I’ve seen in, like, EVER:

Some of Amy’s work:

This looks like an old oil painting! So gorgeous!

I would love to have one of these on my large windowsill! If only I didn’t kill plants just by looking at them.

Amy has a summer home in New Hampshire called Elmwood that makes me want to be her BFF and run away there with her for the whole summer. It’s ancient, and not modern and updated and everything you think of when you think of a “summer cottage”…. charm abounds!

So wonderful to wake up to a breeze and flowers on the sill while in a antique spindle bed….

And why is it that I never, ever, ever find amazing paintings like this at flea markets? Am I going to the wrong flea markets? Mine seem to only have velvet Elvis paintings (which will never, ever be “in”)

I mean, come on. CUTE!

I want to be canoeing at dusk! Andrew and I went kayaking in Vermont the other weekend and I hadn’t has as much fun all summer as that!

She also went to Paris with her sister and pictures are marvelous. This one is absolutely fantastic. A framer.

The most touching post and pictures though are of Amy’s anniversary of an accident she was in in which she lost two and a half fingers on her left hand.  Her words and images are so move and a reminder that we all go through difficulties and some of us, if we approach it the right way, come out more wonderful on the other side. In the face of trgedy sometimes it’s hard to see past it, and other time it helps frame your life in a new, better light.

Also be sure to check out her AMAZING series on Design*Sponge. I cannot BELIEVE there is someone else out there that has Troop Beverly Hills on the top of their fave movie lists….and designed a look to coordinate!!!

I may have just found my soulmate.

Au Naturel: Tata Harper

I have been seeing Tata Harper’s all natural products mentioned in many fashion magazines lately and as someone who has dreams of being one of those glowy, peaceful girls who only uses natural products and eats all organic I became curious.  Turns out, Tata is exactly that girl- and her adorable home reflects that laid back, vintage feel too! She lives on a acre farm in Vermont where all her products are hand made. It reminds me a little of this book I’m reading from a former Martha Stewart executive who left the rat race to move to remote upstate New York.  I always fantasize about the quiet life somewhere int he country with space to think and be and breathe, but I always wonder if I would get so bored I’d tear my hair out.

The silhouette wall behind the sofa is amazing- note the various vintage frames in different shapes and colors which helps create this totally bohemian feel.

Note the turquoise trimmed windows!

Her farm in Vermont and Tata at work in the garden and lab via a great article in Vanity Fair.

I am particularly enamored with the rose tinted resurfacing mask- that color look good enough to eat (you probably could too, but I do not recommend that.)

Photos via David A. Land Photography and Vanity Fair.

How Does Your Garden Grow

I saw this awesomely creative garden/potting room from the Shippan Designer Showhouse on Stacy Kustel’s blog and had to share. Designer Victoria Lyon and Robin Horton of Urban Gardens crafted such a  charming, relaxed space for those with a green thumb.  From the greenery wall to the birds on the wall it makes me wish I had a garden to tend to!








This room reminds me that I am still dying to see the new Anthropologie gardening outpost Terrain in PA!

Hello killer signage….




These zinc tags remind me of the room above! They would actually be great as gift tags too this holiday season!


They also sell vertical garden wall containers to create a green wall like the one at the showhouse!


I love these various terrariums! I want some in my house!

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How about these gorgeous lights?


And there is no more perfect post than this with which to wish my mom, the ultimate gardener (remember her gardens I showed you here?) a very, very happy 60th birthday! Love you!!!