Small But Mighty

I really loved reading about designer Peter Dunham‘s Los Angeles apartment in the new House Beautiful small spaces issue. What’s really interesting is that after a tumultuous personal time, he decided to sell his 3,500 square foot house and move into this 550 square foot apartment . And it sounds like he’s happier than ever in it! I’ve always liked small but efficient spaces, there’s a coziness and feeling of safety to them. Check out his adorable new place and then see how to get the look…

Love the blue door…
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The living room in a mix of his own fabrics set against a pretty pink wall color.

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This window seat makes the perfect spot for a small dining area.

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Fashion Friday: C. Wonder-ful

Sorry for the late post AND the double day of fashion but it IS Friday after all. I’m tapped out after this week so here are just a couple gems I found on C. Wonder I wanted to share, so I pulled together a few outfits to get you through a summer night out and an early fall weekend day. Because I for one am excited for fall.

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For Now: C. Wonder Dress // Stella & Dot Earrings // Stella & Dot Cuff // SJP Heels // Gap Jacket // ASOS Clutch

Come Fall: C. Wonder Trench Cape // J.Crew Stripe Tee // Coach Bag // Gorjana Earrings (so cute!!) // Johnston & Murphy Loafers // American Eagle Jeans

Classic Cool.

First of all, thank you so much for all the thoughtful words of kindness yesterday. It was so uplifting for more people than just me. It’s nice to remind ourselves that none of us are alone in our struggles.

But let’s distract ourselves today with some pretty things. I love sources that that not only have amazing clothes, but home goods too. And a double love them when they are curated with a seriously edited, classically cool aesthetic.  The Dreslyn is one such source, sprinkling in some really awesome home goods within it’s fashion selection.  Their clothes (from the likes of Theory, A.P.C., Band of Outsiders, BLK Denim and Sophie Hulme) give off that “cool French girl” vibe.  Here’s a nice little collection of their simple, modern but classic goods in stripes, plaid, denim, stone, leather, tweed, leopard, wood and gold!
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Perfect.

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A couple months ago I was asked to be a guest on Jess Lively’s podcast series chatting about the subject of perfectionism, a subject I know about all too well. As long as I can remember I’ve been a worrier, a control-freak and desirous of a flawless existence. Even when it comes down to the small stuff. I spent a good 45 minutes in the middle of the night last night wondering if I picked the right finish on my doorknobs.  I can remember a Sunday many years ago when I invited my parents up from brunch in Beacon Hill and when the restaurant and meal turned out to be awful I burst into tears at the table because I was so disappointed in myself for choosing it.  It also takes me like six hours to order a drink or meal when out to eat for fear I’ll regret my decision and should have gotten that other thing.  I rarely leave the house without making sure I’m totally put together, lose my shit when things don’t operate on schedule ( I am 100% Elaine Benes stuck on the train) and still am able to chastise myself for not getting into an Ivy League school.  If worrying and over-thinking were a sport, I’d be the  Michael Phelps of it.

Yet I’m not a Monica Gellar kind of perfectionist in that my herbs all need to be alphabetized and windows streak-free, in fact when it comes to keeping the house clean I can be a downright slob (except when company is coming over- then KA-BOOM- I turn into the kind of person who doesn’t let their husband sit down on the sofa for fear he’ll mess up my perfect pillow arrangement).   I almost never know where that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday went, my desk is just a place to pile everything that crosses my field of vision and my wash sometimes sits in the washing machine for two days before I remember to put it in the dryer (after washing it again, of course).  I’m this hybrid of ferocious regimen and disorganization. I should be stuck in a test tube and studied.

And yet my brand perfectionism does have it’s upsides. I would never be at the professional level I am today without it.  It makes me an incredibly hard worker, a great designer and employee and the kind of person who sets goals and reaches them (on their due date too!)  If I’m not 5 minutes early, I’m late, and my publisher certainly adored the fact that every deadline for my book was met to a T. I may have been a heap of sobbing mess on the floor in the middle of the night, but damn it, I meet my deadlines. And when it comes to life, I have a perfect plan laid out too. And this is where it begins to unravel a little.

I think we all have a “life plan” in our heads (maybe some of you on paper) that we hope to adhere to- a wedding by this age, a home by another, a promotion here and a baby there.  I met a lot of my dates on schedule- I was married by 26,  started my own company by 28 and bought my first real house at 32 (but actually beat my schedule by buying my first property at 25).  But along the way my schedule got full and the next big goal- a baby-  got pushed back because we weren’t ready (i.e. perfect enough) for that step. I needed to completely focus on my book, Andrew needed a better job, we needed more money in the bank and a second full bathroom in our house.

And guess what? I did it.  I checked every damn thing of my list and aligned everything perfectly, and as you know, now I am struggling hugely to get pregnant.  As I stocked my fridge yesterday with injections and syringes of medication for our first IVF cycle  I was hit in the gut by these feeling that I’ve screwed it all up. That I waited for perfection, and in doing so waited too long.  I prioritized all the wrong things and now at 34- almost 35- there is this one BIG, honking box left unchecked that really should have not been pushed aside while I was busy checking all these other superficial boxes off.

But I also know in my heart that I didn’t feel ready three years ago, or even two years ago.  Sure, we were “trying” but I wasn’t into it 100%, I was doing it because I felt I had to to keep up with my peers.  And now that I am ready and struggling, my Instagram and Facebook feed full of everyone else’s babies, third babies, sonograms and bump shots are like violent kicks to gut and daily reminders that I’m flawed.  Social media is like heroin for perfectionists- we get a big high off of the pins, instagrams and status updates of new amazing recipes, throw pillows, gorgeous beach sunsets and fishtail braids followed by deep, dark lows because we start comparing our outtakes to everyone else’s highlight reels. Perfection is what these sites run on, it’s their operating capital.

And I know that if WHEN I become a mom there will be an even bigger perfectionism struggle ahead in parenting.  I can see that one from a mile away. And just as it’s been in my life so far, my strive to be the best will be a benefit as much as a hindrance.  In the meantime I need to find a way to cope with it.  I will never NOT be a perfectionist, it’s in my DNA and not something I feel the need to crush, but I do want to be a more balanced version of myself. One that allows mistakes, delays and veers off the path- because I know that’s what kids do to your plans. And that is exactly what I need in my life. To take the focus off me, and onto something greater. Fingers crossed I can make that happen.

** And let me take this opportunity to apologize ahead of time if the hormones make me a crazy mess and my posts in the next couple weeks consist of nothing more than a video of a baby goat jumping on a trampoline and a bunch of nouns pounded out on the keyboard.

 

 

Renovation Update: The Guts of It

We’re in the final stretch if you can believe it, about four more weeks to go until we wrap this project! The beginning goes SO fast, the middle (the “guts” of the house) seem to be slower with less visual gratification,  and then the finish work and punch list tend to drag on as your anxiety to be DONE mounts and makes time stand still.  But thankfully, my team from VW Builders has been IMPECCABLE. Not only have I been totally impressed, but my Dad (whose been in the home building business over 35 years) has too!  What a professional, wonderful team to have on board. I can not recommend them any higher.

So- here’s the addition looking like a real addition! We got a new roof on the whole house too (ours was 23 years old, but luckily had not one leak).  We have a carriage style garage door on it’s way that we’ve decided to paint black to balance with the shutters and front door. And that last remaining wire running to the house will be buried underground any day now!
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So, in the kitchen this door is going away and there is a step down to a pantry and door to the patio near the grill. I’m also toying with continuing the  backsplash tile up and around this door opening, which I should have done originally but we all make mistakes….

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This will be the large pantry cabinet! STORAGE!!!!

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I decided to do single panel doors in white which will reflect the style of my kitchen cabinets making this feel like the extension of the kitchen it actually is. I ordered some gorgeous crystal Emtek knobs to dress it up a smidge.

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