Help! Sparkle Decisions

Decision time…

Special sale. Time crunch. Friend in town. Blah blah blah. Anyway… I have to decide NOW if I want to spring for this chandelier in my dining space… Help!

Here it is:



Glowing Grove Chandelier… originally $1300 from Anthropologie… but I have “connections”…. so needless to say I’m not paying nearly that much.

<<<<EDITED TO ADD, the price tag I would be paying is around $250.>>>>

Aaaaand…. it’s huge. Really big. See the picture below for scale. Holy moly.

Our-Historic-Wonderland-Inspo-1L.jpg (here)

And my dining room is smallish. Roughly 10′ x 10′.

But I like things that are disproportionately awesome. Statement!! Something has to be unbalanced (in the direction of COOLNESS) in your house, or things feel too “builder grade”.

Here’s a rough To Scale sketch (with a David sized shadow and a Blair sized shadow) to show what it will look like in the space. (The space is open on three sides though… so it’s not going to feel cramped).


The details are just so WONDERLANDY! Crystal flowers and golden leaves… magic.

So, I was going to ask you whether or not I should buy it… but I think I made up my mind already. I think this guy needs to come to my house.

But there is still time…

If I’m making a huge mistake… tell me! Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Or is it “piece?”

Whatever. The kids are begging to go to Target. (Target? Ok. I mean. If we have to.)

xoxo. KawaMama


Light vs. Dark – The Battle Rages

A battle between Light and Darkness has been raging in my house.

Shall the bedroom be dark grey or bright white?

D-Money is on the side of the light. I’m championing the dark side. (Which is so appropriate for us, right?)

I mean… look… look at the dark smokey grey!! Look at it!! Who wouldn’t want to sleep in the warm embrace of a rich smooshy shadow?


Unless of course you can sleep in a blooming pinky wonderland!!!!! See below and droll a little bit with me… go on… if there is even the tiniest shred of a little girl in you, you like this!


But I’m 99.873% sure this is not going to fly in a home where I am the only gal. So… back to the grey vs. white debate…

May I just add…. I almost never lose an argument when it comes to color.


P.S. That’s Benjamine Moore “Gravel Grey” and I love it.

But I’m conceding this one. We’re going white, people. We are going white.


Ok maybe not that white. Maybe more like…

After much deliberation, I chose Benjamin Moore “Decorator’s White” (which made me feel kind of lame, I won’t even lie to you)….

Sometimes white feels like a NON-DECORATING choice. Like… come on… you couldn’t commit to a color?! But there’s a theory behind all this. #1 The main living spaces of the house are grey. So… grey in the living zones, fresh white in the sleeping. It’s a balance. Kind of a reverse logic balance… which satisfies the dark side in me.

And #2… I forgot what #2 was going to be. #3 Where else could you possibly keep white clean except in the master bedroom?! With small children! White is like the most luxurious thing you can possibly risk. Risky white. Very sexy. 😉

Oh I remember what #2 was!…. I love layers of texture and African batik. I brought some of all of this back from Kenya and Tanzania when I was there… and now it all lives on my bed (don’t worry, you’ll get to see it soon). With all that color and pattern on the bed, a white background is a great frame for the picture.

So. White.

We’re putting it on the walls today. Eeeeep. As long as I don’t hate it, I’ll edit and add pictures.

And that’s all I have time for today… you can only type so many things with a baby in your lap. Did I mention I’m still breastfeeding this little hooligan? He’s too cute to wean.

See you soon with more white photos and updates…. I think I’m going to reveal my mood boards and material lists next. Ooo ahh.

Stay classy.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5 & 6)

Coffee. Chaos. Chandeliers!

I woke up this morning after 3 long days of work… and there is only coffee. It is the only goal, the only joy, the only substance. I now understand what that Idolatry thing was we were talking about in Sunday School. I have to worship at the altar. Coffee. Coffee and trying not to squish 3 year olds who want to tell me how to live my life. YOU DON’T OWN ME TINY 3 YEAR OLD! (Oh, ok, you sort of do. BUT NOT BEFORE I DRINK MY COFFEE!!!)

Let’s talk about chandeliers.

‘Cause… twinkly!




(Spoiler alert ^ that’s my favorite. Buuuut… apparently I have very spendy taste because this bad boy is almost $2000. There may be a serious D-I-Myself project in my future?? Ugh.)

The chandelier is going to be a very BIG moment in this house.

Uhmeeean, when is a chandelier not a big moment, you ask?

True, true. But in the new house, the dining room is located at the center axis of the entire home. It’s the very, very visible heart of everything. Homegirl just don’t wanna look janky.

Nerd moment: The house is actually cruciform. [The floor plan is shaped like a cross. Think ‘Cathedral’ architecture.] The dining room is located at the heart of the intersection of the cross. If it were a Cathedral, the dining room is where you might received the Eucharist. Which seems like a great place to receive our daily bread, to me!

Ok, moving on!

Since the chandelier will be directly visible from EVERY public space of the house… I want to invest in the RIGHT thing. For months I’ve been snatching up loose dollars and hiding them in a pot… in a secret location 😉 😉 . (Sorry David. That’s where your pocket change has been running off to.) I’m saving up for the perfect thing!


This is a Design Crisis of very large proportions por moi!!

Is it a modern, fresh cottage thing?

It is a high glam twinkle situation?



I’m rather partial to Hollywood Regency and anything Kelly Wearstler… but I’m not sure that the style factor of the whole house supports this level of pure and unvarnished luxe.

So, on the other hand I love this laid back, sparse-but-warm look. Brass. Buhraaaass!

But in design, Sparse is usually ‘Spensive.

P.S. Not to get off topic, but… if you have like, thousands of extra useless dollars laying around and want to get rid of any of them… I mean… my chandelier budget and I will take them. For the team. We don’t mind. 

Do I have some favorites? Yes. Yes I do. But… I’m not committed. I need to start getting COMMITTED because I’m about to have to commit some monies to this venture.

(Don’t make me link all these! Please don’t. Ugh. They’re like a bazillion dollars anyway. If you can afford these and you’re reading this blog, you’re weird. Hire Kelly Wearstler.)

(1. Brass, 2. Black web thing, 3. Beads, 4. Anemone, 5. Murano Looking Guy, 6. MY LIIIFE)

That’s all I have for today.

All out of coffee. All out of gas. And Oliver just decorating the entire living room with a roll of toilet paper. I didn’t have the heart to stop him. (Ok, I’m lying. I didn’t have the energy.)

My kids are sitting in a cardboard box eating popcorn right now. This feels like such a parenting win.

Tell me your favorites. Tell me how to afford them. Ok bye.


Parenting Through A Reno: Or “HAHA SUCKER!”

If you want to do a renovation with kids (which you probably don’t, if you know what’s good for you) you should believe deeply in TV and fast food. And if you don’t… prepare yourself. It is about to become a significant part of your religion.

Lots of TV.

Lots of fast food.


And you should NOT believe in a clean home base house (where ever you’re living while you reno). Just… forget about it. Now. Clean is an Eden you will return to only after you have passed through the fiery trials of Reno Land and lived to tell about it.


Since chaos is inevitable (and it is. I promise), you might as well embrace it!

Netflix will become your nanny.

Chick-fil-A will be your personal chef.

The mess will grow and grow as you slather all your free time on the Project House… until the clutter embraces you like a warm hug. It will say, “Welcome home, Champ! I’ve been waiting for you. Put your feet up… somewhere. Maybe on this stack of unopened mail? Take a seat! Anywhere you can squeeze that hard-workin’, paint-splattered, hot little construction worker behind of yours. Yes, yes you can sit on the laundry pile. Because you earned that right. You’re a boss.”

You might as well go ahead and give yourself a Guilt Free Pass for all these things.

It’ll be fun! You’ll say to guests, “Oh, pardon the mess, we’re renovating a new house!” And their eyes will get large with respect instead of horror. It’ll be kind of like a vacation… except, you’ll be working your butt off. But, you’ll have street cred AND you’ll get to skip daily sweeping.

I call that a win+win.



Before, Or, #What Have I Done?

“Pardon Our Progress”

I’m not even sure we should talk about how VERY “Beforey” our Before is. It makes me want to hide my head under a pillow and pray for forgiveness to the Reno Fairy.


The builders of the house took special care to install very stylish, top quality EVERYTHING…. back in the 1970s.

The whole kitchen is army lemony/greenish beige and red. And paneling.


Our toilet is the color of moss with an embroidered toilet lid. Yes. Embroidered.

The wallpaper is so dated, it might be cool if it was sold at Urban Outfitters.


But the house has GREAT bones. High quality terrazzo flooring (a very expensive Italian finish of pulverized marble laid in a fine cement). Solid wood cabinetry. Heart pine construction. Expensive built ins and a wonderful layout.

It’s spacious and airy and full of light. At least it will be once we get all the orange paint, weird bulk heads, and low ceilings out of the way. And paneling. Did I mention paneling? ALL THE PANELING.


The scary thing is… once you rip out all the dated cabinetry, pull down the paneling, sand off the puke-lavender oil paint, and patch all the nail holes…. everything looks WORSE!

Much worse.

You drag yourself home at the end of a long work day thinking, Holy Jehosephat Batman, what the heck have I gotten myself into?!



That’s the stage I’m in right now.

Just… YIKES!

But I know it’s going to be magical when it’s done. Because I have PLANZZZZ!!!!! Plans bay-beeee!!! And determination. And Moxi.

More on those glammy plans soon, my dear little Kawa-Casa-ites! Stick around. And, you know, hey, comment when you can. Be a pal. 😉 Love yah.

How We Got Here

My husband and I bought a house together when we married and moved to Savannah. We were all kinds of poor. Beans and rice and Jesus Christ, bless our hearts! And mortgages are cheaper than rents in the Coastal Empire.

It was a wonderful house… if you’re not afraid of a little asbestos! And we’re not. Much. And if you don’t mind a single bathroom the size of your average inflatable raft.

When we bought it, a bum was camped out in the living room. The kitchen walls were a bad grey/yellow (grellow?) oil paint over latex that had to be peeled off in sheets like a sunburned skin situation. Everything else was purple. But we got it for almost no monies. So that was a plus.


(illustrated in felt tip pen by Walter Kawa, urban planner + landscape architect)

We moved in and right away we had a great idea! (Read: Horrible idea.) “Let’s go ahead and gut the kitchen while we have help from friends and family!” Except that we had nothing to replace the old kitchen with. The counters were on back order. The carpenter was taking his sweet time with the cabinet doors. There was no dish washer. No stove. No sink. We had a floor. That was nice.

<<Before Kitchen Picture: Currently stuck on a badly formatted hard drive. Will update.>>

We spent the first 6 months of our marriage washing dishes in the bathtub and cooking meals on a griddle in the living room.

If you’ve never lounged on the couch and cooked your breakfast on your lap, you’ve never lived. Well… you’ve never lived the life of a hobo hijacking electricity, that is.

Fun Fact: We even invited overnight guests to visit us in the midst of remodelpocalypse! Yep. We did that thing. (I profoundly blame the bright optimism of youth… which we will hitherto refer to as The BOOY.)

But it worked out. I painted everything pink. (I was annoyed that after 20-something years of living with ONE MILLION sisters, I now had to live with a dude and think about designing without flowers and sequins.)

<<After Kitchen Picture: Currently stuck on a badly formatted hard drive. Will update.>>

Being newly weds, we spent the next 6 years filling the little house (about 900 square feet) with every kind of FREE decor you can possibly recycle out of your weird relatives’ garages and back sheds. The final result was an odd semi-circa-70’s mish-mash that we’ll call “eclectic”… just to be nice.

Then we made a thing…


He was pretty great. (Ok, actually he was really hard, but more on that later.) So we made another thing…


P.S. I’m now realizing that there are waaaay fewer pictures of Thing Two… oops.

Then we bought another house!

And that’s how we got here.

Now…. let the second home renovation of our lives begin! We’re approaching this one with a little more savvy, a little more money, a little more style, and a lot more crazy.


The Kawa Mama