Scenes From the Witching Hour

This afternoon The Sad was so overpowering. I just couldn’t bring myself to paddle upstream against the crazy any more… and yet when I stopped ACTIONING my world, the uncontrollableness and powerlessness felt overwhelming. Oppressive.

The only way I felt I could fight back was to stop fighting the mess and look at it. Look at it and say, “Is that the best you can do?” And I took these raw, honest photos of the disaster and chaos around me. #crazylooksbetterinblackandwhite


The minute you pick up a broom, someone comes to hold your ankles. The minute you make a pile someone comes to disperse it. The minute you get the floor swept… someone throws handfuls of cereal on the floor. And sometimes you just burst into tears.


Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you’re tough. But sometimes you just cry ugly tears… over cereal. And then  you cry more ugly tears because the reality hits you: you’re crying about cereal.

And no one cares.

And here’s your big girl pants. If you could put them on, thaddad be great.

But you just can’t deal.


You can’t deal with the kids undoing the laundry AGAIN. You’re out of ideas for how to get them to quit solving their squabbles by biting each other. There is this looming thought in the back of your mind, “Is there any way I can salvage this situation (the house, the kids, and my mood) before Husband gets home? No. Probably not.”

On Mother’s day the pastor said… “Jesus is the reason that you can give yourself grace in the emotional, contentious, confusing, difficult realm of motherhood. He says you’re enough. He says you are defined by your love, and not by your laundry pile.”

He is also the reason we can Grace each other.

But real talk… Sometimes we can’t keep fighting to cover up our mess or fix it. And I mean Our Mess Mess. Not our cheerio floors.

Sometimes we just have to stop and look at it.

Sometimes we need to take a mental picture of our mess… and Grace it.

And then remember to grace others with the grace we’ve received.

Good luck with your evening, ladies. It’s bedtime somewhere.



Big Style for Real Human Money

Vision vs. Reality …. That’s the always forever struggle of design. Really, that IS design.

And somewhere right in between that little “vs” is the ruler of ALL the decisions… BUDGET!!!

But (take this to the bank with the dollars you are saving for that new rug) Budget isn’t the enemy. Budget is your friend. Make one. Keep it. Mostly. Except when you splurge. NO! Don’t listen to the devil. Keep your budget. Honestly, limitations make design more fun.

Ok, enough of this Budget talk. Bleh. I’m getting hives. More Design!!!


Rule #1 – If you don’t have a VISION… the end result will probably suck.

Here’s some of my early, messy vision casting and dreaming in a collection of cut and pasted scraps of magazine and web printings.

I always start the design process by dreaming up what I want my room to FEEL like. Not sourcing stuff… just imagining the vibe… the era… the texture… the emotion I want to have in that space…

Is it crisp or soft? Simple? Layered? Calming? Exciting? Cool? Warm? Old? New? Twinkly? Rough? And, of course, the answer is always somewhere in the middle of a layered push and pull between opposing textures. But ultimately one vibe is going to win. What is it?


I have a very visceral approach to design. I feel my way toward an outcome that is a push and pull between design styles and I can feel when it’s right.

((Usually my Feels are very spendy… and then I have to remind them that we’re on the Home Depot budget, mkaaaay?! Mkay, Feels?!))

Here’s a little truth that should make you feel brave with design…. The design of a room is not about the stuff you put in it. Ultimately, it is about how that stuff makes you feel. You can create a million dollar home that looks like a poor man’s cottage! It’s not about dollars. It’s all about taste and preference.

Ok… Got it?!… Feels.

All the feels.

NOW… Start to dream up a mega, epic, pie in the sky, money is no option vision for what the room could LOOK like. I start spying out finishes and fixtures and colors. They are all out of my price range. Without fail.

THEN… I start to translate down… down to the land of affordability. Do not get carried away. Do not pass GO and spend the dollars on the Dream Thing. There is a cheaper option. Always.

Rule #2 – If you don’t have a BUDGET… the end result will never become a reality.

Example… here’s a bathroom sconce that I LOVED from Hudson Valley Lighting. Aaaaaand, they are like $1000 each. Times two. Um no.

Then I found this guy from Home Depot. That’s what I got.

(When I bought them they were $64 each. The price has since climbed up higher… to about $100 each… don’t ask me how this works. #internet #oil #whatevereconomics) 


Yeah. I’m pretty excited.

And this….


HOLLLAAAAA!!!!!! This is my bathroom floor tile. Uh. Mah. Guh.

For a minute I thought to myself, “Anything with that much style will look dated after a while” and then I thought, “I don’t even care. There is so much love here.”

And by “a minute” I mean I agonized over this choice before I ordered it for approximately One Million Years.

But now that it’s here I know there will be ZERO Ragrats. 😉

P.S. – This tile was all of $4.00 a square foot!!!!! I mean!!!!! That is a LOT of style for $4 a square foot. Still, $4.00 a square foot is more on the spendy side of our budget, so I used budget to guide design choices… Caaaause, I wanted to put it ALL OVER my kitchen. But instead I opted for the smaller bathroom space because of cost. See how that works?!


Design is so fun.

Ok bye!



The Emerald City

Don’t get me wrong… I love color. But I think it should live in a cool restrained background. And I think it should be done in big, bold, blocky chunks. That’s just my style.

(Side note: My current house does not well reflect this style… because everything came out of some distant relative’s garage for free. Because #marriedyoung and #poor. But now I have a chance to bring that style to life!)

Until now there’s been a lot of neutral up in here recently.

But…. let’s consider that a base coat.

Now, very carefully, I’m beginning to lay down some color.

And I’m starting in the laundry room!!! (Because I believe in making small forgettable spaces into big moments. And big living spaces into quiet, calming vistas.)

I’m loving a lushy, regal emerald. A storied mermaid green that looks expensive and old all at once.

Layered glossy emerald on a light utilitarian warm grey base. Always, always, always off-set by stark neutral choices.


^^ This was one of my original inspiration images for the entire house. I’m glad that I’m getting some of this crazy lushness and boldness into the decor… but I’m also glad it’s going to be hiding in the back… because I have commitment issues.

Making this come to life is still MAJORLY in progress… But it’s coming along.

I can’t give you much here… just this sneak peak…


This picture is a HORRIBLE reflection of the true color.


What. Happened?!?!?! This is… no. Not that.

I took the photo at night with lots of crazy incandescent light bulbs making things weirdo. The true color is much less teal blue and much more glossy layered EMERALD.

No really. I swear.

I tried editing the photo to be more color-true… but the edits aren’t uploading? Whatever. Technology. Moving on.

FUNNY STORY: My father-in-law was visiting last weekend and we had this awesome conversation:

FIL: “What are you planning to work on tomorrow at the house?”

Me: “I’m going to finish painting the built-ins in the laundry room.”

FIL: “Oh good. You’re going to finish painting over that green?”

Me: “Uuuum…. No. I picked the green. On purpose. That was me.”

FIL: “O__O…… *awkward silence*”

So just in case you’re with my FIL and think that this choice is THAAAWOOOORSTEEEVVVAAAAR…. here’s a photograph of what it looked like BEFORE.


Charming, no?

Even though, technically, this horrible peach pink is the Pantone Color of the Year…

But I’m going to go with… Emerald is better. The end.


White Out

Benjamine Moore “Decorator’s White”

That’s what we ended up going with. And it’s going to be perfect. I had some serious doubts after purchasing… there was more laying in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking “Oh God, what have I done?!” (You know. The important choices in life…. like which white! His eye is on the sparrow and my paint choices?)

It’s hard to capture a white in a photo without some contrast… but it was pink before…


Not even a bad pink. I rather liked it…


But then the white. You can vaguely see that it is ever so slightly darker than the ceiling white… which actually makes it appear brighter. Don’t ask me why. It works.


It’s important to hire good help.

You should only trust a very good man to tie your shoe laces together while you’re on top of a ladder holding a cup of liquid latex.


Like I said… it’s hard to depict a great white in a picture without contrast…. but this is a great white. I highly recommend. Not too cold. Not too warm. Not too bright. Not too tinted. Love.

Next up… EMERALD!!! I kid you not.


I did a thing.

That’s right! Some of you said YEA! and some say Nah. Ultimately…


There she is, folks. So large and fluffy and twinkly. Sprinkling little bits of real gold leaf dust wherever she gets shoved out of the way of impending construction.

Her oversized bulk and whimsical glint has earned her the lovingly humorous label “Thumbelina”… or “Big Bertha” depending on the mood.

AAH! Commitments!!!!! Scary.

I didn’t sleep a WINK the whole night after I made this purchase. Not because I was worried about the dollars (it was very affordable)… but because I thought, “Shoot! Now every other decision has to balance and match and play off this one BIG decision.” EEEP!!!

With every choice you make, the scope of your other choices narrows. With this chandelier, I can’t just use any old table. The table has to work. AND be affordable. So the puzzle pieces get more complicated.

…But despite my minor freak out, a week later I found an amazing, sleek, modern lined, solid wood dining room table in a style I love for SOoooooooooooo cheeeeeaaaaap…… so that made me feel better.

More on that later.

Drop by soon for pictures of Thumbelina’s table.