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Renovation Reevaluation

There’s nothing like a renovation to give you time you didn’t even know you had to reflect on your life choices. (That’s only funny if you’ve lived it.)

In my case, it all started with the house I had to have. The one I saw and loved instantly. In my defense, I wasn’t looking for another project OR another house. I had just finished a major renovation of our 1990s monstrosity-of-a-kitchen, expanding it into the somewhat unusable front living area. I blame my decision to jump into another home makeover challenge on my career. Keeping my finger on the pulse of new listings to the market is an occupational hazard. I had always dreamed of owning a mid-century modern home. This one seemed to have all the things I wanted for my kids and I. All of the moving parts in the process of buying and selling fell into place so perfectly that it was undeniably meant to be. Who better than me to turn a beautiful time capsule into the perfectly updated family home? Yet now, instead of obsessing over finishes and fixtures, I’m reevaluating life’s lessons that can sometimes come in the form of major renovations.

I’ve learned a few things that might help others:

Sometimes when we operate from the gut, there is more heart than practicality. Or ass than head, if you will. 

Add to that, a frantic real estate market where you have to pull the trigger quickly once you find “the one” and you have the perfect ingredients for hot mess soup.

You may find yourself awake at night, reevaluating your quick thinking.  How will you pay for replacing those outdated artery slicing floor-to-ceiling windows? Like me, you may fall into a fitful sleep imagining one of your kids running straight through them. Vintage-sexy though they may be, single pane windows might also explain why you’re always freezing. 

Indeed, hot mess soup is what I’ve been cooking up since we moved in.

We live in an idyllic, quiet cul-de-sac and our neighbors are wonderful, thoughtful and loving people. I don’t believe there exists a better street in the United States of America for great neighbors. The downside is that my kids don’t have anyone to play with. They are isolated here. COVID-19 has further exacerbated the issue. The two boys, 6 years apart in age, currently bunking together (as we live on top of each other in the daylight basement) while the top floor receives a 7 month-long makeover, are constantly at each other’s throats. My eldest attends a school in a different district (our choice), and that makes for a lot of driving and limits the sense of any “community” feel. It also puts extra pressure on an already tough situation.

I am a single mother of these boys who quite frankly, see me as their everything. Because I am. I’m full-time mom, full-time career gal, and in the short moments I have with them, I also have to be playmate; because my decision to move to a place where there aren’t other kids to run around with put me there. Now, who will cook dinner while we play? 

This single mother who should be living at the poverty level, yet through hard work, determination, and taking some high-risk opportunities; has become the owner of her dream home. How dare I complain about these kinds of 1st world problems?  In the quiet, cold, and construction dust-covered moments late at night, I realize that I have reached the age at which the basket of fucks I give is empty, and I’ve stopped caring about having it all or what people think about it. In all my reevaluating I have decided that in the future, I will take greater care to consider the well-being of the people I care about most. I have arrived at that place where the rubber meets the road, where the bank account has been drained but it ain’t done yet, where having peace trumps having stuff, and contentment holds a higher value than vaulted ceilings.

What will we do? We’ll finish this. I know we will. I’m determined to soak in my master bathroom tub and give it some thought. What I do know now is that what we THINK we want or need, sometimes just isn’t. At least not for right now.

In the meantime, soup is on the dinner menu again and yes, it tastes like shit, but it was made with love and the best of intentions.

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Affordable Design

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock recently, “mid-century modern” design seems to be everywhere these days. CB2Dot & Bo, AllModern, and Etsy.com.

The thing I love most about the real stuff; the actual vintage mid-century modern furniture is that it’s incredibly well made. That’s the reason people are scrambling to collect it even today, and why it’s become so hard to afford.

One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck is to invest in one or two vintage pieces that you just can’t live without, and add in repros and updated accessories to keep your spaces looking (and sometimes smelling) like Grandma’s house. Craigslist and local Facebook groups can be a great way to score reasonably priced vintage pieces.

As for the new stuff, Target’s new line Project 62 would make Grandma AND your girlfriends jealous. Finally, finally, finally, some decently made MCM pieces in a price range that many of us can actually afford. Project 62 is touted as being furniture for “smaller living” but there is nothing small about it. Depending on your personal style, you have the option of having both bling and total practicality as far as I can see.

Cobalt Arm Chair
Soriano Square Arm Channel Tufted Chair- Navy Velvet

Image Credit: Target

Geneva Glass Lighting
Geneva Glass Globes

Image Credit: Target

As for myself, when I stumbled upon the new line being set out in my local Target store I actually snagged the Geneva globe desk lamp off the shelf like a rioter-only I ran to the front and paid for it. Happily. Is $50 a lot for a task lamp? Yes for me, it is. But it was well worth it. The Geneva line has a timeless, high-end finish with a sturdy marble base. I imagine it will last me 50 years, just like the vintage stuff.

Esters Wood Arm Chair
Esters Wood Arm Chair

Image Credit: Target

If your style is more laid-back and you are a creature of comfort, Project 62 has something for you too. You need only look. Esters Wood Arm Chair has gone over so well, it’s currently unavailable online (a/k/a sold out).

Check out the Mid-Century Metal Wall Décor for 54.99. Beats the pants off of investing $300-$1000 for a Curtis Jere sculpture that would likely be your untimely end in the case of an earthquake.

Serveware

Image Credit: Target

All of the sudden, I feel like my entire serveware game needs an upgrade. I may not EVER have dinner parties, but if I did, I’d definitely need a marble cheese slicer. No, seriously, that might be going on the Christmas list. Maybe if I had the cheese slicer I’d have more parties. Target is the answer to all life’s big conundrums. (Damn you, Target.)

Target Run

This last photo is actual proof that I can’t stay out of Target, try as I may. I even shove my children into the baskets and make them carry all the things out. I must have all the things!!! Project 62 has given even this vintage-loving gal just another reason to go. You should too.

Distraction by Design: A Rainy Day Project

If you were to ask a native Pacific Northwesterner about when summer usually starts, you’ll likely hear that it doesn’t actually begin in June (as it does in the rest of the United States) but rather around July 5th. You’ll be reminded how green it is (not unlike the snot your body will likely produce from year-round pollen) and how all the wet weather keeps the novice firework artists from setting our state aflame on the 4th. Isn’t it perfect?

I’m here to tell you it’s not. Waiting all year for a summer that hasn’t begun is awful in a way that I cannot adequately describe. It’s torture, actually. And if most of us are honest, it’s hard enough getting through our wet, extended miserable gray winters and just about the ONLY thing that keeps us from absolute insanity are the idyllic summers that we have. You get one day of sunshine and everyone is smiling, greeting each other in the streets like old friends. The summers in the Pacific Northwest are more beautiful (and temperate) than anywhere else, when they do come. We don’t even need A/C ya’ll! It’s July 5th and as I type, I’m listening to rain as it continues to fall outside my window, which I’m considering jumping out of. Hanging by a thread here, Washington. Being that this is my blog, I don’t have to pretend to be Polly Positive about 9 months of rain. Check on your friends from out of state, people.

I may not always see the bright side of things, but by God, I try. When I cannot control my circumstances, be it the weather, or renovation delays, I do what I can to bring sunshine where it’s needed.

My choice distraction this week was my kids dungeon. That’s what I call it. No windows, no egress…they love it, and use it to sit in the dark and play video games. In actual fact, they’re Irish vampires, and I knew I was making the right choice bringing them here. Southern California would have certainly been a sentence of death by skin cancer for these opaque children.

As the renovation to the upstairs spaces brought with it plumbing challenges, we had to access said plumbing and run new pipes up the wall, and along the ceiling of the dungeon, thereby destroying the aesthetic. Which is not to say there was any kind of aesthetic to begin with. The inhabitants before us quite enjoyed dark wall color and dim lighting. Even the dated popcorn ceilings were painted gray. Gray, like the skies here. I’ll spare you pictures. What I will share, however, is what I call Distraction by Design.

My youngest little insisted that if I were going to paint his dark room white, that he wanted mountains. Black mountains. Really? So I dutifully scoured Pinterest for ideas and we came up with a compromise.

His Inspiration-Found on countryhomedesign.com

Photo Credit: countrydesignhome.com

And Mine. See what I mean? Sunshine, people. Everyone needs some.

Photo Source: Pinterest
The 3M Mountain Range

I decided to eyeball my mountains and go for it. In fairness to me, I DID start with black, but it felt too heavy. So he got one black mountain, and I headed back to Lowe’s for some Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams while the kids were away for the day. Since I was doing all the work, surely my co-designer wouldn’t mind a little splash of yellow left over from another project…


Sidenote: This is a 2-3 day project all in. You can get most work done in day, but have to be patient enough to allow the paint to fully dry and set. Patience is something I am continually working on. There is nothing like ripping fresh mountain off your wall to set you straight again.

Same clothes, different day, because well, rain. Hair up now, it’s time to get serious.

Once the mountains were dry, I removed most of the tape and lined my forefront mountains once again with 3M painters tape, making sure to seal the tape on with a moist rag-it helps prevent the paint from bleeding. After done, I filled in the white lines with continuous color.

I’m awaiting Amazon to deliver the moon & stars cutouts – which will also be Iron Ore for my child of the night. A couple yellow mountains were all he was willing to compromise on.

They got their updated gaming room, and I got a little distraction by doing. Everyone wins.

More than a house

“You’ll never make it without me. I’m your meal ticket.” He said it through clenched teeth, hatred seething through every syllable and he meant it. Those words pop into my head from time to time, and there are days when I laugh (with gusto, head thrown back and all) thinking back on that very pivotal moment in my life. More often than that, I pause to take stock of what I have accomplished, despite that prediction and it grounds me. I don’t mention this to throw stones, I mention it because of the gravity it holds for me. When you hear some variation of that same sentiment, even claimed to be “a joke” at first over a long period of time, you start to believe it yourself. The actual message being: ‘You’re not good enough on your own. You need me.’ I thank God in heaven that in that moment, there was just a tiny spark of me left – a small flicker of the woman I was raised to be, at least the person I knew I used to be. That girl heard a challenge. And she fucking went for it. Right then, the thought went something like, “Hold my wine bottle, dickhead.”

Abuse can take many forms. It can have lasting effects that creates funny survival techniques in all of us, and leave scars that go undetected by the outside world. It can be the most insidious of evils, living and growing just under the surface, like a cancer. No bruises or broken bones but make no mistake-your spirit is just as depleted and beaten. It slowly becomes your normal, and you may even have fleeting moments of clarity right before it sucks you back in-but I’m here to tell you, you can climb out. You can create the life you want. I am living proof.

What does this have to do with mid-century modern architecture? Nothing. It doesn’t matter what your home looks like, what kind of things you find to fill it with. Let’s get that straight right now. It’s everything to do however, with the hurdle that for me was homeownership as a single mother struggling to survive and provide on my own and what my home now stands for. Are there still times when I sweat the groceries? Absolutely. I think most of us are only ever one paycheck away from disaster. What we have to realize is that we put ourselves there, and we can pull ourselves out too. Whether personally or financially, sometimes it takes being in an ugly situation long enough or often enough before we finally learn to walk a different path- and move on to build something new. Something safe and secure.

This house reminds me not only of the importance and security of a strong foundation but the hard work that goes into building that within yourself. Matthew 19:26 says that all things are possible with God. I prefer the saying, “Pray as if it’s all up to God and work as if it’s all up to you.” Sharing my home and a bit of my story is only meant to encourage anyone who needs to hear it- you can do it. You can do all things. Even in a crazy market, even when it seems impossible, and you aren’t quite sure how you’ll make it happen. All things are possible.

More than just a house, the place we call home is a symbol of strength and endurance; a reminder of just how far my boys and I have come. It is our safe haven where we can be together, tucked away from all the craziness of the world outside it’s walls. This house, while beautiful is built on something even more valuable; it is built on love. It’s me. Classic vintage; still full of flaws and under construction, but made of some pretty sturdy stuff.

Weekend Warrior Fail – Part 2

It occurs to me while writing this tale of failure that this blog has never been just about furniture or fixing.  It’s about life.  Stay with me – even at the age of 40 I have to continually be reminded of the same lessons- which points to the fact that I am either incredibly stubborn or just plain foolish. However, I’d prefer to think that maybe I’m not that unique and that WE as humans are a never-ending work in progress. The end tables I managed to muck up seemed no exception. I recognized something else about myself: when I feel like I don’t have control over my life, I seek to control other things. Anais Nin said exactly that: “When I cannot bear outer pressures any more, I begin to put order in my belongings. I get satisfaction from perfect order in my papers, in my clothes, in the house. I carry this to excess. As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.”

With that Part 2 of our story begins on a Sunday morning. The very next day after the DIY disaster took place. Our heroin Brooke, despite her enthusiasm and good intentions failed miserably at revamping her Nana’s bedside tables. You can catch Part 1 here.

Let’s review:

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The inspiration

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Our subject

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Country Fried Fail

Remember Peanut the Skeptic? It’s almost as if he knew what would happen…

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Sunday after the kiddos left for the day, Peanut and I hit Home Depot (A/K/A Mom’s favorite store EVER). We took the unexpected sunshine coming through the windows as a symbol of hope and set forth with a prayer and a plan to purchase some seriously gritty sandpaper to clean up the painted mess Mommy had made. Peanut led the way because let’s be honest, he totally called it and my DIY card had been suspended temporarily. If I can’t paint something this basic, should I even be allowed to drive? I justified taking him into Home Depot because at that point he was required for emotional support. In fact, we decided that he should be project manager.

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We returned home, resigned to attack again but this time with more determination.

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Supplies: Nitty Super Gritty Sand Paper, Mask and Monster because caffeine

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Hand Sander Woes- Project Manager remains unimpressed.

The sandpaper I used for the detail work kept coming unclipped from the hand sander, and the electric sander was much too powerful for the corners and detailed cabinet fronts. (Word to the wise: an electric sander not used carefully can take CHUNKS out of wood.) To say this frustrated me would be putting it lightly. Neither seemed to work really well and I was too stubborn to return to the Depot. So I went on vacation instead. Wait, what? Yes. I needed more than to control my surroundings with paint and projects, I needed a damn vacation. And sun. We were on a record breaking gloom streak in Seattle, so the cranky wasn’t just about the sandpaper.  I placed this project on hold for a couple weeks to allow myself to get “centered again.” I booked tickets to Texas and visited my very best friend for the first time in years and it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

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Back in town, it’s back to business: My time away allowed me time to gather up my “give-a-shits” again. I promptly purchased Bulls Eye 1.2.3. Primer for All Surfaces, Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover in Semi-Gloss White and a couple of mini rollers for smooth surfaces.

Below we see progress involving primer, paint and…

finally, finally the finished product.

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(…and one very proud warrior princess.)

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Now listen here, readers. Do not judge the photo below. The bedroom where these tables reside required some “special effects” to create a warmish feeling that does not yet exist in reality. I think though that we’re headed in the right direction…now to address light fixtures, crusty carpets and mismatched wood tones.  The room just like me is a work in progress.

If there is anything I’ve learned through this project that I can impart on others is that you cannot rush paint nor perfection. As they say, “Rome was not built in a day.”  In nearly all things, you cannot rush, you cannot force.  You cannot forget to make sure your paint has primer and expect great results. Some things require time and patience; both of which I’ve always been short on-but I’m working on that.

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Weekend Warrior Fail-A Two Part Tale

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, and we’re not going into it. I’ve moved, jumped into a new career path and embraced single kick-ass mom status with all I’ve got.  Let’s just say that in order to do life well sometimes you need a little therapy. For me, one form of therapy has been rehabbing vintage furniture. I love it and happen to be pretty good at it, or at least I thought I was. A long stretch of dark and wet Seattle weather had me desperate for both distraction and some form of joy.  What resulted was what my boss would call a “learning opportunity.” Following will be this month’s DI-Don’t.

This weekend, while I waited for the rain to stop long enough to get the Christmas lights off the house (it’s been rainy, OKAY!?)  I decided to refinish my grandmothers bedside tables. My beautiful grandmother left behind a few pieces of furniture and these were passed on to me after years of use and the unfortunate combination of time and neglect. The finish on these babies was non-existent in some places, allowing moisture to creep in. Despite the charming cigarette burn marks and my penchant for restoring furniture rather than painting it, I decided instead to do a combination of restoration and rejuvenation. Let’s get to it:

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The inspiration: Painted and restored as featured on numberfiftythree  blog.

This is this the beginning of our tale of woe:

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Before

 

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Peanut looks concerned

So you can see how there was massive room for improvement. I happen to like my finishes like I like my dog; more of a medium tan with some accents. Look at his face! I love that you can read the worry in his eyes. Is she really going to attempt this in a weekend?

Yes Peanut. She is.

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Let’s talk supplies. I used a fine sand paper, and went with the grain (duh). The borrowed sander made the process much faster and before long I was on to Murphy’s Oil Soap.

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Mid-oil soap massage and cigar (homage to Nana) my contractor who was there at the time walked past and said, “You’d better wipe those off well or the moisture will mess up your paint job. It’ll crack.”

In literature, this is what is called “foreshadowing.” Never one to turn down a trusted professionals advice, I began thoroughly drying the tables and brought them inside to sit in the warm house, going as far as adding a space heater to cook out the moisture.

What I should have done was waited until the next day to paint. Being that prudence is not a strength of mine and overachievement always the goal, I soldiered on. Do you know what you get when you combine impatience, hubris and cold wet weather?

CRACKLE PAINT. As in, “Hey Pioneer Woman-did you do that shit yourself? That’s purdy.” My beloved boyfriend bless his heart, asked me if I did it on purpose. Said it looked cool. I haven’t decided how to address our stylistic differences yet, but knew that I needed to address the error of my ways immediately if I wanted storage for us both.

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It’s back to the sanding board, and I’ll be starting my Sunday with prayer and a  trip to Home Depot. I’ll keep you informed about how this saga ends…stay tuned!

 

Pantry Project

Where do you start when projects stare you in the face in every corner of your home? Or when it hits you that you probably took on more than humanly possible? You start small and elect for total avoidance. Enter the pantry project.

Our family just moved in to our 1974 ranch-ish home in Washington state. It’s both exciting and exhausting with all the work that has been, and has yet to be done. Literally, it needs a make-over from floor to ceiling. We needed to yank the 40 year-old carpet, put in bamboo flooring, lay concrete in some places to level flooring and lay tile, and let’s not talk about the paint. The paint is only 1/8th complete and there’s 2300 square feet of dinge. First comes removing the 70’s foil wallpaper. Then the windows, fixtures, toilets, need I say more?

So you see, one could begin to become a bit overwhelmed with all of the immediate needs and “NEED” a little escape. One of the fun things we inherited besides old carpet, was an unfinished wood cabinet. It had a little 60’s flair to it, so I enlisted the help of my 9 year-old son to come up with a color scheme. Lucky for me, by now he knows his MCM stuff. One trip to Walmart and $20 later, we had our gloss spray paint and were ready to go.

Before Shot & 9-year old artist’s rendering courtesy of the Samsung 8 Note

Paint

My son actually pulled me away from an avocado green and said, “No, mom. This is one is the one you need” as he pointed to the citrus green. He’s going to Harvard someday.

So a couple weekends went by, but amid all the chaos I managed to sneak a few paint sessions and this beauty below is the result:

After

Haven’t decided on the frame yet. We could go white, or just leave it for now, which is the likelier choice. In desperate need of storage in the kitchen, we had to remove cabinets for construction and this is where the food stores go for now.

Pantry

Now when I’m greeted by fluorescent lighting and weird venting choices in the morning, rather than curse under my breath I smile at the happy colors that now infuse my kitchen and think of all the fun projects that our family have to look forward to. Together.

 

The Elusive Dorothy Thorpe

A revisit on the hunt for “Mad Men” Barware

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Let’s talk about mid-century name brands. Branding is important; Don Draper would be the first to tell you. So how do you determine if something is the real deal, or a reproduction? Does it matter? You can find many a heated discussion on the subject on mid-century modern blogs and Facebook Fan pages. I’m here to tell you, when it comes to Dorothy Thorpe, it’s really hard to know. You’ve seen Dorothy’s work…real or reproduction on Mad Men, and you’re probably starting to see it in your friends homes.

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According to the only seemingly reliable information I could track down, Dorothy Thorpe sold her interest in her company in 1953. At the time, she was well-known for her floral work and sand etching.

Here’s an excerpt:

Thorpe passed away September 4, 1989 in Carlsbad, California. Based on this revised information, it seems that Dorothy Thorpe only ever did floral and…

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Passion Pursuit

This week, a friend posted a link to a very thought-provoking article called, “Screw Finding Your Passion.” In it the author, Mark Manson; tired of getting emails from people asking how they can find their passion, basically pointed to the lack of pursuit, more than the not knowing. We tend to ignore that which consumes most of our free-time not because we don’t know what we like, but rather out of fear, laziness, or avoidance.  We tell ourselves it couldn’t possibly make us money. It wouldn’t be practical. The negative self-talk sets in, and we ignore what we should be pursuing, all the while wondering why we’re so miserable. My passion is all things mid-century modern, and I make no apologies. The fashion, the architecture, the furniture; I spend stupid amounts of free time looking at it, implementing it into my daily life, and learning about it.  I watch shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex, read books about Charles and Ray Eames, and the other big designers of the time. Anything to get a glimpse of life back then. I stumbled upon this passion and I’m so glad I did, because for whatever reason, it continues to intrigue me. How many people can say that they get to focus on what they love? Mr. Manson’s colorful illustration was the kick in the pants I needed to finish my “pet bed project” for the blog that was taking too long to complete. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, it’s that I made everything else in my life a priority while I put my “passion” on the back burner. And that’s okay too. Sometimes you have to choose. Life happens but the point is deep down, you know what you love. You just have to open your eyes. I highly recommend reading it if you need a little encouragement and don’t mind a few strategically placed f*bombs.  Find the link here.

On to the fun stuff. This week, I decided to depart from my usual purist tendencies for an upcycle project. I took a useless old remote speaker from the 1960’s (once part of a larger unit) and turned it into a pet bed.  I own a fat dog who would much rather fart in my lap, but I do think this piece would make a fantastic cat bed. You decide.

So unlike the usual blog…I created a YouTube video to show the transformation. Keep in mind, this was an experiment. I’d do a few things differently next time, but I am pleased with the final product.

 

Before.
Before.

After. Meow.
After. Meow.

Did you watch the video or just skip ahead? Stop being lazy. It’s like 1 minute long. Geez.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, and you’d  rather spend $400- $600 on a custom pet bed, I am as always, here to help.

No seriously. Some people love their fur babies more than their actual blood relatives. I’m not here to judge. If you’ve got major love for your dog or cat and a case of the MCM fever, check out these other options:

 

Hey! My cat needs a cute place to do his business. Go here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/191119047/the-mini-cabinet-mid-century-modern-pet?ref=listing-shop-header-3
“Hey! My cat needs a cute place to do his business.” Go here:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/191119047/the-mini-cabinet-mid-century-modern-pet?ref=listing-shop-header-3

Cairudesign can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166359696/mid-century-modern-cat-furniture?ref=shop_home_active_4
“Cat towers are hideous!” Cairudesign can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166359696/mid-century-modern-cat-furniture?ref=shop_home_active_4

 

A frenchie sitting on anything gets my vote:

For the Lloyd Dog Bed go here: ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/166176684/lloyd-dog-bed?ref=shop_home_active_9
“Um, I paid 2 grand for my dog. He will NOT sleep on a Walmart bed.” For the Lloyd Dog Bed go here: ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/166176684/lloyd-dog-bed?ref=shop_home_active_9

As it so happens, my passion is not making pet beds. I appreciate them, but I’ll leave it to the experts.

That said, my cute little custom number will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop AND at the 1st Annual Murrieta Valley High School Flea Market on November 7th.

Come and see me! I’ll have all my pieces on display and for sale! More info to follow next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution

Evolution…it’s what Madonna is famous for.  One of the best parts of my job is that I get to evolve too…only in a less controversial manner. Naturally over time my needs change, and that of my family; one room becomes a nursery… another gets repurposed or renovated in some way, and everything shifts. I get to reexamine what we have and if it still works for us; constantly curating, not unlike Madonna and her ever-changing style.

Then there are those times when there isn’t a specific catalyst like a mid-life crises or nasty public divorce- you just need a change. Most people aren’t comfortable with change, but I love it. Probably a bit too much if that’s feasible. It’s exciting and fun to play with new possibilities. For example, I always wanted a Sputnik lamp over my dining room table. Always. We just weren’t able to make it happen for a very long time, so we found a compromise to do for the time being. It’s a beautiful fixture that looks like floating paper. Gorgeous…but not Sputnik.

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Cut to my birthday. The hubs wanted to do something big. I had just the thing. A custom Sputnik fixture from Lucent Lighting.

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You’ll notice a couple of things are different here. Let’s first pause to drool over the new fixture. It’s got a dimmer, ya’ll!  Next, I sold my dreamy atomic Lenoir dining room set for a few reasons. One, it took up too much space visually when I really thought about it. Two, we have 4 people in our family, not 8. Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t a good enough excuse to feel burdened by your own stuff. (I mean, have your read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”?!?!?)  I wanted something lighter in color that matched the tone of our wall unit – and when a friend at SeasonofChange posted her set for sale, I jumped at it! The table is thinner and takes up less space in more ways than one….but with the two leaves in place, it actually becomes longer than the previous table; a bonus at the holidays.

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Gorgeous, no? The table is Lane Rhythm, and the chairs, unknown. The curtains are too short…yes, I know. That’s a subject for another day. Shut up.

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Before the baby was born, I had picked out a beautiful Nelson Bubble lamp to grace his nursery. It did just that…until summer came, and I became certain if we didn’t get a fan installed in my son’s room really quickly…he’d cook overnight. So that beautiful bubble lamp laid around the house, unused, and quite sad looking – until very recently, when we were finally able to get an electrician out to help run some lighting in our den.

These photos were taken at night…purposefully, so that you cannot see the kid toys in the yard everywhere behind our tiny living space.

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This is the room we live in. Don’t judge. It’s not fancy – but it’s where we spill stuff (read: baby pees during diaper changes) watch t.v., play games and do kid stuff. The Nelson bubble lamp gives it a sort of grace it wouldn’t have otherwise. I think the room says, “Hey, We’re really cool deep down, but we have kids and shit…so our style is somewhat cramped. Come in….commiserate about your sloppy children. Let’s be friends.”

Speaking of messy kids….naturally when the baby came, I had to do the Target thing to organize the kid crap. Target FINALLY got with the MCM movement and introduced some pretty decent pieces. It meshes surprisingly well with the vibe we have going on. Right now, it’s full of toys and baby books and baskets full of whatnots I’d rather not be hauling back up to wee man’s room. Someday, it will hold other stuff like spare pairs of boob tassles (I can’t leave her alone)…or go up in a bedroom. Either way, we needed something functional that wouldn’t break the bank…and something that I wouldn’t be all upset about if it got scratched. Which it will. Inevitably.

http://www.target.com/p/mid-century-modern-horizontal-bookcase/-/A-14963281
I give you the Target Mid Century Modern Horizontal Bookcase

So that’s how I’ve evolved over the past few months. It’s not finished by any means….there are so many things I’d like to do – like wood floors, and fig trees, and geometric rugs, a kitchen reno, and a bar cart somewhere. But for now, that’s all fantasy. Reality requires that we must use what we have…and be thankful.

Please stay tuned for the next blog. I’m really excited about my very first repurposing project. I’m going to turn an old, worthless 60’s remote speaker into a dog/cat bed. I’m such a purist….I usually demand things be left to their original uses, but in this case I finally found something that begged to be converted – and applicable for today.  Like Madonna. Bahahahahahaha.