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hello lovely fixer upper {week 1: reflections}

03 July 2015


It has been one week since we bought the love shack,
and we're weary yet determined to get the place breathing.

There were a few OYs in my last post, and I didn't
even tell you about the injuries we sustained (husband's
wrist may be broken, I sprained and smashed my thumb,
our son was a bloody mess...).

Yet since I'll ever be your transparent
and true sister in bloghood, I cannot leave out
the other side of OY...those grateful YOs, if you will.

Because, YO! Life is beautiful,
and feathering our new nest
is truly a small thing.


Yo! Fun Finds.
I have had a blast scoring special finds including
this old clawfoot tub we drove to Madison, WI to rescue.
It is petite, and I imagine it adding a layer
of vintage romance to the master bath which
currently looks like this:



Another fortuitous and romantic find?
This original signed oil by William Halquist...
Purchased from the niece
of the sweet girl with the bob, she was thrilled
it would live in a happy home.


Yo! Stepping away from the sledgehammer.
Life has been busy with college graduations...

Doesn't my mom (visiting from Arizona) look amazing even in the midst of chemo!?!


...girlfriend time,

Urban Farmgirl's Main Street Market in Rockford, IL was awesome!

fleamarketing,

I read Parker's stuff, and I think: 
GOOD GOD, I HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN
I WAS A CLOSET QUAKER.


reading books that feed my soul
and help me grow,


and lots of  fun visits from my granddaughter,
an adorable hedgehog named Penelope
owned by our son who teaches high school English
in a town an hour away.


Yo! There is art to see!
I don't want to obsess over paint swatches
so much that I miss out on summer.
There are plans to to soak up the sunshine, spend time with family,
visit my favorite Japanese gardens, and see art like this
(by my friend Brennen...now exhibited in a very cool
cafe in town).

 the windows are not my favorite feature but i think they are staying...suggestions welcome!

Yo! Bringing friends along on the journey helps!
Although I never planned to blog regularly
during this process, I now understand why so many
folks do: there is an accountability and structure
involved that serves as a nudge to keep going.



There is something special about documenting
and sharing the lovely AND the unlovely sides of
renovation (though I am not sure ye sophisticated
hello lovely brethren truly care to view the inner guts of 
a forlorn bathroom subfloor beneath the love shack).

 a window seat in the kitchen



 our youngest is a hippie and was literally hugging these trees as he measured
their circumference and distance between them for slacklining
 (tight rope walking that morphs your abs into a six-pack).



Yo! I'm grateful for you.
Thank you for following along, and I will
read all of your comments and listen to
every bit of loving advice you share.


Let's finish this week strong,
knowing Rumi is right!

Peace to you right where you are.

More of Week 1 is chronicled here.


hello lovely fixer upper {week 1: update}

01 July 2015



A few months ago, while frolicking with sea turtles on vacation,
I could not have imagined that out of nowhere, our house would
sell, we'd rent a home on a cornfield, and then decide to
revive a neglected cottage in a peaceful setting.

We took possession of the new place days ago.

It's week one of intense DIY, and I'll try to share
glimpses along the journey...yaaaaa, that would be moi
above with a wee lil weed I plucked.
These treelike specimens are everywhere,
and this towering one did doing nothing
for the view from the kitchen window. 
OY.



The property is full of potential though.
Someday this will be a romantic courtyard entrance.


Side of house.


We gutted the main bath and are installing
a new subfloor...and when I say "we"
I think we know it's my husband and sons,
though this sugar plum fairy smashed
some of this ceramic tile to kingdom come.
The toilet, sink, and bath had all been leaking
for some time so the floor went to mush.

It's comforting to know that very soon,
the toilet will not plummet to its death into the basement.
Double OY.


The landscape...mercy.
I love how it feels camp-like though.
I found this huge bone while clearing some brush.
Suggestive of something larger than a cow.
Terrified.


My husband made repairs to the roof,
took down multiple giant antennae, changed locks,
removed miles of cables coming out of
everywhere (omg, with each new resident,
they would just drill holes into the siding
and run new cable), trimmed a few imposing
tree branches, did a million other fixes,
and replaced this ghetto patio screen: 

 it has a certain Tyler-Durden-dilapidated-je ne sais quoi, oui?

Um. I predict it failed to restrain insects and critters
FOR AT LEAST A DECADE.


The kitchen in its current state.
It smells as good as it looks.

I'm designing a plan on a budget.

It'll be lovely.

Keep in touch, pray for a sista, and
peace to you right where you are.




hannah lemholt

26 June 2015



It is the end of the first day we took possession
of our new home, and since I crave a deep exhale,
I choose to turn to an artist whose work
is a balm for my soul...Hannah Lemholt.

Hannah (that's HER above, and not Angelina Jolie)
shares her life and loves with transparency on her site
HoneyPieLivingEtc.


all photography by Hannah Lemholt

Breathing easier yet?



What a relief to take possession of our new place,
and although we won't be able to live in it just yet,
I am hopeful this next leg of the journey
(which involves a fairy with a sledgehammer,
sixtythousandmillion gallons of white paint.
and no scene even remotely resembling this
artist's atmospheric work) will be fruitful.


i have my eye on an original panton chair like this in a shop...
it's perfectly broken and cracked open which is just fine pour moi.

Hope these magical images from Hannah
light your senses and fill you with peaceful inspiration.



Kara Mann {for Goop in Chicago}

18 June 2015

Goop_001L copy

Next week I'll finally get to spend some time
in the home we're buying to gain a
clearer sense of a design/style direction.
Feeling all kinds of nerves about
so many decisions to make
and stretching the tight budget
I have granted myself.

above: Ward Bennett chairs-Modern Drama; Atelier Jouvence fireplace; AGA stove; Jayson Home Drapers table

stairs at new house

For example, the house has an open stringer staircase
you typically see in modern design
paired with cheap looking traditional balusters.
I'm trying to think of it as 'beachy.'
I could easily blow the whole budget
just re-doing those stairs!
*insert G.W. Bush accent* NAH GUN DO IT.
LAY ON THE DESIGN ADVICE, S'IL VOUS PLAIT.

Goop_003L copy
Tanya Aguiñiga wall hanging; shearling lounge chair and Paul Evans stool from Wright Now

Back to pleasantville!
While busy/insane with the move, Gwyneth Paltrow
came to town for a Goop pop-up shop thing at
my favorite Chicago hotel, the Waldorf Astoria.

The incredible Kara Mann styled it,
and the mix was thrillingly interesting
with its minimalistic sophistication
and unexpected artworks.





Image result for goop pop up shop chicago 2015


A simple monochromatic shelf installation
like the above could be applied in all sorts of spaces.


Hall Display

Kallista tub; floral wallpaper by Ellie Cashman

Isn't the bold floral a gorgeous surprise?


Sitting Area
ILOT ILOV Berlin knitted hanging lamps and Rick Owens stag T stool 



There is something so fresh about combining urban
rustic elements with organic ones to achieve a
very modern airy feel, and even though this is a
styled space for GOOP, I am seeing this
 Scandi-flavored mix reflected all over
the place in current kitchen design.


Goop_010L copy

Good gracious, I love the tone of this table!

Goop_015L copy
Heritage Bicycles


_RAD9946

kara mann and gwyneth paltrow


Gwynie and Goop have flown the coop, but
if you find yourself in the Windy City,
you must pop into the Waldorf...where I am
headed soon to visit the Elysian Spa!


Peace to you right where you are.



we found a house & tine k inspiration

07 June 2015



Our adventure in house hunting began five months ago
while vacationing in Hawaii when we agreed
to a one time showing of our home which we
had taken off the market in part because
an interiors magazine wanted to use
it for a feature, and I welcomed
the opportunity with much joy.


To our surprise, we sold and and seized an opportunity
to downsize and begin a new chapter.

(Hopefully another publishing op will come.)


After months of shopping, we found a
humble one-and-a-half story cottage
which had been abandoned for years
and will require much love
in order to come
back to life.



Here is a peek:





Since we have already designed and built our dream house,
this project will be entirely different, and my goal is
to frugally create a peaceful retreat to feed our souls.


Tine Kjeldsen's Scandi-chic style
(minimal yet personal)
appeals to me on many levels, and
here is a taste of her clean lines
and naturally cozy vibe.



tine k home



















We take possession of the new home in three weeks,
and it will take months to revive it.
There is something quite alluring
about bringing hope to a place
so very neglected and broken...
about bringing light and fresh air to
a shelter which suffocated
within a jungle of overgrown weeds. 


I hope to share reflections of the journey with you
and welcome all your design help and encouragement
along the way.

Peace to you right where you are.






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