Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chicago + Celebs, Mid-Century Modern Happiness

This past Friday I drove to Chicago for another fun outing

with  my friend, Alan.

For years, wherever we are,

our favorite thing to do is to ride around + look at houses.

Here I am, doing said-same with the guys from Steely Dan:

dan and kay in car

My favorite musical geniusi:
Donald Fagen + Walter Becker

Friday, we (Alan + I) drove past this famous guy’s house in Chicago:

rahm emanuel

Chicago’s mayor
Rahm Emanuel

Over the years, my Al-meister friendship has provided me

with glimpses of the (now former) residences

of a few other Chicago celebs, including these favorites:

nate berkusjoan cusackgene siskel

Nate Berkus, Joan Cusack, the late-great Gene Siskel

Just imagine if the two of us lived near L.A. or NYC.

It might look a something like this:


I used to be in love with this guy
until he ditched me
for that much younger gal.

* * * *

But back to Friday’s outing.

We enjoyed a bit of shopping, as we always do.

I bought a couple of cool vintage treasures here:

Foursided  on Clark Street in Andersonville

on Clark Street in Andersonville

four sided chicago -- windowfour sided chicago -- funny door signs

This cool shop carries a lot of Chicago merch,

+ my plans include sending them one of my Chicago pillows:


Fingers crossed they’ll approve of + want to sell said-same.

* * * * * *

But I’m digressing quite a bit again.  Back to Friday’s outing.

We shared some small plates at a Wicker Park restaurant/bar,

the name of which I don’t recall.

The food + vino were de-lish, but my highlight was our waiter.

(I don’t remember his name, either!)

Oopsie! Another bad photo!

Another bad photo!

But how could I forget that he’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan?

Look!  He even retrieved his Cardinals cap to share with the class!

Go Cardinals!

* * * * * *

Now let’s have a look-see at Alan’s (+ his partner, Keith’s) mid-Century modern house:

I helped select the dark gray paint for the exterior.

I helped Alan select the dark gray paint for their exterior.

As typical of many mid-Century  modern house plans,

the street side/front of Alan + Keith’s house is quite private . . .

. . . . while inside, the living + dining rooms are oriented to the back yard.

Look at all the glass:


And now, let’s have a look-see at some of the boys’ groovy stuff:

Vintage medical cabinet

Vintage medical cabinet


Alan’s Swiss cross artworks, displayed with a pair of vintage wooden clamps.


I’ve given G.O. the heads up that I love this + that I’d like at least one for myself.

He’s already forgotten, but oh, well.

More grooviness:



People. This art gallery
is devoted to all things canine.


I’m seriously needing something similar
with something of the Dachshund persuasion.


There’s the ADOR-able Sophie the Papillion
in the boys’ TV room

Meanwhile, that signage is pretty radical, no?

But what say ye about the pennant pillows?


Yes, I  made those from vintage pennants.

How could I not give them to Keith + Alan

as a “just-because” gift?

Siding Choices — Done!

When we began our Dutch Colonial re-do,

G.O. insisted we’d save the exterior for last.

Slight buzz kill for me.

Would passersby think we were okay with this naughty white aluminum?

The humanity!


* * * * *

I’m happy to share that there’s been a change of plans.

The roof will be replaced soon (yay!) . . . after which, bring on the siding (yay!)

* * * * *

Time for me to finalize some decisions re: said-same!

Here are a couple inspiration photos,

which I’ve shared a bazillion times:

More of the 2nd story change of siding + color.

I’m totally on board with the white siding for the first story,

with a change of color for the second story gables.

We’ll get to that color choice later . . .

. . . it’s just this morning that I made my choice between these 2 siding options:

Option #1:  5″ straight shake singles

Option #2:  vertical board + batten

* * * * *

Literally, about 5 minutes ago, I decided on the shake shingles!

Sometimes it takes ‘a while’ to choose, when you’re ME!

Just ask anybody G.O.!

But whatever.  It can’t be helped.

* * * * *

Here’s another look-see at my vinyl shingles:

certainteed -- shakes

Whoa — not a fan of that color scheme, people!

So, what did I choose, you ask?

A light or medium gray!

Almost immediately!

Look!  I even colored a photocopy of our house for my perusal:


Obviously, this was when I still desired the red replacement window sashes.

They were over budget, sadly.

No problem, though!  I really dig the white ones we chose:

Here’s our replacement kitchen windows:


Anyway, back to today’s color choice — for our second story gable siding.

Drum roll!  Here ’tis!

I won’t lie . . . I’ve got that buzz one gets when one chooses the perfect thing for one’s project!

We all get that, don’t we?

The down side is that I’m not going to be happy unless we do this . . .

. . . + it’s going to be a splurge.

That stuff’s EXPENSIVE!

Fingers crossed + stay tuned!

4 Befores + Afters In My Head


Look what I discovered at the Dutch Colonial just this morning!


  How adorable is that charming little window in the gable?

My steel trap-like mind immediately raced to a ‘before + after’

involving a transformation of this boxy room . . .



. . . into something far more wonderful, like this one!



Sure, we’d have to vault that ceiling.

Is there a problem, she asks?

G.O. assures me that there IS.

(Stay tuned.)

* * * * * *


More do-able is our next ‘before + after’,

which is actually already underway.

It involves our front porch’s light fixture:



That Craftsman-style light fixture might look divine in someone’s dining room,

but not so much our front porch.

No worries . . . I’ve already ordered its replacement:



It was on final sale at Pottery Barn when I ordered it a few days ago . . .

. . . but I just checked, + it seems to be sold out already!

So glad that  I (for once) ordered in a timely fashion!

* * * * * * * *
And speaking of our front porch,
here ’tis, in the first weeks after we started our project:
You just KNOW that it wasn’t originally enclosed like this!
Currently, it’s in its mid-demolition mode,
en route to its ‘after’:
Fingers crossed!
Here’s what I’m envisioning:

Can’t wait!

* * * * * *


And, finally, here’s an ‘after’ which took place on Sunday:


Our new finials have been attached to our garden shed roof!


Love them!


Not loving those plywood doors,

still in their ‘before’ stage!

Once again, stay tuned!

Blue + White Garden Happiness

Our Dutch Colonial project is currently in this phase . . .


. . . which is more than a little ugly + not as morale-boosting

as some of our recent triumphs:



So to lift my spirits, I headed outside in our current yard,

photographing a few odds + ends that make me happy.

* * * * * *

Remember when the Mart of K

used to sell all that cool Martha gardening stuff?

This tub, in which my froggie fountain sits, is hers.


Froggie’s happy gurgling sound makes me very happy.


Here’s one of the pink coneflowers that we transplanted.

In this heat, they were really wilting,

so I aimed the sprinkler at them.

The birdies were bathing later, + it was really great to see!

* * * * * *

Our new Adirondack chairs are pretty awesome . . .


I sewed those pillows,
using indoor-outdoor fabric.
I’m mad for navy blue polka dots.

. . . but I think I love all  my “old stuff” even more:


I found this old sprinkler at an antiques shop
in my hometown of Greenville, Illinois.
It still works!
My initial plan was to repurpose it into a lamp, but we never did.


Hands down, though, my MOST-loved garden items

are those of the blue + white persuasion.


This year’s shade patio window boxes
are filled to the brim
with white caladiums
+ silvery-green licorice plants!


Both old AND white,
here’s my beloved copper roof spire,
atop our garage.

And now for the blue portion of our mini tour:


Remember, as kids, when we thought gazing balls were so “granny”?

Not even!

Blue transferware mosaic  bird bath

Blue transfer ware mosaic bird bath
from Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, Illinois

And for my most favorite blue vignette,

I’ve been waiting all spring + summer to get this shot:


Both the blue thistles (or, as G.O. calls them, “weeds”)

+ those blue glass stars also came from my favorite garden center:

I posted about said-same here:

Retail + Baseball Therapy!

Today I’m seeking the morale boost that an online purchase provides.

Here ’tis:

‘Tis a roof finial, + I need a pair, actually . . .

. . .  one for each end of our garden shed roof peak:


At about 7″ high, I’d say these finials will be perfect!

* * * * *

Speaking of retail morale boosts,

Saturday morning I shopped our local French Country Market:


The Good Humor Man was there!


This adorable girl provided live sax music!


This cool, vintage camper was for sale!

I called G.O. + asked him to come down + have a look-see:


It was completely re-done + wonderful,

but I’d rather we re-did one ourselves.

* * * *

Speaking of G.O.,

I did purchase a huge, red O from this booth:

Hundt No More Antiques & Collectibles 779.279.1109

Hundt No More
Antiques & Collectibles

Even though he nixed the idea**,

my plans were to include the O in my bridal shower gift

for his beautiful soon-to-be-daughter-in-law:

L, niece of G.O. R, soon-to-be-DIL of G.O.

L, niece of G.O.
R, soon-to-be-DIL of G.O.

** He even said, “I’d have just gotten her a $50 gift certificate to Kohl’s!” . . .

. . . no offense, Kohl’s, but that’s just not how I roll,


Fingers crossed that ‘the kids’ dig their O (+ other stuff!)

* * * * *

Back to the Market.

My other purchase:


Vintage initial pennants!

I am going to use them to make pillows,

similar to what I’ve done in the past

with a really swell vintage golf flag:

pillow flag #5

Sold it in my etsy shop:

* * * * *

Anyway, as much fun as I had at the French Country Market,

Saturday’s highlight took place here:

wrigley field scoreboard

Wrigley Field’s iconic manual scoreboard

We took our grandlad to his first-ever Cubs-Cardinals game

at Chicago’s Wrigley Field!

wrigley field

Wrigley Field’s iconic marquee

And yes, the Cubs DID manage to win one.

(HA!  I “keed”!)

* * * *

But check it out!


He has a peanut shell on his finger.   Kids do that sort of thing.

He has a peanut shell on his finger.
Kids do that sort of thing.

Yes, we made our own signs,

+ yes, the national FOX TV broadcast showed us!

His “GO CUBS” was a huge hit!  FUN!

* * * * *

My sign is a shout-out to Tim McCarver,

the FOX MLB broadcaster who’s retiring after this season:

tim mc carver

McCarver was the Cardinals’ star catcher in the sixties:

mc carver as a cardinal

3 World Series: ’64, ’67 + ’68!

Feel free to comment if you noticed

what a good sport Grandma Kay is,

to promote or even tolerate my grandlad’s Cubs fandom!  😉

Who do you think bought him that shirt?  😉

Thank you!

OMG! Original 30’s Wood Siding!

Imagine my very pleasant surprise on Wednesday morning,

when I show up at our project Dutch colonial

+ see that the bad aluminum siding is “going away”!


Good riddance!

Compare + contrast:





So, it DOES look a little like a haunted house right now . . .

but can’t you SEE how fantastic the original siding + trim is?


The long-ago (C 30’s) carpenters who sided this house

were beyond superb craftsmen, I’d say.


Just look at the detail of the dining room bay angles!

Their precision workmanship is mind-boggling, don’t you agree?


* * * *

Meanwhile, our garden shed is now a dark-ish gray/blue.


No worries — those doors are going away.

At the Benjamin Moore store earlier in the day,

I opted to go with Blue Spruce,

one shade darker on the chart than my original choice,

Providence Blue.


Natch, I immediately felt a twinge of painter’s remorse**.

Providence Blue is at the lower right.

My original choice is at the lower right.
Blue Spruce, a shade darker,
is not shown here.

Here’s our adorable painting assistant, at the start of our project:


Our grandlad.

**At this point, I’m worrying that I didn’t go dark enough.


* * * * *

 Meanwhile, G.O.’s (unsolicited ;-)) observation was,

“I don’t think I am going to like this!”

I smiled, knowingly . . .


. . . because, at the finishing point, guess what!



Here are G.O. + our painting assistant, relaxing after their busy day:


Please pay close attention to the vintage, white trellis in this ^^ photo op,

+ envision it attached to this side of our garden shed:


I KNOW!!??

I love it!

I think we should plant a climbing Hydrangea on said-same:

lattice #6 climbing hydrangeas

As always, stay tuned!

My Favorite Garden Center

Seems like only yesterday that I was “bragging”

about our garden shed’s new roof.

See for yourself:


B O R I N G !

How can such a morale boost from yesterday

turn into such a big YAWN today?!

Here’s why!  Feast your eyes on this rooftop fabulousness!


And this!


Grandlad + me

These snapshots were taken yesterday evening at my favorite garden center,

Blumen Gardens, in Sycamore, Illinois (about 90 miles west of Chicago).


Clonk!  I shoulda had a growing roof!

I told G.O. that he should thank his lucky stars

that I didn’t spy this a week ago . . .

. . .  because we totally would have put one of these

on our garden shed!


Compare . . .


. . . + contrast!

Sigh.  Oh, well . . . just file this under “missed opportunities” . . .

. . . or, as I like to say at moments like this: “Next house!”  😉

Anyway, let’s have a look-see at the rest of Blumen Gardens:


It’s hard to see in this photo,
but here we have a PAIR (genius!) of espaliered trees,
which have been trained to grow together
+, at the top, form an arch.

I totally want to do something similar here, against the plain Jane east wall of our garage.

I totally want to do something similar here, against the plain Jane east wall of our garage.

Trees are discounted at all the garden centers now, so I say “why not?”

Are you with me?

I'm loving the chippy white wood + the old gooseneck light fixture!

I’m loving the chippy white wood
+ the old gooseneck light fixture!

Lots of gargoyles,  if that's your garden "thing". It's not mine.

Lots of gargoyles,
if that’s your garden “thing”.
It’s not mine.


I love the way these bricks have been laid, don’t you?.
Totally on my “must-have” list!
I'm not sure what this is,  but doesn't it look great, incorporated into the pavers?

I’m not sure what this is, but doesn’t it look great,
incorporated in with the pavers? Love the moss, too!

I swooned a bit over this beauty. The crackled porcelain is so gorgeous!

I swooned a bit over this beauty.
The crackled porcelain is so gorgeous!

It was at this very moment

thatI made a mental note to myself that yes,

we WOULD be installing crackled glaze tiles

into our kitchen backsplash.  What say ye?

People.  You can actually buy these. Imagine, if you will, with a dark gray grout in a gray + white kitchen!

People. You can actually buy these.
Imagine, if you will, with a dark gray grout!
Century Tile in Joliet + Bolingbrook, Illinois

I shall share this fun factoid with G.O., using this blog post as a visual guide,

the minute it’s time for us to install our backsplash!

More crackled glaze tile eye candy!

More crackled glaze tile eye candy!

But I digress, as I often do.

Meanwhile, here’s one last photo of my beloved Blumen Gardens.

Imagine yourself in this charming setting,

with wonderful classical music playing throughout.


Do those corbels rule, or what?!

Just now I’m penciling in a trip to the flea market later this month

in search of said-same!

I’ll be heading to the liquor store sometime today (hic!),

as I am anxious to start a cobalt blue bottle collection of my own!

I wonder what kind of beverages are sold in cobalt blue!?

Any ideas?

My Colonial Williamsburg Hopes + Dreams

What a difference a day (+ a new roof) makes . . .

. . . 24 little hours!





* * * * *

And, in my semi-delusional state of mind . . . here’s the

A F T E R !

In my mind, anyway, AFTER!

gardenshed #3

  What’s this?  You’re not seeing a Colonial Williamsburg vibe?

IMG_1136(1)garden shed #4

Okay, so maybe my Colonial Williamsburg hopes + dreams

are a bit of a stretch . . .

. . . but the shed does look better!

* * * * *

Tomorrow we paint!

I've chosen Providence Blue.

I’ve chosen Benjamin Moore’s
Providence Blue,
at the far lower right.

My plans include tricked-out doors, similar to this:

IF our shed gets enough sunshine during the day,

 I want to train an espalier fruit tree

on this plain, south-facing side:


espalier against stone

The jury’s still out on the sunshine there.

Looks pretty shady.

No worries; if so,

we could always have ourselves a climbing hydrangea:

lattice #6 climbing hydrangeas

Stay tuned!

Garden Shed Blues


Now that our garage is nearly completed . . .

. . . my thoughts are turning to really IMPORTANT things like this:

dachshund weathervane

East Coast Weathervanes

. . . because of this adorableness:


I’m not sure if I’ll spring for the Dachshund weathervane,

but wouldn’t it be cool if I did?

* * * * *

Meanwhile, back to the less superficial portion of our project . . .

. . . today our humble garden shed finally gets its roof:


B e f o r e

In Progress

In Progress

Yes, I paid nearly $20 on sample paint pots from Benjamin Moore.

No, I didn’t like any of them.

Fear not, though!

One can find color inspiration on Pinterest.

I recommend doing said-same!

ben moore blue living in color with sonu typepad com

If you’re me — type “blue** paint colors” in the search + voila.

That’s how I discovered the fabulous Benjamin Moore, Santorini blue:


One quick trip to our Benjamin Moore paint store later,

+ I have these ^^ swatches.

(**Disclaimer: I have to have a blue garden shed

because of my fondness for any blue flower.  It’s my scheme.

There’s a post for another day!)

* * * * * *

I’m undecided about WHICH Benjamin Moore blue I’ll chose . . .

In Progress


. . . but I do know that those plain Jane plywood doors MUST be tricked out!

I dig the diagonal bead board detail on these vintage garage doors:


I think I’ll push for something like this, though:

Fingers crossed I get to paint tomorrow!  Stay tuned!

Happy Sunday

Yesterday a.m. was spent in our current** yard,

where I happily pulled 1,000+ weeds + fertilized a few things.

**Sure, we’re moving — but it’s still a morale boost to beautify what we have now!

* * * * *

We transplanted some coneflowers from our front garden

to some pesky bare spaces out back.


These are known as “purple” coneflowers,
although they’re actually pink.

Just a few years ago, we planted 5 of these beauties in our front landscaping,

+ they’ve reseeded + multiplied liked crazy!

Coneflowers might be my #1 favorite perennial flower . . .

. . . they come in so many varieties.

Look at this one!  I just found it online!

coneflower -- giant

Giant Coneflower

6′ tall — very strong stems + wind-resistant

I’m loving the wacky blue foliage!

I don’t “do” any yellow flowers here, but maybe at the next house?

* * * * * *

But back to yesterday.

It was a great day, with gardening in the a.m.,

a St. Louis Cardinal victory in the afternoon,

Go Cardinals!

Go Cardinals!

+, in the evening, we headed over to our new garage.


Look!  My pair of containers + new boxwoods made the trip . . .

. . .  + G.O. hung our cottage-y light fixtures!


All that white trim I kept bragging about is making its debut, too.

What do you think?

I couldn’t love it more!



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