Category Archives: Blogs

Vacation Apartment In Rheim, France

So.  Today we’re headed to France,

where I recently traveled vicariously

via this Netflix show:

french gardens take two

Monty Don — our somewhat disheveled yet delightful host —

zips around the countryside

in a cute, little Frenchie car,

monty don's car

showing us all sorts of beautiful French gardens,

IN-cluding  Claude Monet’s famous property in Giverny . . .

monet take two

. . . which he immortalized

in hundreds of Impressionistic paintings, like this one:

monet painting

Even G.O. experienced wanderlust while watching,

so who knows?

Grab that passport + cross those fingers!

Anyway, today we’re headed back to France,

courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Remodelista .

We will be staying in one of two boutique apartments

in Rheimes,

which is in the Champagne region

northwest of Paris.

french lessons -- reims map

Let’s have a look-see at those boutique apartments,

where we’ll be staying while in Rheims.

They each contain plenty of French antiques,

including this peg rack:

french lessons -- mirror on french peg rack

Isn’t the hanging mirror charming?

Coincidentally, I had seriously considered

getting a similar French peg rack

for our canned ham RV, like this one, at $40.88:

peg rack french etsy

Anyway, speaking of mirrors,

there were seemingly dozens in the apartments —

the most beautiful of which

is this stunning 100 year-old barber’s mirror:

french lessons -- twin pedestal sinks + barber shop mirror

Omigosh — what a dream,

to design an entire bathroom around that mirror!

Bravo for the twin pedestal sinks

+ the tile excellence!

(Full disclosure:

we have the very same tile floor

in our main bathroom of the Dutch colonial!)


I’ve always wanted a “floral tile” floor like that,

+ after my semi-exhausting search,

we finally found ours on Amazon.

The Frenchies used leftover tiles in the second bathroom,

which is equally as charming:

french lessons -- cute black and white zink

I’m in love with plain, Jane square subways,

+ we’re seeing sinks like that all over the internet.

Extra points given for the wall-mounted faucet

+ the chippy, white door!


One of the bedrooms has another French peg rack,

a beautiful floor, more mirrors, navy comforters,

french lessons -- game board in bedroom

+ a game board** that I MUST HAVE!!


** (Another full disclosure: G.O. loathes leaning artwork,

while I find it extremely stylish.)

What say ye?

While we ponder that,

+ I make a mental note to lean something, later,

let’s check out one of the kitchens:

french lessons -- kitchen with shelf and light switch

How do I love thee?

Let’s break it down, left to right:

a. hanging soap dish,  b. pretty cutting boards,

c. antique brass faucet,  d. penny tiles,

e. attractive accessories, +  f. another mirror!


That’s a stellar range hood, too,

+ I’m all on board with the wall-hung, accordion light fixture:


Would you check out this unique Frenchie electrical outlet!?

french lessons -- kitchen with shelf and light switch

There were several throughout the apartments,

+ I think they’re a dream!

Other views of the kitchen showcase yet more dreaminess,

including the highly-coveted (by me) SMEG refrigerator:

french lessons -- smeg


Anyway, I’m also quite fond of the interior window,

used here to separate the kitchen work space

from the dining area:

french lessons -- old cab island and interior window

Last, but certainly not least,

check out their reclaimed cabinet kitchen island:


Beautiful, no?

Sadly, our current island is not of the vintage persuasion,

but I did have one in my long-ago apartment

in which my boys + I lived during the nineties.

I built it above my late, great retail store,


apartment kitchen island

Omigosh!  Look at that horrible photograph!

Look at all my “stuff”!

If you’d like to see more of it,

then please, check out this blog post,

+ have fun going down memory lane with me!

Cabins In The Snow

Today’s post is a result of my daily “look-see”

at Remodelista’s inspirational blog,

this one devoted to cabins in the snow:

love snow + think every house looks more beautiful in said-same.

For proof, here’s our Dutch colonial last Christmas season.

Charming, if I do say so!

dutch colonial pretty at christmas

Disclaimer: we’ve not had much snow this year,

+ I am not amused.

So.  Let’s cheer ourselves me up

by looking at some houses in real snow,

beginning with this Belgian stunner

that’s been one of my online favorites for years:

cabins in winter belgian stone exterior

I’ve always wanted to live in an old stone house!

The juxtaposition of the rustic stone + that glass room addition is so exquisite.

Inside, they’ve continued mixing the modern with the rustic.

I’m smitten with those red kitchen stools,

but I fear I would tumble out of the bed during the night!

cabins in winter -- belgian stone

This Aspen, Colorado ski chalet was recently renovated

to yet more glass + stone perfection:

cabins in winter -- colorado exterior

I’m a fan of the interior’s rough-sawn wood planks

combined with the smooth, white walls + dark gray beams:

cabins in winter -- colorado interior

I shan’t lie — I am obsessing about living in a mid-Century modern house


so I love this one in New York state:

cabins in winter -- new york state exterior

By again, I mean that while I was in college in the 70’s,

I lived in a genuine mid-Century house

in a 50’s neighborhood in my southern Illinois hometown.

Sadly (very), this was prior to my devotion to MCM style,

+ I would definitely love a courtesy “do-over”.


Inside, the homeowners obviously left the natural wood ceiling + beams

but have brightened everything up by painting the wall paneling white:

cabins in winter -- new york state interior

Next up, I love all things Swedish, in-cluding this dark green beauty!

How wrong would it be

for us to paint our white vinyl siding a crazy dark color??!!

cabins in winter -- swedish exterior

Okay, that’s not gonna happen,

but please.

The whitewashed wood interior + Scandi-style furnishings!

Obviously, the view’s not bad, either.

cabins in winter -- swedish interior

Our maternal ancestors are from Switzerland, as is this mountainside cabin.

Wow.  It’s as flat as a pancake here in Illinois, where we live.

I can’t imagine mountains like this!

(Love the fence, too.)

cabins in winter -- switzerland exterior

Once again with the dark exterior + ultra-light interiors,

+ once again with my loving the bare, minimalist decor

when we have anything but!

That view!

Could we at least plop one chaise lounge in that space, though?

cabins in winter -- switzerland interior

This concludes our fun tour of cabins in the snow via the Remodelista blog.

Maybe I can whip up some energy to remove all things Christmas

from our household + pare things down just a tad!

Doubt it.

Hope you had a merry Christmas!


It’s always a good day when the new issue of Country Living lands in our mailbox.


The issues grow thinner + thinner,

which I hope is not a bad sign or anything.

I read an article about how Millennials are ‘killing’ various businesses

because they don’t like the same things that older people do.

I recently joined a very fun FB decorating group, Nesting With Grace,

+ nearly all the girls are Millennials.

            It has been quite interesting to see their tastes in decor,

+ I was most surprised that the girls don’t buy vintage!

They love pillows but mostly go to Home Goods or Marshalls to buy them.

So.  Kay, you’re asking, what does this have to do with Country Living?

Well, here’s what.

I’m guessing that none of the girls buy the magazine,

which might be the reason why the issues are shrinking so much.

But I digress a bit — I still love Country Living,

so fingers crossed it won’t go the way of Cottage Living, RIP.

Let’s have a look-see at the new issue!




Vintage campers are having their moment now, aren’t they?

We jumped aboard last spring + bought this little (new but looks older) charmer:

canned ham at arbys

We have big plans to travel around the country with it,

+ I vote for a Key West destination, later this spring.

But I digress again, just a little bit — back to the campers in CL!

What’s not to love about this ginormous one (compared to ours?)


Look what they’ve named it — Trailer Swift!

Cute, no?


Speaking of which,

it’s really cute when the camper’s name is posted on the back, like this:.


“Rosie” is a project of freelance writers + bloggers Matt + Beau,

whose blog, probably this, is very cool.  Check it out.

Oh, + BTW, we’ve named our campter the “canned ham”,

+ I have plans to have some vinyl stickers made for it, soon.

canned ham in yard

Meanwhile, back the camper happiness in Country Living.

Who doesn’t love a vintage Airstream?


Here’s another vintage (1966) Airsteam:


It serves as a mobile pop-up shop

for small business owners + siblings, Austin + Amanda.

Look at how the interior’s been customized

for Amanda’s collection of vintage dinnerware merch!


Looks like the duo will have their own HGTV show,

which sounds like it would be a “must watch”, don’t you agree?


Anyway — I, too, have pop-up shop hopes + dreams for my own business!

Maybe this summer.

Our canned ham re-do is nearly complete,

+ if you’d like to see how we’ve customized the interior,

read this blog post + this.

canned ham bed straight on


I Still Love Moody Gray

 Let’s take a break from gushing about touring 4 barn homes

in Country Living Magazine’s October issue.

Here are 2 of them, about which I recently blogged:

Kit Barn (read my post)


Modern Barn (read my post about it)


Instead, let’s discuss something about which I am obsessing lately.


My current design crush, Emily Henderson (that’s her), loves white walls.

emily henderson in bed

Remember?  She won HGTV’s Design Star when that was still on

emily henderson winning design star

I’ve been following her online for years.

To see why I’m such a fan,

look at this genius before + after in her own kitchen.


emily henderson kitchen before


emily henderson kitchen after


Here’s yet more white awesomeness from Emily:

white room emily henderson 2

I could go on posting yummy white rooms for days,

but you get my point.

It’s cool . . .

. . . + of course, now I’m yearning to repaint all our walls WHITE!

IN-cluding our beloved power room (??)

(which is now Flagstone by Pittsburgh Paints.)

I’ve been wanting white walls all summer,

+ then I spy this, in one of my favorite blogs, just the other day:

gray house staircase

O  M  i  G  o  s  h  !

There’s gray everything, even the ceiling!

And look how great all their design choices look with all that gray!

That lantern:

gray house staircase

The sisal carpeted staircase:


Here’s some more gray fabulousness from the same house:

gray house 2 rooms

Yet more:

gray house table with books

Hold on now.  Let’s study the genius styling in this little area,

because I have been studying it + now wish to copy it.**

**More on that soon.

Let’s break it down.

Natural wood tone table pops nicely against the dark wall

Antique mirror does the same thing:


Stack of books on the floor (note to self: one is askew!):

gray house table with books

Wire basket with mags on the floor


I have enough magazines to have about 80 baskets full of them,

scattered all over the house.

gray house table with books

Back to the vignette!

Art piece on the floor:


Bucket o’ logs on the floor (more wood popping with dark):


Wood item  (what is that?) leaning against the corner

Leaning stuff = love

gray house table with books

Including multiples of natural wood is a great example

of the repeat an element (at least) 3 times rule,

which of course, we all do.  Right?

Anyway, in conclusion, I’m asking:

Is one beautifully moody gray house enough

to distract me from Emily Henderson’s white awesomeness?

What do you think?



Combination Dining/Home Office In Our New House

Announcement: we’ll be seriously downsizing

when we move into the Dutch colonial.

No more 3 bedrooms + separate sewing/bozoputer room!

surprised boy


Natch, this has me thinking the following:

1. organization + 2.  purging

+ lots of both!

Take the dining room.  Please.

We never dine here, at our current hacienda . . .

dining room of Kay's.

. . . so one would assume that we won’t do so in our next hacienda, either.

Speaking of which,

our Dutch colonials’ spacious + bright dining room

is open to the kitchen:


dining room in progress dutch colonial

Here’s my plan:

Instead of it being just a room for dining,

half of it will be our home office!

First, the dining half.

Check out the room’s spacious window bay:


 It shall include a small-ish, round table

for puzzles, Scrabble + the occasional meal.

It is imperative that it be charming + attractive, along these lines:

or these:

dining room table round in bay

Source unknown

For the home office half,

it’s up to ME to somehow create a tastefulorganized home office.

surprised boy



I have a new, favorite designer (sorry, Sarah Richardson!),

Allison Kandler .

Here she is now:

And here’s the combo family room/home office

in her own Santa Monica, CA home:

2 words, people: awesome built-ins.

* * *

What a dream!

Sadly, our budget would never permit such awesomeness,

so it’s time to do what I do best — punt!


I can totally do this!  Here’s how:

I will re-purpose our existing farmhouse table into a cool desk . . .

dining room of Kay's.

. . . + place the top, cubby portion of my postal sorter on top of it!

postal sorter


Now it’s time to search for cool yet good-looking storage

to fill those cubbies,

something along the lines of those red boxes

in Alison Kandler’s room:

alison kandler office-family room from above

Please.  That alone is worth its own blog post.

Meanwhile, you’re no doubt dying to see the rest of her house.

Go here now:

Stay tuned!

Watson Kennedy in Seattle

The weather guy forecasted sub-zero temps for to-day,

which means I am in serious need of a morale boost,

whether I leave the house or not (+ I’m not.)

So.  To that end, I just ordered this:

mug measuring stick


From Watson Kennedy, a shop in Seattle.

watson kennedy

I first knew of this store when, years ago, Country Living magazine

profiled its owner, Ted Watson Kennedy,

watson kennedy -- ted

Looks like he’s written a book,

which comes out May 6th.

watson kennedy new book


If you order it from the Watson Kennedy website,

it will arrive with his signature, which is always a good thing.

I have a feeling it will be worth having,

based on how much I enjoy Ted’s daily blog posts:

watson kennedy blog

His enthusiasm + his attention to detail —

in his shops + homes — are so inspiring!

It really makes a gal like me want to step up her game!

Have a look-see — what do you think?


The other day I found a cool blog about flipping furniture.


Who knew?

Here’s Stephanie, the blogger.

Isn’t she pretty?  And she’s funny, too!

furniture flippin stephanie

Turns out the particular post I read

featured ReFabulous Interiors —  the business of a gal that I know!

Her name is Becky, + she’s just as nice as she is pretty:


Fun factoids:

1. Becky was a 7th grade art student of mine, the last year I taught!

2. Her mom, Dawn, used to shop in my old retail store,

the late, great Heart-in-Hand in Oregon, Illinois.

3. Dawn’s an avid Atlanta Braves fan,

+ her team + mine just might meet in the postseason this year!

Go Cardinals!

Go Cardinals!

* * * * *

Oh, dear.  I digress, majorly.

Shall we get back to Becky + ReFabulous Interiors?

Let’s see some of the magic she works on plain Jane furniture:

chair becky monster face


chairs -- becky


Go have a look-see at Becky’s website:

* * * *

Anyway, all these groovy projects had me feeling nostalgic

about all the chairs that I used to flip!

One of my favorites! Painted a pretty neutral color Upholstered with canvas on which I stenciled a Frenchie stripe

One of my favorites!
Painted a pretty neutral color,
upholstered with canvas on to which I stenciled a Frenchie stripe

Here’s the chair that started my chair flipping “career”:

chair -- original greens

I loved the patina of the old, green paint!

Actually, this was one of a set of 4 dark green, metal folding chairs

that I found in an antiques shop in my hometown.

Those 4 chairs turned into my first numbered series —

+ our (meaning: G.O.’s) first attempt at upholstering with my stenciled fabric!


Poor G.O. — I have to find another photo op!

He’s actually very talented at upholstery!

* * * * *

Here are some of our other upholstered chair flips:

Frenchie café chair with Frenchie striped upholstery. This was during our upholstery tack era.

Frenchie café chair
with Frenchie striped upholstery.
This was done
during our upholstery tack era.

Woven Frenchie stripes this time,  with yet more upholstery tacks.

Woven Frenchie stripes this time,
on some wonderful vintage fabric,
with yet more upholstery tacks.

Still in our Frenchie phase. I love this chair's simple ladderback design!

Still in our Frenchie phase.
I love this chair’s simple ladderback design
+ warm wood tones!

What a cute footstool, with more of my stenciled fabric!

What a cute footstool,
with more of my stenciled fabric!

Now we’ve left France + are headed into Industrial Land:

Loved this industrial stool with its Swiss Army blanket upholstery + Swiss cross!

Loved this stool
with its Swiss Army blanket upholstery
+ Swiss cross!

Another rolling stool, this time with a red + white cross + a Frenchie dish towel slipcover!

Another industrial stool,
this time with a red + white cross
+ an awesome vintage dish towel slipcover!

I am such a fan of slipcovering old chairs.

Here are some of my favorite flips, featuring slips!

Tan ticking stripe cotton chair pad + trimming the canvas slipcover.

Tan ticking stripe cotton chair pad
+ trim on the cute canvas slipcover.

I love the vintage floral fabric  used on this child's rocker!

I love the vintage floral fabric
that I used on this child’s rocker!

How sassy are these stadium seats? I used genuine Army tent fabric + vintage buttons!

How sassy are these stadium seats?
I used genuine Army tent fabric, blue ticking stripe cotton
+ vintage buttons!

Well, that was fun!

I still have some chairs in storage,

awaiting their makeovers, including one just like this:

chair -- folding wood with blue striped pad

Thanks for viewing all my projects-from-the-past,

+ stay tuned to see if I’ve been inspired

to get back to chair flipping!

Is Our Project Too Modest For A Blog?

^^ Wow — that title’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it? ^^


* * * *

Let’s look at the latest progress at our Dutch Colonial re-do

+ then discuss my concerns:


It’s hard to see because I was in the car +

G.O. kept trying to drive away

(cue, me, shrieking: “STOP THE CAR!!!!”) . . .

. . .  we’re getting  a ‘Midnight Gray’ metal roof

on just that small section just below the front gable.


Here’s a close up for your perusal:


That flat piece against the side of the house is flashing,
+ it will be covered by the siding.

Here’s my inspiration:

^^ So loving the accent of metal here ^^

^^ SO pushing for this type of installation over our back door! ^^

Hubba hubba, don’tcha think?

Pinterest via D. Carey

Pinterest via D. Carey

This is a total ‘must-have’!  Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, here’s more:

^^ Okay, people.  Look at this! ^^

Vinyl siding!  (‘Tis just one of my insecurities; we’ll discuss later.)

* * * *

Back to the insecurity at hand.

  All these roofs are STANDING SEAM METAL,

while ours is similar but a LOT less expensive:


I’m freaking out a little, just in case it’s not ‘similar’ enough

+ looks totally hiddy!

What if people ‘judge’!!??

WHY am I even blogging about our re-do,

if our project’s so modest because of our super small budget?

* * * *


What’s this I see?



(look closely) . . .

. . . and yet, it really, really looks GREAT!!!!

* * * *

Um, what was it I was whining about, earlier?

N E V E R M I N D !

All it takes is one photo, + my confidence soars!


* * * *


Meanwhile, now that I’m feeling so VALIDATED,

 I’ll dash over later + try to take better snapshots!

Stay tuned!


Website Crush: Restyle Source

My morning ritual:  coffee, Facebook,  e-mail + then, blog perusal + Pinterest.

After the blogs + Pinterest,

I nearly always find myself scurrying back to e-mailing, as I feel the need to share something fantastic with my friends!

Today’s fantastic-ness would be this website:

I’ve nearly overdosed on inspiration!

There are articles + photos of shops, fashion, restaurants, designers, events, city guides . . .

. . . I swooned a little while reading the city guide for Chicago.

Here are some mentioned shops that I, too, have visited + recommend:

Jayson Home @ 1885 N. Clyborn Ave.

Jayson Home @ 1885 N. Clyborn Ave.

P.O.S.H. @ 613 N. State

P.O.S.H. @ 613 N. State St.

ROOST @ 5634 N. Clark St.

ROOST @ 5634 N. Clark St., which is in a very cool neighborhood, Andersonville, + which is within walking distance from . . .

. . . Brimfield @ 5219 N. Clark St.

. . . Brimfield @ 5219 N. Clark St.


Seriously, this blog will have you gassing up the car + having a road trip or 12!

Another awesome blog has city guides:

I don’t know about you, but I’m suffering from a severe case of wanderlust!


Blog Crush: Finders Keepers Market

Today the weather’s been cold and worse yet — gray + gloomy AGAIN.

I started around 7 a.m. + spent the day sewing pillows.


Here’s a pillow repurposed from linen dish towels.  Don’t you love the vintage-style red stripes?  I do!

 I designed the pillow with the stripes accenting the 2 side closures.



I use vintage buttons.


The dressmaker side of me loves matching the stripes at the seams.

Around 4 this afternoon, I’d finally had enough sewing, so I looked at a few blogs, including this favorite:

finder's keepers blog header

James Snowden is an interior decorator, shopkeeper and, as he styles himself,
‘blog curator’ based in Kentucky

The shop looks very interesting, + we’ll have to take a road trip to Lexington sometime soon.

Here are just a few of the images from the blog:

  I think this striking room’s furniture arrangement really accentuates that beautiful fireplace as the focus.

Spare living room

Lonny magazine

Is everybody still on board with the all-white decor?

This room’s very neutral, but there are a lot of textures.  Look at those silver lamp bases!

I think the room’s spare but very interesting.

Meanwhile, here’s an entry that’s not-so-spare . . .

spare entry

Lonny magazine

. . . who says less is more?  Look at that fun gallery wall!

Aren’t you interested to know about the people who live here?  I am!

Today a friend + I chatted about going DARK with wall paint.  Love the paneling here.

Farrow and Ball paint co.

Farrow + Ball paint co.

What do you think of the dark bed + bedding?

Really, the ‘safe’ thing to do here would be adding a white bed + light bedding for contrast . . . I’m pretty sure that’s what I would do . . .

 . . . but look at the way that one metallic lamp pops!  Genius!  It’s subtle yet dramatic at the same time!

Who’s jumped on the black wall bandwagon?  Anybody?

I’m thinking navy blue, but I think I’ll be ‘safe’ + add white woodwork.



Earnest Home co.

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life in and around the garden


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