Category Archives: books

Lauren Liess On HGTV

So.  Flash back to just a few days ago.

Remember when we were all psyched about designer Lauren Liess’ HGTV pilot?

They named it Best House On The Block.


Her book is called HABITAT / A Field Guide To Decorating.

You can buy a signed copy (it’s good) on her website.


I just went to her website, but there was no mention of whether HGTV

was going to pick them up for an entire season.

While we wait for good news, let’s look at + judge my bad photos of the TV screen!

Here are the lucky homeowners:


Their 60’s brick ranch was in a neighborhood filled with identical brick ranches.


They had $60 grand to spend on their re-do, + here’s what they were getting:


I’m always surprised at the amount of money that’s allotted for painting on HGTV.

$5,000?  Really?

That’s why you do the painting YOURSELVES, you whippersnappers!

Seriously.  I am going to insist that you get off my lawn.


But first, this, speaking of paint:


Raise your hand if you knew they were going to paint their brick.

That makes G.O. cross, but I’m usually on board.

More on this, later.


I failed to take many before  or during snapshots, because who cares, really?

Ha!  I “kid”!

Here’s one before look at the back door + stairway to the basement.


Lauren was able to level that area by reversing the basement steps!


Here’s a good look at it in the after floor plan:


In real life:


You can also see that they removed the wall between the kitchen + family room.

How I love the black cabs with the warm wood counter tops!


Everything’s so wonderfully staged!


Yes, it’s unconventional to put the stove under the windows,

but I think those are fixed + not made to open.

WOW, that’s a stunning stove, isn’t it?

The exhaust fan is probably along the back.


Did all this black + warm wood remind you of this house boat from Fixer Upper?

If you’d like to see more of it, check out my blog post devoted to it.

fixer upper boat after

The island is custom made with old barn wood.


Lauren + her husband, David, went to a reclaimed lumber business in Virginia.

The boards they chose came from an old barn that was built just after the Civil War.

Come ON, though!

Look at her!  How stylish is she?


Back to the island:



Wait.  What is that artwork in the family room?

Lauren foraged for botanicals in the homeowner’s wooded back yard,

gathering enough to press, frame + hang multiples in a grid.

This is one of her signature “looks”, + I love it!


Here is a view across that new basement staircase,

from the new dining room.


Homeowner hubby, David, is inspecting the new shelves

Lauren designed for their daughter’s toys:


The couple already owned the round Saarenin “tulip” table,

+ Lauren added a few pieces to make the dining room complete.

I’m glad to see that pairs of lamps are still a thing.


Here’s a photo of the after front exterior.


Some asbestos was discovered in the kitchen,

+ it cost $3000 to be removed.

As you can see, they took that amount from the furnish + style fund.


I really loved the show, didn’t you?

Fingers crossed there will be more episodes!


A+ For Color Coordination!

What’s more fun than a day spent rearranging?


Here’s my inspiration, in Diane Keaton’s house:


And for my rearrange, see this BEFORE, with my books displayed backward:


AFTER, in color, with bowls on top:


Yes, that’s right.  My books are now color-coordinated, + I love it!

AFTER, in color, w/o yellow ware bowls on top:


The yellow ware bowls, while lovely, were kind of visually too much.

Meanwhile, back to my books + stuff.

During the re-do, I thought it would be fun to fill the cubbies

with all sorts of color coordinating bibelots:


Oh, dear.  I might need to edit a bit.  We’ll see.

Now it’s time for a closer look at some of my books,

+ while doing so, please notice the wonderful, old paint on my cupboard:


Had I mentioned where I got this wonderful piece?

Back in the 90’s, when I had my own retail store, Heart-in-Hand,

my friend, Bob told me that his grandpa had a huge sorter in his boat garage.

I think I paid $50 or something scandalous.  Yay.


Even after closing my store, I could never bear to part with the cupboard.

For about a decade or so, I held out hope that I might open yet another store.



My shop keeping dreams finally ended (more like a nightmare at this point),

but I still couldn’t sell my beloved cupboard.

It was a nice place for storing all my gardening supplies in our old garage,

but when we moved here to the Dutch colonial,

I told G.O. that I wanted to have it in our new living room.


HA!  I slay myself sometimes, with those dueling cats.

I honestly can’t recall whether or not an argument ensued, but please.

After a while, he did say — without prompting, even —

that it looked better than he thought that it would.

fist pump.jpg





Well, thanks so much for viewing my latest project.

Next time, I hope to blog about something new I’ve been planning for months:


Stay tuned!


My Diane Keaton Lady Crush

This morning I stumbled upon the portfolio of Stephen Shandley,

a NYC-based designer whose clients include my fave, Diane Keaton.


Shandley was named to the Architectural Digest’s AD100,

the list of the world’s best interior designers + architects.

I tried but failed to access his website this morning —

perhaps it was just a temporary issue — I dunno.

+ + + + +

Now, then.  What was I saying about my lady crush, Diane?


Remember when she won the Best Actress Oscar for Annie Hall?

annie hall.jpg

Oh, how I love that movie, + when it came out,

I was inspired by Annie’s wardrobe to sew myself a similar blazer + skirt!

+ + + + +

In addition to her highly successful acting career,

Diane is also a home design afficionado + author of this book:


 Next, let’s have a look-see at some photos of Diane’s many** homes,

(**she moves more than we do!)

the interiors of which were designed by Stephen Shandley.


Seriously?  A leather sofa porch swing?  Genius!

The master bedroom at Diane Keaton's home in Pacific Palisades, CA.

People.  This is SO me!  I’ve even sewn pillows with the Swiss cross like these.


The stairwell at Diane Keaton's home in Pacific Palisades, CA.

OMiGosh!  Pillows in a rolling cart!

Check this out (below) — Diane + I also share a love of the “re-arrange”!

I wonder if it provides her the same morale boost as it does me?

I am loving the version at left, with all the colorful pottery.

 I love color, + am growing a tad weary of the trend of all-white decor.

What say ye?


Look at Diane’s inspiration board —  I love it.

And last but not least, here are a couple examples of phrases (stenciled?)

incorporated into Diane’s homes:



I’m not surprised to see that Diane has so many books.  I want one of those rolling ladders, please.

I am feeling a yen for stenciling something on the walls of our house,

since that’s what I do.

Now I have to choose a phrase, don’t I?

Stay tuned!


Real Rooms?

I love the Oscars!

I always have!

Last night’s show did not disappoint.

My favorite movie of last year, Spotlight, won best picture:


Lady Gaga’s pants/dress combination looked great on the red carpet,

+ her moving performance of her song Until It Happens To You made me cry:


Singer Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney arrive on the red carpet for the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

She’s so FAB!

But enough about that.

I was kind of stopped in my tracks this morning

when I saw this photo on Remodelista’s blog:

books  the lodge at gallow green nyc

From The Lodge At Gallow Green in NYC

Does that library nook look inviting, or what?

Plus, it looks real.

If I do say so, I think my bookshelves look real, too:


I re-did them this past weekend (FUN!) + will share photos soon.

But what on earth do I mean by real?


I mean they’re books that were carefully chosen + which have meaning to me.

Yes, of course, I take care when displaying them,

+ this, to me, is very important:

A home with books is way cooler than one without them.

Even so, the way they look is secondary.

Or is it?

 Check this out:

books -- farm chicks

Remember this photo?

It’s in the Farm Chicks gal’s kitchen, all decorated for Christmas.

I remember seeing it in Country Living magazine a couple years ago.

She covered all those books herself!

books farm chicks 2

 Such a statement!

WOW, it looks great, + WOW, I could never pull that off!

Now let’s have a look-see at another, equally beautiful library.

I’m sure you recognize it from Fixer Upper’s new bed + breakfast:

fixer upper library 3

 Visually stunning!

But I hate to be such a fun hater, but here I go.

Who on earth is really going to sit there + read any of those pretty books?


fixer upper library 2

Oh, gosh.

This is a topic for another post but one about which I ponder

+ ponder often, frankly.

Rooms to look at or rooms to live in?

And am I the only one?

Stay tuned!



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