Why I Love The HGTV Dream Home 2018

Yesterday I actually referred to the HGTV 2018 Dream Home as “meh”.

See for yourself:

DH meh 'before'

NO, I hadn’t viewed the show yet when I said it was “meh”,

so I failed to realize that this photo was the before!

Quick!  Check out the fabulous afters:

DH side 'after'

Did you cringe when the designer chose black paint for the exterior?

I’m used to it being kind of a “thing” now, so I didn’t.

Notice the gray trim.

I think that it really helps to keep the black from being overly somber.

DH outdoor overview

How stellar are all those outdoor seating + dining areas!

And please.  I am so in love with the metal roof!

DH front down low

Show of hands, though.

Who in the world has a garage tidy enough for a pair of glass doors?

Besides nobody!

DH front from above

Meanwhile, I tried but failed to find a photo

of the cute + perky blonde host,

but wasn’t she a clone of Modern Family’s Julie Bowen?


Lady crush!

But back to the house, courtesy of a few FUN befores afters.

Man, that before kitchen is dark,

even if the cabinets + counter tops are white.

DH kitchen before

And what is UP with those stair step upper cabs?

DH kitchen before

TA DA!  Check out the kitchen after!

It’s anything but dark!

DH kitchen after looking across staircase

I like the black lower cabs to the right;

the dark open shelves really make the displayed items pop.


The black’s been repeated

in that ultra modern range hood + the island counter tops.


Remember:  repeating elements results in a cohesive design.

Now, then.  For today’s homework assignment.


Bring home some pretty branches

+ shove them into a glass container.

DH kitchen after looking across staircase

But first — back to the dreary + dark before living room / fireplace wall:

DH fireplace before

This after living room couldn’t be more bright!

DH fireplace after

This kind of thing makes me want to re-paint all our rooms white!

(Don’t tell G.O.)

What do you think of their moving the fireplace to the window wall?


I’d never have thought of it, but it makes sense

+ allows the furniture placement to focus on both it + that beautiful view!

I’m a fan of a pair of couches facing each other in a room,

+ I really love sofa tables.

There’s 2!  Perfect!


Just across the room is a very pretty dining area:

DH fish picture + dining chairs in blush

A+ for the personal + meaningful artwork

+ kudos for bravely adding those complementary pink dining chairs!

Yikes, though.  THIS:

DH bathroom before

Now, it’s this!

DH bathroom after


Is anybody on board with the black bathroom hardware?

It’s definitely a “thing”have you noticed?


DH bathroom after with gray vanity

I’m really in love with the gray vanity + the pretty gray + white striped towel!


Those mirrors!  Yum!


Check out the one that I’ve chosen for our upstairs bath

at the Dutch colonial:

black mirror

Speaking of which,

I do believe it’s time to blog about that upstairs bathroom.

Here I go, camera in hand, up the staircase,

so stay tuned!


HGTV’s Dream Home 2018

Did you watch the premiere of the 2018 HGTV Dream House last night?

It’s in Gig Harbor, Washington, + here ’tis:

dream home 2018

Hmmm.  My initial thoughts are along the lines of “meh”,

but since I didn’t watch, I shall save my judgement until after I do.

What I did watch yesterday was a day-long Downton Abbey marathon,

a.k.a. pledge drive, on PBS.

 downton abbey

I had to watch, because I now have a crush

on the actor portraying Lady Mary’s 2nd husband,

Matthew Goode.



He’s Princess Margaret’s first husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones,

in The Crown series on Netflix.

matthew goode as antony armstrong jones


But I digress — back to the Dream Home!

I recorded it, so I’ve penciled in a viewing for  later today.

First, let’s have a look-see at some of the past Dream Homes.

Do you have any favorites?


1997 Jackson Hole, WY:

dream home 1997 jackson hole wy


1998 Beaufort, SC:

Dream Home 1998, Beaufort SC


1999  Rosemary Beach, FL


L: 2000 Nehalem, OR      R: 2001 Camden, ME:



L:  2002 Sherwood, MD       R:  2003 Mexico Beach, FL:



 2004 St. Mary’s, GA

dream home 2004 st mary's ga


L:  2005 Tyler, TX       R:  2006 Lake Lure, NC



L:  2007 Winter Park, CO       R: 2008 Islamorada, FL



L:  2009 Sonoma, CA       R:  2010 Sandia Park, NM



L:  2011 Stowe, VT       R: 2012  Park City, UT



L:  2013  Charleston, SC       R:  2014  Lake Tahoe, CA



L:  2015  Martha’s Vineyard       R:  2016  Merritt Island, FL



. . . . and, in conclusion, last year’s home

St. Simons Island, GA

dream home 2017 st. simons island ga

I wonder what you’ve all thought of this year’s Dream Home.

Is it just me, or didn’t we used to get more excited about this than we do now?

Pesky Problem Solved By The Internet!

It’s fairly commonplace

to ask new-build + new-rehab homeowners:

“Is there anything you would do differently?”

My reply would be parts of our kitchen.  Here’s one:


That sliver of space between our stove/range hood + wall is troublesome.

Here are some photos of  how I dealt with the lower cabinets.



My galvanized storage bins are from World Market:

world market galvanized metal storage bins


I like the bins, but it’s above that bothers me

— on either side of the range hood.


I considered my go-to wall decor — hanging plates.

I’m fond of the blue + white plates in our main bathroom, downstairs:

plates of wall main bathroom


Disclaimer: that wreath needs to be hung higher, like here:

(Yes, I have already shared this with G.O.!)


But wait.  There’s more.  Check out those shelves!

They, too, are mere slivers of space, + yet.

How awesome!


They’ve been tricked out very tastefully!

I wonder if  very narrow shelves would work in our kitchen.


I shan’t lie.  I am on the fence.

All that means is that I shall continue to stew about it,

until the day arrives that I go for it or just  leave it.

Meanwhile, I am going to copy something from that blogger’s kitchen.

My small collections of wood bread boards will move . . .


. . . + will relocate to this spot:


. . . at the back of the stove top, like here:


I love being inspired so early in the morning!

Have you been inspired by a blog post or a Pinterest photo?

And no, I don’t know what we did before the internet!

Our Bathroom’s Green/Now What?

I’ve gone way out of my comfort zone,

+ we’re painting our upstairs bathroom sage green.

It’s one of many sage greens from Sherwin-Williams!

paint green sage

I chose Unusual Gray (at the bottom, above) for the walls,

with Contented (3rd from the top), lightened by 50%, for the ceiling.


Here they are, side by side in our bathroom.

I think they look more green + less gray, on the walls + ceilings.

sage green -- facing door and hall

It looks good, but it needs a white crown molding at the ceiling

to make it look crisp + neat.

Something like this:

crown molding

The Contented ceiling pops nicely against the white subway tiles,

so I have faith it will look great with that white crown.

sage green -- shower enclosure

There wasn’t enough of the original woodwork for this room,

so G.O. bought some new baseboards that are just as tall as the old ones:


He brought in his compound miter saw from the garage:


Soon, he’ll add some quarter-round molding at the floor.

sage green -- southern baseboard



I am relieved that I like actually like the colors . . .


. . . because let’s face it: greens can go so wrong, so easily.

The Unusual Gray is a tad darker than I anticipated,

but that might be because of all the dark + cloudy days we’re having.

Soon enough, we will be adding all the finishing touches.

Help!  What goes with green?

Stay tuned!

Will I Have Painter’s Remorse?

Yesterday I mentioned my quest

to find the perfect gray-green paint for our upstairs bathroom.

I found this list of sage greens on Pinterest.

We’d be living in our car if there was no Pinterest.

paint green sage

I had chosen my front runner last night,

but I had to wait to see the paint chips in our bathroom in the day.


We started eliminating the ones that were clearly wrong —

maybe too dark or too yellow to make the cut.


Our paint mustn’t be too green, either, as I wanted a gray-green.

We finally ruled out the rest of the unwanted colors,

settling on this pair, for both the wall + the ceiling.

Unusual Gray, left, + Contentment, slightly lighter for the ceiling.


Not so fast.

Soon I had myself fearing that Contentment was too dark on the ceiling

+ wouldn’t provide enough contrast with the walls.

Here’s where it gets a little crazy.

I told G.O. to ask the paint guy at Sherwin-Williams to lighten it by 50%.

He was not on board, but I assured him that this was a thing,

+ that the popular bloggers do it!

To ease his mind (+ mine), I called Sherwin-Williams to confirm.

Yes, they do it.

See for yourself:


Here are the cans, waiting for their thumbs up or down by me:


Disclaimer: as greens tend to do,

Unusual Gray looked more gray in the light of the kitchen (below)

+ more green in the bathroom.


Here’s the first bit of Contentment on the ceiling:


It’s a dark + gloomy day,  so I’m sure the colors will change

when/if the sun finally opts to shine again.

That bathroom is super bright

because of a solar tube that G.O. installed in the ceiling.

Excuse the unusually bad photo, but here ’tis:


He needs to install the panel thing, of course.

When the sun’s shining, that room is so bright —

the kind of bright that has you reaching for the light switch!

I’ll have to ask G.O. about the solar tube

so that I can share with the class.


Meanwhile,  here are a couple of additional photos of our bathroom.

Our white vanity from is from IKEA:


I forget its Swedish name, but it has 2 drawers.

I super love its vanity top, which is similar to this:

IKEA bathroom with our top

The black + white tiles are period-appropriate to our house:


I think Lowe’s has them in stock,

but we got ours from Tile Outlet in Chicago.

Anyway, it’s time to climb those stairs again

+ inspect G.O.’s progress.

Stay tuned for more ‘after’ updates!

My Quest For The Perfect Gray-Green

G.O. is working on the upstairs bathroom,

so I’ve been busy thinking about paint colors, etc.

I was all set to get Glidden’s Prairie Sage (bottom right),

since it was described as a neutral alternative to gray.

paint green of sage

Trust me, we have enough gray walls downstairs.

 I am ready for a change but want to stay neutral-ish.

Besides, green is a thing now.

Anyway, off we drive to Home Depot for a gallon of Glidden Prairie Sage.

Long story short — neither of us liked it.

I thought it looked too bright + too mint.

surprised baby

The minute we got home, I headed to Pinterest,

where I began a furtive search for green-gray paint.

When I saw these being described as matches to

Restoration Hardware paint, my search was officially ovah!

paint green sage

I mean, people.

Everything from Restoration Hardware is exquisite, is it not?

Sadly, it’s almost 5 bells, so I shall have to wait until manana

to drive to our (brand new + local) Sherwin-Williams.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, earlier today I casually suggested we do this

to the bathrooms walls:

board and batten entryway

I mean, how cool!  Plus, isn’t it easy to install?  I hope?

board and batten bathtub

Oops.  I think that’s where I lost him.

cats fighting

Wish me luck with the paint, though.

  I’ll report back — so stay tuned.


Kitchen Windows + Door

Last Christmas we had wreaths like this in every window.


I wanted to hang them on the windows outside this year.

Like this:

wreaths of window

Or this:

wreath on wiindows

How charming is that?

G.O. wasn’t on board, sadly, so maybe next year.

Meanwhile, the wreaths do look good on windows inside the house,

don’t you think?


The cute, little trees were from IKEA a few years ago,

+ my favorite Guy Wolff pots were from Smith + Hawken.  RIP



Those sweet red checked curtains started their lives as a bed skirt

from when Martha Stewart still sold stuff at K-Mart.  RIP

Watch here to see a K-Mart commercial starring Martha Stewart.

F U N !

Awwwww!  That cute Dachsie card was sent to me by cousin, Gwen.

Those red light fixtures were from Ballard Designs.


We hung another wreath on our kitchen door:


How adorable!

But now I must ask for your opinions.

We painted all of our interior doors Black Magic by Pittsburgh Paints.

Here’s the door to the powder room:

Here’s our bedroom closet doors:

door of black with greg

We just assumed that the kitchen door

would receive its own coat of Black Magic paint someday.

But wait.

My friends were here for brunch a few days ago,

+ they both thought the door looked good, as is!

kristen wigg

I had never thought to do that!

Of course, I am now kind of obsessing about it.

See Exhibits A + B:

What do you think?

Black Magic?

door of black with greg

Or chippy white?


Time will tell, so stay tuned!

Santas Under Glass

One of the best things about all the red in our kitchen

is how festive it looks at Christmas time!


I love our red Bella coffee maker,

the buffalo check candle is from Marshalls,

+ I used to sell Hoosier glass jars like this in my old store.

Our kitchen window sill is quite deep,

so I have lots of fun displaying my collectibles on it.

Right now it’s filled with my Santas,

+ this year I opted to display them under glass cloches.

Only one is a genuine cloche, though,

while the others are various repurposed glass containers.

My cast iron Santa from the Sundance catalog

is under a glass globe from an old industrial light fixture.


This small hand-carved Santa

is from a fellow vendor at one of my mid-90’s markets.

His cloche is actually a small glass item

for which I paid $3 just the other day, at a local antique shop*.

We’re not sure what it was originally, but it’s the perfect small size!


* I found a box of 12 red Shiny Brite ornaments

at the same store + on the same day.


My blue + gray salt-glaze pottery Santa

is from Rowe Pottery Works in Cambridge, Wisconsin.

I used to carry their wares in my old store, too.


Look closely at his cloche —

it is actually a small glass measuring beaker that I found at Walmart.

I think it looks vintage + industrial, don’t you?


A similar set of beakers is available online from Walmart.

beakers from walmart

I call this Hallmark ornament the Paula Deen’s husband Santa.


Seriously.  Separated at birth, or what?

Do you recognize his cloche?

It is a preserves jar from the French company, Bonne Maman.

Notice that Santa’s standing on the darling red check jar lid!


We love the cherry preserves at our house.

preserves of cherry

And finally, we have the only real cloche of my collection.

I bought it years ago at the late, great Smith + Hawken store.

I’m guessing that Santa probably came from my old shop, too.


Doesn’t the tall, slender beaker look great, with the sun shining through it?

Meanwhile, that’s about it for my Santas collection.

In the olden days, I had dozens more of them,

but sold or gave away most when I entered my less-is-more phase.

Let’s take a quick look at some other (mostly red) things in our kitchen.

 We can discuss said red accents at a later date.

Stay tuned.


A Simple Christmas Porch

This afternoon I snapped just a few photos of our pretty new porch,

 decorated very simply for Christmas time.


We bought those black urns at Lowe’s this past summer,

+ of course, at the time,

I was already dreaming of how pretty they would look at Christmas.


They look like cast iron but are actually made from old tires,

which means they are lightweight + are supposed to be durable enough

to make it throughout the cold winter months.


Each window in our house has a single electric candle,

which is one of my favorite things to do.

I think it is so quaint, especially in a 2-story house like ours

(+ this one, below:)



We hung some artificial garland made of mixed greens,

including some blue spruce,

which coordinates divinely with our blue spruce topiary.


Yes, I know this Dachshund is tacky, but how could I resist so much cuteness?


She’s standing in front of my seats from the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis.


I bought that ginormous wreath at a garage sale one warm summer day.

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but those are big, retro red bulbs.


Yes, I use a lot of red in our house, which is especially festive at Christmas time.

Did I share a photo of our new mailbox?



Look!  Yet another Dachshund — a boot  scraper, actually,

which I placed next to some old, red boots I bought at a vintage store.


This may or may not be the final version of our Christmas porch,

but whatever — I am going to keep things simple, with red + greens.

Early Christmas at the Dutch Colonial

Hooray!  A couple of days ago, I put up our Christmas tree.


Delightful!  But wait.

Just for fun, let’s go down memory lane + look at our 2009 tree:

christmas tree in wash tub

That washtub stand looked super cute + kept our new kittens at bay.

Those clip-on candle strings were so charming!

candle strings

My aunt Elva had these beauties on her Christmas tree,

so I was inspired to use them, too.

You can buy your own here.

Now, then, let’s head back to this year’s tree:



We bought it online last year, but I can’t recall where I found it.  Oops.

Anyway, I liked it because it resembled those simple + spare trees

that are all the rage —

something like this 7′ artificial tree by Vickermans, on Amazon:

bedrock pine christmas tree

WOW.  I know! —  how fantastic

Our version is only 3′ tall,

so we placed it on top of a carom board table that G.O. made.

Here’s a close up view:


Oh, + as you can see,

I switched out our letter board message on the art ledge.

Those are some lyrics of one of my favorite (John Lennon) Christmas songs:


 Back to the tree.

I limited the ornaments to red balls, mustard gold stars,

+ silvery glass pinecones + nuts from Martha’s old K-Mart merch:


Oh, how I miss the days when Martha sold at K-Mart!


The scuttlebutt is that after she walked into a K-Mart store

+ saw the messy displays (imagine that!),

she ruined  my life by ending her collaboration with K-Mart.

S A D !

Moving on, these pretty stars are holdovers from my old retail store,

Heart-in-Hand, circa 1990-something.


Here ’tis, in 1991, when I bought that building:

heart in hand exterior

But I digress.

My plans are to add one more detail — some silvery metal icicles.

If you look closely, you can see them on our ’09 tree:

christmas tree in wash tub

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, let’s discuss that fence around the base of our tree.





Like the star ornaments, the fence is from my Heart-in-Hand era.

I bought it from the Rowe Pottery Work retail store in Cambridge, WI:

rowe pottery bldg

I used to sell their commemorative pottery in my store.

Several times a year, I opted to drive a couple of pleasant hours

through Wisconsin to pick up my pottery orders (no huge shipping bill!)

rowe pottery city crock

But I digress!

Here’s one more look at our Christmas tree — a.k.a. Kay’s morale boost!


Yet more Christmas-related morale boosts occurred

out on our recently finished front porch!


I can’t wait to share more photos!

Stay tuned!



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