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Posted on April 25, 2014
Why a Magazine Photo Shoot Takes Me Back to the Days of Old Perms.

Imagine you got an awesome perm about six months ago.  No, it’s not 1985…this will make sense in about two minutes.  Well, six months later, your hair dresser calls and says, “I just can’t stop thinking about how great your perm turned out!   I would love to get a pic for my website!” 

You think awesome!  I am pretty hot after all…and then you look in the mirror.  Turns out the six inches of hair closest to your scalp is as straight as the day is long and the rest of the hair is poofing out like a dust ruffle-I mean, it’s been six months!

This is where the magazine comes in!


When you finish a space, typically you hold your breath and hope your clients live in a state of suspended animation until you’re able to get pictures taken.  Problem is, no one lives in a state of suspended animation, especially when three of the people in the house are grubby little boys.

(Adorable, brilliant little boys, but for the purposes of this blog, we’re focusing on the grubby part.) 

Full admission, I’m no better, although I don’t have three boys to blame it on.

If y’all recall, I practically had a nervous breakdown before my own photo shoot and inexplicably emptied all of my cabinets the day before to orchestrate a thorough reorganization.

Day before photoshoot….AKA reality:

Yep, for some reason, even the oven had been disassembled.

Day of photoshoot (tra-lah!  I’m just making lemonade from my orchard out back!)

So, when I got the magical news that Meredith’s kitchen and bath were going to be photographed for Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Makeovers Magazine, I jumped for joy.  But then I landed!

Here’s the good news….the Candlers have spent the last year loving their house and their new kitchen and bathroom.  That’s all that matters.  Kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit, though, the house had gotten some wear that comes from lives well lived. 

House spiff up bootcamp commences.  First of all, redo those banquette cushions. 

Word to the wise, just because you see that something is “indoor/outdoor” fabric, it doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable.  Plus, did you know that it actually takes kids a while before they learn that cushions aren’t a) plates b) napkins c) weaponry or d) surfboards?


Luckily, the fabric was still available and we got those in the works. 

Second, paint and caulk touchups in the bathroom where some of the wood paneling had contracted during the winter.  After polling experts and getting input from Mr. Nosy-Random-Shopper-Man  at Lowe’s, we went back and forth between “paint-no caulk”, “ no paint-caulk” and landed on “caulk- no paint”.  Genius homeowners took care of this one and it looks good as new.

Third, we learned a valuable lesson about butcher block countertops,which are a great and affordable option for the kitchen. 

(Here’ Oliver working darn hard to grind some coffee into said countertops:)


Several of their countertop sections were developing splits.  We called the supplier who came by and told us that sometimes  trees crack while blowing in the wind, but then keep growing around these cracks.  Unfortunately, the cracks show up again later in life when made into countertops.  Luckily, they agreed to replace all of the countertops free of charge….just in time for the shoot.  Yay Chase from Alpine Sales!  He couldn’t have been nicer!

So, multiple buckets of fresh flowers later, magazine magic ensued at the hands of stylist Andrea Caughey and photographer Brie Williams and we’ll all just have to wait for the results.  In the meantime, let the matchbox cars race again along the island racetrack, let Ruby the dog jump on the table to steal the leftovers and let sweet naked Oliver ride the magic carpet that is the banquette cushion!  It is now out of my hands!!!

Posted on January 23, 2014
Need a closet? IKEA or Container Store is the Million Dollar Question

This is probably my least decorative but most useful post.  Buckle up and take notes.

I’m kind of an anomaly.  My list of house-related fantasies does not have “super-duper closet” at the top, or even middle, of the list.  That scene in Sex and the City, where Carrie’s seduction by Mr. Big is sealed when she walks through the closet that cost more than a Volkswagen…


was completely lost on me.  

However, as I might have mentioned, I am now an engaged woman facing the reality of two becoming one in the household sense and I feel I now have a duty to get my p’s and q’s in order.  Since mine is going to be the matrimonial home, it’s time to purge and reorganize the closet. 

I hesitate to share these because I may lose all the respect you never knew you had for me:


Sad, shlumpy, awful closet.  I admit it.  It’s embarrassing.  In my defense, I took this after the purging had started.  There wasn’t always an industrial-strength garbage bag on the floor.

Which brings us to the age old question……IKEA or Container Store.

It’s so interesting to me how a store named after the lowly container is such a budgetary minefield.  Diamond Store or Caviar Store….plan to spend some major bucks, I get it.  But the Container Store?!?!?  I’m a sucker though, just like everyone else.

Conscience made me look to IKEA first, however.  I knew that IKEA had closet systems, and I knew that they had to be cheaper than the Container Store.  Turns out, it’s cheaper for a reason.  First of all, the guy at the store couldn’t grasp the fact that I wanted one that you mounted on the wall and not in their Pax wardrobes.  After two or three attempts at saying, “No! wall mounted!” using pretty much those same exact words, he led me to this, their grutenmagenflergen system:

I made up that name, by the way.  This pretty much has the components you would need, they are just pretty flimsy. 



 The rods don’t really look like rods and the whole thing just isn’t super solid.

Container Store it is!

One of the many great things about getting their Elfa system is that you have the benefit of one of their designers helping you to put it together in the store or online. There are a ton of options (pull out jewelry drawer anyone?) and upgrades that really didn’t seem necessary to me  including faux wood veneer thingies meant to conceal the front of the wire shelving.  Let’s face it…it’s pretty apparent that it’s wire shelving….let’s not try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Here a couple of the hundreds of scenarios you can come up with:

                                image image

Assembly is easy….said the person who didn’t assemble it.  However, what I do know is that they give you a personalized direction and ingredients list for each section, and specify how many and which pieces apply to each.  Also, all of their pieces are labeled, so it’s pretty impossible to get mixed up about what goes where.


So, two weeks later, we finally emptied the closet and fiancee dealt with plaster, sanding and painting:


Ed in his artsy Instagram filter shot.  Trixie, below, making sure she could keep an eye on the progress.


We painted the walls and ceiling this deep blue just to snazz the place up a bit.  Ed put up a little snit about painting the ceiling, but I pointed out that he was marrying a bonafide design professional and he really didn’t have any say in this matter.  Turns out, he likes it.

So, because the closet is tiny and I’m not a pro photographer, these after pics aren’t that great, but take it from me, the improvement is ginormous:


Can you trust your eyes?  Yes, that is actually extra space, although after this purging episode, I don’t want to to bring anything new into this house ever again.  I’m sure all of my clothing is timeless fashion-wise anyway.  Elfa has some fancy pull-out shoe shelving, but we opted to just use stationary shelving because the pull-out shelves take up valuable space and don’t really accommodate THAT many shoes.  The pull-out drawers on the left are amazing….much better use of space than the fancy shoes pull-outs.

Final tip….find out when the sales are.  Elfa is pricey, but our saleswoman was kind enough to let us know that their 30% off sale was starting in two weeks, so we went ahead and planned the closet and made the purchase by phone once the sale had started.  What a huge difference!

Posted on January 8, 2014
Everyone Should Have an Avatar Right?

I have this embarrassing predilection for TV Land sitcoms. 

I just like having them on in the background if I’m working.  My favorites, because you want to know, are I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show….I draw the line at GunSmoke.  I know I know…they are super corny, and I can’t pretend to be all intellectual and deep and stuff now that I’ve admitted this, but I’m not in college anymore, so I haven’t pretended that for a while.  I can’t necessarily say they remind me of my childhood because I wasn’t even a glimmer in my mother’s eye when these were on, although I did grow up in the age of Ted Turner’s afternoon reruns, so maybe that explains it.  Remember those, everything started on the 5.

So, and this is not a non-sequitur, I now have an avatar.  Not really an avatar, because I’m pretty sure that refers to a computer world kind of thing, mine is a gen-u-ine piece of art that represents my best Laura Petrie self drawn by local artist Alison Douglass.  

I recently found Alison’s work through my friends at Altlas Graphic Design.  Alison’s drawings evoke that groovy atomic ranch vibe and I was immediately hooked.

Some of my favorite images:


Library Gal


Sound of Music

And I would be remiss if I didn’t post this one:


Modern Chairs

Back to my avatar:  If you don’t know who Laura Petrie is, she is the smokin’ early 1960’s era wife who shocked the world with her  groovy peg leg capris-apparently that was actually a feminist statement back then.

Check her out in action:


That’s pretty much me at any given dinner party.

Alison and I engineered a little labor swap and I commissioned a drawing that I could use for cards to send to very special people (I’ve sent about one so far; they’re hard to part with).

I added some tongue-in-cheek text to the bottom (Martini font – very apropos) and, voila, I have a calling card!


Now, in my cartoon world, my cartoon self lounges on a Jacobsen Egg Chair and has long slender legs that taper to itty-bitty feet in cute black flats with my faithful dog nearby.  Not bad for an alternate universe!