Sorry I’ve been lacking on the design posts lately. I had a big installation last week and I’ve been using pinterest way too much at night, so I was feeling like I needed a mental break from beautiful rooms. Do you ever feel like that?

I know I’m late talking about the American Idol finale, but I can’t top listening to this song “home” by Phillip Phillips. I seriously listened to it about twelve times today during my hour long drive to a project site. There’s something about open highways and good music that makes you drive just a little faster and sing just a little louder.


It’s amazing how pets make such an impact on your life and can teach you lessons of unconditional love. Smoodge, our 17.5 year old cat, had a seizure this past Sunday and since then I’ve been feeling nostalgic about the time I’ve spent with her. She is Ryan’s childhood cat that he found when he was only 10 years old when she was a feisty, fluffy ball of love. I didn’t meet her until she was 5, and since then she’s stolen my heart.

The past few years we’ve had some health scares with her, but the doctors always say that her tests come back perfect. That she has the blood-work of a 3 year old cat… She even looks like a kitten. And I’ve been in denial that someday soon there will be a time where she doesn’t come running to me when I get home from work.

The vet at the emergency care said that she had a seizure for a reason, and the most common cause is a brain tumor. We don’t know how much longer she’ll be with us, so I’m appreciating the little things that someday I’ll miss about her. Like the way she purrs when I hold her like a baby, or the way she sits by my feet when I cook dinner, or the way she grunts when she rolls over so I can pet her fluffy white belly.

This is one of her new favorite spots. Between 10am-12:30pm the sun through our living room window creates a “sun dial” and we can tell what time it is by where she’s sitting on the floor. It’s the little things.

Smoodge cat in the sun light

disaster relief

Since my last post about my hurricane activities, a lot has happened. By that point, I didn’t realize just how bad the damage from hurricane Irene was. Ryan’s sister and brother in law live in a ranch style home in Monroe Township, NJ and were forced to evacuate during the storm because their house flooded. Twelve inches of water may not seem like a lot, but when the water sits in your walls, and under your floors, it creates more damage than a blazing fire would.

Thankfully I am amazing in a crisis, and completely put my bossy pants on and ordered everyone around to get their house cleaned up. Although there were only puddles sitting on the floor when we were allowed back into the house, the water had seeped into every nook and cranny and was starting to grow mold. This past weekend, family and friends and strangers demolished the interior walls of a home that my in-law’s built for their family. There were neighbors driving around with supplies to give out: cases of water, bug spray, bleach, masks and gloves. There were neighbors cooking us meals, offering to do our laundry, and local companies bringing us food for lunch. The random acts of kindness has completely restored my faith in humanity and at several points brought tears to my eyes. Since I was the only girl using tools, I had to pull it together and say that it was just dust in my eyes. ;)

Gutted House - after Hurricane Irene in Monroe, NJ

This picture is of their house, where you are now able to see through from one side to the other. Clearly, this is not a suitable living environment for a family with two children (about to start school), so we’re having them stay with us until the construction is complete. (I didn’t think I’d have a kids room in my house so soon!) It’s going to be like a real life episode of Full House, but without the sappy music and lots and lots of wine.

the blue house

Since we’re waiting for the floors to dry, we’re spending some time on the exterior to give it a bit more curb appeal. The front of the house gets amazing sunlight the majority of the day, but there was a small section of the wood shingles that had peeling paint from age. After taping a drop clothe to the foundation to protect the soil below, we scraped the chipping paint, and then repainted this section.

Ever since we started working on the house, the neighbors have slowly started their own projects and Ryan thinks we’re inspiring them. I’m excited to see how much inspiration I give them tomorrow afternoon when I completely landscape the front garden.

Scrapped off exterior paint

the office: before

This is probably the room I’m most excited for: my first official office. It’s a sweet little “nook” that is 6′ x 12′, surrounded by windows and is the perfect size for a desk overlooking the garden. Right now I’ve been working at my kitchen table or sitting on my couch, so it goes without saying that my tush will appreciate an official office chair.

This room used to be a playroom so I’m trying to overlook the bright green paint. No, I lied. It still drives me crazy. We painted the trim Benjamin Moore “white” and painted the walls Benjamin Moore “weimaraner”. This taupey-grey color is the weirdest color I have ever painted, and I haven’t decided if I love it yet. It looks purple, brown, or grey depending on the lighting so I’m excited to see how it looks with new curtains and the furniture.

Before & After - Office Before

Before & After - Office During