December 2, 2013
That is probably the most “first world problems” post title I have ever written, but this is my life right now. We are in the final finals or electrical, built-ins and punch list time. I have set a date for a Christmas Party and by golly shit better be done by then. I am also sure the workers are tired of seeing me answer the door in the morning in my same ratty yoga pants and sweatshirt.
So here we go.
Things I have learned while living through a renovation, the ugly:
• You don’t know what it will be, but there will be something… Our contractor was very upfront that with old homes you find “surprises,” so we were not totally taken off guard when we did find some. For us that included having to rewire the whole house and remove old knob and tube super hazardous electrical. Good news, our walls will not catch fire, bad news good bye more budget.
• Budget? What is a budget? The age old, it will take twice as long and cost twice as much it true. Well not that exactly but close.
• Don’t try to plan anything for you day. Don’t plan on going to work. Don’t plan on taking your child to music class or school or the grocery store. Plan on staying at home, all the time, waiting for workers to show up, because they show up at anytime, unscheduled, unplanned, whenever. The house is your new husband. You are married to it.
• Don’t cancel all your plans, because said workers could just not show up for any reason, anytime, any day.
• Pinterest is your best friend/worst enemy.
• You have stupid expensive taste and there are usually perfectly acceptable alternative options at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
• Except for lighting. Their lighting sucks, save for a handful only sold online.
• The UPS guy will deserve a big Christmas gift as he will be delivering something everyday. Rugs, light fixtures, cabinet hardware, chairs, kitty litter.
• You love the UPS man. What did he bring me today! (Crap, it is wrong, I have to return it.)
• Sign up for Amazon Prime, pronto.
• The littlest things will bring you crazy joy. That single hanging light bulb in the ceiling finally getting replaced with it’s proper light fixture. Not more interrogation room style decor for you.
• You are excited to see the dumpster arrive and thrilled to see it leave.
• Your daughter will run and hug the contractor every time he walks in the door like he is the fun uncle coming to visit.
• A good painter can be expensive and you will think, painting…I can do the painting…Yay me, I just saved us a ton of money. You will paint one room, want to kill yourself and call back that painter. He will already be booked on another job.
• For the amount of time and money you spend on the kitchen you will want to hug and kiss it every time your walk in. You will also treat it like a pristine operating room, freaking out over any spill, scrape, mark, scratch, whatever. Same thing goes for refinishing hardwood floors. Give yourself a few weeks. You will let if go.
• It will bring out even the most patient person’s inner Veeuca Salt. “I want it NOW!”
That is where I am now. I want it all to be complete…now! So close. Patients.
November 27, 2013
I have shared this recipe for a few years now and I am happy to do it again upon some requests. Passed down from my great-grandma Finnegan here is her recipe for mashed potatoes. It is not a terribly difficult recipe; it just takes a little time. I swear, the end result is the creamiest, most savory and seriously delicious mashed potatoes on this earth…like better than dessert.
Great-grandma Finnegan’s Mashed Potatoes
3 lb. or 12 medium sized potatoes
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1. Boil potatoes until cooked and tender (test with a fork). Then peal potatoes while they are still hot. The hot potato skin should just peal off by hand. (Maybe wear gloves too…they can be really hot.)
2. Beat and mash potatoes while hot and add the cream cheese and butter. *It is easiest to cube up the butter and cream cheese and blend them in with the hot mashed potatoes. The heat helps melt the cream cheese and butter in smoothly.
3. Add eggs and milk together as one and blend
4. Salt and pepper to taste if you like
5. Place in 9 x 13 glass, oven safe dish and refrigerate (Do not freeze)
Preheat oven to 350˚F and cook covered for 30 minutes or until warm throughout.
November 12, 2013
We are in organization mode in our house right now, with closets finally being installed and a third floor filled with items to be stored and Metro shelving to be put together. Just in time to dig out all those Christmas items (my favorite holiday). The other week I was photographing a family whom I have done their Christmas card photos three years in a row now, and I absolutely fell in love with the way they organized their toys. With winter approaching (first snow today), we have decided to turn a portion of the basement into a play room and I will be taking a page from my friend’s organization book.
Simply take a photo of the bin’s contents and tape it on front with a label, masking tape and pen work perfectly. No need to get all label maker crazy as toys and bins can rotate and change. I also love how this bi-lingual family has their labels in Spanish.
I also love floating shelves, especially for books. I have found my little one likes to see the front of the book, not just the bound edge. The cover is much more recognizable and easier to choose your bedtime story. Photo from Kapito Muller Interiors Instagram feed @kapitomuller
November 6, 2013
Along with all the beautiful 130 year old hardware our 1880′s home has the most gorgeous, solid wood, 5 panel, ladder doors. (They really don’t make them like this anymore.) Sadly over the years, so of the original ladder doors were replaced with composite material doors found at many of the big box stores, and they look cheep and out of place among the originals. So armed with door measurements I made my way the 70 miles south to New England Demolition and Salvage located in a huge warehouse in the old fishing town of New Bedford, MA.
Needless to say they had a few old doors.
I sifted through every single five panel door and of the 5 I needed I found 2. Not bad I guess considering how specific the sizes and styles were I needed. Not I have to sand and prep them for painting and install.
They had every other type of door as well.
November 5, 2013
I have said it here on this blog before, the South shines in the Spring and New England in the Fall. And nothing is more quintessential Fall in New England than apple picking. The other weekend we ventured to Lookout Farm, to partake in all the fall festivities. Pumpkin patch, apple picking, farm animals, apple cider doughnuts surrounding by the gorgeous New England foliage, a photographer and 1 1/2 year old’s dream.
October 29, 2013
Since we have come back form Paris things have been non stop. If I haven’t been on a photo shoot, I have been coordinating that last parts of our renovation. The dumpster should leave within the week as well as the majority of our workers. Then it is just some little things here and there and then of course the whole issue of furnishing this house…but whose keeping track. Anyway, in lieu of a proper (long over due) post, here are some snapshots of my last few weeks. Photos all via iPhone.
Went to a Red Sox playoff and World Series game (spoiled girl.)
Had shoot, after shoot, after shoot…It’s great to be busy.
Here is one hung in the studio. We are talking 4 feet by 6 feet! I am loving these, but still working with my printer on the best output and hanging options.
Then there has been the house.
This happened…black room, antler chandelier, marble fireplace surround. Check, check, check. It is my favorite room in the house, and it is the Library all for my hubby.
Oh and the kitchen got tiled! Love.
And this gorgeous Jonathan Adler chandelier is going up in the dining room as I type.
A proper post later. Cheers and Go Red Sox!
Oh and I love this look. Cranberries straight from the can and all. Follow her on Instgram @ecmothdesign She will make you life look boring and ordinary. Love her.
October 10, 2013
For all the secret, quiet moments Paris has, it can have 10x as many sparkling lights, whizzing cars and chic people chatting at cafes. And Paris at night…in the rain…well there is just no other thing on this planet that seems more sexy.
Paris during the day
Flower shops on every corner
The super efficient Metro, and thanks to the app “Paris Metro” we became experts.
Paris at night
A jazz bar in the Latin Quarter. At 10pm they opened up the door to the basement and we descended into the club. I half expected a black clad beatnik Audrey Hepburn to burst out into dance a la Funny Face or a moody Ernest Hemingway sulking in the corner nursing a drink
October 9, 2013
Our trip to Paris was absolutely wonderful and just the mental check out we needed. Paris is just so…Paris. To be cliche, it has that je ne sais quoi…it can be so many things. Paris can be romantic and serene, brilliant and bright, moody and secret. I had one friend put it so well, Paris is one of those places that seems to live up to all it’s hype and reputation. We happened to be there during fashion week (total coincidence I swear…truly) and I expected to be wowed by the Paris Fashion week scene. Oddly enough, it was the quieter moments and places which really inspired: The Louvre as the galleries emptied out at the end of the day. A quiet, uncrowded cafe at dusk. Sunday in a residential Arrondissement. Paris in it’s quite moments, seems to have so many secretes to hide and stories lying beneath.
Quiet cafes and time to think.
The streets of the Latin Quarter at dusk. Just as the tourists have left, before the students descend into the bars and jazz clubs
The Louvre at closing time.
Jardin De Luxembourg on a rainy Monday morning.
As I dive back into reality full force (hello home renovation, studio move and photo shoots) I mentally take myself back to the quite moments. Paris I love you.
October 2, 2013
Oh my dear sweet baby Jesus, it has been over two weeks since I blogged. I think that is the longest radio silence I have gone ever, even after giving birth. Well I guess trying to finish renovating a house is a different type of giving birth and our recent escape to Paris made for some busy days. Paris? You ask. Yes, Paris! A few months ago I cashed in all our frequent flyer and hotel points and booked a trip to Paris, just for the me and the hubby. It was heaven. We felt a million miles away from it all, and I am now back feeling mentally refreshed and ready to jump back into it all. Although a bit jet lagged so the “jump” today is a bit more of a wading into the shallow end. Here is a tid bit as I edit the other hundreds of photos I took and catch up on work.
Tour de Eiffel
September 16, 2013
Our 130 year old home has so may lovely details and we were intent of restoring and bringing them back to some of their old grander. And while much of the house is still in construction disarray, I have to say I am very happy with these little results. It gives me hope that the rest will be finished soon.
I love love love how these brass hinges came out. If you remember they were absolutely coated in year and years of paint.
And this kids chair came out great! Leopard love.
Every room of the house has one of the beautiful grates, but they were absolutely filthy and layer upon layer of more paint (one was what can only be called “Fenway green.” We scrubbed, scrapped, and chipped away at these for days and then gave them a fresh coat of glossy black paint. I am so in love with them!