April 16, 2014

I use to journal all the time.  Pre-husbnad, pre-baby, pre-Boston, I have volumes of mole skin notebooks chronicling my 20-somthing life stacked in boxes in my studio.  The journals were mostly self indulgent rants about boyfriends, work, friends, school, etc. but I journaling helped me work out many a problems and the seemingly daily crises, especially when my sister, mom and friends were sick of hearing the same issues over and over again.  That said, they were meant for me and me only.  I should probably burn them before my daughter is old enough to find the collection and cringe and her self-indigent mother, but something keeps me from pitching them.  Perhaps it is honoring that young woman who felt the need to write and vent or perhaps I think there is some wisdom hidden among my spelling errors and bad grammar. Who knows, but as my life got busier with a business, marriage, home and family my writing waned.  I still keep a steady stream of mole skin notebooks, but they mostly consists of lists, projects and reminders than writing and sketching.

As I am expecting my second child, having old journals to flip back through might help me remember all those newborn peculiarities.  How to swaddle, when does “sleep regression” happen, first tooth, and how I “really” felt in those beginning months; joy, fear, exhaustion, or simply just something to look back on those early days of my daughters life  So the buck stops here.  The ladies over at The Everygirl have issued a 30 day challenge to journal for the month of April and I accept  Granted I am jumping in at the half way mark, but I figure better late than never and hopefully I will keep going, even as baby #2 arrives and life gets thrown upside down in that wonderful way all over again.


April Showers

April 9, 2014

The forsythia bush by the side of my house is finally budding and just dying to burst into a bright yellow flurry.  We also have a few crocuses popping up randomly in the back yard, and as our first spring in the house finally arrives I can’t wait to see what other bushes start to bloom.  If I recall a little bit from last year (during construction) I think we have a lilac bush right our the kitchen window…my favorite.

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I promised myself I would blog more.  I love the exercise of creating a post, whether it be a series I shot over the weekend, updates on my home, or sharing a recent project, but here I am struggling to get at least one post a week.  Lately I have been working away on projects I can’t quite share yet, getting my house complete or just chasing after my (very) energetic two year old, which at 32 weeks pregnant is no easy task.  I am feeling that third trimester fatigue where I feel at any given moment I could just close my eyes and instantly be asleep.  Of course not at night though, because as I lay down, that is when the baby in my belly decides it is time to practice some intricate Jazzercise routine.  And this is my house this morning, post toddler drop off, as I wait for a workman, before I go into the studio.  Oh the glamorous life.

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Ok, rant over.  Back to work.  Where it that workman…

Yesterday marked the 1 year date from the closing of our “new” home.  Which built in the 1880′s, required some extensive work.  There was an illegal 3 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor, the former owner made cosmetic teeth in the basement.  Not to mention the old knob and tube wiring we found hidden in every wall, and failed floor joists in half of the 1st floor.

The architectural planning and renovation process began quickly after the purchase and 5 months into the process we moved in (no kitchen sink at that point, but we had walls and some running water on the second floor.)  A year later we finally find ourselves at the “punch list” point for this phase.  Buying and renovating an old home is a labor of love to say the least and we went through many love/hate phases during the year, but they truly do not make homes like this anymore.  Each 5 panel ladder door was milled specifically for my house, for that specific doorway.  And let me tell you, after removing, sanding, and repainting every single interior door ourselves, those suckers are solid old growth wood, built stronger than any recent manufactured door I have ever seen.  They must weigh at least 50 lb each.  Not to mention the old hardware which we stripped layers and layers of paint to revile a beautiful rose brass.

I feel an intimate connection with our home.  I feel like I know every inch, every detail and really appreciate the craftsmanship and detail found in our 130 year old home.  Which makes this recent article in the NY Times, alerted to me via Elements of Style all the more upsetting.  Apparently, famous New York designer Mario Buatta purchased a beautiful 1840′s Gothic revival home 20 years ago, with the plans of renovating and restoring it.  Flash forward to to today, he has done nothing.  In fact the home stands in worse shape and is rotting away. I think it was his poor health initially stalled the project, but comments like “This is not a communist country, you can do anything you want with your property,” but makes me think his ego and spite are more involved.  Renovating and restoring an old home is not for the faint of heart.  I know, but so should this seasoned designer.  I find it baffling he would let such a work of art and craftsmanship rot away.  Ugh.  So gross.  There is a petition pleading with Mr. Buatta to come to his senses and just sell the place to someone who will save it.

Christopher Capozziello for The New York TimesChristopher Capozziello for The New York Times

On the home front update

We are working away to get all the little details finished before baby #2 arrives in early June. Which by the looks of my calendar is rapidly approaching.  Eek.

The other weekend I styled and organized our library book shelves. All photos via iPhone…will do real photos someday, I promise.  Anyway, a work in progress as we watch basketball.

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Coming along.  Just need to figure out what to do with that upper gallery. I want to continue to add to our book collection, but I am determined to do so slowly and deliberately to ensure our library reflects us and the books we actually read.  So figuring out some place holders as our library grows.


The living room is coming along.  I got these chairs from Jordan’s Furniture of all places, for a great price and they are super comfy.  I think they look like RH chairs, but were a fraction of the price. (Need to steam the skirts.)

 SWStudiosPlaying with pillows.  Have no idea where I am going with these.  Will just let things evolve.

SWStudios-Living room

Kitchen is complete!  Could use some rugs and picture on the walls, but that is to come.


The 3rd floor. So we gutted, foam insulated, added a new HVAC system and put up blue board to that 3 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor I was talking about and reconnected it to the main house.  Future dream plans, include making it a media room/game room with a joinng guest suite and full bathroom.  The plumbing is all up there, we just need to give our bank account a rest.  Right now it looks like this…but I are working hard to get complete organization before baby.  I have already had about 3 car loads of stuff hauled off to Good Will.

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Almost two years ago Amanda Brooks quit her job as Barneys New York’s vice president and fashion director and left New York for a life in the English Country side with her family.  To say her new life in Oxforshire is storybook like, is an understatement.  Storybooks aren’t this picturesque and “rustic” never looked this chic.  I am obsessed with following her in Instagram. Where she chronicles her daily activities such as riding, hunting, writing,  making perfect al fresco lunches for her family and chasing after an excaped pot belly pig here and there.  The Selby also did a editorial on their home and family life.  As a animal and horse obsessed little girl, this would have been my dream house in which to grow up.  Warning: It is all very landed-gentry, Downton Abby, Pride and Prejudice perfect.  I love it!

From The Selby: The House


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A little girl’s dream:

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Just living the country life:7_17_12_AmandaBrooksOBS186831


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More picturesque images from her Instagram:

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Indoors

March 18, 2014

The calendar may show spring’s arrival this week, but our temperatures here in New England show it is on the slow train this year, so I have decided to bring it inside!  The days are getting longer and our new home seems to be perfectly situated to get gorgeous sunlight throughout the day.  I am so glad I went with a warm light gray (Benjamin Moore Athena) throughout most of the house (save my black library).  It really seems to catch the light, keeping things bright, but also warm.  To add some spring in doors I bought some of those cheep grocery store bouquets, (ya know, the ones with a lot of “filler flowers” in them) and separated them out into these lovely barnacle shaped containers I got at TJ MAXX.  I really love the sprawling wild flower look.

SpringFlowers SpringFlowers-3


The house is coming along but, clearly I have lots of decorating, drapery and picture hanging to do but things are coming along. Living Room looking into Dinning Room. SpringFlowers-4

Stopping by the woods

March 17, 2014

It seems like everyone is just dying for spring this year.  The sound of a few hardy birds in the morning and bunny tracks in the snow in our back yard have me believing it can’t be too far off.  Temperatures “soared” into the 50′s on Saturday and we just had to spend some time outside.  I don’t think I have every watched the weather so acutely as I do, now that I have a toddler.  It is not just in regards of how to dress, but can we go outside?!?!  Being outside seems essential to my 2 year old’s mental state and hence…my mental state…  So we did some research about nearby hiking trails and found there is a huge and lovely nature area, the Newton Conservation Land Trust, not even a mile from our new home.  Bliss!  City access with nature out our back door.  What could be better?  The trails were still fairly icy but it made of a great morning out.  Folowed by a Shake Shack burger and Pinkberry yogurt.  I love the “burbs.”  Now if these New England temperatures would quite falling again.

ChestnutHillConservationLand-4 ChestnutHillConservationLand-3  ChestnutHillConservationLand-5

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For the past year I have been working various different photo shoots and projects for a new design and lifestyle book by Erin Gates of Elements of Style.  Two weeks ago we shot her head shot for the book and yesterday the book went on pre-sale on!  Knowing that she has impeccable taste I was thrilled and honored when she asked me to help contribute some of my photography skills to her book.  I knew she wasn’t just asking me as a friend as she wouldn’t settle for less than perfect for her book. (Over the years I have had the pleasure of working closely with Erin; I shared my first studio space in Boston with her, and have also come to call her a dear friend.)  I am also humbled to have my photography credit name next to some of my interior photographer idols and fellow contributors Michael Partenio and Michael J Lee.  On top of all that, the book pre-order sales made Elements of style #1 best selling Home Decorating book on Amazon and top 50 on all of Amazon!  Crazy.  Pre-order yours now so you won’t have to wait come the release date.  Looks like there will surely be addition printing needed!  Congrats Erin and I am so so thrilled to be a part of this book in even my small way.  (Don’t worry, mom, mother-in-law, sister and sister-in-laws…I have already per-ordered some for you.)  Pre-order it here.


Cover photograph by Michael J Lee.

Unused head shot from our shoot…you will have to get the book to see which photo she choose.


The dogs were not always this cooperative.



Studio Sale!

March 11, 2014

Our studio is having a sale!!!!  I’ll be debuting some new prints for only $25-$100 as they are fresh from processing and unframed.  8 x 10 and 11 x 14.  Here is a sneak peek from my new ocean series.  Hope to see you there!  JSGD, JHill Design, Jill Rosenwald, Lawrence McRae and The Third Piece will all be participating too!

Note: these are the in studio sale prices for these first run prints. Please feel free to contact me if you can’t make it and want to order some.


Ocean Series:

Sea Island, GA – 11 x 14 print $75

Sea Island, Georgia

Spanish Moss - 8 x 10 print: $25 Spanish Moss Bikes Sea Island

Horseshoe Crab – 8 x 10 print: $25

Horseshoe Crab

Cohasset – 8 x 10 print: $25

Cohasset, MA

Prints at the sale will be un-matted and unframed, but all of them are available for purchase at almost any size, matted, framed, and my favorite…acrylic mounted.  Below is a sample of the gorgeous glossy acrylic mount.

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I am actually taking a quick little work break to blog right now because I am kind of overwhelmed at my to do list right now.  Actually the list feels so scattered over so many different area I almost need a whole day just to really figure out the list.  Ugh.  And with the clock ticking down on when baby #2 is set to arrive in early June I am on a major deadline.  First and foremost is to get this blog and my website redesign complete.  Ahhhhh.  Please bear with me as I try to get my poop together.

Photograph take by my 2 year old when she stole my phone this weekend.  I actually really like it and think it looks like a cool abstract photograph.

Abstract pink and white



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