Category Archives: Home Design

Making a Study

Ever have one of those projects that just seem to last forever? Our study is that one for us. We knew when we built the house that we wanted a wall of shelves in there, but what that would look like has been a process.

At first I thought I wanted a Murphy bed in there. This would provide a sleeping place but not take up any floor space.

The problem I have is that I need more storage space, and even though a murphy bed frees up floor space, it would take a lot of my storage space. After years of tucking my craft/sewing stuff everywhere, I wanted a place for it all. Yet I had to have a bed in there. I decided to buy a daybed on Craigslist.

my study

It was such the right choice. This gives me a place to snuggle up and read a book with my grandkids which I would have never pulled out the murphy bed for.

We decided to use some used kitchen cabinets that we had bought off of Craigslist for my storage needs.


While I liked the idea of them, I did not want them looking like kitchen cabinets. Mr. Amazing’s solution was to cut the top drawers off. I love it!

It lowers the cabinets just a bit, making them look more like custom built ins.

To help mask the kitchen cabinet look we went with a wood counter top painted white. I LOVE how it has all come together…and all the craft storage it provides. Inside the cabinets are pull out drawers making it easier for me to find all my stuff.

After many, many, hours and days, Mr. Amazing did a wonderful job making a huge focal point in the study while providing so much space….and I’m sure increasing the value of our home.built ins


I love that I now have room to display so many things that bring happy memories to me. Like the tool my mom use to use to hem everyone’s dresses. Anyone else remember these?


When we built the house, I knew that I wanted to do more with this room than what was possible. On top of a guest room…study…and craft space, it needed to function as a place for the grandkids to play too. What a better way to do that than to provide a secret door.















I haven’t really decorated the toy space yet but I am open to suggestions.

Let me take you on a tour of my study…

doors I love having the glass doors. Yes I need to keep the room a bit cleaner this way, but I do feel like I can go in there and close them and yet still see what is happening in the other part of the house. Some day this room might have a TV so I wanted to be able to monitor the room in case my daughter had a boy over. You to can make glass doors if you like. Our builder just cut out the middle panels of regular doors and installed glass.

In this picture you can see most of the furniture in the room.daybed I bought the desk on Craigslist and it didn’t even need painting. I love the open feel it gives the room and putting it right under the window makes it a perfect place for me to put my sewing machine and work on a project.desk

The dresser was actually my dresser when I was in college. The daybed was another craigslist find that has had a ton of use since we got it. I love having this spot to lay down and read and watch the Florida afternoon rains roll in.

So I guess the moral to this post is….When decorating, decide ahead of time how you want the room to function and remember you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get what you want.




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How Does Your Space Make You Feel?

Hooked on Houses wrote a great post about “Emotional Floorplans“. I had never heard this term before …it’s about thinking about how a space makes you feel…and why. I have been thinking about that a lot lately as I plan my new home. Where did I like being in my old house and why?

I remember my sister telling me once, “You like to look out the front of your house.” I pondered what she said for a long time…she was right. I was always moving my sewing machine in the dining room so I could look out while I sewed. When I was on the phone I would move to the front window to look out. Even though I had a wonderful backyard…

…it was the front that I wanted to see all the time. Maybe secretly I kept hoping for company…heheheee.

So the question was…and is…how do I take that information and translate it into my new space?

How do you build a house that looks out the front…from everywhere? You can’t. But I did decide to take great care in thinking about what my views would look like.

This is what the view out the back patio will be…well I hope it will look a  bit better than this. We have plans to redo the pool…

This is the view out the dining room. Remember, not all views in a house can be out front…so I realized that the next best thing for me is privacy. It has been a lot of years since I lived some where that I could see into someone else’s house so it was important for me to try to not make that happen.

This is the view from the kitchen. That is my neighbors garage and just beyond that you can see the park. Those trees are on my property so I will be taking those out so I can see the park better. Don’t worry…I am not taking them out just for that reason. My driveway will be here .

The view from the craft room/library…yes, I get the park.

And the living room views????

I over look the pool…

…the guest cottage…

…and the park! Yep, I will have windows on three sides of my living room….I am so excited…I can’t wait until the house is built.

What is your favorite view from your home? 



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Wood Ceilings

I am so excited!!!!!!

When we bought our house

…there were only four things I liked about it.

1. The view…

We overlook this wonderful city park. I love being able to look and see people enjoying life at any given moment.

And I love that someone else takes care of it.

2. The front door…

At first I vowed to keep the door for our new house but my husband tells me it’s not worth it…maybe I’ll get a new one that looks like it.

3. The cottage…

Not that the cottage was…or is…a gem, but I do think it will be cool having a guest cottage. And in the meantime it is working out pretty well as a place for us to live.

Last but not least…..

4. The wood ceilings.

These wood ceilings are everywhere in the house. I had told my husband right away that I wanted to be able to put them in the new house we are building. I love the cottage charm they bring to the place. He did a lot of hemming and hawing…then he said he was sure that the ceiling was full of asbestos and he would be risking his life trying to take them out.

Well, when I get something in my head it doesn’t leave easily so to make me happy he cut a hole in the wood and pulled out a piece of the insolation that was hiding up there. It wasn’t looking good for my team but we sent it away to be tested and…………………

I WIN!!!!!!!!!

There was no sign of asbestos so we will now be pulling down the ceiling and saving all the wood in the house to put in the new one.

Just look at some of these rooms…you get why I want it don’t you????

Pinned Image

Right now we are thinking about painting it all white…but…

Pinned Image

If I knew how to get this weathered wood look I would be tempted. I really don’t want to keep them the color they are…that would be too easy…hehehee. No, really it is because we will be having dark wood floors and I just don’t think this color would go well with that.

What color would you go with?



Filed under Home Design, New House

Trying to Organize My Thoughts

It’s that time of year when everyone is focused on organizing. Personally, I am feeling pretty organized this year. I am living in a 500 square foot cottage so being unorganized is not really an option.

The biggest organizational problem I have had is gathering my thoughts about the house we are building.

On any given hour of any given day, my mind runs from bathroom counters to siding to lighting.

I try not to overload but then all of a sudden some man…my builder…my husband…or the cabinet guy…will ask me out of the blue what I want. I’m sorry if I haven’t thought about what height my toilets should before this minute….EXCUSE ME!!!!

So I spent yesterday trying to organize my random thoughts.

I have a stack of decorating magizines. I find I work best just pulling everything I like.

It doesn’t matter if it is just a door handle…I pull it.

I try not to think to much about it…just pull.

After a while I go back through the pictures and see what I liked and if I still like it after I stare at it for a while. If the answer is yes, I file it into my folder.

My folder is divided into sections such as Kitchen…Living Room…Outside.

Pictures that have things I  like go in the appropriate section. I then go through the sections on a regular basis and try to narrow things down. Face it…you can only have one front door. At some point you have to decide.

I then write out on a piece of paper all the things I see when I look at the room in my head. This helps me to remember to tell my husband…and builder what I am thinking.

You can tell I don’t have much of a vision yet for this room…hehheeeee.

Things seemed a lot easier when we built 25 years ago. I guess it’s because there wasn’t hours worth of Pinterest pictures to look through. Back then I couldn’t even afford the decorating magizines so I would go to the wallpaper store and look through Waverly books and look at the rooms that they were highlighting, searching for inspiration.

I could use some help so all you decorators and decorator-wannabes please chime in…the main house will be stucco…with lots of white woodwork…such as railings on the upstairs porch. The guest house will be done in shaker siding. We live a few blooks from the beach so I would like it to have a beach feel.

I am trying to figure out what color to do the houses in. Any suggestions? If you have a house color name that you used and love please let me know. My daughter wants tan…do you have any idea how many tan choices there are.?My other daughter wants green..again..choice overload!

How do you stay organized?



Filed under Guest Cottage, Home Design, New House

Easy Cabinet Install

Do you consider yourself a project person? My husband and I are…we always have been.

Some of my earliest memories of us are project memories. Before we were married, at the ripe old age of 19 we had already made a sail for his sailboat…reupholstered a chair for his dorm room…refinished furniture for my first apartment and made the kneeling bench and candelabras for our wedding.

I always tell him that he knew full well what he was getting into.

During the 30 plus years that we have been married, we have installed lots of cabinets…kitchens…laundry rooms…you name it, I have stood under it trying to hold it up as he dropped screws and ran off to find more.

I revealed our new kitchen here

I must admit that I sent my brother this time to help with the install, but according to Mr. Amazing it was the easiest ever…and no, it is not just because I wasn’t there, so get that smirk off of your face.

It was because of a new techinique and some new tools that he used…the right tool always makes all the difference.

Here, I will let him tell you about it.

First, let me talk about tools. A favorite subject of the handyman! A friend loaned me a self-leveling laser and and a tripod. “Where have you been all of my life?” These things cost about $80 and are worth their weight in gold. You set it up in a corner and it displays a red laser line all of the way around the kitchen. It is self leveling and is accurate to within the thickness of a gnats whisker.


Let’s start with the top cabinets, because we installed them first. Its a lot easier to do the top cabinets first, so that you aren’t reaching over the base cabinets. First, I located and marked all of the stud locations. Make sure to mark the studs above and below where the cabinets will be. You want to be able to see your marks with the cabinets in place. Next, I set up the laser to display the line at the bottom of the top cabinets. I then installed a temporary 1×4 ( they call it a ledger board) so that the top of the 1×4 just kissed the laser line. Starting in a corner, my brother in law and I lifted a cabinet up, set the back edge on top of the ledger board and slid it into place. Since the cabinet is sitting on the ledger board, we know it is level and my brother in law just had to hold it back to the wall to keep it in place!  Basically he had to lean against the cabinet while I screwed into the studs at the top and bottom of the cabinet. So easy! I have always used a ledger board over the cabinets before, and the poor person holding the cabinets (The Inspired Wife) had to support all of the weight while I monkeyed around with the screw gun. Her words, not mine.

To install the base cabinets, I used a device called an EZ-Level. Basically, these are adjustable feet that you install under the cabinet. The magic is that you can adjust any of the four feet from the kick board area of the cabinet, and they can’t be seen after the installation. Please go to their website and watch the videos. I cannot do it justice, here is a quick overview. You install the ez-levels under the cabinets, set up the self-leveling laser to where the top of the cabinets should be, put the cabinet in place, and using a cordless drill, adjust all four feet until the cabinet is perfectly level.  And when I say “perfectly level” I mean that when you are done the laser beam will be split along the top of the cabinets! That is accurately level to within 1/16″! Iit only takes a few minutes, and no more annoying shims! I absolutely love this product.

Easiest cabinet install ever!

Do you have any tips to share about how to easily install cabinets? Or maybe an “DIY oops” story or two? You know I love those!


Filed under Guest Cottage, Home Design

My Home Was Featured…

Imagine my surprise when Hooked on Houses posted my house…

Ok…it’s not my house…nor is it the house that I’m about to build…but there is soooo much about this house that I love and in my own modest way, hope I can somehow bring to my new home.

I love all the white trim everywhere…

…and the flagstone…I’m thinking of using that on my walkways.

Don’t you just love “MY” stairs? I will be having a look up sort of like this…on a much smaller scale of course. And I love the white posts with the stained railing. And of course my dark wood floors. Wish I could see better what they did about lighting..thats where I am right now on our house plans. It’s really hard to figure out how much light you need for stairs and just what you want that to look like.

I really want a coved ceiling like this in my house…

I was thinking the kitchen but maybe it will go in the library…hehehee…I was calling it the gameroom because I am planning on setting up multiple tv game stations in it for the grandkids…it will also be my craft room and my husband’s bill paying room…but I am kind of liking this library thing…it makes me feel smart having a library in the house….

This picture gives me goose bumps…I am going to have an upstairs hall very much like this…I love the simple cleanness of this space. Wish I knew what color they used on the walls..I was thinking a light blue like I used in the cottage but I love the beauty and freshness of this.

Check out these lights

Possini Euro Design White Flower Pendant Chandelier

They aren’t as fancy but they might give me the same feel…what do you think?

My upstairs balcony view won’t be as grand as this either but I will be looking over a park.

If you would like to see more of this stunning home check out Hooked on Houses here.

What would your dream house look like?

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The Perfect Kitchen Sink

I have been thinking about EVERYTHING lately…including the kitchen sink. It’s funny how it is so much easier to obsess over something now that we have the internet. I am sure my mother never gave much thought at all about what kind of sink she wanted.

Over the years I have had a few different kinds of sinks. I have had stainless… porcelain…and Corian. I even had a bright orange sink once. No I didn’t pick it…it came with the house and soon became my focus of money saving so I could replace it…orange has never been one of my favorite colors. I have often wondered what the story behind the sink was…it wasn’t like these people were decorators…did they just get a good deal? Guess I will never know now.

The cottage had a really shallow stainless steal sink that we replaced with a  cast iron sink that we got off of Craigslist. I love it so much I am thinking about putting one like it in our house. It is deep with two drains that are the same size…but then I saw this:

I keep wondering if we had the small side for the garage disposal then people would remember which side they are supposed to empty their ceral bowl in.

The farmhouse sinks are nice but I wonder if the price difference it worth it? Would I be okay having just one drain?

This next sink that I am about to show you must have a childhood memory tucked away in my brain…something about it just makes me smile.

Okay, so now it is your turn…tell me what kind of sink you would put in a new house and why…I really want to know.



Filed under Guest Cottage, Home Design, New House

Adding a Breakfast Bar

Whenever you are doing a lot of house renovation, you kind of have to play house in your mind…well, at least that is how I do it. I stand in different spots and try to imagine what life will be like if we do this or that.

While planning our kitchen  I decided to get rid of the only space that was available for a table. It really had only enough room for one person to sit at  comfortably and maybe two in a pinch…there are three of us. If you read this post  then you already know the struggles I went through trying to come up with just the right breakfast bar for not only the space but for our family.

I finally came up with a 30 x 38″ bar at 42 inches high. Why?  Well it’s simple…three of us can comfortably sit at it and eat together…

…and the bar stools I already owned worked at this height. I got these stools a 100 years ago at a YMCA garage sale for $15…don’t ask my why I remember that but I do. I also remember my kids sitting on them when they were little making Christmas cookies. So it just seemed right to make a place that they could be used again.

We cut the wall back enough and made the bar big enough so that we have 12 inches on three sides for our knees. I am happy to report no one has hit a knee yet. It may be a little bar…but thats okay. It’s a little cottage…and it works.

Do you have a breakfast bar in your home?



Filed under Guest Cottage, Home Design

The Dirty Little Secret of DIY

If you follow my blog at all, you understand that we always have a project going at our house. I am really bad about starting a new project when the last one still isn’t finished. Anyone else have that problem? Looking back this must have been a problem I have had since a very young age. When I was 7, my mother was my Blue Bird leader and our motto was “We must finish what we begin.” Like I said…my mom obviously spotted this personality trait in me at a young age. Sorry mom.

Over the years many people have told me that they don’t do projects because every time they try something goes wrong….ummmmYEA. Thats  the way it is for everyone but they don’t believe me.

So I thought it would be a good thing to start sharing some of our OOOPS moments.

Remember this kitchen that I so carefully thought out? The one that if you read my kitchen reveal post you would have all kinds of warm happy thoughts about?


I did think it out. I went away from my traditional “everything has to be centered” thinking and moved the stove to the right. I was so proud of myself. I had thought about enough to make room for the toaster in this small kitchen…plus this way I got a good usable drawer and cabinet. I am soooo smart.

No, look on the right side of the stove…

Yep…that is my oven door trying to get past the drawer pull.

Actually this picture is how it is now…after it was fixed. Mr. Amazing cut the post of the handle just enough that the oven opens…barely.

So yes…things go wrong for even us seasoned DIYers…but that is half the fun…well, not really but it sounded good.

What is your latest DIY “oops”?



Filed under Guest Cottage, Home Design

Learning Purposeful Decorating

Like my pillows I bought from Pottery Barn?

Let me tell you what I like about them so much…a standard size pillow fits in it. What a great way to hide pillows for your guests.

Living in my little cottage is teaching me a lot about Purposeful Decorating. I have always loved to decorate. I remember the first room I ever did. I was 12 and my mom let me paint my room mustard yellow. Well, as long as I could talk my brother into doing the work…which I did much to her dismay. I loved that room with its white furniture and dark blue bedspread…I made a large blue and white God’s eye for the wall…anyone out there remember those?

Since then my decorating taste has evoloved…to a bit more expensive taste than yarn on two dowels…

I tend to do my house over and over again…I am often called to help others with theirs. Down sizing has become my speciality after moving my mother from an retirement home…to an assisted living facility…to a nursing home. I have also moved 3 daughters into multiple dorm rooms. I really thought I was good.

Then came time to move myself. Don’t you find it is always easier to tell other people what they should do?

When we first thought about what we should move into the cottage I had fully planned on using a tv console that we had…then I got thinking …what was I going to do with my placemats…and desk stuff?

Out with the tv console and in with the buffet…

Not only does it look better…it holds tons of stuff.

My little yellow chair (that I will be taking to the nursing home with me some day) and my “couch” is all the seating that my living room was going to hold. But there are three of us and I knew that there were going to be times that someone might want to go hide away and read so I squeaked in my comfy blue chair and ottoman…

A smaller chair would be what I would pick under normal conditions but remember…it’s all about Puposeful Decorating. There is a fine line that must be drawn sometimes. What is right for decorating reasons and what is right for living. I am trying to learn how to cater to both.

Where to put my purse has always been one of those decorating dilemmas for me. Mine usually just sat by my front door. I know that is not a very decorative way to handle the problem but being a caregiver to my parents for so many years…plus a mother of four…I needed it to be were I could just grab and go. My sisiter in law has a cupboard in her kitchen where she puts hers….out of site. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in the cottage. I tried sitting it by the door but we were always triping over it…it needed a place.

I ended up hanging it on the back of the closet door…since the place is so small it’s easy for me to grab it on the run.

Finally on my Purposeful Decorating tour I would like to show you the table that sits by the front door.

I got this table for $15 at Goodwill and it fits just perfectly here. Not only does it hold a light to light up this end of the room, it gives us a place to drop our keys and at night serves as a nightstand. The shelf under it holds our Bibles …it is the only “bookshelf” we have in the cottage. The drawer…a place to put the dogs leash.

Purposeful Decorating is a challenge but if you don’t give up, you can create a home that you can be proud of…and a space that works.

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Filed under Guest Cottage, Home Design