My Spring Fever: Real Estate

I can’t help it.  It feels like I moved into Waltham Street years ago.  In reality it’s only been a little over 4 months.  Don’t laugh – I made, and had the offer accepted just after the July 4th weekend, so that’s practically a year without a dedicated shopping effort.  Oh I’ve poked my nose into an open house or two since then.  If they did’t want me to come investigate then they should require you to call for an appointment.

77 Waltham

A steal of a deal . 77 Waltham Street . Boston – offer pending

Two weeks ago I visited a property across the street from my apartment.  I noted that it had gone on the market about a month ago, disappeared immediately – who wouldn’t want a reasonably priced one bed on one of the most sought after streets in the South End.  No surprise there, but here’s the interesting part of the story.  It resurfaced.  The why of it is somewhat foggy, but I don’t care about why and neither should you if you are looking for a deal, and trust me, this property was a steal.  When the switched brokers they maintained there asking price of $649K – not terrible  The mind plays funny games, and one must resist the temptation to allow it to control you.  When the property returned to the market – buyers thought it was tainted.  Something must be wrong they said.  They lowered the price by $20K, buyers still remained reticent.  I can assure you – if I had the money, I would have bought it myself.  I was practically jumping out of my skin at the deal.  Now in retelling this story to friends, the consensus was they didn’t want to get involved in a property that had something wrong with it, that was going to end up costing them more money than they anticipated.  I can understand and sympathize.  Still, every single property that I have purchased has required additional, unforeseen work. In each property I have been assessed.  In each property I have turned a profit.  They’re old.  Imagine if someone told you they never had to go to the gym, eat right, or take care of themselves and they were fit as a fiddle.  These brownstones need love, attention, and regular check-ups.  It’s part of the agreement in which you enter when you sign on the line.  I feel strongly it’s important to do your part – don’t be a taker.

Ocean Cove . West Harwich – 2 Bed . $249K

So I wasn’t able to purchase that property, but I hope the lucky devil that got it loves it just as I did.  As Spring turns to summer I am setting my sites on Cape Cod real estate and rental income producing properties.  I just adore the sound of unearned income.  I say a little tongue in cheek.  Everything worth doing requires an effort.

Happy Sunday.


Rain or Shine: Fabrics that get fresh with the seasons


Trina Turk for Schumacher . Pieces

After having been tucked inside this winter….oh and I know everyone says it wasn’t so bad, and I AM happy that I slide stepped around mountains of snow.  Still I can’t help thinking winter had it’s chance to show up and it didn’t – so it’s time to move it along.  I planted my flowers at the front of my brownstone a few weeks ago and by some miracle they survived the snow and 25 degree temps.  Poor babies.  Last weekend I tackled the flowers on the back deck and they bring a happy pop of color to my little outdoor haven.

Trina Turk for Schumacher . Carmel Coastline in Navy, Santorini in Orange, and Arches in Yellow.


Portioco Collection

Thibaut . Portico Collection

When I lived on Milford Street I loved my roof deck, but boy was it windy up there.  I envisioned my newly purchased, custom made pillows careening over the railing and sailing through the South End.  I have no doubt they would have caused a stir –  in all their eye popping color glory.  My own little unintended, interactive art exhibit.  You can understand why I opted to dump my money into the roof instead of off of it.  Can’t you?
While normally I side with the Carrie Bradshaw’s of the world and like my money right where I can see it.  There is nothing more disconcerting than spying a puddle or more on your floor, and knowing for certain that you’ll be crying because it’s not over spilt milk (or a glass of water as the case may be).  Delay my pillow gratification I did.

Carosel Confetti

Sunbrella . Carousel Confetti

New Year, new home, new perfectly sheltered and cozily charming environment, I am ready for those puffy, pillowy clouds to alight my sofa and chairs.  An Outdoor Fabric is a must as I don’t envision bringing them indoors every time I use the space, and while I can cover the furnishings – I am more of a no muss no fuss kind of gal.  With the right fabric they should be able to stand up to the riggers of a little rain and sunshine.  Maybe if I talk to them they’ll grow.  That combination always works so well with my flowers.

Please do let me know which of these would inspire you to come for a visit to sip a cocktail and pass the time.  I’m anxious to know your opinion before I take the plunge.

Treating My Windows Right

I’m of the mind that no home decor project is complete with a dressed window.  It’s like having eyes with no eyebrows.  It’s shockingly stark, overly surprised, and decidedly uninviting.  My living rooms windows posed a challenge from the start.  Over eight feet tall, set back into a curved bow front wall, and headed with a pelmet (think valance made of wood instead of upholstered).  This last element is original to the building, ornate, and most troublesome.

living room curtain 1

Ideally a curtain would be hung and then the pelmet fitted and secured into place over the rod and with ample room to allow said curtains to remain ambulatory.  Mine are paralyzed – don’t be shocked, I think I have finally worked it all out, but the unique nature of the situation means….additional expense.  I am grateful for the ingenious solution my friend Tiffany devised to solve this most perplexing problem.  With just 1 and 1/4″ between wall and pelmet there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room for a rod or the necessary tools to affix rod to wall.  Thank goodness for smart friends – Tiffany thought to use the soft and flexible nature of copper to curve the pipe to the bow of the wall, allowing us to thread the fabric through the pipe before inserting and affixing it to the wall. Now the curtains won’t move a centimeter but look amazing in their fixed in place position.


The Pelmet in Questions

Back to the Shade Store I will go to manage the second part of the window solution.  I’ll eventually need to part ways with my paper curtains.  They have been great providing the necessary privacy from curious passers by, but it looks a little like paper plates with linen napkins – not quite right.  To go top to bottom, split functionality to allow lower level privacy, while inviting sunshine in at the top.  I prefer a seamless look, but am open to being sold on alternative approaches.  I’ll keep you all posted on the advice and my decision.


Copper…the solution to all problems….stay flexible.

Happy Sunday.



Color Me Happy

Vivian in Pretty Woman had it right…I would like to be colored happy.  As a look around my living room at my navy blue walls I ask myself, do these make me happy?  Well sort of is the answer.  It got me thinking about what colors do indeed invoke happiness.  pretty-womanI know which colors I gravitate toward, blues, grays, violets, pale pinks – they make me happy because they make me feel calm.  As it turns out the navy blue I chose for the living room being both deeply saturated, and quite dark is energizing and a really good color for a living.  So what of the other colors in the rainbow, and which ones can we credit with straight up joy?

As it turns out joy and happiness are attributed to yellow, but buyer beware long periods of exposure to yellow have also been attributed to loss of temper, and feelings of frustration.  I like a yellow flower but I have always detested yellow living rooms, kitchens, and baby’s room.  Who knew there was a valid reason for my feelings.  Now I have a scientific explanation for them.

yellow kitchen


Red also is credited with happiness.  A popular color for restaurants due to its stimulating nature – think your getting hungry, red could be the culprit.  It also raises blood pressure and heart rate so not necessarily the best choice for rooms for which you spend extended periods of time.

green entry

Green engenders feelings of restfulness, rejuvenation and tranquility.  The likely explanation being its association with nature.  Lord Byron said:  “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but nature more.”  The quote is a deep breath, its an affirmation, it’s sage, and kelly, and forest and mossy and grassy, and green.

geode bedroom

My Perfect Purple:  Ben Moore’s Lavender Ice

Let’s talk purple.  Confident and creative – it’s no surprise it is the color of royalty.  Some argue it is not the right hue for a bedroom, but I have loved mine in its pale lavender ice.  I find it deeply calming and sleep quite well there.

Looking to tap into your creative energy, build enthusiasm, and excitement, orange can help.  Want to guard against feeling sad – limit your use of black in your home, but know too that a little black in every room can be grounding.

BP Cynthia Collins

Cynthia Collins – Blue Print . Dallas

Your neutrals play a role too in the way you feel, light colors contributing to a feeling of airiness and expansiveness while darks create a coziness, and bring sophistication to your space.

HB Graphhic

House Beautiful . Graphic Madness

What’s your happy?  I hope you find it this weekend.  We’re going to get a little sunshine here in Boston and I know that makes me happy!

Gotta Get Away

I’ve romanticized travel of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s imagining The Orient Express, The Britannic (one of the two sister ships of the Titanic – we all know how glamorous that ship was until it wasn’t anymore)  and the first class lounge of a Pan Am Airplane.  I suppose travel during that same period of time wasn’t all that enchanting if your ticket was stamped with one very dirty little word …. steerage.  Still the fashion, the design, the luggage, it holds an allure for me for which I am tirelessly drawn.

ocean liner

I love travel.  I accept that on my budget it has many inconveniences.  I hear people talk about it being a curse, the lines, the traffic, the pushing, the lack of civility or customer service, delays, rising prices, diminishing returns.  I nod as if in understanding, and I do understand, but not in the way I would ever give it up.  I’ve found travel gives me boundless energy for life, opens my eyes to cultural differences, and those things that are the same in all humans.  I’ve grown to appreciate that the inconveniences of travel have allowed me to know myself better, and to know deeply, and sometimes very quickly those with whom I have traveled.

A few years ago, as I prepared for a trip to Switzerland, and the South of France, I commenced a hunt for a new suitcase.  I’m not embarrassed to admit that my previous valises were purchased at Marshall’s or TJMax – but I was ready for something that was more indicative of my style.  luxuryI found a beautiful Kate Spade for Steamline Luggage Carry On. I knew of the impracticality of its white leather, and had doubts about the functionality of its neon coral wheels, but the heart wants what it wants, and I bought it.  Many, many trips later it is showing its wear and tear, it’s scared and marked all over its pretty surface. It’s been to Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville, Nantucket, it’s made the trek to Cape Cod and New Hampshire, Chicago and New York, so many times with me I have lost count.  It was a trouper in Switzerland, and France, garnered envious looks in Costa Rica, facilitated the transport of two large, and two small paintings through several detainments in Germany.  It’s gotten around and got me to come around.  That suitcase is a conversation starter, and where I live, people have largely decided talking to strangers is overrated, and dangerous.  It could after all lead to widening ones circle.  Hum.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

kate spade steamerline

Kate Spade for Steamline Luggage

Whether these cases inspire you to consider a new color palette for your home, send you on a hunt for a garden party dress, or set you off in search of your next vacation destination…I do hope they take you on an adventure.

Seeing the Light

Statistics – who would think a gal like me would love them so much.  They help set the stage, create the appropriate amount of awe – outlining the sheer magnitude of the effort.  If I just told you I bought a chandelier in Paris, and had it hung in my condo, that wouldn’t be much of a story.

marche aux

Marche aux Puces . Paris

For those following along, you know first that I bought it a very long time ago, back in September.  You’ll remember that my good friend Tiffany, and international treasuring hunting partner and I were scouring the Marchè aux Puces when we turned the corner, and there she was… my heart skipped a beat, and I knew I had to have her.  An offer was tendered, laughter followed by a sinking panic, additional requests, mild pleading, a whimper of consent, and a relinquishing of ghastly amounts of Euros.

Accounts were opened to handle shipping, wire transfers established, the trans Atlantic voyage complete.  An assessment of the structural capacity of the ceiling, the electrical box, and associated components designed to carry the weight of the chandelier – rendered a verdict of insufficient.  Modifications were made, plaster medallions were broken.  Then the rewiring commenced, followed by the discovery that Regis Royant and his Gallery of the same name – shipped me a chandelier that was similar, but not the same as the one I purchased from him.  Buyer beware.  After I got over that shock I took an ill-advised ride with the chandelier in the back of a pick-up truck.  That almost cost me a finger or two.


The initial installation was short lived as I discovered that once the following was assembled:

  • 65 main branches
  • 832 small branches
  • 808 glass discs or petals
  • 832 screw top components

It hung so low, it needed to be taken apart, branches carefully stored, orb and conduit back to the shop to be cut down.  Three Electricians later – can you believe no one wanted to do some star gazing – and after a very long night of reassembly, the curtain has been raised.  I will admit to being a little nervous about it crashing down in dramatic fashion…but one mustn’t live their life in a constant state of worry.  I’ll acclimate.

FullSizeRender (8)

For all the broken promises and heartache.  I’d do it all again.  This chandelier is a work of art, a wonder, a Broadway set in my living room, with all the magic a first rate production engenders.  It is stunning.  It is a showpiece.  It will steal the show, night after night, even if its only audience is me.

Happy Saturday.

THROW Caution to the Wind

While normally spring might be a time where one thinks about removing heavy blankets from beds, and putting your throws away for the winter.  I would caution against it – if you live in Boston like me, you woke to snow this morning.  Not a couple of pretty flakes just saying good-bye and don’t forget about me during the long warm summer months – NO.  That’s not what we got.  We were surprised with huge fat, cotton ball sized snow.  Wet, slushy, messy, snow!  I don’t want to sound too complainy, but tomorrow we are expecting 3 – 5″ and I just did my planters and window boxes.  Poor me.  My daffodils can’t possible survive another night of 20 degrees – can they?   They looked so hopeful, now their heads are hung low, and I feel totally responsible.

throw 1

Showing Off . Throws with Brand Identity

We are back to blustery weather, and nothing is more comforting than a warm throw over cold toes.  I love my throws with all their beautiful color combinations, textures, and tassels.  It would feel strangely under accessorized without them.  It never really occurred to me that they should be relegated to a seasonal role.  Outside their practical applications for which I continue to find many – wrapped in one on the deck on a cooler spring or fall evening, on the boat, beach, end of the sofa when the AC is just perfect for a guest but far too chilly for you!  Throws are clearly useful.

throw 2

Alter Placement to draw attention.

They are decorative too.  I find that there are unlimited ways in which they can be displaced and express your artistic flare. I am reminded of the cleaning gals that would alway find a new way to arrange the pillows, display the baubles on the shelf after dusting, or organize the bathroom vanity.  I would think to myself – wherever did they come up with that.  If only I could be as creative on cue.

Milford Street Bedroom

Add to the drama.

A few new ways to display your throws as we move into spring and summer……dare to dream.  I’m headed to find a suitable outfit for tomorrows winter weather watch.  This time I’ll be heading the warning!

throw 3

Don’t throw in the towel.

Happy Sunday.