Water Ways


Hygge and West’s Mermaid Paper.

I was surprised to learn from my yoga instructor that winter – the season that is – is associated with water and fear.  It’s a time to look inward, and reflect.  I suppose in some cosmic way the Gregorian Calendar (that’s the one we currently follow – which was created by Pope Gregory XIII) with it’s year end, just after the Winter Solstice, and our tradition of goal setting for the new year – is in fact, a time of inward reflection.  Hum.

Little Whales Wallpaper

Pottok . Little Whales Wallpaper.  At last I found it!

I’m a goal setter by nature.  I like the process.  I like to check in and reflect.  I love to see what the year has produced.  I’ve taken to telling people – whoever will listen really – what my goals are because I learned a few years back that in doing that – blabbing it to everyone, you are in fact increasing your chances of getting what you want.  Isn’t that the most amazing thing?  Somewhere in there, surely the psychology of accountability whispers in our ear, encouraging us along on our path.


Marblous Oceany Wallpaper.

Fear can also be a powerful motivator.  No surprise that fear is what set me off on this quest in the first place.  The Quest for the Nest that is.  I find it eye-opening when someone tells me that they find what I am doing “courageous”.  I throw back my head and laugh – a nervous giggle whistling out through parted lips as I prepare to correct them.  It’s FEAR, not courage I want to scream.  Still, as I reflect on this past year, finish construction on No. 4…I have to admit, that I am in fact doing it.  Like water – I am finding my way, sometimes in the face of what seems decidedly unyielding, sometimes salty, and others deliciously enveloping.


Serena and Lily . Seagrass Cloth . Amalfi

E.E. Cummings said:  “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.”

I am a Cape Cod girl at heart.  I cannot argue with him there.

In this winter season, embrace the stormy waters, the calm tidal pools, the white caps, and ebbing tide.  There is something to learn and love from them all.

Merry and Bright

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve.  It sneaks up on you when you are rushing round trying to get ready.  I thought I was in good shape, but then I went and left some essential details until the end.  The details are what matter to designers because it’s the je ne sais quais that turns the nice into the surprisingly cool….beautiful…or pulled together.  Everyone deserves a little “quais”  Non?


For me it was disguising the obvious gifts.  Some people want money – greenery I like to call it.  Also, unoriginal – but try as I might, they won’t be dissuaded.  Money is what they want, and so, who am I to judge.  Money they will receive, but not in any obvious way – surprise and delight it must be.  I thought about a cool box in which to house the treasure, I thought about a container with hidden compartments in which my loved ones would have to hunt for their prize.  I settled on none of that.

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we must use the tools we have…left over from holiday shipping.

My fascination with tiny houses led me to my cardboard creations.  First a log cabin, fire burning within, decorated for the holiday season, with the promise of special things, just beyond the door.  There is something very special in that cabin, indeed!

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Voila – something very special lies just beneath the roof.


The second is decidedly more Hundred Acre Wood.  A cylindrical tower of birch with its musical roof is a welcome respite from the cold, and the cash that it houses will certainly go a long way to warming the recipients heart – at least I hope it will.

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scouring the woods for window box riches

I was inspired by the ice laden trees that resulted from the freezing rainstorm that made for a miserable Christmas Eve . Eve.  The sun came out today and all glistened and sparkled as if it was Mother Nature’s intention all along.

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A stash of cash within the 100 Acre Wood Cabin.


Warmest Wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday.

Pinning Down Your Style


There are many reasons for Pinterest’s success – our love of beautiful imagery, our desire to capture, save, and move on, its powerful ability to communicate to others what we are hoping to achieve, whether the interior designer you just hired to decorate your living room, or you best friend who has offered to help with your new apartment, and a strict budget – Pinterest offers a visual wish list – all in one place.

Tiny and tucked away to the right.  So ingenious.




What I adore…small spaces, great storage, unquestionably great view.

I don’t use it as much as I should, but I went in search of a concept for build-in bunk beds. This is a huge trend now, and as we prepare to say good-bye to Eastward – who has done an amazing job – we need to think about what additional retrofits we’ll do.  One thing I’ve learned about the Cape House is that you need to be able to pack people in during the holidays – both summer and winter.  The Manse – is relatively modest in size, so I thought it might be best to have one of the upstairs bedrooms be more of a bunk room, or because of the ceiling heights, a dormitory set up.  Elegant of course, but maximizing the sleeping quarters.

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Parisian AND Gray …. need I say more?

Toward that end I started to hunt for ideas in my No. 4 Pinterest Board.  Four was for my current project, but it acts as a dropbox for the year’s activities.  What I noted as I looked through the images was an emerging series of patterns.  Pinks, golds, flooring treatments – I have a propensity to gravitate toward herring bone or painted floors, painted ceilings, or accent paints of any kind.  I like it, both for its unexpectedness, and for the relatively inexpensive nature of its impact.  Every room needs a wow.  My Dad asked me why I would paint a walk-in closet in a dark color.  “The room is so small – you’ll only make it feel even smaller.”  This argument falls on deaf ears. A – small spaces are made to feel cozy when painted in a darker hue.  B – it’s a closet, no one is going to spend hours entertaining themselves in a closet.  You go in, pick out your clothes, and move along to start your day.  With the rest of the entire bedroom painted in white – it deserves to have a moment.  We all deserve to have a moment. But I digress.

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Pink, Herringbone, and a bold painted door – J’amie bien!

What I discovered is that I have a distinct style.  It’s revealed in all the similar color palettes I post, the clean nature of the furnishings and decor.  That is one of the distinct benefits of starting and maintaining a Pinterest board, you begin to see your personal style emerge, and can feel confident that when you go to make a big purchase or small, that if it is in alignment with that style, you are going to love it.

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Pink, Gold, and swivel chairs – the best!

Happy Pinning.

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Stripes and in graphic and black and white.  Gorgeous.

Winging It: co-working on the fly

When I was in my 20’s I used to pack my bag in the morning with my work shoes, my lunch, my workout clothes, toiletries, and head out to the T – that’s public transportation here in Boston. I would often add to this a cake, a tray of cupcakes or bags laden with cookies and other baking delights.  Oh for the days where I had THAT much time on my hands.  Not only did I bake, but I worked out 5 days a week.  My gym didn’t allow for overnight storage so I carried everything on me – like a pack mule.  I thought I was going to be a princess – it had come to this.

To be fair, though my circumstances have changed considerably since I was in my 20’s, I am still rather like a pack mule – though what I tote around has become much larger, and slightly less frequent with my house flipping.

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Audrey Geltman and Lauren Kassan co-founders of The Wing decided it was disrespectful to have to change in a bathroom between meetings, to have no place to gather ones thoughts, prepare for a meeting, meet with potential business partners, talk, listen, engage, have a glass of wine to unwind or gear up for the night ahead – a place that was all about women – for women, exclusively.

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So The Wing was born, first in the Flatiron District, then in Soho – plans for one in Washington D.C., and I think California – sadly, not Boston.  Would you pay $2000. clams for a place to shower, store your clothes, listen to a lecture, attend a book signing or throw a baby shower?  I think I might.  Particularly if I could buy it off in food and drinks while entertaining clients.

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The designers of this hip space are from CdR & Co. , Chiara de Rege and Hillary Koyfman. It is really no surprise that the space drew me in – aside from its decidedly practical side, it’s pinks, pale grays, and gold accent are tops on my happy place colors.  Then they go and add a powder room in the perfect pink poof of a paint and attached Coco Chanel’s name to it and voila, it was love.  They painted the floor, ceiling, and all the doors and casings in one of two pink tones – genius.  It’s a womb of a women’s room, and I feel calm, relaxed, and certain that I will emerge rosy cheeked, and fresh.

Santa Baby: All I ever wanted

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The Lucas . Shawmut Ave. Boston

I would take a sable under the tree, that would most definitely please me.  A duplex and checks – I’ll take it with two decks, and with a majority share in Tyvek, because what the heck, I wasn’t born yesterday.  Santa Baby, hurry down the chimney to me.  Eartha Kitt and Henri René sang this timeless classic for the first time in NYC in the summer, ironically, of 1953.  Her timeless crooning in her low sultry voice makes her requests for a platinum mine, a 1954 convertible light blue, and a ring – not on the phone – totally acceptable, and somehow, feasible.

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The Airstream . Globetrotter.  A Glamper.

It got me to thinking about what my own outrageous list might include, and decided I should put it out there – just in case Santa was curious.  After all, I’ve been an awfully good girl.  Santa Baby – slip the deed to a two bedroom condo at the Lucas under my tree.

I’ll take an Areostream for all my “Glamping” adventures.  An Eclipse 550 because commercial airline travel is …. disrespectful!  I’ll take a Goyard Travel Trunk too – in blue, because you simply can’t land on the tarmac with duffle bag in toe.

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Godard Travel Trunks.  Oh la, la.

A yard of diamonds from Tiffany, a bottle of Clive Christiansen “X” perfume, A Pied a Terre on the Left Bank, a driver, and a maid – she need not be live in, but she must do windows.

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Tiffany . Elsa Peretti Yard of Diamonds

Santa Baby, I forgot one little thing – a Renoir with the authentication papers – a girl needs a little extra security to ride those volatile economic times.

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Clive Christenson . “X” .  A heavenly scent and I’ve been an angel all year….

May the magic of the season infect you with a childlike wonder and belief.

Sticking It: Stinkwood instead of Ship Lap

If you’re like half of America, you’re a fan of Fixer Upper.  Chip and Joanna Gaines are a whole lot of fun to watch, and while their style doesn’t exactly align with mine, they have an undeniable chemistry, seem to love what they do, and it’s contagious.


Stikwood Samples.

They are fans of Ship Lap, which I would argue has made a major comeback because of them.  I wanted the bath in The Manse to be paneled in it, but didn’t announce my intention until the shower was already tiled.  Oy vey.  That means the transition between materials was going to be a problem – different thicknesses requires an artful solution.  A bevel perhaps, but the reality of that requires additional labor.  Additional labor means a change order.  Jo-Jo said NO MORE CO’s!  I don’t blame her.


Stikwood in weathered gray.

The solution- This ingenious product called:  Stikwood.  It’s peel and stick, reclaimed, sustainable wood.  That’s right – peel and stick.  European Oil Finishes and VOC Free Paints make it environmentally friendly too.


As easy as peel and stick!

Just 3/16″ thick, it’s perfect for my wall and will require no transition detail – better yet I can do it myself.  The on-line tutorials are great, and they tell you everything from how to measure to get the right quantity – it comes in 1 – 4′ lengths and is 5″ wide, and how to peel and ensure it sticks.  At just $14. SF – I might just be finding other places in the house to put it.


This really is a DIY Product.

Happy Sunday.

50 Shades of Gray: Admit it…it’s exciting.

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The Manse . Nantucket Red Door

Gray has come into its own.  I’ve long been a lover – and not a closet one at that – of gray.  It strikes me as being Parisian and sophisticated.  Since I want to be both of these things it’s only natural that I gravitate toward it.  Jo-Jo gets upset with me when I remind her that she called me a “One Trick Pony”.  My pony has way more tricks than one, but it’s favorite trick has depth and complexity, it’s pale and peaceful, daring and dark, shy and innocent, dirty and needy.  Gray will take you places and influence your mood.  I will not apologize for using it, in all it’s iterations.  Every magician has a show-stopper.  Gray is mine.


Tuxedo Kitchen Cabinets await.

And now it will be The Manses too.  The exterior clap board siding is a soft dove gray, the doors a perfect Nantucket Red.  The interior will follow suit.  While it’s a bit risky to go with a trend in a home that our family will continue to enjoy for generations beyond my own, I am going to do a Tuxedo Cabinet.  The bottom will be painted in Metallic Silver, the top in Chantilly Lace.  This is one of the two white that Decorator’s use consistently in their design, and which I have used for my trim, base, casings, and wood work over the years.  To me, it’s the purest white.  a cool, crisp, Mary Poppins style proper white.  All the wood work will be done in Chantilly – it will give the space the “pretty face”  it deserves.


Fifty Shades with a bit of modesty thrown in.

The walls will be painted in Mineral Ice – this is another color which I have used again and again, and recommended to others over the years.  Be warned, while it reads gray in The Manse, it sometimes reads pale blue.  It depends on it’s mood.  I tested it in several rooms, because in this instance I want it to be a true gray – a pale, and lovely Dior Gray.  It is.  In fact, all the main living, dining, and common spaces will be painted in this pale shade, as will the bedroom on the first floor.

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Benjamin Moore . Mineral Ice

The Bath on the main floor will be Ben Moore’s Chalk White – wall that is.   The base and door will be in Chantilly Lace, as I previously stated, and the ceiling will be in Nickel – yet another shade of gray.  I am all about the minimalist look, but I need moments of surprise in every room.  The ceiling, and Ship Lap-esque wall (read tomorrow’s post for what will really be used here), will have passers by giving it a double take.  If you’ve been following along, you know what it’s always Ben.  He was my boyfriend before P.R. came along, and while Ben was perfect for color at the right price, P.R. returns my adoration.  I hope we can all live in perfect harmony.


Ben Moore . Nickel

Dive into your adventurous side…50 shades is where it’s at.

Metalic Silver

Benjamin Moore . Metallic Silver