New Adventures

I an new here to Home Love stories but am so excited to be here. Do you see the beautiful home above? In one month it will be our very first home and I can’t be more excited. However, since it is 2,100 miles away it will be quite the adventure getting there especially with five kids. My husband accepted a new job opportunity so we are relocating far away. I am so thrilled that we will have our own home and can roll up our sleeves and get to work making it ours. We are purchasing it from a very nice older couple who are trying to retire in Florida. This was their second home and it does have a unique style right now including floral wallpaper and doll wallpaper borders. I have so many lovely ideas and just can’t wait.

Does anyone have any experience with the best paint colors to go with oak? There are beautiful Amish made fireplaces and a stairwell banister that I want to leave as is. I am thinking perhaps a soft sage green for the entry with the banister. Do any of you know what undertones would be best to avoid?

My Quirky Toilet Makeover

My Quirky DIY Loo

I live in Auckland New Zealand, in a 1920’s “Californian Bungalow”that I’ve been DIYing for the last couple of years with nothing but my paintbrush and a bit of creativity.

Our home has one bathroom between five people, with a separate toilet which is very common in older New Zealand homes. Although we spend a lot of time in the smallest room in the house (a.k.a. the toilet, the loo, the john, the W.C., the can), this room is usually boring, bland and functional at best. Even without the dribbles on the seat and puddles on the floor left by lads who need to go to Aim-Your-Weapon School, the loo is usually a pretty uninspiring place to be. I had a cunning plan to change all that, at my house. What I needed was a window of uninterrupted DIY time. It‘s my Mom DIY philosophy that “it‘s better to ask forgiveness than permission“. 

Some ideas are just too hard to explain to the people you share a house with. They will probably not agree that your vision to wallpaper your toilet walls with pages torn from 1950‘s school annuals is a good idea. They may not be visionary enough. So you need to show them rather than tell them… I found these beauties at the school gala, being as I am drawn to all things vintage. Classically cheesy and so cutely quirky… at some point (perhaps while making a papier mache pinata?) I conceived the idea to use the books‘ pages as wallpaper in my ugly, boring loo. I‘m no expert at wallpapering, but this I reckoned I could do. 

A layer of “wallpaper“ would disguise the butchered wall surface, left from when I scraped off the 80‘s vinyl wallpaper the last owner left. I‘d done my best to fix it, but sanding and patching and paint can only do so much when your walls are that bad. And as The Nester says: you can‘t ruin something you already hate. So take a risk. 

 Now all I needed was for my decoratively conservative hubby to be away for long enough so I could complete the project and show it to him, fait accompli. You know me. Always impulsive. One day last week up to my ears in the middle of Paris Party Prep, I was undercoating my old whiteboard with Resene Smooth Surface Sealer (to turn it into a sidewalk blackboard), and since I had the brush in my hand and the tin of paint open, I impulsively undercoated the toilet panelling. I‘m crazy like that. 

Which meant of course, that now I‘d started I had to finish the job before hubby returned from England on Friday. Because I didn‘t have enough projects on the go, already right now, aye? I fitted in a couple of top coats on the paneling in between party prep, food dispensing and kid-wrangling (using a can of mis-tint white enamel I scored from Resene). The night before Hubby‘s return, I mixed up a batch of cornflour glue* and got the rest of the job done… It took me from 8.30pm til 11.20pm to paper the whole loo with the pages from the annuals. (I have three annuals – I used all the pages from two and a couple from the third.) 

 To say I was pleased with the result would be an understatement. The boring-est room in the house is now the most interesting. There‘s plenty to read while you‘re doing your business, no matter which way you look… Quirky? Yes. Awesome? Yes! A big hit with the family? YES! But the question you all have burning in your minds: did hubby LOVE it or LOATHE it? Did the risk pay off? 1000 times YES. He LOVES it. On the day he arrived, he‘s no sooner got in the door and dumped his bags when the kids insisted that he “use the facilities“ asap. When he pushed open the door, this is what he said: “Oh WOW! that looks AMAZING!“

So yeah, my risk paid off. But I‘m pretty sure that if I‘d told him what my idea was, he‘d have thought I was off my rocker. Other loo pronouncements: “Mum, our loo looks like it belongs in one of those cool restaurants….!“ “I just love going toilet now – it‘s so interesting! So much to read!“ “Hurry up! I need to go toilet!“ “Hang on I‘m just finishing this story…” So yeah. I‘m super-glad I took a risk with my loo-decor. 

 The Cost to turn my loo from “naff“ to “fab“?? $8 for a tin of mis-tint enamel paint, and $1.50 for three retro annuals at the school gala. Wood Paneling Undercoat – Resene Smooth Surface Sealer (my tin from the kitchen makeover is still going strong) *Wallpaper Glue: cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with boiling water to a runny consistency and applied with a small paint roller. 

 METHOD: I rolled the glue onto the wall and then positioned the pages, starting from bottom-left above the wooden paneling and then working left-to right, row upon row. I was very careful when removing the pages from the binding to not tear the edge; they came out very easily (they are OLD after all). I used a craft knife to cut around light switches, piping etc and patched any gaps with extra pages, cut to roughly fit, then trimmed with the craft knife once in place. The cornflour glue dries hard, just like papier mache – no special wallpaper glue needed! I LOVE my quirky Loo! 

 P.S. I am gutted I don‘t have more “before“ pictures to show you. I could have sworn I took some, but I can‘t find them anywhere. You‘ll just have to take my word for it that before was BAD. And very very boring. like my “before“ bathroom, but small.


Vintage suitcases

My Vintage Suitcase Obsession

My Old Suitcase Obsession

I have been ahead of my time for about 20 years now.  That’s how long it has been since I started to collect old suitcases.  Especially Samsonite suitcases.  And now….they are a thing.  But they were a thing to me a long time ago and they still are a thing.  So much so that I have them all over my house. I can’t even tell you why I love them so much.  I think it’s the history and the idea of travel a long time ago.  

When you enter my house you will see a pretty aqua blue suitcase under a handmade wooden table.  I love to display my favorite things on top of them like my vintage leather camels.  I painted this one with chalk paint and sealed it with white wax because it was a not so attractive brown color with stains.  Looks great I think, and it was easy to do.  

I also used two smaller cases under my buffet/tv console to hide wires.  Not the ones to the left though.  🙂

Another fun thing I do is place a small case on top of my dresser and then place pictures and other items in a small vignette.

My last home had 18 ft. tall ceilings and my dining room had a wall with a ledge on top of it so, I would display a couple of my suitcases up there.  I opened one of them and placed some old cameras and an oil painting in it along with other items to create another vignette.  As you can see,  I’m all about vignettes.  I worked as a showroom designer in a furniture store so I can’t help myself.

These are not all of my suitcases.  I have several more in storage just waiting to be used.  Whenever I’m out at yard sales, estate sales, or flea markets and I see one at a reasonable price I snap it up!  They’re uses are limitless.  But…they are getting harder to find.  I have seen them in a lot of design magazines recently so I think they are catching on.  Darn!!!

A Hint of Winter & New Flooring!!

Happy New Year Everyone! Well, I totally missed showing you Christmas around the House! I was so busy with work and couldn’t find a Sunny day in between to display a Christmas Tour of our Home! Although . . . I did enjoy seeing all of your homes during the Christmas Season, even though I did not get the chance comment on all of your Beautiful Homes! 

Two weeks before Christmas, we decided to tear up the linoleum in our Kitchen and (the well loved for a long time, but definitely dated, moss green carpeting) in our living room and stairwell. I’m so excited about our new flooring!! It now feels like one consecutive living space on our main floor! 

Okay, A Hint of Christmas! (Below)This was one of the few photos I took of Christmas! I was so afraid to put a real tree in the family room with the new floor, that we decided to celebrate Christmas Morning on the back porch for the first time. And it was Really Nice!

Also New!! I had purchased this New chair, below, for our living room. This past Fall, I was in search for a chair that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on. Much to my surprise, I found this chair at the right time, from TJ Max. This wall used to have a sofa table against it for quite a few years and I was so ready for a change that would provide an extra seating space. I am very pleased with the size and dimensions of this chair. Perfect!!

Much to my Surprise, I was on Tonya’s Home Decorating Blog site the other day and she was so excited about finding this same exact style chair, but in a light grey color! How ironic, because I absolutely LOVE the style of her home! You might want to check it out @ Thank you for stopping by!! This year will be a year of changes in our HOME. . . A New Half Bathroom and a New Laundry/ Mudd room!! Your welcome to stop by any time! :)

DIY farmhouse sofa table

My husband worried that anything in this particular spot behind the sofa would potentially block the flow through the kitchen to the back door, but I knew I had to try something…our “outside” shoes were lining up here like a “shoe parking lot” and the grass, leaves and dirt they deposited drove me crazy!! I wanted to find a way to corral the outdoor gear and as a bonus I now have a large horizontal surface to decorate with the seasons! After searching (mostly online) for a “just right” table with a “just right” price tag with no luck, I drew up some plans based on what I saw and liked online and we built this 6ft. long sofa table using basic lumber supplies from Home Depot for about $57 and 2.5 swear words.. The money was spent on 2 x 4 and 1 x 3 lumber – we already had the wood screws, stain, paint, and “L” brackets to attach the top. Brian spent 1.5 swear words on creating the “X” pattern (he wanted to get a little more practice with his router and we figured this was a simple project to do that – this also added a bit of time spent!) and the other swear word was spent on creating the spacing between the slats on the lower shelf. The garage was HOT (it was September) and it took a few tries, but once we finally got it figured out we found a little strip of scrap wood to use as a spacer. A little tip though, wait to attach these until after you have stained/painted them for easier access to the sides of the wood! The frame was assembled using wood screws and a Kreg Jig, and the slats with just a nail gun. Oh, and the galvanized planter buckets are from Ikea.. So far, so good, no bruised hips or stubbed toes on the way to the backyard – and those buckets collect all of the “grit” instead of my socks -yay!

Hidden Salmon Beach, Tacoma WA

Long time no see! I loved browsing this site & seeing all of your beautifully decorated holiday homes. Let me say, “Ya’ll have outdone yourselves!” As I was away, I had a lot of changes & in due time, I’ll try to share a bit of those changes with you. :)  I’d like to catch up and show you all my most amazing find… Salmon Beach! This is a small fishing community of 80 beach shanties from the 1920’s that’s just 2.8 miles from my house. I swear it’s the biggest secret on the Puget Sound!

Now let me tell you… I heard about SB from a coworker. It’s a gated off community but being a house stalker that was NOT going to keep me out. (Go ahead admit it… you’ve followed people in fancy gated neighborhoods to house snoop I am sure!) haha  Well… this was a little more difficult!  We had to walk around the gate, down 2 huge hills until we came to a small parking lot that the “beachers” park their cars.  From the car park was 277+ steps… I quit counting!!! That’s the ONLY way down the cliff to the homes below!

This village was Very Rustic and OLD… See that little path? That’s the ONLY walkable space behind all the homes that are on stilts.  These glassed in little reading rooms were perched along the wooded path. I can only imagine how peaceful it would be to curl up with a mug of local coffee, a kitty, and a good book… The Inspired Room of course! ?

Like I said, the place is OLD and RUSTIC, but that’s the beauty of it. It was as if we were on an enchanted island. Nothing but the smell of sea air, the sound of seagulls in the distance; and water splashing under the homes. There’s lots of OLD rusted stuff laying around here and there.  I would imagine because of how difficult it would be to carry it back up the cliff. I can’t imagine how they carry groceries! (or move in or out!)

Here are a few examples of the unique architecture I found. All the cedar was weathered,but I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to look at EVERY detail of EVERY house! Just look at these shingles!!!!

Another part of the rustic beach charm was the chicken houses along the path. I love me some beach chickens!!! (oh dear, the Southerner is coming out in me! LOL)

I hope you all have enjoyed this little journey with me. Now, I want to remind you… I have done ya’ll a HUGE favor because you got the tour without having to climb back up all those steps and hills to the car! 🙂
Happy 2016 XOXO

DIY Built-in Bookcase

This DIY, four years in the making, was a satisfying addition to our two-bedroom home where the second bedroom is an office.

Before: Wasted space. A makeshift bookcase fit in here, but didn’t fill the space nor provide enough storage.

Shelves! Deep and wide, a couple of the shelves are actually doubled up with books now. Also, some room to accessorize! These pictures were taken with the door off as well as door trim that has since been updated. The door, back on now, opens to the inside of the room, essentially hiding the bookcase from view! Next project: Barn door-style door in the hallway to close off the room for privacy when necessary. Funny how one thing can lead to another.  Here’s to 2016 and many more projects and improvements!

DIY Mantle Project

This project has been on the To Do list for more than four years! Its a beautiful feature and an instant focal point when entering our home now. This project was a collaboration with myself as designer, sandpaperer, and painter, my husband for figuring out the technicalities and brut force, and my son with some specialty wood-working skills from a couple of earlier years of working in a cabinet shop.  My son is now a Firefighter/Paramedic, also a 2015 accomplishment! :)

This recent before picture with other house updates: the mantle always struck me as not being in proportion to the brick fireplace. We were in a quandary about what to change and our minds changed quite a bit during the four years.

Taking it way back: our “brand new“ house in July 2011. By the way, the trick to removing soot? Scrubbing Bubbles. 

Detail of the column. Designed in the middle of an isle at the home improvement store while referring to magazine cutouts, holding different trim pieces together to get the look I wanted, and making it uniquely ours.  

Christmas Tree Ideas

Hoot Owl Glam

My tree this year:  Hoot Owl Glam-funny thing, i‘ve had the mail-person, the UPS person, my pest-control guy who comes every three months and is always checking out my house or yard to see what has changed lol, ask to take photos of my tree! I‘m guessing I musta got it right this year! 🙂 How’s about sharing your tree!