Oh hi there — I’ve moved into the little shack of horrors. I’ve been making it a little shack of creation as of late. First of all, I work for an amazing company called Creative Habitat, and I happily put some of my paycheck back into the amazing products they carry. Especially the paper. I love and hoard fine paper, and they do have the best selection. If I ever dare to step into a competitors store, I am frequently amazed by the low quality paper they carry. But I digress in my love for all things paper.

tiny bubbles!

tiny bubbles! It was probably in a kid’s room, but the kid too, may have a paper addiction.

Anyway, the other day I came across this in some’s discard pile (ok, the trash). I found the size quite perfect for my printer and phone stand next to my desk. Currently I’m using an improperly assembled Ikea drawer thing that I pimped out with some 1970′s era Contact Paper, and the overloaded drawer keeps breaking — the paper addiction, it has bad consequences for office furniture.

So I threw them in the back of my car and drove around for a week or two with them in my car because I was far too lazy to take them in. That and I knew I had to clean them, and I had been busy with other things.

Anyway, a few weekends ago,  I removed the paper circle stickers, sanded it down, and spray painted with a dark brown spray paint that was a primer in one. I also  reattached the flapping back with some tiny nails.  Of course, this was not without mishap. I was happily emptying about two cans of dark brown paint onto the shelves when I realized that I had gotten a quite a tan on my legs. Since I was wearing flip-flops and capris while spray painting (never a good idea) I had managed to give a spray tan on the lower half of my body.   That great paint that’s primer and paint in one? Not so easy to remove, I must say.

So anyway, this past week I have been working at night to finally finish my idea for these shelves. I took some Mod Podge (Hard Coat) and a stack of Tim Holtz Paper Pad, which had various 1880 travel and Victorian error patterns of writings and receipts, and applied the paper to the shelves. I’m pretty happy with how they came out:


photoafterNot too bad for my first furniture project?

So we have come to a point in the house where all the cabinets are assembled, the floors are laid down and the plumbing is set up — but we are putting the final touches on electricity and well hot water. Both are essential to moving into the little shack of horrors. I wanted to wait to post final final photos so you could see it finally.

I spent last night in search of a couch. First, a tale of couches. I had for years a comfy green sofa that was very easy to fall asleep watching television It showed it age, and had kids and dogs jumping on it so it was retired for an IKEA couch, which, I do love me some MDF and particle-board constructed cabinets and furniture, but anything that involve foam, well, the Swedes don’t hit the target in my opinion. The couch we did own, well, it did not support your neck, so you’d fall asleep with your neck hanging back over the edge. Very uncomfortable. And the dark blue color gave me hives. It was a particularly virulent shade of bluish navy. Gave one bad flashbacks to catholic school uniforms.  But I digress from the situation at hand.. my search for a new couch….

I had the walls painted  a nice silvery color to complement my black and white photography. I did not want either a beige or chocolate sofa. I was hoping for either black, gray or red. (You know you are a graphic designer when color becomes first priority).  I decided to hit a very well known furniture store in Rhode Island. Oh god, oh god the horror.. Two hours later, I escaped the clutches of a high powered sale assistant named Susan. She tried to steer me towards every couch in there, even though I kept throwing out more and more bizarre yet strangely creative answers to the questions.

Reclining *Powered* (by what I wonder, a battery pack? I really don’t want to have to plug in a sofa in addition to my computers, TV and assorted lamps) Sofa: ”I don’t like the loss of control over my chair movements, plus, my dog would bark it.” I sounded like crazy level one.

Microfiber Sofa with Ottoman: It’s beige. I don’t like beige. Gives me strange thoughts. Crazy level two achieved.

Giant Sectional: “It’s a really small house. I have to have room for my three computers in the same room.” Crazy level three achieved. (This is true actually, and its not counting my iPad).

Small Leather Sofa: “My dog has really long talons.”  I make clawing motions with my hand. She looks a little frightened, but Susan, bless her heart sticks with a potential sale.

Giant fluffy couch with cushion explosions:  ”The pillows would shift about and drive me insane. Plus, you know, I’d spend all day rearranging them.” In the meantime, I spy a gorgeous turquoise leather chair and begin to stroke it. She then tries to sell me chairs, but I finally just take pity and tell her that I’ll be back, and walk out.

I discover at the next store telling them you left your cell phone in the car is a great idea. Finally, I make my way to Bob’s Discount Furniture, which I like the name I must say, even though the photo of a rendered 3D Bob is kinda creepy. And what CEO gets his photo taken in ratty sneakers? I suppose if he’s not making much money… but anyway, they have a clearance pit, which I wander in past the levels of cushion explosion beige and chocolate sofas, and see it. Charcoal gray, with a chaise lounge that my dog would approve of (and half off). They are discontinuing this line of perfectly beautiful, modern and plain lined sofa, and it was the floor model. The extra pillows are pretty awful, I suspect the designer may have had an off day in the world of fabric design, but that can be easily fixed.

Couch achieved. The best part? Someone else tried to buy it as I was swiping my card to purchase.

seriously, who designed the blue and beige zebra print pillows and WHY?

seriously, who designed the blue and beige zebra print pillows and why would you commit such a crime against the fabric arts?




  1. Go on a time when most people would not, say 7pm on a Friday night or 9am Monday morning. Do not, I repeat attempt to talk to the kitchen designer staff on a Saturday or Sunday. Poking hot poison filled needles into eyeballs is better than the madhouse scene that is a Saturday at IKEA. Friday mornings are apparently a prime time as well.
  2. Research and poke around looking at the kitchens you really like. Don’t expect someone to show you each individual ones. Or have other people waiting for the designers to be free want to throw you into a wardrobe and lock the doors.
  3. Don’t sit down with your private interior designer and Ikea coffee in the middle of the kitchen planning computers and spend 3 hours obsessing over every detail of your $7,000 kitchen. If you can afford to hire a private designer, why are you at IKEA? It will make your neighboring kitchen planners envision throwing you into a GRUNDAL shelving system.
  4. Pack a lunch, or eat first, you’ll be waiting awhile.
  5. Remember that your house may not have any numbers, so look foolish attempting to explain that its a really a house, but there are no numbers for delivery, then just explain you’ll have a sign.
  6. Note that if you order custom countertops, the price will jump considerably. Go back to the IKEA countertops.
  7. Realize that you’ll have to assemble the 65 boxes that are coming in five days.
  8. Panic about the 65 boxes that are coming in five days.
  9. Make a choice about the knobs, because you’ll have to drill holes for all of the them. If its too much of  decision, wonder if you really need them anyway, envision macguvering handles from duct tape.
  10. Debate about the knobs.
  11. Go back to Ikea and look at knobs. Panic about the cabinets that are coming in three days.
  12. Rinse and repeat.


photo (1)So the only part about ripping out all of the walls, floors, shingles, bathroom, kitchen, appliances, electrical, insulation and more is that you have quite a bit of trash collected up. This weekend was gorgeous, so we set to work cleaning up the yard as best we could. We have one dumpster completely filled and the second one is standing empty for more trash. The house is getting ready for vinyl siding, as you can see by the photo above.

My dog has been helping, as we have discovered an extensive network of groundhog burrows throughout the yard. They have no fear of us, and calmly walk about their business in the middle of the construction zone, content in their yearly forecasting lies. Gumby is now on groundhog patrol 24/7.

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Got back from a business trip and my brother-in-law and brothers had been so busy patching and mudding the drywall.  they also replaced the very bowing front columns.

I went to Vermont for work this week, and I had a great time connecting with friends and co-workers.

The only flaw in the plan was that my little tiny city car hit a deep rut in the VERY MUDDY roads of the mountainside where I was staying. I own a Toyota Matrix, and while I usually love my car, they have all of these cheap plastic bumpers that make the car apparently more stylish. Yeah. Anyway, they have a habit of disconnecting when I connect with curbs, mountain roads and the occasionally misplaced snowbanks. Usually they pop right in, but this time, I could not get them to snap back in. Finally I checked the underside and there was clumps of mud clinging to the bumper weighing it down. After I made some sort of trowel like structure with my hands to unearth the giant clumps, I was able to snap the bumper back in place.



So we have been working on the house innards. That is what I am calling the pieces of fluff and insulation. Not very exciting, but will make the house nice and snug in the wintertime. Things are finally coming together in the little shack of horrors.  The bathroom vanity is also put together, and after that experience, I am NOT looking forward to putting together the IKEA kitchen cabinets.

Tomorrow’s agenda is DRYWALL.

I’ve been busy picking out flooring too!

The future bedroom
The future bedroom

The future bedroom


Of course as a designer, I’ve already picked out color swatches for wall paint!




I went to see Oz on Friday night, which of course I loved. Then spent the weekend obsessing over floors. I had originally picked out Tundra from IKEA in an oak finish, but it is not recommended in bathrooms.  So I went to a chain outlet which uses high pressure sales tactics and promptly fell in love with one of the more expensive laminate floors they had. The sale is on until Monday, so it looks like I’ll have to go back during my lunch hour on Monday. I should also get a commission from them because two people have already commented on how much they like it, and are going to think about doing it themselves.

It looks like everything for the bathroom is now done! I wish I could say the same about the rest of the house!


It is called Venetian Cream — it is lighter than it looks on photo. Pulls in a spectrum of warm and cool colors.

I also feel in love with the most expensive kitchen backsplash too. I could paper the back of the walls with dollar bills — and it would be cheaper. However, I feel that sometimes you need to splurge on one or two elements to really pull something together…but my focus is really on the bathroom today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

There is something very funny about IKEA selling Swedish Fish.  I know everything that Ikea has, because I feel like I have been living there over the past few weeks, without the ability to curl up into a RESTA bed.  I went on Saturday, but it was far, far too busy, and I was armed with the shopping list of bathroom bits and pieces that I needed. I did go with the dark brown, simply because I was going to get white cabinets in the kitchen and felt that would have been far too much white cabinetry in such a small house.

The bathroom is coming together. The saga of the bathtub has been alleviated by the lack of space in the bathroom, so we had to go with a special sized tub and enclosure.

I went to IKEA last night to inspect the kitchen cabinetry. I had been torn during my late night wrangles with the IKEA Kitchen planner over two cabinet faces, and I went there to inspect everything Kitchen. I am a graphic designer by trade, and have wrestled with design programs since about 1999, including a version of QuarkExpress that would crash every time I went past six pages. In my head now, I have called Quark Express Lucifer, and thankfully most printing presses eschew the devil in favor of InDesign. Anyway, I digress, but back to the Ikea Kitchen Planner. I have nicked named this program “FRUSTRATO” which sounds like an apt Swedish term for how it functions.

It doesn’t allow you to change the settings easily on a cabinet, and when you buy an Ikea cabinet, you need to select faceplates, corner strips, deco strips. knobs and sizes. The original kitchen I designed, based upon the roomy 5×5 size with a side island for the sink, well, I forgot about drawers. Useful things those, are, drawers. Keeps things tidy. So I went back into FRUSTRATO and redesigned with drawers in mind.

Since I am a graphic designer, I started off with some pieces of inspiration. Funny enough, interior designers do the same thing. My kitchen table and chairs set from circa 1950, and these two handy images found online:


Retro kitchen sign from retroplanet.com–still need to purchase.

From Pinterest:

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I made a decision based upon the look that I was going for (50′s vintage kitchen). I love everything vinyl and formica. AND I LOVE THESE COLORS.

Here is the kitchen table thats currently sitting in storage. Some of the vinyl may need to be re-upholstered. I got this for free from a cousin who was going to throw it away.

My table & chairs, this is was taken at  the Burlington house.

My table & chairs, this is was taken
at the Burlington VT house.

Photos from the work in the house coming soon!

It has been a slow thaw here in Rhode Island this winter. As soon as the ground clears, another storm hits. The ground is clear now, but another storm is on the way to blanket the little shack of horrors. I have been researching bathtubs. The thing about a bathtub is, you really do want to try them out. And I am not sure that the staff of Home Depot would appreciate my showing up with a bucket and some soap and testing out the floor models. One should be able to get a test bath before purchasing a bathtub. It is a very important element to a home. How many hours are spent showering, soaking, wrestling 100 pound mutts under the shower head as they reek of skunk or have rolled around very happily and without any regard for owner’s noses in very dead things?

But I digress. The problem with a shack is that it is a very small abode. The size of the bathroom is very small. And to deviate from the apparent norm of 60 inches guarantees sticker shock. For example there are this wonderful corner tubs that they sell with the price tag around $8,000. If I spent $8,000 on a bathtub, I would either want it on wheels to tote around everywhere I go, or to have jets filled with very expensive champagne.

Also, it appears as though white is the de-facto standard of tub colors. I would prefer to have mine in emerald or magenta so that years from now, people attempting to purchase the shack of horrors would have to comment on the coloring calling it “So early 21st century!”

Anyway, I have picked out a sink. I just need to actually pay for it and make sure it fits in the shack. I keep wavering on aluminum or/black brown though.

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