Things I have learned from living with my parents for the past few months. Keep in mind that I am 38 years old, and have been on my own since about 22, when I graduated college.

  1. Having an office in 1970s paneling will elicit comments from co-workers on Skype.
  2. The vintage colonial shutters are really annoying to let light in the room.
  3. 4:00PM is way too early to eat dinner, but apparently it is the perfect time for retirees.
  4. My mother believes that dyer sheets are evil, and I am still trying to get used to clothing that is always slightly stiff. And itchy.
  5. That is taking into account that I can do my own laundry. My mother keeps taking all of my dirty clothes before I can do a wash, so I appear to always be wearing the same clothes.
  6. I cannot also get them to realize that gluten is found in ALL pasta.
  7. My dog detests the dustmop. I don’t think he was ever confronted with one before, since I always just um. used the vacumn on the floor.
  8. The house phone is ALWAYS ringing. If confronted with a cell phone, the appropriate response is to apparently shout into the flipped out part. The house phone is the preferred method of communication.
  9. Since I own a computer, I know everything about them.
  10. My dog apparently is not fed enough. I feed him, then my father feeds him, and then my mother makes him gravy since he doesn’t appear to like his dog food. The dog has become a master manipulator of the situation, and now waits for the gravy train.
  11. Mail can’t be left on the mailbox for the postman to pick up, since it might blow away. You have to take it to a blue box. I’ve so been doing that wrong, but then again, I can’t remember when I last mailed anything.
  12. That I have really missed seeing them every day when I was living in Vermont.

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 like to shop — especially for household goods. I left most of my kitchen ware and all of the bathroom stuff that I had owned in Burlington. But I took all my curtains. I horde curtains. I always feel a room is finished with the right set of draperies. When I tore down all of the curtains that were mine, I made sure to replace them with only the most garish and hideous that were left in the linen closet. Since the ex had the design aesthetic of a toadstool, I felt I was justified in my vindictive curtain shenanigans.

Since I am paying for a storage for the things I did take, like furniture and books, I have been trying to quell my inner shopper and buy things only on sale. Or are very small. However, I since I have been purchasing everything for the bathroom lately, I went online to see bathroom ensembles. This was clearly a mistake because I promptly became obsessed with a shower curtain which has a pattern of silvery gold dragonflies across it in the perfect shade of minty green.

I have a thing about dragonflies. They have symbolism is most places around the world and especially in Japan.

Maturity and a Depth of character
The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

from: The Meaning of Dragonflies

I feel like the whole part of my life has been leading up to this change. Of course, I had to search three Bed Bath & Beyonds to find the curtain — and accessories in stock. One can not live on shower curtains alone.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.05.20 AM

Now onto paint color!


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–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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We’ve been working on getting the shack to a state where we can start designing the new kitchen and bathroom. The whole house had to be gutted. The good news is that the house only has structural damage in one area — the bathroom. There had been a leak on the roof, and one wall has an entire section that needs to be replaced.

Other fantastic finds is that the house is made of solid hardwoods. It was built in the 1940s, and construction was much more solid than the today’s plywood and plastic.  I also have an idea for the bedroom involving a reading nook. I’ve always wanted a house with a window seat and a library. Perhaps once we put an addition on, I can get both.

Here are some of the photos from the demo:


Kitchen rafters — some smoke damage, there was never a vent from the kitchen.


Future bedroom!



I’ve been incredibly anxious for the past few months. Biting my nails down to the quick, overeating unhealthy food, craving chocolate and power-watching Sci-fi shows on my Kindle, and generally not sleeping. I don’t know if its the change or I think honestly, its the waiting that is slowly wearing me down. I made the decision, now I need to act on it. I stopped missing him about two days after he left, and frankly, I kinda don’t feel any different that when we were together. He wasn’t ever really there for me, in ways that counted. Sad to say after 8 years.

I will miss the daily interaction with my co-workers the most and the true friends that I have made here — they will be getting visits from me, that much I know.

I feel like I have been waiting for this fresh start for ages, and when I step out of the house on Saturday morning, and pack up the dog, the rest of my clothes, and the coffee-maker, I will be stepping into a new life. And that is an amazing thing.

And that step will not be into -12 degree weather.


I’ve been spending a crazy amount of time attempting to recover from a flu-allergy-crazy virus, in which it did not decrease my craving for chocolate, but I have had a headache slightly smaller than the state of Alaska.

I’ve been attempting to recover in-between bouts of throwing snowballs for my dog. He attempts to chase down every snowflake that I send sailing into the backyard. It is a strangely gratifying pastime, especially since he sometimes losing the snowball, spends a good five minutes rooting about in the unending blanket of white that is Vermont, looking all the while like “it was just here, wasn’t it?”

My dog also has become a Russian Instagram star. I’m not sure why those in Russia love him, but he gets more likes than I will ever get.

The Gumby

He sleeps with his paws in the air. It can be rather unnerving.