Sometimes a quiet Sunday in the shop brings a long-lost friend to the door- apologizing for her absence.  What a gift!  What a blessing!  

I often think about how disconnected we are- isolated and involved in our own small worlds- we lose track of each other too easily.  All this technology that makes our globe a village also works to keep us each in our own cubicle.  Our sense of community is somehow replaced by a constant seeking of attention and approval through our online networks.  We are left ungrounded, unattached, and often feeling empty and alone.

How much of this alone-feeling is causing the anger that is spewing out of our political campaigns these days?  I have to wonder.

Thank you, Friend, for stopping in!


design vignettes

 We all have different relationships to our homes. Some people get things the way they want them and never change them again.  Others prefer constant movement- they may even have a permanent collection of items that rotate through the special spots in their rooms.

I have long been a fan of the vignette- a little moment, a partial story- that combination of things in a corner of a room that just feels right.  The rest of the room may be a mess, but this little picture is a place for my eye to rest in the midst of the chaos.   In my house the vignettes are made up of items collected or made over time.  Together they tell a little story of our lives. I will admit that my vignettes change over time- this one was in our bedroom for a few months, and the pieces are now in different parts of our house, in new versions of this vignette.

Fortunately Dean moves things around as much as I do!




There are moments during a construction project that are incongruous- but wonderful.  

This bathtub has been in this bedroom for months. Bathtubs have to be on site for the plumbers to do their "rough-in"- so that they can make sure they are putting the pipes in the right place- and then the tub/s sit, neglected and dusty, until it is actually time to install them.  This project has had many delays, so this bathtub has been here long enough that I have thought that we should have planned it this way- to have a tub in the bedroom under those beautiful windows.  

A few years ago I worked on a project in which there was planned a bathtub in the master bedroom- in front of a huge and wonderful square window at one end of the room. 

Why not?


taking up space


My daughters and I are hooked on the show "Grace and Frankie".  There is a 2nd season out and of course we have spent a lot of time this week glued to that screen- binge watching the half hour episodes whenever we have the chance.  

One of the major questions of the 2nd season is: how do women (older women at that) take up space?  In what ways are we/they marginalized and ignored?  In what ways do we need to take a stand and take up the space we need/deserve? 

This resonated for me on so many levels- I am shy and introverted, and not given to taking up space in the world.  I am a woman, and I work in a field that is often considered to be less important than those building-related fields dominated by men (architecture, engineering, building).  On top of all of this I came into design through the 'back door'- I did not go to design school, did not set out to have a design business- so I am late coming to think of my design work as having value.

As is so often the case for my clients- my inner world is reflected in my outer world--  and despite the fact that I have been working with clients for nearly 20 years I have only recently had real physical space in our shop for the design business.  Always in the past the design 'stuff' went in some file drawers in the back;  my design work (the computer research and painting of color samples and drafting of furniture plans) happened at the shop counter in between customer visits; and I just simply made do.

These days I am taking up all kinds of space.  I have a big, beautiful, sunny studio with storage for all my samples, and enough surface to spread out the architectural plans and inhabit those spaces as I work on them.  There are now multiple work spaces in the studio so that everybody who works here has a spot on the days that we are all here together.  With this space my job has become infinitely easier and I am infinitely grateful. 

Taking up space is not easy for any of us.  Thinking about the myriad ways I have folded myself into some back corner- it has taken me a long time to think I deserve the space I need. 

Thanks Grace and Frankie!


collecting samples

Sometimes I think that the photos I take of the the bits of stone and wood, tile and counter, rug and upholstery fabric--  all of them collected to represent much larger items-- are beautiful on their own.

Maybe this could be an art form of its own-- Sample Photos.


on having a shop, too

Dean and I each wear a number of different hats.  He is a photographer and an artist- and a shopkeeper.  He buys fun and beautiful vintage items and then sells them again- after cleaning them and photographing them and cataloging them and uploading them to the online community.  I am a designer and artist in my own right.  A writer, a curator, and a connector of people to things that matter in the world and to each other.  Our shop is in an out-of-the-way location- a place that does not get much foot traffic, or much traffic at all in fact- and sometimes people ask us why we do both?  Why bother having a shop and schlepping to antique shows and selling online and seeing clients about their houses.

Because we love it.  



photo styling vs. reality of life

This photo was taken in July 2014-- on a photo shoot for This Old House magazine in Chatham, MA.  It is a lovely guest cottage- in the backyard of a gorgeous shingled family home.

The following photo shows what was going on in the corner of this room during the photo shoot:

This is the reality-- no photo taken for a magazine is taken 'as is'.  It does not matter how beautifully the architect, interior designer, or home owner has arranged all of the amazing things that go into making a room look and feel good-- that same room has to be re-styled in order to make it look good for a photograph.  I think of this as taking a 3-dimensional space and making it look good for 2-dimensions.  It is not, actually, a pretty or glamorous process.

In this case the draperies had to come down, the homeowner's furniture had to be re-arranged, and many of her things needed to be removed from the shot.  This is a painful process for a homeowner!  I recommend that if you are ever asked to have your space photographed professionally that you spend those couple of days away from home.

The professionals will come in and create the photographs, and then put everything back afterwards-- hopefully just as you left it.  


working at home

these days we all ‘work’ at home.  we may spend our days doing the job we do for money from home, or we may take home some paperwork from our job, or we may just simply pay our bills online once a month– maybe we are writing a novel–  but we all need some sort of home work station.  whether we have a room at home to work in– or a desk in the corner– it needs to serve all sorts of purposes.  it needs to be organized, it needs to have space for a printer, storage for office supplies, a surface for a computer and notebooks– whatever it is that we need to do the work we need to do.

but over and above all that our home workspaces need to be beautiful.  that space is where we take care of business– where we make important things happen. even if all we do there is pay bills– we need that space to be welcoming and inspiring space.

when working with clients on their home workspaces i ask questions– lots of them.  i ask about their physical needs for the space.  AND i ask about what things we can put there that will make them feel represented and excited about being in that space.  a meaningful piece of art, or a newspaper clipping make all the difference.  color is extremely important– but that doesn’t mean you have to paint the whole room– what color is your desk?  your chair?  what color are the pieces on the wall in front of you?  good lighting, the right desk height, and a comfortable chair are all key ingredients to making your home workspace really work.

have fun with it– work should be fun.