Archive | May, 2011

The Pink Pantry

13 May

In our 1950s home we do not have a kitchen pantry. When we moved in 10 years ago, I had my contractor add shelves to a kitchen broom closet and lived with that for a few years. Eventually, I even bought the little wire pull-out “drawers” so it was a little more functional.

Photo courtesy of

Two years ago we got bids to renovate the kitchen, the main floor and the entire outside of the house including a new front porch. We couldn’t afford to do it all at once and decided to make the curb appeal the priority. Anyway, I told my husband I would live with the existing kitchen for a few more years but I definitely needed more storage.

I started looking for an armoire or a cabinet or something to use in the interim and found this:

Yes, it was REALLY Cotton Candy pink.

SomeTHING was wrong with it (besides the color). I think it had a crack somewhere because it was like $500 for a solid, Stanley Furniture piece. Here it is in a stylized shot and in a new, coral color.  It’s truly a really solid piece of furniture.

I think this is the update from Cotton Candy pink.


















So, much to MM’s chagrin, I brought it home and it took up his garage space for a good four months. It was dark in there, the lighting was bad, and I  needed better weather to get it painted the color I wanted.

Eventually the weather turned warmer. I researched some waxing paint techniques and painted part of it with a turquoise (I can’t remember the name exactly) from Ace Hardware. We then bought a paint sprayer (which also came in handy to stain the kids’ playset) and painted the whole thing India Black by Ace Hardware.


See. It holds a ton. PS - I don't buy mass quantities of Cheezits. That's MM. He thinks we have 8 kids.










































It’s really served its purpose well. We use it. The kids slam the doors. The hardware has gotten beat up a bit, but I still love it. And as we think about truly renovating the kitchen I wonder what I can do with this awesome piece of furniture. I love the look of furniture in kitchens. It’s pretty European. Perhaps I will incorporate it in what we do . . . who knows? For now, I dig it.






Alone on Mother's Day

11 May

And that’s all I wanted . . . to be alone in my house on Mother’s Day. While I know in 1o years or less, I will really want to be with my kids on Mother’s Day because they won’t want to be around me anymore,  today I just asked to be alone for a few hours. In my house.

And I’m not doing anything special. I may take a 20-minute break to read a magazine but I’m working through the laundry and the bills and a hundred other things I have to do, but I’m doing them uninterrupted and at my own pace (which is much faster than when there are littles around).

And instead of getting dressed up and taking my mother to an overcrowded restaurant, we are hitting some of our favorite antique haunts for the afternoon. My mom and I get to see each other a lot but rarely without my children. It will be a joy to spend time just the two of us doing something we both enjoy.

And I will spend time with the family later. We’ll have dinner and enjoy the evening, but for now, I’m enjoying the quiet and the space . . . of our home.

Got this that day. This little guy has a lot of what I love: red, tray, kitsch, a French vibe . . .


One-owner home = POTENTIAL

5 May

I came across this photo today while scouring the real estate listings in my zip code. I like to stay up on what’s on the market, what homes in my area are selling for, and basically play voyeur into people’s homes. I used to be looking for myself but that’s a story for another post. Now, it’s just a hobby.

Anyway, I came across this gem just now and had to share. This was listed as a “one-owner home” and it was built in 1955.

I can't tell from the photo what is on that wallpaper but I love it.












This is quintessentially what this blog is all about. LOOK AT THIS KITCHEN! It is a riot, but guess what? There is major potential there. Yes, you could rip it all out and start fresh,  but you could also remove the little peninsula island, update the countertops, change out appliances and add molding, new pulls and paint the cabinets. Sounds like a lot of work,  but think of the outcome.

I wish, oh how I wish, I had oodles of money. I would buy this sucker up and have so much fun taking its solid bones and making something divine out of it.

Check out the bathroom.

I love that nothing has changed in this house.










I have this same master bathroom. I am sad to report that the pink tile is still there (and that tile is as solid as it gets). The master bathroom/bedroom is a last priority in our household. We did change the mirror, sink, toilet and painted the vanity but otherwise, it’s AWFULLY similar.

But back to the potential. Look at these wood floors.

Whoever ends up with this home is lucky that the fireplace is actually centered on the wall. Some of us deal with corner units and off-center situations.













Wood floors were standard in homes in the 1950s. Even though wall-t0-wall carpet was the rage, you couldn’t get FHA loans without wood floors. Thus, many of these homes have pristine wood floors under old carpet. That was the case in our upstairs. We took out all of the carpet (I think carpet’s pretty gross anyway) a few years ago, and I’d never go back.

And look at this room.

Looking onto a near 1/2 acre lot--another advantage to an older neighborhood. Good lot sizes!










I really dig this room, but I’m also so wanting a screen porch right now. This sun room could be used all year and think of how awesome it could look  with a sisal rug, white-painted wood trim, comfy furniture and warm lighting.

All it takes, People, is vision . . . vision! Do you have it?

Ode to the split-level home

3 May

Split level houses became very popular in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, as a compromise between the modest bungalow and the more expansive ranch house. Realtor magazine says that split levels evolved from ranch homes, which had evolved from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie house style. I took the above information from here on ShelterPop and a post about The Brady House. There appears to be some controversy over whether the ranch really evolved from FLW, but regardless, you didn’t see many split-levels or ranches before the 1950s.

Let’s face it–the Brady house is not pretty. In general, I don’t think split-level and multi-level homes like mine are pretty, but they do have their advantages. For instance, last Friday I was inspired to host a Watch Party for the Royal Wedding. I am a morning person and I work out with other morning people so the guest list was relatively small (about seven women and one British man who lives across the street. The Brit was there to answer any questions we had during the ceremony. Oh, and he brought English Tea. 🙂

Since we live in the Midwest, the wedding started at 5 a.m. for us, so our group gathered at 4:45 a.m. (I wasn’t about to watch it on a DVR or a Tivo–I wanted to experience it live, just like I did Diana’s wedding at 9 years old and her funeral many years later). With my husband, a six-year-old and three-year-old snuggled asleep in their beds upstairs, I simply opened the garage and invited my pajama-clad group into the basement. We did wear, of course, hats and drink out of my china.

This is post-party. I had a silver platter with fruit too but it wasn't so pretty after the fact.










We enjoyed the festivities, spoke in our normal voices, and never once woke up anyone upstairs. The party was over and everyone was gone before most of my family woke up. I think this would have been rather difficult in another style where people would have had to walk through a main family area to get to the basement. So, although, I often curse the not-so-charming aspects of my 1950s home, in this case, I was pleased. It was great, or to put it like the Royals might,  quite brilliant really.