Monday Mojo: Inspiration

Good ole Monday. No matter how hard we try, she just keeps popping around every week. And it’s always manic {cue Manic Monday}. Today’s Monday is no exception:

  • alarm check
  • landlord suddenly decides at 7 am to attend alarm check appointment (and see to leaking skylight)
  • cue total freak out and cleaning marathon {I even shined up the windows}
  • freak out Ocado delivery man because you are holding a barking dog while answering the door, because you thought it was the dog people, which leads to…
  • dog pick-up to spend the day at daycare; she’s neurotic enough without listening to an alarm going off for 20 minutes
  • skip to Oxford Circus to make a return before non-returnable deadline
  • make it home in time to grab children from school bus and find time buy dinner, and finally mail things at the post

Ah, Monday’s. So since it’s Monday, I thought let’s share some of the lovely things I pinned over the weekend. The redesign kitchen/living room theme is still strong in my mind, and I found some beautiful wallpapers. The Husband and I have discussed making one wall of the downstairs 3/4 guest bathroom a feature wall with a dramatic wallpaper. Oddly enough, we mostly like the same thing, which is great.

My first pick:


Beautiful. I’m not 100% on using it in the bathroom because I think it’d look wonderful in our bedroom as an anchor behind the bed. But I doubt the Husband would be fine with that. One that would look dramatic for the bedroom would be this blue number:

It would also look awesome in the office. We’ve decided to change the downstair bedroom back into the guest room but with a murphy bed set-up (since the 3/4 bathroom is right there on the main floor) and make the extra upstairs bedroom into his office/my art room. The wallpaper above would certainly inspire me to be creative. And it’s blue, so it’s win-win.

These two are super fun:

They are both dramatic and would work best in a full large wall. The dining room room would be perfect for this {it might even make it okay that we most likely can’t take down the kitchen/dining room wall and I won’t get my eat-in-kitchen}.

The wallpapers these days are sort of mind blowing. I remember the options when I was a kid and I wanted to redo my bedroom. It was Little House on the Prairie stripes and pink roses. Wallpaper has come a long way.

I couldn’t see this working in my house, but it’s impact is enormous {and fabulous!}:

Wow, right? Of course I did find these posters hilarious, and they would work well in the office or even the living room:

Definitely a good one for the office. I actually think the husband’s work office would look good with something like that.

What is making you feel inspired on this Monday?

Inspiration Thursday

It’s already Thursday evening, and what I’d really like to post would have a lot of inspiration in here:

I was reduced to clock stalking last night until finally somewhere in the 4 am hour I nodded off to snap awake at 6:30 thanks to my dog. Instead of mainlining coffee, I thought since I’m staying upright while waiting for dinner to be delivered {because lets be honest, I’m not going near a stove tonight}, I might as well post a little inspiration.

I love both of the spaces above. The top master bedroom picture is definitely the ideal room at the vacation house in the mountains next to a lake; in other words Dreamy. I love the creative use of space in the under stairs bookcase/reading nook/nap area. I could easily spend hours there.

I’m also seriously taken, not only with the color of theses walls {Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments} but with the entire staircase/foyer. I’ve filed it under “That Beach House I’ll Build Someday”.


Drift Road
Just more of that please, and thank you. I have an entire board of All Things Beachy. Which is where these next pictures come from.

These are the colors I’d love in my house. I have a milder version of the blue and the green already between the dining room and the family room. But if we turn the kitchen refresh into a kitchen total overhaul, I’m thinking a scheme that leads in this direction would be perfect.


This staircase of blues would be a fun addition to a beach house. It’s festive and mimics my favorite source of inspiration; the ocean.

Florida Beach Cottage


This room is definitely worthy of snuggling down in after day in the sun and surf. It says, brush your sandy feet at the door, but all are welcome. The room below definitely has a conversation starter going in the boat light fixture. Kind of amazing but I’d hate to be the one trying to figure out how to fix it to stay up there.

That’s all the beach I can handle without saying goodbye to my kids and fleeing to Tahiti with nothing but a swimsuit and some sunblock. But there is always one rule you should follow {Husband, are you reading?!}:

Photo Inspiration: Grey

Monday’s can always use some inspiration. It’s not a grey day here in London, but I still love these images. The paintbrushes make me feel creative, and I am planning to start testing out painting with oil colors, something I haven’t done previously. I like finding images that can tell a story; what art inspiration was created with these brushes? Something modern, or maybe a landscape?

Images that are all in the same tone can help use create and set a mood, the same way music can. When I sit down to write, typically I listen to music. The style I choose often depends on what I’m writing. For each piece I have in progress, I actually have playlists set to help capture the mood of the story. I also put on music when I cook, something either rhythmic and soothing, or upbeat and bright. It helps to create a positive mood, which reflects in my cooking.

I love taking time to start the day by reading through my daily blogs, and then going over to Pinterest (where these images are from – captions are links to these images and credits) and pinning images that either provoke me to think or feel something. By trying to start the day this way, it feels more positive and creative.

Hopefully every Monday, or possibly more often, I will post images that have the same style theme or in the case of these pictures a color theme.


What do you do to keep creative and add inspiration to your day?

The kitchen reno {a very long post}

Every morning I make my espresso, fire up my laptop, and start my daily trolling of and add numerous pictures and clips and ideas to my kitchen reno/dining idea book. There’s only a year until we start this, and I am determined to make sure the choices I make I can live with for at least the next 5-8 years.

I finally convinced The Husband to agree to a kitchen renovation when we get home next summer. And when I say ‘agree’ I think I really just sent him enough links to things, and talked about it constantly, until I finally wore him down. Lesson: Perseverance pays off ladies!

It is also the prefect time to renovate. We will be in temporary housing for at least 6 weeks while all of our things are shipped from London to Seattle, so the house will be empty of furniture and people and whoever we hire can crack on and get to it. We won’t have to breathe in all the dust, fumes, & etc that comes from new countertops, painting cabinets, re-staining and installing hardwoods, and repainting of the kitchen and downstairs bathroom {which I would like to point out the 3/4 bathroom was painted dark brown – walls & ceiling – by the previous owners. I have much better sense than to do such a thing in a small space. I would’ve loved to leave a list for our tenants of the things I did not do to the house – such as questionable paint and weird stick-on wall stickers. We were only there one year before we moved to London. Painting the dining room and living room was as far as I managed to get.}

So anyway, kitchen renovations. This is what the kitchen looks like:


It’s not horrible by any means, but I always knew from the very first time we looked at the house, that the kitchen was very far from my dream kitchen. The countertops are dark green granite (which I do not fancy in the slightest), so I’ve thrown in any white furniture or accent I possibly can. The biggest thing the kitchen has going for it is that the size is wonderful. I actually have more storage than I know what to do with in this kitchen. It’s not a bad problem to have. The cabinet color is not my favorite. I loved the dark scheme kitchen in our first Seattle house:


The quality of the picture is rough, but it shows the dark wood cabinets and the countertops in Cambria Quartz Canterbury.


The house was what they call a spec house, meaning it was already under construction when we bought it so we didn’t get to choose the model, lot, or any of the finishes in the house. The house had tons of light so the dark finishes in the kitchen worked really well (and because of issues with the floors after we moved in, they were replaced, and we were able to choose a darker finish than what is pictured.)

The current Seattle house does not get good light in the back where the kitchen and living rooms are. Which is disappointing, but our yard backs up to protected wetlands and tall trees and (unless it’s the dead of winter and the trees are leafless) you don’t see the houses set back behind the wetlands. That is lovely and a benefit of being on a cul-de-sac, which is why despite the house needing a bit of cosmetic work and the kitchen not being exactly right, we bought it anyway. And other than our house in Union, KY (which I loved even though it had wasted space), this house is my favorite, even though its a craftsman style which means it has weird angles, and is somewhat fussy for my taste in certain places. {I am a big fan of modern homes as seen in my boards here and here.}

The original idea was to build a modern home, but plots of land within our school district that are also close to a downtown commute simply do not exist, so we bought a house in the next neighborhood over from our first one. Literally .9 miles.

I think I was originally writing about renovating a kitchen and I’ve gotten totally off track.

My favorite style is probably ‘beach’. I don’t mean seashells in a lamp or anything, but more along the lines of the light muted colors, and soft furnishings. These are the two rooms connected to the kitchen, the dining room just through the passthrough and the living room which is all open to the kitchen.



All the pictures on the walls are of beach scenes or similar colors. We also added the wood planks above the fireplace covering up the tv connections. Since the beach is my absolute favorite place to be, and I can’t live closer than 26 miles to it, using it as the theme in my home is as close as I can get. {proof living by the sea is good for your health}

The main sticking point in renovating the kitchen has to do with the island. While it is very large, and we love the seating area, the seating area is actually the problem. When someone is siting at the counter, it’s hard to access the refrigerator, which I am sure I’ve talked about before. Coming up with ideas that The Husband and I agree on isn’t easy. I’d like to remove the island, and make a peninsula with seating area next to the sliding doors (where we currently have a wine fridge). The Husband isn’t a fan, mostly I think because of the cost implications of doing that. The floor would need replacing, moving electrical, etc. I can see his point, truly.

But it would look good!

A few ideas I’ve seen on are good compromises. I had originally not been a fan of the rounded island end cap (it felt very 80’s to me), but some examples I’ve seen have actually peaked my interest, and it would solve the fridge/seating problem.


Observatory Park Contemporary Kitchen

Hadley Wood | Luxury Bespoke Kitchen


They are definitely good options. I also have an idea to put shelving where the current seating area is, and then put a table in the dining area of the kitchen. It’s not huge, we had a small table there for a few months before we moved, and I used it everyday. The main issue is the dining room table, which The Husband and I built for our previous house:


It’s not the kind of thing you just replace when it took you weeks of time and garage space to complete. I’d love to make it work, but I think it’s too big for the space {if I remember correctly we measured it to fit in the center of the space and it was awkward, but since it’s in storage thousands of miles away, I can’t recall how big the dimensions are, nor do I know the dimensions of the kitchen I’m trying to fit it into.} One idea I had was to put a bench on one side that would be almost flush to the wood/carpet line into the living room. Something that would look like this:

Rainey Homes The Retreat Model Home

I adore this entire setup. Colors, furniture, lamps, all of it. As a bonus, it would achieve my goal of having a proper eat in kitchen. I have always hated a separate dining room. It feels very out-dated for the way we live. It would be a lot easier as well if one person is at the table and the other is at the stove, then we are actually in the same room to be able to talk to each other without shouting. {other ideas here}
I have previously lobbied for putting hardwood all through the living room which would add continuity, and we could snick some space from the living room to make the eat-in kitchen work. Since we are replacing the original carpet in the dining room with hardwood anyway (in the rest of the house we had new carpet installed before we moved in, minus the living room which the previous owners had just replaced so we felt like it would be wasteful to just tear it out), and refinishing the rest of the hardwoods, it seems logical to me. The Husband does not like this idea unfortunately, but persevere I will. {every house we’ve sold, I’m always told how many compliments there are on the style/decor, so I have to think I *do* know something about interior design!}
We do agree on countertops, leaning towards recycled glass options for the main counters and butcher block for the island (I want a countertop that is not ice cold to the touch if we are using the island as a sitting area as well). I’m in love with this particular counter:
Old Oak
I also love Floating Blue from Vertrazzo. It’s eco friendly which I am all about incorporating into this remodel if we can, and in line price wise with other choices we are considering. Being eco-friendly is also the reason that I’d rather paint the cabinets than replace them (not to mention the cost). The cabinets are only 8 years old and in perfect condition, they just aren’t a color tone I like. I am a big fan of two tone cabinetry like these examples:


Steveston Townhouse
My Houzz: 5th Ave Apartment
What will we end up with? I have plenty of ideas, and hopefully some of them will become reality.
Then it’ll be on to the backyard, which is also getting an 2-stage overhaul starting next summer, to finish the summer after. This is the some of the current space:
Goodbye weird half fence that divides the yard, and wonky half circle patio. Onwards to a raised veggie/fruit garden bed, koi pond, rose bushes, and a fresh extended patio.
2017 is going to be a busy year. What do you have planned?

Never dream via Pinterest, you’ll get in trouble every time

Pinterest, that deadly little time-suck. It is a dangerous place to hang out in the mornings (or probably anytime, but morning is when I visit). It’s so easy to click a bit, and then click a bit more, and before you know it, it’s 9:30, you haven’t showered, dishes are piled up and you’ve a mountain of laundry and errands to crack on with.

It happens.

It happened to me this morning. I can dream on all sorts of things; craft project pins, fashion pins, interior design pins, but the one I keep pinning (and the cause of this morning’s post), home plan pins.

Oi. I could pin for days. I love home plans. Always have, always will. Ever since I was a kid. I even spent my allowance on a bunch of home plan books and would circle and envision the ones I liked the best. I started my college career as an architecture student. My mom used to take me to the Home Show, or Parade of Homes, where you visit new developments and see model homes. To this day, if there is a new model home to see, I might just visit and create some sort of story so the agents don’t think I’m completely looney.

About 18 months ago, the Husband and I planned to build a house in Seattle. We looked at land, scoured the internet, spoke to a few builders, went nuts researching just how complicated it is to build in King County, and then, didn’t end up building anything. We couldn’t find land in the same school where our son was then a 7th grader. All the property we could find that was within easy reach of the highway for the Husband to get downtown to work, and had some decent land size, little to no (or at least far away) neighbors, a view, any or all of the above; none were within the school boundary.

Actually, there was one. A 22 acre plot of land that was beautiful. BeauTIFul. It had serious issues, like having had illegally cleared wetlands by the previous owners, needing permission to go across someone elses land to get to the property and the fact that it had no septic, well, or even a road/driveway. But simply put, it was the dream land of land, surrounded by state forest, tucked back into an enclave of horse farms and near a stream.

AcerageROAD Acreage

*cue the angels*

As much as we wanted that to be the one, it was not possible. There was a very good reason it had been for sale for years, and that was simply put: because getting the proper building permits and rectifying the wetlands issue and building the road was  really, really complicated.

There was also this one that also (of course!) had issues like the wrong school district, no well, no septic, steep land, and who knows what else, but it had the lake view I have always wanted.


The other day, the Husband and I were chatting on messenger while he was between meetings, and he told me that our house in Seattle will be attached to the new elementary school going in up the street. That was good news, but I pointed out that by the time we move back in 2017, Chick would be in middle school, so it didn’t really matter. He said it would be Kick Butt for resale value (not that we are planning to sell…yet, especially as we were only there a year before moving to London). I agreed, and made the joke that resale was good especially if we were finally going to build when we move back. He replied with ‘hmm, I’d have to think about that.’ Interesting. When we get back, our son will be in high school, and there’s only ONE high school in our district. And with our daughter going to middle school, it really doesn’t matter which of the two she ends up in. {You see where this is going, right?}

Innocuous enough, but of course it started me down the Pinterest path (and let’s face it, I have four separate boards of house plans based on style, Barn Homes, Modern Homes, Tiny Houses,and Ranch Houses. I have a beach themed board, favorite places and spaces board, etc etc.

After I came across this plan (that would have been KILLER on the 22 acres, or the lake view land), I had to take a step back and cut off the crazy-train of Pinterest time-suck. Because I could really sit here

If I have learned anything from Pinterest, it’s that whoever thought it up must sit back and laugh, at all of us stuck to our screens, while they are off on their yacht, counting their millions.