My Story 

When I was six years old, my older sister, locked me in our woodshed, where I cried myself to sleep, until my mother found me there at dinner time. 

At nine she pushed me down the hardwood stairs of our two story farmhouse.  And everyone knows what happened when I was eleven.

I know, I hurt her too.  With my independent spirit, I wouldn’t play in the house with her all day, and I would get in the canoe at my Auntie Pat’s cottage outside of Toronto, Canada, and paddle myself to the neighboring lake house to play checkers with the other kids. 

As I spend time alone, and try to heal my heart from this most recent heartbreak,  I think back to the many days of my life, and the lessons I’ve learn, and the experiences I’ve had. And I do so with only forgiveness, and my own desire to whenever possible be kind, and do no harm, knowing as with everyone, I too have my own blindspots, and human failings.  

Writing my story, both the darkness and the light, illuminates my path forward, with a wisdom that lights the way.

Love and blessings to all.

Hanging Wallpaper & the Eternal Optimist

Hanging Wallpaper & the Eternal Optimist

birdies

I have been accused of being an optimist more than once, in fact, I’ve been known to say ridiculous things like,”let’s get a train ticket to Portugal and then hitch hike back to Germany,” or on a ski trip, “it’s 10 degrees below zero, how cold can it actually be at the top once the sun comes out?”  Well, it turns out at 10 below it’s really horribly cold at the top, and it takes about a week to hitch hike from Portugal’s Algarve Coast to Nurnberg.

So, I was undaunted when I paid a small fortune for two small rolls of wallpaper for my hallway powder room.  When I told the sweet ladies in the Treasure Trove in Lafayette, that I was going to do the install they exchanged knowing smiles.  I explained that I had hung wallpaper for my mother in her rental properties.  I had done this more times than I care to count, but I had not actually done it well, which is a very different matter.  I remember post-grad papering a large kitchen, and two full baths one week-end while smoking Dunhill cigarettes with my own childhood nanny.  She kept me company telling funny stories of when I was a little girl.    It isn’t all that hard, you wet the paper, and then slide it around on the wall until it matches up with the tea kettles or whatnot, then you cut it at both ends with an X-Acto knife.  If you run out of paper you just run back to the store and buy some more.

My first clue should have been that you can’t buy wallpaper supplies, nor the paper in stores anymore.  The brush needed to smooth out the bubbles can no longer be purchased, and a roll of paper towels is a poor substitute.  Hanging wallpaper from Home Depot is not the same as hanging wallpaper that has been hand screened and took 2 months to arrive from France.

It was also almost impossible to line up the birds and their tails.  The paper had an unpredictable repeat pattern based on ceiling heights in Europe and I was doing an American 1/2 wall.  Seven hours into it, I realized my mistake, that there are times when our optimism works against us, this is also true in life.  However, I persevered, and by midnight the birds began to surrounded me, imperfectly, but better than could be expected.

Sitting there at 1:30 a.m. with four complete walls of blue birds is not unlike the clear view from the mountain top on a very cold day, or watching the sunset on the beach in Sagres, Portugal.  It was irresistible.

 

 

 

 

Mad About Furniture 


I have recently had the good fortune of being hired by the founders of a website called Previously Owned by a Gay Man.  It was one of those serendipitous experiences where I wanted to redecorate my house, and the next thing I knew I had a job working with the founders of an e-commerce furniture website.  Yes, sometimes things in life are that easy.

Up until this point, my interest in home decorating had been at maybe a 5 out of 10 on the passion scale.  But, as I looked around at my compromise furniture, thank you for this term from designer and loyal previouslyownedbyagayman.com customer Christina Wells (click here for her LinkedIn profile), I knew it was time to have the outside of my world more clearly reflect the inside, and I needed to make some changes.  They could be minor, but it was time to begin the evolution process.  Luckily, I was able to meet the incredible Michele (read more about Michele in this recent article in Fast Company) and Lindsay (read more about Lindsay in this article, 40 Under 40, people to watch, in Diablo Magazine), founders of this amazing destination home decor website that helps buyers and sellers of quality home furnishings make these changes.  The site is full of antique and vintage pieces, the practical and the sublime.  Becoming a part of this team has begun a major transformation of my home, and I believe in many ways my life, because I really believe we are impacted by our surroundings in so many ways.

All of the things you read are true, decluttering opens up your life, surrounding yourself with things you love actually does make you happy.  Letting go of things that do not serve you does lighten your spirit.  So when Michele asked me in our initial interview if I was interested in furniture, I said, “I’m mad about furniture,” and from that day forward I began to unearth a passion that I didn’t really know existed.  This is the curious thing about life, if we keep exploring, we find new things hidden deep inside ourselves.  So now, not only do I love working with this fantastic team, I am the customer that the website I work on seeks.  I love furniture and am so excited to sell my “compromise” furniture (the things you buy that you don’t love, but don’t hate), and replace them with things I do love from our website.  And although, I have made only minor changes so far, I can already feel a shift as I see an environment that more closely reflects who I am now, and not who I was 10 years ago, when I bought (why?) a brown velvet sofa (oh, yes, I had small children), but you get the picture.   We all make mistakes, but you are not obligated to live with them forever, walking by them day after day, when you can sell them and replace them with something you actually love and that makes you happy.

The fun part to all of the this is that it doesn’t mean going to a big furniture store and buying new furniture, new furniture is not necessarily great furniture.  Buying previously owned furniture is sustainability in motion and creates a unique look and feel to your home, see one of my favorite books by Kishani Perera, Vintage Remix, available on Amazon.  So recover that chair with fabric you love, and go to our website and sell the furniture you don’t like and buy the furniture you adore, yes, all in one place.  It really is that easy.  Life is short and you deserve a beautiful room, a beautiful home, and a beautiful life.

Here’s some inspiration for you: