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Number plate

29 May

I’m a lot of talk about all the design resources I like and yet I’ve purchased from very few of these great resources to date — that’s mainly because I’ve been spending all my dough on the big stuff so the fun stuff — the design pieces and decor elements — are falling by the wayside.  Anyway, I mentioned inspirational house numbers in a previous post and I’ve finally put my money where my mouth is.

I really do think curb appeal is critical and I want my place to look special so I ordered this number plate from Lucienne de Mauny.  My only criticism of the site would be that they are located in the UK — just a hop, skip and a jump away and they DON’T ship to the Republic of Ireland – go figure.  So I shipped it to the states thinking that my buddy, Kathy, could bring it over to me when I met up with her last month in Italy.  Wouldn’t it figure that the number plate didn’t arrive in time — and was waiting for her when she got back to the U.S.  Oh well…it will eventually make it my way!  In the meantime, Kathy was kind enough to send me this photo of my new number plate so that I can admire it from afar.

Ornamental vegetable gardens

24 Apr

I don’t get much opportunity anymore to garden since I left Boston (which is ironic given that Ireland would be a much easier spot to garden in) but I do still aspire to have a nice garden someday. Since I’m doing my Spring dieting, I’ve been keenly interested in fresh fruit and veg lately and longing for a vegetable garden.  And Jamie was recently telling me about ornamental vegetable gardens — I’ve always thought that vegetable gardens were more functional so it’s great to think that they can be pretty to look at as well. 

I thumbed through Jamie’s copy of Joy Larkcom’s Creative Vegetable Garden and it looks like there are a lot of good ideas and inspiration. If you want to read more, check out the link below to the article about Joy’s book in the Guardian.

Inspirational House Numbers

17 Apr

I’ve been  holding out for some good house numbers for Tilly’s Cottage.  I bought all the door hardware already — just waiting until the time is right to re-paint the front door after all the work is done to use it.  But I couldn’t find any house numbers that I really liked so I’ve been holding out until I find something that catches my eye.  In the meantime, I thought these were fun and inspirational ways to present the number of your house to the world…  The ceramic one below if topping my list at the moment.  From Lucienne de Mauny

Door inspiration

4 Mar

So as I mentioned in my post a few days ago, I spend a lot of time these days looking at doors.  I’ve got brick with off-white windows so those are the two colors I need to coordinate with.  Here’s some inspiration:

And here’s me just trying it out some colors in Photoshop on a pic of Tilly’s Cottage. They’re both slightly greener than I was thinking of going but I need to get some work done so I have to stop my Photoshop fun for the moment.  I have plenty of time to think about it…

A Nate Berkus Makeover

7 Feb

This is such a fantastic story that I won’t try to retell it all here but I do suggest you check it out on Oprah’s website: A couple of years ago when Christiana was still living in Dublin, she got a very excited phone call from her good friend, Kari, that she suspected she might be a finalist for the Nate Berkus home makeover on Oprah because one of the producers phoned her to ask some questions.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Kari and her family won the makeover and there was a lot of excitement in their corner of the world as well as ours at the time as we waited for the show to air and the chance to see the big reveal of the magic they worked on their home.  To say he transformed it is an understatement.  I really encourage you to check out the photos on the site to see for yourself ( ) but I have included two photos of the front of the house before and the front of the house after.  Several people mentioned to me that they liked the Ranch Re-do blog entry ( )  as so I thought this might be inspiring on more levels than just the renovation!







Although I’ve  never met
Kari but I feel like I know her from hearing Christiana talk about her but also from reading her blog on life and motherhood:

Another project from Lora

10 Jan

Regular readers will be familiar with Lora’s first renovation project ( ) — well, she’s managed to work her magic again!

I thought the front courtyard was a huge improvement to the entrance to the house — it really needed that bit of wood to balance all the siding and the color is a huge improvement from the drab brown it was before, no?

One of the other things that I’m really impressed with in terms of Lora’s approach is the fact that she does exactly what she needs to do to sell the house and nothing that she doesn’t.  I’m an avid follower of UK developer, Sarah Beeny’s property shows and she’s constantly hammering home the point (get the pun?) that if you’re looking to flip a house, you need to keep firmly focused on the fact that it’s not personal – it’s an investment.  Far too many developers buy a place to flip and fix it up as if they were going to live in it themselves versus looking at it as a buyer would.

At any rate, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is another job well done by Lora and team!

Beck & Bob’s Curb Appeal

18 Nov

My sister, Rebecca, and her husband, Bobby, have done a ton of work on their house.  These before and after photos were taken over two years ago (and sadly, I haven’t been back since) but the first thing they tackled was the front of the house.  They tore down the tattered old porch and put up a new portico, painted the front door a cheerful green, resuscitated the grass and Bobby created the two posts and the front of the path leading up to their house. 

I love where they’d taken the place and I hope to share even more photos with you all!

Lora’s Cottage Before and After

23 Oct

Christiana’s good friend, Lora, is living my life (or at least the one I want).  She recently renovated this little cottage and I love all the little touches she’s used in the house.  You can immediately tell from the outside that the inside will have a lot of class and style.  And I’m amazed what a big difference the mullioned windows make to the change of the look of the house.  It goes from common to craftsman instantly. And she made a rake of beautiful internal changes but I was especially impressed that she didn’t really change anything structurally — just brought out the beauty of what was already there.  A perfect example:  the wood-burning stove below.