french workbench

FWB Front View

Some girls want clothes, some want shoes, some want purses… Okay, I like all those things, too, BUT boy have I had my eye on this gem for a LONG time. The husband and I moved to Texas in 2010 and at least one Friday a month I would walk through The Whimsey Shoppe in Dallas and drool over these French workbenches among other things. I always wave to the owner Susan, while sucking on a Tootsie pop she puts out for her customers, and would dream about putting a French workbench into our house. Through the years, I’ve seen a bunch of work benches come and go. Long ones, skinny ones, ones with vices, ones without vices, ones with draws and others without. I love them all for their unique character and charm.

French WorkbenchIt was a usual Saturday with husband, and an unusual stop at Whimsey that brought my dreams home. We walked into the shop; I had already discovered my favorite French workbench a day earlier and showed yet another workbench to the husband. The hubs asked if I really wanted it. I said the usual. Of course! But there are WAY many more things that should take priority. He then said let’s see how much I can negotiate the price. I literally left the scene. I hate negotiations, I get all sweaty and nervous. So, I walked through the shop (grabbing another tootsie pop) and crossed my fingers Susan and the hubs would come to an agreement! Needless to say, Susan knew me well, my love for antiques and her shop. She was willing to work with us… or my husband at this point because I was too nervous to listen. She sliced off a pretty nice chunk so I could be the rightful owner of a French workbench!!!!! I don’t know if it was the excitement built up after three years of looking or pregnancy hormones, but I hugged Susan and fought off tears of excitement. It was delivered that next Monday!!
FWB HomeThis early 1800’s bench comes with more than just that story. It comes from Normandy, France near the shores that were stormed on D-Day. I tend to wonder what this bench has seen in its life. The bloodshed and victory of that day and the hands of the craftsman that worked in the local town. It’s pretty magical.

FWB Close-Up

FWB Side View

I smile ear-to-ear each time I walk into this space, and I don’t think the luster of this purchase will wear off for some time. I know it’s just a material possession, but it’s a pretty neat one…and I hope guests will love it as much as I do.


Cover WindowsWe did one of the biggest impact additions to our house to-date! I have to thank my husband for pushing this decision. I wasn’t convinced we needed them. Windows that is. I thought we could live with towels around our windows, the inability to open most of them, and a huge crack in the nursery window. Yes, I’m serious! We have plantation shutters in most of them that doesn’t show a thing, so who cares if you can’t open them? Plus, windows can get pretty, pretty pricey.

With that, we had a home consultation with a couple of companies, talked to neighbors, friends, and family to hear their input and finally pulled the trigger. I was still hesitant with this decision, but we moved forward.


Because we aren’t sure if we’re going to live in this house forever, we didn’t go with the highest-of-high end windows but also didn’t pick the dirt cheap ones either. We went with Home Depot’s higher end brand Simonton windows which have a life-time warranty. Even if our baby boy’s aim isn’t as good as his father’s or papa’s, we won’t have to pay for a broken window. Pretty nice.

First window in!

Guest Interior Window

We also decided to put panels in the windows that matched our backdoor. I was a complete wreck about this decision, because it added to the cost ($100+/each), and I couldn’t uninstall the windows if I didn’t like them. But I knew any panels were better than none, and it add to a classic rich look that people like, and I love. Plus, it’s a nod to my love for Frank Lloyd Wright and his prairie style.

2nd Window

Interior look

I don’t know if it shows up on these photo (mostly from my phone) but trust me they look beautiful in person. I love being able to turn the thermostat down and open up the whole home on these wonderful spring nights. I thank my husband for pushing this desicion.

Before and After Windows

They are beautiful, and we could not be more pleased with the service and look of our windows!

four score…


Four score and seven years ago… actually, four and a half years ago the hubs and I tied the knot. But it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I actually got our wedding photo framed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been planned to be framed for years. I even incorporated framing it in the arrangement being hung up in our living room.


It’s the top one, still in plastic. After weeks of seeing it up on the wall with just plastic, I decided to put a faux-frame (I had sitting around the house) around the plastic. It cut off some of the wedding party on each end but it looked better than just the plastic.

Gold frame

Finally, one evening I was reading in the living room and looked up at it. It needed a real frame. I was a big girl, with a big girl job; I could afford to frame my lone wedding party photo! I snatched both the frame and the photo off the wall, and the next day I was in a local framing store weighing all my options.

At first I thought I wanted gold, like the frame I had, but the frame master at the store said to look at silvers options too, and I was convinced that it looked the best. It took me four-and-a-half-years to frame the photo and about ten minutes to actually pick a frame and glass. I was amazed. Why hadn’t I done this years ago!?! Oh, right, framing can get expensive! Ha. Two weeks later I was able to pick it up, and I headed straight home to replace the empty spot with a correctly framed photo.

Final Frame

I am in love with my decision and so happy to see all my closest friends and family all framed up! This wall is a nice homage to some of the special travel spots the hubs and I have loved! I love looking at these when I’m sitting in our living room or walking through the front door. I hope our visitors like it, too!

Final Framing

becoming a minimalist

This past weekend was one of those great weekends with a minimal MUST-DO list and ample time to just enjoy the weather and a good book. I’ve been reading The Happiness Project, which has motivated my desire to de-clutter. De-clutter my closets, rooms and thoughts. Friday, I finished up painting the fireplace (blog post in 3 weeks! I have to wait for the paint to dry!), then I spent the rest of the afternoon reading about de-cluttering and the satisfaction it can bring. I was motivated and wanted that high!

Since getting the carpets cleaned a few weeks ago, we had two areas in our home with some major clutter. A blanket laid out in our living room filled with junk; seriously, a blanket with all the random things on the floor from the guest room.  This blanket was also hindering us from moving forward with any decorative plans but mostly was a huge eye-sore and gave me anxiety every time I walked through the front door.

See. Scary!

The other major clutter zone was the 4th bedroom/office/catch-all. We’ll do that next.

We decided to take on the living room! We went through the boxes and bins that have made at least two moves with us. We placed the items into three piles; keep, throw, or garage sale.  To my surprise Paul was really on board, and the two of us hammered through all the bins. We finished the project with one bin of “keep” and items that we had spaces already dedicated for!

Wow, it feels so wonderful to have that space clean! Now, we can save up for our furniture selections for this space. Watch out 4th bedroom! You’re next.

P.S. No, the dog crates will not be part of the living room decor.

it’s like a yellow brick road

I’ve never thought I would love baseboards more than I do now, HIGH baseboards, as much as I do, NOW. I’ve been walking around the house these days, just following the trail of baseboards from room-to-room… they just keep going, and it’s awesome.

First, it was finding the right fit for the space. 3″? 4″? 5″? then wood or mdf?

Turns out we should not have worried our pretty little heads over baseboards. One call to our fine brother-in-law, and he knew exactly what we needed! At a great price, too. Score! He is a builder in Missouri so we had them shipped down via; its like for shipping. They showed up one Wednesday morning at 4:30 am, and the van was also carrying a lawnmower going to Tulsa, and a yellow labrador heading to Phoenix. I tried to take their Phoenix cargo with no success. I digress.

We got the beautiful baseboards in the house and ooh’d and aah’d over how amazing they are going to look installed. Over the weekend, we painted two coats of Benjamin Moore semi-gloss paint to an already primed wood baseboard. I color matched them to a baseboard sample we had at the house.

They were ready for the party!!

Then, we went to work. Actually, we went to our actual work, while two meticulous installers measured, cut, and nailed those white shiny boards into place! It was so fun thinking of what was happening at home while I was working. Coming home to such a wonderful prize was even better!!

Here are a couple photos of the our new baseboards!



Wood floors

Baseboards – This photo was taken at night, hence the color variation. Also, note a new chandelier in the entryway!! 

Living Room


Wood Floors


We put new baseboards throughout the house but I only could reveal these two rooms as the others are undergoing more fun renovations! The only exception for baseboards are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We have dreams of some day installing new carpet in the bedrooms and doing a total renovation to the bathrooms. A girl can dream!

the art of framing

I’ve been working on mini-projects throughout the house while we figure out which baseboards look the best. In the living room with the walls painted and the floors in, I really wanted a fun frame arrangement to look at, especially when people walk in the front door. I picture this arrangement with an antique buffet table under it. But the antique buffet table has yet to be found!

For about two weeks now, I’ve walked around the living room with frames on the floor, adding and taking away pictures to figure out the right mix for the space. I try to have a theme to my arrangements. I think it’s fun and a neat conversation piece to the curious eye. There’s a lot of fun themes you can do: family, landscape, color, world, travel, type of medium, etc…  this is my “travel” wall. I have two meaningful Wisconsin locations, Missouri, France, Africa, and two pieces of wisdom. I’ve been adding and taking away all week and finally found a a great combo for the space.

Once I figured out the right arrangement of photos and the amount of photos/frames needed for the space, I started arranging them. I like disorganized or asymmetry in terms of frames design. One day, I’ll have an arrangement that are more symmetric, but not this one. These are some ideas of framing techniques and design.

Tight framing.

Symmetric framing.

Diamond/Mirrored framing. 

An illusion of a mirrored image. (I really want to do something like this with my entry way!)

Ledge framing.

Once the arrangement looks the way I want, I cut out pieces of paper or newspaper the size of the frames, so I can arrange them on the wall.  Believe me, this is a little time-consuming but worth it when you don’t have to make five or fifteen different holes in the wall for one frame!  Also, you’ll see a line of blue painter’s tape below my frames – this is the anticipated height of my future buffet table.

Then, all you have left is the measurements to align the nail hole with the back of the frame. This step is the best! Once you get all the holes in the wall start putting up the goods! Finished product!

It’s always fun to hang up old frames and photos in new spaces. Oh, and I don’t believe you need to have all black or all gold or all white or all wood frames; the array of colors work most of the time. Like in my kitchen for example, I would be more likely just to place gold or white frame on my brown walls as opposed to dark woods and blacks.