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— Essentials —

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From the time I was quite young and first read The Boxcar Children, the idea of living a very small life has appealed to me. Not small in the sense of unadventurous, safe, invisible… but small as in square footage. I’ve been a tiny house fan since the early 50’s!

A little back-story: In March, 2015, we sold our 3,500-square-foot home with a pool and large private yard. We had tired of being house-keepers. We downsized to a lovely 1,200-square-foot leased condo. Last July we downsized again, this time to our 900-square-foot apartment. Our motor home trip in April from Austin to Key West and points in-between, was all it took for us to commit to going “full-time” and downsizing into our 300-square-foot motor home. Continue Reading

— Life —

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After every other great vacation I have always been glad to get home. Glad to sleep in my own bed and see all of my “stuff” again. This time was different. It became obvious when we chose to stay another day in Houston, and then chose to spend the night at Lake Georgetown, rather than going directly to our RV garage and unloading from there… We were both stalling.

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— Life —

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A friend and I were having coffee when we started talking about how lovely it was not to go out any more. She’d seen a sign in a gift shop that read, Let’s Stay Home, and we both thought it was just beautiful.

The whole Hygge trend, embracing the Danish notion of comfort, reflects that my friend and I are not alone.

Dining out at the new hot restaurant or going to an A-List party has been surpassed by pillows, reading socks and tea.

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— Essentials —

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Considering my rocky start, it’s a wonder I’ve developed anything that could be considered style. In college my decor was Early Affordable which included bookshelves and an “entertainment center” made from bricks and boards found in an alley. My dining table was a giant wooden spool that once held telephone cables, and the dining chairs were smaller versions of the same spool.

Least you think I’m too matchy-matchy, the smaller spools just happened to be in the same alley.

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— Essentials —

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It was my friend Patrick who warned me about the dangers of theme decorating. I had regaled him with my dream of a Scheherazade-style dining room: kilim rugs on the floor, ikat runners down the table, camel-shaped teacups, brass candlesticks, giant paisleys painted on the walls, and heaping platters of Basmati rice on the buffet.

The whole scheme made Patrick nervous. He didn’t want to see my dining room jumping the shark. In the upper echelons of the design world, theme decorating is frowned upon. It’s a big fat no-no.

God forbid you decorate an entire house in beach décor when a tasteful trug of seashells will suffice. And even more pox upon you if your house is not situated on an actual beach.

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— Essentials —

The author shopping the Paris flea market
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So who likes old things, please raise your hand. Me too!

A few years ago, I decided to open a shop selling antique and vintage objects and art. My shop would be online only, and in order to stand out from the crowd, I would curate my old treasures into stylish little vignettes that a person could plop into their home for an instant look.

It’s been really fun for one main reason, which you already know. Old things come with the juiciest stories attached to them. Continue Reading

— Essentials —

'Before'
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I don’t want to sound like some wacko who says, “God talks to me,” but over a year ago, I heard… let’s call it an “idea”… that I should sell the ranch. It was as clear as if someone were standing in the room, talking to me. Although this had never happened before, it wasn’t scary or alarming, and in my heart, I knew it was what I needed to do. A few days later, I put the ranch up for sale; the place James and I so loved and the place where he died.

The same day I went online, looking for an old buffet to hold mother’s crystal and china; things in storage I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Of all the things to search for… That was the weird part.

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— Essentials —

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In August of this year, 2016, I purchased one of what would become 2.8 million recalled Samsung, top-loading washing machines (involving 34 different models) that may EXPLODE FROM WITHIN. Samsung has known of almost 750, documented, serious consumer injuries and damages to consumer homes since 2011, but didn’t notify purchasers of a problem with their washing machines until November, 2016. They mailed us “warning labels” with instructions on how to apply them to their machines.

I love this line in their instructions: “You have successfully applied the under-the-lid warning label to your washer.” Gee… Am I supposed to feel better now?

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— Essentials —

Heritage Auction and longtime Antique's Roadshow's appraiser, Nick Dawes, is perhaps the world's foremost authority on Lalique. Rene Lalique 'Oiseau de Feu' Luminaire.
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Some years ago I had a most interesting and provocative dinner conversation at the Philadelphia Antiques show with table mate luminaries that included two museum curators, two collectors, two dealers and the editor of The Magazine Antiques. What a delight when everyone at the table is stimulating and joins in. A good eight can manage this in a quiet setting… Ten is too many.

“I just want to buy something every day!”

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— Essentials —

Love the little bronze decorative liners for my shower.
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I’ve discovered why people don’t live in their house while it’s being remodeled. As soon as the tarps are down and the plastic sheets cover the furniture, construction grit makes its way into places you didn’t know you had. My bedroom looks like ground zero of a war zone and contains enough tools to rebuild a small city. I fear the black velvet suit in my closet—the door to which has been taped shut—is now a ghostly grey. There is some good news to all of this: In an attempt to keep the contents grit free, I have yet to unpack the boxes marked “kitchen.”

Now for the bad news: I seem to have lost all standards of cleanliness, and while I should find that alarming, I don’t.

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