Guest Room by Thanksgiving, Part 3

Happy Halloween, y’all!  I’m trick-or-treating tonight as Awkward, Gangly, Tall, Hairy Girl–how about you?  (I had all the dates in high school, by the way.)

If all those boy snubs could see me now!  I think they would be jealous of my husband and the stripes that I laid down for him in his basement lounge.  Maybe.  Let’s just say that hair removal is still on the payroll.

This space is officially outside of the guest room, but I’m going ahead and dropping it in here for the One Room Challenge because the door there opens up to the guest room where you can see the FINISHED(!) concrete floors, which will cure for a week or so before I move furniture back in.www.tphblog.comI took this photo above before I applied the first coat of sealer in the rest of the basement this morning.  Two more coats and I will be done with the nightmare floors here.  But I am happy with how the floors ultimately turned out: www.tphblog.comThis grey should be versatile and easy to clean–plus the mottled finish knocks back a multitude of surface imperfections.

The rug arrived yesterday:  color and pattern work.  But!  I realized after I ordered it that the bed has side rails that hit the floor the full perimeter of the bed, which means that it can’t sit half on, half off on the rug.  So this rug may go in the TV lounge.

The bed is now at the powder coating shop getting her red dress on.  I can’t wait to see it!  It was a difficult decision, but I went with the Ruby Red below.


Next up: deciding on a mural idea for the bed wall.  Abstract pattern or scene or, my weakness, a floral pattern?  I’ll play around with it next week.  I really hope to finish the mural and another piece of art before Thanksgiving…will it happen??  Don’t forget to check out the other One Room Challenge participants.  See you, until next time, on Instagram!

Guest Room by Thanksgiving, Part 2

It’s actually happening:  here I am a week later as promised for Linda’s One Room Challenge.  Amazed.

Hunting and gathering, that is what is going on around here at the moment for the guest room.  I’m searching for the perfect bed coverlet and fabric for the bed bolster.  I have ordered this rug, but I’m a little nervous about it being the wrong color and pattern.  Time will tell.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 1.44.40 PMTaylor Geo Rug | Pottery Barn

I found this fabulous Deco dresser for the room at Screen Door in Asheville a few months ago.  It’s been hanging out in the dining room until the guest room is finished.

Dusty shoe prints

Aren’t the rubbed gold handles beauties?  (I have this Greek key mirror, from Ballard Design Outlet, propped up here until it finds its forever home.)

Lights on, I have been loving the idea of layered lamps on one surface.  I will use this IKEA globe lamp, but I’m just trying out this vintage lamp for a look-see (found at Scott Antique Market years ago).  The black linen fabric from Lewis & Sheron is for the window treatment in the guest

Smoke alarm

Let’s look at those mismatched windows, shall we?www.tphblog.comThey are not the same height, which, no big deal, we are going to conceal with same-height cornice boards.  The problem comes with the fact that the windows are not the same distance off the floor (oh, builder of this house, why?) so that the roman shades will never be drawn up at the same height.  The OCD precisionist in me will get over it, possibly.  If you know a solution to this problem, please TELL ME.

In other news, the floors are ready for me to start the decorative finish.  Check out the new black border:

Chris has busted his knees removing the white paint from these floors.  But his sander could only get so close to the baseboard without damaging the baseboards, which we didn’t want to spend the time or money to remove.  Our solution to the residual white paint that ran along all the walls is this 4″ slap-your-mother black band of paint.  I didn’t know how much I would love it!  Just another happy accident on the list.

Sweet kitty paw prints

This box above that Chris is painting is in the grasscloth alcove–I’m hoping to paint a pattern on the floor here before Thanksgiving…as well as a mural in the guest room.  So Angela is feeling ambitious, eh?

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Chris for being willing to clean up so many of the messes here after the remodel.  Truly a lifesaver!

I hope to start the decorative finish this weekend, which will be a dark gray so there won’t be as much contrast with the black band as there is now.  It feels so good to have this space almost usable, finally!

See you next week, or earlier on Instagram!  Don’t forget to catch up with the other ORC participants.

Guest Room by Thanksgiving

Inspired by the current One Room Challenge (ORC) hosted by Linda of Calling It Home, I am jumping in, a little late, to participate.  The guest room:

I am going to post updates weekly on this space.  I’ve had this project in the works anyway with my in-laws coming for Thanksgiving…so I hope committing to a weekly post will be the blog kick in the pants I need.  The photo above is the current state of the guest room.  ”Wait, Angela, didn’t you finish your remodel, like, a year ago?  What’s the dealio with the dust and stuff.”  Oh, you, (heavy sigh), yes, you are right: what is the dealio, House?!?  The house is raging against me, doing all it can to prevent me from getting to the fun, pretty endeavors I so desire.

We discovered earlier in the year that the paint on the basement floor needed to be removed.  Poor prep, poor adhesion.  Chris saved our day by sanding all the paint off–not a fun job for him.  Before we redo the floor finish, Chris is also working on deadening the sound coming through our guest room ceiling.  Hopefully soon I’ll be on my knees decorative painting 1200 square feet of concrete–want to come help?

In the meantime, here is the plan:

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 1.54.32 PM

I’m building the room around this bed I found on Craigslist.  This is the half-photo listing of the bed when I found it:bed

The bed is still thanking me for saving it from its forced marriage with Grandma Pearl.

Unfortunately from the half-photo I could not tell that the “brass” finish is rubbing off–it can’t be saved.  But, really, that just gives me the perfect excuse to powder coat that bed in red.

The candle holder stands in here for the bed, on a frontrunner rug from Pottery Barn.  I will probably use the pillows (Soleil Bleu Laguna) from our ranch living room.  And, the rope settee from the ranch guest room will also make an appearance.  The gorgeous hand-painted velvet pillow on the bottom is an art pillow I found in Tetbury, England, on my September biking trip.  I love how the chartreuse and purple play in.  But!  I’m trying to be more low-key here than our last circus guest room, which also was a finish-before-Thanksgiving challenge back in 2011.

What probably won’t be done in time is the entry space to the guest room.  It is an awkward basement hallway that we enclosed to the guest room for a sitting area and the guest closet.  www.tphblog.comI don’t want to rush and settle for the furniture here so I’ll just clean it up and be patient for the right pieces to come along.  A daybed would fit perfectly on the left, in front of the door to our mechanical room, and offer additional sleeping for a guest’s child.  I have plans to cover the door with something decorative yet easy to remove for access.

The guest bathroom will just need a good cleaning and the floors redone…then the fun, finally!

That’s it for today!  I’ll post on Fridays about the room’s progress, and you can follow the official ORC participants on Linda’s blog.  Catch me on Instagram in the meantime.  Happy weekend, y’all!


While I sat in my car crying in the hospital parking lot, a doctor sliced open my husband’s neck for a lymph node biopsy.  Days earlier a CT scan suggested that my husband had lymphoma.  While we prayed that the biopsy would not confirm this, I let my fears consume me in the waiting–I was immobilized.  I managed to stop the sobbing long enough to call my friend Erin and ask her how I should pray when frozen.  She told me not to worry about the words right then, that my tears, heart, and each breath would be enough for the Spirit to intercede for me.  We hung up and I sought distraction and maybe solace in music until the procedure was over.  And that is when “God Will Lift Up Your Head” by Jars of Clay played at just the moment I needed it.

The band included this reworked hymn on their 2005 album Redemption Songs and the words cleared my mind’s fog that day,”Into the wind your fears, hope, and be undismayed.  God hears your sighs and counts your tears.  God will lift up, God will lift up, God will lift up your head.”  Call me crazy, but then, and now, I knew that I was experiencing an undeniably supernatural moment.  The song ends with, “through waves and clouds and storms, He gently clears the way, wait, ’cause in His time so shall this night soon end in joy, soon end in joy, soon end in joy…”  Just like that, my sobs of fear turned to sobs of hope.  How did I deserve the promise, that whatever the biopsy, this night would soon end in joy?  The song became the soundtrack during my husband’s illness, stage-IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma, playing in loops to buoy my hope anytime it started to sink.  Six and a half years later, I still can’t listen to the song without crying.

Callan6mo_39First round of chemo

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.25.22 PMOur photo session with Magic Hour, organization of photographers who serve cancer patients and their families

If you have read TPH for a while, you know our story.  But I can’t tell you how meaningful it was to me to relate this experience last weekend, face-to-face, with a member of Jars of Clay.  The Ugly Cry happened, y’all.

Jars of Clay celebrated their band’s 20th anniversary with a music-filled weekend in Nashville that we were lucky enough to attend.  Coincidentally, it is also the 20th anniversary this year when my husband and I met and fell in love…and also became Jars of Clay fans with their first album.  If you love music like we do, it can be hard to love contemporary Christian music.  Jars of Clay changed the contemporary Christian music game, massively, influencing many artists who came after them.  And, they are still the standard against which I measure any new Christian band or sound.  We’ve followed every album, attended many of their concerts through the years, and even had one of their songs used for divine intervention, no big deal.  It was a pleasure to celebrate with them last weekend.

They performed acoustic rarities Friday night at the offices of Blood-Water, a non-profit organization the band founded that helps the AIDS/HIV and water crises in Africa.  It was cozy and intimate, but the poor guys (good sports) had to pose for many photos with fans–our goofy family included.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.24.23 PM

The band hosted coffee and tours at their Gray Matters recording studio on Saturday morning.  The kids came along, too, because they are big fans themselves.

IMG_4433Outside Gray Matters in Nashville


A band amasses mucho memorabilia over 20 years–t-shirts, posters, stickers…Grammies and Dove Awards, too, just lying about.  We chatted with the band, and when we cornered Charlie Lowell–keyboardist for Jars of Clay–I mustered up the courage to tell him how their song pulled me through my husband’s illness.  I almost didn’t because why would he want to listen to just one more fan story, I assumed.  But he graciously listened like I was the only one there, even with the ugly cry and snot.  It felt full-circle to me.IMG_4437

IMG_8656Sitting at the studio, practicing their “serious album cover” shot

IMG_4445They delivered a fabulous 20-years-of-music concert in the historic theatre in Franklin, Tennessee. (Franklin, by the way, is too cute for words.  I’ll be back.)

jars of clay

IMG_8663Q&A with the band before the concert

And, you know what, of all their many songs, they played “God Will Lift Up Your Head.”


Twenty years is a long time, with the multiple lifetimes we’ve packed in; yet it goes by fast.  The years are a gift–and all the good and bad within those years, too.  Two weeks ago my husband had his annual CT scan, that time of year when I alternately ignore it from fear and pray over it with desperation, depending on the moment.  It came back clear, thank you!  And, so, we are now two years out from his last reoccurrence.  Twenty years out will be a dream come true…thirty years…fifty years out so I can see the day when our children will change our diapers.

When I could barely eek out that prayer six years ago for him, for us–for our children, that they could have years with their father please–God promised me joy.  It is written on my heart forever.


IMG_8662And now that chubby baby knows exactly how wonderful his father is, the nuances of Daddy’s personality, the absurdity of his corny jokes, the dedication to his family’s happiness.  That little boy can now say deliciously preposterous things like, “You’re the Daddy…you can do whatever you want.”  Every year is a gift.

Thank you–Charlie, Matt, Dan, and Stephen–for a fabulous music weekend.

Housey House Stuff & A Big Idea

Well, I can’t believe it’s been four months since I last posted.  So what’s the status of this old blog?  I don’t know.

But what I do know is that all of the kids are in traditional school this year.  For the first time in 12 years, I have time alone during the day.  While this would be a perfect segue into the Great Soul Searching of 2014 of what will I do?, I’m not up for writing that beast right now and, really, you just want to see the house stuff.  There are a million and one ideas I could pursue, but at the moment I’m taking a breather with my family, managing the cottage business, and focusing on the house, making it cozy and such.

To get me out of the house a bit, too, I am working on a little design project for a medical office and will teach a handful of elementary and middle school art classes in Asheville, North Carolina, this school year.  Otherwise, no other commitments.  And, I like having the margin to be available for any needs that arise in our circle.  The breathing room feels precious, sacred.  So, yeah, the blog, I’m not making any big decisions about it now, even though it is an embarrassment to me.

Like anyone making decisions for their own home, I’m scared to death.  I have a semi-clear vision for this house, but it is soooooooo easy for me to get derailed.  My attention is turned to the layers of the house–rugs, drapery, wall treatments, etc.  You know, the things that could be fat, expensive mistakes.

Some fabrics I’m mulling over:

I love this Cindy E. Barganier, New Turquoise Chain, for my daughter’s room.  I think.

www.tphblog.comShe is sold on it so there is kind of no going back on it.  The colors are just too similar to her artwork that I’m afraid it will be matchy.

Aya by Larsen is the top contender for the living room:www.tphblog.comAlthough, the first pick was handpainted Tangled by Porter Teleo, to which Sherry Hart introduced me, but the colorway was off a bit.  Instead I’m going to use it as inspiration for wall painting in our front entry hall.

www.tphblog.comI can’t decide about Aimee from Clarence House.

Aimee Clarence HousePart of me adores it and the other part of me is all, “whatchu talkin’ about, Willis?”  I mean, look at all the colors!  But then, look at all the colors.  Partly it feels good and Bauhaus-y to me–or, it feels like kids + marker.  This color bonanza is under consideration for the mint kitchen.

So that is about as far as I’ve gotten this year on interior work.  I took the summer off and spent with the kids.  A fair amount of my time was spent on finishing the landscaping.  I’ll have to post some after shots, but here is the pic I took when the cypress tress arrived.  It is funny what one fights about with one’s spouse.  He wanted cypress trees.  I didn’t.  But then he didn’t want a wife who blows all his hard-earned money on endless rounds of furniture, so, compromise.www.tphblog.comYeah, so, one of my millions of ideas is this:  remember up there a few paragraphs I talked about my precious breathing room?  I’m thinking about homeschooling again…just for one year.  I guess it was the whole traditional school with rules and set hours and dress code and rules, that I started to get all itchy in that independent streak of mine.  But!  This time would be different.  We’re thinking about world schooling.  Learning through traveling the world.  Trust me, it took my husband a full month to come around and actually talk it over with me.

Unlike a lot of world schoolers, we would not spend the whole year abroad; but, instead, we would take trips in 2-6 week increments with 6 weeks or so in between trips for instruction about our next destination.  My husband would join us on some of the travel, but mostly I would be traveling alone with our children, hopefully never away from hubby more than 2 weeks at a time.

Anyway, we talk like it’s happening.  The kids are intrigued.  There are many details to work out.  But now it is just for me to decide if I can really handle it.  It isn’t all crepes in the shadow of the Eiffel tower and curry on the beach in Thailand; it can be, as I experienced on our recent trip to Europe, car sickness and abdominal cramps and diarrhea in a public restroom.   So I need to know if I’m ready to deal with my own diarrhea and diarrhea of three kids, so to speak, in a foreign country before I commit.  But I need to decide soon because planning will need to start right away.  And, if we do this, I will be consumed with this until August of 2016.  I share in hopes you will add some insight!

Okay, no promises on what will happen here on the blog, but you can keep up with TPH on instagram.  See you there!

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