Checking In, Links, and an Unscientific Instagram Study

Hey, everyone!  I’m happy to say that I’ve been plugging away at projects here in the “new house” (the family and I still call it that).  While the to-do list is still as long as sitting through a piano recital, I am pleased that we’re making progress.  Having our first dinner guests over recently was a kick in the motivation pants I was needing.  The dining room, finally free of moving boxes and stacks of art, was dreamy to dine in at night with the pretty chandy aglow and a vase full of dogwood blossoms.  Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 2.25.12 PMAnd, nope, we didn’t serve quesadillas as the dining room was designed for.  We had burritos, decidedly more sophisticated than q-dillas, with cashew-salsa verde sauce and pico de gallo, and chocolate cake and raspberries.

Having guests over in our new place and watching all the kids laughing around the whole house filled me with joy.

I’ve made the decision over the last few weeks that I’d work on the house with the few free hours I have instead of blogging.  Am I considered a blogger anymore?  Whoops.  But I do feel like I am at a point where I can show in-progress photos of the house–if I wait until the rooms are finished, I wouldn’t post for years.

Also, I need to post the last stop on the loft tour.

Speaking of which, thank you to my friend Myquillyn for featuring my loft tour recently on her Saturday Bird Watching post!

She is living exciting times right now with the launch of her family’s new encouragement website hope*ology and her new book The Nesting Place, which you can pre-order on Amazon, coming out the end of the month!

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.42.38 PMI’ve pre-ordered mine, and I can’t wait to get it.  She was the first decorating blog I found, way back in 2007.  I’ve loved watching her grow her blog into a successful business and now a book–blessings and talent for sure!  We also love advertising our cottage on her blog each summer.  Thank you, Myquillyn!

Thank you, also to Erika Ward of BluLabelBungalow, who wrote the sweetest post about her family’s stay at the cottage recently.  Erika, Erika, she is like a calm, radiant angel with a wicked sense of humor.  I loved working with her on Room Service Atlanta, an organization that she and Dayka Robinson co-created to coordinate designers with service projects for those in need of beautiful surroundings.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.20.42 PMAfter seeing this photo on her blog of little Cam’s cheeks, I should have crashed their mountain weekend for some baby love.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.22.29 PMphotos | BluLabelBungalow

Thankfully I didn’t have to suffer long for a baby fix…

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.23.27 PMphoto | Fieldstone Hill  Instagram

I had some quality time with Georgia Lu, who brought her mommy along, in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay.  My friend Natalie, from 4th grade, and I made a road trip out of it and just swung into Pennsylvania to see Darlene’s historic stone house before settling in on the bay.  People, it’s gorgeous and full of the charms old homes bring.  I don’t know why this bellissima signora doesn’t show us around her house more.

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I took this photo whilst resting on Dar’s vintage silk sectional, sipping coffee and falling under the spell of this room.  She’s got skills and a husband who baked us two loaves of homemade bread to take on our girl trip.  Seriously.

So while I’m away from the blog here, I am still making appearances on Instagram.  I told my friend in the middle of the Great Instagram Boom of 2014 (when my feed grew substantially from Jenny’s endorsement), that soon a mass exodus would occur when everyone realized who they started following.  And I was right!

I love being right.

It wasn’t until I posted this photo that I noticed I was losing followers with every new post–offensive, ill-compositioned oranges:

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Hmm, I thought, this is fascinating!  So I embarked on a week of charting “unfollows” corresponding with each new photo I posted, just to see if there was a trend–because this social media stuff is so interesting to me.  While I was so tempted to post shocking or calculated photos, I didn’t because I felt it was manipulative.  So I just posted photos as I normally do, in the moment and spontaneous.

The first one was my husband biking at sunrise on the beach.  ”Hey, sweetie, your photo cost me five followers right away!”  He loved hearing that, ha!

But the photo that cost me the most was interestingly the one in which I proclaimed, “free da be me.”

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I’m free to be me, but not everyone will like it–especially if they think those are my legs and bottom, with a stick up my rear.  Or they hate Frida.  Those red stems belong to my partial mannequin not me.

The photo of our powder room resulted in the fewest unfollows.

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From my official study, I’ve determined outdoors/family/silliness lose the most followers among my group.  Interiors lose the fewest.  I know, you’re asking, don’t you have better things to do, Angela?

It is just so interesting!  While I’m sure people are just mainly cleaning up their feed, my imagination can’t help but create a scene of my photo popping up on a person’s feed and she screws her face up in disgust, pulls her pointed finger above her head before plunging it down on the “unfollow” button, and yells, “darn you, angenigma, and your germy kids–no more!”  Or something like that.

But enough about the people who left the party early, I’m so grateful that such personalized communities exist–and I adore the interaction with others on my photos and the photos of people I follow.  If you follow my Instagram feed, thank you for the coming along for the ride where I’m free da be me!

I will be enjoying the dogwoods until next post. Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 12.04.40 PM

Loft Tour | Living & Dining

My husband knew to expect a text from me blabbing my gratitude every time I stayed at the loft.  Saying thanks once was probably sufficient, but I was overcome with gratitude each new moment in this little “me place” we had created.  It was an amazing gift, blessing, for a time in my life when I thrived on a bit of space outside the home and homeschool scene to be the un-mom and un-teacher.  And because I knew, and know, that having a place like this doesn’t happen to all moms and artists who need it, I relished every second (with a good dose of guilt, ugh!) and felt undeserving of such an opportunity but never ceased to be grateful. loft tourI loved the smell of the loft upon arrival.  It was the smell of oil paint, clean, and solitude.

I’ve been so shy about sharing the loft because it seems extravagant, especially for an artist not looking to make art to sell at the moment.  And, it is such a personal space–goofy and girly like me.  But it is part of our life story, a good part; and it seems wrong to me not to celebrate life’s blessings when they come.  Heaven knows I spend enough time moaning about unpleasantness! loft tourBecause there was no TV or Internet hooked up at the loft, the days and evenings were quiet except for my music.  We had worked out our homeschool schedule so that I could slip away weekly to paint.  Every few weeks I would take a chunk of time there to fully immerse myself in painting.  It worked for that time.  Now, I look forward to setting up my studio in the new house where I can paint quietly while the kids are in school. loft tourThe loft furniture is a combination of things we had and things we thrifted specifically for the space.  I just smooshed it all together. loft tourChris, who did the amazing build-out, rewired an old photography studio light with a hot pink extension cord from Lowe’s. loft tourThe girl above the sofa, is she naughty or aghast or frightened, is my very favorite piece.  Or maybe it’s the floral pillow.  Anyway, we call her Judy, and you can read how she came to be in this post.  Maybe I love her because I had so much fun painting her? loft tourAdjacent to the living area is the kitchen.  We used all the existing appliances and cabinets but just reconfigured the space and refaced the cabinets.  I scored the brand new Circa Lighting sconces at Habitat for Humanity.  For real! loft tourThe intaglio of the nude women is by Pam Bernard, 1983, and includes a verse by the artist.  I fell in love with the colors when I saw it at Scott Antique Market.  I bought it, on a separate occasion, from the same dealer from whom I bought the plaster torso on the yellow chest.  Yep, I was one centerfold away from being known as Nekkid Lady Lady.  This piece now hangs in our tiny jadey-teal powder room–please don’t sprinkle when you tinkle!  For the sake of the art, I hung it in the bathroom a little higher than it should be hung. loft tourI found the dining table for sale on the side of the road on the way to eat a delectable brunch at The Grit in Athens.  Bertoias are from Craigslist and got shipped to the loft when they didn’t pass my kids’ comfy-booty test at home.  The cork tray and vase are old Round Top treasures that I’ve had forevah.  I made the kitchen runner from carpet tiles. loft tourI’ll just say again how beautiful the lanterns are that my brother made. loft tour

I chose the least expensive quartz countertop option, in gray, simple.  Chris, like a champ, covered the existing refrigerator in wood to match the cabinetry.  I believe he used 1/4″ board with Gorilla Glue. loft tourOff the kitchen is the mechanical/laundry room.  Chris moved one of the existing kitchen upper cabinets above the dryer and built a storage platform in half of the room to take advantage of the ceiling height. loft tourI surely did need an 8-foot ladder in this place, if not one taller.  It was a nice graphic wall element above the trash can. loft tourThere is more to the loft tour:

The Loft Bedroom

The Loft Bathroom

The Loft Bunkroom

The Loft Before

Loft Tour | Bunkroom

While the loft mainly served as my painting studio (and mommy escape, let’s be honest), we wanted to accommodate the whole family for city sleepovers and extended fieldtrips.  We reoriented an existing closet next to the front door to serve as the kids’ bunkroom. loft tourChris made a chevron door to the bunkroom, too. loft tourWe squeezed three twin beds and four storage drawers in this 9×6′ space.  Thankfully the 18′ tall ceilings offered some breathing room in what would otherwise be a tight, I’m-hyperventilating space. loft tourI cut FLOR squares for “wall-to-wall” carpet in the bunkroom. loft tourThe kids spent many hours creating their own art at the loft and spontaneously came up with the idea themselves to paper the bunkroom with their drawings.  I LOVE how it turned out, and the drawings never failed to make me laugh.  Kids are funny. loft tour

We painted one wall with chalkboard paint  and attached permanent frames that could be switched out with new art by using clips. loft tourWe sandwiched two IKEA magnet boards together in a frame for magnetic clips and magnetic architectural puzzles. loft tour loft tourThe best view was from the top bunk–great spying potential! loft tour

And, it offered a cool perspective of the lanterns and mechanical operations of the loft. loft tourThe loft tour continues:

The Loft Bedroom

The Loft Bathroom

The Loft Living & Dining

The Loft Before

TPH on B&B and FHD | OMGoodness and WTFudgecicles!

I’m just going around minding my own business, when, wham, I find myself on the beautiful blog Bijou & Boheme.  Christine has such a sophisticated approach to design that I love but know in my heart of hearts I will never achieve in this clown life I lead.  So I look at her beautiful work and design boards to fulfill my appetite for the finer things.  That my toilet paper, laundry, and my smelly-Nike-cap self made it into a post featuring more refined folks than myself is such an honor. (Have you seen Christine’s new chic new blog design?)

And, then, my gorgeous and sweet-to-the-core friend Darlene goes and smacks a link to my house on Fieldstone Hill Design.  She says words about me that I don’t believe I deserve, but she always seems to know when I need a pep talk when it comes to making design choices.  Always.  Have you seen her sons’ charming bedroom reveal on her blog?  Does your son’s room have 200-year-old stone walls?  No?  Neither does mine.  But Darlene’s boys do.  Please go look!


Boys' room at

The interest the new house design has generated certainly cheers a reno-weary girl.  Without time to blog or hang out with friends in real life because of the massive amount of work this house has been, it has been kinda lonely to exist in the middle of a million and one design decisions by myself.  Instagram totally helped me connect in a small way with like-minded humans during the remodeling process, where I could receive encouragement and inspiration–especially on the bad days.  Which were many.  So thank you to those who have cheered me on from the beginning on Instagram, to those who have just joined me in the journey, and those who have spent their blog time celebrating our new home.  Means the world!

Loft Tour | Bedroom

With just over 1000 square feet, the loft had plenty of room for me to carve out the spaces we wanted within the big open box.  We planned for the bedroom in the middle of the space, with the studio on the window side and the living/kitchen area on the other.   Chris built the room divider, with wire-brushed pine planks on the outside perimeter.  Chris, by the way, did all the build-out work here and did an amazing job! loft tour

FLOR tiles, tediously cut by hand (this is before they offered diagonal cuts!) run down the hall to the bedroom and studio.  The new loft owners requested that all rugs stay with the loft tourOpposite of the bedroom door, beautifully made in a custom-stained oak by Chris, is the vintage bar mirror we used to cover the drywall patch in the brick wall. loft tourThe mirror wasn’t quite big enough to cover the drywall so Chris built a surround…which I never got around to painting after he primed it.  Whoops. loft tourMy brother Ron made the metal frames for the ceiling pendants–they are huge at 24″ diameter and 36″ tall–and Bill, my drapery fabricator, made the removable canvas shades.  These pendants make the loft absolutely magical at night. loft tour

Because space was limited in the bedroom, I chose to do a built-in bed/closet. loft tour

The bolster pillow is made from a vintage embroidered sheet I found at the Round Top Antique Fair.  With my monogram and birds…I had to have it! loft tourThe flanking closets are simply IKEA closets wrapped in oak plywood with custom doors. loft tour loft tourThe polyhedron lighting is from Restoration Hardware…we girlied it up with a hot pink electrical cord. loft tour

The spotted carpet squares came from Habitat For Humanity loft loft tourI miss that bedroom!  It always felt so cozy snuggled in with all those pillows and a pile of shelter mags at night…and some chocolate, usually.  It was a dream.

Take the full loft tour:

The Loft Bathroom

The Loft Living & Dining

The Loft Before

The Loft Bunkroom

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