Just Busted

This simple vignette in the home of designer Luis Bustamante was the lightbulb moment for me on how to solve an awkward space in our kitchen.

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 9.24.40 AMThank you, BUSTamante, for the inspiration!


Thank you to my daughter and her friend for creating the fireworks art.

This enormous chalkboard in the kitchen has become a favorite spot for me.  I’m definitely leaning toward over-scale in this house–fewer things, but bigger.  Over-scale, ever-evolving–this chalkboard (with hidden closet–you can see a wider, in-progress shot here) was the perfect solution for this space.

And it’s a fun photo spot.www.tphblog.com


Of course I don’t keep the beautiful torso on a tiny pedestal in front of the board–she’d fall over into a heap as soon as the kids ran in the door.  My very favorite decorative piece, she stays safe and sound in the living room.  Until next post, see you on Instagram!

Nesting Place, the Book

It’s a rally cry for imperfectionists.  It’s encouragement to the desperate perfectionist.  It’s permission to love your home where you are now.  
Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 12.08.11 PMAnd it is full of beautiful photos styled and taken by its author in her rental home.  It is The Nesting Place, the book.

nesterMyquillyn Smith sent me a pre-release copy of her book, signed!, that I nearly read in one sitting.  I didn’t even need to use the disco ball bookmark she included in the package.  I also ordered another copy from Amazon to keep at the cottage (the signed one stays home with me!).

I’ve read her blog since I discovered it in 2007; and, so, I was excited to read the backstory to how she has arrived at her decorating manifesto: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  She starts the book detailing each house she and her husband have lived in during their marriage so far– 13 houses in 18 years!  The following chapters are filled with encouragement, wisdom, tips, and have-I-mentioned-her-gorgeous-photos?.  In short, the book is like sitting down with her over iced coffees in striped paper straws–conversational, warm, real.  I promise you, you will love your home even more, even without changing a thing, after you read her book; and, furthermore, you’ll have the confidence to embark on that project you’ve been mulling over, fresh from Myquillyn’s pep talk, to really adore the house you’re in now.

cottage(I won’t even tell you how excited I am that our little North Carolina cottage is mentioned and pictured within the book.  You couldn’t handle that much exuberance!  Mr. Sunburst Mirror and Sculptural Candlestick Duo are enjoying their moment for sure.)

I’d say the book has a truth for everyone.  For me and our new house (we’ve been in it for 5 months but have owned it for 11), the truth comes in that the decorating can be slow, it won’t look anywhere near done or perfect for a long time.  But my people are here, it’s neat and clean, it has lovely natural light and a specially-crafted shell and for these positives, the incompletion and imperfection and memory of a difficult remodel do not diminish from a beautiful artwork in progress.  Don’t you like to see an artist midway through a piece?  See the process and direction?  That is what is happening here and will be happening here for awhile at the Painted House.  A curtainless window, a rugless floor, a settee that needs redoing, a table that needs painting, chairs that need new fabric all testify to this fact.  I’m embracing Myquillyn’s philosophy.

sofaAs for that sparkly bookmark, it rings-around the partial neck of the torso in the living room–a true Myquillyn move.  (The torso would wear a Myquillyn eye patch, too, if she had, well, an eye…or head.)

torsoThank you, Myquillyn, for the beautifully-written and -photographed book!  Follow her at her blog, Nesting Place, where she and her husband are renovating a farmhouse and barn on the site of an old sawmill.

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.

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 1.34.14 PM

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:

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 1.13.51 PM

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.”

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 1.13.16 PM

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.

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 1.23.45 PM

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.

www.tphblog.com 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!
www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com loft tourChris, who did the amazing build-out, rewired an old photography studio light with a hot pink extension cord from Lowe’s.

www.tphblog.com 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?

www.tphblog.com 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!

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com loft tourI’ll just say again how beautiful the lanterns are that my brother made.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com loft tourChris made a chevron door to the bunkroom, too.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com loft tourI cut FLOR squares for “wall-to-wall” carpet in the bunkroom.

www.tphblog.com 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.

www.tphblog.com loft tour

We painted one wall with chalkboard paint  and attached permanent frames that could be switched out with new art by using clips.

www.tphblog.com loft tourWe sandwiched two IKEA magnet boards together in a frame for magnetic clips and magnetic architectural puzzles.

www.tphblog.com loft tour

www.tphblog.com loft tourThe best view was from the top bunk–great spying potential!

www.tphblog.com loft tour

And, it offered a cool perspective of the lanterns and mechanical operations of the loft.

www.tphblog.com loft tourThe loft tour continues:

The Loft Bedroom

The Loft Bathroom

The Loft Living & Dining

The Loft Before

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