Our home, lately

Having people over is the best motivation to get stuff done. We’ve made progress in the house this month, particularly in the departments of hanging art and having sofas.

A collection of photographs of home and life, lately:

This is the before. #ikeamadness #handyhusband
This is the before.
New sofa, paintings hung

House coming along

House coming along
Giant boxes = busted IKEA bookshelves we’re returning…
Feels like I really live here now. #finally #homelibrary #justthefictionsection
Perfectly sized white bookshelf from the thrift store. Take that, IKEA.
Living room view into hallway
View into the hallway + puppy gate!
House coming along
View from dining room into kitchen. Thanks for the counter stools, Mom and Dad!
Our bedroom
Our bedroom; I heart minimalism. This room used to be dark brown.
Our bedroom
Our bedroom.
Synchronized sleeping. #babies #doglife #vscocam
Synchronized sleepers.
Calligraphy studio, while working
What the studio looks like when I’m working.
Puppy punk
Puppy punk
Edie’s serious face.

Come visit us! We have places for you to sit now!

January thoughts

Even though my books are still in boxes and there is no art on the walls, I am finally beginning to feel like the new house is ours. Maybe it’s the familiar tumbleweeds of German shepherd fur that adorn every room, but it’s starting to feel like home.

Don't make me go play with that puppy
Pyrrha, being bashful.

The bane of my existence right now is the backyard, which turns into a veritable swamp when it rains — a swamp of red clay pools that the new puppy* utterly delights in. (*Right: We got a second dog! Adopted our foster puppy and named her Eden. She is a joyful little terror. So bright and happy; opposite personality of my shy, sensitive Pyrrha.)

If you have any great solutions to a marshy yard — aside from pouring concrete over the entire thing, which I am often tempted to do — please let me know. I had such high aspirations for having a beautiful house. Now I just have a den of dog hair and clay-stained floors and walls. It is good, though; I am learning to surrender my material possessions to the Hands of the Lord, who points to the dogs and says, “This is why you can’t have nice things.” (It’s training ground for future offspring, right? I’d like to have a competition between a toddler and our two dogs to see who could destroy a room the fastest.)

Dogs in January
Dogs in the swamp.
Dogs in January
Eden wants to come inside. And the poinsettia is definitely dead.

On the brighter side, I enjoy practicing calligraphy 50% more now that I have A Room of My Own. I like to escape there from time to time. Pyrrha is the only one who is allowed to join me. She’s been more jealous of me since adding Eden to the household, and she likes to be reminded of her top position in my esteem.

This little room brings me great joy. #studio #aroomofonesown
My studio.

I am also reading fiction again and deriving great pleasure from it. I just finished Adam Johnson’s fantastic novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, which most recently won the Pulitzer. I rarely read books that are both action-packed AND superbly well-written. (And darkly funny!) It’s great. I recommend it.

I also continue to marvel that I was lucky enough to get to marry Guion. He is a real winner. Par example: In the past year of our marriage, he has morphed into a gourmet chef. I don’t even want to go out to restaurants anymore, because the food they serve me pales into comparison to what Guion can make. And these are primarily meat-free dishes, too; we’ve continued our aspirations to mostly meat-free eating, and I’ve felt better for it. We sit at our refurbished farm table (thanks, family!), light some candles, and keep the dogs at bay.

House updates, and Gran

Little things we’ve done lately around the house…

Hung old curtains in the living room and removed all of the mini-blinds:

Curtains hung in living room

Curtains hung in living room

(A subtle change, surely, but here’s the before.)

Curtains hung in living room

Painted my studio white (be gone, cream):

Studio is now white

Studio is now white

Painting the studio was emotionally hard. My beloved Gran had a stroke on Saturday, and the prognosis is not good/confusing. I’ve been crying a lot lately, and it’s somehow easier to write it here and not see your faces. If you are the praying type, please pray for her and for my family. Our hearts are raw.

I say that we painted the studio in her honor, because she’s the Patron Saint of Painting. The family says she’s painted everything in her cottage. Just a week ago, she was doling out painting and home decor wisdom to me on the phone (she was totally right about our mistake of using latex instead of oil-based paint for the ceramic tile). She also identified — BY SIGHT — the exact shade and brand of the gray paint we used in the kitchen and dining room (Benjamin Moore Gray Owl). She’s amazing. She’s all I can think about lately.

Top floor tour

The top floor of our new house was formerly the attic of this house, a 1950s classic Cape Cod. Previous owners refashioned it into two rooms, a large bedroom and an open office space.

Here’s what the top floor looks like currently, with improvements to come gradually:

Top floor tour
Love this perfunctory French door leading to the staircase.
Top floor tour
Little landing. Paint colors clearly need to be remedied.
Top floor tour
Pyrrha wonders why there isn’t anything in this room.

Top floor tour

Top floor tour
My calligraphy studio! How I have longed for this space. To be painted bright white.
Top floor tour
Calligraphy supplies, up close.

To come: the basement!

(Previously: Tour of the main floor in disarray.)