Sue At Home in Ladies’ Home Journal

1 Apr

As you may know by now, I am the Fashion Editor for Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. So when some of my fellow editors wanted to photograph a story for the April issue about bringing spring color into your home, they thought of my colorful abode and more specifically, my hot pink chair.

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My pink chair (you can read all about it here) has gotten a lot of love in the past. It’s one of my most read posts, most repinned pins, and it was featured on Emily A Clark’s blog, Centsational Girl’s Best of DIY site, and Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color. (Hey look! There it is again over in the sidebar! Click there for more living room pics.)

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But this time, it’s in a magazine. A huge national magazine. (OK. I know that I’m one of the editors so it’s kinda like nepotism but still, I’m happy to be included!)

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So on a chilly day in January, I was pleased to invite two of my fellow LHJ staffers and a small photo team into my home for the shoot (the zero-minute commute was kinda awesome too).

Right away photographer Jennifer Causey and her assistant got to work setting up lights and reflectors and getting my pink chair ready for its close-up. I usually prefer a neutral pillow on the chair but for the purposes of the story, editor Lauren Piro brought lots of bright spring-y options. The yellow one from Target was the clear winner.

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Note: The chair has faded A LOT and is due for another dye job but I just couldn’t get it done before the shoot, So yes, she has had a Photoshop touch up for the LHJ final image you see below. When it gets a little warmer, I’ll be ok with dying on the deck again!

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But the chair wasn’t the only image shot in my house. We also put some artwork from Society6 on my bedroom dresser and styled it with some of my jewelry.

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Do you know what it’s like to have a photo crew, including some of your coworkers, in your bedroom on a Thursday afternoon? It’s weird, people. It’s weird. Luckily, one of those fellow coworkers is my dear friend, our very talented photo director Clare Lissaman, who always knows how to put people at ease on a shoot.

The story also featured my painted kitchen cabinet. It’s one of my favorite DIY projects in my house (you can see it up top in my header collage) but I’ve had such a hard time getting a good shot of it for the blog so that’s why I’ve never written about it.

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The cabinet looks so pretty that I almost don’t notice the fugly countertops!

So how was she able to get that brighter shot in my windowless kitchen? What photo skills does Jennifer have that I don’t have? This big ass light, that’s what! (And I’m sure she has lots of other great photo skills too! But the light helps.)

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That beauty totally brightened up the space.

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I was totally thrilled to be included in the issue and I want to thank my co-workers for including my home and supporting Sue at Home. If you’d like to order a subscription to Ladies’ Home Journal, just click the affiliate link in my sidebar.

With the happy spring weather, I’ve decided to come out of my hibernation and I can’t wait to get some spring projects happening soon. Stayed tuned for our newly painted playroom, a new headboard, a hallway makeover and…drum roll…a complete bathroom renovation!

XO

Sue at Home

A Mid-Century Condo in Palm Beach

16 Mar

This weekend I’m writing to you from a 20th floor balcony in sunny Palm Beach. (Brag much?) The brother of one of my good friends was kind enough to loan us his condo for a girls’ weekend. After I finished swooning over all their amazing vintage furniture finds (I’m not kidding. I gasped and then hugged a credenza when we walked in), I quickly snapped a few pics to share with you. Take a look.

(Sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures. It’s all I had. I’m writing this from the WordPress app on my phone and I can’t figure out how to edit them. I think they’re all a little crooked…which I might just blame on the mojitos!)

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The wall color is Barely Teal by Benjamin Moore (which btw is the same color as my kitchen ceiling which I’ve sadly never shown you. Sorry!). Every person on the trip was trying to figure out a place to put it their homes. It’s just so pretty and soothing.

Thanks again to our hosts for loaning us their beautiful place!!

XO

Sue at Home

A Remarkable Renovation: 43 Church Street in Westborough

3 Mar

Last summer when we were visiting my parents in Westborough, Massachusetts–the town I grew up in (remember I told you about it here and here?)–I drove past this stunning house on Church Street and it stopped me in my tracks. I just couldn’t believe that I had never noticed it before. Well, that’s because it didn’t look like this when I lived there. 43church 225

Back when I lived in Westborough,  it looked more like this.

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Lucky for me, the stunning house had a sign out front that said 43churchst.com. So, I checked it out and found the story of how Michael Fitzpatrick (a very talented wood furniture maker) and his wife, Dr. Jean Keamy, had purchased the house with the intention of renovating it and bringing it back to its former glory. I mean, look how gorgeous it was back in 1880.

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Their website is great and it shows lots of process shots but I was dying to see it inside, so I emailed Michael and asked if he would let me–and the Sue at Home readers–take a peek. He could not have been more gracious and welcoming so the next time I was in Westborough, Pablo and I went to take a look. (Yes, it’s taken me over 6 months to write this post. What can I say, it’s got a LOT of pictures.)

They brought the exterior of the house back to its original style except for the addition of this porte cochere on the side. No need to Google it. “Porte Cochere” translates to Carriage Porch.  (It’s like a fancy carport.)

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Here’s the back of the house.

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As they were building the porte cochere, some birds decided to make it their home so they continued building around the birds and now they’ve got permanent houseguests. See that little square in the picture below? That’s how their little feathered friends get in and out.

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 Michael restored and built reproductions of all the exterior millwork himself. (See more about that in this video.)

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I especially loved the pale blue painted porch ceiling. Let’s go inside, shall we?

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While they respected the aesthetic of the original structure on the exterior, they opted for a more modern interior with an open floor plan and a focus on function. I loved all of the clean simple furnishings.

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The floating stairs–that connect all four levels–let in tons of light.

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This little sitting area connects the living room and kitchen.

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I love how the color of the mid-century chairs is picked up in the kitchen backsplash.

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The center column in the house, which has a small bathroom and an elevator on this floor, also includes this built-in bookshelf. (Note the wood carved grate. Yup – that was made by Michael, too. It’s the details like this that make this house like no other I’ve ever seen.)

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Here’s Michael showing us the diary of Mary White Forbes that they found in the house.  The entries are dated 1850-1857.

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The kitchen is a story itself. Every single shelf and drawer is completely thought out and made for full function.

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The wood veneer is Black Palm from Ecuador, a renewable resource. (Now’s a good time to mention that 80% of the materials that were taken out of the house at the time of demo were recycled to other homes around New England.)

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Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining room. That low table on the right is one of Michael’s designs made for a show at the Fuller Craft museum.

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Check out these small “floorlights” that connect to the basement below. (Remember those. You’ll see them again.)

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These amazing doors (from Thailand, circa 1780) were bought at auction. They lead to…

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…a small music room in the back of the house.

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Now, let’s go downstairs.  This spooky little pod is the entrance to the future darkroom.

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Of course, we had to go inside.  Here’s Pablo on the other side.

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They’re also working on a screening room that hasn’t been furnished yet. And the little space below is the future wine cellar. See those little skylights? Those are the floor panels we saw in the dining room above.

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I can’t get enough of these beautiful steps. Let’s go upstairs again.

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Here’s another one of those Michael Fitzpatrick grates.

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The entrance to the master bedroom.

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Here’s the TV in the bedroom. On the right is a jewelry box that Michael made for his wife as a wedding gift. This house is a fully wired “smart” house. I think the coolest feature is the keypad near the bed where they can put the house to sleep with the touch of a button: the garage locks, all the lights turn off and the thermostat sets to a predetermined temperature. Need the use the bathroom in the middle of the night? No problem. Motion detectors track their way back to bed and turn off the lights as they’re no longer needed.

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Of course the tub is surrounded by wood.

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Now, let’s go all the way to the top floor.  There’s a large TV room that has a balcony.

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The teak woodwork in the upstairs bathroom was my favorite.

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Out on the balcony, we get a better look at those shingles and the stunning millwork.

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And before we leave, we need to take a look at Michael’s wood shop in the back garage. There are lots of plans to renovate this space next.

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One of Michael’s beautiful veneer topped tables.

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Some more tables with mid-century hairpin legs.

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I’d like to thank Michael for the tour of his beautiful home.

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There are so many other rooms that I didn’t show here because they’re yet to be finished so stay tuned to 43churchst.com for Michael’s updates.

XO

Sue at Home

Valentine’s from PicMonkey

10 Feb

I had every intention of doing something super creative with the kids for their school valentine’s but as we all know: Researching on Pinterest does not a valentine make. So there I was at Target on Sunday night, grabbing a few bags of Hershey Kisses and some clear goody bags to make a little somethin somethin.

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All I needed was the valentine itself. I’ve used PicMonkey to make party invitations before (see Soph’s here and Lily’s here) so I figured I’d let the girls design their own valentine’s with the help of the monkey.  (Before you start thinking this is a sponsored post, I’ll stop you right there. Nope. I just really, really like PicMonkey!)

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Sophia came up with this turquoise and lavendar heart card that includes a peace sign, a smiley face and a little heart, obvs. (Note, we left a little space on each one for them to write their friends names in.)

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I tried to get controlling with Lily’s (as I like to do) and I designed this one on my own but she wasn’t having it. (I thought it was cute, no?)

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So, she got to work on her own!

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And I think it came out much more “Lily”. (Case in point: that butterfly icon over her head.)

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Next I printed sheets of them on some cardstock.

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And here’s the finished “Lily original”.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

XO

Sue at Home

If you’ve never tried PicMonkey, check out their blog for lots of great ideas.

Resolutions

20 Jan

Well, we’re 20 days into 2014. Do you think we should maybe think about some resolutions? I do.

Here they are:

Lose weight. Take better care of my skin. Spend more time with my kids. Have more dates with Pablo.
Yup. They’re all on the list but I’m not going to bore you with that.

Instead, let’s take a look at my house and how I resolve to make it better this year. It’s been three years since we moved in and though the house is virtually unrecognizable from it’s former life, there are a number of things I can do to make it better this year.

1) Paint ceilings. I seem to have a block against painting ceilings because even though I’ve painted the walls of 6 rooms in our house (7 if you count the hallway), I’ve only painted one ceiling. This is the year I get off my ass and tackle this very unexciting task. Notice the creamy gross ceiling in the dining room below. Won’t it look so much better when it’s all crisp and clean?

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2) Get a grownup bed or headboard for our master bedroom. I’m 41 years old. I think maybe it’s time to stop using the headboard that my old roommate found in our apartment building’s garbage room in 1993. I had thought about DIYing one but I’m afraid that fabric+me will end in heartache so I might just have to pony up and buy one like a big girl. (Big news: We’ve already found a steal and are hoping to have this task taken care of by the end of Feb!)

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3) Give up on the playroom. Yup, you read that one right. I keep trying to put lipstick on a pig (like with this and this and this) but I need to face the facts: the room is essentially a storage space for large pink plastic toys and unless I rip out the brown wall-to-wall carpeting, paint the wood paneling, tear down the drop ceiling,  make the fluorescent lighting die a slow painful death, and GET RID OF MOST OF THE TOYS, it’ll never look like a Land of Nod catalog. One day when the toys are less plentiful I’ll put some time, effort, and money into this space but for now – stick a fork in me, I’m done. (I mean, they’ve got a couch, a TV, a place for their toys and…A DISCO BALL. What more could they need?)

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4) Deal with the den. This poor room had been greatly ignored until 2013 when it got some “new” chairs, a custom Suzani-covered ottoman, a mid-century credenza, and some freshly painted window frames it still needs a lot of love. We’re talking art, a decent mantel display, and maybe we’ll finally get the TV up on the wall. But the biggest problem is the lack of insulation. Right now, I’ve got blankets hanging up as curtains to keep the cold out there in these bitter freezing days. It’s working but it would be nice to be able to use this space year round without having to start a fire everytime we go out there.

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5) Paint the exterior trim. I was dilligent enough to get a few estimates last summer but I never got around to choosing someone until it got too late and now I need to wait for the spring. Check out the peeling paint around the door in this picture. Sad. (Maybe while I’m at it, I’ll finally get that door painted, too.)

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6. Reinstate the Purge List. As gross as that sounds, it’s just my method for keeping storage spaces organized. I don’t have a lot of storage areas so I tend to keep those spaces pretty decently organized anyway but I could use a whole house purge. This is how I do it: I type a list of all of the minute storage spaces in the house – every drawer, every medicine cabinet, every closet. Then I tackle them one by one and cross them off the list.  Of course, big projects like the attic or the garage are reserved for full days but if I just go through the individual drawers when I have some spare time, then they’re not very daunting. (And the crossing-off part is highly fulfilling!)

For now, that’s all I’m stressing myself about. Of course, we might buy a new couch for the living room and we may gut the half bath this year but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, okay?

What changes are you planning this year?

XO

Sue at Home

How a Crafting Fail Turned into Something Useful

14 Jan

Last weekend when the girls were begging me to take them to Michael’s to pick up some crafting goodies, I decided we should challenge ourselves to use some of things we already had at home. I took to the attic and found boxes of sticker mosaics they had never finished, bags of beads just begging to be strung, and an old Martha by Mail beading kit.

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I’ve had it for at least 10 years. No joke, I moved this from our NYC apartment, to our townhouse in Union, and then to our house in Westfield. I think I may have attempted it once years ago but it was way too much of a pain in the a$$. Not to be one to give up (even if it takes me 10 years!), I decided to attempt this simple fish. (Please note: this is a kids’ beading kit. But by Martha standards, I think that means that most grown adults will still have trouble doing it.)

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My kids have made a bunch of these kinds of crafts before but none of us had ever attempted anything with beads this small. Well, let me tell you, they suck. I got through the second step and decided to bail. Yup, that’s right. I quit in front of my kids.

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But all was not lost because I figured I could use the beads and wire to make something I’ve needed for a long time: wine charms. Those are the little rings of beads that you can link onto a wine glass stem so I don’t mix up my reisling (yum!) with someone else’s chardonnay (no thank you).

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Once Sophia saw what I was up to and how easy it was (just twist the end in a loop, stick on some beads and make a hook on the other end), she jumped in and helped me.

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Surely, they are very “homemade” looking but I guess that just means that everytime I use them, I’ll remember making them with Sophia. (She even thinks we can hang them on juice box straws for kids’ parties!)

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I even used one of the little bead boxes from the kit to keep them in.

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So Martha Stewart, it’s not what you planned but I think it came out a little more perfect than you could ever imagine.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. I mean, what was I going to do with that little beaded fish anyway?

Keeping Up with the Ernetas

8 Jan

Hi! Did you forget that I exist? I know, it’s been forever since I’ve posted so I’d thought I’d give you a little catch-up post to let you know what’s been happening in my life since Halloween.

I chopped my hair off. (I know I’m no Daria but I’m still digging it.)

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The girls and I took the train up to CT to my parents’ new house with a little stopover at Grand Central. (Isn’t NYC architecture just amazing?)

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Pablo met us up there and we had a great weekend with perfect weather.

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Our friends–with their 17 month-old twins–came to our house for a sleepover. Doesn’t it seem that’s the only way for adults with kids to socialize without spending a fortune on babysitters?

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I got a new runner for the hallway from One Kings Lane. (Frames with family pics and new lighting are on my to-do list.)

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I fixed some cracked and peeling paint in the bathroom. (Now if everyone could just make sure the shower curtain is totally closed from now on, then we won’t have this problem again.)

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We took the girls to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

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They loved it!

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We went back to CT for Thanksgiving and fell in love with my parents’ new house a little more.

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On the beach with their cousin, Jonathan. (I think I need to retake this picture every year.)

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Thanksgiving day beach cartwheels.

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Arts and crafts in Mimi’s kitchen.

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I took some pictures of my parents on their porch for their Christmas cards. Aren’t they cute?

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I was totally inspired by this washi tape Eiffel Tower at the Uniqlo spring presentation. (Maybe you’ll see it reproduced in Soph’s room soon.)

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I went to Sophia’s class to do a presentation on Matisse. For the project–inspired by Matisse’s cut outs the kids had to work together to create a themed picture without drawing their shapes on paper before cutting. They had to “draw with scissors”. 

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Here’s one of their awesome masterpieces.

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We saw Santa and the Mrs.

(Local friends: He goes to the Trailside Center in Mountainside one day each December. It’s free, you can take as many pictures as you want, and get this…NO LINE! You’ll never wait at the mall again. You’re welcome.)

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We found Eugene, our elf…

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…again and again. (Look hard. He’s there, too.)

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I wrapped some gifts. (Paper from Minted.)

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We put up the tree (and watched countless Christmas movies).

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I went to Miami for work and stayed at the James Hotel. (Check out this little nook in my charming room.)

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We shot a fashion story for my day job at Wynwood in Miami. (You can see the completed story in the March issue of Ladies’ Home Journal.)

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We hung up Christmas cards with washi tape. Thanks to everyone who sent one!

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The girls made a gingerbread house with Mimi. (Back in Connecticut!) I love Lily’s “cloth napkin kerchief”. We need to get these kids some hairnets!

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We had a visit from Ariel and Eric. (I take no credit for this craziness. My mom “knows them”.)

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The girls made wishes with Ariel’s wish dust (aka glitter).

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They sang some Christmas carols with Ariel and Eric, too. The girls LOVED it – especially because they got to share it with their new CT friend, Emma. (Her dad is one of the guys who built my parents’ house!)

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Santa came!

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And he delivered. (That’s my Christmas present you’re hearing in the background: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!)

We met a friendly beluga whale at Mystic Aquarium.

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It was freezing but we had such a hard time leaving Juno. Check out how playful he was:

I saw Prince (!!!!!!!) at Mohegan Sun…

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…with my dad!

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We celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends on Long Island. (Five families with 11 kids total, all sleeping under one roof! Thanks for hosting Jeff & Di!)

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And then it snowed. A lot.

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And that brings us up to date! More home posts coming soon…okay?

XO

Sue at Home

Photo Wall or My New Favorite Thing In My House

9 Dec

I first told you about my obsession with oversized photo displays back in October 2012 when I spied this awesome picture from Palihouse on Dilly Dallas.

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Just to recap: I know that displaying personal pictures might not be #1 on every decorators must-do list (in fact, it’s usually on their NO list) but to me personal pictures are the way to keep a home looking, well…personal. And here’s the thing: I take a LOT of pictures. So, instead of picking a few great ones, framing them, hanging them up and calling it a day, I take a lot and then… they sit in my computer (and on Flickr and Shutterfly). The good part is that I don’t have to make any decisions (yeah!) but the bad part is that no one else gets to see them. And that’s just wrong. I mean, how can I keep pictures like these to myself:

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So, I thought long and hard about how to do my photo wall. Should I create photo wallpaper like this Tribeca home by Rinaldi Interiors?

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Nope. Too permanent. I want something that’s changeable. That certainly rules out something like this. I mean, how could I choose just one picture?

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Hmm…maybe a mix of small frames, like this. (Yup, that’s Soph modeling in LHJ!) But, nah. Again, it’s too permanent and too much work to use the huge number of pictures I want to use.

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So, I decided to just cover a wall with pictures. No frames. Nothing permanent. I even thought about painting on some magnetic paint and then using tiny magnets but I figured there was an easier way. Tape. Just little rolls of Scotch tape on the back of each pic. But it was a little more methodical than just tape and pictures. Here is how I made it happen.

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Step 1: Set some rules for the pictures you want to include. Color or black and white? All horizontal, all vertical or a mix of both? Various sizes or just 4×6? Just immediate family, extended family or include friends, too? I decided on:

- color pictures (I mean, how could I go black and white when I’ve got a kid with baby blues like Lily’s?)

- a mix of horizontal and vertical (because I clearly have problems editing)

-  just 4×6 (to keep it to a graphic grid)

- and only immediate family. I know that family part might be confusing but there are other places to display extended family and friends and I wanted to keep this more focused.

Step 2: Order Prints. I took quite a few long nights on the couch going through all my pictures and ordering HUNDREDS of them. I figured that it had been years since I had actually ordered prints so even if some pics didn’t make it into the mix, they were still lots of favorites so it wouldn’t hurt to have some extra prints on hand. (I highly recommend using a print plan on Shutterfly to keep the cost down.) You can imagine my joy when this arrived:

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Step 3: Edit into groups. First I split them into horizontal and vertical pictures and then I created three sub-categories: 1) Sophia without Lily (could include me and Pablo), 2) Lily without Sophia (again, parents are okay), and 3) Miscellaneous (could be just me and Pablo, all 4 of us, just him, just me, or the two girls together). Now I know this sounds slightly insane (or let’s just say it…totally anal)  but there was a reason for the madness. I really wanted to include an equal number of each kid. Because you know they’ll be counting! And when one kid has been around for 8 years and one has only been around for 5, you can end up with an uneven mix.

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Step 4: Use a level to mark your middle line and start taping. I just used one quick roll of scotch tape on the back of each one as I placed them. I tried to keep it balanced with colors and close-ups vs. pulled-back shots. And I tried a balance of posed and candids. And even a good mix of various ages. It looks random but there was a method to the madness.

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I used the level again every few rows to keep myself on track but I just eyeballed the distance between the pictures. Once I had 4 rows of vertical pictures (with 16 in each row), and 4 rows of horizontal (with 11 in each row), I noticed a problem: I had a lot more horizontal left over. So, I added a few extra rows of horizontal on the top and the bottom. And I have every intention of adding more rows over time but don’t tell Pablo: he thinks there are plenty already. But let’s face it; is he really going to fight seeing more pictures of his kids? I think not.

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After I stood back and took a look, I had to move a bunch around to keep it balanced. But once I had them in the places I wanted them in, I retaped each one with a piece in each corner. And there you have it: my new favorite thing in the whole house.

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We love sitting at the dining table and looking at all the awesome memories. And guests really love it too. It’s certainly a conversation piece!

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Let’s take a closer look at some ridiculously geeky stats about the 141 pictures that made the cut:

106 were taken outdoors (that’s 75%!).

There are 56 pairs of sunglasses, 44 bathing suits, 27 hats, 11 Halloween costumes and 5 appearances by Sophia’s beloved silver sequin-covered cardigan.

Almost half were taken close to home in New Jersey or New York, while a whopping 23% of them were taken in Aruba (more on that here and here). Obviously, we like taking pictures on vacation because 19% were in New England and another 19% were in Florida. Nevis and the Bahamas round it out with one each.

I already mentioned that there are 87 pictures of each of the girls. There are 25 of Pablo and only 17 of me. And the reason for that lies here: I took 84% of them.

(Ignore the spiders on the lamp. I took these in October!)

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So, I guess the take-away from those stats is this: I’ll continue to get outside to get some great shots, I’ll never take a vacation without the camera, and I need to give someone else the camera more often.

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So, tell me…how do you display your family pictures? I’m currently working on a display of extended family pictures in our hallway. The plan is to use all black and white photos and solid black frames with mattes. Wish me luck!

XO

Sue at Home

P.S Congrats to Katie who won my Minted giveaway!

A Giveaway and Holiday Cards with Minted

19 Nov

That’s right, people. You heard it here first. I’ve decided to go rogue and try a different company for my Christmas cards this year. The winner is Minted! Let’s look at the 6 reasons I’m making the switch.

#1 Minted makes my super cool business cards and I love them. 

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How cute is it that my biz cards are totally personal on the back, too?

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#2 Great designs with lots of options

They offer over 1000 holiday designs in all. Plus the option to change the design based on your holiday needs.  For example, this design (one of my favorites called Etched) can be changed from Happy Holidays…

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…to Merry Christmas…

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…or even Happy New Year.etched happy

#3 Super Searching Tool

Before you start having heart palpitations thinking about how you’ll never be able to pick just one, fret not! Because Minted offers one of the coolest holiday card search tools I’ve ever seen: Find It Fast.

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Simply upload a photo you’re considering and Find It Fast drops it into all of the designs. It’s a quick and simple way to see which ones are going to work and which ones to skip over (I’m talking to you Little Joy! maybe you’ll work for someone else’s pictures but you need to get your words off of my kid’s face!)

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#4 Supporting independent artists

Another thing that sets Minted apart is that the designs are submitted by thousands of independent designers. You could even be a Minted designer! Check out how to submit your designs by clicking here. Not creative? You can still be part of the democracy by voting for designs you like here.

And I love that when you pick a style you like, there’s a link to read a little bit more about the designer. One of my favorites this year, We Are Family, is designed by Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma in Columbus, Ohio. You can read more about Karly and see more of her designs here.

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#5 More than just great cards

Just click on Art Prints or Party Decor if you want your head to explode.  I mean, how about this Heart Snapshot custom art? Love it!

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Or in the party decor section, this 10 foot gold bunting? Yes please!

gold bunting

#6 A Minted Giveaway

I know you thought I was going to say that the reason I picked Minted is because they sponsored this post, but you’re wrong. Sure. They are picking up most of the tab for my cards this year but they weren’t the only company that offered so know that I’m using Minted because I want to, not because I have to.

But I was feeling a little bribed (in a good way!) when they agreed to a $75 giveaway right here on Sue at Home. Because you know the only thing I love more than scoring a deal for myself is scoring one for you!

Giveaway details:

Prize: A gift certificate code worth $75 towards products on Minted.com

Number of Winners: One

How to enter: Leave a comment telling me what you want for Christmas (or whatever holiday that you celebrate)!

Giveaway closes: Friday, November 22nd at 9 pm

One entry per email address permitted. Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Winner will be posted on Sue at Home.

Thanks for entering!

XO

Sue at Home

Black Window Trim

18 Nov

Are you ready to see my den go through a pretty update? Good. Me too. Reminder: we had a pretty new Suzani-covered ottoman, some painted thrift store dining chairs and a new credenza.

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But the windows? Not so pretty.

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I had considered some kind of window treatment and I never knew what to do so I hit Pinterest for some inspiration. All I needed was to search for “sunroom” to figure it out.

via Pinterest (anyone know the actual source?)

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via Spanish ELLE Decor black trim elle dec

That’s right, folks. We’re painting our gross dirty-looking white-washed window trim black. First, we started out by removing the screens and the crossbars and giving the windows a good scrub from the inside and outside. (I highly recommend an indoor assistant when you’re windexing outside!)

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(Gratuitous photo of Pablo’s guns.)

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I knew the cleaning would help but it was surprised by what a huge difference it made to take off the screen and crossbars so we immediately made a decision to keep the crossbars off after we were done. (The screens will stay off til next spring.) Before we get into the painting, I just wanted to review my favorite painting tools: HANDy Paint Pail with liners, and the Shortcut paintbrush. Just get ‘em and thank me later.

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When I got home, I removed all of the window locks and taped off the cranks. The table in my den looked like this hot mess.

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And my grody white-washed windows looked like this.

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Next, I pulled the moulding around the windows off  which left this pretty sight.

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After a  thorough cleaning I was ready to paint. Even just the primer was a very welcome fix!

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In fact, I seriously considered just skipping the black and leaving it all crisp and white. (Doesn’t primer look great sometimes?)

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But I stayed on task and started to add my black paint.

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Another coat and I was ready to put the mouldings and locks back on. Ta da! I love the big impact it makes. What do you think?

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I also popped up to the attic and found an unused Jamie Young lamp that we’ve had for years. (I picked up the shade at Target on clearance for $11.) Pablo loves it and I think it really completes the room.

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And since we’re talking about the den, I thought I’d give you a little bit of an update on the TV placement. I had told you back in this post that it was going to be mounted on the wall above the piano or over the credenza but I pointed out that the wiring would make the credenza option tough. A few of you recommended switching the piano and credenza and though we had ruled that out for various reasons, we decided to give it a try one last time.  Try to visualize this TV on the wall instead of just sitting on the credenza. What do you think? I feel like the credenza looks a little wimpy in that space.

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And I’m not crazy about the piano under that opening either.

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But the bigger problem with this switch is the piano is a lot deeper than the credenza and it kinda wrecks the pass-through to the deck. Here’s a shot with the credenza in place and keep in mind that the piano is about 10 inches deeper so it really juts out into the room. So that rules out moving the piano over there.

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But how about hanging the TV above the credenza? Hmmm…that’s not so great either. If we hang the TV there, you’ll see the side of the hanging mechanism and arm when you walk into the room. Not pretty.

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So, we’re back to the drawing board with the TV. The plan is to hang it above the piano. If it’s there, we can see the TV without making it the focal point of the room. It’s not perfect, I know, but it’ll function. And I’m busy planning a gallery wall above the credenza. Hey, maybe I’ll actually tackle that mantle soon, too!

Just to keep it real folks, here’s what the room looked the other night while the girls zoned out to the TV and Pablo played the piano. I know I’ve got a great looking family but can we discuss that gorgeous black trim on the windows?

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Sue at Home

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