She Buys Sea Shells At The Online Store

Let me tell you something that you probably already know: in modern-day America it is extremely difficult to escape the siren call of a coastal decor theme.

I have succumbed. But in a tasteful, understated way (I think). I believe that for the most part, I have successfully avoided coastal kitch but still created a tranquil space reminiscent of the beach. I say “for the most part” because there are two things in this bedroom-turned-den/tv room that border on the questionable but really give me a lot of pleasure: the starfish finial on the curtain rod and the single, delicate string of starfish and shells that I hung up with the curtains.

this is still tasteful and understated, right?

I came by the curtain rod legitimately.  This is the smallest bedroom – 10 ft x 13 ft – and it was decorated for a pint-sized surfer dude and used as a baby nursery. The rod was left behind by the previous owners. In fact, they also left the same rod in white in one of the other bedrooms. I spray painted the bronze rod and hardware to a more compatible sand color but left the resin finals alone.

We planned on using this as a guest room but realized that would only work if there were no people or suitcases in it. The space between the edge of that mattress and the closet doors is only 12″.


For the whole time we’ve been here, we’ve called this room “the baby room”. Now we call it the “baby tv room”. We’re very clever! It’s a tiny informal hideaway for TV viewing, needle pointing and cocktail-ing when inclement weather stops us from going outside.

The photos of the new paint color look different in every shot because they were taken at different times of the day on several devices.

The Ikea love seat turned out to be a great thing. It was very easy and trouble-free to put together. Even putting the slip cover on was no big deal. Online reviews of this particular Ikea piece all made remarks about how putting the cover on was the hardest part of the job, but I guess most online reviews for Ikea things are done by the youngs who may have never met up with a slipcover before and are lacking real life experience about how slipcovers work.  That slip cover gives a very casual, summery feel to the place – perfect for the effect I am going for here. It’s impossible to get a clean shot of this room – it’s just too small.

Still a work in progress but these are the bones of it. I’m thinking of covering that black footstool with a burlap coffee bean bag.

There’s still work to be done before I can call this finished. I just can’t get that lamp color right – it’s been bronze, unintentionally silver, bright glossy white, iridescent pearly white and today its getting a shower of Rustoleum “Sand” gloss (same as the curtain rod). They all look wrong 😦 . I have to give the upholstery of that rocker a good scrubbing. It was one of Sami’s happy trash pile garbage day finds from several years ago and he wont give it up even though I have made it quite clear that IT IS SPOILING MY PERFECT ROOM. Ah, well the things we do for love – am I right, ladies?

Here’s what I used to accomplished a tranquil beachy/coastal feel without mermaids, seahorses, coral, surf boards or wooden signs that say things about sand between your toes :

  • a laid back color scheme of aqua, beige and white
  • curtains that have a white-on-white nautical rope design ( a happy coincidence – I bought these at Christmas Tree Shops last year because they were the only $10 pair in the store on the day I went).
  • a string of starfish and shells hung with the curtains that I got from a too-expensive online place that was on sale for an amazing $8.99. Nothing else in that shop is anywhere near that price, sale or not.
  • a $20.00 watercolor of dune fencing also from Christmas Tree Shops that I bought on impulse last year but never hung.
  • a hurricane glass with sea glass-ish beads from Joann Fabrics to hold the TV remotes.
  • place mats from Amazon made of sail cloth strips interwoven with twisted banana leaf  to tie together the odd bits of furniture.
  • a clearance-priced rattan tray from Hobby Lobby.
  • a ceramic pot in a basket weave pattern from Christmas Tree Shops.
  • a stretched out duck-like shore bird.

Note – if you don’t know Christmas Tree Shops, start now. It’s not a Christmas store, it’s a …. I don’t know. A store full of stuff you don’t need but cannot resist buying. It’s a chain that started in the northeast and NJ had several locations. The Jacksonville store (only 2 in Florida! where they’re known as andThat!) opened shortly after I moved here. It’s ~ 40 miles away from where I live, but I mange somehow [cough] to get there at least once a month. And I never walk-out empty handed.





Clouds In My Birdbath

My little concrete birdbath finally made it to Florida. I love this thing and there we so many chances to get it here that were missed. We forgot to put it on the original moving van, the makeup van had 8 boxes of genuine junk from the NJ garage that Sami couldn’t live without but he didn’t think to add the birdbath to it. It’s of short stature but has a might weight so no way could it fly down with Sami or our daughter. Driving back to NJ to get it was impractical; Sami already had his car loaded with more of his junk and had no room to throw it in for the final drive down. It was looking like it was going tobe left behind for the new owners of our NJ house.

The plan was that as soon as the house was under contract, Sami would pack his car, leave it in the garage, grab his suitcases and move to FL permanently. When the time came for closing on the house, he’d fly up and then drive his already-loaded car down here. Good bye forever New Jersey (love you forever New jersey 😦  ). But in this day and age of secure electronic signatures on legally binding documents, turns out we don’t have to be physically present for the signing.

So, Sami hired a car transport company to pick up the car and bring it down and then he made a side deal with the driver to (unofficially) carry the birdbath as well.  Two days and an extra $50 later, my little birdbath and I were reunited.

My final plan is to move it inside the screen enclosure when the pool is finally finished* and add one of these little solar fountains to it. The joy of a birdbath with no actual bird mess! It’s brilliant. Until then, it’s sitting in the front shrubbery bed, incubating mosquitoes.

*That’s a cruel joke. The pool is never going to be finished. [cry face]

Urgent Need For Reader Input

Friday 6/16 Revised update 6/19: I ordered the full bed. The bedroom is big enough to support a foot board – the mattress isn’t here yet (or even selected) and I may have to go with something less kitchy than my sentimental vintage orchid lamp but here it is:


IMG_2015 The package(s) came sooner than expected and it weighs a ton. the quality of the finish is wonderful – I’m really pleased with it. Also, remember when I said you can see into the master bedroom as you come up the main hallway from the front door to the family room? Well, the foot board is kind of showcased in the door frame, so Whole Shebang was the right call here. Now everyone who passes by can admire it, not just me.

Wednesday update Polling Results: the Whole Shebangers outnumbered the Headboard Only crown by 2-1. So I just bought the Whole Shebang, to be delivered by the end of the week.

Now I guess I should go out and buy that mattress.


Here’s a list of posts I have started:

  • how the top of my head is going to blow off if the pool contractor doesn’t get his rear in gear
  • a new Chelsea Cooks! post called “Meemaw’s Xanax Smoothie (Also good for little Abie’s bottle) “, but you’d have to understand Hillary’s mental breakdown AND the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to get that
  • a rare serious post about national security
  • buying roadside shrimp , which is a big thing in this neck of the woods. Here’s my favorite late night tv ad about it. 

But instead, I have a design question that I need your input on. When we moved to the new house, I brought my 75 year old bedroom furniture with me except for the headboard. I fully intended to buy something new as soon as we got here but that didn’t happen. Finally I found a complimentary bed/headboard that I am really excited about but I can’t decide if I should get just the headboard, or the whole shebang: headboard, footboard, side rails and slats.


Isn’t it snazzy? My heart wants the whole shebang because It’s more of A THING but my head knows that the headboard alone will be easier to live with , crashed toe-wise and will make the bed-making easier. The 4 people in my family that I consulted are split 50-50 and so I turn to you to help me decide.

What would you do? Headboard alone or full set up? (I expect a yuge participation level here , even from the silent lurkers. I need your help!)

12 noon – MIDDAY UPDATE  The voting is running in favor of the whole shebang. (8 to 3)

This bed is available at many online sites under different names. Here’s one that allows magnification so you can ooh and ahh at the mottled tortoiseshell-like finish and the ornate gold connectors*.  The best deal I found so far is at Throw in a 10% off coupon and that brings the price down to $365.07 with free shipping and no tax. You almost HAVE TO BUY IT for that price.

*I forgot to remind you that I am now in my Eva Gabor**  period of life (except without the diamonds and Merv Griffin) and this styling completely suits that.

** Without question the best Gabor.

I Want To Share This With You

hwIt’s more  of a confession rather than a sharing. In a complete reversal of everything I have ever believed in, I have to tell you that I am now a fan of painted furniture.

It all started because if you approach my front door, you can look through the side light and see all the way up the hallway and through a little ante room to gawk at a slice of my bedroom – the slice where I keep the chest of drawers that holds my underwear. I would get out of the shower and make my way over to that dresser to pick out something to put on and realized with shock that the unexpected arrival of the FedEx guy or even a dog walker with good vision could see something that could never be unseen again. So I got the idea that I could minimize the risk of being seen au naturale by putting a small dresser to put into the big closet.

FullSizeRender (40)So I took to the local Craigslist and found the perfect dresser on the first shot. It was the right size and color and looked very much like the simple, unadorned cabinetry in the adjacent bathroom. It was made of solid wood and the seller was only asking $75. So I sent a text and sadly found out that the item was in a second floor bedroom. That killed the deal for me b/c I can barely navigate a set of steps myself, let alone wrangling a solid wood dresser. Later that same day, the seller texted me to say that if I was still interested she would have the dresser brought downstairs for me. So arrangements were made for pick up the next day at 12:30.

In the end, it didn’t work out. As I pulled up to the address, the small front yard was filled with dishes, furniture, lamps etc for sale and she was slouched in a chair with her feet up on the porch railing. I will spare you the scathing description that I treated my husband and brother-in-law to but it will suffice to tell you that the seller was a dolt  who was having a half-hearted house sale to avoid eviction. The dresser was not downstairs, she didn’t know anyone who could help bring it down, was unaware of a local gathering spot to hire day laborers and so on. FYI  I drove 40 miles to get there and she knew what time I would arrive so I wouldn’t think it would be too much to expect a text or call to say don’t come today. To put it kindly, my judgement was that she was not familiar with or capable of this type of expected behavior.

As we walked out of the townhouse and back into the outdoor yard sale, there was a large bowl that had fallen to the sidewalk and smashed.  I noticed it when I came in and now , the woman apologized for the mess and pushed some of the pieces to the side with her foot. Then she went back to slouching in the porch chair.  As I drove away, my last sight of her was as she was raising her feet to put back up on the porch railing. The next day my BIL arranged for a guy with a truck to fetch the dresser and deliver it to me but she never returned his texts or phone calls. I tried reaching her again via text but she never responded. Five days later the dresser disappeared from Craigslist.

Not that I’m bitter.

But it left me with a hole in my consumer’s heart where a dresser should be. I kept my eye on CL and other online market places and second-hand shops looking for something similar. I gave up the matching bathroom cabinet idea but stuck to the specs of a certain size, 5 drawers and solid wood. And one day last week, I came across this:


Painted furniture! I know, right? I always railed against the ruination of good vintage furniture by the army of talentless amateur chalk painters never in a million years thought I’d own painted furniture myself but everything about this was right, even my favorite shade of green. It was love at first sight. And to complete my humiliation, as I was waiting for the shop owner to find somebody to get this into my car, I spotted this desk:


I had already been looking around for a desk for the guest bedroom and here was the perfect one right in front of me. Remember when I said it was love at first sight for the green dresser? I laugh now  that I know what real love is.  I bought this on the spot and came back for it the next day. They threw in that crystal lamp, too.

In my defense, I have to tell you that these items are not chalk painted.  They are painted with Farmhouse Paints, a resin-based acrylic paint that is more durable than chalk paint. The floor clerk, the register person and the shop owner all used that same phrase  and practically sniffed in disdain when forced to utter the distasteful words “chalk paint”. This greatly appeals to the serious snob in me (a snob who haunts Craigslist, junk stores and the Dollar Tree). So now, anyone who comes into my house will have to suffer immediate correction of any attempt to say the words “chalk paint” and the same casual but prideful reference to Farmhouse Paint. Come visit me and hear it for yourself!

ns smAnd further more, yesterday I bought a solid but messed up nightstand for $15, also for the guest room. Here’s the thing: coincidentally the shop that sold the Farmhouse painted furniture also sells Farmhouse Paint. And the person who did the work on the desk told me that she paints things people already have. So now look where we are: I’m on the brink of turning into a painter of wood furniture myself. Although really, if I can slip it by Sami without too much of what we old marrieds call “discussion”, I might just take this over to her and ask her to give it the works in Creamy Linen with Aqua Provence accents.

I know what you’re thinking. I can’t even believe it myself.





The Future’s So Bright

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE:  We had some neighbors over for coffee yesterday and they told us that while they were walking their dog the night before, they noticed that the rooftop dome on the outside end of the tube was lit up. That’s most likely from the integrated nightlight. So now I have to say that we’re less Close Encounters of the Third Kind and more Luxor Hotel in Vegas. 



The house we bought in Florida has a small kitchen in the center of the building. Lots of openings to the air and light of other rooms but no natural light of it’s own. There are only a few hours a day that you don’t need to turn on the ceiling lights to see what you’re doing. I don’t know where I got the idea – certainly, I don’t know anyone who has this nor have I even seen one in person – but I thought it would be nice to have a solar tube installed to brighten things up. I started asking around about it on Wednesday and by noon Friday, we had one installed.

It’s a 14″ round opening in the ceiling connected to the outside through a mirrored tube that runs through the attic. And man! Is this thing bright! Here’s a picture of it:


Okay seriously. After living in the dimness, the light does seem just that bright. Here’s the real picture:


So hard to convey what this really looks like in a photo but i think the shadows on the floor will give you some idea. Fortunately, it brings in only light, not direct sunbeams or heat. I took about 35 shots of the pre-tubed kitchen for comparison but you can’t really get a realistic picture from those so no sense posting.

Also, we opted to  get a small solar powered LED nightlight put into the tube and dudes, the effect is like moonlight. A tube full of moonlight in my kitchen. It just so happens I was roaming around the house today at 4 am admiring the indoor moonlight from different angles when Sami got up to go to the bathroom. I cheerfully invited him to join me but he pretended he didn’t hear me and went straight back to bed. Rude. So now it’s up to you to admire it:


I know this is meaningless to you and these pictures are dumb. Just humor me, ok? I really love this thing.