Sunday, 7 November 2010

Time to buy a house?

Not really, but I'm getting itchy to get out of this place.  The plan as I understand it (though it seems to change depending on who we're talking to...) is to move stateside before we start having kids.  That's not all that far away for us (a couple years) so I've already started looking at potential home locations.
Dan wants to be near a city because he thinks that he can't get a job anywhere but a city.  I'm not sure what he thinks people do in rural areas, but my guess it that he thinks that if we live in Maine he has to be a lumberjack or fisherman, so I have conceded to looking at places in and around Boston.  I love Bean town, so I'm not totally opposed to to it, I just want a home that's detached, has a bit of a yard, is safe and has decent schools (just thinking ahead) and more than 1 bathroom.
So here's my shortlist for pretend homes (all taken from

4 bed, 3 bath, not much land though.  Close to public transport and the coast.  No interior pictures though, always makes me a bit wary when looking at homes from abroad.

3 Bed, 2 Bath, not much land, but right on a lake with a nice big deck.  No interior pics, but close to transport as well so the hubby can get into the city.

4 Bed, 2 Bath, within walking distance to transport, but close to the tracks, so it may be loud (although we're on the flight path to Heathrow, and we don't even notice the planes anymore).  Interior is really dark, but the walls are painted burgandy and olive. 

3 bed, 2 bath, nice big yard front and back.  The current owners are obsessed with that green color, as the entire interior is the same color as the exterior.  Again, near the train track, but that may not be a big deal...

So that concludes our pretend house tour in the Greater Boston area.  A girl can dream.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Oh, snap!

It's been a loooooong time since I wrote something here...  this is entirely due to a Stateside vacation and my new job.

We went back to my hometown in Maine for a nice 2 week vacation that was much needed.

That's my hometown of Ogunquit, ME.

Complete with a trip to Beantown...

... and a trip to the lake.

And what trip to Maine would be complete without some Lobstah?

We also hung out with my niece Gretchen...

She wasn't a huge fan of the flash on the camera...


... or Lobster.

Anyway, a great holiday, then a new job upon my return.  I'm glad to be doing something to advance my career, finally!  I'll try to keep up with this as much as I can.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Homeward Bound!

We're heading to Maine in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait!  Family, friends, beach, lobster.  What's not to love?  D's a champ for taking all of our vacations to Maine.  I definitely owe him a non-Maine holiday.  Maybe I can take him on a tour of Italy?

by Gaston Batistini

Anyway, the reason I mention the trip is because I found this images at Country Living of this bright and cheery cottage that could be plopped right on any spot along the Maine coast, and I think it's time to brighten things up around here.

Here are some nice things to brighten up your space!

In the UK:

1. Philippe Starck for Kartell La Boheme Thin Stool, £91 at John Lewis; 2. Optic dome easy fit ceiling light, £20 at BHS; 3. Roxie Table Runner, £18 at Habitat; 4. Green polka cushion, £8 at Debenhams; 5. SKRUVSTA Swivel armchair, £79.99 at Ikea; 6.  Colourful Metal Storage Trunk & Seat, £119 at Graham&Green; 7. Caroline Yellow Glass Table Lamp, £79 at Heal's.

In the US:

 1. Mod Green Table Lamp, $34.95 at Crate&Barrel; 2. Art Fire Argento Pillow, $39.99 at Traget; 3. Amisco Eclectik Madrid Accent Chair, $427 at Walmart; 4. Allie Braid Rug, from $54.99 at JCPenney; 5. Copper Leaves Mirror, $149.95 at Pier1; 6. Vintage Floral Tuffet, $79.99 at Pottery Barn; 7. kate spade "Camelia Avenue" Posy Vase Collection, $25 each at Macy's.

I think I'm going to go out and buy that trunk at G&G.  We've been needing some kind of footstool for a while.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Collecting Stuff

I love clusters of objects.  Exhibit A:

You can spend not all that much money to throw together a group of objects that make you smile.  Ours was only about £20 [plus that cost of the Rolling Stone mag... I think it was £6 or something], but you can do it with any old crap you find around your home. 

from HGTV, and Country Living, and Living, Etc.

Time to bring out those collections.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Living room update

I've decided that I'm just going to paint, then ask questions later.  I'm sure that my expert painting abilities will increase the value of the flat and thereby please our landlord [this is how I'm rationalizing it to myself anyway].  If they don't like it, I'll repaint it in the piss color that it is now before we go - which won't be any time soon.

Our living room is currently a bit blah.  I'm trying to jazz it up with some coral and turquoise [in our cushions, accessories, artworks, etc.].  I'll give you a little taster of the stuff I have so far:

The worst part are the walls, carpet and the sofa [affectionately referred to as 'the turd'].  To finish it off, I want to paint the walls and buy/make a slipcover for the sofa, since we can't do anything about the rug.  Since we don't plan on living here forever, we don't want to invest too much into any of our furnishings [hence the Ikea furniture], but I am handy enough to make most things myself.  The side tables are hand-me-downs from the in-laws, that I've repainted and covered in tiles [not bad for my first try... it looks better in the picture than it does in real life], total cost £30 for the set.  I got the blue spotted cushions at work for £10 a piece [50% off!], and the coral cushions I got at Debenhams for £12.50 each [SALE!].  I put up the shelf myself [v. easy] for about £20 at Homebase, and the fake plant on the left and A4 black frame and plant pot on the right [ignore the dead plant inside] from Homebase as well for about £15.  The turquoise frames on the left, fish bottle and wood block on the right are from TK Maxx [just like TJ Maxx stateside] for about £16, and all the candles were gifts [we love free stuff!].  I put together the frames on the wall of all of my favorite musicians [and The Boss for D] using some of my magazine cut-outs, printed black and white photos, and cheap-o Ikea frames.  We're getting there.

 This is what I would like it to look like:

from House of Design & StyleMarjorie Skouras Designs, Apartment Therapy, and House of Turquoise

Elements from each anyway.  I like the idea of painting one section in coral, with white and turquoise accents.  I LOVE clusters of artworks, and if I could afford that gorgeous chandelier, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Now I just need to find a good color for the walls, and slipcover for the sofa [or some fabric and a sewing machine].

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Child, your living's easy.

Summertime.  It's the first day that it has been gray here in a good long time, and it's much needed.  I never thought I'd say that about this place.  I think it's time to reflect on the amazing weather that we've had here.  Sunny and hot [too hot for work without AC, but nice for laying in the park].  That's the way summer should be.  Sun, sand, tan [but wear sunscreen!].

So here's a pretty little patio area to relax in on one of those lovely, hot summer days, mojito in hand, some classic rock on the radio...

from My Home Ideas

What an adorable little patio area.  Love the mix of color and pattern.  If I wasn't such a plant murderer [and we actually had some outdoor space], we could grow some little palms outside [our neighbors have some], and then I'd have somewhere to stick that gorgeous little parasol in.  See below for where to buy.

In the UK:

 1. Darla Picnic Damask Green Quilting Fabric by Tanya Whelan, £10.99 per meter at; 2. ALVINE FLORA Cushion, £19.99 at Ikea; 3.  Pink Square Slab Seat, £23.99 at Cargo; 4. Natura Rug, £52.99 at; 5. ÄPPLARÖ bench, £59.99 at Ikea; 6. CURCUMA Potted plant , £9.99 at ikea; 7.  Vintaged Rose Plant Pots, £39.50 at Graham&Green; 8.  Brightly Coloured Embroidered Cushions, £28.50 at Graham&Green; 9.  Embroidered Gypsy Caravan Cushions, £32 at Greaham&Green; 10. Traditional Chinese Floral Fancy Blue Paper Parasol, £9.99 at

In the US:

1. Home Decor Fabrics-Waverly Harmonics Essence Leaf, $17.99 at Jo-Ann's Fabrics; 2. Vintage Embroidered Bird Pillow, $22.95 at Pier1; 3. Floral Paper Parasol w/ Green Rings, $7.95 at; 4. Seventeen Flirt Bubbles Rug Collection - Pink, from $49.99 at Target; 5. International Caravan Acacia Patio Trinidad Bench, $139.99 at Walmart; 6.  Floral Relief Planters with Saucers, $9.95 at Crate&Barrel; 7. Potted Agave, $39.95 at Pier1; 8. Floral Cotton Pillow, $19.38 at Pier1; 9. Marrakech Decorative Pillow, $19.99 at Target; 10. Casabelle Ottoman Cushion, $44.95 at Pier1.

And the sun's trying to come out...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I'm a sucker for Country Living magazine.  My mom gets it, and I think that's why I still like it.  Anyway, since I can't get it over here [well, I can, but I don't think it's worth £7 a pop], I check it all out online.  Now these are a little old [like 2 years], but still amazing.  I really want to makeover my bedroom, so here's some inspiration!  All images are from Country Living.
I'm not usually a fan of the sun/moon/stars thing, but I love how understated this space is.  Vintage and eclectic.

I love open brickwork.  D knows this, and I'm really hankering for an apartment with this feature, though it's easier to find in old renovated warehouses... we'll keep looking...

Beautiful for a little girls room, or a spare bedroom.  If only I could remember how to knit/crochet... at least I still have the afghan that my grandmother made me.

Yellow!  Love the mix of color and pattern here.  The only problem with this style is that D won't think that anything matches and reject it right away.  He already doesn't like the fact that we have dark sheets and a white duvet cover...

This one is so minimal, but rustic and cozy.  If we were back in Maine, this would be the one to go for... it would fit the hubby's matching criteria [although he may not like the dark walls...].

It's almost like a fancy hotel suite.  I love mixing white with a small dose of color.  A bit too white for us, but it's beautiful nonetheless.

So D's a giant and doesn't like sloping roofs.  I don't blame him.  but I love the open beams and mix of vintage and rustic with bold color.  And it's yellow!  Yippee!  This is the one to go for I think... see below for where to buy.

In the UK:

1. Sanderson Wallpaper, Etchings and Roses DPFWER104, Yellow, £39/meter at John Lewis; 2. Union Jack Embroidered Cushion, £29.50 at M&S; 3. PiP Studio Chinese Rose Bed Set, Red, from £60 at John Lewis; 4. LEIRVIK Bed, £109 at Ikea; 5. Annabella Chandelier, 3 Arm, £80 by John Lewis; 6.  French Chest of Drawers, £399 at Graham&Green; 7. John Lewis Alicia Table Lamp, £45 at John Lewis; 8. Autograph Pemberley Chair, £599 at M&S.

In the US:

1. 1891 by Sferra Mai Thai Bedding Set, from $89.97 at Macy's; 2. Owl Lamp, $34.99 at Target; 3. 4-Bulb Flower Chandelier - White, $89.99 at Target;  4. Norwall  Document Damask Wallpaper, $39.20 per roll at Lowe's; 5. Avenue Six Trition Club Chair, Woven Wheat, $299 at Walmart; 6. Naples Four Drawer Chest - White, $299 at Target; 7. Maddie Headboard Set-Queen, $379.99 at Target; 8. Embroidered Bird Pillow - Sand, $34.95 at Pier1.

Time to go shopping!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Swede Escape

As you've probably gathered, I'm not a huge fan of the 'show home' look.  I like places to feel more lived in, and I do like for my furniture to have a bit of character.  I would personally rather scour the flea markets and antiques shops to acquire my furniture than head to Ikea, but at the moment Ikea is what we can afford, and mixing it up with individual pieces and funky accessories can be interesting and fun, as well as budget friendly.

Almost every bit of furniture in our little apartment is from Ikea.  Although it was a bit of a nightmare to pick out all of our furniture at once [and actually find it in the warehouse], we spent a very hot Sunday there.  Five hours of Ikea mania.  And because I'm not a fan of the matchy-matchy scene, I've gone out and bought other random stuff to mix it up and give our rented abode a bit more charisma.  Most of our accessories come from random places, trips that we've taken, or things that I've made myself.  D's even getting excited to make his own wall art out of all of the stuff he's been collecting over the years.

The truth is, I think that the Swede's have the right idea: mix and match, clean lines, fun accessories.  I've recently stumbled upon Skona Hem, a lifestyle magazine from Sweden.  Although I don't understand a damn thing that's written on there, I know what I like, and I like the mix of color and pattern, modern and vintage styles.

all from Skona Hem

Mixing woods, modern with vintage, crazy colors and random accessories.  I think I'm going to tackle the top left photo in the finds for this post [mostly because I want to find something similar to that blue lamp].  See below for where to buy.

In the UK:

1.  Vega-Nor by Victor Vasarely, £14.99 at; 2. Caress Paperweight, Emerald, £29.95 at John Lewis; 3. Antique Fruitwood French Lowboy Desk Sideboard Dresser, £300 at; 4. Pangden Rugs, Catkin, £115 - £525 at John Lewis; 5. Imperial blue large jug, £17.95 at Debenhams; 6.  Glass stem table lamp blue, £79 at Dwell; 7. Zach, £127.20 at Habitat; 8. Paisley Jug, $12.99 at Zara Home.

 In the US:

1. Squares by Victor Vasarely,$179.99 at; 2. Stray Dog Glass Lamp, Clare, $299.99 at Macy's; 3. Rustic White Vase, $49 at Pottery Barn; 4. Mohawk Home Undercurrent Rug Collection - Neutral, from $175.99 at Target; 5. Kon-Tiki Collection Gravy Boat - Blue, $29.99 at Target; 6. Tasman Collection Console Table - Walnut, $179.99 at Target; 7.  Vienna Side Chair, $119 at Crate&Barrel; 8. Glass Sculptures, from $35 at Pier1.

No luck on the lamp then... better luck next time, I guess.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Have you seen my stapler?

 I need an office space [get it?].  Like, badly.  I was debating us getting a 2 bedroom apartment, just so I could have a place to get some crafty, furniture building, blog writing, design doing space.  At the moment, my drawing board sits behind the sofa [aka, the turd], and barely sees the light of day.  the Harari home of the future will have a nice big office/space over a garage/attic/basement.  A place to keep all of my interior design stuff [ie, fabrics, tiles, markers, pens, watercolors, etc.], tools, scraps of wood... and it will be wallpapered with Beatles paraphernalia [had to spell check that one].   Until then, I would appreciate even a small space of my own.  There's only one place in our entire flat that could hold a teeny desk and that's right in front of the window in the living room.  I have about 3.5 feet to work with, and I think a cute little desk like this would be glorious!

from Home Shopping Spy

Adorable and funky at the same time.  Dan said that he saw a used office furniture shop nearby, but I have yet to find it [he tends to take very long walks and loses track of time...], but I'd love to find an old, antique [but cheap] desk that I can refinish and add to my portfolio of furniture rescues.  Eek!  I'm excited already!  See below for where to buy...

In the UK:

1. LEKSVIK Desk, £79 at Ikea; 2. METROPOL Desk Lamp, £45 at Habitat; 3. Savannah Story Bust, Gazelle, £58 at Anthropologie; 4. Eames Eiffel DAR Lounge Dining Chair Green - Panton, £50 at; 5. Round Metal Mirror, £99 at Next; 6. Broken Stripe Purple Rug, £50-£199 at Next; 7. Union Jack Cushion £18.95 at

In the US:

1.  Stripes Rug - Purple (Rectangle), $149.99 at Target; 2. Antiqued Gold Round Mirror , £149.98 at Pier1; 3. Painted Flag Outdoor Lumbar Pillow, $35 at Pottery Barn; 4. Room Essentials® Double Shade Desk Organizer Lamp - Green, $12.99 at Target; 5.  Savannah Story Bust, Gazelle, $58 at Anthropologie; 6. Fabric Task Chair - Apple Green, $89.99 at Target; 7. Avington Desk - Dark Tobacco, $119.99 at Target.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Ha!  That makes me laugh every time.  Anyway, the reason for that is because I opened up my new Ideal Home magazine, and they had a whole section of yellow interiors.  Huzzah!

from Ideal Home

How gorgeous is that?  I'm still trying to make some kind of yellow situation happen in our bedroom, but the furthest that I have gotten is to put up some cheap-o, yellow curtain.  Where mine just looks cheap and sad, this one is elegant and fun.  Sunshiny, but not to girly.  The walnut stained wood adds a masculine touch and I just love those benches at the end of the bed.  See where to buy below:

In the UK:

1. Harlequin Wallpaper, Illuminate 75623, Sulphur, £35 per meter at John Lewis; 2. Yellow pocket cushion, £15 at Debenhams; 3. VILMIE Cushion cover, £3.99 at Ikea; 4. TRE Bedspread, £39 at Habitat; 5. Bruges television unit, £404.10 at Debenhams; 6. Pleated White Bedset, £35-£45 at M&S; 7. Tiga Side Table, £99 at M&S; 8. John Lewis Kerala Bedstead, Double, £495 at John Lewis; 9. John Lewis Echo Table Lamp, £45 at John Lewis

In the US:

1.  The Wallpaper Company 20.5 In. W Yellow Large Contemporary Flower Wallpaper, $44.98 at Home Depot; 2. Green & Yellow Roses Pillow, $31.95 at Pier1; 3.  Colormate Down Alternative Blanket , $34.99 at Kmart; 4.  Room Essentials™ Night Stand - Espresso, $59.99 at Target; 5.  Atrium Zoey 20"x13" Indoor-Outdoor Pillow, $29.99 at Crate&Barrel; 6. Montgomery Coffee Table , $149.98 at Pier1; 7. Square District Lamp, $55 at Pier1; 8. Como Queen Low Profile Platform Bed, $899 at Macy's; 9. Room Essentials® White Quilt Set, $29.99 at Target.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Decorating Nightmare!

Dan and I rent our apartment.  We LOVE it.  Great location, quiet [now that our drunk neighbors have been evicted], good neighbors [now] but the fittings and decor are heinous.  Builders paint every wall in this country "Marigold", and the floors in our bathroom and kitchen are an "orange marble" linoleum.  Really, really, disgusting.  Exhibit A:

 As you can see, I've tried to jazz it up a bit with a decent shower curtain, and some pictures on the wall, but it's still not that great.  I might paint the walls [depending on whether our landlord will let us - I have a degree in Interior Design to persuade him...].  We'll see.

Anyway, what brought this to mind [besides having to look at my bathroom every day], was a post by sfgirlbybay from the other day about her equally frustrating renters bathroom dilemma.  What do you do when your stuck with this crap?  Since I can't get the image of her bathroom out of my head, I've decided to dedicate this post to dealing with her bathroom dilemma.

This is the 1930's, cotton candy bathroom.  Totally trendy then... not so much now [though I love that metal vanity and the painting].  Not even nice enough to be called vintage.  So here's the inspiration for the update:

The Retro/Vintage Scan Emporium

Fun and colorful.  Very obviously vintage.  Let's bathroom accessorize!

In the UK:

1. Bellasole Mirror, £94.50 at Not on the High Street; 2. Photography Blackpool Beauties - Getty Images, £157.50 at Heal's; 3. Gessate Jug, £23.99 at Zara Home; 4. Flamenco Shower Curtain, £98 at Anthropologie [in love]; 5. Damask Bathmat, £58 at Anthropologie; 6. Turquoise 'Droplet' towels, £1.60-£16 at Debenhams; 7. Water Hyacinth Linen Bin, £35 at John Lewis; 8. Molton Brown Global Gift Set, £20 at Heal's; 9.  Round Diamanté Photo Frames, from £8.95 at Graham&Green; 10. Westminster Basin Taps, £55.20 at Homebase.

In the US:

1. Gone Surfin' Wall Art, $59.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond; 2. Antiqued Gold Round Mirror, $149.98 at Pier1; 3. Amy Butler Coventry Fabric Shower Curtain, $39.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond; 4. Seville Willow Hamper, $29.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond; 5.  Mira Vase, 24.99 at Crate&Barrel; 6. Embossed Frame - Dark Pink (4 x 6"), $24.99 at Target; 7. DKNY Spring Tree Bath Rug, 29.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond; 8.  Delta Windemere Polished Brass Double-Handle Bathroom Faucet, $78 at Lowe's;  9. DKNY Boucle Bath Towels, $7.99-$16.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond; 10.  Calypso Orange Candleholders, $1.95-$2.95 at Crate&Barrel.

Now to figure out what to do with mine...

Summer is yelow...

Or, at least it should be.  It's a really gray day here.  The skies were totally clear this morning too!


Katy Elliot

The Style Files

Yellow has moved back to being my favorite color.  It drifted to fuchsia for a while, but I have become a bit less girly-girl, and back to my hippie [as my husband says] carefree self.  Yellow is happiness, and sunrise, and sunset.  Here are some of my favorite yellow pieces from the UK and US.

In the UK:

1. TROLLSTA Side table, £35 at Ikea; 2. Yellow pocket cushion, £15 at Debenhams; 3. Yellow geo bed linen, £4.80-£18 at Debenhams; 4. Telephone Boxes Print, 30x30cm, £30 at John Lewis; 5.  Gruffalo Paw Tea Mug, £6.95 at Graham&Green; 6. Lima, £12 at Habitat; 7.  Harlequin Wallpaper, Illuminate 75623, Sulphur, £35 per meter at John Lewis; 8. John Lewis Mr Bright Chair, Gold Leaf, £899 at John Lewis.

 In the US:

1.  Zola Vase, $9.95 at Crate&Barrel; 2. Sweet Lemon Bathe & Bloom, $32 at The Body Shop; 3. DwellStudio® for Target® Andalucia Comforter Set , $69.99-$89.99 at Target; 4. Pacific Coast Table Lamp, Urban Boheme, $149.99 at Macy's; 5. KitchenAid Artisan 5-qt. Stand Mixer - Yellow Pepper, $299.99 at Target; 6. Mexicali Dinnerware , $4-$7 at Pier1; 7. Paisley Shower Curtain, $16.99 at Target; 8. Gerber Slipper Chair - Sungold, $299 at Target.

And now maybe I can spoil myself with that yellow jacket that I saw at Debenham's the other day...