Original Apothecary Style via New Orleans

I’m months away from tackling the renovation of our downstairs bathroom, but since we moved in, I have known it will have an apothecary, Sleep No More style to it.  To that end, I’ve just been keeping my eye out for style ideas, inspiration and historical influence.  So while Chris and I strolled around New Orleans this past weekend, imagine my joy to happen upon the Pharmacy Museum!  Ideas galore ….

this gave us the idea that simple, colored water in bottles looks awesome!


The front window gave us the idea that colored water in bottles will make a cool display!


There were amazing cabinets — all the drawers!  All the bottles!

I like the old medicine posters ….


And who doesn’t love a good pair of glass eyes??


Like I said …. inspiring ……

Weekend Update… What was that?

What was that weird feeling I was having all weekend??  Oh, yeah, it was FUN.  Life has intruded in so many ways the past few months, it was nice to kick back, cook a nice meal, enjoy some quality time with our friends and eat, drink and LAUGH.  Hell, we even caught a parade!!  All in honor of my fantastic husband’s birthday — the third one we got to celebrate in our house.  Number one was terrifying, as we’d been in the house for two weeks, the kitchen was sealed off and we had a fridge and a microwave in the dining room.  Two was much more organized.  And three was the best one yet.  I’m looking forward to many, many more!!

casually posing in the living room ...

casually posing in the living room …  my friends are weird



A crafty tale


This is one of the sewing projects I currently have going. It’s a Sublime Stitching patten I have had for a long time and have always wanted to sew. For some unknown reason I have been saving it for a special, magical time and I never knew what I wanted to do with it. Well, that special, magical time is apparently now, and I’m going to hang it on a wall. You can see where this decision took a few years. I’ve got bare walls in the hallway upstairs and at the bottom of the stairs. I cannot stand these bare walls any longer, so I’m working on things to fill them up! Framed color photos downstairs, embroidery & misc things upstairs. I’m debating black & white old photos. We have some really good ones. Yeah, I think I’ll frame them, too…

Bathroom Before & After

upstairs bathroom, view from the tub






upstairs batrhoom, view from the door



I can’t believe I never posted pictures of the bathroom!  Here’s how it’s looking these days.  I love it.  There are all kinds of posts about the steps we took to get here, but it’s been done for a while and I’m finally showing you.  The room is small, so it’s hard to get in there and get photos, but you get the idea. (also, when I say “small” I mean “you could have fit our NYC bathroom in here 3 times, I’m not even kidding)  It’s cheerful and colorful and makes me happy.  And as this winter drags on and on and on … well, a little color and cheer is really all I can ask for.

Here are some more pictures of various angles ….

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Happy Second Anniversary!

We celebrate two years in our beautiful house this weekend.  Like so many things, the days can sometimes feel long, yet time has flown by.  I’m proud of all we’ve gotten done to date and excited about  (and daunted by!!) all that lies ahead.  So … just another weekend, really :)

Much like how we celebrated our first anniversary with a work-related nod to the past, we are also celebrating this anniversary with a little bit of living like we just moved in:

Living with our mattress on the floor, as we are FINALLY tackling the bedroom!  We had so many things that had to take priority, then we were deciding about stripping the trim, then we were paralyzed by our decision to strip the trim, then we were terrified of  how long it would take to strip the trim …. Then, we just started stripping the trim.  The wood is too beautiful to leave it painted, and we figure if we’re tearing it up, we might as well just tear it all up, right?!?  So here we are.  Sawdust up our noses and bed on the floor, but progress is being made.  And so YEAR THREE begins ….

Snowy weekend projects


Finishing my sewing projects left and right may be the only upside to this weather…. I’ve been working on this pillow for a while and finally finished it in time for our wedding anniversary on Friday. It’s the date we moved into the house :) The back of the pillow is the same green flowered fabric I made the teeny pillow out of (I like to try to use all the parts…) and just having a couple new, bright pillows in the couch is making me so excited for spring!! The lettering is the Sublime Stitching epic alphabet and I made up the numbers to try to match…

I also finally finished this:

And it’s now hanging in the kitchen. Chris made the frame this morning out of scrap wood with his kreg jig, and in a happy accident, had to sand it a little where it got dripped on after it was painted, and the effect made it look distressed, a little old and perfectly matching the chalkboard in our kitchen. I love it!!

Most Improved Laundry Area

Our house came with a washer and dryer in the basement.  We are a couple who lived for the previous 12 or so years together without laundry in our BUILDING (8 of which there wasn’t laundry on our BLOCK and we were in a third floor walkup) so this was a pretty major upgrade.  I’ve been so thrilled about having laundry in the building for the past (almost) two years that I have completely ignored the way it looked.  Well, not ignored – it would be impossible to ignore.  Blocked out a little.  Rationalized.  And since  I now do a lot of the laundry –

*my husband and I had a deal when we lived in the city because his clothes are really big and really heavy and it was a third floor walkup and the good laundromat wasn’t even on our block and “good” is actually pretty strong because it was still pretty cracked out and one of the only good things about it was that it was next to our favorite neighborhood bar, where we would go have a beer while our underwear burned up in an industrial fire-hazard-ish dryer and vaguely homelessish people would hover, really HOVER around the machines — so the deal was that basically, I didn’t do the laundry.  He had to do the laundry.  He also hates the way I fold, so I mostly got out of that, as well.  But that went on for a long time, so when we moved into the house, me doing most of the laundry became part of the deal.  I’m still not a very good folder, so that can be an issue, but mostly we’ve worked it out)

– I had a method that was — sort things in piles as fast as you can, in fact– just do everything as fast as you can and get out of there — laundry in, laundry out, laundry in, go, go, go!! — because it’s kind of dank and dark and a little creepy and I could have rented it out as a set for a student film maker’s senior thesis on horror.  The bare light bulb added to the dismal atmosphere and — true story– even after Chris broke the light bulb with his forehead (he’s really tall), we did not fix the area up.  We talked about it a little, but generally just threw clothes around and ran back up the stairs.

So, last weekend, Chris was like– let’s just fix this. So, we did!  I got the curtain hemmed and hung today, and am pretty thrilled with the before and after on this one… Happy snow day!

I love it!  And the total cost was around $225.  The subfloor from Home Depot and the leveling compound was about $125, and the rug was $96 with free shipping from Overstock.com.  The paint was all the dribs and drabs of samples I had leftover from various other rooms, the fabric that makes up the back curtain cost me $1 at a summer block sale years ago in the city and Chris made the shelves out of wood he had in the shop.  I give this area the LLAA (Larsen Laundry Area Award) — but Chris doesn’t think that name will catch on ….

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What’s Wrong With My Plant?

This poor little guy is giving me grief.  When my friend bequeathed this plant to me, it had tons of healthy, shiny, pink-speckled leaves.  That was … last spring?  Now, it looks like this:

I’ve given it more water, less water, more light, less light, and I just moved it to that spot by the porch door, where it will be cooler and less dry than where it was before.  I fed all my plants Miracle Gro about 6 weeks ago …  And I have other plants that are doing really well!

These are mostly other plants bequeathed from same aforementioned pithy friend.  His advice? —

I don’t know.  Try some plant food.  If that doesn’t work and it is fated to die, then you can’t intrude on God’s Plan.

Less water.  If that doesn’t work, then more water.

More light.  If that doesn’t work, then less light.

Give it time.  Sometimes they bounce back of their own accord.

Was this one outdoors?  I think it was.  The inside of your house may be too hot and too dry.  I think I would move this one out.  If I recall correctly, it is like a rhodendron and keeps its green leaves all winter.  It may be preparing to surprise you come spring.  Don’t you have an enclosed porch that is still unheated? That might be a good place for it.

But maybe the best thing to do is take your photo to a nursery or florist.  Ask them WTF kind of plant this is and what is the ideal environment for it.

Good luck with the plant.  Well, actually, good luck with everything.

I thought this was just generally good advice for life, so I wanted to share it with a wider audience.

This post also gives me an excuse to re-post a “before” picture of the plant-filled room above, because the before pictures help me stop to appreciate how far we’ve come.  Sometimes it feels like slow going, sometimes life intrudes, sometimes your best laid plans get kicked around a little.  I also tend towards impatience, I always feel like I should be doing MORE, there are SO MANY PROJECTS TO DO!   So stopping for a sec to admire your accomplishments is nice.  Well, that and a glass of wine.

during the November, 2011 walk through of the house.  That light!  Those windows!

during the November, 2011 walk through of the house. That light! Those windows!

Seriously, if anyone has any idea about what’s wrong with my plant, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  There is green stuff sprouting in the middle of the top of the stalks, which has me hopeful that it’s only suffering some winter doldrums.  Like the rest of us!  I’m starting to get excited about spring, planting, painting the porch and planting a garden.

Benches for which I can take no credit … (Part I)

I think I mentioned that Chris has been going crazy on the woodworking lately.  I have found myself saying, “You know, we could use a (bench/shelf/stool) in the (kitchen/dining room/ attic)” and then he disappears to the basement for a while and comes back with something like this:

black bench, a la Chris (design from Ana White's page)

black bench, a la Chris (design from Ana White’s page)

And while the dining room is nowhere near done (we are going to strip that woodwork, I already have the wallpaper I’m putting up, and a couple walls will be dark green) I’m pretty impressed with the price tag so far:

1) Dining Room table made from a door we found in the basement.  Original to the house, it’s priceless to us, but the hairpin legs were $100 and purchased online

2) the Windsor-esque chairs were a Tarrytown antique store find — 4 for $129.  Can’t beat that!

3) the bench was probably around $200 in wood and paint, maybe less

4) The credenza was a gift from a friend who was relocating

5) The rug is a temporary fix, but also a great hand-me-down from Chris’ sister

6) The mirror is really old– it’s  a window frame we got for $5 in Provincetown, and Chris added mirrors to it.  We’ve had it forever.

So, we have a ways to go until the dining room is “done,” but in the effort of documenting progress, and bragging on Chris’ bench-making skills, I thought I’d make a little post to share where we are so far.  Thanks for stopping by!