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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Agenda...


My tea selections are a bit limited, but I think there are two good choices for tomorrow's big event across the pond.
 Begin preparations for tomorrow's Royal Wedding.
  • Get manicure and pedicure.
  • Check tea supply.
  • Dash out to pick up scones.
  • Take a long hot shower and put on my outfit. AKA my good PJ's
  • Set my alarm for 4 am.
  • Ponder which style hat goes with my outfit and hopefully drift off to sleep early.

Dream about these and wake up starving.


4:00 am alarm goes off. I predict groaning at the notion I will loose 2 hours of precious sleep, but then remember why and cheerfully get up. Check my outfit. I am betting it's a bit rumpled, but nothing a robe can't cure. I probably just need a hat....right? Here are a few favorite choices from the bride-to-be:

    Hat #1
    Hat #2. 
    Hat #3. Kate looks great in all of them, but this is my favorite!
  • 4:15am put the kettle on for tea, of course! English Breakfast or Prince of Wales?
  • Pop scones in the oven and whip up some cream, American time for clotted.
  • Serve on something pretty with a linen napkin, it's a festive occasion afterall!
  • Cozy up in favorite chair and watch television all morning and remember to say...

Congratulations William & Catherine!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Process Of Refinishing Hardwood Floors: Before and After

When we purchased our home in the fall of 1993 we had hardwood floors installed in the foyer, dining room and library. The stain was called Gunstock and it resembled cherry. In 2001 we removed tile and linoleum in the kitchen and laundry room and had the same flooring installed. We moved away for 4 years and when we returned in 2005 had the family room and living room completed. As soon as the floors were laid...I hated them. Except for the micro bevel, which felt so much better under foot. This version of Gunstock pre-finished wood flooring didn't seem all that similar. They were lighter and in the afternoon sun,  looked orange. The floor vents that were stained the same color practically glowed in some rooms! I was told they would darken over time like my other floors, but 6 years later that hasn't happened.  We finally got sick of waiting for ugly to fix itself! Even if we had been tolerate the color, the kitchen and laundry/mud room needed to be refinished. 

Now the two different profiles aren't nearly as visible and the transition board bothers me far less. It was impossible
 to blend these two spaces without laying new floors in one whole room. Given the savings, we can live with it!
It was dark and raining when I took this picture it and doesn't quite reflect the actual color.
So after nearly 6 years of looking at orange floors, damaged wood in the kitchen (where renters had let the dishwasher leak for days before calling the property manager) fading from the sun and 2 different profiles (standard bevel and micro bevel) I was so excited to finally get this project done!
 When the light comes in through the french doors, the floors look so awful.
The broken vent is such an awesome designer touch, don't you think?
 Without a doubt the most hideous and shameful part of our house! 

Before close up of damage hidden under the mat.

After close up!

 This was a truly remarkable transformation in this area. About 8 boards were replaced. In addition, the threshold for the french doors (installed last spring) was finally stained and the black plastic protector removed at last.
 The doors are by Pella with UV protection and have an Energy Star rating. 
The preparations:  Move everything! Furniture, artwork, accessories and rugs. As well as the washer, dryer and mud sink. I left the books in the bookcases and the horse prints hanging in the dining room. The crew covered them in plastic. We did all the moving ourselves (getting help only with the dining room buffet which is mahogany and a large capacity front loading washing machine) and though it was a lot of work, we saved approximately $800! Stuff went into the garage, upstairs in my office, the master bedroom and the rest went in the basement. For those of you who have a ton of is the time to seriously edit yourself. Otherwise, schedule a therapy session and have plenty of your favorite elixir handy! Plan on at least two days for this part.

Day One:  Floors are sanded on the entire main level of the house.  Removal of carpet and pad in upstairs hallway and wood cut and installed for a new floor there. Carpet and pad removed from existing stairs and new wood steps and risers installed. Each one had to be cut because I have an enclosed staircase and surprise....the walls weren't straight. The crew vacuumed the floors. At this point, I have brief moment where I want to keep the floors just like this and wish I had a beach house or cottage to try it out!!!

The range of colors in red oak is so apparent when in their natural state. The stain I chose is dark, but still shows all the colors from red to ebony and as well as the many beautiful brown tones. It also highlighted all the grain variations that were barely visible before. Some of the boards remind me of a tiger's stripes and I just love that detail!
Day 2:  Sand everything again. Getting down to the bare wood in the kitchen was difficult. My guess is the result of a combination of the water damage and the build-up from various cleaning products used over the years. Vacuum again. Replace damaged floor boards in kitchen. This should have been completed on day one, but they brought the wrong profile to blend properly.

A small sander is used for the perimeter. Goodbye orange!
 Day 3: Apply the stain in the morning. I thought I was going to have to go with a custom blend (which costs more as do darker stain colors), but the red oak has so many natural color variations, it wasn't necessary. The stain is called Spice Brown. Think coffee, chocolate and just a hint of cinnamon! Let dry for hours and come back later to apply the sealant.

After the stain, sealant and first top coat of satin finish. When it's wet it looks like high gloss.

Day 4: Apply the thresholds upstairs and shoe molding downstairs. Vacuum, buff and apply first coat of satin finish. Discover later that night, the crew took a little shortcut in the laundry/mud room and "forgot" to mention it to me or the owner of the company!
The difference in floor color is really apparent here. Guess they thought since it was under the bench we wouldn't
notice???  I love a striped wood floor, but two-toned? thanks!

All Fixed!? Hardly, now it looks like water damage!!! The solution: start over and sand the whole room.
This is one of those times when contractors are so perplexing. Why would they do great work everywhere else, then take a shortcut at the end and cause delays and more work for everyone.  Not to mention get everyone really irritated.
After, That's more like it!
Day 5: Remove one threshold and 3 sections of shoe molding I don't like. Stain and re-install. Sand and apply second coat of finish in the morning. Apply third coat later in the day. Discuss laundry/mud room issues and after hearing excuses, such as they don't have a machine that fits under the bench, I suggest they do it by hand or find a tool that will fit. They look at me like I'm nuts, but say they will fix it. Find out later, they made it worse as shown above.

My husband and daughter(who was on spring break) return home from a little vacation. Right away he notices the problem in the mud room. I place a call to the owner and explain that it has not been remotely fixed. We schedule a meeting with the owner to come and look at the room Saturday morning. Naturally he doesn't like to hear there are problems. Problems equal delays. Delay of work equals delay of payment.

I am so happy that my husband and daughter are home, but the dog's vacation has to be extended due to the screw up. I have been living in the basement and note that my efforts to make it a really comfortable and functional space have paid off.  But, after being in "lockdown" for days I decide a small refridgerator and microwave would be good additions. I am seriously sick of Chipotle's Carnitas Salad. It seems there really can be too much of a good thing.
Here we go!  The week before, the new wood is delivered for the upstairs hallway.

Day 6: We meet with the owner of the flooring company in the morning. He agrees the work under the mud room bench is unacceptable and says they will need to re-do the entire room. UGH!  I am not surprised and feel good about a referral arrangement for the future. Remember in my previous post I said when final payments are pending and there is a problem, resources and a resolution will happen sooner rather than later? In this case they had to purchase two new types of sanders, including one used for radiators. The crew worked all day Saturday! 

New floor in the upstairs hallway. Smooth as silk, but I am going to add a gorgeous runner
that my husband brought home from his travels.
Day 7:  Apply second coat to laundry room. Come back later sand, vaccum, buff and apply final coat.

Day 8: The crew returned today to put the washer and dryer back in the room. Officially done!!!!!!!!!! The floors are 100% better and I am so happy with the outcome. Time to make that final payment and get busy tackling all that laundry...sigh.


I wish my camera could truly capture the depth and richness the floors now have after this process. 
 What I Learned: I was reminded that you can still work with a seemingly good contractor and experience  bumps along the way. For those of you like me that have endured renovations before, know that only in rare situations do things go off without a hitch. This flooring company has been in business for more than 20 years and also does retail spaces. Even so, they learned there are still situations yet to be tested and short-cuts are never the solution! We all learned something on this job and I consider that a bonus.

Regarding the dust.... I knew there would be a mess, but it was still worse than I anticipated. Even with the dust containment system, which looked like a hot water tank on wheels, it took hours to wipe down the walls, doors and moldings. I also knew there would be paint touch ups, but far more stain got on the door jambs and staircase wall than I had imagined. Significant painting was not something I had figured into my budget.

What I Would Do Differently: I would have made the installation of the new steps (a post for another time) and hallway a separate project to be completed at another time. It would have made things far easier logistically and I wouldn't have been as confined to the basement. For those of you without a finished basement, you are probably going to want/need to find acccomodations for at least part of this process.

I had plenty of reading material, and certainly watched way too much television. Chatting on the phone with friends also helped pass the time.  However, I stupidly told my husband he could take the laptop. Imagine being unplugged for days and you're not on vacation or busy...super annoying. On the morning of day two I was greeted with a dead car battery and was freaking out that I couldn't escape to Starbucks!  I quickly regretted that I didn't think to put my coffee maker downstairs. I had to wait till the middle of the day to retrieve it!  Between no java and the smell of the varnish, I had one big ass headache. Even with low voc products, there is a smell. And on the days it rained...worse! Fortunately, I always have Advil and Imitrex in my purse.  Bottled water, Laughing Cow cheese and crackers were the other mainstays of my meals.  Sad, I know, but a small price to pay for gorgeous floors!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I certainly hope everyone enjoyed their day with friends and family.

We celebrated Easter with a very simple brunch in the kitchen. One of only two rooms that we've had time to move the furniture back into after the floors were finished on Friday. The laundry/mudroom will be completed tomorrow!

It was a long week and I was just grateful to get in the kitchen and cook as well as eat something that wasn't from a bag or carry out container!!!

I've been so absent from blogging, I almost forgot to take pictures before the table was a mess and the chocolate devoured!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Contractors: The Good, The Bad and The Shrugger

Not all contractors are created equally and based on my experiences, they seem to fit into three categories.

The Good: Every homeowner and designers dream. They come with good references from happy clients. They are polite, professional, friendly and respectful of you and your home. They provide detailed proposals and outline the schedule of work to be performed. They discuss issues and concerns with you as they arise and work with you to find a satisfactory solution. They show up on time and call when there is going to be any significant delays on your job. They tidy up the job site and remove all trash and debris daily....without being asked and of course, do quality work!

The bad: We've all had these experiences to varying degrees. Things that will alert you to problems could include any or all of these. The contractor who doesn't look you in the eye when talking, is dismissive or condescending. Communication is difficult and information must be dragged out of them with multiple questions and/or every detail must be painfully extracted. Specifically, they provide no information without being requested to do so.

They come unprepared and ask you for things like towels/rags, step ladders or tools! They either have them in their truck and are too lazy to retrieve them or they didn't bother to stop and get the items necessary to do your job. Direct them to your nearest hardware store. If you provide supplies this will set the tone for the whole job. I have even had contractors ask me for water and to use my microwave, hardly appropriate for someone you just met! I have been asked to go out and get food when contractors are running behind. Don't cave in! Politely direct them to where food sources are and the hardware buy a cooler.

They are not respectful of your home,  neglecting to take proper precautions to cover surfaces such as floors and furniture. There are surprise costs at the end. They don't show up on time or leave early. They take multiple or extended breaks. They tell you you don't need permits and/or inspections. Huge red flag!!! Even if everything else seems great, if they say this...walk away and move on.

The Shrugger: These guys are tricky. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad. We all shrug from time to time and usually it means one of three things: we are perplexed, we are thinking of a solution or we don't know or care. In contractor speak it can mean any of these things or it can mean "I'm not committing" to what you are saying. So if you took the shrug to mean the first three possibilities and there is a problem, you're going to hear "I never said we could or couldn't do (fill in the blank)". CYA (cover your ass) and nail them down for a response and note it on the  proposal and have them initial it.

Here's what you need to do before you began any project to try and ensure the smoothest possible scenario in the absence of a GC, project manager and/or designer:
  • Get multiple quotes from a variety of GC's or sub-contractors. This step alone will teach you a lot!
  • Communicate effectively the scope of the work that you want to complete and stick to you original plan. If things are modified after the initial contract, you and the GC need to sign an amendment/change order.
  • Obtain a detailed proposal. If your contractor does one price and you are going it alone, I suggest you know how much basic supplies are (a sheet of drywall, 2x4's, etc...) to determine if things seem in line for the scope of your particular job. If you're still not comfortable ask for it to be broken down by supplies and labor. Note: contractors do not like to do this.
  • Let them know you don't provide food, water and supplies and expect them to come prepared. 
  • Talk about schedules. What time they will arrive and depart daily as well as the estimated completion date. Will they being doing other jobs simultaneously?
  • When they arrive, make sure the job is prepped properly. If you don't think it is, speak up!!! Otherwise, make sure you know what any possible claim process will be.
  • If you don't understand something or something doesn't seem right cease work immediately and make the appropriate calls.
  • Will they use your bathroom? If so, designated the one you prefer! If not, make sure a company vehicle is left for them to use. Does anyone on the crew smoke? Where should they dispose of butts/ashes?
  • Where do you want the trucks to park? On your driveway or in front of your house? Tell them specifically. Make sure they don't block your mailbox. Minimum code, in most areas, is 25 feet.
  • Pull inspections for everything. Make sure you have the proper permits filed. If you don't you may find yourself in trouble from a neighbor who reports unauthorized work or you may get a nasty surprise in the form of a property tax assessment and/or bill when you go to sell your home.
  • Check references, your county/city licensing division and the BBB for information about your contractor. Ask them to see their credentials and photos of their work.
  • Never pay in full up front. Large jobs should be spit into three payments. The first payment is your good faith. This secures you a place on their schedule and covers the costs of supplies. The percentage is something that is worked out with the GC or project manager and you. Smaller jobs will be split into two equal payments, in most cases.  Do not make final payment until job site is thoroughly cleaned and you are satisfied with all work. And never let a contractor say no problem we'll fix it this week, but I still need to collect the final payment. Final means final...for all parties! If they want final payment they will "find" someone on their crew to remedy whatever you are unsatisfied with sooner rather than later.
Above all trust your gut instinct before you sign any contracts. If if doesn't feel right, chances are it's not.

Next week the before and afters of the floors. The weather didn't cooperate as much as we had hoped and it took forever to get the original stain off the kitchen floor. They be will back working today and tomorrow and by Friday evening everything should be dry and looking beautiful and I'll have pictures to show next week!

All images via Google.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gearing Up For A Messy Weekend!

Over the past few months I have been interviewing contractors and getting bids for work to be done in my house. Then I got sick...was it related? In conjunction, I am scouting out new relationships for client work. A few of my favorite contractors are no longer available. One got engaged and left the area, the other is going to work for a builder full time and one that I really liked seems to have vanished from everyone's radar!

Existing stain and glossy finish removed exposing natural red oak floors.

I still have relationships with tiler installers, a wallpaper hanger, a plumber and an electrician, but I needed to fill in the big gaps for construction (which would include skilled carpenters, masterful drywall hangers and experts in hardwood refinishing and installations) for projects that are larger or trade intensive like bathrooms. I mentioned last year in this post, that I  try to test drive contractors before recommending them to a client or friend. One thing that has changed since then? Now I never recommend trades that I have not test driven! Either I have worked along side them on a job (where the client has hired them) or they have worked in my house. There are many more factors to consider when hiring/working with someone than "does it look good?". When things go wrong and you gave the reference, understandably, the clients are going to be upset with you. So.....the painful reality is in order to run my business as efficiently and effectively as I would like, I needed to take the time do this. Plus, I love renovations, definitely a highlight of design work for me. It has been a long process, but I am excited about the possibilities it will create.

 The results of floors added at 2 different times with different profiles.  You can also see how light plays a role.
The one on the right is original. The one on the left had the same stain applied, but is only about 5  years old.
 I prefer the richer tone of the one on the right. However, the one on the left is far more comfortable in bare feet.
 Both issues will be addressed!
Some clients have their own preferred general contractors with whom they have worked with before. Many do not. And, this fact is often what keeps homeowners from moving forward on a project or letting one evolve into it's full potential. Clients/homeowners may find a project like a master bath is too big to handle finding the trades necessary on their own, but too small (or unnecessary) to need a team (architect/builder who bring the GC/trades) to execute. That's where a designer can assist with moving a project forward and even elevating it to a higher level in both design and workmanship, particularly if experience and a contractor relationship exists. Next week, I will do a post based on my experience, which to date includes:
  • 2 kitchen renovations (mine and one client) 
  • 9 bathroom renovations (2 at my house, 7 for clients)
  • 1 new construction basement (my house)
  • 1 new construction bathroom (my house)
  • 1 basement renovation/addition (client)  
  • 1 new construction brick/flagstone walkway and porch (my house) 
  • 1 laundry room remodel with custom bench/shelving/cubbies (my house) 
and outline what I think is important to look for when hiring a contractor. In the meantime, I'll be keeping busy removing every possible thing from each room to prepare for the floors to be refinished on the entire main level, plus have hardwood flooring added to the upstairs hallway and repair/removal of damaged floor boards in the kitchen.

A crew member applied my test sample choices yesterday morning!

Even though this process has come a long way and despite what is often advertised, there is absolutely no such thing as a "dustless" process!!! It's going to be a messy and exciting ride...I'll be sure to bring you along!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Unfortunately, I don't have any Crocus popping up from the ground. However, I do enjoy seeing my neighbor's from my laundry room window. And even though my laundry room is attractive, I don't care to spend extra time in it regardless of the view! So this past Sunday when I was at TJ's, I went a little nuts. Each pot of purple Crocus was only $2.49!!!  If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, check your local grocer or nursery.

Some for the kitchen counter....

And some for the table! To make a super easy Spring/Easter centerpiece remove the Crocus from their plastic pots and place them in a basket with a liner, then just add:

Your favorite filler...

And a few friends....

Don't forget to water!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ditch Your Jackets, Show Your Spines!

Finally, I am feeling back to normal. You know what the best thing about being sick was? Allowing myself to do nothing, or at least nothing terribly productive. The worst thing about this little hiatus from the real world? Finding myself behind on everything! The weekend was a flurry of activity for me trying to catch up on all the basics as well as pull a blog post together after a one week absence. My oldest, who is away at college, turned 19 today! It was so great to talk with him on the phone, but a bit sad with the realization that this was his first birthday away from us. Cards sent in the mail and a birthday text message simply can not replace a hug. He said he celebrated his birthday by taking his fraternity pledge exam. Hmmm...wonder if there was a book for that?

Poetry book with a beautiful decorative detail.

While I was laying low, not only did I watch bad television,  I also managed to see several movies, went through the entire and fantastic Downton Abbey series (courtesy of Mr. A&A and the Blockbuster kiosk) and had the opportunity to read quite a few books (courtesy of Amazon and Mr. UPS) that were really good. As I unwrapped some of my new books and was throwing away the shrink wrap....and the jackets,  I thought once again about why so many people have this odd attachment to the dust jackets on their books. I was only able to salvage three to photo for this post!
Before: books with dust jackets.

After: jackets ditched!

Not me. I also happen to be one of those people who rips or cuts off the tags on my pillows, sometimes my clothes, and yes even the mattresses in our houses.  The mattress and label police have yet to come knocking on my door.

Penguin classic books. I went nuts the first time I laid eyes on these beauties! I have them all now.

Whenever I buy books, I ditch the jackets. Why? Dust jackets are little more than modern day advertisements. In addition to attracting a potential buyer with an appealing jacket, much like a magazine cover shot, they also protect the cloth cover of the book from dirt and fingerprints from the masses handling them in bookstores so that they remain "sellable". Only in rare cases are jackets valuable. A book can survive hundreds of years under extreme temperature fluctuations and tremendous amounts of use, and remain amazingly intact without the "aid" of  dust jacket.

This set of classics once occupied space in my parents library and now are among my favorite volumes.
Once you decide to buy a book, the jacket in my mind, is useless. Most are also not very attractive. And the ones that have a pretty picture on the cover, as in the case of design books, almost always have the exact same picture featured in the book. Design books in particular can be quite attractive. Designers are afterall in the business of making things look good!

A few of my design books in all their glorious color!

Consider the beauty of old books. The spines in particular are often incredibly gorgeous. Many old books are embossed, have hand tooled details and titles in beautiful script. Most new books have good lettering and the book cloth colors are so attractive. Although most books made now have black, gray, brown or navy blue spines. Thankfully, design books come in every color in the rainbow! Sometimes, when you remove a cover there is a little surprise waiting. How sad would that be not to enjoy it?

A sampling from my husbands "side" of our library.
Selections range from antique German books to sports to his favorite topic: history.
 I think it's perfectly fine to mix antique books with modern selections.

For those still not convinced to ditch their jackets, here are the reasons I've heard most often from resisters:

  • I don't want my books to get dirty.  May I suggest that you refrain from reading just after gardening or eating fried chicken. Oh, and dust once a month with a soft cloth or Swiffer
  • I use the jacket flap as a bookmark. Really? It's not very efficient. It has been my experience that it slips out and you end up re-reading several pages. This is especially problematic with large books. Not to mention, if you leave the flap tucked in between pages for prolonged periods it makes the jacket wonky...forever. Tip: buy a spool of ribbon in your favorite color and place a cut piece in all of your favorite books as well as your current read. Some bookmakers still sew ribbon into the bindings...which I love!!!!
  • I want to save information about the author or book included in the back flap. Okay, cut that portion off the jacket and stick it inside the book. Bonus: you now have a free bookmark!

If I had left the dust jacket on this book, I would have missed this magnificent detail!

My reasons for ditching the jackets and showing all my spines:
  • It makes any library and/or bookshelves look so much better! In fact, it will make the whole room look more attractive. I love bookstores, but I don't want my house to look like one. Do you?
  • I have NEVER thrown a jacket away and then regretted it. For those of you who like to get your books signed, always be sure to do so on the inside, because.....
  • Eventually, all dust jackets rip and fray and end up looking quite shabby. 
  • It's another way to Live Beautifully Everyday!

Before: spines coverd with jackets.

After: jackets ditched and beautiful spines showing!

In case you're still not sure if you can take the leap...remove the jackets from all your books and store them in a closet or somewhere out of sight. After six months if you don't miss them....ditch them for good. And, if your feeling really crazy, rip your mattress tag off too!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


When I met my husband, the topic of collections came up and he said he collected news and money. It made me laugh, but also made me curious. Sure enough he had been collecting newspapers that had headlines that marked important events in history such as Kennedy's assassination, Nixon resigning the  Office of the President and more colorful headlines such as the trial of that awful and scary Lizzie Borden.

His collection of money began with a trip to Japan at age eighteen. Interestingly, I too had saved many types of currency from my own travels. Together, we have turned much of it into some of our favorite art, but that is a post for another day.

Sunday's new selections.
 Not only does my husband have newspaper collections, but he's a bit of a news junkie. Never is this more apparent than on Sunday mornings. There is something so decadent about sitting with coffee in hand, a fire going and leisurely perusing the papers. Of course, when the weather is good we raise the windows to let the fresh air in. I am more of a browser when it comes to news. Over the years we've fallen into this pattern where my husband will pass a section of the paper to me that he thinks I will find of interest and I will read those articles in detail. I love the idea of bringing a bit of old fashioned news stands and coffee shops into our house.

Many years ago we used to vacation regularly in Cape May, New Jersey. My husband's family had been vacationing there for decades. One year before we had children, we stayed in a beautifully restored historic hotel. I remember the newspaper display in the lobby for guests was amazing. I saw something similar again in France during a trip in 2001 and then again in March of 2009 during one our trips to Charleston, S.C. We were in a favorite shop and the shop owner had her tissue paper hung on rods and in that moment I thought about newspapers again. I knew as soon as we got home exactly how the papers in the A&A house would be corralled. As luck would have it, I found the perfect bars to hang the papers.

Next to the window, the best place to read.
 Last year while reading A Gift Wrapped Life, Sande did a  post where she talked about how much she and her husband loved newspapers and how he had spotted an interesting display during a trip they took. I couldn't believe the picture as it was the exact same set up we had, although the CM execution was far more glamorous! I've meant to do a post linking ever since....

A glimpse of the newspapers on the right December 2009.
I was trying to capture a photo of the backyard just after a blizzard.
So much has changed in this room since this photo, including the addition of curtains!

While I've been sick the past two weeks, I managed to rack up quite an order from including Charlotte Moss Decorates.  And there on  page 191 were the rods again. It seems CM did this for a Kip's Bay showhouse in 2009. And here I thought I was being so clever. Sometimes, it really does seem like there are no new ideas in decorating!

Charlotte Moss design

Anyone that comes over always remarks about the hanging newspapers. It really does become art on the wall as well as solve the problem  of where to put the papers. It has been great for my kids when they have needed articles for current events. For parties, when time allows, we will hang up some of the old papers. I just love to see people's reactions. After the initial confusion, it always gets a laugh! Hope you had a relaxing Sunday morning...reading all your newsworthy papers.