Archive | October 2012

Symmetrical Force!

sym-me-try, noun 1. the correspondence in size, form,and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.

Symmetry is a force to be reckoned with. In design, it provides balance and adds a sort of equilibrium to a space. It establishes order and adds an element of harmony to design. It can be purposefully ignored, but at your own risk. You may find yourself perpetually tilting to the right or spinning in circles all because your room is off-kilter. I crave symmetry, to a fault. It is me trying to impose order on my surroundings.

I buy fruit in pairs. (See above paragraph.) I decided that I needed to spruce up my house a little for the trick-or-treaters that would soon be stampeding through my yard. I rounded up the two pie-pumpkins I had bought at the farmers’ market and some candlesticks for my mantle.

Simple Fall Mantle.

It does not have to be complicated! These pumpkins are doing double duty, as soon they will become my Thanksgiving pies. I got excited by the mantle re-do and decided to spruce up the lady in the foyer as well. Prima visited her dress-up box and the lady got a new Fall look too.

The Lady. Ready to greet my trick-or-treaters.

The simple mantle re-do made me realize how important symmetry is. It is the backbone of a good design. I love how the two found chairs I recently added to my living room accentuate the symmetry in the room. They add to the conversation area and provide a spot for snuggling up to the fire and yet the room still feels balanced.

Found chairs.

If you are in shock over this awesome find, don’t worry, you are not alone. All you have to do is start a blog that says how much you LOVE to find good trash and people just start calling to tell you where the good stuff is. No joke. It is now a neighborhood watch sort of activity. And if you are lucky, you may just find a pair.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

CAUTION! Extra Punctuation!

When I am King, overuse of the exclamation point will be a criminal offense. Punishable by at least one day in the stocks per extra exclamation point. I believe that there may also be a correlation between morning people and extracurricular use of the exclamation point. Perhaps even coffee is the culprit.

My fourth-grader has to invent something next week, maybe I will suggest anti-virus/exclamation point software that I can run occasionally to remove every extra exclamation point from my computer screen. I know, it seems a bit curmudgeonly, but there it is.

Funny that I feel this way as I asked Angela to write up a blog post about her awesome Moroccan-inspired dresser. And she did well. I felt as if I should put on my mean-teacher glasses when she handed it in. Surely she was expecting some sort of grade back…. D+ or worse. After all, I am thirteen years older. However, I liked the post, I just told her we needed to weed out some of the exclamation points. And her response was, “BUT I am so EXCITED about this that I had to use them!!!!!”

So, without further ado, I present Angela’s post with only one warning: CAUTION! Extra Punctuation…

Once I find something that I like, I gotta have it! I fell in LOVE with this pattern that I first saw on my friend’s bedding. I searched and searched for this pattern and for the name. I went to TJ Maxx and saw almost the exact same bedding: Moroccan! Thats it!

Moroccan bedding, inspiration.

I had to have it! I brought it home, and of course my lovely other half didn’t fall in love with it like I did, so it was war! But I thought, “hey if I can’t have it on my bed, I will put it somewhere!”

I had an old hand-me-down dresser that was originally dark blue. I painted it white and thought, “it looks too plain”. Lets go Moroccan!

plain white-painted dresser.

Cardboard stencil.

Pencil sketch.

I made my own stencil out of thick card stock. Measured the center of the dresser, and started with a pencil sketch. Next step was to begin painting!

I was liking the way this was going!

And Voila! I love it!


Next time I’ll tell you about the pictures above the dresser. This adventure involves the kids’ discovery of a secret passage, an old mouse-peed wallpaper book, and some bargain frames. Who knew design could be so much fun!

© copyright 2012 Angela Hunanian and Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Dining Room Saga

I had this idea that I would replace the light fixture in the dining room with a fa-beaux new one. The old ceiling mount fixture was #1 on my hit list, and it had to go. I wanted something large-scale, that did not obstruct the visual space, something that said WOW! I wanted the room to have a cottage feel. I wanted it to feel warm and cozy and different.

Dining room light, before.

Dining room light, before. The Hit List.

I eventually found one that was perfect, although not exactly. I had to transform it from it’s original brass finish before it would be perfect. It was a lantern that would capture the feel I was going for. It was hexagon-shaped, oversized with delicate lines and would do nicely in my dining room. I rescued it from Community Forklift. It cost $119.

The almost perfect chandelier.

Working on the chandelier                                                      

I spent days painting this behemoth chandelier, taking it apart, letting it dry between coats. I eventually got Stuart to hang it, with the help of at least one neighbor. It was shimmering and I was so pleased! Then, I sat down at the table under my new light, and opened up the latest Pottery Barn catalog. A few pages into it, my jaw dropped and I thought, “NO Way!” How did they know? There was a lantern-like light hanging above a beefy table, and it looked a lot like mine:

I did not know whether to be happy or sad about it. I liked my version, and it must have been a good idea, but really? Did they have to go and ruin what I thought was an original-ish idea? At least I could take comfort in the fact that they had not painted theirs first and it cost three times what I had paid at Community Forklift for mine. My light was recycled to boot.

Dining room chandelier, after.

I figure one of the following things happened:

  1. I must be extremely stylish and capable of keeping up with the latest trends (Ha!)
  2. I am receiving subliminal advertising messages from the stores I like and it sunk in without my knowledge or consent
  3. Coincidence
  4. Pinterest is to blame

Most likely, it is a strange combination of all of the above.

Dining room chandelier, after.

Dining room chandelier, after.

I am thrilled with the way my dining room looks, but this project wore me down. Next time, I may just buy it directly from Pottery Barn and save myself the trouble. But where is the fun in that?

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Full Circle Farm

My grandmother is one interesting lady. If that has peaked your interest, go read her recently published memoir: Tempered With Fire, by Barbara Knox. At first I was worried that writing a blog would be too public, but then I read Grandma’s book and realized, there are no secrets left in this family. My little blog was nothing compared to her tell-all life and times growing up in Oklahoma, being married to a powerful doctor, surviving a horrible car accident, her twelve-year relationship with a woman, and toward the end of his life, re-kindling the relationship with my grandfather. This memoir is not for the faint of heart. Grandma is 88 and still full of life and spitfire, and I have always admired her.

Tempered With Fire by Barbara Knox.

In 1990 Grandma purchased a 150-acre farm, in south-central Pennsylvania, by herself. Her plan was to re-do the old farmhouse, have a big vegetable garden, and preserve some acreage for woods, walking, and a little peace and quiet. Of course this was a weekend farm, as she still worked during the week. The amazing thing is, she did it.

Sugar Maple at Full Circle Farm.

The beautiful sugar maple tree in front of the farm is a sight to behold and makes me feel glad for the coming fall. It evokes images of the wood-stove, apple pie, shelves lined up with canned goodies from the garden, and days and days of stripping wallpaper from the old plaster walls.

Vegetable garden.

Canned goodies from the garden







In my teenage years, I probably ingested my fair share of dust, grime and lead from that farm, helping Grandma whenever I could get up there for a visit. We spent many holidays there and this time of year brings all that nostalgia for the old farmhouse right back.

Do Not Enter: The Parlor.

Grandma decorated the farmhouse with comfort in mind. It was warm and cozy, and we were allowed in every room except the parlor. The rugs are braided or rag and the country style was perfectly suited to life on the farm.


Stenciled Stairs.

Dining room.

Dining room.

Even now, if I get the itch, I can go up to that farm, sweep out the dust and air out the house. It is pretty much the same even though Grandma does not live there full-time anymore. And this old farmhouse will always have a special place in my heart, particularly in the fall.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.