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2017 Year in Review

The college application process is revealing. Not just for the applicant, who has spent hours navel-gazing in order to answer their curious questions, but for her parents too. It revealed the administrative headache that is applying for college, the lack of patience I have in general, and the burning and eternal question on a 5-year-old’s mind: “Can I play Mario Kart?” “How about now?”

I can’t believe I survived 2017 because I am pretty sure it tried to do me in.

However the home improvement front was more productive. Spurts of activity driven by sheer agitation and desire for distraction led to projects getting done that have been on the back burner for years. We hired a contractor! Yes indeed!

  • My kitchen window was cut and made bigger. The masons that did the brick work were artists and it looks beautiful.
The new window by Marvin.

The new window by Marvin.

The view!

  • We (by which I mean said contractor) replaced the window sashes on our glass porch. Custom wood windows made by Marvin that are energy efficient and true to the 1941 style of the house.
My vintage tree.

My vintage tree.

The porch revealed!

The porch revealed!

  • I painted the upstairs bathroom, which was desperately needed. Take my word for it, it looks nice and I was too tired for pictures.
  • The chair in my kitchen was recovered. It belonged to my grandmother. New window+new chair=still un-renovated kitchen. But progress is good!
Kitchen wall and cozy chair.

Kitchen wall and cozy chair.

Humphrey!

Humphrey!

  • In a gravity-defying performance that was inspired by Cirque du Soleil, I whitewashed the ceiling over my stairs.
Whitewashed ceiling in blue: Benjamin Moore's Picnic Basket.

Whitewashed ceiling in blue.

Defying gravity.

Defying gravity.

The space on the porch is livable now. The view of the yard is seeable now. The house is quietly changing into the house I knew it could be. And 2018? I say bring it on. Here’s to wishing all of you, my dear readers, a joyous and happy New Year!

© copyright 2017 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

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My Trash Story

Since working at Community Forklift for three years now, I’ve taken to a different view of dumpster diving. It’s a sort of rescue mission, a diversionary tactic for landfill-headed junk. I am not a dumpster diver…. I AM SAVING THE EARTH! This is an empowering feeling, even if the skeptics call it spin. I never exactly felt bad about dumpster diving before, but now it holds an elevated sense of purpose bordering my morality.

You would not believe the stuff people throw away. It is true that trash tells a story. I often wonder why someone would get rid of this…. or that. Things that are fabulous among the rubble, no matter your sense of style. Trash is an exercise in diversity.

Working in a reuse store gives you a birds-eye view of the excess of American culture. Imagine creating 30-40 jobs just sorting out and selling old stuff: the cast-offs, dirty and dusty, waiting to be claimed and given a little TLC. That is what we do every day.

Just yesterday I dragged this chair home with me. While on our evening walk, the dog and I examined it with our cellphone flashlight and carried it at least half a mile. Juggling the poo bag, the found rocking chair, and the leash was a workout rivaling Crossfit. We did make it all the way home in tact.

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A rocking chair story.

Behold this beauty! I have only one question for you all: why are we wasting our time shopping for anything new? Let your trash tell its’ story.

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Found rocking chair.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2017 at Simply Turquoise.

Texture through Art

Texture. It is so important. In design, it’s the element that brings the POP! and the WOW! factor to your space. Like the humor in a speech or the color in a drawing. Without texture, your space would ultimately be dull and flat.

An anthropological study in plaster.

An anthropological study in plaster, by John Snogren.

 

These pieces hanging in my dining room serve as a reminder that art is a living idea, meant to stir up discussion and provoke thought. I see them as a study of our culture through what’s been left behind… Bits of rubbish, a clock, remnants of polite society mixed with cigarettes and bouncy balls, as if fossilized. No matter what, it has stirred up conversation and that is the purpose of art.

A clock, close-up.

A clock, close-up.

 

Art should make you want to reach out and touch it. Art with form and dimension will spice up your flat wall and cast shadows, playing on the light.

A flute player in bronze

A flute player in bronze

Over time I have developed this knack for adding texture.

Feathers!

Feathers!

 

A wire dress form.

A wire dress form.

 

Layering adds texture

Layering adds texture.

 

Everyday items as art.

Everyday items as art.

 

Cutting boards and pots, a sculptural and useful display in the kitchen, wed form with function and bring the idea of texture in.

Breathe some life into your room by using this simple idea of texture in your space and see what you think. I know you’re going to love it.

 

Orchids as sculpture

Orchids as sculpture

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Shower Doors-1, Marriage-0

Why does the word divorcee seem so glamorous? In my mind, that word evokes images of socialite Wallis Simpson, holding a martini and seeming free of obligations or burden.

When I tell you that ripping out the shower doors in my downstairs bathroom almost caused the demise of my marriage, I am mostly not kidding. But that glamorized version in my mind of the divorcee causes me to proceed with reckless abandon. This is not good. Not good at all.

The Before

The Before.

It all started with an innocent search of the Internet. My downfall came when I read that one woman had removed her shower doors in half an hour. Liar.

Easy Going

Easy Going

Things went smoothly at first. Parts of the doors just fell off (with the help of the drill) while my husband was in a huff about how he can’t ever turn his back on me because I’ll start removing pieces of the house if he isn’t looking and other such nonsense. Normally, he is very supportive of my DIY projects, as long as I give him three years’ notice.

Almost done!

Almost done! This is what was left of a 2×4.

After he exited the scene, I started running into trouble. The frame came out, but there was wood behind it and it was glued to the tile.

I struggled and struggled and finally got it free. In my moment of glory the three year old said, “I knew you could do it Mommy!” Of course, she was the only one willing to hang out with me, and I had been wrestling with that wood for an hour. It was either IT or ME.

They are gone!

They are gone!

I like how visually clean it looks now. I had to grout the tile behind the frame, wrestle with all the caulk and glue, and re-do the caulk in the shower. But I did it. All by myself! Well, me and my mini cheerleader together.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink!

Now that calls for a martini!
© copyright 2015 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

A Little Help From My Friends

This week, I called in the cavalry. Decorating has been reduced to lusting after pillows in Target as I head for the grocery aisle, usually at some ungodly hour, wondering if I’m the only human who knows Target stays open this late.

You may recall a post in which I photographed a few botanicals (Budget Botanicals) from my yard. I printed them on photo paper and then framed them for a “gallery style” wall in my upstairs hallway. This hallway is too narrow for any furniture, and dwarfed any of the artwork I had to hang on it. Without any real light coming in, it was also dark.

The Botanicals.

The Botanicals Before.

The homemade botanicals looked great, but the wall did not. This week, I hired my friend to paint that hallway. The color is a color I have throughout my house in other places and is Benjamin Moore’s Green Hydrangea (CSP-850) from their Color Stories Collection. It is the color of a granny smith apple, and it brightens that space. The botanicals look so fresh and pretty against that wall color. Now the project is finally complete.

The Botanical Update.

The Botanical Update.

 

A narrow pass-through.

A narrow pass-through.

Benjamin Moore's Green Hydrangea.

Benjamin Moore’s Green Hydrangea.

 

Benjamin Moore- Green Hydrangea.

Benjamin Moore- Green Hydrangea.

If you stand at the bottom of the stairs, you see the downstairs hallway and the upstairs hallway together, and they complete a color circle as they are both painted in Green Hydrangea. This is an interesting effect and while I am a fan of color, the risk is to use too much or too many different colors in one house. I have achieved a balance here and the amount of color feels just right.

Peaking into the downstairs hallway.

Peaking into the downstairs hallway.

 

A view of both hallways at once.

A view of both hallways at once.

The best part was coming home to a project done. Sometimes we just need a bit of help.

 © copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Community Forklift!

My dear readers, I have been neglecting you. I am sorry. There is so much news to share, I am not sure where to start!

Recognize that huge Rothko poster?

Recognize that huge Rothko poster? Me and the baby (my sister is holding the camera) shopping in 2012.

I am working full-time. I know, right? Weird. I have never worked full-time in my life. Not counting the full-time mommy-ing, the orchestral musician and teacher thing, or even the part-time office manager-ing thing or blog thing I have been doing lately. Somehow, I have managed to combine an insane work-a-holic type ethic without ever actually holding a full-time job. I am expecting my therapist to call any minute now.

My new playground.

My new playground.

Yet, everything has fallen into place. I have found the quirkiest, funkiest place to work! I am working as the Office Manager for Community Forklift. This place promotes the careful deconstruction of building materials for reuse. Their motto is: “the greenest building material is the one that already exists.” If I could ever take a break long enough to walk around the 34,000 square foot warehouse, I would be in heaven, and probably broke too.

My dining room chandelier.

My dining room chandelier: a diamond in the rough.

We Americans waste so much. Community Forklift saves something like a ga-zillion tons of trash from going into the landfill by collecting donated building supplies. That little trinket you lost from your faucet? We’ve probably got one. A cracked tile? No worries… we may have a replacement.

An aisle of ceramics.

An aisle of ceramics.

No doubt Community Forklift rewards the creative mind that can piece things together. That is often how you wind up with something truly unique, like the old church cornice that now sits in my dining room as an architectural piece.

I have found art, antiquities, garden supplies, and light fixtures. With some elbow grease and creativity, you can bring a little old, quirky or upcycled element of design into your home. I encourage you to come on over to Community Forklift and think outside the box. I may even be able to come down and meet you.

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Decorating Tips from a High-Strung Dog

The other day, the dog whispered in my ear. She told me to rearrange the living room. She wanted her sofa back, and she wanted it in front of the window where she can look out. Actually, she was not whispering at all, but barking loudly because I was sitting in her seat, which prompted me to rearrange. Again.

Cocoa's perch.

Cocoa’s perch.

She was right. We should all be able to enjoy the view outside.

Cocoa's Living Room.

Cocoa’s Living Room.

I moved the blue chairs to my office, moved the other sofa back in, and it is good this way.

We can focus on the view.

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.