Archives

A Long Awaited Photoshoot

This post is to prevent Community Forklift from having the complete scoop on my bathroom. I’ve been prodded into action by a co-worker, because Community Forklift has a blog-post scheduled about sustainability and design, featuring MY bathroom.

Why, what bathroom is that? The one we’ve just added, of course! The others already existed, so their sustainability was never in question.

Ooh la la!

I had trouble photographing the new bathroom because there is always someone in it. Can’t find the dogs? They’re probably lying on the heated floor. The youngest child? She’s sitting on the seat playing in the spa-like shower. Fortunately, almost all are afraid of the toilet as the bidet/toilet combo has scared them off entirely. We are now properly prepared for any toilet paper shortage that might come in 2021. You can’t be too careful.

An open European style shower.

So, feast your eyes. The sink is an American Standard commercial fixture from 1928. The towel bar is made of milk glass. The hardware is vintage art-deco and the lines mimic the lines on the sink. The shelves are reclaimed heart pine from Brick + Board. The door, the glass block window, and the soap dish all represent elements of reuse in this luxurious bathroom. The tile is Portuguese ceramic from a high-end donation that came to Community Forklift. The design evolved around all of these reusable items we wanted to incorporate. Not only is it a sustainable option to include reclaimed items in your renovations, but it is affordable. The quality of these older materials are not what you find in newer items made today, unless you are prepared to go for broke.

A mini-tour of the new bathroom.

This bathroom was gifted to us by my in-laws who wanted to upgrade our (their) guest space. I am grateful because it is something many people will enjoy for years to come, including us!

A milk glass towel bar!
Heart pine floating shelves.
1928 American Standard commercial wall sink with legs!

Our contractor who did the work? An artisan craftsman (who moonlights as a therapist) shall remain anonymous because I am not finished with him yet.

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2020.

Turf Wars

I have occupied every corner of this house. Admittedly, it’s not that big for a house, but still. As soon as I create a space in which to work, it gets taken over by someone I might be related to. A troubling discovery that is problematic.

I finally carved out a space I don’t think will get conquered. Not even by the ones who are working from home, schooling from home, zooming into all kinds of games, or even the dogs. It’s close enough I can fend off any would-be attackers. It happened by accident. I was working on a different space when inspiration struck, and I knew it was right.

Considering whether or not to surround it with caution tape.

When I have my own space, I get things accomplished! This is evidenced by two blog posts (!) within the week! Or maybe the fact that our car is still in the driveway, since I have a space in which I can sit down and pay the bills.

In disguise!

This new highly-coveted space is in my bedroom, and close enough in proximity that I can defend its territory. It’s an old-fashioned secretary desk that I got from my favorite hang-out spot, you know the one I work at, Community Forklift. It is a vintage piece that is chalk-painted with good functionality. I love that the color is camouflage in my bedroom and blends in with the wall, making the room seem larger and preventing any enemy action. I have set up a station of icons on one shelf, to deter anyone from taking over, and make it mine. I have to pray to the saints while I am working, just to get things done, and cannot be left to my own devices. It’s a good system and I have staked my claim.

All the saints watching over me (and my new space)!

There is no plug nearby, or task lighting, so it’s not perfect. I am using the drawers for my clothes and the cushioned stools, which already lived here, are the perfect height to sit and work. I can stash mail, hide the clutter, find a stamp, and after eight years in this house, sit somewhere to write. 😊

At last!

Multi-tasking furniture is key to efficiently designed spaces, and vintage furniture is often practical, small in scale, and adds an element of sustainability to your design. Try it out! These secretary desks are common finds and the price at Community Forklift is usually in the $150-$200 range, which is do-able.

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2020.

And so it goes….

This post was specifically requested by a fan. I will do my very best.

The fan/reader/mom, who shall remain anonymous, posed the question, “How does one get into the mood for Christmas, or any holiday, during a pandemic?” Good question. I have no idea. They asked, would you please write a blog post on that?

I promise to do my best, so here goes. Please put away your cynical thoughts. I can hear them in my head already!

1. Fill all of your senses with Christmas! Smell it! Add a fresh tree and set some mulling spices simmering on the stove. Fill the house with music, whether it be jazz or classical, and bake. Decorate the tree and write your thoughts down on a Christmas card, yeah old fashioned-like. Actual pen and paper. Lick the envelope and mail it to the f***ing North Pole. Your kids will love you for it. And then say a prayer of thanks for Samuel L. Jackson, because he made it okay to use that word. You know the one. Have a drink. And if you don’t drink, have a Seedlip cocktail, because they…. are….delicious and are the only distilled nonalcoholic spirit in my repertoire. The bomb. Tested by me, and no, I am not an alcoholic. Yet.

Seedlip nonalcoholic distilled spirits. Originating from apothecary recipes from 1651, or something like that.

2. Adopt a pandemic pet. I have a non-pandemic pet who won’t stray 6 inches from my feet and I am NEVER lonely. He adopted me:

My pet gremlin.

Henry Adams is a legit pandemic pet. Unveiled like some sort of long-awaited designer fashion object d’arte….. on a political blog for people with way too much time on their hands. Behold, meet the…. Henry Adams Cat. He is my latest sibling and heir to the throne:

The foot is real and Henry is doing his job as the foot is no longer a lonely foot.

3. As a family we have enjoyed some seriously fun Zoom calls. We got an account so you can talk for more than 40 minutes. We hosted a game of “Among Us” with the Australian cousin/family. Fun we might not have had if it were not for the pandemic. We even included our far-away Boston child in the game, who dressed unsuspectingly like a plant, and proceeded to murder us in our sleep. It was all good.

Just relax and enjoy the quiet peaceful moments.

4. Seize the calm and the small moments. A fire, a bath, a quiet walk in the woods. Just be in the present. Put down the news and watch the birds. Believe me, those birds have plenty to say. Recharge your batteries.

I realized I have quite the collection of beach-bum Santas and this year, they are hanging out in a prominent place, reminding me that another year is on its way. Thank God!

Beach bum Santas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2020.

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.

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.

img_3813

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.

img_3809

Found rocking chair.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2017 at Simply Turquoise.