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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.

This Post Brought to You by…. Me!

Two of the decorating blogs that I read on a regular basis, both had posts about how pretty the Kleenex box is, on the same day. It was a Kleenex marketing invasion. God save me from this type of success. The first thing I do when I get sick is scour the house looking for the Puffs Plus with lotion, for the sake of my poor runny nose. I don’t care about the design of the Kleenex box. That is like trying to pretty up the toilet paper or the paper towels. I am just grateful we have tissues, and I’m not blowing my nose into a leaf, or a piece of Soviet newspaper.

Puffs Plus!

Puffs Plus!

I promise this post has not been sponsored by Puffs Plus.

In the news of The World’s Slowest Kitchen Renovation, I have a blind on my kitchen window! I also have an outrageous estimate for getting the window replaced with a larger window, but for now, I am thrilled to have a blind. The morning sun is brutal. My mom said she wasn’t able to do the dishes because the sun was in her eyes. This is tragic. I can’t risk losing an opportunity for someone else to do the dishes, so we installed a blind.

Ikea kitchen blind.

Ikea kitchen blind.

These blinds are wood blinds from Ikea. We have put them on all of our upstairs windows for privacy, but they come a little too wide for our windows. Long ago I bought one, just to see if we could trim it down, and it worked!

Downstairs in the office.

Downstairs in the office.

Using a jigsaw, we were able to trim that extra inch from one side of the blind, so they fit the window (by we, I mean Stuart). You can’t tell that they have been altered and we have saved lots of money this way. The cost was $25 per blind, which is an approximate savings of $1000 per window. Wood blinds that are not from Ikea cost a fortune.

Bedroom windows.

Bedroom windows.

The color match on these Ikea blinds is just right for our old wood trim. They come in white and blonde wood and several different sizes, and if you own a jigsaw, you can cut them to fit.

I promise this post has not been sponsored by Ikea either, although I am open to offers.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2014 at Simply Turquoise.