The “new” house.

Pardon my absence, friends. It’s like someone pushed the fast forward button on my life around here — time is moving so quickly and I may have over-extended myself in a few arenas. First and most pertinent to this blog is that I have moved to a booth three times the size of my sweet little original booth! Rent has gone from $50 to $150 and I am sweating the difference. I moved in last week and am already panicking that I don’t have enough merchandise to keep it as full as I want it. But I think I’m just feeling a little stressed right now because I have the Junk Ranch Sale coming up on the 13th, and it’s so scary thinking of filling them both up. I will figure it out, though! And I have some pictures to show you, but don’t have time to edit them right now — however, if you find me on instagram (@prettyquirkyblog) I do manage to post at least a photo a day.

In the meantime….I put this post together about six months ago and never made it live. Shannon has been asking for pics of the new house, which isn’t really new anymore, as we’ve been here for a year, but I can’t manage to get more than one room clean at a time to take pictures. But I did get some shots of the dining room — though things have changed a bit, it gives you a general idea of how things are shaping up. What’s hilarious to me is that so many of the things I’m talking about being busy with in this post, originally written in August, are true right now, months and months later!

August, 2013

When will this house stop being the “new” house, I wonder? The kids still routinely address it as such, as in “Is Daddy going to be at the New House when we get home?” [Editor’s note: they still call it the “New House.”] I keep bemoaning the fact that I haven’t made it very far in any sort of decorating scheme and Justin keeps saying, relax, we haven’t even been here that long, but it’s been THREE MONTHS which seems like forever to me. The truth of the matter is that 1. I’ve been so busy trying to get the booth up to its maximum capacity and now I have the Barn Sale as well and 2. we don’t have any moola to do any decorating, so anything that we do has to be done with things we already own. And where’s the fun in that? Honestly, everywhere I look, I see something I want to change in this house. But before I start complaining, let me just say: we are so LUCKY. We are lucky to have a roof over our heads and food on the table. I’ll get into a rut where I’m thinking of all the things that need to be done to this house to make it more aesthetically pleasing to me and I’ll have a rush of shame that I can’t be content with what I have. But I don’t want fancy stuff, really; it’s just that I can’t help but see potential in the walls around me. And that potential includes making this house feel more like “us” than it does right now, giving it a more personal touch. The house was built in 1994, and a lot of its decorating touches reflect that particular era in house design. A lot of stuff is still builder’s grade, and was never updated or upgraded. I’ve never lived in a cookie-cutter environment; even in college, I always sought out the unusual spaces instead of the apartment complexes. (One of these spaces was a converted garage. I took my niece by there not long ago and she stared at it in horror. “You lived THERE?” she sputtered. “That is what you call CHARACTER,” I answered defensively.) In Chicago, our apartments were always vintage, with beautiful built-ins that helped to complement their shabby surroundings. So part of my problem is figuring out a way to make all of my old stuff appear natural in this newer, more contemporary setting.

I’ve got one little corner of the house KIND OF decorated at this point — the dining room. The living room and dining room are all one large room, with super-high ceilings and a ridiculous amount of windows. (Really, the house’s best quality is its plentiful windows.) The paint color is a dark, slate gray, and I really like this color, especially the way it contrasts with the white trim. I think we’re going to leave it this color (we can MAYBE afford to have one or two rooms painted — I would do it myself but the walls are seriously high and I don’t think I could even find a ladder that would reach — and I would rather save our money to change the red of the kitchen and the horrid, horrid mustard color of the master bedroom.) but I had to decide on what other colors to use with it. I fought against yellow for a long time, because that color combination just seems so overdone, but I just LOVE those two colors together. So cheerful, and since the gray is so dark, I kind of wanted a cheerful accent for it.

That’s my $40 table, painted Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin which, really, reads white in most lights. I spray painted the two yellow chairs — they were already painted, so I figured it was no biggie if I ended up hating the yellow. But I kind of love it.

I dug out all of my yellow pottery.

I painted the lamps and re-covered the shades for the second time. They used to look like this:

And then I covered them again but I can’t find a picture of it. BTW, I think I’m going to sell the monkey painting at the barn sale. I just can’t find a place to put it. [Editor’s note: I didn’t sell that art at the last barn sale, but am going to drag it to the next! Do you think anyone will buy it?]

UGH THAT LIGHT. I hate it. Doesn’t it look like something that belongs in a dungeon? Also, the floor is not my favorite. It’s a ceramic tile, sort of beige-y, and I just don’t know why you would choose that color when you have stark white woodwork throughout the room. We needed drapes, and I was all, $25 FOR TWO PANELS????? at T.J. Maxx, but, as always, you get what you pay for. They’re kind of like tissue paper. So I’m looking for some reasonably priced replacement panels unless my Mom wants to take pity on me and stitch some up for me.

Speaking of my Mom, those are her leftover birthday flowers on the table.

The dining room is opposite the foyer, which I’m kind of happy with right now as well.

So that’s, what, fifty square feet that I’m satisfied with so far?

I feel a little paralyzed by the whole decorating thing, to be frank. In my apartments, it always seemed kind of easy and organic, with me slowly finding a place for all of my yard sale finds in a fairly easy way. But this just seems so serious. I always thought that, once you bought a house, you just had to decorate


June 3, 2014 - 11:26 am

Shara Your house is just wonderful. I spent like an hour just looking through your bookcases of books, treasures and pottery. I see things like pottery and photos – not light fixtures. I am a nosy house guest so BEWARE! 🙂 That day back in the snow when we all went to Lincoln – Emme held my hand in the backseat and asked me to come back to her “new house” with her. BTW _ The monkey art is fantastic. Have you not put it in the booth???

June 3, 2014 - 1:47 pm

Mary How much for the monkey painting? I ‘ve been loving it forever!

June 3, 2014 - 3:21 pm

laurie magpie ethel Seriously your place is darling. I don’t think that paralyzed feeling should even be entering that pretty little head of yours! Great treasures and great eye candy! Making a house a home takes time…

June 4, 2014 - 11:45 am

jenny ok, seriously, those are some awesome furnishings and pottery you have!! I love them! And if I were your neighbor, I’d happily buy that monkey art from you! I love it! I want it! It’s so quirky!! Squeeee… (as you read this, the voice narrating should be going higher and higher until it squeaks!!) And I spy your singing bird planter in that great cabinet in your foyer!! So lovely! I’d love to find me one of those cabinets!! I absolutely hate dusting, so anything with glass doors is a winner in my book! Don’t fret so, you have a lovely home just based on that bit alone!

June 4, 2014 - 1:55 pm

Chanelleambrose Looks fantastic. I totally want your credenza! I love all the pottery together…love!
I have the same decorating issues. I have some great stuff but can’t seem to pull it together. Monkey painting is hilarious!
Tried to return your email but it got bounced back. Tried a different way, let me know if you got anything.

June 4, 2014 - 6:07 pm

Kathy Epley Hi Lara Jo, Just wondering, are those 2 pictures above your hutch paint by number? My older sister and brother painted a few, back in the day, and there is just something about them….they just take you back. Anyway, I love them! Thanks for sharing pictures of your new house!! 😉 Kathy

June 4, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Shannon OMG I love what you’ve done. The splash of yellow in the room is DIVINE and goes with the grey so, so very well! Okay, now you can come up here and do my condo. It is probably the same square footage as both of those areas you’ve just showed me. hahaha.

June 6, 2014 - 12:13 pm

JunkHunk Funny how we switched out monkeys for monkeys.

June 13, 2014 - 5:46 pm

Into Vintage Another lovely post — especially about being lucky. I know what you mean. 😉 Your home is so charming, especially because of all the touches you’ve added to it. Fun to see where things have ended up since the ‘old’ house. I pinned the last photo because that is total perfection to me, right down to that white cuckoo clock. Let me know when it’s convenient and I’ll swing by to pick all of it up.

June 23, 2014 - 8:11 pm

Lara Jo Amy, you’re too, too sweet. Thank you for your kind comments. I promise to leave you the pottery in my will. 🙂

June 23, 2014 - 8:12 pm

Lara Jo You’re SO CLEVER.

June 23, 2014 - 8:13 pm

Lara Jo I wish I could come and help you decorate, Shannon! I keep thinking surely I will make it to Chicago this summer but already the time is speeding by so quickly. These dadgum kids make everything so complicated. Any news on placement yet?

June 23, 2014 - 8:16 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Kathy! Hope all is well. YES, they are paint-by-numbers — my grandmother on my dad’s side did them. I love them too. They were kind of hard to come by there for a while but I’ve been finding more at reasonable prices lately. I’ve seen photos of entire wall just full of them…so cool! Hope your summer is going well!!!

June 23, 2014 - 8:25 pm

Lara Jo Thanks, Chanelle! I did get your email and took your advice with the pricing at the show. I always forget to build that automatic haggling percentage in so I appreciate you reminding me — it worked well. I would say 90% of people haggled, so I was glad I did that. That phone and the statue that you posted on CW are AMAZING. I don’t know which I love more. That phone! How was it there late in the day?? Makes no sense! Hope your June show went (or goes — has it happened yet?) okay. Shara and i shared a tent this time around and it was super fun to have someone there to pass the time with. (see if you can reply to this e-mail…my husband thinks he solved the problem but isn’t sure. :-)) Hope all is well with you and yours!

June 23, 2014 - 8:28 pm

Lara Jo Jenny, thank you so much for all of your sweet comments! That cabinet was one of my best Craigslist finds after moving here — $150. I love it more every time I look at it. Here’s hoping everyone else is as enamored of the monkey art as you are — I forgot AGAIN to take it to the Junk Ranch so it will be taking up residence in the booth in a week or two. We’ll see how it does!!!! Thanks for writing!

June 23, 2014 - 8:29 pm

Lara Jo Thanks, Laurie — I need to keep reminding myself that it took 9 years in my apartment in Chicago for me to get to the point where I felt like it was cohesive. And really, wouldn’t we be bored if it took any less time than that?? Thanks for your comments!

June 23, 2014 - 8:30 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Mary! Would you believe I forgot AGAIN to take the monkey painting to the Junk Ranch show??? But I will be putting it in the booth in the next couple of weeks. Have to consult with the gals there on a price as I have no idea how much I should price it for so I can let you know as soon as I get a price for it. I’m glad you like it as much as I do!

July 7, 2014 - 11:55 pm

Shara Have you ever researched that monkey painting? Is it signed? I was on the web looking around and came across this: The artist is from Fayetteville and his paintings are worth a TON.