A Very Merry Makeshift Christmas

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As I get to know more and more about blogging, I have come to realize how important Holiday Decor is to everyone who celebrates. I have seen so many beautiful photos of tables set to perfection; themes, colors schemes and lovingly created centerpieces. The wreaths that adorn front doors are more proof of the careful planning that is done. The mantle is a great focal point, again with a theme, select items grouped together and lots of candles for added sparkle. But the real masterpiece is THE TREE!!!  Sometimes several placed  in different rooms.  Don’t get me wrong…I, myself have done the same thing. Every year we would host a big party and pull out all the stops. My front railing alone was a full day’s project! But this year was very different. Because we are building a new home, my current house probably could be filmed for an episode of “Hoarders”. Being a designer, I start my planning process very early in the building stage and that means buying everything I know I want to include because I never want to hear that something is discontinued. So, thus the dilemma……Where do we put the tree????

HERE?

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HOW ABOUT HERE?

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UM…HERE?

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WHAT ABOUT HERE?100_9009

NO, NOT HERE…

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OH MY!

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WHAT TO DO???

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GOT IT!!!

The front hall!….The only other room downstairs that to date has nothing stored in it. (yet!).  My husband picked it up Christmas Eve, we put some plastic balls on it and we opened our gifts the next morning sitting on the stairs. It was very bittersweet and humble, but next year I hope to have two things…More decorations and a better camera!!!

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Deck The Halls…

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…and walls, floors, shelves and everything you can imagine, courtesy of my friend, Lorraine Kliewe. Lorraine is the owner of one of the best kept secrets in the tri state area- The Antique & Design Center, at 300 Route 17 North in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. The store is one of my favorite places to go because I know I will always find something that makes me smile; especially during the holidays. Lorraine was kind enough to let me take photos of her store and share with you a lot of beautiful things that are in the holiday spirit and will give you lots of ideas for decorating your own home. Enjoy the show and may everyone have a very happy and healthy Holiday Season!

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Log Home Living

007Four years ago, I really got a bug to have a house on the water. I am a Cancer and that means I am a water sign. I love the water. Nothing is more peaceful to me than being in front of a body of water, whether a pond, lake, ocean or pool. So, because the market was in the buyer’s favor we bought a small piece of property on a lake. I had no idea what I wanted to build, but after lots of research, I discovered Log Homes. They have always symbolized cozy, warm, inviting interiors and it was so different than anything we have ever owned before. We decided on a company that makes the entire kit. I got right to work; drafting a floor plan that was centered around a room that faced the water. My wish list included 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a loft area, a large walk-out deck and smaller covered porch. Just like the old Lincoln Log set, this house was delivered in one big bundle, all numbered and ready to go. We hired Joe Montana (no, not the football player) a long time friend and neighbor who owns Montana Contracting. Joe did all the prep work and construction of the house. Michael Sturgeon Construction, LLC did a lot of the finish work, including the hand pieced railing and custom gable, as drawn in the photo below. Once all the logs are stacked the house only needs a framed roof. There is no drywall anywhere. All interior walls are logs. The house is very energy efficient, very low maintenance and terrific for entertaining004

Above is the house after all logs were stacked and roof framing began.

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The large deck is great for large parties or just lounging and is accessible from the great room and master bedroom.

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The front Dutch door was purchased at an architectural salvage yard and had many coats of old ugly paint. The strap hinges were what convinced us to buy it. It is the highlight of the house.

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Detail of the great craftsmanship. All these stones were from the property and artfully arranged to create the basement steps, side door and front entrances.

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The front porch gets the late day sunsets and is accessible from the kitchen.

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The two story great room has lots of windows and doors to enjoy the lake view.

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The kitchen area is accessed through the front door as are most log homes.

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The loft area sits above the kitchen

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Detail of railing that was pieced together on site.

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Michael’s talents are evident in this full page advertisement

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What a thrill to be chosen for the cover!

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Confessions of an Addict

Auctions, Antiques, Anything French, that is;  the more chips, scratches, gilding, the better. Having had no money after buying our first house, I needed to get really creative and figure out a way to furnish on a very tight budget. Weekends were spent going to flea markets, junk shops and a quick stop at a pile of stuff on the road when it was pick up day. 100_8955

This sweet little painting was probably one of very first purchases for $5.00 and today it still hangs in my home. Little by little our tiny Bungalow style house started to feel like a home. We started out with a mattress and a folding table, but our collection grew one sale at a time. Draperies were sheets swagged over a pole. Our kitchen table was pine boards nailed to a base that we literally beat with a chain, hammer and nails to give it an aged look. Junk day was the best! Or “Bulk Pickup Day” as it was called. My husband and I would try to drive around when it got dark so no one would see us. The things we have pulled out of those piles of stuff over the years makes me smile.100_8956 One morning, on my way to work, I saw this chair and quickly threw it in my car. It was in perfect condition structurally. I had it upholstered and again, still keep it in my bedroom. It has even been in a showhouse or two! Now that we are building a new house, my addiction has come back with a vengeance. Before the foundation was in, I had already amassed a house full of STUFF that would make George Carlin proud. ( For those of you who remember his classic performance.) For the younger set, my house basically looks like an episode from the show “Hoarders”, but at least I know it’s temporary. I HAVE to buy things I love when I see them because I do not want to risk regretting it later or having something discontinued.

100_8909 100_8940 100_8941 These are photos of my car and living room to give you an an idea of how we are living right now. The bright side is that everything you see has an assigned spot in the new house and I know that everything will fit and look great. It’s just hard to convince others of that. Following are some photos of pieces I have already purchased and redone to use.

100_8958A French daybed,faux finished in wood with gilding. Behind it is an Antique headboard. Not sure if I want to use it, otherwise it will go back to auction. The mirror below was a total mess when I bought it at auction. I had to buy modelling clay, reconstruct grapes, leaves and other detail that was broken, then painted it for now. I plan on gold leafing the whole thing. It is 10′ high and will go in my new entrance. P.S. The lamp on the newel post was also purchased at an antique shop.

100_8963The Trumeau mirror below will go in my powder room over a beautiful antique vanity I bought and will have a light green onyx on the walls and floor

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All this STUFF is being collected for my fireplace wall in the Family Room. The entire wall will be custom built with bookcases on either side of the mantle. These salvage pieces will all be incorporated. This is gonna be fun!

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Desk and mirror bought at auction. I painted the desk white and aged it. The mirror is perfect the way it is. Below are three different chairs I bought for hardly any money at auction and had recovered for different rooms of the house

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This GORGEOUS French piece I just brought home from auction. It is from the estate of Judith Lieber and I am SO glad she decided she didn’t want it anymore!

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Torn, worn, scratched and well loved, I will put this in my entrance exactly as is.

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And for the finale, this is a very special collection of china we have been working on for a very long time. They will go into the bookcases next to the fireplace. As construction progresses, I will be posting to be able to share the building experience and lot’s of information.

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Views from an Amateur Photographer

One day, my daughter found our Canon AE-1 camera case (circa 1980) complete with camera and 3 lenses and became interested in photography. She took a course in school as an elective and learned how to use it; one thing I didn’t have the patience to do. I thought I would post, just for fun some of the images she took in our yard. I love every one of them as it is how she viewed things through the lens….Definitely not one of my talents! Enjoy!

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