a history in a homes design

Child #4 has left the building..and the building is for sale, yet this old bird was caught off guard. You see I thought I knew it all, felt it all. I've left 4 houses in 9 years and have sent off 3 children to University. I got through it, dusted myself off and went on to the next project and the following school event. When it came to children, I always had a spare.

On Saturday it all came crashing in around me. My last child hopped a plane to attend orientation at Washington State University amongst the golden wheat fields of Pullman. I know she won't be back here, her home for the last three years. The first adjustment came a week ago with the departure of Emily's boyfriend. Kjell (pronounced "shell") went home to Norway to attend University. His leaving was like bidding farewell to another family member. Someone in your home almost each and everyday for just shy of two years. Someone that all my children learned to love, especially the dog.

No more late night cooking by the kids with their dishes abandoned for me to wash in the morning. No more hearing the door alarm beep 5 minutes before curfew, or crying over bad Prom hair-do's. To go into Emily's room now I smell the scent of her perfume. I still find bobby pins that littered the floor for years and I no longer get frustrated picking them up, mumbling swear words. No more stacks of laundry to fold, or pool towels to wash. No more requests for healthier snacks or gas money. Her car sits in the driveway and her room is quiet and my heart literally aches.

Sunday our home had it's first 'open house' for the public. Hard this time to think of people critiquing my eclectic decor or think of them stirring about Emily's domain. It's all those little things that make our houses our home. The laughter, the holidays and the routine.

This is the house that had the biggest budget restraints to try to recreate. The recession has taken it's toll on our previous real estate investments. & the last two years have not been easy. Therefor each item has a story and a history and very often a few coats of paint. I call our home the house that Ebay built. I'm learning to let go.

My eldest child and daughter Kate turned 30 last Friday. All these feelings, these emotions are so tightly bound. I'm learning to let go and to trust that what's next is the best to come.


the painting I spotted in a room designed by Kelly Wearstler that I enlisted son Marcus to re-create (a nicer word for copied). Ikea parsons table & drum light fixture (both under $50.) + a mixture of yard sale chairs.

those Kelly green kitchen walls that took three coats of paint. Lined the back of the book case with vintage retro fabric, another ebay find.

stepping up the 'doing dial' to this once sad laundry room. Banished cabinet doors, toss in paint, fabric & done.

the powder room with it's wall of fabric showing off a Home Goods mirror. Pottery Barn light fixture from PB outlet.

son Marc's interpretation of a Chanel painting seen in an issue of Domino. The platform bed I made with mdf & Ikea cabinet legs. Or the chair dragged home from a Seattle junk shop & upholstered in a zebra print sheet.

one of my all-time favorites, 60's wallpaper that reminded me of a Pucci print & the perfectly matched picture frames from Target.

Em's gold spray painted initials.

Zsa Zsa Gabor lamp..and vintage magazine fashion framed prints.

those deep aubergine walls of Emily's teen cave/boudoir.

her headboard that took one part Home Depot door, and two parts foam & fabric with a smiggin' of brass nail heads tossed in. The fabric I searched forever for as it reminded me of a vintage Chanel handbag.

Em's bathroom that she papered with Vogue magazine photos.

and took a basic black Ikea roller shade & gave it Greek key detail with ribbon & our devoted pal, Mr. Glue Gun.

for many, this simple Union Jack would of taken a few hours. To this mathematically challenge girl, days........in which many rolls of painters tape sacrificed themselves.

finding the perfect frames to all match for my collection of vintage Vegas photography & patient (crazy) enough to wait until they were buy one get one 1/2 off.

the battle with an Ebay seller over my winning bid of this 70's prized yellow chair. No minimum..not my problem!

my strange attraction to Federal style convex mirrors.

The CA charity shop Danish modern cabinet, and a bit of Pacific Northwest home via a vintage wall mural of trees.

leather lamps from TJ Maxx in San Diego & Chinoiserie Pier 1 end-tables that took a contortionist to get into my car.

my upholstery project of 2 beloved pieces from my grandparents home.

looking ever so stylish in their chevron patterned attire. Art by dumbwit.

Ebay calling my inner 50's child

A mirror that once was a stage prop for the Sex & the City series (or the "I fell for a fat lie" mirror).

60's retro wallpaper & those killer 50's hairpin legged bar stools. The seller painstakingly built a box & walked these crazy stools to his local NYC Fedex office. A true Ebay trooper.

the fisheye mirrors that I waited for a 50% off coupon and the Target clearance lamps, chairs & buffet ebay, and chandelier from a de-funked Montana cafe; 3 cans of spray paint in white and another 6 in black combined with many hours later.

the 188 painful hours of scraping wallpaper, puttying, texturing, priming & painting until your blisters had blisters. The stellar 3 matching mirrors that we were blessed by the gods on the day we spotted these lovelies at our local Home Goods store.

the Ikea umbrellas in white as white does not fade in the harsh sun of Texas.

stripped awnings made of a re-purposed Ikea product & pillows sewn from the excess powder room project fabric.

and those white terry cloth lounge covers sewn from Walmart towels to cover my $55. Ebay loungers.

letting go.........

my staging efforts and one of their subliminal messages; but will it work? This home not really the 'neutralized' canvas that HGTV suggests; I should know better.

If your really bored, here are "before" pic's of our home & here is the Realtor listing.

{go forth & live responsibly}
love what you've accomplished


Christy said...

Wow you got me all teary eyed Deb! What an absolutely lovely post. And your house - WOWZERS it's gorgeous! I'm in love! Wish I were in the market for it! I'm sending you positive vibes for a quick, high dollar sale!!!

Fabulous Finds Gal said...

Wow!!! What a heartfelt post and your home is beyond fabulous!!! I wish I were in Texas to come buy it from you. I die over the Vogue mag bathroom and all the glitz 50's gold accents. And, wish I was as brave as you with my walls. You have really made it one fab unique pad. Good luck!

Love and light,

Raina Cox said...

Oh my, that's such a heartfelt post. So beautiful.

I hope you having a bidding war for your gorgeous home.

DolceDreams said...

You've got me all choked up!Such a touching post. And I think we can all relate in one way or another.
Your home...your home...your home...
WOWZA!!!! What talent you have my dear, LOVE your style! When one door closes another opens...or so they say :). Looks like you have done all that you can in this home, time for another project to keep you busy!
Will you be staying in Texas?
I send the most positive wishes to you for a quick and easy sell of your knock out home...and try some R and R and TLC for your heart...

James said...

How well you described one of life's bittersweet milestones. I have no pearls of wisdom for you. It's been 5 years and I still sigh sometimes. My heart goes out to you.

Francine Gardner said...

Reading your post broke my heart. The thought of my kids going back to college in september.....I will miss all the above except the bobby pins as my boys do no sport long hair...

You had done such an amazing job with the house....and now letting go. It is the part of my life that i am working on the most...treasuring memories but not holding on to the past, living in the moment, appreciating every aspect of my life and its surrounding.
Cannot wait to follow the next chapter of your life...

caroline duke said...

wow! i can tell that will be super-hard to leave.

you've sold me on it, if that helps!

French Basketeer.com said...

Aw Deb I've got tears in my eyes! My Mom has always cried when I leave home. It's a hard transition to empty nest, and without the energy of the kids in the house. This must have been a cathartic post for you, the result of long hours of soul searching. I am very impressed by the lovely and eclectic and fun atmosphere of your home, but also can't wait to see where you will land next and how you will make it your own. Hug to you today, Andrea

La Petite Gallery said...

I know you have an empty nest, but you will be starting a new lifestyle. Downsize is the thing to do. Make life easy. It's your time now. Life moves on and you
are a true winner, look what you have accomplished. There is excitement awaiting you. I will say a prayer you sell at the price you want. It's a beautiful home.

Dianne said...

this post brought back memories of me vacuuming out my 'last to leave the nest' daughter's room, with teardrops splashing onto the cleaner and me thinking I'm going to be electrocuted if I don't pull myself together. Sad days but we move on and I'm sure you will too - Bonne Chance
Dianne xx

Kelly Frances Dunn said...

Well, you've got 2 things going on here. A home and children. You've poured yourself into both and their potential has come to fruition. Congratulations on your children taking flight, that means you did a great job mama! Congratulations on your beautiful home investment, you did a smashing job!! Your post, I can only say you completed the tasks at hand with a perfect love note from the heart. I am sending you a great BIG hug!

Kelly Frances Dunn said...

P.S. Love all the wallpaper choices!!!!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning dear, dear friend! I cannot imagine the feeling of the empty-nest...I have no children after 28 years of marriage, but I am a fourth grade teacher and especially if it was an outstanding year of awesome kids, the last day of school just rips me apart..when they board the bus for summer break, I feel some pain. Even this past year, a very difficult and challenging lot, I had a soft spot in my heart for them as they drove off. WOW. You are so brave to even talk about your feelings, but your outlet of decorating is simply divine, and I know that you will find something to embellish and make beautiful! That is what we all want to do...like with kids; to nourish them, dress them up, prepare them...your outlet is a canvas of beauty, just waiting for your touch. Thank you for coming to visit my blog and your kind comments on Nancy my sis in law. She is so talented, and her brother, my husband, is a wonder. Ah, merci for the LOVELY name of Matilde for my little poupée that Nancy so lovingly fashioned for me!

Have a lovely day, and may your children always remember how much you will always love them! Anita

Barbara said...

Some big changes in your life, Deborah. Selling a home is always sad but you haven't been there too long, so it shouldn't be quite so hard. You have so many exciting things coming up...
The empty nest syndrome is difficult too. We've discussed this before, I think. You have a wonderful husband and it's not as thought the kids won't be back. They will. No matter where you live, your family is what makes a home.

flwrjane said...

Unbelievable amount of love, work and taste in your house, and just the right amount of fun and frivolity.

Letting go is never easy. But as others have said there will be a new decorating challenge in the future.
Clearly you're up for it.

Thank you for the beautiful words and tour.


annechovie said...

What a fascinating post, Deb! First off, I am touched by all the changes you are facing now. Bless your heart! Secondly, I love all of your creativity and the personality of your home. All the best to you with it all, Sweetie. xo

Laura @ EdenRose said...

Wow, what a beautiful post! So wonderfully written. I cant even imagine how I will feel when my daughter wants leave home but eventually she will and I will have to cope and dry the tears to let her live her life. I'm so sad and happy for you at the same time, hope you are okay? Beautiful home too, I am adoring of those chairs!!
Thank you for your super sweet comments on my blog, you are an absolute gem :) xxx

Chicago Chic said...

What a touching post, I can't imagine the emotions you must be going through right now. I can only relate in the way of being the daughter who is leaving home. When my mom dropped me off at college in San Diego, it was a strange feeling. I was excited but also sad...it was bittersweet. It's strange how you always have this feeling that one day you will be back home, in the same house, and your brothers and sisters will come back too (just a brother for me) someday. Then you realize it never will happen, you are off to start a new life on your own and that family feeling you had in your childhood home will be changed forever.

It must be extra hard for you to be selling that special home at the same time. The photos look absolutely gorgeous and wow what a pool!!!! Thank you for your recent comment, by the way. Seattle is certainly a beautiful place. Wishing you bright days ahead and strength to endure the difficulty of change.


Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hey Deb
Well I am so behind in what is going on with you.. [darn internet].... but can see you are embarking on a new chapter....

i think that wherever you go .. you will take home with you.. and wherever your children are.. you will be with them in spirit everyday and only a phone call away... You must be filled with pride and a little panic at this stage... all will be good Deb.. your time has come!!!

I just love love love the outdoor area you have created here... mine needs some prettying up for sure.. but as I am renting need permission for anything.. and everything.. except the indoor waterfall... would you like one? can get you one for free!!!! hahaha... The striped awnings are an absolute want for me.. may have to invest even if I can't take them with me... and love your grandparents furniture and what you have done with the pieces... they look fabulous...

Well.. internet was gracious to allow me to visit.. hopefully all will be sorted soon.. for both of us!!!

Take care Deb.. and good luck with the house selling... I'm sure it will wow all you come to inspect.. xxx Julie

Julie@beingRUBY said...

blah.. my engrish is as good as my internet connection!!

Lisa Porter said...

You had me at the bobby pins.......

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

Dearest Deb ~

I'm all choked up and my little crumb is only 2! Just the thought of her 'flying away' one day makes me sad....

Now that I've gathered my composure, I must say how much I love your home and its incredible decor! Trust me, someone is going to snatch this beautiful place up so quickly that I hope you have boxes at the ready!

And I have no worries that your nest will NEVER be empty ~ there is too much love in your heart and with your family!


Sweet Style said...

Oh Deb you did tell me not long ago to soak it all in while they are young as before you know it they are off on new adventures - lots of wonderful memories for you here and some new memories to be in made in the future - sending luck and love. Leanne xx

Miles Of Style said...

what a touching post!

thanks for stopping by my blog...i love yours! lets follow each other? =)

have a lovely weekend!


Privet and Holly said...

My eyes
pricked as
I read your
lovely thoughts...
I hope you are
keeping busy
and I wish you
so many blessings
on the next
part of your
journey. Your
decor is amazing ~
what talent you
have, my friend!!!
Your home will
certainly stand
out in the crowd ~
in a good way!!!
Happy Weekend and
I'll keep my fingers
crossed that you
aren't on the market,
too long....
xx Suzanne
PS: Our daughters
share the same initials.
Mine will be off to
University in three
years. Think I need
a hanky....!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I am weepy and freaking out just a bit as I prepare to send my oldest off to college in 3 weeks. And, to read this post and know that you have seen 3 off and prepare to sell your home...wish I could give you a hug and pour you a glass of your favorite drink...or two!

Averill said...

Goodness Deb have you got style (but I knew that). I love your home and you should not neutralize. I remember thinking I should do the same when I sold my condo last year, but ultimately what sold it was someone fell in love with the style (and actually kept all the paint colors the same -- including the bright orange-red study and the dark blue-gray bedroom). So beige be damned! Your house will stand out, especially in suburbia.

Oh and I think my mom could relate on the last one leaving. She said it was a lot harder when Jane left than when I did. At least when I left, she still had one daughter around the house. It's a big adjustment to go to empty nester, but I'm sure you'll find your stride soon!

24 Corners said...

Oh Deb, you've had to experience so many big changes this year...my heart goes out to you. Leaving the beloved *old* behind is always so difficult...soon though, the new adventure will begin and once you're in the groove, there will be a new normal, a new "home", new and wonderful "adult" children who will be a blast to know and probably a new you too, one that can have some peace and comfort in her new life.

Best with the sale of your home...what you did with it is pretty amazing and very inspirational especially since our budget now is an e-bay/Ikea budget also.

Where are you moving?? Back here? How wonderful would that be...you could bring some of that Texas heat with you! ;)

Hang in there, many blessings are on their way to you...
xoxo Jessica

Brabourne Farm said...

Hi Deb - gorgeous and heartfelt post! I love your house and all your clever and fabulous ideas - the new owners will be very lucky people. Leigh

Beadboard UpCountry said...

Hi Deb!
Your house looks like fun!!!! I love the way the kids personalities show through...I know you hate for them to go but CHANGE is good if you have something creative to do>>>>AND YOUARE VERY CREATIVE!!!!! xo Maryanne

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Oh Deb,
Your family home is just beautiful. You have made it so unique and individual and on such a modest budget. I think that I could do with a few lessons from you !! I went over to read the estate agents details and I can't believe the price !!!! Your house would be on the market for at least £1 and a half million over here !! Property is so reasonable over there and so expensive over here !!
I do feel for you, Deb. It is so hard to get ones head around change, isn't t? Not only are your children going off to their new life which is so hard in itself but, you are too !!!!
I know that everything is going to be fine and that you are at the beginning of a wonderful new adventure.
Hang on in there dear Deb. XXXX

North of 25A said...

Beautiful tribute to your family, Deb. Your home is amazing & would be worth easily $2 million here on the North Shore. Whoever snaps up your house will be lucky and happy, no doubt. When I am concerned about change I try to remind myself that what is in store for me is going to be better than anything that I am worried about.
All my best to you,

goodniteirene.wordpress.com said...

this is so beautiful. lovely, lovely post. how you adore and care for your family.
that house!! every photo has me screaming. i knew it was fantastic, but i had no idea it was that fantastic!!!
you are a true artist.
lots of love,

La Dolfina said...

Wow Deb... I've been wondering about your situation and why you are selling your home. First of all... your sentiments about your daughter were so heartfelt and sweet. They got me right in the kisser. I'm trying to be brave but I'm down to my last weeks before I say Goodbye to my son. My one and only...
I think you need a vaca and visiting me would be a great option. After you sell your house, you should think about it :)
Your house is amazing by the way. I love it. It must have the best energy in it :) So much personality and great taste, I can't believe it didn't sell the first day! Where will you be moving to? Have you found it yet?
So many questions...
Just know that I'm thinking of you through this journey you are on and sending lots of love your way and am here whenever you are ready.
So much love to you my friend... you've been through a lot but I promise, the next act is gonna be great :)

SpryOnTheWall said...

I'm tearing up again reading this post. So wonderful, I love your house (again, come and decorate my new one - whenever we get one - LOL!). You are a fantastic mom and a super creative gal. I just love your posts!! xoxoxo Jenny

Cashon&Co said...

Ah, I do not want that day to come when my youngest leaves the nest.... You have a beautiful family and seeing your home and taking the tour via your photos and comments, it seems to be the popular house, full of fun and happiness.... Everything just gets better, your next chapter will be yet another adventure with new memories to be had...xo

Kellie Collis said...

Your house is divine! I hope you are feeling better with your daughter heading off to university... Thinking of you xxx

Haven and Home said...

Oh Deb, great post, but that is expected! Oh this makes my heart hurt a little. It is cruel that life takes us away from those we love. Saying goodbye to homes is always hard.

Your home is AMAZING. I could not even believe all the tidbits of goodness. I had to keep checking this was all from one house. Can Marc come over and do some art for me?

The family is doing well, thanks for asking. Somehow my Grandmother continues to live on, in between here and there as my Mom puts it. Thank you for thinking of us!



The Tablescaper said...

Well, I'm new to your blog, but I feel like I got a real taste. Man, I don't envy where you're at. I'm already having a problem knowing that my first has ONLY three years left home. I truly try to treasure it all.

But from seeing your blog, I have no doubt that you are about to embark on new and exciting horizons.

- The Tablescaper

Renae Moore said...

Oh Sweet Deb, I feel your pain so deeply. Empty nest is the pits. Your home is lovely and so many great memories made there. Where are you moving?
Hop a plane and come to Atlanta for a long weekend, I'll take care of you!

Marsi @ The Cottage Cheese said...

First let me say that your home is beautiful Deb! Thank you so much for sharing pics. You have a wonderful sense of style, and you've proven that you don't have to spend a lot of money to create a stylish space. Love the Eames chairs of course, the artwork that you and your son painted (you're both so talented!), all of the window treatments you made, your poolside oasis, your use of 60's vintage wallpapers. My master bedroom is the green color of the first room. Remember: there are 1,000 beige houses out there for those who want a beige house. But there are many people who want personality and will form an immediate emotional attachment to a home like yours.

This must be a very emotional experience for you, and I wish you strength through this time of big changes in your life. I know you miss your kids terribly, but you also have exciting times ahead of you, new adventures to look forward to. It will get easier. Chin up buttercup! Thinking of you, XO - Marsi

Millie said...

I reckon by the time I post this comment Deb, your GORGEOUS house would have been snapped up by a very astute & appreciative Buyer for a record high price!! Now you & Mr. DT can pack up the Winnebago & hit the road like a couple of free-wheeling gypsies. You'll get over the empty-nest thing I promise. It's a joy to open the refrigerator door & actually find food in the same place as I left it 2 hrs. before.
Millie ^_^

Champagne Macarons said...

This is a touching post. With three children, I cannot imagine how I will feel once they leave home to begin their independent lives. As of now, they claim they will not move further than the neighbors homes (they intend to one day purchase them) and will come every morning for breakfast, lunch, dinner and homemade cookies ;) They will, I know, be home often as home is where the heart is. No matter where their lives may lead them, or their age, our homes will be where their hearts will be.
Your home is exquisite! You have an eye for design and I'm certain that your new home will be just as lovely. Rather than be sad, welcome change and your new adventure. Life is full of beauty, wonder and possibility.
I'm thrilled that I stumbed upon your blog via Kelley Moore.
Wishing you bright filled days!
xoxo, B

diane@onlinefabricstore said...

I feel your pain as I have a 22 year old myself. It is comforting to know that my daughter is not the only one who leaves bobby pins stuck in the carpet or late night snack clean ups or the all awakening beep of the alarm system that now tells you you can sleep peacefully...the lambs have come home. I dont think we ever get over them leaving but one easy way is to immediately turn their room into a guest room. I was tempted to leave it "shrine like" but now have a lovely and NEAT guest room.

Best of luck and I look forward to future posts.

C.J. said...

I know exactly how you feel, when my daughters left home I would go into their rooms, sit on the bed and just cry, for me, them, the memories... its a hard thing to go through along with everything else. I have no doubt that you will come out on the other end of all of this just fine, because of who and what you are. My love to you, hang in there honey, I personally hated those strangers going through my home (life).

C.J. said...

forgot to mention that your home is lovely, and so under priced (crappy economy)

A Perfect Gray said...

beautiful post, sweet babe. lovely and bittersweet emotions. I hope all goes well and smoothly. I know this time is full of bumps but just think of the doors it will open to future happiness.....

love to you, Donna

Anonymous said...
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Mélanie A. said...

I love your style and you house has a personality. Everything is so well thought.
I'm sure someone is going to love it as much as you do