The Boise Gig

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First of all. It's pronounced Boy-see, not BOY-ZEE. I know because I said it wrong about 2304 times, Secondly it's cuter than you think.  

In my family- real estate is religion.  My parents could talk about houses FOREVER and never get sick of it. Instead of Church, WE went to Open Houses every weekend. By the time I was 14 I could read blueprints, explain basic drywall installation, and tell you the difference between rough and fine carpentry- and give you a name if you needed a guy. Before Graduation, I had lived in 8 houses, and watched my parents buy, sell, rent, renovate, gut, and build like it was their job. Since then I have watched them build ANOTHER (if it was fun the first time) house after we all grew up and took off. In fact, I would bet my dad is probably looking at Zillow- RIGHT NOW. Contemplating a coastal retreat  with a Zen Vibe, that he will never buy. My mom is probably watching The Kardashians and trying to pretend she can't hear him. But she will eventually look at it. She likes Coastal properties.

Since my sisters and I have scattered like seeds to the wind (Chicago, Philly and the Wild Wild West) my parents have been in a state of real estate paralysis. They are bored- they are retired. Where to go? What to do? This yields a lot of ridiculous discussions where my dad suggests crazy locales like Costa Rica and Honduras ("DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF SQUAREFOOTAGE YOU CAN GET IN COSTA RICA! ON THE BEACH!!!") and my mom refuses to even engage because she just wants to be able to go to Homegoods and take a walk. They contemplated Chicago for a minute (my whole life flashed before my eyes. I pictured them making awkward small talk with Doormen, my nice dad trying to befriend scary homeless dudes, my nice mom getting over whelmed trying to park or by a $12 Squash at the farmers market) It wasn't a good fit. Philly is nice, but they are not City People. Which brings us to Boise- where luckily, my sister Leslie is averaging a baby a year. It just made sense. 

So after YEARS of hemming and hawing, Deb and Brian signed a lease ("WHAT DO THEY NEED MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER FOR!?!?!) and we were off.

I was given this photo.  No measurements, no numbers. 7 days, $7K and this photo. 

And it turns out this isn't even the apartment.Β 

And it turns out this isn't even the apartment.Β 

And here are the photos of the Condo the day I left! TADA!!!

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Let's start with the wall color. I hate it. Not just like, "Dislike It", or "Wish it was something else." I full on can't stand it. It's the most 90's mushroom color EVER. BLECH. And guess what- my parents didn't want to paint. They are not sure if they are going to stay and for how long, and to them the 90's were like, just a few minutes ago. Part of me wanted to have a FIT and refuse to participate unless painting was allowed. But the other part of me knew I had to buy ALL OF THE FURNITURE, not to mention sheets, curtains, decor, rugs, DISHES, garbage cans, shower curtains, sheets for 7K and that shi* goes fast. I stuck with the paint. Begrudgingly. Good thing too because I came in at like $7018. Whew. And for as much as I hate the color- I think the room looks pretty cute :)

Now let's talk about the fun stuff.  

Couch, armchair, dining room rug, mirror, dining room table and coffee table all from Wayfair. I should throw a shout out to my girl Rebecca at Wayfair who patiently listened to me FREAK OUT for 2 weeks straight about this job. She is the nicest and I love her and someone should give her a raise because I am pretty sure listening to me spaz out like a psycho is not part of her job description.

GORGEOUS MCM Dining Chairs: Craigslist from a mean old lady with Bible Quotes and Donald Trump propaganda all over her house.  Normally I would have felt bad for paying only $200 for 6 chairs this cool, but she was such a B I didn't feel even a little bad.

Dining Room Rug, Light fixture, Side tables: AMAZON

Vintage Bar and miscallenous art: Richochet in Boise which is the best name I have ever heard for a Vintage Store. Genius. 

Trays, glasses, vases and all the extras- Homegoods and Target

 

The whole job was such a whirlwind I didn't even have a chance to take photos of the bedrooms- which turned out pretty cute as well. 

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

Hey Dummy. Your Husband Doesn't Get a Vote

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Hey Dummy,

So, your husband thinks he has an opinion about the aesthetic direction of your house. Aw. That is so adorable. 

And totally stupid. 

In 6 years of doing this job, and almost 10 years of being married- I have encountered 2 men that had awesome taste, good decor instincts and a genuine sense of style. 

Two.

(Hi Ryan! Hi Brad!)

Notice that both of these men are not my own husband. 

Concurrently, I have met DOZENS of wives that allow and even (gasp!) encourage their husbands ill fated opinion in the decor process. "Dave really hates wallpaper." Or "I would paint the trim, but Mike would KILL me." Are the types of comments I deal with all the time and they are also the sad hallmark of a project that will at best, yield a C+ result. 

If this is you... Girl. Stop.

Most husbands almost exclusively operate from three agendas: Cost, Function and Ego (I.E. they want a house that impresses their friends) and while I AGREE that cost and function (and even ego- I am all about impressing people) are PARAMOUNT concerns, they are not the ONLY concerns. What about Beauty? Personality, ambiance, light, color? WHAT ABOUT STYLE?!?! Husbands rarely consider STYLE. Think about it like this: Fashion also involves a good amount of style right? Would you let your husband dress you everyday?  Choose not only your outfit, but your shoes and accessories as well? If you did, would you look even REMOTELY like yourself? Now, let him do your hair and makeup. How would that go? Would you EVER do that?  I doubt it. If Iet my husband style me I would look like a drunk prostitute clown who exclusively shops on Amazon- and while that might be hilarious for a day- it is not how I want to present myself to the world. It takes us ladies years to figure out what looks good on us, what we like and what works. And we are constantly evolving. Home Decor is the same. 

Look, I get it. Spending money is scary. A lot of my clients are newly married- they haven't learned to trust each other's spending habits yet. I've been there! Mark used to be TERRIFIED that I would bankrupt our household. TERRIFIED. And guess what? I don't blame him. I am literally like a wind up doll that lists things I want to buy CONSTANTLY. It took him years to realize wanting things and buying things are two different actions. In a lot of ways, I am cheaper than he is. Okay, no I'm not. But I am trustworthy. I don't make impulse buys on big stuff, and I always have a plan. 

I know this sounds sexist. And old fashioned. If you are reading this and thinking, "OMG. Ian has great taste and his decor and spending choices are PERFECT! And he never polices my spending!"  Then you can stop reading. This blog is not for you. In fact, stop reading now and go give your husband a blowie, because you are a lucky girl who is married to a unicorn. But if Craig really wants a sectional the size of Iceland and he doesn't want to talk about Mirrors without turning into Napolean Dynamite. Hear me now. 

He doesn't get a vote.

"That's so mean!" You cry. "It's his house too!!!" I know, I know! We aren't going to FORGET about him. I would be a real s**t designer if I did your whole house in super feminine ruffles and crystal. I am hear to represent you BOTH. I am all about BALANCE. But here is the thing. Your husband is a good guy, he is not a tyrant- but he doesn't know what he is talking about. Just because he enjoys HGTV and fancies himself a bargain shopper does not qualify him as a Interior Stylist. So let's leave him out of it.

 There are plenty of things you feel comfortable buying without consulting him right? Bras, Tampons, Christmas Cards, shampoo, shoes, your mom's birthday present, HIS mom's birthday present... you don't stop to consult him every time you consider a new conditioner do you? Because that is Lady Business and he doesn't care. And he is the same. Does he ask you which seats he should just buy when he goes to sportsball game? If the Fantasy Football league buy in is reasonable to you, and what players he should choose at the draft? What kind of grill you should get, or what kind of razors he should buy? No. He doesn't. Because who the f**k cares? Those are Dude Things. And the house, 99% of the time, is Lady Business.  

 Asking your husband to help decorate is like tasking your 5 year old with the planning of your parents retirement party. There might be some cute moments, but overall it's a shit show and everyone is bound to leave confused and crying. Letting him steer the style ship isn't good for anyone. When this happens to me I always feel sinking dread. I know HOW to give you the home you want, but your husband won't let me. Your husband will be miserable because money is being spent and you still aren't happy. And YOU will be pissed- knowing that you have to argue with him all the time, fight for every little morsel of style you can...only to have a home that looks half as good as it could, and not like you hired a stylist at all. It's a Lose Lose Lose situation. And it breaks my heart knowing what could've been. Sigh.

My favorite husband's are the ones who understand they don't know anything about Style, but want their wives to be happy. The one's who tell me what their concerns are, what they envision for their home, and then BACK OFF, trusting that I have their back. BECAUSE I DO. I want them to LOVE THEIR HOME.  It takes trust. (And when the husband doesn't trust his wife- there is no way he is going to trust me.) I have worked with plenty of really sweet couples where the husband politely sits at our meetings, looking a little out of his element- but he is open to the experience as a whole. I LOVE THESE COUPLES. I just wish I had more of them. So if your husband is being difficult- here are some tips:

1) Use metaphors. Think of something he spends money on, that is important to him, that he doesn't consult you about. It can be his car, his Fantasy Football League, his Gaming System, his tech stuff- whatever. Now ask him how he would feel if you took it over from now on. When he looks like an owl that is about to throw up- tell him now he knows how you feel when he get's involved in the decor process. 

2) Determine a budget and assure him that you won't go over it. And then Don't Go Over It. In fact- come in under budget. That will reassure him that you are not a crazy spendy psycho and allow you to style your whole house in stages. If you declare a 5K budget for the living room- and then go over it- there goes your master bedroom, dining room etc. He won't have faith in your spending, and you will have an unfinished space. I have had certain lady clients who start with an agreed upon budget, and then when the husband isn't looking- choose items that exceed that budget. And then blame it on me. This might feel like it is a good plan in the moment, but trust me- it's not. You need to build Spending TRUST. Don't be shady.

3)  Stop complaining and make a plan. When women complain, men want to fix it. It's in their nature. When you march around talking about how the house isn't right, and how much you hate the paint color, or the furniture- you are asking him to fix a problem he doesn't have the skill set to fix.  This will result in the two of you spending a lot of sad weekends at Home Depot, making bad decisions, which will make him resentful and you super frustrated. Offer solutions. Call a interior designer, or stylist. Come to him with a plan.  I personally got into this business to show people with ALL budgets that they can have the home they always wanted. I charge the same as a handyman and get discounts on everything!  If you are in Chicago, call me! If your aren't- find a decorator you vibe with and give them a call. It doesn't have to be a luxury service for the super wealthy. Invite him into the DECISION to hire someone- but not the process. Say things like, " I know this isn't a big deal to you, but it's a really big deal to me. I know the answer is to hire someone to help- so let's talk about a budget and I will take it from there." 

4) Grow some balls. The hard truth is you care more about this than he does. And if your husband is really tough-you are going to have to stand up for what you want. Odds are, he is not ever going to care about duvets, and mirrors, and rugs as much as you do. But that doesn't mean it's not important. This is your HOME. You should feel peace, and happiness when you are there. Let him know it's important to you, and if he doesn't get it- THAN MOVE FORWARD ANYWAY. He will come around when he see how much you love the changes.  Don't be bullied, don't be manipulative- be honest. If he doesn't think you can afford it right now, than discuss what it would look like to start putting a little money away each month so that you can do it eventually. Don't give up. Don't let someone who doesn't care about decor make your decor decisions. 

Lay down the law girl. It's worth it to have a beautiful home you are both proud of. I promise Dummy. It will be fine.  

 

 

 

 

Saugatuck, Mi

Who: Me and my crew. My friends, my sister surprised me by flying in from Philly, Ali flew in from New York, Jessica came in from Texas, my parents, and of course Mark- who put it all together because he loves me and I won the husband lottery.

What: We rented a house for 40th birthday and it was so adorable, crafty, farm to table beautiful, you could just PUKE. Seriously, it was like living in a Kinfolk magazine photo shoot. There was handmade yarn garland, hammocks, flower crowns, farm fresh eggs, adorable wildflower arrangements, lakeside sunsets and a bonfire Stevie Nicks singalong. My parents came and it didn't even feel weird getting drunk in front of them. BECAUSE I AM 40 and I AM A GROWN UP NOW. It was the best. It's tough for me to hand over the reigns in terms of Party Planning. It's MY THING. But I am so glad I did.

Why: My 40th Birthday

When: Early May, 2016

Where: Saugatuck Mi- The cutest little town you ever did see. On Lake Michigan, about 2.5 hours outside of Chicago. I highly recommend it. Go there, buy farm fresh eggs on the side of the road, build a bonfire and get dinner at Salt of the Earth (which is technically in Fennville).

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Wildflower Bouquets. Right away when I got there my girlfriends and sister were out in a field picking flowers and putting them in everything. There is nothing like watching your friends drunkenly pick flowers on your birthday. Seriously, you should try it.

Wildflower Bouquets. Right away when I got there my girlfriends and sister were out in a field picking flowers and putting them in everything. There is nothing like watching your friends drunkenly pick flowers on your birthday. Seriously, you should try it.

My sister Anna surprised me by flying in from Philly, and she had packed yards and yards of handmade yarn garland that she had tediously strung in different hotels rooms all over the US, since her job has her traveling constantly. How sweet is that!? I brought it home and hung it over my bed. Β 

My sister Anna surprised me by flying in from Philly, and she had packed yards and yards of handmade yarn garland that she had tediously strung in different hotels rooms all over the US, since her job has her traveling constantly. How sweet is that!? I brought it home and hung it over my bed.

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Jessica not only made flower crowns for everyone, but took all the pics. She is amazing.

Jessica not only made flower crowns for everyone, but took all the pics. She is amazing.

This is 40. That is vodka. I think I am officially too old to skip eye make-up.

This is 40. That is vodka. I think I am officially too old to skip eye make-up.

My happy place.

My happy place.

I made Mark wear his hat back words, because A) He looks cute, and B) It makes kissing easier. I love this picture because my dad is clearly telling a story that Mark thinks is HILARIOUS, and my dad is eating it up. Mark is wearing a shirt that says "4 out of 5 Great Lakes prefer Michigan".

I made Mark wear his hat back words, because A) He looks cute, and B) It makes kissing easier. I love this picture because my dad is clearly telling a story that Mark thinks is HILARIOUS, and my dad is eating it up. Mark is wearing a shirt that says "4 out of 5 Great Lakes prefer Michigan".

Robyn showed up late because she is a mom and she had to stop and get snacks for eveybody.

Robyn showed up late because she is a mom and she had to stop and get snacks for eveybody.

JG playing in the grass.

JG playing in the grass.

Ali always looks cool. She is from New York CITY.

Ali always looks cool. She is from New York CITY.

Cupcakes from Southport Grocer in lieu of a birthday cake. These people KNOW me.

Cupcakes from Southport Grocer in lieu of a birthday cake. These people KNOW me.

My seester.

My seester.

Daredevils.

Daredevils.

Jessica teaching Yoga on the beach to a bunch of people whose sobriety is questionable.

Jessica teaching Yoga on the beach to a bunch of people whose sobriety is questionable.

This is the look of a perfectly happy person whose sister is doing ridiculous dance moves just off camera.

This is the look of a perfectly happy person whose sister is doing ridiculous dance moves just off camera.

Aerial Beach Photos

WELL HELLO THERE CAMPERS! I don't know if it's the summer heat, or just my overall NEED to be near a large body of water at all times, but I am really obsessing over AERIAL BEACH PHOTOS. 

I just put this one up last week and it looks Totes AMAZE. 

Here is what I like about them:

1. They are big and colorful without being overwhelming or "too much". Who doesn't like the color of water? Idiots with no SOUL, that's who!!

2. They are timeless. I love that you can't really tell when this image was taken. And it doesn't really matter. 

3. They can be sentimental. Go to www.photos.com  and type in "aerial beach". Odds are your honeymoon or a favorite vacation spot will pop up. Whammo. Art that "means something"! Which FYI, is a unicorn I have been chasing professionally for about 5 years now.

For the dining room I was working on, I needed something that's orientation placed the water on the right. If it was on the left, it would've been buried in the corner, and all of that impact would be obscured. Not on my watch. We also considered using photo that had a deep teal colored water, but decided the turquoise shade really set off the Tom Dixon light fixture. And that fixture is so fly- it might as well have been bought at the Beyonce store, on Khaleesi St. It's that amazing.  

Have a great day everyone!

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