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quieting the house

I couldn’t take it any longer.

There was just too much stuff cluttering up the visual space in our home. I’m in a weird spot in my emotional life – deeply craving light and calm, direction and needing a deep exhale – and it has translated into this crazy lady pulling off and packing up every accessory just to let the house (and me) breathe a little.


My friend Myquellyn calls it Quieting The House.  By removing all of the stuff (the accessories, pillows, picture frames, cute things!) it reduces visual distractions, clutter and loudness that I just need gone right now. I’m an accessory lover, but sometimes it gets out of control and quieting the house becomes necessary to help figure out what I like, what is just there for the sake of being there, what works, what doesn’t and why I insist on putting so many pillows on the couch.

So this past weekend, I shushed the house. Mostly just the living room and entry/hallways. The kitchen is next.

Here was the entry being all LOUD:


And here it is QUIET:


Here’s the living room LOUD:




It’s looking a bit sparse and blah – and maybe like we’re packing up to move – so eventually accessories will be brought back in and curtains will be hung and the shelves will be re-styled. We’ll probably move some furniture around.


But for now, it’s sort of refreshing.


By getting rid of all of the stuff, I can see each space for what it is and assess what we can do to make it work better for our family.  One thing we’ve noticed is how dark the walls feel. They are a light-ish neutral, but the paint is 8 years old and looking a little rough and it’s probably time to put on a fresh coat of paint. White. Everywhere, white. And that carpet. Oh how we want to pull it up! Hopefully soon.


For now, I have a chair-less dining room with stacks and bins of stuff that may or may not make its way back into our lives.

Shhhhhh … quieting the house is good for the soul.

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open shelves in the kitchen

When we tore apart our perfectly fine, but utterly boring kitchen, one thing we knew we wanted were open shelves.

We love the classic, casual, slightly industrial, slightly country look of shelves and it remains one of our favorite parts of our kitchen.


There are a few regular questions people ask about living with open shelves in the kitchen, so I’m here to answer. Here are the top three questions:

1. Do the dishes get dusty?


Yes. They do. But not any dustier than anything else in the house. We use most of what lives on the shelves on a fairly regular basis, so the dust doesn’t accumulate too much. I just wipe them down every week or so (who am I kidding … it’s probably more like once a month) with a damp paper towel and that takes care of it.

2. How do you keep the stuff on the shelves looking nice?

open-shelves-objects This is totally personal preference, but I like to group like items, and keep everything neutral.

Our everyday dishes are white (see the stacks?) and glassware is clear, which looks nice neatly arranged on the shelves. Mixed in is lots of white serving ware (most passed on from my m-i-l who is a professional thrift-store shopper) and old silver bowls and trays.


The bottom shelves are filled with regularly used dishes and in zones that make sense to our kitchen. The coffee cups sit near the coffee maker; the plates are near the dishwasher for easy unloading; the glasses are grouped together near the sink and beverage refrigerator.

The top shelves are a bit more decorative with cake plates, white pitchers and vases, but are still items that get regular use.

Varying height by leaning silver trays up against the wall, or stacking salad plates on a cake stand give a bit of interest and keeps the eye moving around. There’s no perfect way to style shelves, but keep playing around, moving things, propping things, arranging until it appeals to your eye.

3. Where are the shelves and brackets from?


When looking for shelves, we were wanting simple and modern to balance out the cottagy look of the bead board paneling. We bought the metal brackets from IKEA which were both inexpensive and just the look we were going for. There are a few options of shelves also from IKEA, but we went with the birch wood veneer and then sanded and painted them with the same oil-based paint as the lower cabinets. They have held up very well.

If we were to do our kitchen again, we would definitely go with open shelves again. They feel light and add character and provide easy access to our everyday dishes.

What do you think of open shelves in the kitchen?

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summer house tour

Welcome! I’m happy you stopped by! Today I’m joining up with Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage and her Summer Tour of Homes.


Over the last few days I have transitioned our home’s decor to be a bit more summery. What this basically means is that I have switched out pillows, added plants and flowers and rotated art. One of the best parts of having a very neutral foundation (like our sofa, chairs, wall colors, etc) is that decorating seasonally doesn’t require a whole lot. I love shopping our home – borrowing curtains from the play room, art work from the bathroom, and recovering down pillow inserts with an inexpensive shower curtain – to make little changes that give our house a cheerful summertime feel.

Have a peek around!










living-room-gray-pillow       hot-pink-peonies





summer-list-chalkboard      office-entry


If you’re curious about how our house looked in the fall > click here < and at Christmas > click here <

The Summer Tour of Homes continues with so many great ideas and inspiration for bringing summer to your home. Here’s the full lineup:

Monday, June 2nd

The Shabby Creek Cottage
The Nester
At The Picket Fence (Vanessa)
Thistlewood Farms
The Inspired Room

Tuesday, June 3rd

The Handmade Home
My Fabuless Life
Finding Home
In My Own Style
The Hunted Interior

Wednesday, June 4th

Inspired By Charm
Jennifer Rizzo
Madigan Made
Makely School for Girls
Funky Junk Interiors

Thursday, June 5th

Jones Design Company
Beneath My Heart
The Pennington Point
White Buffalo Styling Co.
Southern Hospitality

Friday, June 6th

At the Picket Fence (Heather)
Desert Domicile
Tatertots & Jello
Home Stories A to Z
Live Laugh Rowe
Thanks for coming over!

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