Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Your Home Must Be Amazing!" (, I'm sorry. It Isn't!) I admit that I love my little shop, TLC Vintage Collection -- central Iowa headquarters for Chalk Paint(R) decorative paint by Annie Sloan. Somehow during the four minute morning commute from my home to my shop, all my inner decorating and creative inhibitions dissipate. I become a free spirit, able to splash a bit of the very Best Paint in the World onto anything and have it turn out lovely and charming.

But like Cinderella at midnight, as I make the return trip eight hours later from shop to home, the magic disappears. I become unable to make a decision about my décor or color themes. As a result, my home is a hodge podge of styles and broken trains of creative thought. A wreck, quite frankly.

I've tried to figure out why this Jekyll-Hyde change in my abilities between the two physical locations. Here is what I have come up with. If you visit my shop, you can see it is highly influenced from my 12 years living in Europe during my early adult years. The chandelier, the curvy lines, the accessories, the lace....Those were years where my homes were filled with bits and pieces of 18th and 19th century furniture, when I would frequent restaurants and hotels dating back hundreds of years.

Suddenly, with little notice, I returned to the U.S. with few of those items I had collected and began a new life (on a strict budget). My two children and I filled our first home with what I charmingly call "garagesaleandfamilybasement" décor. The best was the cutdown library table/coffee table that we grew up with on the farm as kids. (It is back in my brother's living room at the farm now!) I was so busy making a living and keeping up with the kids that not much attention was put into decorating!

Fast forward 25 years, several jobs and the building of two very different businesses.....suddenly I can shop -- not with abandon -- but at least with an eye that anything I buy will be resold. That makes you look for items of distinction and economy and multipurpose. You look for items that will charm and turn over. And then my golden rule for this business: Buy low, sell low and sell a lot. Who wants to enter my shop and see things over and over again? No, you are hoping to find new things and fresh ideas.

Therein lies the disconnect. When I buy for the shop or even decorate there, it is temporary.....I won't be living with it for long. This make me free and able to pivot from one idea to the next without hesitation. Not so at home! First, my thriftiness instinct kicks in -- you want things to be the way you will be happy with them for a long time! You can't invest hours of time and hundreds of dollars into something you may not like tomorrow! I stop trusting my instincts.....So where does it end?

Right here, right now. And here is kitchen is literally falling apart. The cabinetry is covered with Thermafoil and it is starting to crack and peel off the drawers and doors from ten years of hard use (did I tell you that I love to cook and do so almost every day?). The appliances are packing up on me. It looks like the aftermath of a war zone. It has to be redone if we decide to sell this house and downsize sometime in the next decade. I don't want to never enjoy the fruits (and costs) of the labor of  remodeling it. So since Chalk Paint(R) cannot work well over Thermafoil -- and the cabinets are poor quality any way, I hired a professional to redesign the kitchen lay out and widen the very narrow doorway to the dining room.

I turned to a hometown gal who I knew in grade and high school, Peggy Triggs of Grimes, owner of Cabinets by Design. This has started the ball rolling. It now means that the entire first floor is going through a redecoration. And I found two rooms of walnut French Provincial for sale on Craig's List. It arrived yesterday -- and I quickly rearranged dining and living room to accomdate it -- but we still have repainting everywhere to do.....

 The Old

The New

So the story is not over......Follow us as we prepare for the contractors to come in and tear out the kitchen along with tips and ideas as we move forward. I can't imagine where all of this is going. So let's discover it together!


  1. I love this 3 colored dresser you have. Looks like old white and 2 different blues. Could you please share with me what colors you used and the process? Thank you so very much. I'm learning so much from reading your blog.

    1. Hi Staci -- Thank you for contacting me! This dresser was a dark walnut color and in very bad shape -- really scarred up. But the carving was so great...You can see a fuller view on the Portfolio tab of my website at I cleaned it with soap and water then rinsed. I painted one coat of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan Coco. Then where I wanted it to be Coco, I did a second coat, where I wanted Duck Egg Blue I did next then Old White where I wanted that. I used a coat of Clear Soft Wax, then distressed along the carved lines, edges and radomly sometimes down to the Coco, sometimes down to the wood -- followed by another coat of wax. We loved this piece but, of course, in the end it sold!