Decorating: The Power of One

Master Bedroom Chair


When it comes to home decor, I get bored very quickly.  Ok, well that’s not really entirely true. Once I have made a decision about the base of a room, I usually stick with it for a really long time. I actually haven’t repainted or done any kind of serious renovation in over a decade, so let me rephrase that. When it comes to home decor, I get bored with the general feel of a room and small accessories rather quickly.

I enjoy a dynamic atmosphere. I like to add a little sparkle for the holidays and change curtains and bedding with the seasons. However, in addition to those predictable updates, I derive great pleasure from puttering around my rooms, shopping and changing things up regularly to keep it all fresh and interesting. Of course, that can be an expensive proposition and lead to a large collection of stuff cluttering up closets, which is exactly why I am a firm believer in the power of one. It’s another one of my decorating cheats that I use often.

The premise behind it, is that an entire room can take on a different feel just by swapping out one item…and I’m not talking about the couch! I was recently at a discount home store and found a carved wooden circle in the clearance aisle for ten bucks. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but it was too pretty to pass up and I figured I had thirty days to return it, if it didn’t work anywhere. Well, when I got home, I brought it into my bedroom and thought it would look great over the bed. It totally did.

It’s a very, very small change.



Master Bedroom Update 2


It’s not permanent and it wasn’t expensive, frankly, it’s not even that dramatic a piece, but it’s enough to lighten up the feel of the room. The bedding looks crisper, the white curtains seem a bit brighter, even my old Ikea lamps are fresher somehow.



No one else may ever notice the subtle difference, but I do and every time I walk into the room now, I smile, which is good for your health, by the way! That alone is worth ten bucks. I am sure that my husband would totally agree.

Master Bedroom Update 1


I suggest that next time you are feeling the need for a complete overhaul in a beloved room, try my advice. Change just one item and see if it doesn’t change your entire perspective. Add a bright throw, swap one pillow for another in a color that is totally unexpected, replace a lampshade, buy a new soap dispenser or change the window treatment. Introduce something with a little sparkle, perhaps a mercury glass, silver or gold item. It may be all you need to quell the urge to totally redecorate.

Just be careful not to let that one pillow turn into one pillow and its mate and a matching throw and a new picture frame in the same color family, because then you are redecorating. The key here is one item. Just one.

Don’t believe me? Skeptical about this magical power of one? Well, just think about how the simple addition of a Christmas tree totally transforms any room (yes,yes, I know it has lights and ornaments, but it’s really one entity) or a single new plant or a lit candle.  Think about how the curb appeal of your home is altered each time you update that wreath on your front door. It’s looks totally fresh and that’s one tiny accessory on a very large structure.

Big overhauls and dramatic remodels are of course super fun and there really is no substitute for them in certain instances. However, they are pricey, disruptive and let’s face it, very unrealistic on a repetitive or regular basis. The power of one is an easy way to get that brand new room feeling when whimsey strikes, without the mess, fuss or expense.

It’s the power of one…super easy, super cheap. Exquisitely Unremarkable.

Do you believe in the power of one?



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An Empty House Is Not A Home


An empty house is not a home

I adore my house. I mean, I really, really like it. From the moment I walked through the front door, so many years ago, I have always felt as if the house hugged me. It’s old and sweet and full of charm, constructed during an era of craftsmanship and care. It’s a short walk from the beach and located in a great neighborhood, in a town I love. My husband and I have spent years updating it, decorating it, enjoying every minute within its walls raising our family. It’s my sanctuary, it’s my base, it brings me great joy to just be here. It’s home.

The mere mention of moving has always been dismissed. It has never been an option. As a matter of fact, I have had crazy discussions with people trying to defend my belief that if I were to win millions of dollars, I would not move. Move for what? A larger house doesn’t buy happiness. I am happy here, this is the dream home. My dreams don’t have to match those popularized by people who do crave a bigger house. This is it. This is the perfect house, the forever house, no matter what…and no one could ever convince me otherwise…until this weekend when my home was just a house.

My family went out of town and for a myriad of reasons, I was unable to get away with them. I stayed at home.

I knew that I would miss everyone. I mean honestly, my husband and I are homebodies. We have left the kids for one night, maybe two, but in nearly two decades, I have not been separated from my kids, or my husband, for more than 48 hours at a pop.  This time, they were gone for five days. Five days is a very long time, but I was prepared. I had lists of things to keep me…distracted. I was going to finish sewing pillows, decorate for Halloween, clean out a few cabinets, read, write, visit with friends. Mostly, though, I was kind of excited to spend time at home. Rooms would be cleaned and stay clean. There wouldn’t be the endless pile of dishes in the sink, the daily drop of clothes on the floor or the baskets and baskets of laundry to wash, dry, fold and put away. Bliss. Or so I thought.

Now, you already know where I’m going with this, I’m sure…and yes, I have read all the cutesy quotes about a family and love making a house into a home. Moreover, I have lost very precious people in my life, my dad when I was just twelve, so I know what’s really important. Yet, I was so completely unprepared for the amount of cold disinterest I had in the house almost the minute after my family left the premises. It was actually rather shocking.

At first, I puttered around, trying to decide what mess to tackle, but then the kids started emailing me from the plane. “Mom, it’s so cool, here’s what we’re doing, here are some pictures of us…blah, blah, blah…” I read every word with baited breath, it was all infinitely more important than anything in the house.

When the emails stopped, the house was quiet again. I went about my business, but I wasn’t really enjoying myself. So I gave up. I left. I left my sanctuary. I escaped to my sister’s house, a place filled with family. It was lovely and her house looked so pretty and warm. It smelled like Sunday dinner and good times. I went home after dark and my house just smelled empty.

I looked around and realized that I was never tied to my house. It was all misplaced. I am tied to my family, who just happens to live in this house with me. As cliché as it sounds, their presence is what makes this house a home, it’s what drives me to decorate, to feather my nest. It is from them that I draw my strength, not my house. As a matter of fact, while they were gone, I got sick. Really, really sick. The doctor said it was viral, rest he said. So I did and it did nothing. For days I was comatose on the couch eating Triscuits.  I had no energy and couldn’t do anything.  Yet amazingly, on the morning of the day they were coming home, I had enough strength to clean the house, make a huge dinner, complete with a homemade cheesecake, do laundry, change sheets and shower. I did have to rest at times throughout the afternoon, but I felt better than I had in days.

By night’s end, with everyone tucked into bed, the rooms completely destroyed, dirty laundry and suitcases everywhere and my toes curled up against my husband’s, my house, my beautiful, charming, sweet house hugged me goodnight and suddenly, for the first time in five days, I was home all over again.



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Rustic Decor ~ Too Sparce or Just Right?

I am a huge fan of rustic décor and farmhouse style. I like the clean lines, the simple fixtures, the interesting mix of wood, the aged, lived in it feel it generates. However, I will admit that if not done right, a rustic room can feel sparse, unfinished, cold and sometimes, dare I say it out loud, creepy.

Well, not this room, I am completely smitten with this dreamy dining area. I am in love with everything from the beamed ceilings, stone walls and planked floors to the bowls on that absolutely stunning table. I imagine it set for holidays in the winter, draped with evergreen boughs, filled with flickering candles and elegant white china set upon crimson placemats. In summer I can see nothing but flowers and pastel colored dinnerware…and family…lots of family!

Ok, that door in the background may be a little creepy, leading to a dirt cellar perhaps, but I can deal. How about you?

What’s your take on rustic décor and this particular room? Have at it, I’d love to know!

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