Tag Archives: new house

Our House Is a Very, Very, Very Fine House


We’ve been in our new home, our first house, for a little over a year now. But there is a difference between moving into a house and really making it feel like home. This week, I think we finally crossed over that line. I’d like to show you a couple of projects we just finished, projects that have added a little more family flair to the Tree House walls.

Back when I was a high school senior, I saw “A Room With a View” for the first time, and it instantly became one of my favorite movies (Best Onscreen Kiss of All Time!) In one scene, we see the inside of George’s house in Surrey, and there are words painted on the walls. How whimsical! How delightful! The seed of that idea always stuck with me, and when we finally had a house of our own and could do as we pleased, I decided I wanted to paint some quotes on my walls, too. Unfortunately, my skill with a paintbrush is decidedly un-Picasso-like. Instead, for Christmas, Paul gave me carte blanche to buy the slightly more polished version from Enchanted Quotes. In my characteristically decisive manner, it only took me five months to decide what quotes to order. Finally, they arrived, and I applied them right away, giggling gleefully.

In the living room:

In the master bedroom:

And in the family room (also known, coincidentally, as the “rumpus room”):

Another seed of an idea that had been germinating for some time involved creating a space where we could display the kids’ artwork. Every week, Katie and Caleb turn out works of high art with their clay, crayons, and glue. Nothing thrills them more than to have their creations put up on the refrigerator or passed around to an adoring audience. Several years ago, reading a parenting magazine in a doctor’s waiting room, I found an article that suggested creating an “art gallery” for displaying a rotating collection of children’s paintings. Since our kids also produce a fair number of sculptures and origami creations, we added some shelves (thoughtfully gifted by Aunt Amber and Uncle Daniel), and installed the whole fixture on one wall of the family room:

Isn’t it fun?

I’d love to hear what you’ve done to show your personality in your home. (But be warned: if I see an idea I like, I have no scruples whatsoever about stealing it for my own–obviously!)

A Roof and Four Walls of Our Own



We found it!  We found our house!

Actually, we found it weeks ago, but I haven’t posted anything about it yet, afraid of trumpeting my joy to the skies only to have some niggling detail along the way derail the whole thing.  It’s not like we haven’t had a few false alarms.

But now that the main hurdles have been jumped, allow me to fling my jubilant bellow upon the air!  We offered, they countered, and everybody signed.  Our house passed its inspection at the head of the class.  The appraisers have come and gone, giving their stamp of approval and freeing the bank to turn the wheels on our loan paperwork.  We are set to close the deal on March 27!

Lest it escape anyone’s notice, that is just a bit more than two weeks away.  And I have yet to pack a thing!

Okay, now I’m a little stressed.

But happy.  Very, very happy.

I have thirteen years worth of HGTV projects tucked away in my head, and I’m going to do them all.


Next time on Notes on a Napkin:  Katrina posts more pictures of the new house than most parents have of their firstborn children, then goes over each and every one of her many home improvement plans in precise, excruciating detail.  Won’t that be fun?

Home Sweet Home


I love the vaulted ceilings.  I love the fenced backyard.  I love the open floor plan, and the Pergo floors, and the huge garage.  I love my walk-in closet.

But most of all, I love having two bathrooms.



Do you realize what that means?  I can be in one, and the kids, whose bladders were apparently set at birth to go off whenever mine does, can use the other one!  No more pounding on the door, no more frantic calls of “hurry, mommy!”, no more bursts of cold air intruding on my hot shower as the kids go in and out the door in search of toothbrushes and hair barrettes.

It is bliss, I tell you.

I’ve been promising pictures for a while now, and here they are:

Living Room




Dining Room


Master Bedroom (Note the door to the right of the bed–my own personal bathroom!  Well, okay…Paul can use it, too.)



Walk-in Closet  (Wow, we have a lot of stuff.)


Katie’s Fortress of Solitude


Caleb’s Toy Box


It Came From the Dryer


I wasn’t going to write about this, so as not to cause our dear friends-turned-landlords Matt and April any misgivings about my ability to keep house in a fashion that will not cause permanent damage to the resale value of the beautiful home we are renting from them.  To that end, I will start with the following reassuring facts:

a)  I learned my lesson*.


b)  After all was said and done (and scrubbed and polished), the floor was as good as new, the linoleum perfectly restored to the pristine beauty of its installation day twenty years ago.  (Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the Eighties off of it, but that’s not my fault.)


Lint Monster.

That’s what it was.  A sinister, skulking denizen of evil, spawned in the unseen underworld of our seemingly innocuous laundry room.

Moving, especially with the help of friends, is an exercise in vulnerability.  There’s all your stuff, turned out of its hidden drawers and cupboards and piled unceremoniously into boxes and bags for quick and dirty transport.  Under the couch, a legion of dust bunnies has formed guerrilla ranks, taking cover beneath years worth of lost toys and misplaced socks.  All the nooks and crannies that you carelessly neglected in your harried housecleaning regimen have become, minus the usual camouflage of furniture and household paraphernalia, glaring offenses that make you squirm with embarrassment.

Which brings me to the discovery of the Lint Monster.

I wasn’t there when our friends moved the washer and dryer, but I heard about it–the shock, the awe, the shrinking back in fear.  I was at the new house, supervising the placement of boxes, when they arrived to discharge the second trailer load, still shaking their heads in amazement at the state of our laundry room floor.  It was only later, when I went back with Paul to clean the apartment, that I saw it for myself.

And it wasn’t pretty.

At some point in the last few years, there must have been a leak or a spill.  Maybe it was laundry detergent, or one of the many cleaners I keep on the shelf above the appliances; I’m not sure.  Whatever it was, it attracted lint.  Lots of it.  Layers and layers of lint accumulating over the passing months had formed a sort of primordial sediment in the dark environs beneath the washer, a soup that might have had Darwin on his hands and knees searching for emerging signs of life.  Like the Blob, it had swallowed up everything in its path as it crept across the floor–pennies, paper clips, bits of paper and torn kleenex.  I tried not to think of what it looked like as I pondered how in the world I was going to clean it up.

In the end, it took a scraper, a roll of paper towels, a half a dozen rags, and bucket after bucket of soapy water to do the job.  While Paul vacuumed the apartment, dusted the baseboards, wiped down the walls, washed the windows, and cleaned the slider tracks, I engaged in pitched combat with the Lint Monster.

I won, but it was a close thing.

I’m just glad no one else was around when we moved the refrigerator. 



*Every so often, you should move your major appliances and check to make sure there are no super-intelligent microbial societies emerging from the detritus underneath them.  Housekeeping 101.