Our apartment featured in Rue!

So, apparently, I'm pretty good at keeping secrets, and this is one I've had to hold onto for awhile, but TODAY I can let it rip that our apartment in Rio de Janeiro has been immortalized in the latest issue of

Rue Magazine


Stoked and humbled are two words that come to mind at being featured alongside such other talented designers, and amazing homes.  We're now spending some downtime with family in Texas, and I can't imagine a better send off of our special time in Brazil.  Thank you to amazingly-talented photographer,

Emily Johnston Anderson

, Crystal , and the other ladies at Rue for putting together such a lovely article.

Go check it out!! 


Lost in Translation: the diaper bag edition

Over the course of our five years here in Brazil, there's been countless times where things I tried to convey in my butchered Portuguese became "lost in translation"  At the time, the situations drove me nuts, but in hindsight are comical.

A few weeks before I was due with Skylar, I took my old, leather diaper bag to be reconditioned at a bag 'n shoe shop.  A little background info:  when I had my first kiddo, I purchased

this leather

bag from Storksak.

At the time, the $300+ price tag seemed like a major splurge, but now, six years later, I can say the cost-per-use is practically pennies.  A great "non-diaper" diaper bag, that I highly recommend.

Mine had seen some serious wear, so I took it to the shop thinking to have it reconditioned.  You know, some mink oil or something to blend the water stains, and soften the leather.  At least, that what I thought I was saying.

Bells probably should have gone off in my head when I picked up the Portuguese words for "darker" and "paint." 

A couple of weeks later, I returned to this:

 The nice, leather bag had been....vinylized.   It's like they painted it (poorly) with some kind of liquid plastic substance that's the color of a sewer rat.  The thing even smells like a vinyl sofa circa '75.

I also must mention how the brass hardware was "touched up" with gold paint.

The picture doesn't do it justice.

Translation:  Diaper bag sads.

I think I might just put this one in the donation pile, and call it a day.  So...I'm in the market for a new "diaper" bag.  I tend to go for styles that transcend the baby look, and can function beyond diapees and wipes.  Here's a few I'm considering.


















Do you have a fave go-to that can pull diaper bag duty?

Movin' on Up

...to DC that is.  In the words of Forest Gump, "Our Nation's Cap-it-OL."  Several weeks ago, we finally got word that our days in Brazil are numbered, and as my husband's agency likes to say, we're being brought back "into the fold."  We'll stay here in Rio to have the baby, but as soon as she and I are medically cleared to fly, we'll pack up and head Stateside.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it all.  Our initial assignment to Brazil was for a three year post.  We chose to extend the additional two years because, despite being so far from family and friends, Brazil has become our home.   It's crazy and confounding in its Developing Nation way, but also incredibly rich and warm and welcoming.  The reverse culture shock we will experience moving to the rat race of DC is not lost on me, and we will try to soak up as much of Rio as we can over the next few months.

So, week before last, I trekked my big bump self up to the DC area to scout a housing situation.  Are ya'll familiar with the DC area housing market right now?  It's NUTS.  It's one of the few areas that has really recovered from the housing crash, and is booming.  Low inventory and high demand are again creating this perfect storm in real estate that has people doing things like waiving inspection and finance contingencies, and bidding tens of thousands OVER asking price to get the house they want. 

The last time we were in the market for a home, it was also a boom, but people seemed more genteel.  Now, in that area at least, it's pretty cut-throat, and I felt a bit like Country Mouse.

So, our agent took me house-hunting.  I saw maybe a dozen to fifteen homes that fell within our criteria.  Only one of which I would even CONSIDER living in.  I'm having to adjust to the fact that not only would I never give most of the homes a second glance were they in Texas, where we're from, but we're also going to pay out the wazoo for a home that's....less than inspiring.


I have craved the chance to DO THINGS in my own home for nearly five years, and now I'll most definitely have the chance to do that.  Might have to sell my soul or body to do them, but, we'll cross that bridge later...
We've put a contract on a house in the Virginia 'burbs of DC, so fingers crossed this one will pan out, and I can start sharing my brainstorming.

Here's to looking through rose-colored glasses.

The Little Paint Swatch That Could*

Recall that I've decided to paint our ugly, old Ikea media cabinet, and I want to go Hague Blue. I tend to become very one-track-minded when it comes to these sorts of things. NOT a great disposition to have when you live overseas, and the product you desire is only available in The USA and Canada.
I think by the time it's all said and done, this project might qualify as an Act of God, because that's practically what measures are going into finding the closest match to "Hague." You see, this deep blue has many faces....

In a flat or satin finish, she appears fairly straightforward - marine-like blue with maybe a hint of gray.

Source: google.com via Alison on Pinterest

...but, gloss her up, and she takes on mutations of teal.

Source: google.com via Alison on Pinterest

Nimble little minx, isn't she?

I won't go into the finer details of the attempts I've already made to find a close match, but let's just say they do things a wee bit differently in the paint world of Brazil, and it hasn't been successful.
So, I did what all desperate bloggers do - made a plea to Stateside blogstress amigas, Kathy and Jenny - who both have first-hand knowledge of The Hague.
According to Jenny, Benjamin Moore makes two dead-ringers for The Hague:
Hague Blue mission
So, armed with swatches of all three, as well as another from a Sherwin Williams colormatch, I will march down to my local paint store, and demand my right to some Haaaggguuueeee!

Oh, and I'm pretty sure an 'interpretation' of this painting needs to go above aforementioned media cabinet.

Source: jaclynpaige.tumblr.com via Alison on Pinterest

Bottom Line: If I can design to my tastes in Brazil, I can design ANYWHERE!

*Post title coined by

The Making of a Gallery Wall

I posted last week about our family room more or less being the bane of my existence... My sofa overhaul is now on hold (pending a potential move and new sofa - Shhhhh! ;) But the large wall with big-but-not-big-enough painting had to be tackled immediately.


I had in mind an eclectic gallery wall - something along the lines of this...


Apparently, there are two theories to hanging gallery walls, and they correlate to Kevin Costner's thesis on the Golf Swing in the movie Tin Cup....

There's the plan it out, space correctly, nearly poetic placement method....

...And there's the "grip it and rip it"- basically throw it up on the wall, and hope it works method


Because I have no patience, and Ben is my architect - we went with the grip it 'n rip it model. (A bit of shuffling frames around on the floor was as scientific as it got)

I considered using mixed media (baskets and whatnot), but Ben x-nayed that, for fear of looking too cottage-y. He was right.


We "shopped" art we had around the house, not purchasing anything new. A few spaces are bare now, but I think it was a good trade-off.


Little by little...progress....

The Bold and Going-to-Be Beautiful

I've heard it said before if you love interiors, your home is always in a state of flux. There's always something new and inspiring, something to switcharoo for a change of scenery. I certainly fall into that group.

Truth be told, I'm least content with our current home. I imagine it's because our homes in the States were ones we selected and loved, while our home here in Brazil - nice as it may be - is one that was assigned from a housing pool. There's a lot I would like to change, but can't. **Is there anything more nerve-wrecking for a design junkie than having a lot of decorating roadblocks???**

Fortunately, we were able to bring all our own furniture, so I have some flexibility to work with and change it.

Hence, my obsession with redoing our TV/Family room.

I really, rullly cringe at the thought of posting this pic (my husband even said, "aren't you wanting to show your best work?", but I'm. Keeping. It. Real. (eek!)


Try not to be jealous.

So, on my agenda is:

* Possibly replace, or certainly reupholster the couch. (Velvet ranking very high on my wishlist)

* Camouflage all the media components. (Possibly a tailored skirt situation)

* Bring in more/better assortment of art for the large wall

* Buy new curtains that aren't expecting a flood (these are Ikea - washed after installation)

* Change out rug with one more size-appropriate

* Manage the kiddo epicenter

The room is very shallow, so I can't commit to an ottoman or coffee table option for flow purposes, but we would definitely appreciate something to prop our feet up.

In trying to round up a style aesthetic, I culled some of my fave Pinned images - and whadya know? Velvet couch takes the lead! But first:

I considered doing something like this - keeping the couch in a neutral, and working in lots of color and pattern elsewhere, but really, a fug couch is a fug couch, and must be put out of its misery.

Since our room has so much natural light, I would love to go really dramatic like this room BUT all walls must be white when we leave. *Arrggghhhh

Can you get OVER that peek of stripe inside that skirt corner? No? Me Neither.

This room is looking a bit too Trad for me, but I've made mental notes on the greatness of velvet + animal print.

Jewel-tones and a cacophony of ethnic pattern. No harm, no foul.

Again, honing in on my tireless love of ikat, and wishing I knew where I stashed my Indian wood block, so I could recreate those curtains.

That's two pics with humongo lumbar pillows! I love the pattern play they allow, but think they would do very little in terms of comfort.

Where there's a will, there's a way, and I have will to spare.

*Please don't harass me for photo creds, Pinterest made me do it.