Summer Reads

July 31st, 2014

We’ve had a few monsoons during our stay here in the Nevada desert when we have gathering clouds then sudden rainfall accompanied by thunder, lightening, and warm breezes. It’s wonderful since it breaks up the hot days and brings moisture from the skies, and so different for this lifelong California resident, I love them!

I brought with me in a box a stack of books for my month long stay here. One of my favorite things to do when it rains is read a great book with a subject or plotline that intrigues me, turning the pages while I listen to the water droplets fall to the ground, that combination is so comforting. Warm rain, a cup of tea, a great read, simple pleasures are the best. This summer I’ve completed these lovely books in between projects or while drifting off to sleep at night. 

nesting place coverThe Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith.  The Nester is famous for her mellow approach to decorating your home as you please, not rushing the process or being focused on perfection, and never apologizing for your home when it looks lived in.

The book endorses risk taking in decorating and is especially encouraging for renters who don’t feel permanently attached to their houses but still want it to feel like home. Find money saving strategies and tips on contentment true to Nester’s style, loved it!


cloudspotters guideThe Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney.  This book was a gift from a friend and I understand its appeal. Most people have memories that include cloud formations from moments spent looking up and reflecting on their shapes. Clouds are expressions of the atmosphere’s moods and they’re classified by height and appearance.

They form into white puffy mounds and tufts in fair weather or thick and menacing when torrential storms are on the horizon. The book analyzes many more types and their historical associations with myths and legends, and also includes a healthy dose of physics (don’t worry, it’s explained very basic terms!). Read the book and you too will become a Cloudspotter.


imageMastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova.  The book spotlights Holmes’ powers of observation and reliance on intuition. The literary sleuth had extraordinary powers of deduction and the premise is that his methodical thinking and sharp perception are not out of reach for the rest of us.

It begins with an analysis of the "brain attic" (where we store our knowledge and experience) and how to avoid jumping to illogical conclusions. It offers ways through self knowledge and an engaged and motivated mind to think like the literary sleuth. I’m not a Holmes aficionado but I was intrigued by the content and did enjoy the book.


mrs hemingway coverMrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood. This novel tells the story of Earnest Hemingway’s four wives and from each one’s perspective. It begins in the sunny Mediterranean in the mid 1920s when Hemingway was on the verge of literary greatness and married to his first wife Hadley. It moves to Key West with his second wife Fife then on to war torn Paris with his third wife Martha. Mary was his fourth wife and was with him until his suicide in 1961.

The author acknowledges the book is not a true biography but rather a "work of imagination" however she does a wonderful job of giving an equal spotlight to the four strong yet sympathetic wives who all shared a weakness for the self centered and hot tempered author and alcoholic.   

These three are sitting on the nightstand and up next on my list of summer reads! Have you read them ?

all the light we cannot see

the hundred foot journey


August always leaves me clinging to those few short weeks of summer that remain before it’s time for the kids to go back to school. What books are you enjoying this summer, I’d love to know! .


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The Thrill of Smooth White Walls

July 29th, 2014

Hello friends, today it’s the weekly update on the remodel, and I have some absolutely thrilling pictures for you, images of a lot of white walls!! Okay not always so exciting but wait! These are not just your ordinary repainted white walls, instead these are completely retextured walls. So long vinyl wallpaper and orange peel texture medley, cue the famous Santana + Rob Thomas hit.

We’re not fans of the orange peel or knockdown textured walls, we love smooth (or even imperfect smooth) troweled walls. We decided as long as we were removing all the popcorn ceilings and vinyl wallpaper that we would go all the way and have the walls retextured so they would be so smooooooth and we hired a crew to help us achieve it.

In the breakfast nook we’ve removed the popcorn ceiling, the funky window treatments, the faded vinyl wallpaper on that back wall and also the ceiling fan.

breakfast nook before

That window on the right leads to a good size side yard with a covered lanai – we have plans to change the window to double doors to blur the line between indoors and out and allow for access to the patio. More on that later, as for now beautiful smooth white walls exist in the space and better baseboards are on their way. Blank canvas! 

breakfast nook after

In the dining room, the popcorn ceilings are gone, so is the light fixture and the window treatments, and the space has been retextured in a smooth Level 5 finish. The carpet leaves tomorrow.

dining room before

dining room after

This was the family room when we began a month ago, since then we’ve removed the vinyl wallpaper on the left wall (hard to see but trust me, it’s there), the Golden Girls valance + vertical blinds, and the brown tile surround on the fireplace. I mentioned in last week’s update our plans to fill the niche above the fireplace and demolish the sheetrock mantel. 

two kinds of flooring

Today, it’s like a breath of fresh air….

family room new texture

We disliked the niche, tile, and position and dimensions of the sheetrock mantel on the old fireplace so we got rid of it.

fireplace 2

   smooth fireplace wall

I was researching contemporary fireplace ideas and a few days ago finally found the perfect inspiration photo. I love the look of this simple mantel and sophisticated tile inset. I have my eye on a few different patterns to achieve a similar look.

tile fireplace


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