Happy Winter Solstice!!!!

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It’s snowing in Seattle! This California girl is having a blast as fat, juicy snowflakes flutter and fall.

Back of the house

Back of the house

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So beautiful!

xoxo

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Room by Room- Part Two

Here are the top floor pics. I have some before pictures to throw in. They’re more mid-process. We started tearing off shelves, cabinets, rugs, mirrors, etc. soon after we got the keys to the house.

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Stairwell cleared of wallpaper and moving walls fixed.

Before pic.

Before pic.

Hallway. We removed some of the wood detailing on the walls and painted the dark wood molding the same color as we painted the walls. We kind of regret not removing all the wood detailing from the stairwell walls. I don’t think those details are original.

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Before pic.- There was a mirror attached to the wall here.

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Before pic.- Removed middle trim and painted the top molding to create a cleaner look.

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After

Hall bathroom. I had plans for this room. New sink and tile in the bath/shower. I really want those small, hexagonal tiles for the floor, white with a few black here and there and white subway tiles in the shower. But this bathroom wasn’t in the budget, so we just painted it white and removed some lame shelves and a cabinet.

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Master bedroom. It is a combination of the the two back bedrooms. The previous owners removed a wall and added a small bathroom. They also added a large balcony off the bedroom which we fondly refer to as our rooftop bar:)

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Before

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After

Before

Before. We removed a large built-in cabinet off this wall. It really made the space feel cramped.

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Still need to hang that painting and we want to find a cool bench to put against this wall.

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Small master bath added by the previous owners.

Small master bath added by the previous owners.

Guest bedroom. Since the two small back bedrooms were combined to make one master bedroom, we only have one other bedroom on this floor.

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I’m so proud of Anthony’s handy work in the closets. They’re deep, but with such angular ceilings it was hard to figure out how to attach rods to hang our clothes on. The previous owners put these hooks on the ceilings and rested heavy metal pipes in the hooks. You could barely fit a hanger over the top. Ant attached these from the floor. Once dark, full of cracks, and nonfunctioning, these closets are now fantastic and we didn’t have to call California Closets.

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Hers

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Hers

His

His

I’ve seen more beautiful sunsets from my kitchen window…

in Seattle than I had in all my first 40 years combined. I still have to stop what I’m doing and just watch. Feeling lucky that I continue to see the sun in mid-November. These photos are from tonight and last night/ afternoon. The sun is setting at around 4:30. It now sets at the absolute opposite side of the lake from where it was setting in June. I promise to stop posting sunsets and Lake Union pictures soon.

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Room by Room- Part One

A few people have asked me to post pictures of the house. The work we planned to do is now done and the furniture we planned to buy, for the most part, is bought. We still need some end tables in our bedroom and rugs in the dining room area, but I don’t think we’ll be looking for these last details any time soon.

I wish I had more “before” pictures, but I think we were feeling overwhelmed with our purchase and didn’t want to document a very expensive mistake we thought we had made for a moment. I love our house and I am so glad that we we didn’t notice the mash potato walls, cracks and seams in the walls, walls that actually moved when we found the house and made an offer back in February. Boy, were those walls a mess.

We mainly just stripped away as much as we could, revealing the beauty and craftsmanship of this house that was built in 1906.

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Welcome to 2337 Broadway East. Entranceway and front door.

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Staircase is to the right of the front door.

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Entranceway. Our living room is to the left and the other door leads to the kitchen.

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We installed a honey-colored sisal on the stairs. We had stripped off the off-white thick pile rug, revealing some pretty beat up stairs. Carpeting them was the best option, but we opted for the thinnest type we could buy.

Now entering the living room, which I fondly refer to as the “boho room.” Still needs a few more finishing touches to truly channel a  bohemian vibe, but the super soft shag rug makes lounging on the floor heavenly!

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Love reading or working on the computer in this corner. We needed to buy all new window treatments for the downstairs.

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We didn’t measure before we went shopping for a sofa. I think we only have 13 inches to spare. So close!

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I’ve been collecting artwork for quite a few years now. Figuring out which pieces would be best in each room was more challenging than I thought it would be.

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The two large entrances have beautifully preserved parlor pocket doors. The dining room is seen through this doorway.

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What would a boho room be without floor pillows. I’ve got another one on its way :).

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Japanese maple branches stolen from my neighbor’s tree that stretches over the back wall. I love how that color pops against the shades of grey.

Through the doorway to the dining room and the small room attached to the dining room.

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We’ve been lusting after this Saarinen table by Knoll for a few years now. It was our big splurge and that 400 pound slab of marble is going to still look fabulous long after we’re gone.

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Doorway to the sitting room off the kitchen.

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We decided on black wood blinds for the four tall windows in the dining room.

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One of the things that sold us on this house, besides the view, was the original molding in the living room and dining room. The trend right now is to paint the molding. We are so glad the previous owners didn’t follow that trend THe wood just needed a good cleaning with hot, hot water, vinegar, and a little bit of Murphy’s oil. Of course there are some nicks and worn wood, but overall it still looks beautiful.

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I decided to display all of our California landscape artwork in the dining room. It’s our nostalgic “California room.”

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This small room might change its use, but right now we have a couch Ant bought for his Seattle apartment when he moved up last October. The cabinet is original, matching the wood and style of the molding.

Entering the kitchen, where we practically lived for the months that the rest of the house was being worked on. Thank God we didn’t touch the kitchen! It is still a favorite hangout.

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Longview of the kitchen and extra sitting room.

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Ant has plans for the kitchen, but I don’t think we’ll do anything soon. It is a very functional kitchen with LOTS of storage. We have empty drawers and shelves- and plan to keep it that way.

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We got the stools when Ant moved up here in October. We got the table at Room and Board. It’s another marble piece, but this marble isn’t sealed. Yikes! Every drop of food or wine with the least bit of acid leaves its mark. I just have to be ok with it. I am tempted to pour acid all over the surface just to get the patina process over with!

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So many beautiful days and nights enjoyed from this corner of the house:)

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My coveted green velvet pig pillow!

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Looking through the doorway, back out into the entranceway, where the downstairs tour began.

I’ll give you a tour of the upstair rooms tomorrow. This post is already too long…

Red Leaves and Green Tomatoes

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The changing of the seasons happens quite abruptly here in Seattle. Fall arrived mid-September,  while we were in Amsterdam. It was 85 and sunny the day before we left. We returned to much cooler days and much less sun.  All of my almost ripe cherry tomatoes remaining on the plants burst from the moisture brought by the first serious rain of the season. The leaves on the trees have turned all shades of red, orange, and yellow (mainly yellow in this part of the country).  We have already had nights dip to freezing temperatures. Everything is so new to me.  I truly enjoy watching the changes occurring daily, except for the rapidly shortening days. But this, I know, is the inevitable payback time for the days that seemed to last forever in June, July, and August. You can’t have one without the other.

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My small harvest of green tomatoes inspired me to search for recipes that didn’t require frying them. I found a great recipe in Batali’s cookbook that allowed me to use other ingredients still found in my garden- mint, parsley, basil, and arugula. You blend all of these ingredients- along with garlic, olive oil, and a lot of salt- to a chunky consistency, add the uncooked sauce to the just cooked pasta, add parmesan, and voila!- a fresh fall garden dish.

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Another utterly delicious culinary beauty that the fall brings is chanterelle mushrooms! I’m learning that these golden jewels  grow like weeds up here. Yahoo!!! We were able to get them for $7.00 a few weeks ago. I was never able to find them at the height of the season for less than $20.00 a pound in the Bay Area. Chanterelles with Ant’s homemade pasta is definitely one of my desert island meals.

I’ve also learned from reading my Pacific Northwest gardening book (thank you, Nancy!), that the brunt of winter in this region is primarily felt in November and December. Tomorrow is November 1 and temperature highs for this weekend are supposed to be in the mid-forties. Mother Nature gave us a spectacular autumnal parting gift this past Monday and Tuesday- crystal blue skies, a perfect backdrop to admire  the last days of  fall foliage against. I wish I could take on panoramic photo of the view from our kitchen window, where we have been watching Queen Anne, the hill opposite of us, slowly turn from green to orange. These three shots capture the full scene. Change is good… and beautiful.

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P.S.- I can’t for the life of me control where these photos are placed:(

una del pie del sol

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We got a canoe! She’s a beauty! A shade and texture reminiscent of a yellow toenail. So until we have a better name for our boat, I’ll refer to her as “Toenail of the Sun” or (una del pie de sol in Spanish).

It was a spectacular fall weekend- blue skies, 70 degrees, foliage changing to shades of red, orange, and yellow all around us. We took Toenail of the Sun out for her maiden voyage yesterday in Lake Washington. Ant has added a motor so we don’t have to row all of the time. Pretty nice.

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We saw turtles, a great blue heron, and a bald eagle perched on a lamppost.

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Houses line the shore of Lake Washington. Lucky!

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Wading through the lily pads.

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We live close to the University of Washington. This is the new Husky football stadium.

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You can see Mount Rainier in the distance.

We feel like kids on an unsupervised expedition. The best part about it is we only need to travel a few miles at the most to explore Lake Washington and Lake Union in our canoe.

Artwork, Flowers, and Flower Artwork

Van Gogh Museum

What a magical place for Van Gogh lovers. Four floors of his work divided by different periods in his life as an artist. I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. Couldn’t get good pictures without a flash.

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Botanical Garden

This was a peaceful place to spend a few hours. Most of the plants were in greenhouses. It is already equivalent to a cold winter day in the Bay Area here, and it’s only mid-September.

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The walls of the cafe at the botanical garden were covered with this beautiful art installation of a local artist. It is very textural- I think wool felt and yarn.

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This plant was for sale. A small tree-like plant grows from the center of this rusty fungi. I wanted to take it home so badly.

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Dutch Botanical Still Life Painting Close-ups- Rijks Museum

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RESTAURANT DE KAS 

I was invited to join the team Anthony is working with for dinner. DE KAS is very special. It is a restaurant in a greenhouse. The kitchen decides what will be prepared for that evening according to what is showing best in their greenhouse and surrounding gardens. I was so inspired by this place.

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Diners’ bikes lined up outside the restaurant.

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These small tree and plant balls were hanging in the reception area. The little olive tree even has clusters of wee olives on it.

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Greenhouse off to the left of the reception area. Trellised tomatoes and cantaloupes, peppers and zucchini.

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Trellised cantaloupe dimly lit in the greenhouse as we were leaving the restaurant.

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More Treasures From Rijks Museum

This museum is huge. The building housing these masterpieces is stunning.

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piazzainamsterdam

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It has been awhile since I submitted a post,  the main reason being that my days are filled with housework (boring, tedious, unfulfilling) and constant, shifting  “What am I going to do with my life?” internal dialogues. Nothing blog-worthy.

Well, Anthony has to travel A LOT in these next few months and he suggested that I tag along on a trip to Amsterdam. My first concern with the idea was, “Who’s going to water my plants?”  My second concern, we’d have a few days together, but for the most part, I’d be exploring the city alone, eating alone, etc. He wasn’t going to let me decline the offer, he bought the ticket- making the decision for me- and I am grateful now, but it didn’t start out that way…

Ten hours to Frankfurt (middle seat, passenger in front of me fully reclined the whole trip), three hour layover, Frankfurt to Amsterdam, train from airport to Central Station, tram to hotel with no place really to  place our luggage but our laps, cold rain and wind, walk from the tram stop to the hotel, dragging my overstuffed carry-on every step of the way. We looked like soaking wet street cats by the time we arrived at the front desk. I couldn’t help thinking the entire time, “Is Europe really worth all of this? Do I really need to see another quaint, tourist-driven European town?”

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Hotel Lloyd. Beautiful, historic structure. On the water. Just outside the city center.

It was also a prison as recent as 1985.

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The attendant at the desk explained our two options. “One of the rooms, has a king-sized bed, but the shower is in the living space. The other room has two twin beds and it is smaller.” We decided to take the shower in the living space. We had been hotels rooms with bathtubs that opened up into the living space- very romantic. I guess we were both picturing this luxurious glass enclosed shower in the room. In the days leading up to the trip, I imagined myself finding refuge in a plush hotel when I had tired of sightseeing alone. Warm bath at the end of the day. Wrapped in a cozy terrycloth robe- with clicker in hand- trying my best to decipher Dutch T.V. Instead, we entered a room that was basically  an oversized shower stall with a bed in it. Remember, this building was previously used as a prison. They hadn’t done much at all to the structure when they converted it into a hotel. It’s amazing how little they’d done. After about fifteen minutes of trying my hardest to picture ourselves (myself specifically) in this room for the next SEVEN DAYS, I left it without saying a word to Anthony and went to ask the guy at the front desk to show me the other room. He took me down to the basement. I assumed when he said “twin beds” he actually meant queen beds because those are our only two options in the States. Not here. He showed me this very small, depressing room with two twin beds pushed up against opposite sides of the room. I returned to our shower stall with a sudden fondness for it.

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They were able to give us another room by the next night. It is small, but warm. Wood floors, instead of a water resistant red floor, equipped with its own squeegee. Shower where it should be. This place is so intriguing. There are 117 rooms, all of them completely different and quirky. One room has a bed that is large enough to sleep eight (use your imagination).

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Our new room

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These halls scream, “Haunted!”

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Windows in the stairwell

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So you would think these double doors lead to a sauna…

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Nope! It is a shallow closet in the hallway of the second floor where you can make a cup of tea:)

So here we are in Amsterdam! What a great city. Beautiful, but not cutesy, touristy. A bike and public transportation utopia.   And the home of Van Gogh, my artist hero. I’ll be posting about my adventures in the next few days.

Beautiful Things

My mom left today. She had been up here visiting since Tuesday. Our dearest friends in the Bay Area… on Earth, are celebrating  the birthday of one of the best people we know, today… without us.  Feeling melancholy…

Life is both sad and sweet.

The beautiful things.

My mom made this gorgeous quilt for our new home.

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My first attempt at roses. The rose is called, “Hot Cocoa.”

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Sunset tonight. More golden than pink, autumn is around the corner.

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My newest art acquisition. A lamp called “Koroko, ”  Japanese for “heart.” Anthony laughs, but I think it is a spectacular sculptural piece.

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Beautiful things. But these  things don’t compare to friends and family. We miss all of you so much. Can’t wait to see  you soon, one way or another.

Crescent Lake

I know it has some time since we returned from our trip to  Olympic National Park, but I want to post some more pictures from the other areas we visited. If you plan to visit us next summer, I would suggest making a trip to the park as well. It is about three hours from our house. You can take your car across on the ferry or drive around the water. It’s a nice drive. And I would suggest trying to get a room or cabin at Crescent Lake Lodge. I think that you may need to reserve almost a year in advance, but it’s worth the advanced planning.

Ah, Lake Crescent. It is a deep, crystal blue lake. The lodge was built probably in the 20’s or 30’s. When you’re there you feel like you’ve been transported to the 1950’s- Frank Sinatra playing through the speakers, children and adults diving off the pier all day long. A simpler time. Easy canoe and kayak rentals right there at the lodge. Great hiking trails. This is a great place for families.

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We rented a canoe and stayed out on the lake for five hours.

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Having an after dinner drink on the pier.

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