Sunday, October 31, 2010

Share your Holiday Home

ACK! I am so excited! It’s time to start thinking CHRISTMAS!!!


YES, I know…Thanksgiving comes first. I love Thanksgiving as much as the next person…but November 1st really signals the start of the holidays for me. So I get to dream, swoon and plan for them starting today. :)

I am THRILLED to share a fun event some of my beautiful bloggy friends and I have thrown together – I guess you could call it the “progressive dinner” of blogland?:



It’s a series of linky parties, all holiday-based, all FUN. :) We’ll kick it off with Layla from The Lettered Cottage on Tuesday the 30th for a mantel party. Then Rhoda from Southern Hospitality will host the vignette party on the 2nd. Kate from Centsational Girl will follow with a crafty shindig December 7th. And I’ll finish up with my annual Christmas Tree Party on the 9th.

I know. I know. FUN!! I’m busting at the thought of it. :)

So start thinking about what you may want to link up! You’ve got plenty of time to get ready. :)

Have a great Monday! I’ll be back late tonight with the November Before and After Party.

The Kid Stays in the House

Chances are great that if you don't know the name Robert Evans, you certainly know his work. While head of Paramount Studios and later as a producer he was responsible for such films as Barefoot in the Park, The Great Gatsby, Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, and many more. Actually, you really should know the name Robert Evans because he is a legend.  He was also married to Ali MacGraw but even more famous than all of these things is his house, Woodland, in Beverly Hills.  The New York Times has just published a story about the home in T magazine.  I knew it looked familiar and I finally remembered that Matt Trynauer had written a very interesting article, Glamour Begins at Home,  for Vanity Fair about the architect, John Woolf.  It was built in 1941 for interior designer James Pendleton and is considered a masterpiece.  The style became known as Hollywood Regency and John Woolf's life story is almost as interesting as that of Robert Evans. 

In his autobiography, The Kid Stays in the Picture, as well as the wonderful video on The New York Times website, Robert Evans tells the story of how he came to fall in love with the house.  Actress Norma Shearer took him on a walk about 10 minutes from the Beverly Hills Hotel.  "We entered a hidden oasis, protected by hundred-foot-tall eucalyptus trees.   It was Greta Garbo's hideaway whenever she snuck into town.  The house, a formal pavilion with a mansard roof, was beautifully proportioned.  But what really got me were the grounds-nearly two acres of towering eucalyptus, sycamores, and cypresses, thousands of roses, all behind walls." 

It was not for sale but Mr. Pendleton was a widower and living there all alone sold it to Robert Evans.  "For $290,000 the place of my dreams was mine.  Paramount took army of studio engineers, carpenters, painters, electricians, and plumbers expanded the pool house into a luxurious screening room with state-of-the-art projection facilities, including the largest seamless screen ever made-sixteen feet wide.  A new, winding driveway was installed off Woodland Drive to create a second, more private entrance.  A greenhouse was constructed.  A north-south, day-and-night tennis court was designed by Gene Mako, the premier designer of hard surface courts." 

"Nature couldn't be improved on when it came to the garden's prize.  Standing among the over two thousand rosebushes was an enormous spreading sycamore, several centuries old, with branches covering half an acre.  Anything that's been breathing that long needs lots of help.  For the circumference of the half acre, every three feet the roots are intravenously fed.  Many a time I've given it an anxious look: 'You're one hell of an expensive lady.' But it's more than a tree - it's a piece of art.  I'd take a night job to keep its leaves aglow.  Twenty-one weddings have been blessed under its far reaching branches.  I'm sure its batting an average higher than any alter in the world.  Nineteen for twenty-one.  Not bad huh? Only two have failed - mine."

Artwork and objects collected by Robert Evans over the years.

Robert Evans had help decorating his home from Paramount since it would also be used for "clandestine meetings for historic deals - both legal and illegal."  Evans himself bought the art including a wonderful Monet from the Wildenstein Gallery in New York.  You really do have to read The Kid Stays in the Picture for the full account of Robert Evans life and the life of the house. 

The dining room has a view of the garden. 

A hallways is lined with photographs that chronicle Robert Evans' life in pictures.

His signature glasses.

The pool and house today which is barely visible behind the ivy. 

Robert Evans by the pool in 1968.

A view of the pool house with the Pendletons and friends around the pool by Slim Aarons.

All of the following photos are from 1968 and show Robert Evans and his friends enjoying the house.  It's no wonder that he's remained in it to this day.  It really does look like a dream house. 

Photos: 1-10 Jason Schmidt; 12 Slim Aarons; 11, 13-22 Alfred Eisenstaedt

My Toy Room to Teen Room Transformation!

My children are entering the teen years now. As they grow and change the needs of our home have changed as well. One of the bedrooms over our garage had been a "toy room", filled with plastic Little Tikes Kitchens, Legos and Trains- a place for forts and building castles. My teenage daughter suggested that we re-decorate the "Toy Room" to be more Teen Friendly. I agreed and so (sadly for Mom) we have said to goodbye to Pokemon and American Girl Dolls.
Here is the room Before (actually we have two identical rooms above our garage, they are mirror images of each other and this photo is of other side). Like all decorating projects we had Goals, Restrictions and a Budget. The Goal was a room for for sleepovers, a place to do school projects where they could spread things out (and not be near their parents), and a place to hangout with friends and watch Movies and I-Chat! Our main Restriction was the doorway size. It is only 27 inches wide. And our Budget was $2500.
Here is the room after we ripped up the old carpet. Then we painted the trim BM White Dove and the walls BM Lighthouse Landing. Paint cost $4o. Paint, as always is an immediate improvement!
The kids were allowed to choose everything in the room and I treated them like clients on our shopping trip. We found this great, thick wool rug at HomeGoods for $600. (did I mention how much I love HomeGoods for rugs??) The kids liked the Pottery Barn feel and the blue and brown color scheme. While we were there the kids scouted some great pillows that matched and two small microfiber ottomans. All together we spent $800.
Meanwhile at home, my sister, who LOVES to organize, came over and sorted through all our arts and crafts supplies and organized everything in the old bins which used to hold plastic food and Matchbox cars. Now it is a perfect go to space for all the supplies we need for projects at school.
Thank you, Sandra! Cost - priceless!
We couldn't let go of the blocks, (well I couldn't) so they stayed put and we moved an old bookcase into the walk in closet for extra storage for paper and other supplies.
Dramatic drum roll.... Here is the Before.
And the After! We found this thin couch at Macy's and once we took the feet off it fit through our tiny doorway! The sectional microfiber couch was $1400 and the bar table and leather stools $199. at
Inspirational artwork was $50 on clearance! Bookcase, side table, and TV we already had!
The total Teen Hangout Room Makeover cost was.....$2489!!
We still had money left over for a Movie and some snacks!! We found some wonderful bargains, stayed with in our budget and came out with a great room! The kids are thrilled and call it their "Hang Out Room" - I call it a success!!
Also a heartfelt thank you to the many, many kind readers who sent me get well wishes and prayers. I am truly blessed to have so many friends in blogland. I was beyond touched! xoxo
(all photos Willow Decor and not to be copied without permission)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autumn in Indiana

Hello there! Hope your Halloween weekend is going beautifully!

A couple of weeks ago, my Sis and I took a day off from the decluttering around here to take in some of the fall beauty around us. It was her last day before heading to her new job and my last day having her around all day. :( Sniff.

I do love being with her – I don’t just use her for manual labor. ;)

I’m so proud to be a born and raised Hoosier, and this time of year I am madly in love with Indiana. It’s quite beautiful. Most think we’re just flat fields – and we do have our fair share. But there’s more than corn in Indiana -- some really gorgeous parts too. :)

My Sis, the Bub and I started our day out by driving through one of our very favorite “drive by” spots – the Meridian Kessler area of Indy. We ooohed and ahhhed over the fantastic houses, and took some hi-I’m-not-crazy-just-obsessed-with-your-house pictures along the way:

IMG_0893We had to be fast and stealth-like so the owners wouldn’t call the cops on the crazy women taking photos. :)

Some were decked out for Halloween, and the Bub would alert us by screaming “STOP!! HALLOWEEN STUFF!!” at the top of his lungs and freak us out every. single. time.:

IMG_0874Some were just plain gorgeous with some simple mums:

IMG_0875 IMG_0880


Some didn’t need much of anything – they were gorgeous all on their own:

IMG_0879     IMG_0884The addresses have been blocked to protect those who live in the gorgeous houses :)…




Oh my. Grey siding, white trim, red door? LURVE.

Because it was such an amazing day, we decided to head over to what has quickly become one of my favorite spots in Indianapolis – Holliday Park:


It’s a fantastic park – complete with a nature center, beautiful architecture and gardens, tons of (HUGE) playgrounds and trails that take you through some gorgeous sights, down to the White River:


You can’t help but completely breathe it in. It reminds me of the camping trips we took almost every single weekend throughout the summer and fall growing up. The smell of wet leaves is seriously intoxicating.

No cell phones. No emails. Someday I’m going to take a fold up chair, hike down to the river to sit and just get lost in nothing.IMG_0936

What a great reminder to just STOP MOVING. Look around. Be quiet.


It was a perfect day, spent with two of my very favorite people.

It gets me so bad when I think about how much his Aunt loves him:


It makes my heart melt that our son is so loved by so many other people other than us. He is surrounded. :)

I had some fun with Picnik with this one:

IMG_09652That’s a framer for sure. :)

Hope you have a HAPPY and SAFE Halloween!!

The Before and After Party will go up Monday night!