bringing the real, often ugly, mess of being a DIY design mom to the tumblrsphere. because i'm a giver.

17 notes &


in order to create a flow between our indoor and outdoor spaces, we’re converting 11 feet of windows to doors and joining the dining room with the backyard. tomorrow i’m meeting with a door salesman to discuss some options, and, as you can imagine, i’m pretty excited!

i love the unified spaces—and their portals—below.

factory-style steel french doors…

image(via ???)

another metal door (because i just can’t help myself)…

image(via portella steel doors and windows)

a sleek portal: the bifold doors simply fold and fade away…

image(via lift up thy neighbor)

a more traditional wall of bifold doors…

image(via marvin windows and doors)

massive black statement doors (can be replicated with exterior doors)…

image(via apartment therapy via roman and williams)

double french doors…image(via desire to inspire via amy neunsinger)

sliding french patio doors…

image(via better homes and gardens)

paneless french doors and side windows: a contemporary spin on a traditional entry…

image(via bella mancini design)

i’m not sure which we will chose… what do you think?

Filed under patio doors a more perfect union charmed spaces bella mancini a wall of windows converting windows to doors home renovation dining room backyard patio indoor-outdoor rooms metal doors industrial doors industrial metal french doors portella steel doors and windows bifold patio doors bifold doors lift up thy neighbor marvin doors and windows black apartment therapy roman and williams double french doors desire to inspire amy neunsinger sliding french doors sliding doors better homes and gardens

13 notes &


I wake up to echos of Niemeyer’s work every day. My dresser is based on lines from Brasilia. #RIPNiemeyer

i love our dresser, but I dream of brasilia’s door chest.


I wake up to echos of Niemeyer’s work every day. My dresser is based on lines from Brasilia. #RIPNiemeyer

i love our dresser, but I dream of brasilia’s door chest.

5 notes &

(via sf girl by bay)

i really love black herringbone.

we’re installing a new kitchen floor—i wonder if laying the new wood in a herringbone pattern would define the space in a cool way—or if it would just make the space feel chaotic…

in other flooring news: we (and by we i actually mean a pretty cool dude) patched our hardwood floors a few weeks ago! though the holes made the space feel open and airy—especially if you wanted to throw, say, a lego or your brother down into the basement. obviously, we rushings were living on borrowed, injury-free time. 

our floor guy sealed, but did not refinish, the new wood. it’s looks kinda wonky now, but i believe it was the right decision. we have more projects coming down the pipeline on our main level and we’ll have the entire floor refinished at once so that everything matches perfectly…

plus we spy with our little eyes another wall that needs to go… gonna have to dust off my demo man again!

Filed under charmed spaces black herringbone underfoot black herringbone black herringbone herringbone flooring sf girl by bay kitchen main floor renovation kitchen renovation demolition josh rushing demo man

5 notes &

harper spotted this owl ($9.99) at our favorite thrift store recently. she fell in love immediately and refused to be separated from her ceramic friend. not even for a purse.

gotta say, my girl h knows what she’s talking about! we may paint him—she will insist on pink or purple, while turquoise or white will get my vote. for now, though, he roosts happily in the dining room in all his faux bois glory. which is kinda growing on me…

Filed under secondhand swell love at first sight owl ceramic faux bois harper unique thrifting thrift store secondhand dining room

11 notes &

ok, maybe he didn’t. but perhaps he should have…

the jury appointed to remedy our mantle-less and seemingly naked fireplace reached a unanimous decision as soon as it spied this exhibit: a reclaimed beam simply hung with nearly invisible J brackets.

(via greige design via new england home)

the asymmetrical placement of the fireplace above matches our own (below) making it really easy to envision a similar design in our home. and while i love the texture of our brick surround, which i painted white a year ago, i wonder if we shouldn’t kick around the idea of incorporating wainscoting also. it’s such a polished look…

as fate would have it, two hand-hewn 7”x7”x10’ oak beams rescued from a 100-year-old barn popped up on craigslist. josh was traveling for work, but the kids and i hitched the trailer anyway and scooped them up as fast as we could!

aren’t they gorgeous?! for now the massive beams await their brackets in the safety of my living room—which is officially a disaster btw—to be hung above the fireplace. i couldn’t find similar brackets online; so, i reached out to a couple of local metal smiths. here’s our first rough drawing of the hangers.

what do you think? we’re pretty excited around these parts!

the mantle has been relegated to the back burner for a few weeks while my kids are transformed into hobbits for halloween 2012. seems like we’re always juggling projects!

Filed under project update an eye without a brow is a fireplace without a mantle reclaimed beam reclaimed wood salvaged wood greige design greige new england home asymmetrical fireplace brick white painted white white brick painted white brick wainscoting oak oak beams barn salvage metal smith halloween 2012 hobbits

3 notes &

omg, omg, OMG!

(via sweet paul magazine, spring 2010)

against all odds* i made these amazing pancakes this morning. don’t be intimidated by the scratch batter—it goes together quickly and you can definitely taste the difference. the ricotta doesn’t add flavor, but the texture is heavenly. and the bananas swimming in syrup are incredible—in fact, i’d add another banana next time. my crew gobbled them up shockingly fast!

*as i was mixing the batter, ethan ran in and announced “this is an emergency!” spencer rounded the corner moments later…

fortunately, spencer’s injury was nothing a popsicle on the porch, the companionship of his siblings and sweet paul (a little later) couldn’t fix… :)

Filed under sugar therapy pancakes with hot banana syrup pancakes bananas syrup breakfast cooking spencer busted lip injury popsicle siblings sweet paul magazine

25 notes &

(via sweet paul magazine, fall 2012)

if you haven’t already, pamper yourself and leaf through the gorgeously shot pages of sweet paul magazine’s fall issue. actually, any of his issues will do. trust. me. on. this.

here’s a sampling of what you’ve been missing:

tomorrow morning’s breakfast…

(via sweet paul magazine, spring 2010)

and these just need to get in my belly as soon as possible…

(via sweet paul magazine, holiday 2010)

thyme-roasted chicken with pears
(via sweet paul magazine, fall 2011)

salted caramel & chocolate tart
(via sweet paul magazine, fall 2012)

it seems a cruel betrayal to pick only four dishes for this post when i’ve spent the last 24 hours drooling over all of them. thank you, paul. will you be my friend? come nosh with me. i promise not to wash the dishes until well after our party…

have you made any of sweet paul’s recipes? if so, which ones? are any of his culinary dreams calling your name—which, in particular, would you like to try?

Filed under product review sweet paul magazine cooking baking ricotta pancakes with hot banana syrup ricotta pancakes bananas syrup thyme-roasted chicken with pears thyme roasted chicken chicken roasting pears salted caramel and chocolate tart salted caramel caramel chocolate caramel and chocolate tart

34 notes &

Josh Rushing: A new profile of me from UT alumni magazine, The Alcalde

i know, i know, more shameless bragging… i just can’t help myself. you should see him in his skivvies with a hammer drill…


Being the Bridge

A blue-eyed Marine from Texas, Josh Rushing faced fire when he left his post as military spokesman to help found Al Jazeera English in hopes of connecting two vastly different cultures. Seven years later, was his choice worth it?

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001,…

Filed under josh rushing university of texas shameless bragging alcalde josh

24 notes &

last week josh and i baked these delectable pastries for our crew.

(via smitten kitchen)

homemade mini nutella pop tarts
adapted from smitten kitchen’s adaptation of king arthur flour’s recipe
yields an adorable batch of roughly thirteen 2″ x 3″ rectangles

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 jar of nutella

1. whisk together flour, sugar and salt.

2. work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. if you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

3. whisk one egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

4. divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle. you can roll this out immediately or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days. if the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes.

5. place one piece on a lightly floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick.

6. repeat with the second piece of dough. set trimmings aside.*

7. using a ruler cut each piece of dough into 2”x3” rectangles with a butter knife.

(composite of smitten kitchen images)

8. gently lay half the rectangles on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

9. crack the second egg and brush it over the entire surface of each rectangle on the baking sheet, creating the “inside” of each tart. the egg will help “glue” the lid on.

10. place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, trying to maintain a bare 1/4-inch perimeter of dough around the nutella.

11. place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. reinforce the seams with the tines of a fork all around the rectangle’s edges. repeat with remaining tarts.

12. prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork so the steam can escape lest the tarts become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. brush the top of each pop tart with egg.

13. refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while your oven heats to 350°F. {full disclosure: i didn’t do this and i didn’t really notice any difference. we were simply too excited to wait…}

14. remove tarts form the fridge and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes until they’re a light golden brown.

15. generously spread nutella (like so, below) on the top of each tart.

16. try not to bite your fingers as you choke these down. ;)

note: smitten kitchen offers many different flavor options if nutella just isn’t your thing…


*charming tip from king arthur: sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar. these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. while the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

Filed under sugar therapy mini nutella pop tarts nutella pop tarts mini pop tarts josh baking pastries smitten kitchen king arthur flour recipe harper ethan spencer