Before and after

Lest you think I’m all writer and no play, I thought I’d share with you a few of the things I did over my summer vacation. Especially since I haven’t posted anything new for over a month. (And what a wonderful e-sabbatical it was!)

With three teenage boys and three dogs, I’m learning it’s near impossible to get much writing done in the summertime. That, combined with Indiana’s record heat and drought, forced my creative self inside for most of the 2 1/2 months, where I tackled redecorating projects in my living room, my son’s closet, and our master bedroom nook.

Before I show you the grand reveals, I’ll confess to you that–much to the chagrin of my simple husband–I’ve always dreamed of having a home just like Mary Englebreit, or like the ones portrayed in children’s books illustrated by Eloise Wilkin (my favorite illustrator–I collect her books). Window seats, cozy retreats, and cottage and shabby style.

My home is not for everyone, but it’s our home.

The place I go for solace.

The place I hide (perhaps too much) when my soul need refilled with hope and joy.

Home is the place, after all, where dreams begin.

A safe place.

A place of and for the heart.

So, here’s a glimpse into the home of this artist.


The living room

After our three dogs destroyed our 8-year-old, all-black, microfiber couches, we had them recovered. And if you have furniture recovered, you have to repaint the room. And if you repaint the room, you have to move artwork around. And if you move artwork around, you have to make new curtains. And if you make new curtains, you have to make cute throw pillows to match. Move over mouse and cookie, moose and muffin. A compulsive decorator is on the loose!

The whole room.

The love seat.



Details of a cabbage rose on a pillow.

I love butterflies.
So I put one on a pillow.

I bought a bunch of burlap sacks off eBay and have used them everywhere. In the library (which someday I’ll post pictures of another day), I used the burlap to recover a chair and footstool.

I love burlap.

Can’t get enough burlap.

If burlap gets a hole in it, you can just sew another piece of burlap on top of it when shabby is your style.

With three dogs and three boys, you can’t go wrong with burlap.

The drapes are made out of–you guessed it–burlap I bought at the local hardware store.

The boy’s room

Thrifty Decor Chick is one of my favorite decorating blogs. I especially like her, because she does a lot of carpentry projects with her Dad. And I love doing carpentry projects with my Dad. This project, however, I tackled myself. The idea came from Thrifty Decor Chick, and I’ve been dreaming of converting the extra closet in my boy’s bedroom ever since I saw what she did. What once was a junk collecting space is now a reading nook, with shelves for books and treasures, and a spot for storing books or toys or whatever stuff the boy wants underneath. The boy’s dog thinks we created this spot just for him. But the boy knows better. Here is his very own space where he can dream and read away:



Pretty much a useless disaster zone.

The seat and base installation.



Cozy seat.

The master nook

One of the reason I fell in love with this house years ago is because there’s a large retreat area in the master bedroom. I’ve always had a desk and do a lot of writing there. But the place was begging–BEGGING, I tell you–for a window seat. My amazing Dad and I drew out plans based on several designs we saw on Pinterest, and here is what we made. One major secret Dad and I have discovered when building built-ins is that we buy prefab kitchen cabinets and install them as the bases. Then we build shelves on top of them.

And shelves, wow did we need shelves! Everyone in this family is a voracious reader. This means we had books stacked on top of books in every room of the house. Books squished three and four deep under cabinets. Books stacked high enough to use as end tables. Books we couldn’t find under books we didn’t know we had.

And now, we have a place for all of them, with room to spare! (Last year I converted our never-used dining room into a library, so that room is full of books, too. Maybe I’ll post pictures of that room for you another day.)

Anyway, here is the overhaul of our master nook. I can hardly get anything done now, because all I want to do is sit on the window seat and enjoy this beautiful space! (Thanks, Dad!!!)


I didn’t even try to straighten up before I took this shot.





I recycled the shutters I had, turned them sideways, and now they’re bulletin boards.

Now my collection of Cherry Ames books has a spot of its own.

The beautiful lady in the photo is my Grandma, in her nursing uniform, probably ca. 1940-ish.

Pigs must be flyin’, because I never thought I’d have a spot so pretty!

10 thoughts on “Before and after

  1. Well, very beautiful and comfortable, indeed. You accomplished so much in 2 1/2 months. I love your nook and the closet for your son is such a great space. The living room looks like something right out of the Better Home & Gardens magazine.
    Welcome back, Amy. I really missed your beautiful words.:-)

  2. I’m in love with the master nook! Must. Have. One. !!! Thanks for sharing your inspiring handiwork and craftsmanship. And so glad you’re back. I’ve missed your wise and thoughtful words. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      1. I’ve been inspired by your shelves and window seat! As soon as I can talk my girlies into giving away some toys, I totally plan to do that in the outgrown “playroom”…I’m thinking it would make a great library now!:) I love your living room too, but the burlap makes me sneeze. (I used to cover my bulletin boards with it, to make school feel like “home”…had lamps, etc. to offset the flourescents.) I love, love your style!

  3. Oh my Amy,…what a transformation of both rooms. I love your new writing room I had to show Chuck what you and your dad did together. You are an inspiration. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing. Taking one of your books on vacation next week.:):)

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