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Cozy Versus Cluttered

Here’s an interesting question: Is cozy a polite way of saying cluttered? Does it have to be? Cozy does frequently stand in for cluttered – it’s an easy way to brush off clutter or to elevate it to a higher status. “These books piled everywhere in my apartment? That’s a sign of my eclectic genius and what makes my home cozy.” It’s like the term ‘lived in,’ which can mean so many things good and bad.

Which isn’t to say you can’t have a lot of stuff without clutter! I think the difference between cozy and cluttered is a feeling more than anything else. Cozy to me means that a space feels inviting – it has signs of life in it instead of being a sanitized space that looks like a catalog or a museum display. A big house with lots of space can still feel cozy, for example. And a big house can be cluttered, too, if all that space isn’t used effectively. A cluttered home will feel different than a cozy one. It won’t be inviting, and all the stuff strewn about willy-nilly can even be a little anxiety inducing. Visitors are afraid to touch anything, for fear of knocking something over or losing their keys.

That’s what cozy versus cluttered means to – what does it mean to you? Can you separate the two terms in your mind, or does cozy always feel a little cluttered to you?

TIP: If you would like to downsize some of your stuff, check out Unstuff Your Life!. It’s not about trading in chaos for minimalism, but rather figuring out the best way to use the spaces you have.

Hauntingly Beautiful Images of a Downtrodden City

How amazing are these images of Detroit’s downtown captured by photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre? It seems like a ghost town or the corpse of a city – and an eerie reminder of Detroit’s glory days, since so many of the structures they photographed are were obviously magnificent in their heyday.

Like so many of the visuals that comes out of this sad city, it’s depressing. But still kind of hauntingly beautiful.

You can see these and more in Marchand and Meffre’s book Ruins of Detroit – which is the result of a five-year collaboration started in 2005.

10 Home Staging Basics for the Noob

10 home staging basics

Whenever the topic of home staging comes up, I like to tell the story of my mother-in-law. She was trying to sell her house… a beautiful house, full of beautiful antiques and fine furniture. Prospective buyers would walk through, oohing and ahing, but no one put in an offer. Why? Because all the buyers spent all their time in the house entranced by all the nice stuff.

When did the house finally sell? After my mother-in-law put the majority of her nice things into storage.

Home staging, in case you haven’t maxed out on it watching the home and lifestyle channels, is the art of creating neutral, inoffensive environments that appeal to the majority of people (or at least don’t offend anyone) and don’t distract from the space on display. There are plenty of people making a living staging homes, but with a little trial and error, most people are capable of DIYing it.

Here are 10 home staging basics to help the noobs out there who are looking to sell a house or apartment:

1. Clean EVERYTHING. When The Beard and I were looking for homes, it was hard to see the “good bones” in the dirty ones. After viewing one home, all I could remember was the big pot of nasty… something… on the kitchen counter and the gnarly smell. In another house, the grime everywhere distracted from the house itself. When there’s no dirt to look at, people will look at the space for sale.

2. Nix the CLUTTER. Your stuff is almost as distracting as dirt. Not everyone can afford to put their stuff in storage like my mother-in-law, but put away what can be put away, and maybe start packing whatever isn’t necessary for daily living a little early. Boxes in the basement are less distracting than books stacked in corners.

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Office Inspiration from Turquoise

The home office can be an afterthought for a lot of people – that is, if you have the space to devote an entire room to working. This is especially the case among those who don’t work at home and would honestly rather not feel compelled to give up precious square footage to work-related gear. But since I work from home, I tend to empathize with those who do, too, and would probably like somewhere sweet to sit as they endure the daily grind. I used to have a nice home office, until I gave it up during the renovations, and now I fear that I’ll never again work from anywhere but the kitchen table. I’d prefer to be working in here, though:

Seeing this oh-so-inviting space designed by Turquoise makes me long for my old office. Oh, we’ll have another home office someday, but it will be shared and that means it will be at least halfway to messy most of the time. But a girl can dream, right? I’d love to know what your home office sitch is. Do you have one? Is it grand? Would you love to have one, but the space just isn’t there? Or are you content to leave work at work where it belongs so that extra room can stay a den/guest room/nursery/gaming space?

Image: Turquoise

Inspiration: Roses

Roses have long played a role in home decor and decorating. As standalone embellishments – cut roses or rose bushes – the rose has been the front-runner of all the flowers in the world for a centuries. In paintings, carvings, and textiles, roses began appearing (along with other blooms) with regularity in something like the 17th century. And why not? Images of roses are gorgeous whether they’ve been captures true to life or in stylized fashion, in 2D or 3D. Plus, as decor goes, roses tend to be timeless. Not every rose curtain or wallpaper will stand up to the passage of years, of course, but the iconic rose will certainly do so. Love roses? Me, too, which is why I put together a little inspiration for us to share.


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My Very Favorite High Chair

The Stokke Tripp Trapp is, in my opinion, the best high chair out there. If you’re starved for space but still need to feed a baby or toddler, it simply takes the place of a normal dining chair right at the table. Add to that the fact that they’re easy to clean and come in amazing colors like red and purple and black aaand they’re just so much cooler than the plastic monstrosities covered in animal prints that can absolutely overtake a kitchen.

What else can I say? My daughter loves sitting in her red Stokke Tripp Trapp because it means she gets to sit at the table with mama and papa instead of off to the side, and that I think is my favorite thing about it.

The one caution I’d offer up is that some people have posted videos of their toddlers tipping the Tripp Trapp. Personally, we’ve never had that happen and I’ve heard that it’s only really an issue if the seat isn’t placed correctly for the height of the table. And every Tripp Trapp high chair comes with base extenders for anyone with a particularly leggy toddler.

Has anyone out there reading had a different experience – perhaps an instance of a tipping Tripp Trapp in your own household? I’d love to hear about it because it seems exceedingly rare.

All I Can Say Is: WANT.


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Inspiration: Tufts!

Tufted furniture is undeniably awesome – a few well-placed tufts can turn what would be a blah headboard or bench or couch into something really visually appealing. A wee bit harder to vacuum? Well, sure, but not all that much more difficult to keep clean. The bad news is that tufting can come at a premium – the good news is that I found a great tutorial at Apartment Therapy that will have you diamond tufting in no time at all. Until you get the hang of it, though, here’s some sweet tufted inspiration to stimulate your aesthetic appetite!


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