Sarah’s Blog

A Clean Slate

Kitchen Reno

So this happened over the weekend: Mark and his brother pulled everything out of our kitchen, revealing the second-floor joists and planked subfloor, along with layers of wallpaper and an adorable vintage flue cover I’d never seen before: Meantime, I spent the weekend on an emotional seesaw, alternating between giddy excitement about the new space and […]

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Shifting Out of Neutral

Decorating

A few years ago, I wrote a paint color story for Real Simple that had me psychoanalyzing all of my friends. “People who use warm tones tend to be friendly and nurturing — they love having others over,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told me for the piece, which certainly applies […]

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Absence and the Heart

Thoughts on Home

Last week, Mark was away at a work conference for four days and four nights, not that I was counting. Sensing the void, and vulnerability on my part, my older son requested pancakes for dinner on the first evening, which we followed up with a maple syrup-fueled dance party to the Trolls soundtrack. Things started […]

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Wonders Never Cease

Thoughts on Home

We went to Sugarloaf Mountain for three days during school vacation last week and returned with changed children. The 4- and 6-year-old who had never skied independently began snowplowing down the bunny slope with confidence after a couple of half-day lessons. Cautious and quick-tempered, our kids don’t always take to athletic endeavors easily — both […]

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New Direction

Kitchen Reno

Before I got distracted with kids’ birthday cakes, Ben presented us with a revised kitchen plan! Reimagined without faux posts and beams, the room now incorporates solid upper cabinets on the western wall, as well as the open shelving I wanted. Losing the supports allows us to mount three 9-inch-diameter pendants over our 7 ¼-foot-long […]

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Birthday Party Pondering

Thoughts on Home

William Carlos Williams had his red wheelbarrow; for me, the object “so much depends upon” is a child’s birthday cake. I am not a skilled baker, nor am I particularly crafty or proficient with frosting, and, like most working people I know, I have almost zero free time. And yet, twice a year, I spend […]

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Back to the Drawing Board

Kitchen Reno

Periodically, I have to be reminded that I don’t live in a centuries-old farmhouse. Although I like to imagine our family in a Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn type of place on acres of land, we have chosen to live in Portland for the convenience and the community we have found here. (How […]

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Fits and Starts

Kitchen Reno

The other thing that happened during our initial meeting with Ben and Mike was we began getting really excited about our kitchen. The first design we solicited from a different company was beautiful, but didn’t ultimately seem workable for us. For example, the windowed china cabinet I wanted for storing glassware was positioned next to […]

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On Babies and Budgets

Kitchen Reno

Mark and I have a tendency to catastrophize in times of stress. One example: when our kids, who were both spectacularly bad sleepers as babies, would wake up hourly during the night, our bleary conversations usually went something like, It’s never going to get better! I know, it’s not! Clearly we’re doing something wrong. Right, […]

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First World Problems

Kitchen Reno

As I’ve mentioned, our kitchen has infuriatingly little cabinet and counter space for a room of its size—290 square feet thanks to a wall that was knocked down sometime before we owned the house. The storage squeeze has led to some desperate organizational measures on my part, such as converting a broom closet in the […]

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