The Bull

 
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When my client’s artwork arrived with a few dings in the frame, I had the opportunity to snatch this piece up for my own home. 🐮 

The blank wall above the dining table (which I am NOT showing you because it’s an IKEA just-gonna-use-this-for-a-few-years-now-we’ve-had-it-for-15-years-table) is its new home. 

I wonder about this bull’s life every time I gaze into its soulful eyes. Where was this photo taken? Was the animal killed? Was it on a sanctuary? Did it know love? Or only fear? 

Also, being vegan, I’ve wondered if it’s weird to have in my house, and especially in my dining area. If I don’t know if this animal was exploited or not, is it still ok to have in my home?

I’ve landed on this: it is ok. It’s more than ok. I am honoring the animal now. His beauty. His  strength. His spirit. When I look at him, I see all animals. He reminds me that we are all connected. And he’s a daily reminder of my pledge to continue to honor and respect all creatures in the best ways I know how, for the rest of my days here on earth. 


So thank you, Bull. And bless your spirit, wherever you are. 

(artwork: Trowbridge Gallery; photo Ben Woods)

 

This House

I float in the hammock

Feeling the air move through my toes. 

I listen to the soft chirps of the finches

And the cawing of the crows.

 

She’s old, this house. Not ancient, not in any sort of a grand historical way, but she’s lived things. She’s seen things. Things I will never know.

Her foundation is strong. She’s sturdy, even after all these years. Even after being unloved for so many, if not all, of them.

I love her, this house. Or rather, I’m learning to love her. She’s not perfect, you see. Not even close. She has aches and pains and some deep wounds from being unloved for so many years. 

I hope she knows it wasn’t her fault.

She’s not grand, architecturally speaking. She doesn’t have any particularly defining details. And her floor plan is quite pedestrian. I want her to know, though, that she can just be who she is. That being here - being my home - is enough.

That I will love her even when she breaks a little.

And that she really is magnificent in her own way. She doesn’t need to be anything other that what she already is to be loved. 

I feel her come alive more and more as she gets the love she’s been craving for so long.

 

The birds sing to her.

She’s wrapped in flowers now.

The sun sparkles its way through her new windows

And the walls glow in the golden hour.

 

She holds onto her old parts just enough to keep herself together until she is given new. She waits patiently, this sturdy girl, like she’s waited for many years. She waits like she’s just beginning to trust love for the first time. She waits like she knows she won’t have to hold onto her old parts much longer.

And I can feel her age becoming increasingly irrelevant. 

 

“Youth,” she says “is a merely state of mind.”

 

I watch the bees dance around the cucumber blossoms. 

The hearty hydrangea leaves flutter in the breeze.

The squirrels chase each other through the fruit trees, taunting each other with the peanuts I just tossed out to them for a snack. 

And I agree with her.

 

Beauty is being loved.

Beauty is being seen.

 

Does she love herself, this house? Does she even know what self-love is? 

“Yes,” she whispers “but I’ve forgotten how after being neglected for so long.” 

 

I tell her she’s not beautiful when…

She is beautiful now. 

She’s not loved when… 

She’s loved now. 

 

She listens. And little by little she comes alive with all of her inherent love and beauty. In this moment, I suddenly realize she is very, very wise. And that somehow, in me loving her, she has so much more to teach me. 

Marin Home Magazine: Color, Mood & Space


Marin Home Magazine has just launched their Fall 2013 issue. Please check it out - it's a good one! And it's where you'll find my latest article on color - "Color, Mood and Space." Give it a read and let me know what you think! 

"It’s important that we select our colors thoughtfully. Not fearfully, but with conscious intention to create a space that makes us feel how we want to feel."



It's Been a Year! Living Room Before & Afters


This past weekend marked a big anniversary for us. We've officially been in our new house for an entire year! I haven't done nearly as much as I'd hoped (the bedroom has been half-painted for awhile now) but I did manage to "finish" the living room. I put the word finish in quotes because a room - a home - is never really done. I still have a long list of to-dos, but sometimes you have to pause and acknowledge that hey, it looks pretty good for now. Good enough to take a few photos, even. So here you are. One year anniversary photos of the place we call home.


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Warm Colors, Cool Colors: What Are They and Why You Need to Know About Them



What are warm and cool colors? And why is it important to understand them when painting your home?

Warm colors are typically reds, oranges and yellows, and tend to advance toward our eyes. Cool colors are typically blues, greens and violets, and tend to recede when we look at them. However, there is such a thing as “cool” warm colors, and “warm” cool colors. It’s important to always work with colors in context. Because, for example, a burgundy red can look warm next to a navy, but cold next to a different shade of red. 

Warm and cool colors matter because we make different psychological associations with different colors. It’s kind of like the weather - warm, sunny days make you feel differently than cool, grey days. 


Paint colors in our homes can have the same effect. As humans, we are naturally drawn toward the sun, and colors that create that same warmth are just as enticing. When creating a color palette for the home, keep in mind that colors that have an overall warm feeling are going to, in general*, make us most cozy and comfortable. However, you don’t want the palette to be too warm, because too much warmth can be overstimulating. So don’t go crazy with tangerine orange ceilings and fire-engine red walls, or you’ll be running for the door. And that's not to say cooler wall colors won't work - I spec them all the time! It just means if you do opt for cooler paint hues, you're best introducing some warmth through other design elements to keep the space from getting too dreary.

And if you think sticking with “neutrals” or “white” is the safe way to go, and you’ll be able to avoid this whole warm and cool issue, think again. Every color, even beiges and whites, have undertones. Some are pink-y, some are green, some are yellow. So-called “neutrals” are anything but neutral. 

*Yes, yes, I know. There are also personal associations and preferences that can throw a kink into this whole thing. But, for the purposes of this post let's keep this in general terms, ok?