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It’s been a four-police-car-day at my new apartment building. This morning it sounded like the people in the apartment above me were hurling furniture, and one another, across the room. At some point, two police cars pulled up in front of the building. The burly guy upstairs—with the word “SEMPER” in a six-inch tattoo down the back of his left calf and a “FIDELIS” tattoo down the back of his right calf—went outside and spoke to the police. Together they all went upstairs where the stomping and throwing continued, even after the police left.

I thought I was moving into a chi-chi, upscale building, but so far all I’ve seen is its dark and seamy underside.

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You could say I am a bit obsessed with natural light. Anytime I have been in the market for a new home, one of the first things on my checklist is a bright home with a lot of windows.

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The place I thought I couldn’t live without… I’ve sold it. In a few weeks, the Little House and my beautiful land in the Texas Hill Country will belong to someone else. It’s something I never thought I’d do and yet, I’m excited!

Even though I’ve never lived a conventional life, my strong sense of home has always been important to me.

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If you are looking for some inspiration for decorating your staircase for Christmas, you will enjoy these beautifully decorated holiday staircases. These photos will make you think outside of the traditional colors and materials.

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On a recent trip to NYC, I enjoyed touring a condo project that my cousin is marketing. These gorgeous condos overlooked Central Park and were beautifully decorated!

We especially fell in love with one of them. The designer created a lacquered accent wall in the most gorgeous teal color. The wall looked like teal glass and was a showstopper! The rest of the room was decorated in beautiful neutral beiges and creams. Simply stunning!

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Do you have a room in your home that you like but don’t love? Sometimes a room is missing something. A punch of color or a special detail that gives it the WOW FACTOR. A very inexpensive way to jazz up your room is to paint the ceiling something other than white!

If you need some design inspiration you will enjoy this collection of rooms with painted ceilings.

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I recently went to a Parade of Homes. I was disappointed to see that many builders have given up on including dining rooms in their model homes. Yes, they have larger kitchens with casual eating areas, however, the dining tables in the kitchens are not large enough to host dinner parties. In fact, most could only seat a family of four to six.

I’m all for dining rooms being less formal than our parents dining rooms. I never wanted the formal table with the matching hutch. Growing up it was an ordeal to put heavy table pads on my mom’s dining room table and then a tablecloth that was a bear to iron. Continue Reading

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Many of us are thinking about changing careers, retiring, volunteering, relocating and/or downsizing. Or, you may have storage units that are sucking your 401k dry, and you’d rather put that monthly hickey to better use. If you answered “yes” to any of these scenarios, a garage sale might be in your future. Here are some tips for how to have a successful garage sale.

  1. Ask friends to put their things up for sale. It gives you more things to sell, plus more helpers.
  2. Use bold markers with thick printed letters on sturdy poster board with your address, date and time of sale. There’s nothing more frustrating than a sign with skinny letters you can’t read. Post in key locations in your, and your friend’s, neighborhoods.
  3. Arrange items by category. Hang clothes on a hanger. Place your best items near the street in order to lure in customers.
  4. Clearly mark the price on each item with masking tape, or blue painter’s tape.
  5. Since the point is to sell things, don’t overprice them. What was precious to you, is used goods to someone else.
  6. Have a garbage can nearby so you can keep the area free of clutter and trash.
  7. Play music so shoppers aren’t looking in silence.
  8. Be friendly and approachable. Let go of any peculiarities like you don’t want the woman in the red floral shirt to have your favorite chair.
  9. Have lots of small bills to make change.
  10. Keep a ledger and list items sold, and for how much.
  11. Wrap breakables in newspaper and plastic bags.
  12. Don’t be afraid to lower your prices.

Happy sales to you!

— Essentials —

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Gold accents have been around for centuries.  Visit any castle in Europe and you are guaranteed to see an abundance of ornate gold furniture and accessories.  Fast forward to today and a more modern approach to decorating and you will find that gold is still regal but in a more subtle way.  It is so elegant when paired with black, navy and brown.
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PHOTOS ©BRENDA COFFEE. Jan Barboglio and one of her craftsmen on the ranch.
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Jan Barboglio’s chic, unique designs have long been a staple in upscale homes in Texas, Mexico, the Southwest, California and the East Coast. Each one of her pieces is handmade and captures the charm and hacienda lifestyle of old Mexico. The juxtaposition of her handwrought iron candelabras and furniture, hand hammered iron chargers and handmade glass candleholders—often paired with nickel, even raffia—create elegant, functional pieces of art.

The fire startled everybody and brought us back to together, back to reality.

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