Housiversary: Year 7

Technically, the 7th anniversary of my move-in happened in July. So I’m running, oh, 2 months behind schedule at this point. Sounds about right. Happy belated, house!

This year has been crazy. I find myself plodding through one of those times in life notable mostly for its impressive and sustained level of stress. I’m not sure when or how that will change, but I know this: it needs to. On good days I am reminded that there is more to life than the things I worry about, and I need to pursue those things again.

In that spirit, I gave myself an afternoon to work on, yes, but also enjoy the house I bought 7 years ago (and refinanced in August!)

HOLY SMOKES there’s a couch now! A non hand-me-down, non Ikea couch!

This is the Dublexo by Innovative Living. It does the couch thing very well, but also:


It’s got Funky Day Bed Mode and Sleeper Sofa Mode! We test drove this functionality by staying in last night and finally — after 5 failed attempts — finishing the movie Dune. I think the couch was instrumental to our success. We started sitting upright but transitioned to a horizontal viewing position sometime around the appearance of Sting’s metal diaper.

Not too long ago I thought I might like to buy a vintage mid-century couch and fix it up myself, but with the limited time I have for projects… nahhh. I didn’t need to spend weekends worrying about how to get an 8-foot frame to an upholsterer. I needed my life to be easy for a change. And thanks to the great people at Cella Luxuria, that’s exactly what it was.



Normally I would make some attempt to color-correct these but whatever LIFE IS SHORT. But I did spend a couple hours framing up part of my feather collection. I’ve been unsure of what to do with them for a while now, but I finally think I like them grouped and wall-mounted here.

And here. Uh, I have a lot of feathers.

That does it for now! Happy 7 years, house. I’m tired and I have nothing coherent to say, but you’re always here for me when life gets like that. <3



Coming back home

Warning: I’m going to blog about my house on my house blog. Weird, right?

2014 has been a year of neglecting this place in favor of other things. Personal projects. New jobs. Design classes. Meeting creative people. All worthy endeavors, but the house was relegated to “that place I sleep” for the majority of it. I haven’t had the energy or the brain power to figure out, for example, how to make my stove less hideous. (I didn’t take a new picture of it for this post; it hurts my eyes. Here’s an old one.)

In 2015, I’d like to get back to spending a little more time with this ol’ rowhome of mine. I’ve been here for SIX years now. (Whaaaat? It’s true.) In that time both my budget and my taste have changed (I’d like to think for the better). So with that in mind, and with freelance and homework finally off my plate, 2015 seems like the right time to bring some of my attention back home.

I no longer have a Penncation — that glorious paid week off between Christmas and New Years when campus shuts down and I am free to cut baseboards for days on end — but I did spend a good chunk of time this past weekend on some easy decluttering and rearranging.



Just Wonderful is a lettering piece I made a few years back, and it just so happens you can pick yourself up a copy on Society6. The new raccoon skull was a holiday present — an excellent one.


The tiny chalk board on the left was also a gift. It’s by the mighty Peg and Awl (shoutout to a fellow Moore alumna). On the right, I finally finished my first bottle of St Germain! I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this bottle forever, but I confess to not really knowing what to do with it. In traditional Lauren fashion, I put a dried branch in it and called it a day. On the wall: a poem letterpressed by Erica Maust back in our Penn days. Which seem like forever ago already. On the cabinet: a dopey picture I took in high school photography. Which also seems like forever ago, but justifiably so.


I decided to neaten up my collection of peacock feathers by shaving them down to just the eyes. They look less like a tangled incubator of bird flu germs this way.


Oh hey look more feathers and shells and twigs. Okay. You get the idea.

What I’d really like to do in 2015, though, is tackle this living room situation:


It still looks a’ight, I guess, although I’ve grown out of the aubergine cushions a bit. But for a room I’ve spent so much time renovating… I don’t get a lot of use out of it. I never hang out here. And it’s totally because of this couch. This creaky, hard-edged couch.


This couch may be causing a bit of a crisis in my life right now. Every time I look at it, I know it needs to go — or at least fall victim to an experimental hack to create something different (ottoman? Second-bedroom lounger?). But new couches are expensive. Does one buy a 4-figure couch for this strangely-sized living room? Does one dare to try to define this space with a… sectional? Is one actually the kind of person who buys a sectional!? Does one expect to be in this house for long enough to make it worthwhile? Or does one expect to die alone here. Perhaps on this sad, low-end IKEA creation.


Stay tuned in 2015. There will be plenty of house-angst, I promise. And hopefully some budget-friendly house solutions.





Back in Black

My brain is back online (cue screeching dial-up modem sound), so here are a few little house updates that I’ve been meaning to share.

The only real project I tackled during my week off, besides scrubbing every floor on my hands and knees (BONA!), was to finish painting this bathroom cabinet. I had previously painted just the doors black and left the rest of it primer — I still haven’t dealt with the walls in this room and I don’t know what color they’ll be, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going — but eventually I got tired of living with black-and-white-striped Tim Burtonesque bathroom storage.

I was a little worried that once the whole thing was black it would make the room look smaller, but thankfully it doesn’t. You know what did? The room’s original, overwhelmingly wooden state. FLASHBACK!

Don’t you just want to burn it all for warmth?

Now that section looks more like this:

So with the completion of the little cabinet, all the wood furniture matches. Which is more than we can say for any of the metal fixtures. But hey.

I now have well-organized bottles of nasal spray and contact lens solution. And I need to properly paste down that accent paper. Or nix it. Or design my own. Not sure. Moving on!

I’ve been looking for an inexpensive cocktail ring for a while now, and was gifted the green labrodite one below from Priscilla and Vi’s Etsy shop. It’s just the size I wanted: bold, but just shy of ridiculous.

Up until this point my few rings and bracelets had been layered precariously on necklace hooks, but it was time to admit that I needed a better storage solution. This little Ikea dish does the trick nicely.

And now for the dining room, where, after 4.5 years of home ownership, THERE IS NOW A RUG.

I was so excited about this improvement that, at one of the season’s many social gatherings, I caught myself earnestly telling the person next to me that it really… tied… the room… together. Yeah.

It’s sisal and therefore not what you would call soft, but it was inexpensive and it does its job of preventing that horrible noise caused by chair legs scraping across a wood floor.

Elsewhere in the room are a few other gifts:

A nice Scotch (thanks, Dad!) and giant leftover bottle of Burgundy. We do both high and low class here at the ‘row. I have not partaken of either, however, as I am debating the merits of Drynuary. Perhaps I’ll try a modified version that allows for the occasional date and work happy hour? Either way I think I’ll save opening the Scotch until we hit the long, cold nights of February. And beyond.


And then there’s this. No explanation, really. I had the bow lying around and you know, it just happened.

(I’m not sorry.)

Welcome to the new PRR!

So I spent my entire winter vacation coding websites. 3 of them! And that includes the new home of Port Richmond Row. I don’t feel like I’m quite satisfied with the way this blog looks yet — at some point I’ll get around to styling every little button and text input box just right — but at the moment I can’t bring myself to look at any more style sheets. And the idea of going back and categorizing my old content right now makes me shiver. Nah. Let’s just get up and running, shall we?

It’s been an unusually busy holiday season over here. I have a few little house updates to share, but my brain is running on low battery. The best I can do is provide this weird holiday-and-rodent-themed Instagram photo montage:


I do not know where my friends managed to find this variety of squirrel ornaments. And they’re eating things. You guys are the best.

Anyway, here’s to a full year of, uh, blog content that is more legitimate than this post. Happy 2013, everyone. I hope it treats you all well.

Time for a change

PHEW. For the last few weeks I have been steeping in a giant cauldron of end of the semester/holiday shopping/work event planning/social calendar stress, and I have emerged from it reeking of booze and coated with sugar and cookie crumbs.

But now I have a solid week+ here at Ye Olde Rowe Home. And I have a proper to-do list:


Don’t squint, I’ll summarize: I’m going to be scrubbing a lot of floors and caulking a lot of sinks. BUT I’m also in the process of redesigning both this blog and my personal website, as it’s (past) time for me to establish a real design portfolio. And I have lots of new work to share. Plus a few house tweaks that I’ve neglected to post. Stay tuned!

My birthday is on Thursday. I’m terribly unorganized about these things (I don’t even know what my plans are), but if you’re trying to shop for me and are scratching your head, here are some suggestions for gifts that are easy to come by but much needed:

  • Citronella candles and/or mosquito repellent that doesn’t contain DEET, so I don’t have to fear using it liberally. Damn bloodsuckers…

  • Pretty ceramic pots for plants. I’ve got tons of cheap faux terra cotta stuff and could use some color variety.

  • Wine. I can’t tell the good stuff from the bad stuff, either, so that’s a plus! Also: Limoncello or Disaronno. Mmm.

  • Art, if you make it!

I have a lot of vintage 1984 friends with June birthdays as well. Wishing you guys were all here so we could celebrate the big quarter century together! Instead, I’ll just post pictures of flowers for you:

Spotted growing from the paint buckets this morning. What a happy June surprise.

Long time, no blog. I’ve been hard at work fixing up the house’s guest bedroom, which I decided not to use as a bedroom but as a laundry and crafts room — a home for the ironing board, sewing machine, linens, and space for working on “clean” art projects. The “after” pictures are coming, but I’m going to tease you with a couple of “before” shots. These are from the home inspection:

So… some walls are green, some are blue, the ceiling is yellow, and there are 16 different kinds of wood up in here. I mean, wooden blinds? Really?? Did the doors, floor, radiator cover and furniture not offer enough brown for your tastes? Could you not also find wooden bed sheets?

Neighborhood Watch

Neighbor: I hope this slush doesn’t freeze and leave the sidewalks all icy.
Me: Hey, I’ve got a bag of salt if you want me to throw some in front of your house…
Neighbor: Yeah, I know. I saw when you put that down. I came out to shovel right after you.
Me: Ah, gotcha.
Neighbor: Did you get a new car? I watched you clean that new one over there off.
Me: …Yeah. Uh, I’m going to go inside now. Unless you’ve also found a way to watch me in there.

Today’s list of accomplishments:

  • Got an iPhone!
  • Picked out some apps, including those relating to Twitter, Facebook, and uh, my budget. Still needed: a Blogger app and a Flickr app.
  • Synced it with my Google calendar and contacts list, inspiring a thorough cleanup of both.
  • Got a doctor’s appointment out of the way.
  • Started painting my hallway. Not nearly as exciting.