...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Creating New Spaces

The new "library" in our entryway by day
And by night
Wintertime often brings house projects (i.e. the kitchen remodel last year).  This past week we had a new built-in completed by our contractor who has now worked with us to execute several of my interior designs.  This was another step to maximize the space in our small, fairly energy-efficient home so we can stay here forever.  I've started calling it "Operation Stay Small."  Though our house is considered a "Bay View Bungalow," it's not a typical bungalow.  We have a fairly spacious living room compared to most as well as a good size entryway just beyond our vestibule.  For a couple of years now I've been challenged with how to best utilize the space in the entryway.  Previously we had my grandparents' hall tree (which has now been moved to the vestibule) and a long bench, which served as a plant stand, but really not the seating area I'd originally envisioned.  After looking at the space long enough I figured out that we could put in bookcases and an armoire--to make a front hall closet, which many bungalows don't have.  After completion I realized this space acts as a whole new room--especially b/c we don't use our front door all that much so it's not too often a traffic path.  Basically, we love it and I'm now calling it "the library."

Before (I had a bench on this wall prior to remodel)
Wiring is done, new outlets are in place, and the old bathroom access
(no longer in use) is sealed over (on the R)
Installation complete
"Armoire" with slide in doors
Bottom "hatch" for shoes
Repurposed chevron drawer pulls I found for
25-cents each at the ReStore.
View from the front vestibule as the door is opened
My latest thrift store find.  A vintage Jasper Chair Company
armchair for $20, in beautiful condition.

Many of our former decorations fit well
A vintage wall mirror I also thrifted, $7.  Didn't
know if I liked it at first, but now I'm in love with it.
A vintage folding camp stool I've had for over a decade
makes a perfect occasional foot rest.
And it stows perfectly underneath so it's not in the way
when I'm vacuuming
This will be my new winter reading haven.
View from the living room

I chose the north wall so the built-in would frame this beautiful original
stained glass window.  The green candle holders were thrifted for a couple
of bucks.
Bits of nature on top of the built-in
I'm not much into knicknacks, but some of these
pieces have been with us for ages.  This is Ben's
little bronze Scottie Dog.

Ben's bronze shoe full of Chilean
coins from his life abroad 
We have at least one known aviator geek in the
house.  I found this wooden airplane at the
antique flea market years ago and had to get it
for him.
Metal leaves I've had since high school.
Drawers and other bookcases were glad to be relieved of all the books I've
hoarded from various used book sales around the area.
V's egg carton caterpillar
There are also some labyrinth lovers in
the family.
Musical wooden frog, which turns out to be
a great Montessori toy.
Some of our "science" and "poetry" books
including my favorite "The Gas We Pass," which
is a cherished b-day gift from a college friend. 
Gardening and more Science
Astronomy and large poetry books
Finally a comfy place for all my vintage
field guides--I love the illustrations.
Gardening books alongside many of the
Heinemann Library books Ben edited when he

worked in Chicago.


  1. Stumbled upon your blog and I love it! Thank you for sharing. I especially like what you did with the entry way. Similarly, our bungalow does not have a front hall closet (or much to speak of in the way of closets at all). Your solution is a good one and something I will be pondering for our own home.

    1. Thanks for reading Colleen. I'm doing some redecorating and will show more ideas for working with tight spaces in the near future.

  2. This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing all the wonderful photos. I love reading nooks, and this fits perfectly into the style of your home.