Today’s post features the home belonging to my friend Amy Afsari. Amy hired me to help her with art and accessories, including a gallery wall. Before we get to the nitty-gritty on that, let’s talk about Amy’s style, which is very different from mine. She embraces exuberant color and wildly fun patterns and then tames them with English-style tables and chinoiserie. It’s an irresistible juxtaposition, especially here in Wisconsin where the piles of snow at the airport don’t melt until July. I walk into Amy’s sunshiny family room and can practically smell freshly cut grass, that’s how verdant the room feels.Read More
Technically, this post is about the rehab of our hall bathroom. In actuality, I’m excited to delve into some of the grittier aspects of bathrooms and boys. You have been warned.
For twenty years, our four sons, aka our ManBearPigs, shared a small bathroom that measured 8 x 8. Thinking back on those days, it was quite manageable. When they were little, they loved communal bath time so much that the promise of bubbles in the tub was strong incentive for good behavior. And while I was forever straining to clean that weird spot on the base of the toilet with my stubby T-Rex arms, I don’t recall things getting rough until the middle school years.Read More
I’ve been working with clients for a long while now and I thought I would share a little about what I do as an interior stylist. At its most elemental, my job is to solve problems. But did you know that when it comes to our homes, we all have the exact same issue? Can you guess what it is?
I call it unintentional blindness. We are immune to the shortcomings in our own space. Even if we know they exist, we get comfortable with them until they sort of disappear. Like my friend whose thoughtful husband reached over once and plucked one of her chin hairs with his fingertips. It took his fresh eyes to see what on some level she already knew was there. Problem solved.Read More
I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with color in my house. Maybe I was traumatized by the purple carpet and pink, yellow, and green rickrack wallpaper of my childhood bedroom where flies congregated under my coverlet. Or the hideous sponged salmon pink bedroom in our first home where I once called the police at 3 am when a burglar outside the window sneezed. Or the putrid green bedroom in our second home that contributed to the argument between my husband and me that ended with my storming out and driving to my parents’ house where I accidentally set off their burglar alarm at 3 am.
I can’t do color. It keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep. It is impossible to get right.Read More
This Saturday, I'll be at Past Basket, the beautiful home decor shop here in Milwaukee, from 11 am - 3 pm for a meet-and-greet. If you are local, do come make my acquaintance and sample my mother's delicious baklava. Enter to win a $100 gift card and a free styling session.
We can chat about interiors and if you like, bring along pics of your "favorite" problem spots, and I'll happily offer some free advice.Read More
I'm so excited to invite you to a party! This one has food, prizes, and an advice booth! Join me at Past Basket here in Milwaukee on Saturday, September 8th, as I kick off my new collaboration with the acclaimed interiors store.
Here's the scoop: I am the new interior stylist for Past Basket, ready to help you style a holiday table, accessorize your bookshelves, create a gallery wall, or simply edit your things. And as you will see from the photos below, Past Basket is now carrying objects and art from Finder Not Keeper.
Come by on Saturday, September 8 from 11am - 3pm, just to chat. Or bring along a photo of a trouble spot in your home and I'll try to diagnose the issue and share some quick styling ideas. I'd love to meet you in person! You'll earn my undying gratitude because I'm worried the only ones coming are my lovely parents and poor suffering agreeable Gary.Read More
In my kitchen, I have open shelving over my desk. This is where I try out my collections before they go into the shop. This process allows me time to consider the way objects play off each other. I am a matchmaker but sometimes the results surprise even me. For example, I really liked this collection of chinoiserie that I paired with gold dinosaurs. But I didn't know why right away. Then one day I walked in with a bag of groceries and it hit me. This vignette represents Godzilla in Tokyo. And since one of my nicknames in middle school was "Mothra", it all makes sense.Read More
I'd like to introduce you to my friend Margaret Maggard. In this photo, she is positioned on her sofa in such a way that you can guess she was once a yoga instructor. She also used to run her own successful jewelry business, Bhati Beads, which was born out of the handmade wrist wraps she wore while teaching yoga. Margaret's designs were favored by many celebrities, most notably the former First Lady, Michelle Obama. For seven consecutive years, models in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition wore slivers of spandex on their breasts and bottoms and Margaret’s wraps on their wrists and ankles.Read More
Over the holidays, we had a house full of people. Besides our own five grown children, we hosted five other individuals and a dog. It meant next to near constant shopping for food, cooking food, putting food away, and then starting over. Also, note to self: one can never have too many towels.
When it came to sleeping arrangements, everyone made do. Our sons' bedrooms are very little changed from their teen years. Our guests enjoyed graffitied walls, chrome hubcap collages, and polaroid picture displays.
It got me thinking about being an adult guest in a child's room. What follows are some interesting kid rooms that I rate as an adult occupant.Read More
I have reclaimed the basement. It is mine. All mine.
Do I sound greedy? Territorial?
Look, it’s been four years since I started a business in our basement. My inventory, shipping supplies, and photography equipment competed for space with a drum kit, a weight bench, video game consoles, air soft guns, guitars, amps, a fooz-ball table, etc. I gazed upon walls covered with graffiti murals and family photos.Read More
Today's post is a love letter to Linda McFadden, the elegant pirate in the photo above. She is the owner of Past Basket, an everything-you-could-possibly-want shop here in Milwaukee. Linda doesn't know this, but she formed my style. Those of you who have complimented my taste, who have purchased things from my shop, who like the way I set a table, let me just get this off my chest: all my best ideas are stolen from Linda.
Linda and her husband Dave opened Past Basket in Kohler, Wisconsin, in 1991, and I would ditch my four squirrelly boys to drive up and drool. Then, in 2001, the McFaddens opened their flagship store about two miles from my house. For goodness sake, you can imagine what that meant. I could jog over in a pinch.Read More
Poor England. For eons, the island has suffered the world's scorn for its dubious culinary reputation. And yet, the very same culture that serves up mushy peas, spotted dick, and bangers and mash, has the market cornered on stunning yet simple kitchens. This kitchen, with its pale pink walls, emerald green tiles, and teal cabinetry, is the jaw-dropping new showplace of DeVOL Kitchens in the design district of London. Let's take a gander, shall we?Read More
I have a tiny powder room off the kitchen that I redid last summer in time for the wedding party we hosted. It is such a perfect little jewel box, I thought I'd share some photos.
The wallpaper is from the Brooklyn company, Flat Vernacular. Can you see the peacock pattern? They're arranged in mirror images so that they form a kind of chain link.Read More
My friend Patrick has created the most cozy and welcoming guest room (womb) that no one in their right mind would ever want to leave. I met Patrick because our husbands work together. He and Ed live about a mile away from us, so after you've toured this room, you'll understand my problem -- how to finagle a situation where I would be forced to stay in this incredible space. Snowstorm? Tequila shots? Dead car battery? Poltergeist? Help me out here.Read More
This photo is my sister's family room. I hope by now you can recognize my touch. She and I worked hard to accessorize that large expanse of shelving. Bookcases are difficult to make cohesive. I'll let you in on a couple of tricks.Read More
The election season has been a pox upon us all. With one more week to go and no sign of relief, how do we inoculate ourselves from this madness? Humor, my friend. Humor.
In that spirit, let's address the question of who among our candidates and their spouses is truly qualified to carry out the heavy responsibility of picking out presidential china.
Before you call me frivolous and click away, give me a moment to make my case.Read More
I grew up in Waukegan, Illinois, and on the prettiest street a block from my grade school, there is a quaint brick driveway leading up to the traditional colonial owned by Jane and John Freeland. I've known them nearly all my life, but hadn't seen them since my father's retirement party. Recently, they agreed to let me photograph their beautiful, art-filled home.
The house was built in 1929, but don’t be fooled by the demure exterior. Inside, a bold color scheme of black, white, and green provides a graphic backdrop for exotic curiosities and modern furniture collected over half a century by two people who just can’t stay put.Read More
I live in a saltbox colonial. When you come to my door, you will look for the doorbell. It isn't there. The man who built our house loved early American architecture. He incorporated many period-correct elements, like multiple fireplaces, wide-plank floors, and mullioned windows. But no overhead lights and no doorbells. I've always wanted to ask him why he stooped to include flushing toilets.Read More
This week's post is about my friend Peg. As way of introduction, let's play "Five Truths and a Lie". In this game, you have to guess which statement about Peg is a lie. Ready? Here we go.
- In 1975, Peg boarded a Greyhound bus by herself to spend the weekend at her brother's fraternity house at the University of Wisconsin. She was five.
Many of you know that I shoot the photos for Finder Not Keeper in my home. As a result, the walls are painted a rainbow of colors. I also use wall decals. They help me achieve a different look out of the same color of paint. (Yes, yes, I know my husband deserves an award. My mother points it out regularly.)Read More