Planks or Drywall

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We are at the point of deciding what to do with our walls in the new living and dining room. 

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As the original plank boards are going back up, I’m having second thoughts about them! 

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You see how in these pictures the plank boards are clearly separated with spaces? 

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Clean and neat.  Straight and spiffy. 

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Ours aren’t like that.  Our boards are so old and uneven, there is no way to get a clear line of distinction between each one.   Ours would look more like this:

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And this:

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And this:


Flawed.  Casual.  In a summer camp/cottage sort of way. 

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Drywall is whispering in my ear, tempting me with it’s promise of a smooth clean surface and illusion of perfection. 

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But our old sweet battered farmhouse is whispering in the other ear, begging for authenticity and freedom to be imperfect.   

Planks or drywall?  What would you choose?

Favorite Things

downy spray

I hardly ever iron.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it because I actually do.  But there are only 24 hours in a day, and I’ve found a faster way.  It’s called Downy Wrinkle Releaser.  You can find it in the laundry cleaning section at Target and Walmart and online.

It surprises me how many people I’ve met who haven’t heard of it, so I make it my duty to enlighten them…. and now, you!  The secret to an iron free life is to unload the dryer immediately, fold the clothes or hang.  Then on the day you pull out your favorite ensemble, simply spray any remaining wrinkles, and smooth out with your hand. 

Or you could do it my way and spray after the clothes are on.  I’ve been known to line the kids up before church on Sunday and spray them down.  Does that qualify me for the bad mom award?  Probably, but hey, they look good and we’re making memories. 

downy spray 4Eva, just sprayed.

The spray comes out in a fine mist and doesn’t saturate the fabric.  It’s excellent for around the house too.  In fact, I didn’t iron the curtains in my latest project:


I just sprayed them once they were up.  It works!  I also use it for bedding… sheets, duvet cover, bed skirts.  It’s great for traveling too!  Just pour into a small spray bottle, and it can tag along in your luggage.  My friend says that I could probably make my own using fabric softener and water.  She might be right, but I haven’t attempted it yet.  Until then, this is definitely one of my favorite things.

A Trip to the Day Spa


I am thrilled to be included in the September issue of Cottages and Bungalows!  Rebecca Razo wrote a flattering article highlighting the master bedroom and a bathroom from our previous home.  Thank you!!


I have to tell you that seeing photos of our old finished spaces gives me a twinge of buyer’s remorse.  But what’s done is done.  Move on.  I had a good long chuckle from this paragraph at the beginning of the article:

“Between its subtle shades of white and cream, clean silhouettes and Rie’s clutter-free approach to interior decorating, it’s no surprise that her home has the calm and soothing atmosphere of a relaxing day spa.  It may come as a surprise, however, to discover that daily life in the Sterling home is about as far away from a trip to the day spa as one can get.”

So funny!  And it couldn’t be more true.  If only they could see us now.  Want a peek at our current little nightmare?  Hold on to your hard hats…


My husband, with the help of our angelic neighbors, took out the old set of stairs (which started at the back of the house) and created a whole new set which now leads up at the front. 

Before the stair work, there was a rotten floor to replace:


The old floor came up only to expose floor joists calling out to be replaced as well:


It’s ironic that my son is blurry in this picture.  Wobbly is probably exactly how he felt after this particular day of hard, manual work.


Here is the shot of the living room.  Want to sit a spell and visit?  I can make tea!  Do you take cream?  Sugar? Sawdust?  


We could sip together huddled in this corner.  There is a little spot of beauty to gaze upon across the room.  Antique doors just installed!  They provide a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. 

Through them, you’ll enter what will be the new music room.  Right now it’s an extension of my husband’s tool shed (i.e. the house).  There is no shed.  Or garage. 


As you leave, watch your step!  Dump runs happen daily.  And all of this just from the front two rooms.  Needless to say, in our downtime, we live upstairs and at the back of the house.  You know… at the day spa.


First Thing in the Morning

My husband and I decided that anything we do on the second floor (which includes all the quirky bedrooms and one scary bath) will have to be super quick and super cheap so we can focus our time and funds on the bigger priorities.  Once the downstairs and exterior of the house are complete, we’ll begin ripping apart the upstairs, uncovering the wood walls, ceilings and floors. 


Once again, the teensiest bedroom in the house has become our “master”… the smallest to date!  But we’ve determined to make it work.  More on that organizational challenge in a later post.


The first crazy week we were here, I painted over the sunshine yellow walls until all was well and neutral again.  But then the following morning I woke up staring up at this:

I’m into the whole texture thing but not of the popcorn variety.  Our ceilings are only 7 ft. high which means our top mattress lies just a few feet below, which means we lie even closer.  Mixed with the charming florescent light fixture and rusted air vent, it all made for the most unpleasant view first thing in the morning. 

Since we couldn’t take the time or the money to rewire a new light, re-vent the heating and air, and scrape off the popcorn, I decided to veil the uglies with a canopy instead.  I found inexpensive sheer cotton curtains from World Market and cheapo curtain rods from Lowes. 

We screwed the rod hooks to the ceiling in four places, and I sewed the ends of the curtains together to drape over the rods.  It turned out like a dreamy tent which brings back memories

I can’t tell you the difference it makes to the whole mood of the room… 

and to the mood of its inhabitants.

Although, Bailey’s mood is rarely altered.

Unlike me, he keeps a sweet disposition… 

no matter what he sleeps under


or wakes up to.

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