Tips for Disney vacation with kids from 5-10.

On our 3rd day there, my husband dryly concludes: There are two different kinds of people in the world: Disney people and non-Disney people. We are not Disney people. I have a girlfriend (actually several, all their names start w M, hmmm) that loves loves loves Disney, she described her latest visit as “absolutely magical, we were so blessed.” My last visit, 17 years ago was magical indeed, but this one, not so much. We barely saw any characters, most staff seemed less than thrilled to be there or was on auto-pilot (i don’t blame them) and the sight of the parks in the evening with trash everywhere, literally used diapers on the street, pulled off gum from the ride seat before my husband sat down, yuck. Plus I’m quite convinced that Walt Disney would be deeply saddened to see how incredibly commercial it has become.

Planning: I used the Magical Castle Vacations, they were pretty good. After I booked with them, they sent us Magic Bands, luggage tags, itinerary and a folder with information for all the parks and rides within. I wish I had the ride descriptions before booking any FastPass rides and book you must otherwise you are spending your entire time waiting in lines. I really wanted to go on Avatar Flight of Passage ride and our agent wasn’t sure 90 days out if she could get it which is crazy. Luckily she managed it. The agent doesn’t cost you anything if you are staying on Disney property which we did.

mother with daughters and chanel ears

My ears are Chanel and girls both picked Star Wars ones

Hotels: I had heard good things about Yacht Club but being from New England, I wanted some place that had a different vibe. I really liked the photos of Animal Kingdom Lodge but it is kind of out of the way and when we had dinner there, I was glad we didn’t stay. It looks much better on photos than it does in real life. We ended up in Polynesian and you should too if you are into fireworks. More on that below. Hotel was nice, pool had a cool slide but smallish pool, there was another one which was even more shallow. We had a lagoon view room in Hawaii long house which overlooked the beach and we could see Cinderella’s Castle in the distance. Club level lounge was nice, kids could get whatever nibbles they needed, they loved the different tropical juices and while the breakfast choices were all cold, in the afternoon they had really sophisticated options such as pork belly, lamb with pea puree etc and really decent champagne!

disney resorts

View from our room at Polynesian resort. Cinderella’s castle is in the mist.

Food overall: so-so. I wasn’t blown away by anything but it was good enough. The famous Tonga toast (2 slices of bread stuffed w bananas and fried, then dusted w sugar and cinnamon) was pretty dry but we all loved the Dole Whip (pineapple juice through soft serve) was excellent. Most pool side drinks were SO sweet and SO strong, could manage a few sips before I gave up. Didn’t try the luau or Ohana as they were booked.

MAGIC KINGDOM

family of four in magic kingdom

Mandatory shot in front of the castle.

Our agent was adamant that it cannot be experienced in one day. Yes, it can. Actually, unless your kids are die hard princess fans which mine were not, get a park hopper pass and do half the day there. We went at rope drop (quick boat ride over from Polynesian, so nice) to Pirates of the Caribbean ride (loved it, the details were amazing, we werent sure if some pirates were dolls or actual people), then FP to Splash Mountain (you will get soaked), then on to Seven Dwarves ride which was closed due to technical difficulties. We booked the girls for pirates&mermaids experience which we had to wait for 40 min despite having a time slot. People there were so good though and really into it, so that made it worth it.

ghost pirate makeup

Pirate experience at Magic Kingdom

Space Mountain next which I didnt love as its a roller coaster in the dark and bit jerky to be honest.

Back to hotel for lunch and swim, and then to Haunted Mansion which was closed. Tried later, got in, funny ride except it stopped 3x because of the technical difficulties. One of the attendants said something about people getting out of their rides to touch stuff and I was like take them out and shoot them. I mean how stupid are you??? Ugh. Saw the fireworks afterwards and then waited almost 1.5 hrs for monorail, boat would have been quicker. In bed by midnight. Barely saw any characters, they all seem to be partitioned off so get in the ANOTHER line. Should have returned earlier and watched it from the resort’s beach with some bubbly.

Rides worth it: Pirates of the Caribbean (go early), Splash (FP), Haunted Mansion (FP) and Space (FP)

Rides not worth it: Jungle Cruise (def 2 drink minimum comedy routine w plastic animals, excellent w little ones though), Astro Orbiter

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Bus from Polynesian, fairly painless, park was packed. We did FP Kilimanjaro Safari which was pretty awesome. We saw so many animals and I really liked our guide, go early though as our friends who rode it later saw almost no animals.

safari at animal kingdom

Rhino viewing during Kilimanjaro safari

Followed that with FP Expedition Everest which is a massive rollercoaster, our 9 year old enjoyed it so much. Had lunch at Yak&Yeti which is basically Indian-African food whatever that is – ribs, raw tuna, burgers, Korean street tacos. Sadly, while the idea is great, they over season everything! Tried the affection section afterwards, the only thing my 7 year old wanted to do but it was closed till summer. It was 82 degrees, can’t you get some animals in there?! Made no sense. Last but not least we had FP to Avatar: Flight of Passage, the newest ride in Disney. I was super excited but hubs while we were waiting in line was like you know it will be a total disappointment right?

But we were totally totally totally blown away. It’s really hard to describe it, you fly through the ecosystem they show in the movie, on a banshee. It’s completely exhilarating and we were all so bummed when it was over. It was all of our favorite ride and it’s just WOW. We were done by 2 pm.

Rides worth it: Avatar. Kalamanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest. It’s tough to be a bug

Rides not worth it: everything else had a mad line so we skipped it

Back to hotel to rest and swim, off to Sanaa, a restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We just Uber’d there and to some parks. Go early so you can see the animals roaming, I liked the bread service but its huge, we had 4 adults and 2 kids and had leftovers. Rice w chicken was pretty dry, meats platter was good and fish (mahi-mahi) on rice was good but little bland.

EPCOT

Epcot has 2 parts: Future East and West and World Showcase. We went to Soarin’ at rope drop, definitely get a FP for that. It was around 45 min wait first thing in the morning. It takes you gliding over the world, pretty fun. Spaceship Earth is def not worth the FP, lines went pretty fast on both sides, very slow ride, boring for kids but we enjoyed it, covers history of communication. Living with the Land was so-so, plastic animals etc but then we drove through an actual greenhouse, I enjoyed seeing different plants (rice, cocoa, dragonfruit etc) and some fish.

mother with daughters in epcot

Us with Beauty&Beast topiaries

We took a boat over to  Morocco, went to Via Napoli and had lunch. There are 3 distinct areas for eating, back by the toilets, middle with large tables and side veranda which is where we sat. We liked the food and service, walked around a bit and then went back to hotel to return in the evening. When I went ages ago, there was so much to do and see, now it seemed as if Epcot was one large bar – alcohol was everywhere and people were drinking pretty seriously. We loved some of the shops, got pastries from France and caramel popcorn from Germany and had a ride from Hell in Norway also knows as Frozen ride which we had a FP for. We sat in front of a lovely family who screamed Let It Go the entire damn time. Ride itself was pretty miserable, story made no sense and it was so jerky. I liked the Mexico’s ride better (no wait also) but thought the water and juice bottles floating around were bit depressing. Had dinner at Le Hacienda as its supposed to have great views of the fireworks but made a family decision to leave earlier so we could get back in time for club level dessert buffet. Saw some fireworks when leaving and caught the tail end of Magic Kingdom’s from our lounge while sipping champagne.

Rides worth it: Soarin’, Spaceship Earth

Rides not worth it: Frozen

So to have a restful vacation, don’t go to Disney. If you must, alternate days in parks and hotel. Plan all your FastPasses for the am, so you are not stressing all day. Stay in a resort w easy access to transportation. Plan your meals. Either stay in the club level or use Whole Foods via Amazon Prime to order some snacks and fruits. Give kids a spending limit so they don’t annoy to death at every store. And Uber early in the day, closer to closing time they really wont come as its too crowded but earlier it makes life so much easier. Have a magical time! (insert evil laughter). But do go for Avatar!

House of the week – Weston

This week’s house is a charming country house in Weston. I love the original wood doors and beams, these are increasingly hard to find and expensive. I hope you can see through the decor how special this home is as it will need some redoing. My number one pet peeve with home owners and stagers also, is when they try to make a house something it was never suppose to be! You can’t turn a ranch into a colonial and you shouldn’t stage a classic colonial in very contemporary style. There is such a disconnect. Enhance and work with the features you got (applies to humans also, lol). Ok, let’s have a look.

Entry – the doors, the floor – love it all. Perfection.

rusting country estate in Weston, CT

Architect Michael Greenberg

The front of the house, I like the garage but the exterior overall seems off. I’d paint the window frames white so they blend in better. Love that front porch.

I don’t love their furnishings at all. Wall color is all wrong, I would wallpaper this room something cozier, and what is with that arched doorway? Out! Console is asian influenced, lamp Moroccan, it’s all over the place.

This is the direction i would go – Ralph Lauren country.

Image result for ralph lauren living room

Or a little bit more transitional look.

Here’s the eat in kitchen. The house has such lovely wood doors and beams, you really shouldn’t add to it in furniture. I don’t like that lamp and I think round table (not as clunky) would look better in that space.

I’d also swap out lights over the island, they are too small and thus not in proportion. Love that beam and the size of this island! It’s a nice open floor plan. I’d lose those leather chairs and use club chairs upholstered in fabric. I’d also hang that TV on the wall. Think how cozy the Christmas morning breakfast would be with the fire going!

Love this space and the light and the beams. I don’t like the overhead lights! Good in kitchens, closets and gym, not in living rooms. Noone looks under these and they take away from those gorgeous beams. Wall sconces would be my recommendation, dimmable and on single switch. This appears to be a 4-season room, so I would decorate it as such. Carpets, different wall color, comfortable seating with few side tables scattered about. What an amazing spot for morning coffee and newspapers or evening cocktails!

Mudroom.

Master with a fireplace.

Closet is actually a decent size but they are not using it too well. It really pays to get a closet company come measure and plan it out for you. I know it’s not inexpensive but so it worth it. I would do pull out drawers (deep ones) where they have shelving and have built in shoe storage and shelving around the window. I’d put an island with a bench in the middle if space allows.

Master bath – I like the beam and chandelier, I would however paint the vanities white.

One of the other bathrooms.

Great laundry room – a really well thought out with plenty of storage. Why is that cherry wood everywhere? Besides, I would just do laminate or some inexpensive quartz there. Wood would not do well with water.

Outdoor space.

5 beds, 4.5 baths, playroom, gym. 3 car garage, kitchen has top of the line appliances. It’s also right next to Devil Den’s hiking trails – it’s the largest preserve in CT. More details here.

Monday Musings

Hi everyone, here’s a quick recap of what’s on my mind and what I am loving currently. I am in the best mood as I found a great source for composted manure! Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would say. LOL. I remember my mother who is a great gardener once requesting manure for her birthday and our obliging friend who owned a farm brought it over in his truck, complete with a rose bouquet shoved right in on top. And now here I am! I love to garden but our soil here in Wilton is very compacted clay soil that desperately needs amending. Good manure is expensive and I need tons, so super psyched. Lucky for you it is not all about manure this Monday! 🙂

 

1. We finally took girls to Disney! They are 7 and 9 so we figured it was high time. Both of our families live so far away, so we would go visit them when we had time off but girls really wanted to do this so here we are! I’ll do a post of do’s and don’t in Disney soon.

2.Did you know that Jennifer Lopez is a HUGE fan of Joanna Gaines? I mean who doesn’t love Chip and Joanna? It is hard though to imagine Alex Rodriguez getting on the phone to hire the Gaines’s to redo their Malibu beach house they bought for $6.6M but that’s what he did, it was her 2-year anniversary present. Love it! Wish I had seen Chip’s face when A Rod called.

Joanna Gaines will renovate J Lo and A Rod's Malibu house

J Lo and Joanna Gaines on the beach

J Lo is a massive glamazon, so I was a bit surprised that she picked Joanna Gaines.

J Lo's kitchen with a chandelier in Hidden Hills

J Lo Hidden Hills home

LOCATION: New York City, N.Y.PRICE: $17.5 million SIZE: 4,003 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

J Lo NY apartment

J Lo Long Island house

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony Long Island home

No shiplap in sight! I did read an interview with her where she said she has affirmative and inspirational sayings framed all over her house, she likes a cozy and warm space and she is probably in a different place in her life and all of our tastes change as we grow. I also believe Joanna Gaines, like any good designer, can go in a different direction and design something beautiful, glam and cozy for the blended family. Can’t wait to see!

3. Y’all know that I am a faux Southerner right? Well, my husband is from Florida but that apparently is not proper South. When shopping for a house I told my realtor that my dream house was Tara from Gone with a Wind. She quickly informed me that a) wrong place and b) wrong budget. Harsh, I tell you, harsh. I love these custom monogram linens from Southern Linens on Etsy.

monogrammed bedding in hot pink

Monogram linens from SoutherLinens

image 0

I would however pass on monogrammed burp clothes. I mean the baby will literally spit on this! Ditto white cocktail napkins with monogram – oh so pretty but a drop of red wine and some grease from olives and you are done for. Even if these remain clean, who is going to be starching and ironing these babies? Scarlett had help!

That’s it for Monday, please let me know in the comments if you liked anything or have any questions. And always, subscribe and share! Have a good week everyone!

Love

-h

Let’s talk about eyelash extensions!

I have decent eyelashes but they are straight and kind of light at the ends so they look shorter. I tried tinting and curling which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t until I had to do an event and got a strip of lashes applied that I thought wow, I love this. I had seen some really bad extensions so I was a bit nervous. I didn’t want to look like Kardashians, not throwing shade here, it just doesn’t work for a suburban mom who normally wears little to no makeup. Heavy duty lashes look little silly, imho, unless you do your whole face up which wasn’t something I wanted to do on daily basis.
Súper Naturales The eye lash extensions are PREMIUM SILK or MINK. This technique is the classic look (one by one) Alexia's Nails have an SPECIAL $100 dlls For The eye lash extensions is MINK or PREMIUM SILK. This technique is the classic look (one by one) These are NOT the clusters...And NOT $70 PLASTIC (Is not the Chinitos regular eyelashes) Citas al 310.713.5144 #eyelashes #eyelasextension #onebyone #individualeyelashes #alexianails #alexiasnails #eyelashesworld #eyelashes #eyelasextension

The tape under the eyes is my least favorite part, they need to get it really close to lower eyelash line and it’s pretty uncomfortable if you have sensitive eyes. Once that’s done you pretty much just lay there for an hour.

I looked up several salons and read the reviews before I made an appointment. I requested their most natural look to which they said this isn’t really asked for a lot, lol. Every salon has different names, kind of wish it was universal. I asked for natural in the other place and it was not, not to me anyhow. The worst look and unfortunately most common in Fairfield country is a super full set. It looks so bad you guys, so fake, the extensions are supposed to extend your lashes, they are not supposed to all the same exact length. These below are really pretty. I recommend taking a photo with you and making sure that you get single lashes!!!! Clusters look more unnatural though they are cheaper and take less time.
different kinds of lash extensions
I had to lay down while my eyes were cleaned of any makeup, then she applied some moisturizing pads over my lower lashes, I hate that part. They need to get all lower lashes covered so no glue sticks there but it’s an uncomfortable sensation. They tape the corners up as close as they can no nothing shifts. I usually have to ask for some corrections as it bothers my eyes. Then you basically lay there for about an hour while the lashes are applied. Individual lashes will look more natural than clusters. Apparently some people fall asleep, I heard this one woman snore pretty loudly for like 30 min. After the application lashes are brushed through, pads removed, you are given your own brush to take home and instructions to not shower for 24 hrs, no oil based makeup or makeup remover and no mascara. I’ve seen some bloggers say they apply mascara still but not sure what the point is. I loved the look, I just looked done, do you know what I mean. Brush your hair in the morning, get dressed and go.
eyelash extensions

Lashes by Valentina

It’s not cheap, the starting set is around $120+ and the maintenance is every 2-3 weeks, takes about an hour and costs anywhere from $49-79, depending on your area. Mink lashes are more expensive but they are lighter than other options.
Not many noticed that I had longer thicker lashes which I liked but I got plenty of compliments on looking pretty. It’s odd to get them wet, feels heavy (you need to wait till they are dry, then brush through) and in the summer, with more humidity, the lashes fall out faster. Also, when I took mine off after several months, I had lost half of my natural lashes. I know they grow back but it’s tough to go from big lashes to almost nothing. I recently just had the extensions for December/January but it still damaged my own lashes. But if you have hooded eyes like I do, it is really amazing how great your eyes look.
Related image
PS! If you don’t have sensitive eyes, I would recommend Latisse which is prescription only lash growth serum, your dermatologist can help you with that. It absolutely works, I saw a derm who had to cut hers a bit shorter but it made my eyes so red that my hubs was like Please stop whatever it is you are doing. Bummer really. I read some online reviews that it can change the color of your iris, mine are hazel and didn’t change but something to keep in mind. I have tried GreatestLash and RevitaLash but cant say I am noticing anything different.
Let me know what you think in your comments!
xo
-h

House of the week: classic colonial in New Canaan

If you have, well, $2M in the pocket and need a house, I really recommend New Canaan! It has a quaint but happening downtown, lots of restaurants and parks, good schools, and Metro North will take you to Manhattan within an hour and half. Our house of the week has 6 beds, 8 baths on whopping 4.3 acres! When I was telling hubs about all the gardening I could do on 4 acres, he suggested I get horses also so I can ride next my gardening crew and tell them what to do. LOL – he kills me.

large country estate in fairfield county house of the week

Classical colonial in New Canaan

I really wish the pool was rectangular one as those are so much easier: you can install a cover, keep kids, leaves, rodents out and if you remember to close it at night, it will retain more heat and thus cost you less. However, the freeform pool looks more natural and appealing in my opinion.

Kitchen looks nice but a little too white and clinical. Maybe some custom shades and runner would warm it up a bit, really, a bowl with lemons would make it look more inviting.

White kitchen with marble backsplash and counters

Living and dining spaces are fairly standard, actually the living room layout reminds me of our last week’s house of the week but they had hired a designer to redo the rooms and it shows.

White family room with a wide fireplace

family room open floor plan

You can see the post here.

I actually really like this sunroom, the tile would have to come up but its spacious and has great light.

Large sunroom with a pool table

Master bedroom is massive and has a fireplace in it which I love, the master bath is massive and has a gorgeous vanity area also.

Marble master bath with two sinks

Master bathroom

Another rec space with a fireplace and what looks like a bar. I would panel this space and turn it into a sophisticated man cave English library style. Bar area needs some shelving and lighting also.

basement rec room with brick fireplace and bar

Basement bar

But on to rec areas outside! Golf – these residential putting greens are expensive to put in, depending on the size and how level the area is. Prices start from $11,000.

residential putting green in the backyard in New Canaan

Putting Green

Tennis courts – when you move to Fairfield County tennis is pretty much mandatory. All kidding aside, we love it (and are pretty bad at it) but it’s a fun way to work out and see your friends. Got to maintain the tennis courts though, so that’s another expense.

And what do you when you don’t feel like playing tennis or putting? You play chess! Wonder how heavy these pieces are?

chess in backyard of colonial in New Canaan

Private chess court

The property also has several patios/outdoor entertaining areas not photographed. So what do you think? Would you be tempted or this is not for you? More details here.

Meeting Martha and Monday Musings

Hi everyone, hope you had a great weekend.

1. The highlight of my last week was meeting Martha Stewart in Wilton Library. She has a new book out called The Martha Manual: How to do (almost) Everything and Wilton was her only book signing shop in Connecticut which I thought odd because we are a pretty small town and she lived in Westport before, about 15 min from here. But I am not complaining, I was rather excited to meet her. Sadly, she wasn’t AS excited to meet me. We were told no photos and no personalization and directed to the table. Martha quickly signed it, looking rather bored, but smiled at me when I told her I have so many of her books, especially the early ones.

Picture 1 of 5

She remembered this dress and said it was her 3rd book. Martha has published close to 90 books! On stage she was warm and funny, complained about how her architect had gotten the renovations all wrong while she was in prison. LOL. I do find it pretty outrageous that her sentence was longer that several recent rape cases I’ve read about. I asked her about how she got to this level of expertise at such an early age (I love Martha Stewart’s early YouTube videos, she was younger than me and sort of seemed to have it all together). Martha said her parents were good teachers, dad more strict than mom, and she reads a lot and when she meets an expert of any kind, she observes and asks questions. She didn’t find my joke about how sometimes I

Martha Stewart looked fabulous though, leather pants, camouflage jacket, perfect makeup and hair. I don’t know what her skincare regimen is and I probably can’t afford it but her skin looked so good and she is 76! Her publicist wore Martha’s hand me down Jean Paul Gaultier jacket with LOTS of gold jewelry. I am sure it was a nice homage to Martha but looked a little Working Girl to me.

martha stewart in leather pants and camo jacket

Martha Stewart at book signing in Wilton library

I’ll do the book review when I am through this manual, it’s hefty! The Martha Manual has great reviews on Amazon though.

2. The lowlight was undoubtedly a stomach flu that got us all. Moms shouldn’t get sick ever because you still need to clean it all, disperse medicine, cuddle with kiddos and walk the dog while barely being able to stand. Not fun!!! What saved our sheets though and is absolutely miraculous was this product:

 

A friend recommended Oxi Clean to me and it’s a game changer for all those stubborn stains that won’t come out. You have to buy powder version (available at most grocery stores) and soak at least 6 hours before running through the washer again. I’ve gotten blood stains out and some tomato sauce vomit. If that’s not the best endorsement, I don’t know what is. 🙂

We ended a week on a better note by seeing a local play “The Little Mermaid” and hubs and I had dinner. It was so nice to eat again!

3. Do you shop at Talbots? I have always thought of them as dowdy and a place where my mom would shop but I am really liking their stuff.

I love this entire outfit:

This tee comes in 5 colors and is $24.50

How cute are these driving moccasins? I especially like red, if you wear a lot of neutrals, this fun pair will add some life to your outfit.

Love

-h

Birthday dinner party for 10

Happy Friday everyone! We’ve have had a pretty miserable week over here with stomach bug bringing us all down. I have doused the house with Lysol and done copious amounts of laundry while sick myself. It isn’t easy being mom! Am laying in bed w kiddos and found these photos of the beautiful birthday dinner party we hosted awhile back. Hope you enjoy!

My favorite part of any party planning is decor and flowers. I love coming up with a color scheme, envisioning the ambiance I want to create and then shopping for beautiful flowers. Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are my go to places for buying flowers. This centerpiece was created mostly by what was blooming in the garden at that time. It smelled heavenly thanks to the yellow David Austin roses.

fall flower arrangement with roses and mums

Yellow and red mums and yellow roses from my garden

I made smaller arrangements in silver mint julep cups using the roses and alstroemeria. Say alstroemeria 5x fast! Alstroemeria or lily of the Incas is one of my favorite flowers, it’s inexpensive, comes in a variety of colors and lasts forever.

small flower arrangement with red roses and red alstroemeria

Rose and alstroemeria arrangement for the party

I also needed place cards since there were 10 of us and I wanted to separate the couples. Do you do that at your dinner parties? It is SO hard to figure out who sit next to who, I mean yes introvert next to an extrovert and all that but still, so hard to place people. And then one of my extroverts couldn’t make it throwing my whole seating chart off! Since the dinner party took place in the fall, I made place card holders out of acorns, I took a small serrated knife and cut slits into the nut. The darn acorns were not cooperating, the cup (or cupule) came off the top so I had to use my trusty hot glue gun to glue it back . I think my husband thought I was losing it. 🙂

dyi place card holder

Acorn place card for autumn dinner party

Our dining room table accommodates 8, so we pushed together 2 plastic craft tables in the kitchen, covered them with inexpensive white polyester tablecloths ( find them in all colors here) and used my beautiful lucite dinner chairs. I saw them first at the blog The Enchanted Home and was obsessed. You can see Tina’s post here.

fall dinner party with gold silverware and placesettings

Birthday dinner party table setting with lucite chairs

I was surprised my hubby liked them as much as I did and we’ve already used these several times.

I used gold chargers from Michaels, purple dinner plates with gold rim, flatware was from Horchow’s sale (to my horror we only had 8 settings, so I just mixed some plain ones in, oh well) and soup bowls were Limoges china.

Limoges china place setting for fall dinner party

Place setting using gold china

In the end, when all the candles were lit, I loved the outcome. The dinner party was special and festive and I loved the overall ambiance. Even the acorns were put to good use when one guest, a former Girl Scout, demonstrated how to blow into an acorn to call for help in an emergency. It made a really loud sound!

Love

-h

 

Shop the look:

The Jay Companies 1421917AP-F 13" Round Gold Polypropylene Charger Plate

Gold chargers

Purple glass plates

It’s all in the details – lucite

I am so over this snow!!!! I can hear the birds and feel the sun but all this snow everywhere is depressing! I wanted to share with you some lucite finds as I am trying sort out some updates in the house.

I love lucite. I think my obsession began in our living room where I used lucite curtain rods, my husband was a little hesitant at first but loved the result. These were custom order but you can get a similar look from here. 

traditional living room with a sitting nook

 

I like how the rods blend in and don’t fight with the dentil molding.

Wish I had done them in the family room also but will instead remove the drapes completely and replace them with linen shades. Back to the task at hand: as the TV’s get bigger it gets harder and harder to place them in the living rooms. We can’t really put it over our fireplace, we’d all get a massive neck-ache! So the TV was mounted to the left of the fireplace and we’ll replace the current cabinet with a taller built in.

marble fireplace in open floorplan

Our family room

I have figured out which doors I would like to use. I think these are winners.

 

cabinet doors with molding

Kelly Carlisle design

 

I like how the rods blend in and don’t fight with the dentil molding. I’d like to carry the lucite over to other rooms in the form of cabinet hardware. Etsy has a variety of options.

lucite hardware pulls

LuxHoldUps

I like these square pulls also, I think they are more modern than round ones.

lucite cabinet pulls

Schaub and Company pulls

For an office chair or dining chairs (if the budget allows) these Klismos chairs are beautiful and come in different colors.

acrylic lucite klismos chair

Tristan Acrylic Klismos Chair design by Interlude Home $2040

or

lucite chair

More affordable version from Wisteria for $629.97

What do you think? Is lucite for you?

If you liked this post, please comment to let me know what you thought and subscribe! Thank you!

House of the week.

Welcome to my new series: house of the week – where I’ll feature my favorite houses in Fairfield County. I am obsessed with real estate and I am always browsing on Zillow. It’s so interesting to see what people have done with their homes and gardens. My personal taste veers toward more traditional homes but I appreciate a well done and designed contemporary or rambler also.

Our first house of the series is the best representation of a traditional home with a white picket fence, you can almost see a golden retriever and a couple of adorable children running around before taking a break to enjoy some strawberries and milk. 🙂 I drive past it daily and it’s a sight for sore eyes. It’s not inexpensive at $1,699,000 but they bought it for 1,720,000 and did a thorough renovation and expansion. Centrally located in Wilton, CT but enough privacy on 2 acres.

classic beautifully renovated colonial on landscaped acres country estate

20 Middlebrook Rd Wilton CT

There’s a white picket fence all around which you can’t see from photos. Foyer isn’t massive but is really well laid out. You can walk straight down to family room or go to the right into dining room which opens into the kitchen. I like how they used 2 fixtures over the table, I was tempted to do the same but 2 chandeliers in our DR would have been too much. More is more, am I right? Interiors were designed by Jody Deluca of Jody Deluca Designs.

seagrass wallpaper cowhide rug

Dining room with the dressiest sliding door I have seen. Great way to save space as the door is in the corner and traditional door would impede the flow.

Kitchen is longer than its wide, has 2 islands and breakfast table at the end. Mudroom is off the kitchen.

kitchen with 2 islands

The first floor has a great layout for entertaining as all rooms are almost in a circular pattern: foyer – dining room – kitchen-family room to living room to foyer.

family room open floor plan

Family room photo from kitchen, living room is on the other end.

Office on the first floor is more closed off. We have a similar flow and it really is great for entertaining.

office with built ins and lucite chair

Office with wallpapered (seagrass probably) built ins.

Love the outside fireplace, I would swap the seating and eating areas though. Could you just imagine our beautiful fall evenings in front of this fireplace?

outdoor stone fireplace

Outdoor entertaining area

There’s a wine cellar, gym, several play/rec rooms and freeform pool with a spa. More details here.

 

10 things to know when buying a house in the suburbs.

  1. The very first thing to consider when buying a house anywhere is location – we all know that right? But picking the right location doesn’t just involve finding a great street with lots of friendly families that is far enough from main roads so you don’t hear the noise but close enough that you can quickly get to work, stores, etc. I’d recommend driving the neighborhoods at different times of day to get a feel for it, maybe even chat to some locals whether town is planning a dog park near you,  will there be construction, things like that.

    newly renovated colonial in South Wilton with outdoor fireplace and chef's kitchen

    House for sale in Wilton, CT

  2. Town’s financial state – that cute little town you were eyeing might be struggling fiscally and that might mean bigger taxes down the road.
  3. Town amenities – if you have little kids, you’ll want to look into local playgrounds and preschools. If you have a dog, you’d want to know where the dog parks are. Will you want access to the beach or town pool, perhaps you’d like to get to the nearby cities often, then you’d need quick access to trains or highways.

    children playing by the beach in Wilton, CT playground

    Merwin Meadows playground in Wilton, CT. Photo from Good Morning Wilton

  4. House itself – make sure to distinguish between what you want versus what you need. No house will be perfect and you will have to make some adjustments to get it how you want it. Try to calculate the cost of any upgrades you feel like you need to do and do NOT go by HGTV prices. No where in this country can you remodel a kitchen for $10,000. Permits, plumbing, HVAC systems, windows etc will cost you a lot. On the other hand, paint and light fixtures are relatively inexpensive yet seem to be one of the most often complained about items! Drives me nuts!

    kitchen remodel marble counters and subway backsplash built in appliances

    Drury Design kitchen renovation

  5. Yard – buying a house in a suburbs usually means getting some decent acreage with it. Most of us envision green lush lawn where kids can play but good lawn needs irrigation, weekly mowing, fertilizing, aerating etc. Flowerbeds need water and annual mulching. Your well size is a factor in irrigation. Also, if you have a trees in your yard, consider their age and condition. For example, ash trees have been dying out all over East Coast, these are large trees so therefore their removal and stump grinding could be costly.

    rockwall connecticut garden and landscape design by Janice Parker

    Janice Parker Landscape Architects

  6. Buy in the best school district even when you don’t have kids or are not planning to have any. When buying a house anywhere whether suburbs or urban areas, focusing on good schools will guarantee the house value won’t tank.
  7. Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood ONLY if you, your husband or family/friends are handy. Renovations, especially in nice neighborhoods, are costly and when you start taking down walls etc there will often be other issues that arise, problems you didn’t budget for, not to mention the stress that renovation inevitably brings. Contractors will charge more per zip code, they will assume you have more money. Don’t be surprised if your maintenance cost goes up also. All my friends who have recently renovated their houses tell me they went over their original budget by 30-50%.
  8. Don’t get pressured into buying and think what kind of life you envision having. For example, everyone told us that in Northeast where the summers last 3 months or so pools are a waste of money. The maintenance, heating, etc. BUT if you have kids, what are you going to do with them when its really hot outside? I so wish we had bought a house with a pool, putting one in doesn’t add any value to the house and because of how rocky it is here, installing one will cost upwards of $100,000.

    rectangular pool surrounded by boxwood parterre hedges

    Pool by Glen Gate Company in Wilton, CT

  9. If you can’t pay 20% down when buying a house, rent or consider less expensive home. Shop around and get pre-approved. Make sure you can not only pay for the mortgage but also for repairs and maintenance.
  10. Find a good realtor – someone who knows the town and the neighborhood, who can frankly tell you what upgrades would cost and what resale value they would add. A good realtor will have a network of connections that you’ll benefit from. Most importantly, a good realtor will have great attention to detail and is willing to hustle. Ours knew the history of the house we were interested in (and advised us against another property which had had an oil tank issues previously), she showed up for every inspection, including the 7 am septic tank one which I missed, and walked through before 7 am on the day of closing discovering a leaking ice maker which had broken down right then!

    marion filley team wilton realtors berkshire hathaway

    Marion Filley Team, Berkshire Hathaway