Square frames upstairs 1

Surround Yourself With What You Love.

Today this picture came up for me on Facebook when I looked up my “On This Day”.


I snapped it with my iPhone three years ago today on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. It is one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken. While I did punch up the color a little bit, it really was that clear of a day, and the hues of the rides and other attractions were striking in the sunlight.

When I found out Jim and I would be moving south to Tennessee, the change scared me half to death. Even so, I have to admit that the idea of a new house with a clean slate was a very exciting prospect. I vowed to find a prominent place for my Seaside picture somewhere, and I did. It’s hanging at the top of the stairs and I see it every single morning without fail when I come out of my bedroom, heading for the living room and kitchen.

Square frames upstairs 1

Being able to decorate this house has been amazing for Jim and me. We were able to figure out, as we unpacked, exactly what our most-loved things are and we got rid of the rest (or put it in a closet if we just couldn’t bear to part with it). Lots of our things are in a different room now than they were in the seventeen years we lived in our old house. I’ve gotten pretty good at grouping certain things, ungrouping others, and figuring out where any one particular thing might make the most impact or make us the happiest.

You don’t actually need to move to a new house or have any particular amount of money or buy a bunch of new stuff to do this. It’s a huge secret used by interior designers and those people you hire to stage your home before putting it on the market. Repurposing your favorite belongings using a different perspective can bring so much joy, trust me.

My loft office walls are covered them with things I love: framed Playbills, Chicago memorabilia, pictures of friends and family, a bulletin board displaying treasured cards and letters, and all kinds of other goodies. It’s the only space in the house with cluttered walls, on purpose. When I sit at my desk I feel like I am being hugged; it’s the best work environment I’ve ever had. I have a fairly large collection of cobalt blue glass and rather than keep it all in the dining room and living room like I did in our old house, I have spread it throughout most of the rooms here. It lends a sense of continuity for me and I really like the way the cobalt peeks out from its spot on tables and shelves all over the place.

No matter what goes on outside the walls of the place we inhabit, when we come home it’s nice to see the people and things we treasure the most. If you’re looking for change or comfort, it can be as easy as looking around your house with an objective eye and moving a few things around. Try it!