Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Springs Eternal


After work Monday morning and a little play date for Barbie, I opted to sacrifice my very good hair day, roll down my windows, open my sunroof, and drive around for a bit.  It was so gorgeous that it seemed necessary.
I wanted to take a photo of my favorite house in the world to send to Ellie.  I fell in love with this house when I was seventeen and it is still my dream house of all dream houses--and I have dreamed about many houses.  To the people inside, I am likely little more than a passing there's that weird guy with the big hair looking at our house again. Is it me or is he fatter than last month?, and yet the house is braided into my soul. 


I once drove by this house with a boyfriend and dreamily talked about how much I would love to live there with him.  He said I hope you never expect me to get that for you.  I took this to mean many more things than one.  I waited a week to dump him so it wouldn't be obvious that I chose my house fantasy over him.  He had some impressive physical qualities but none that could eclipse a lack of imagination. 



Maybe not this ambitious.  It's for sale...

I have a soft spot for squatty 1960s colonials. 
This beauty (who is not Barbie!) is up for adoptionJoan has so graciously shared 
Teddy's photo and story across her blog and
Instagram. He is included in her post along with American dogs
in need of a home. You can admire the cuteness and spread the word by going
here 

You may have seen Heather's recent post that Teddy's shelter will not
permit an international adoption...
I can't imagine living in a seasonless climate. Maybe no climate is actually seasonless.  Where I live, the changing seasons slap you in the face and wake you up.  It can be invigorating and daunting.  I think one of the most important Elliessons I've learned reading HSD is about ambition.  I have often tried to suppress and ignore many of my ambitions because for so long they seemed to do nothing but get me into trouble, dynamite in my hands.  Ellie, like spring, is ferociously ambitious. Proving to us time and time again that mental strength and stamina are forces stronger than doubt or circumstance, if you'll allow them to be.

71 comments:

  1. I love that you're sending Ellie a photo of your dream house. Isn't it amazing how she's gotten under our skin? A world of strangers fixating on one courageous woman battling to keep beauty and defiance in what's left of her life. Or, as she would say, her f-ing life! And by the way, good call on the boyfriend. How to live without imagination?

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    1. Thanks! I know it's insane. I told her a few weeks ago that her telekinetic sensors are probably asking me to shut the fuck up because I am thinking about her so much!

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    2. Me too, Stephen Andrew...thinking about Ellie, that is. As I read Heather's post, Teddy's French shelter would permit an international adoption if the adopter travelled to the shelter first. Obviously an expensive proposition (along with safely transporting Teddy home), but there is always fundraising...if a French home is not found for him soon.

      Your dream house is beautiful (but not as beautiful as Barbie!). What a lovely drive you two had!

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    3. I wonder if there's any way I could be permitted to adopt him without going to France? Seems unlikely. Of all the ways I thought I might need to address my tremendous aversion to flying, I never imagined this! i know so many of us are also obsessing over Teddy.

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    4. Totally. I am not afraid to fly. I also realized that my client of the past 40 years is Warren Buffet's partner in Berkshire Hathaway. Guess who owns NETJETS?
      I may have to ask a favor. Did you contact Netjets?

      Lordy!

      Penelope

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    5. My client (like a father to me) is Charlie Munger!!!

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  2. this is almost making me miss OH! (I grew up in Dayton but live in SC now). I feel like it is too cold here and I will eventually go full-on Golden Girls and move to the bottom of FL.
    It has to do with losing your cold tolerance.. sigh.
    I found you through Ellie's blog. I pray that she has comfort and peace above all else.

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    1. Oh, Katy! I'm always always planning a move to South Carolina. I love it there so much. Ohio is beautiful sometimes but South Carolina might have us beat. And I think I might be ready to transition to a full time pastel wardrobe and you just can't do that up here. That said, my fate is ultimately to be a Golden Girl as I have amassed a large collection of faux bamboo furniture just waiting for a lanai or kitchen table that only seats 75% of my household.

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    2. OK, the 75% comment is seriously funny!

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    3. the pastel wardrobe, ha, that's for the yuppies in town here. If you want to live in the country you'll have to get used to all the camo.
      That said I do see pastel bow ties on a regular basis at presbyterian churches, so it's all in the circles you move in. ;)
      I live on Lake Murray and it's beautiful. One of the local hair salon owners was very popular and then he suddenly left town and we heard he became a preacher. So we are scrambling to find another stylist that knew how to use a pair of clippers like him - not an easy feat.
      The only thing I really missed about OH was Skyline chili, but I buy the packets on amazon and make it at home now.
      You should totally come down and we'll stockpile bamboo together. cheers!

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    4. Oh I never liked Skyline! But could see how it was more of a thing for you in Dayton being closer to Cincinnati. What I miss most when I'm out of Ohio is in fact Canadian: Tim Horton's!
      I'm not familiar with Lake Murray let me see where it is. I'll be down in South Carolina soon!
      I will be the one in pastels pretending like I have southern yuppie birthright to them

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  3. She's amazing. I discovered her blog through you.. and boy, I just can't gripe about a damned thing after witnessing her amazing courage, spirit, piss and vinegar, love for life regardless of her circumstances. That house is to die for.. the boyfriend, not so much. Where do you live now, Stephen? Is it a dream house to you? If not.. then make that your goal... to find it and make it happen. Maybe not on THAT scale.. but...

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    1. Thank you! So I can't just take your house? :) I've always been a lover of old houses but soooo scared to take the plunge as honestly if I used a table saw I would accidentally Marie Antoinette myself (coincidentally wearing the same thing too).

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  4. LOVE THE HOUSE ,LOVE THE BARN ,LOVE THE COWS!!!!!This is PERFECT.............
    ELLIE will LOVE it too I would imagine.Kinda reminds me of her GRANDMOTHERS house.IT's been a roller coaster these last few days.......I needed to go outside last night and just BREATH.Then I banged a few POTS around.It helped for about 5 minutes..........XX

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    1. Thank you! Oh contessa we're all upset but please be kind to the pots and pans! Hit your husband before you damage the equipment! Haha

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  5. I love your house too, and I am sure Ellie will. I sometimes think lack of ambition is just because of an abundance of fear. As we all know, dear Ellie is ferociously fearless.

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    1. Thank you. I think you're exactly right. My house fears range from splinters to no running water because I misappropriate funds and buy $300/knob hardware. Which I haven't done just to be clear but also wouldn't be surprised if I did.

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  6. I love your dream house, and back in the day it would have sparked my interest. Now, I just don't want to worry about too much maintenance. I just downsized considerably, and discovered I can still have the same social gatherings with just as many people, just stage it differently. Happy to hear that the "kill joy" was not for you and you recognized it immediately...maturity does have the potential to hone ones taste. As for Ellie...what a breath of fresh air...what a gift to all of us. I'm fond of saying "don't bother looking for heroes, because there aren't any", however, Ellie has become my hero! What did Barbie think of the house?

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    1. I couldn't agree more! Yes I teeter between wanting a maintenance free house and one that requires a staff with staff. I love your point though, a big fabulous dinner even in the garage is still a big fabulous dinner! It's not about the space but how it's utilized. Congratulations on your downsize, it sounds like you love it!

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  7. send me a male prostitute too stephen.
    i've forgotten quite what to do with him but we could read to each other from the kama sutra.
    and you're so right about the imagination thing.
    he had NO VISION.
    and if you SEE yourself living there in every detail...
    i'm convinced that someday YOU WILL.

    and sweet sassy ellie. there are no more words for her. her next starring role will begin. only she'll be rid of that damn ALS.
    my love darling boy with the big hair.
    XOXO♥ hug barbie for me.

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    1. Oh I love this! If you insist, yes, I will live there.
      So hard to find a good prostitute nowadays. Angie's List doesn't rank them and neither does Yelp. I wouldn't want to risk it and send you a subpar service provider!

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  8. The boyfriend's answer should have been something like, "Nothing would make me happier" ... both of you knowing that it would be unlikely, but that's not the point. Look at me. I showed this old place of ours to my husband in 1992. Told him that it was my dream house, and he played along. When it was for sale in 2002, he agreed to come along and see it. Neither of us expected the level of attachment that I instantly felt for this place, and he agreed that we should buy it because he loves me more than he feared the unknown of a too-big-for-us old house.

    For you, my dear, let me suggest that you allow yourself to see the dream that the brick farmhouse represents. It needs some love, for certain, but that thing has HOME written all over it. (I'm a sucker for a well-proportioned simple brick house.)

    The estate really is a beautiful thing.

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    1. I love the story of your house! I agree with you, totally.
      The brick house is very cute and I like the land. There are some weird quirks in it and it had a very bad remodel some time ago so I am imagining there is a ton of work just to get it down to the studs and ready for good taste.

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  9. Good riddance to that one he sounds boring! I love love your dream house. You're so right about Ellie and her ambition, what an example to us. She puts everything into perspective.
    A dignified house in the country, centre hall plan, some rolling acreage, I call that a Jane Austen Estate. I can definitely see you as King of that Castle, loyal Barbie by your side. XO

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    1. Thanks, Dani! I live for a center hall. When I was in third grade or something we did one of those fill in the blank things for getting to know you and it had I want to be ____ when I grow up, my favorite color is _____ I want to blah blah and it had I want to live in ____ and most of the kids wrote Florida or California and I wrote "a center hall colonial". That's the only school work of mine that ever made the fridge.

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  10. Any man who is afraid to dream big dreams is not a keeper, IMO. But you know, I've had dreams of homes which represented things that actually did show up in the future, so while that may not be THE house you end up buying I'm certain there is something about it that has echoed out of your future to grab you in this moment and pull you towards it. And thank you for introducing me to Ellie's blog, I am certain with her impeccable style she will love the pic of that house as much as you do! I'm also a sucker for Colonials and Colonial Revivals, but one has not popped into my life (yet).

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    1. I agree! Are there many colonials where you live? Doesn't seem to be as popular out there. I hope you're right, thank you!

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    2. They are not as common here, sadly. But oddly enough, we almost bought one before buying this place. It needed way too much work for us, but I wanted it over all logic and reason. Luckily Big Ag persevered or we'd probably be 100 grand into repairs by now lol.

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  11. What a brilliant comment you left for Ellie yesterday! I know she will have a good laugh from that.
    Your dream house is gorgeous. This is a beautiful piece of writing today. Thank you.
    La Contessa, bless you. I think many of us know how you feel.
    Barbie is adorable!

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    1. Thank you so much, Katherine! I hope she did get a good laugh!

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    2. WELL,I DID!!!!!!!!!
      THANKS Katherine............xx

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  12. I live in a seasonless climate. True story. It's been 30 for 6 months then it will drop to 24 in "winter" that is celcius…

    I love your dream house and the other houses too. We just do not have homes like that here.

    Whenever I am sad I will think of your male prostitute comment and laugh.

    I cannot bear it that Ellie's dr said she is near the end of ALS.

    Barbie looks gorgeous as ever xxxx

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    1. But you get seasonal blooms don't you? I feel like you always have something new blooming! I would love to see you and Heidi post about Australian houses and architecture. It seems Aussie design has such a unique point of view and I never knew about it until I started reading your blogs! I love all the big open spaces.

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    2. Do you know i hadn't realised how differently we approached houses here from the US until I started reading blogs too. I suppose because they explain all the little nuances of design that you don't pick up in a magazine as they tend to go through the thought process/ what is normal in that area etc. And I have to say that Australian houses are very different from anywhere else in the world, due to our climate and lifestyle. But it is very varied climate wise - I'm staring out at Autumn leaves all over my back garden and thinking of getting the leaf blower out. Although yesterday it was 30C too so autumn isn't necessarily a cold affair here!
      Love that house you showed - so elegant. I can totally see you living there. That boyfriend was clearly unambitious and lacking in imagination :)

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    3. Thank you Heidi! I would love to see a post or series on houses and designs that are quintessentially Australian!

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    4. THE roofs in AUSTRALIA are what we put on chicken coops here in the USA!TIN and Corrugated.I found that FASCINATING!SO, when it rains one really hears the rain drops!!

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  13. I can see why you are drawn to that house...it looks more like an estate to me...one that you could really sink your teeth into a decorate decorate decorate!!!
    Imagine the blue and white opportunities...the antiques and collectibles you could arrange, the rugs, orchids, paintings and flowers, the butler's pantry, the kitchen, the large rooms and small alcoves...oh my! It is lovely!
    Ellie would have fun decorating and furnishing a place like that too Stephen...gosh it must be devastating to know one's life will be over in a matter of weeks.
    Barbie would probably love to run in those pastures too...
    Our weather is super hot today, unseasonably so, but there are cooler temps and rain forecast for the weekend so we must enjoy it while it lasts.
    As Bruce Springsteen says...roll down the windows and let the wind blow back your hair...

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    1. Oh wouldn't it be so fun? It has so many juts and rooms that look so interesting from the outside. I would love to see the inside! When I was 20 I actually wrote the owners a letter and told them how much I loved it! I never heard back. They were probably creeped out! It's warm here and we were expecting rain but it didn't come!

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    2. Several of our friends have written letters to owners of houses that they were interested in purchasing...I think owners are flattered that someone would love to buy their home. We received a letter this Spring and we had to laugh because our exterior paint is peeling so badly and in dire need of painting that we cannot imagine anyone being attracted to it in this unflattering shabby state!

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    3. Several of our friends have written letters to owners of houses that they were interested in purchasing...I think owners are flattered that someone would love to buy their home. We received a letter this Spring and we had to laugh because our exterior paint is peeling so badly and in dire need of painting that we cannot imagine anyone being attracted to it in this unflattering shabby state!

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  14. Oh, you make me laugh! I love your replys as much as your posts. I love all of those houses, no modern angles for me, please. Barbie looks like she is having such a good time in the car. Your photos could be postcards. You know, I think how we look in our minds is what is important. In mine, I am younger and thinner and kind of cute :-)) . If you believe it, you will feel it. P.S. You were smart to dump him. P. P.S. My dream house is a pale pale yellow two story farmhouse with a wrap a round porch. Or white. P.S.#3 I am so glad you are sending photos to Ellie.

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    1. Marci- your dream house is my dream house. However, that same house is on a tree lined street.

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    2. Thank you so much, Marci! I would love to see everyone's dream houses!! I actually like modern houses a lot, too. I swing between wanting a modern house and an old one. It all depends on how romantic I'm feeling.

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  15. That is some neighborhood you were driving through! Actually, I think you could turn that brick house into something special. You should look at it. You know how much I love the horses and cows.

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    1. Thanks Lori! It's a cute house. I think the offers are stacking up on it and it really needs a lot of work. Far above my skill level. I knew you would love that barn! One of my friends designed it. Isn't it beautiful? I should do a whole post of the barns she's designed.

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  16. I can see why you love that house, wow. I think if I lived in a house like that I would have a sign on the street saying yeah it is great, I love it, come on in and see it for yourself. MB

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    1. For some reason I can't seem to comment today so I am piggy backing on Marybeth P.

      What a fabulous house you have for a dream house Stephen - I might pinch it as mine as well!
      Long way for me to move though from Australia - but what the hell this is a dream right? While I'm at it I might have to pinch Barbie as well she is so adorable.
      Ellie's situation is beyond what anyone should be asked to endure, and it breaks my heart that she is even able to reach out to her many friends as she has been managing - what a courageous example for us all.
      Love Cindy F
      xx

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    2. Mary Beth, I wish you did live there so I could see it! It does make me very happy to know that it's a true family house and has never ever been on the market. Not the kind of thing that happens here ever and I love that it's a house with family soul.
      Cindy, if you're from Australia it might be too much to adjust to living here! Even in a dream. Perhaps and fall and spring vacation house. Ohio is downright lovely in seasons of transition :)

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  17. I love your writing. " the house is braided into my soul". I read that over and over again.." Dynamite in my hands". Who writes like that. Yes it is Stephen. Let me just say it again- I LOVE READING WHAT YOU WRITE.

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  18. I like that! Elliessons! It's funny you bring it up because I was just thinking, "God, Ellie has accomplished so much and I can’t even lose 20 (F***’n) lbs.!” Made me think about the word commitment.

    Speaking of commitment…I totally understand your long-term love affair with the house. It’s a classic! My style too. I hope you get a chance to tour the inside soon. “Keep room in your heart for the unimaginable”.

    Lastly, I can imagine a big white SAJ on the side of that Red Barn…your monogram has a slightly western feel to it.

    P.S. Looking forward to Ellie’s Tell-all book. Aren’t you glad she adores you ;);)





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    1. P.S.S. I correct myself...Tell-all-that's-important book - And So It Is!

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    2. That's how I feel too! Next Ellie should write a decorum diet book and we might have a chance! So funny about my SAJ logo! I've never seen that in it, but you're right! It it would be perfect for a barn! I designed that when I was in seventh grade and thought I wanted to design purses :)

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    3. MOVE over MK........here comes SAJ!!!

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    4. Haha that's one of the ambitions I'm happy to leave behind. I realized what I wanted was a monogram logo, not bags to put them on :)

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  19. Your dream house is Perfection. Maybe it will come to you one day. I am in love with the red barn, I'll live there :)

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    1. Thank you! I hope so! I would take the barn in a heartbeat too!

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  20. Gosh you live in the heart of America in many ways. I love American houses. My face is those homes in charleston sc. I think that hone is beautiful! My ideal home is one that makes a once a season appearance in my dreams. It's partly modern but in an established neighbourhood and an amalgamation of many different cities. It's a Jungian analyst's feast. In real life I have way too many to post! But I do love a wordsmith. Ellieson is fabulous

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    1. Oh you should at least post your top 25. I love Charleston, too. I think I'd love to live there and it's always in the back of my mind to move there. Yes, Ohio is very much the heart of America!

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  21. I think you should honor your ambitions. I suspect you have the talent to support them - if only you find the right team/community to work in. And I am sure Ellie will be honored that her ways have inspired you. Leaving a legacy.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! Funny you mention that as that's often what I'm most reluctant to bother with-teamwork! Haha not an attractive quality but I'd almost always rather do things myself.

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  22. Beautiful post. It always has struck me as strange that we tend to revere success but shy away from ambition, since they go hand in hand. I love that first house. Stunning.

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    1. Thank you so much! That's a really really good point.

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  23. Dear Stephen, I can't help but think WWJD (what would Joan do) with the brick colonial. I'd love to see her tackle it. She did such a fabulous job with her NH farmhouse. I just realized that I must have found Ellie and you via Joan on Instagram. It is an amazing group of people and I am enjoying it all in nothing short of awe. Still catching up on all the reading. (How do people keep up with their reading list of a dozen blogs? I feel like the under-achiever of the group. I might need to rescind the recent job offer to stay home and just catch up on my reading.) ;) Love your writing, your blog humor - both here and at Ellie's. Fun group! ~Nicole

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    1. Hello, Nicole! Haha I know it does pile up to a lot of reading! And it seems like everyone posts their blogs on the same day. Thank you for commenting and reading here. I would love to see what Joan could do with tha house, too. The first thing I would need to do is get the windows spaced evenly! That one is just a little off and I don't understand why they would have done that!

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  24. I know what you mean; that's some big asymmetry and just looks 'off'. I wonder if the Architects of the Interior become oblivious to what it creates on the outside. Not always a design marriage made in heaven, inside & outside speaking. As an amateur admirer of design my pet peeve is the glaring little window that screams 'here's the bathroom!' I just think there must be a better way to incorporate a beautiful bathroom window into the overall scale of windows and doors. In my dream house, of course it's all perfect. ;)

    So lovely to hear from you. You remind me of my hair stylist in my home state (NH~I relocated to Northern CA~what I will do for my grandchild-uh, anything). NH guy took exceptional care of my hair and we shared many laughs in the process (not at my hair's expense, to be clear!). He transformed the first floor of his Victorian home into a salon and there isn't another space in town like it. I used to arrive early to have time to look around and see his latest finds!)

    Your Barbie is a doll and lucky to be with her human-with-a-heart-of-gold.

    I like to peruse the local antique shops and will keep a lookout for Spode Maritime Rose (typing it to lock it in memory). :) Happy Weekend~ Nicole

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    1. p.s. I'm not a symmetry snob! I love asymmetry, especially on mantles. Can't wait to have one (or 2 or 3) of my own. Ok Bye! ~Nicole

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  25. *mantels (I share the horror for bad grammar, I swear!) ~N.

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