Scratching The Itch | A Little Update To Our Great Room

I am a very restless person. Until we moved to San Francisco, I had never lived in the same place for more than 12 months. I like a change of scenery. 

We lived in our Pac Heights apartment for 3 years and then we had a kid and did what was expected of us... We moved to the 'burbs and bought a fairly small, overpriced home (that I love). Something about buying a home scared the hell out of me and it wasn't just the Marin county property tax. The idea of bringing up my children in a family home that we lived in since they were born wasn't something I really subscribed to. I felt like owning a home was going to be a ball and chain, the end of adventures, and the beginning of a long and painful relationship with gardening.

Luckily I am married to an equally restless man. We spend most days daydreaming of future adventures, so when one of us has finally had enough with this house/location/grind, we know the other will happily pick up and journey on.

In the meantime, we are here. We love California and this cool little mid-century house we call home. The low-sloping roof, ceiling beams, and brick walls still make me swoon. But staying in the same dwelling for over 3 years now means I spend a lot of time looking at paint colors and rearranging furniture.  

After finishing Willa's nursery I realized I had opened the flood gates and no room was safe. I know I can't get away with any major renovations or furniture purchases at the moment so I chose a few little areas to work on to 'scratch the itch'.



I don't think I realized how sad this wall looked until I saw this photo. Yikes. I hate wasted space and this wall was crying out for a little TLC. That vintage brass table was one of my favorite flea market finds ($50!!) but it has definitely seen better days. I originally wanted to replace it with a piece that had some storage since apparently closet space wasn't a priority in the 1950's. Unfortunately, none of the credenzas or cabinets I fell in love with were anywhere near my budget. This little CB2 console great. A little smaller than I had hoped but it fills the space and feels much more intentional than it's predecessor. I stole the West Elm planter from Willa's room (sorry, kid) because the plan had actually grown a little too big for the corner it was in (don't worry, it was replaced with a sweet fiddle leaf plant).

Photo bombed by Louie :0)

Photo bombed by Louie :0)

While I was originally craving storage, this open shelving gives me a whole new spot to accumulate found objects, stack cook books that I have never and will never use, and a reason to buy expensive candles. Hell yes. 

Round mirrors are having a moment, they are everywhere (including my bedroom). I was drooling over this RH Modern 60" mirror but I settled for this 36" Urban Outfitters mirror. I was surprised when the mirror arrived and the frame was rubber (I didn't read the description) but for $160 I wasn't complaining. 

The other nook that got an upgrade was the wall next to our front door. I have a pile of frames that has moved around the house looking for a home for months now. I was intimidated by our brick walls so waited until my dad was visiting to get some help. It turned out to be pretty easy once we had the right drill bit, concrete anchor screws, and several glasses of rosΓ©.

Working on the layout for the picture wall with my lovely assistant, Willa.Β 

Working on the layout for the picture wall with my lovely assistant, Willa. 

Next up on my never-ending list of things to change: the rug, the chaise lounge, and the coffee table. But for now I will consider the itch scratched. 

xx K

First Weekend Getaway as a Family of Four

Well we did have reinforcements, thanks Mum-in-law ;-)

Back before kids we used to jump in the car and head down coast or up to wine country pretty frequently with no destination and no reservations. Nick and I are not planners, never have been, so this type of weekend getaway suited us just fine. Wandering from hotel to hotel (or Googling roadside) in some costal town looking for a room after a boozy dinner was sort of our thing. It may have caused a few arguments and some frustration but hey, what in our marriage doesn't? Fast forward 4 years and I am calling every hotel in California to ensure they have a pack 'n play, a room with two queen beds, a strict no smoking policy and parking for our large family vehicle. 

After a couple weeks of unsuccessfully trying to plan a weekend trip while my mother-in-law was visiting from England, we ended up in our usual last minute decision making and booking. We had tried to plan an L.A. weekend but the idea of getting a 6 week old and a 3 yr old packed, through security and on a plane for a 72 hour getaway was less than appealing to me. Have you ever traveled with a newborn? How the tiniest human can require such a vast array of gear is beyond me. In the end we decided on our old standby: road trip to Carmel. 

Carmel is gorgeous this time of year and, notwithstanding the two children, very relaxing. Strolling the shops, lounging on the beautiful beach, drinking copious amounts of wine, laughing at the tourists buying ugly overpriced art... You get the point. Unfortunately, everyone else feels the same way about Carmel so finding a hotel was not the easiest and definitely not cheap. We have stayed in almost every one of the little Inns around Carmel and they are all just mediocre so this time I searched to find something a little nicer. I stumbled upon the Hotel Carmel during my marathon Google search (3 days before we were meant to be setting off, mind you). The photos of their lobby and common areas (hello, indigo pillows) and the mention of wine hour had me sold. 

Hotel Carmel lobby was like a little living room full of beautiful things.

Hotel Carmel lobby was like a little living room full of beautiful things.

When we arrived I was a little disappointed that Hotel Carmel was just 'one of those Inns' that had been recently renovated (formerly the Dolphin Inn) but the updates and newness feeling of the rooms was enough to keep me happy. The fire pit area was great for enjoying your complimentary wine before heading out for dinner. Nick and Louie enjoyed the little hot tub (I missed out as I was usually stuck in the room feeding Willa... babies are so needy). They had a bagel breakfast each morning which I obviously loved (All the carbs, please!). The rooms were a good size, they had a pack 'n play and parking. What more could you want? Air conditioning. You could want air conditioning. It was 90 degrees in Carmel that weekend and the room was hot as hell at night-- not ideal sharing a bed with a squirming toddler (so Nick told me. ;-). If you stay here during Indian Summer, request a fan. 

We ate at some of our favorite places; La Bicyclette and Cantenetta Luca. We had dinner at a middle eastern restaurant called Yafa that was seriously delish. I got a precious couple hours to peruse the shops solo (well, with Willa but close enough). We spent both mornings at the beach watching Louie revel in the sand, Sue enjoyed the onslaught of poodles due to an annual poodle convention (yes, that is a thing) and Nick fit in a morning of Surfing in Santa Cruz on our way down. Something for everyone. And other than a massive diaper explosion in the middle of dinner at Yafa that had me carrying a mostly naked, very wet baby through the streets of Carmel to our hotel for a costume change, it all went off without a hitch. 

So life with two kids has continued to move forward and I think we may even be getting the hang of it ;-) Now if we could just secure a third parent for all future vacations...

A few tips for road tripping with a baby:

1. Call ahead and make sure they have some type of crib so you don't have to travel with your pack 'n play.

2. A white noise machine is key to everyones sleep when you are all in one room. I also have an app on my phone in case we forget. 

3. You can buy diapers anywhere so don't bother filling up precious space in your suitcase.

4. I bring my bottle brush and a bag with some dish soap so I can clean bottles, pump parts, pacifiers, etc in a hotel sink. Medela Quick Cleaning Wipes are also great to throw in the diaper bag incase you don;t have access to a sink.

5. Don't bother bringing a bouncer or chair. Between the carseat, stroller, and a simple blanket on the floor-- the kid will be fine.

6. Check the map and plan stops along the way for nursing/feeding so you aren't stressed. Shopping plazas, cafes, playgrounds are best so your partner and/or other children have something to do while baby is being fed.

7. Break it up if you can. We spent the first night in Santa Cruz to make life easier. We knew we would be driving in rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon and didn't want to push the limits on our first attempt at a two kid road trip.

A Modern Love Story

After you have a baby the standards for romance are at an all time low. Men, take advantage. 

The simple act of not waking your sleep deprived wife in the morning is enough to make her forget that you didn't even stir when the newborn was up 64 times throughout the night. 

Ridiculously easy things you can do to show your love in the days post baby:

1. Bring her water - If your partner is breast feeding, she is so. damn. thirsty. 6 times out of 10 she forget to grab a glass of water when she sits down to feed the baby. Be that guy who doesn't need to be asked.

2. Get up when she gets up, even though there isn't much you can do - We get it, you can't nurse the baby but getting up with us in the middle of the night to make sure we are ok (at least the few days) means the world. Oh, and don't forget the water. 

3. The gift of silence - Take the baby (and any other children you have) for a walk so that she can have an hour of pure silence to do anything or nothing. 

4. Get ready for work in the guest room (or anywhere outside of the bedroom) - Chances are she's been up feeding the baby and is trying to catch a few more z's right around the time your alarm is going to go off. Silence it quickly, gather what you need and leave the room to primp elsewhere. 

5. Tell her what an amazing job she is doing, even if she is have meltdowns hourly - Postpartum hormones levels are all over the place, sleep is minimal, feeding is difficult if not excruciatingly painful. All this after 9 months of heartburn, swelling, weight gain, peeing every ten minutes and being generally uncomfortable every day. Oh, not to mention child birth.... Yeah, we could use a pat on the back. 

6. Get involved - Change diapers without being asked, learn to swaddle like a pro, sanitize bottles and pump parts, take the baby for a walk around the black durning 'the witching hour', ask what you can do to help.

Good luck out there folks. It ain't easy!

xx K