Laney’s Big Girl Room

“After I get finished with my big girl bed, then I’m gon’ get a boy bed”

These are the types of conversations I have with my 2-year old daughter Laney about her future transition to a big girl bed. She thinks it’s fun to kid with me about wanting a “boy bed”. We are preparing to move Laney to a different room in the house but the room needs a little work before we can do that. I’ll be sharing that room tune up after we begin the work but today I wanted to share my inspiration for the room and a rough plan.

laney amber interiors

laney attic room

Laney Dunham room

laney glow room

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

laney pink stripe

laney suzani room

Laney Tarses roomimages via Pinterest

And here’s a little design board I worked up for the room,

Laney's Room

Feist / Dresser / suzani / hooks / sconce / headboard / sheets / quilt / bed / blanket / stool / fabric / rug

Jaxon MINI

Jaxon mini web res 5

That’s my all-star niece Madeline, my brother Chris’ little girl. She’s hamming it up! (She gets that honest from both her mom and her dad.)

For the past month or so I’ve been working with a team of folks to bring a creative pursuit to life, and here we are – at the launch date of Jaxon MINI, a kid’s line designed by Victoria Richter!

Jaxon Home is a brick and mortar home furnishing shop in downtown Culver City. My group came on board to help Jaxon Home build a website and we’ve fallen so madly in love with the business and it’s owner Victoria, that I’m honored to say this venture is now something that is part mine to make a success.

And it’s new to the web! Not many people outside of LA know about Jaxon yet.

I’ve been an observant consumer as brands of all shapes and sizes have announced new lines online without knowing how much thought and how much work must go into a product line launch. It’s been very exciting for me to be a part of such a collaborative and creative effort.

To kick off the line we’ll be hosting a group of around 40 or more Mommy bloggers and Los Angeles mover and shaker moms at the store. There will be shopping, sampling, and sipping wine as well as a presentation by a children’s book author on getting published. (I’ll be taking notes… maybe children’s fiction is in my future too – since all my dreams seem to be coming true!)

If you are here in LA, come on over. 5-8pm at the store.

If you are my mom, or my dear friend – please join me in celebrating by taking a look at the Jaxon Home blog, and please please feel free and comfortable to shoot me a note and let me know what you think, good or bad! Lay it on me betsy at


NYE 2014

NYE banner

Just in case you’re curious about who is pictured above. Me + Laney (2) + my Mom/ DC (5) + my husband/ DC + Laney


Still thinking of the families, children and members of the Newtown, CT community. There are no words.

I keep hearing mention of spreading, giving, sharing LOVE. I am sending my love to Newtown.


















All images via Pinterest

Sally Mann

I was introduced to Sally Mann’s work through Pinterest, which these days is where I meet with a whole lot of new things that I like.

sally mann portrait

Sally Mann

This is the photograph that sent me frantically searching,

Sally Mann Candy Cigarette 1989
candy cigarette, 1989

Sally came in to public view with a series of intimate photographs of her three young children, Jessie, Emmett and Virginia shot in Lexington, Virginia. The collection was called Immediate Family and it first appeared in Houk Friedman Gallery in New York and then later in a traveling exhibit at the The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

From what I’ve seen of the series, the collection explores both the reality and fantastical nature of childhood and the sensuality that Mann saw in her own children all under the age of 10.  In most of the photographs contained in the Immediate Family collection, Mann’s children appear nude and sometimes they are injured, sick (bloody noses, chicken pox, pink eye) or appear exhausted. The nudity and context of some of the photographs sparked some controversy and garnered Sally some press and attention that wasn’t forseen.

After Immediate Family was released, Sally was contacted by a filmmaker named Steven Cantor. Cantor intended on making a documentary short about censorship in our culture but after meeting Sally and seeing the pictures of her children what resulted was Blood Ties, a 1994 documentary about Sally and her family that was ultimately nominated for an Academy Award.

sally mann virginia & jessie

After Blood Ties, Sally continued to create art in collections like Still Time and What Remains. Cantor and Mann remained in contact and in 2004, Cantor released a full length documentary about Sally, her artistic process, her family and the project she was working on that centered around death and decay called What Remains.

sally mann damaged child

After learning more about Sally and her work, naturally I wanted to know what became of the most beloved of subjects–her children. Did they become artists too?


Turns out Lexington, VA, the site of the Mann family homestead, was also home to many acclaimed artists like Cy Twombley. Under Twombley’s tutelage, Jessie Mann also began painting. Emmett joined the Peace Corps for a time and Virginia went to law school.

Jessie Mann

Jessie Mann today, via Just Say Maux

For me, some of the photographs in Immediate Family at first were too raw, too provocative but then I started to remember childhood, especially a childhood in the rural south. The injuries depicted in these images; blood, scabs, black eyes, bloody noses, insect bites–all of that is par for the course and capturing that on film is a solid dose of realism. When I gave my brother a black eye, I don’t think we would’ve been scarred if my mother would’ve sat him down against a white wall and photographed him. Its the apparent sensuality in some of these images that creates the shock value and what many wrestle with including myself. Some will instantly be dismissive, some will remember skipping stones on the river in the heat of summer. I’m just wondering–Does/Should this art have a place in our world?

A portion of Cantor’s 2nd film about Sally, What Remains.

Some other great resources:

PBS did a feature on Sally in 2003, in their Art of the 21st Century series, Art21

A Dialogue Between Steven Cantor and Sally Mann

The Disturbing Photography of Sally Mann

Attic Win

I love the idea of a bunk room and if you have browsed the TEOT flickr page at all you’ll find lots of images that make “attic” references. Although my house is of ample size I think I have an unusual amount of attic space in a total of four attic rooms. Two of the attic rooms are entirely empty due in part to the fact that I have a GIANT basement. So I consider these empty attic spaces to be wasted space.

My wheels are constantly turning about renovation whether its about my own house, my neighbors house or a friend’s house so its only natural that I would want to turn one of these attic spaces in to an attic bunk room. So my husband and I tip-toed up the stairs at 10:30 and measured the width of one of the spaces and whispered about head room so that we could assess the prospect of converting one of those wasted spaces…sometime in the not so near future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Erika’s bunk room, that was a big hit and understandably so. It was graced with Erika and her team’s design skills and it was great use of a small space.

I was reading up on some painting tips recently at This Old House and happened upon this attic bedroom suite for kids and thought this was another great version of the attic bunk room. Please excuse the directional arrow on the image.

attic bunk room

bath window vinyl shutters This Old House

attic bunk room entry This Old House

attic kids suite plan This Old House

This plan is exciting to me for a few different reasons,

  • this is the layout I have in a more basic form, 2 attic spaces joined in the middle by a bathroom
  • they raised the door frames to 6′ and vaulted the ceilings just like in the bedroom area, GENIUS
  • mechanicals enclosed in accessible space for future repair
  • added closet space
  • moved tub/shower over to window wall

You can see the rest of the renovation of their East Hampton home here.

I’m apprehensively sharing a couple of photos of my outdated upstairs bathroom, you can see a door on the left side of the bathroom and on the right. These doors each lead to separate attic spaces that are 14′ wide by about 18′ long. So in comparing that to the TOH layout above, do you see the potential? Now I just need to win the lotto and put this plan in to motion.

upstairs bath attic door

while we’re looking at this bathroom…notice the sconce on the wall, its actually a ceiling light with a glass shade attached. This bugs me every night when DC and I are going through the bedtime routine. Ugh!

upstairs bath door view


Playset Prep

As I explained in last Friday’s weekend post, my daughter DC is turning 3 this weekend. Before DC was even 2, we were invited to a slew of birthday parties complete with pony rides and bouncey houses.  But I figure Dan and I have a lot of birthday parties ahead of us and we’re going to reserve those kinds of antics for a later time–maybe when DC is in school. Right now we like to limit birthday parties to family and close friends. How do you feel about fancy parties full of toddlers and Cowboy Bill for entertainment before the age of 3?

steve martin parenthood

So a big part of this party happening this weekend is our gift to DC which is an outdoor wooden playset. We did some research before buying at places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sears and Creative Playthings. I talked with my Dad about the different types of material that the various sets were made of. He gave me a general hierarchy of durability which was,

  1. Redwood
  2. Cedar
  3. Treated wood

Redwood drove the price up significantly and was outside of our budget so we looked at some cedar sets. My Dad warned that if the cedar isn’t high quality it will split. I read some reviews of some of the cedar sets offered at Costco and some parents reported that the cedar split when they were assembling it so we moved on. We found the best selection at Home Depot where they primarily carried the Swing-n-Slide brand. To learn more about their construction we visited the Swing-n-Slide site.   We liked the 4×4 construction and the heavy duty brackets used to assemble the sets. After tooling around their site a bit we found their Outlet section. Swing-n-Slide was offering some discontinued sets at pretty great discounts so my husband and I settled on the Juneau.

juneau playset swing-n-slide

There was a lot of prep work involved before assembly could even begin. Over the years the previous owner had allowed vines and other brush to take over the property. We’re lucky that my Dad owns a backhoe AND enjoys using as often as he possibly can so he has completed a lot of the land clearing for us. I’m trying to talk him into buying a Bobcat which looks like this,

Bobcat machine

He is actually going to look at a used model today that has a mulching attachment on the front that just kind of eats small trees and brush piles. This is an exciting prospect when you buy property that has been severly neglected and you battle brush piles with a rake.

So my Dad cleared some space in the side yard among the beautiful hemlocks and my brother loaded pile after pile of brush in to the rented dumpster. This process went on for a few days.

Here’s a view of the property partially cleared,

partially cleared front 2

My brother and Dan then cut the old ivy vines shooting out of the ground and hand raked the area where the playset would go, this would be significantly faster and easier if we had more equipment to smooth the area but we had to resort to hand labor.

playset spot

During the clearing process, my brother unearthed a stairwell made of square brownstones that leads down in to a lower part of the property. It will take a lot of work to fine tune this area but it was a cool landscape surprise. Those stones have been there a very long time, they were probably installed not long after the house was built in 1929.

hidden stairwell

After all that clearing and raking, we distributed 80 bales of pine straw around the area. We chose pine straw because we live in the land of Longleaf Pines which shed their needles constantly so we took a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” kind of approach. Others might choose some kind of engineered or recycled material like rubber mulch or sand.

And then finally– we’re ready for assembly which will be left up to my Dad, brother and Dan. My Dad did carpentry work and a lot of woodworking in his youth and he’s a pretty fantastic handy man so he will lead the assembly charge. The assembly is scheduled to begin this Friday, there’s a lot of speculation as to how long the assembly will take, the estimates range from 4 to 8 hours.

I told everyone we could take a long break from yard work for a while, their response was basically yeah no s#!@

Bohemian kids

Last week I saw these chic little chairs on One Kings Lane,

bohemian kids rattan chair

and so I did this,



Oddly the fabric sources didn’t show up on the list, but the drapery fabric is Robert Allen, Ideal Weave in Havana and the paisley fabric is from Lewis & Sheron

Starry Sky

I’ve always really admired the pairing of this wallpaper and wall color in this little girl’s room. If I were to move to a new house lets say oh….in the next month or two I would seriously considering doing this in DC’s room. Its the Coronata Star wallpaper available at Osbourne & Little.

The wallpapered ceiling in the Rhoney nursery turned out really great too. Of course this would also be great for a baby’s room, boy or girl!

Girl's room star wallpaper


Laura Resen photography

work & play

While taking some exterior photos of the Indiana project last night, I snapped some photos of DC playing in the sprinkler.

sprinkler 3

sprinkler 2


Big Up Yourself

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about switching DC from a crib to a big girl bed. Dan and I think its a good idea to get a full size bed because it expands our space for guests but we want to be careful not to make it overwhelming for DC.

She doesn’t seem to mind sleeping in her crib at all so I’m taking my time in locating just the right bed.

I’ve looked at a lot of antique and vintage beds both twin and full size.  I’m really itching to line a pair of twin beds up but I don’t think I have the space in DC’s room for that.

sunshine ruffalo kids room

Sunshine Ruffalo’s home

I’m in the early stages of deciding what direction I want to go in as far as color.  Right now I like the idea of aqua or light blue with a punch of red.  The ceiling in DC’s room is Benjamin Moore’s In Your Eyes.

In Your Eyes

Jessica Helgerson childs room

Jessica Helgerson

kids room tee pee

source unknown

I like the bohemian and feminine feel in Violet’s room, so I’ve been looking at some quilts at Plover Organic and Roberta Roller Rabbit.

Violet's room Cookie


spindle bed

Found this “spindle bed” on Craigslist, $125 is a hot deal

vintage danish twin bed

Danish stunner on Craigslist, twin size, $75, its missing a spindle

white blake bed Land of Nod

Land of Nod, Blake bed

bed edland ikea

Edland, IKEA

Two heads are better than one?

Twin beds is something that we are seeing a lot of whether it be in a shared bedroom for kids or a guest room, we previously posted about the twin invasion here. But I recently spied something that was a little different, a spin on the twin bed lineup.

the estate of things chooses coastal living kids room

What do you think about this concept? Would you rather have separate headboards?

We’ll be seeing you…Alice

You know I’ve never seen the animated version of Alice in Wonderland, only the 1985 musical version that aired on CBS with Sammy Davis Jr., Sherman Helmsley, Shellie Winters, Scott Baio, Lloyd Bridges etc.  Now don’t go saying that I need to see the animated version because I doubt it can top Sammy Davis Jr. sitting on top of huge toadstool smoking a hooka pipe. But maybe Tim Burton’s rendition could push it to #2 or maybe even a live experience like this…

An Alice birthday party found via Swish and Swanky, photorgraphy by Jessica Claire. I would love to do this for my daughter DC, when she’s old enough of course.

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

She’s gone and done it

There are a lot of great blogs out there and sometimes you’ll find one that really inspires you or just makes voyeurism that much more fun. Either way, I found a new blog a couple of weeks ago that I promptly bookmarked, its called katie did.

the estate of things chooses katie did blog

Peer in to the adventures of Katie and her three blonde children, no she does not bleach their hair, someone actually asked her that on the street!  One of the many things that I love about Katie and her blog is her amazing sewing talent and beautiful children’s clothes.  She’s thinking about producing patterns which is very exciting and I’d like to maybe attempt them myself.

Thank you Katie, for sharing your life and children. We’ll keep a look out for your patterns.

the estate of things chooses katie did dress

the estate of things chooses katie did outfit

      the estate of things chooses katie did dress the estate of things chooses katie did flower collar

the estate of things chooses katie did skirt

 the estate of things chooses katie did handwriting skirt

the estate of things chooses katie did baby outfit the estate of things chooses katie did dress

And Katie seems to go in to what she calls a “baby quilt binge”, this is one of my personal favorites.

the estate of things chooses katie did cross quilt