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Estate Envy: A Topanga Dream

So, big, kinda insane but totally deflating news: Last week, the dude put an offer on a mountain getaway for us and the vintage shasta camper in Topanga.

But – we got beat out by an all cash offer. People in LA be crazy loaded apparently. We were seriously one of SEVEN offers on the property. We came in second, so we are still a strong backup, but name me a reason why their cash offer won’t come to fruition. Nonetheless – my fingers are still crossed, the property is/was PERFECT. My huge fantasy fueled mind is having a really hard time moving on. Alas, I remembered “Estate Envy” and then it occurred to me that I fall in love with real estate listings all the time that I can’t have.

This is the MLS view that captured our attention:

To be real, the place was a little weird and I don’t understand how it would work for ANYONE but us? It featured two structures. One was the perfect pitched roof studio with a tiny cool concrete basement to store all of the fruits of Heffe’s beer brewing habit and maybe a lounging spot or sleeping space. It was really easy to see us utilizing the studio space above for the dude’s woodworking projects, along with all of the kids’ arts&crafts on weekends. I was envisioning a pottery wheel in one of the windowed corners. I wanna throw lopsided pots and have the access to make infinite ashtrays, like I did as a ceramics instructor in college – and I wanna do it all in a caftan. Jeff’s daughter and I even made up a pattern idea for our “Topanga Dress.” The main house was super freaking cute, I can’t even begin. The bedroom and the kid’s sleeping loft are tiny, but the deck and the views are HUGE and since basically its just an old wooden tent, the tiny kitchen and shelter feels super glamorous. The main house also featured another separate bedroom and bathroom downstairs, which in my mind served as the guest room for anyone that wanted to come up and join us for a weekend….. or perhaps it would serve as a music studio if you should want to lock yourself away on the mountain and make a hit record. It’s only 12 miles from our home in Santa Monica, but holy CRAP, it feels like escaping to another more sensible and natural, quieter place. The best part was this lovely pad in the backyard that was covered by the arms of this insanely beautiful tree. Home of our future treehouse, and protector of our Vintage Shasta Camper. This place also served as the perfect backdrop to everything that my other project, Seven Wanders is all about.

So sad y’all. *Pray for me. We’ll keep looking, but I’m afraid nothing will compare.

I dug up this photo that I took with my iPhone, of a set of cocktail napkins that I drew on at the bar in Hickory in 2009, when I was in the middle of one of those, “what should I do with my life” conversations with a friend. This was the illustrated dream.

Betsy Moyer Vintage Shasta Camper Dreaming in 2009

Meanwhile, here is a view of the Topanga Place. It’s kind of uncanny how it’s pretty much THE illustration.

Topanga Dreaming side

Topanga Dreaming

I can’t get into too much heartache over the fact that we lost out to an all cash offer because I should just be thrilled and amazed that I’m living in a world where this is a real prospect. I am truly grateful, and I know that this is borderline disgusting if not downright snotty – to be disappointed, but I can’t help it…. How quickly we acclimate from the havenots to the haves.

We are still on the hunt, and we totally love Dan, our Realtor Man. I’ll probably still fall asleep every night for the next 10 days until their offer moves past pending – wishing that something goes wrong and they call us up and tell us its ours.

That’s it. Sorry. I’m not Sorry. I’ll just keep on fantasizing here.
Follow Betsy Moyer’s board Mountain Land Dreamin on Pinterest.


Betsy Needs a Coffee Table

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Betsy recently told me she was on the hunt for a new coffee table. She’s studying under the Skillshare hosted tutelage of Justina Blakeney learning how to style her house and the need for a new coffee table has stalled her styling progress.

Betsy needs the following in a new coffee table,

  • Serve as a makeshift medicine cabinet for Heffe
  • Durable enough for kids to occasionally eat on


Betsy's Coffee Table

1. Brickmaker 2. Dutch Industrial 3. Double Decker 4. Tourney 5. Seneca 6. Library 7. Edgewood 8. Smart table 9. Martens

My pick for Betsy is a close choice between 5 & 9 and really it depends on which direction Betsy wants to go with the overall design of the room. If Betsy were erring more toward the boho/California situation I’d say #9 is definite for me. That might look something like this living room created for Rachel Bilson by Kishani Perera ,

Rachel Bilson in LonnyWhy I like #9- Restoration Hardware’s products are typically well-made, I’ve had a good experience with all of my purchases and I know my Mom has too. I like the cut out look, tables you can see through and a second tier is a must in my opinion because when you need to clear off the top for the kids to eat or to play a game you can put things below. You can also put lidded baskets on the bottom shelf to hide all of the stuff that ain’t too pretty. But the best of all is all the stacks of books, mags and other goodies you can put there. In typical RH fashion the table is probably pretty generous in scale.

But If Betsy wants to go a little less organic and have some smoother modern finishes in her space then I’d say #5 is the right choice. That look will look similar to this Malibu ranch designed by Nickey Kehoe,

nickey kehoe

Why I like #5- Looks like good construction and a nice tone and finish but what I like most of all is that it is tiered yet it still has drawers. If the drawers aren’t enough you can still add lidded baskets for storage.

Truthfully these looks are not that far apart and both tables would work. So what does Betsy like?



Pass it Down

I decided that I would like to give my oldest daughter DC my dollhouse that my grandfather Craig built for me when I was a kid.

A dollhouse was actually on DC’s list in addition to the hideous hunk of fuchsia plastic the Dream Castle. But I can’t complain because I wanted a Barbie dream house so badly as a child, Kristin you know what I’m talking about here.

After sitting in the my parent’s garage for almost 20 years, whaaatttt! It actually emerged from the depths in great shape. I guess I’d call it a Southern Colonial.

my dollhouse

The tan and brown aren’t exactly happening and it I thought it would be a pretty quick and easy task to give it a paint job. After some consideration I decided that I would paint it the original exterior color scheme for the Indiana project.

Ben Moore’s Iron Mountain and a light blue accent like Wythe Blue,

iron mountain BM

wythe blue BM


Now finding a dollhouse family that is the right size and not creepy looking was a whole other challenge. I opted for this one but I think they will be a little on the big side but I don’t think DC will mind.


Big Up Yourself

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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


Amanda’s DIY Chalkboard

We received another great DIY project for children from our friend Amanda. She posted this DIY chalkboard on her blog Learning As We Go.

But before I show you the chalkboard, I think sharing little Evan’s Joe Dirt costume from this weekend is needed. Friends, that is a mullet wig for toddlers. Amanda distracted him from taking it off by initially giving him a popsicle which the neighbors mistakenly thought was a corn dog to go with the costume. Awesome.

the estate of things chooses evan's halloween costume

Okay so back to DIY…It started as an unused homemade tv stand that was sitting in the garage, almost forgotten.


the estate of things chooses before


the estate of things chooses finished chalkboard

Amanda offers step by step instructions in the original post.