Cooking: Dinner

Survey Says! Grilled Pork Tenderloin; My Boys #3 Favorite!

This is a super easy pork marinade.  The finished product is deeply flavorful, tender and simple, comfort food! You can make this two to three days ahead and throw it on the grill for a quick and easy (and mouthwatering) mid-week dinner.   Serve with steamed broccoli and steamed brown rice.

What you will need:
1 lb Pork Tenderloin- butterflied

For the marinade

1/4 cup of Evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
1 large shallot- minced
3 gloves of garlic- minced
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Pure Maple syrup
The juice of one small lemon
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Pepper to taste

 

What to do:
Combine all marinade ingredients in a resealable bag. Add the butterflied pork into the bag and work the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours- 48 is better.

When you are ready to cook the pork, set the grill on medium hight heat. Bring the pork (at room temperature- take out about 1 hour before grilling). Sear on all sides then turn the grill to medium and cook to an inside temperature of 155. Let it rest 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Sparkle On, Friends!

013

Design · Interior

Bold Bath

 

LIVINGLOVELIER just completed a fun project; Taking a “vanilla-ice-cream-new -construction” bathroom and transforming it to have some pizzaz!  I just love the juxtaposition of antiques with a funky flair, here is what I did.

The plain bath had box-store type fixtures which had to go: Stat.  Also, the room lacked crown molding.  The ten-foot ceilings were crying for them, so we had to address that right away, too.

Getting to work!

After the crown molding was installed it was time to paper.  I fell in love with this bold, gorgeous and gutsy paper. Don’t you think it just demands attention? ME TOO!
I re-purposed the commode which belonged to my great-grandparents, Amelia and Charles.  This was part of their bedroom set which they bought in the 1860s. I can remember taking naps as a little girl at my grandparent’s house. The commode stood against the window with the white ceramic pitcher and bowl. The mirror hung over the dresser.

The pitcher and bowl inspired me to find this white ceramic vessel sink (vesselsinks.com).  I was able to find a single spout faucet in brushed nickel, consistent with Victorian times. The “Lugarno” towel ring, also in brushed nickel, is from Restoration Hardware.

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Before installing the vessel, I polyurethaned the wood to protect it from the water.  Also,I  a backsplash of polished copper, another hint of the era.

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The light fixture, custom made by Rejuvenation is made of brushed nickel and copper.  This piece ties the copper and nickel in the ribbacksplash with the faucet, toilet paper holder, and towel ring. It ties the metals together to create consistency.

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The “Laundry Soap Dish” is from Rejuvenation.  My grandparents had a similar one in their antique powder room.

Why settle for a plain jane shower curtain when you can wow it up with this bright and bold silk fabric for a shower curtain that demands a second look?  I sewed this one afternoon and was delighted with the added layer of texture and style.

The finish- a fuzzy furry “bear skin” rug that is oh! so cozy under your feet.

That’s all.

Sparkle, On Friends!

 

C’mon!  Don’t miss all the fun! Follow me on FACEBOOK, Twitter, and Instagram! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design · Interior · What is Living Lovelier?

LIVING ROOM TRANSFORMED: Next in Creating Charisma in a Classic Charlestown Condo.

Time to cozy up in the living room.

I have shared the transformation of two of the rooms, the entryway and kitchen, in the fabulous Charlestown Condo: Let’s hang out in the living room now.

Here is where we started

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And here is where we landed…

 

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Note- the final piece of (gorgeous) furniture which conceals the AV wiring was on special order from Mitchell Gold at the time of the photo shoot

The living room and the kitchen share an open floor plan, so it was important to make them complimentary.

We carried the same colors, Ben Moore Cumulous Cloud and Grey, into the living room. Sleek chrome and glass throughout accentuate the already bright space. Both keep the room airy.

The living room furniture, from Mitchell Gold, are neutral (my FAVorite);  The light gray textured sofa and “taupe-y -alabaster” leather chairs are elegant and timeless, yet contemporary. The honey woodwork adds a dimension of warmth to the palate, too.

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Mr. C is mad for Harley Davidson so, OF COURSE, we found a vintage, black and white print which we hung prominently over the sofa.  It was well displayed.

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A collection of neutrals takes on life when paired with all different textures and finishes: Velvet, chrome, crystal, sheer drapes, mirror, glass, sparkle, wood, pops of unexpected color (we used plum) and black and white.

Old family photos personalize the room and the pillows and throws make the room more livable and inviting.

One of my favorite “finishing touches” to a living space is pillows.  Those featured are from West Elm.  Also, draping a few soft throws (from West Elm and Home Goods) here and there is an invitation to cuddle up and gather together. So, the room is elegant but also, warm and comfortable.

 

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There you have it!

What are we going to do next? We will visit the library in the following and last part of the series, Creating Charisma in a Charlestown Condo.

Sparkle on, Friends!

 

What is Living Lovelier?

A Lovely New Year

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Happy New Year, Everyone!

It has arrived and is in full force; 2017.

So, what has been up since the ball dropped, friends? Have you made (and reconsidered) any resolutions?

I chose not to make New Year’s Resolutions. So many of us say that we are going to lose weight, go to the gym, stop eating carbs, make our beds, stop swearing (not sure why) and on and on. My experience is that they are a recipe for feeling let down and unsuccessful. Let’s resolve to STOP STOPPING things. Let’s do things instead. Like design!

A New Year may be an invitation to try new things; things which bring joy and make stuff better- like life, or relationships or HOME.

HOME.

Maybe this is the year that you will make those subtle (or not so subtle) improvements to your surroundings. Maybe your ho-hum white paint needs to move over for its vibrant replacement. And that sofa!

Let Livinglovelier help. Tell me what to do.

How about breathing new life into your living room? New paint, pillows, and accents can transform a room.

What about choosing new paint colors? Something as simple as a change in color can be transformative.

Let’s select some new fabric for your window treatments or for that chair you have wanted to re-upholster for so long.

What about staging a room? Let’s empty that cluttered catch-all of a bookshelf, organize it and give it some pizzaz.

One other thing! If 2017 is the year to sell your home, I can help. Please let me get my hands on your house. I will stage it to look it’s best and get the optimal price for your sale.

The clock is ticking. Let’s get to work.

livinglovelier@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking: Soup · Interior · Renovation

Fourth in my HOME made series; Come into the Kitchen!

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If you happened to read my recent blog post, you would know that I broke up with my old house.

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Yes. Thank you. I am ok.

As I mentioned, I will continue to post about the renovation of our old gal.  Today, I shall share what made the kitchen so stupendous.

When I walked into my kitchen for the first time, it was love at first sight. I was smitten.

Whoever coined that “the kitchen is the heart of the home,” nailed it. And to me, the kitchen was the kitchen of all kitchens. How many times can I say kitchen in one sentence?

My Michael often remarked that he could easily live in it.  He sat on his comfortable stool at the bar, with one eye observing (all the while taste testing) whatever I happened to be stirring up.  The other eye fixated on whatever sporting event was on the big ‘ole tv.  One of three fridges was within arms reach.  The table was large enough to sleep on. And the bath and a half bath was right around the corner.

I am not sure who loved it more; Michael or me.

The former owners impeccably created the footprint of the kitchen and chose “Gucci” appliances. They were top -of-the-line, not to mention they looked sexy. The honed granite countertops, custom wood bar, and fine cabinetry pulled it all together. They did a super job.

I had no business changing the above. But I was excited about making it my own. The previous owners had a Tuscan theme; they painted the walls a muddled mustard color, a personalized mural was on the wall, and stencils of ivy and grapes laced the beams.

I lean toward mixing up the funky and modern with antiquity.  I decided to create a neutral palate with the paint (Ben Moore Edgecomb Gray- one of my favorites that I used in my Beacon Hill home as well as my Commonwealth Ave. condo.).

Tried as we might, we were not successful in stripping the beams to their natural wood finish.  We busted three sanders within the first few hours.  That was a wrap. We painted them the color of the trim, Benjamin Moore White Dove, and that worked just as well.

The previous pendant lighting over the bar was mosaic and diminutive given the scope of the room.  We installed clear globe large pendants (Rejuvenation) and what a transformation.

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They are pretty but not to scale

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This is more like it!

I mounted an antique bookshelf on the wall and filled it with my favorite cookbooks. That too was repurposed from my Beacon Hill home. (You can see a little sliver of it on the left side of the above photo.)

I found my kitchen table at Restoration Hardware Outlet.  It was prominently displayed immediately upon entering the store. I think that she was waiting for me to whip out my credit card and take her home: Another instance of love at first sight.

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This table was the life of the party and demanded attention.  The base was re-purposed wood.  And it was the first thing people noticed upon entering the room; It was magnetic.

It was as heavy as all get-out.  It took four very burly men on a bitterly cold day to bring it into the house. After they had carried it only twenty yards, every one of them was pouring sweat.

For seating, one one side, I repurposed my 111 Navy Chairs (see detail below ( made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles!) from my Boston house.  On the other, I used a bench which smoothly tucked under the table.  That was a pro-active solution to three boys who forget, at times, to push in their chairs when leaving the table.  At either end, I placed two Restoration Hardware linen wing chairs (above)  which were just, too comfortable.

Dexter can agree.

The best thing about that piece of furniture was that it was a mantel for many memories.

 

I know that the new owners will make many memories and share wonderful food and fun in this beautiful room. How could they not?

So, n the spirit of my beloved kitchen and my passion for cooking, below I share one of my favorite recipes which I came up with in this very kitchen: Italian Sausage Soup!

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Hearty Vegetable Soup

Ingredients


  • Two (11.5 ounce) cans tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
  • 
Two cups of chicken stock (vegetable if you prefer)

  • Four carrots, sliced
    Two parsnips, sliced

  • Four stalks celery diced
  • 
Two (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes undrained

  • Two cups chopped fresh green beans
  • 
Two cups fresh corn kernels
  • Two cups of peas
  • 
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 
Creole seasoning to taste

Directions


In a large stock pot, combine broth, tomato juice, stock, carrots, parsnips, celery, tomatoes, green beans, peas, and corn. Season with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 25- 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

Sparkle On, Friends!

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“The 111 Navy Chair from Design With Reach is “”Made from 111 recycled plastic Coke® bottles; this chair is the result of a special collaboration between Emeco and Coca-Cola®. It took four years of research, design, and testing to create it, the production of which keeps three million plastic bottles out of landfills every year. The 111 Navy Chair (2010) not only celebrates the iconic form of the aluminum 1006 Navy® Chair designed in 1944″”

*Design Within Reach    http://www.dwr.com/dining-chairs-and-stools/111-navy-chair/3773.html?lang=en_US

What is Living Lovelier?

Creating Charisma in a Classic Charlestown Condo: Kitchen!

Onward!

Last week I shared the transformation of the entryway of the Charlestown gem. Today, I am excited to show you the metamorphosis of the kitchen.

The kitchen was quite lovely. It had good bones: Beautiful cabinets, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors.

The challenge was that it was so, well, heavy! We needed to lighten it up. As mentioned in the last post, giving the illusion of more space has everything to do with keeping clean, sleek lines, fluidity and blending all the parts and pieces. We had some amendments to make.

Here is where we started:

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  • Beautiful cabinets but lackluster cabinet pulls
  • Drab yellow paint
  • Where is the backsplash?
  • Striking granite but dark, dark, dark!
  • A useful island but much, much too small
  • Traditional leather stools which were perfectly fine but too substantial and dark.

And here is how we rocked it:

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  • Kept the beautiful cabinets but replaced the ho-hum pulls with sparkly crystal knobs. Yay! (When the afternoon sun pours in, the kitchen is full of prisms- what is happier that that?)
  • Covered the drab paint with Benjamin Moore Gray (so much more delightful)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charlestown selected a fabulous backsplash and gorgeous quartz countertop with which I immediately fell in love. Stamp of approval!

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  • Created MUCH more dining area by enlarging the island which was then, topped with the striking quartz. No kitchen table required, thank you very much.

Look how lovely these new streamlined, contemporary and chic stools are!

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The kitchen is lovely! But, not only that, it works well. The blueprint is practical and the set up allows for everyone to gather around while the chef does the magic.

The kitchen is the heart of the home.

Next up? The Living Room!

Sparke On, Friends.

What is Living Lovelier?

Creating Charisma In A Classic Charlestown Condo; Entryway!

IMG_0714Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in Boston and one of my favorites. Rich in history, it is home to the Bunker Hill Monument, The Charlestown Navy Yard, and The Constitution, otherwise known as “Old Ironsides.”

For all you movie buffs, parts of the Oscar-winning movie,“The Departed” was filmed in Charlestown.

I have had some significant run-time in C-Town. My former interior landscaping company, Louisburg Gardens, Inc., was headquartered there for almost twenty years. I lived in the neighborhood for a year, too.

A fabulous couple contacted me through LIVINGLOVELIER. They recently purchased a newly renovated, bright and delightfully airy condo nestled in one of the most historical sections of the neighborhood.

The owners were recent empty-nesters and decided to move from the suburbs into the city. They downsized from their house to a two-floor condo.

It was a blank canvas, and they wanted an extra pair of eyes to help make it their own.I was excited to return to my old ‘hood for a new project. I readily accepted the challenge. My charge was to help them to re-define the entryway, the powder room, the office, the living room and kitchen.

Urban living opens the floodgates to a plethora of cultural offerings, fabulous restaurants, convenience and “buzz.” That said, life in the metropolis, the land of plenty is expansive when one walks out the door. But on the inside, at home, square footage can present some challenges.

Even though their condo was a generous size, we needed to utilize every inch in the most efficient and practical way.

The lower level of the condo has an open floor plan, blending the kitchen and living room. It is flanked on one side by a perfect little entryway and on the other, a lovely study.

We needed to define each area ingeniously and keep each part unique yet maintain the fluidity. In doing so, we maximized the footprint to make it look more expansive than one would think.

Let’s get rocking. What better way to share the transformation of this gem by beginning with the entryway?

The entryway needs to function as the red-carpet of the home, exuding character and style. But it needs to work, too. It is the space that transforms one from the hustle and bustle of the urban buzz to a place of repose; The sanctuary.

It is the part of the home that says, “Welcome.”

Here is what it looked like before we started our facelift.

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The bulky, dark leather bench served as a holding place for her purse and mail as well as a place to sit and put on footwear.

Notice the hanging coats which were visible from the kitchen. The look was somewhat cluttered.

The umbrella needed a home

The paint was in perfect condition but lacked character and punch.
The rug was dark and utilitarian.
The artwork was doing its job to hide the mechanical box, but not perfect for the area above the bench.

The existing set- up was perfectly functional but we needed to add pizzaz. These people are fabulous and their home should reflect just that.

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This stuff deserves a place of its own. Right?

My clients had chosen their paint colors prior to my arrival: Benjamin Moore Cumulous Cloud and Gray. In the interest of keeping the footprint fluid, we continued the colors throughout the first floor, just adding punch.

Metallic Bronze was the chosen accent color. We striped the far wall of the entranceway (the wall visible from the kitchen.) This added depth and dimension.

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The wall with the bronze metallic paint against the Benjamin Moore Cumulous Cloud gives it pop, character, and pizzaz!

The coat hooks are proportioned and to scale. A whimsical chrome boot is placed conveniently by the door to umbrellas.

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Look at the sturdy, funky fur bench supported with chrome legs. The artwork highlights the glam in the bench- Don’t you think?

It has been more than fun working with Mr. and Mrs. Charlestown. They have welcomed ideas outside the typical and been receptive to edgy and stylish accents.

This was just the beginning of the path of transforming the condo to their home, reflecting their style, personality and the fact that they are seriously cool people.

Thanks, K and D!

Stay tuned. Next up: THE KITCHEN.

Sparkle On, Friends.

Design · Interior · What is Living Lovelier?

Creating Charisma in a Classic Charlestown Condo; Entryway!

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Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in Boston and one of my favorites. Rich in history, it is home to the Bunker Hill Monument, The Charlestown Navy Yard, and The Constitution, otherwise known as “Old Ironsides.”

For all you movie buffs, parts of the Oscar-winning movie,“The Departed” was filmed in Charlestown.

I have had some significant run-time in C-Town. My former interior landscaping company, Louisburg Gardens, Inc., was headquartered there for almost twenty years. I lived in the neighborhood for a year, too.

A fabulous couple contacted me through LIVINGLOVELIER. They recently purchased a newly renovated, bright and delightfully airy condo nestled in one of the most historical sections of the neighborhood.

The owners were recent empty-nesters and decided to move from the suburbs into the city. They downsized from their house to a two-floor condo.

It was a blank canvas, and they wanted an extra pair of eyes to help make it their own.I was excited to return to my old ‘hood for a new project. I readily accepted the challenge. My charge was to help them to re-define the entryway, the powder room, the office, the living room and kitchen.

Urban living opens the floodgates to a plethora of cultural offerings, fabulous restaurants, convenience and “buzz.” That said, life in the metropolis, the land of plenty is expansive when one walks out the door.  But on the inside, at home, square footage can present some challenges.

Even though their condo was a generous size, we needed to utilize every inch in the most efficient and practical way.

The lower level of the condo has an open floor plan, blending the kitchen and living room.  It is flanked on one side by a perfect little entryway and on the other, a lovely study.

We needed to define each area ingeniously and keep each part unique yet maintain the fluidity. In doing so, we maximized the footprint to make it look more expansive than one would think.

Let’s get rocking.  What better way to share the transformation of this gem by beginning with the entryway?

The entryway needs to function as the red-carpet of the home, exuding character and style. But it needs to work, too. It is the space that transforms one from the hustle and bustle of the urban buzz to a place of repose; The sanctuary.

It is the part of the home that says, “Welcome.”

Here is what it looked like before we started our facelift.IMG_6623

The bulky, dark leather bench served as a holding place for her purse and mail as well as a place to sit and put on footwear.

Notice the hanging coats which were visible from the kitchen. The look was somewhat cluttered.

The umbrella needed a home

The paint was in perfect condition but lacked character and punch.
The rug was dark and utilitarian.
The artwork was doing its job to hide the mechanical box, but not perfect for the area above the bench.

 

The existing set- up was perfectly functional but we needed to add pizzaz.  These people are fabulous and their home should reflect just that.

 

IMG_6625

This stuff deserves a place of its own. Right?

My clients had chosen their paint colors prior to my arrival: Benjamin Moore Cumulous Cloud and Gray. In the interest of keeping the footprint fluid, we continued the colors throughout the first floor, just adding punch.

Metallic Bronze was the chosen accent color. We striped the far wall of the entrance way (the wall visible from the kitchen.) This added depth and dimension.

IMG_0714

The wall with the bronze metallic paint against the Benjamin Moore Cumulous Cloud gives it pop, character, and pizzaz!

The coat hooks are proportioned and to scale. A whimsical chrome boot is placed conveniently by the door to umbrellas.

 

IMG_0717

Look at the sturdy, funky fur bench supported with chrome legs. The artwork highlights the glam in the bench- Don’t you think?

It has been more than fun working with Mr. and Mrs. Charlestown. They have welcomed ideas outside the typical and been receptive to edgy and stylish accents.

This was just the beginning of the path of transforming the condo to their home, reflecting their style, personality and the fact that they are seriously cool people.

Thanks, K and D!

Stay tuned. Next up: THE KITCHEN.

Sparkle On, Friends.

 

 

What is Living Lovelier?

What My Beacon Street Client Had to Say about LIVINGLOVELIER….

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Listen to what she said.

“Creative, insightful and receptive to feedback. These are just some of the qualities Mary possesses as, what I like to call, a personal curator for living lovelier. When faced with the dilemma of how to decorate my rental apartment I turned to Mary for guidance. She took, what was for me, an overwhelming, anxiety-ridden task and translated my inner design aesthetic into a reality. She has the vision for those who need help bringing their thoughts and dreams into a reality. On top of all that, she comes ready to listen and receive feedback from her clients. Mary truly sparkles! “


And this is what I say. “THANK YOU!”

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A while ago I wrote a post about a client in Boston;   A young, professional woman decided to claim her rental apartment as her own. By identifying her taste and listening to what she wished her home to be, we collaborated and accomplished just that.

Her budget was conservative, so we re-purposed much of her furniture, parts, pieces and then added some spunk and a touch of glam.

We incorporated fresh new fabrics, bedding, appointments, a plethora of pillows, a shag rug and many artifacts she has gathered through her travels abroad.

The result was a jewel tone and white theme with glimmer and proof of her extensive travels.  The final product reflects her personality, design-taste and interests.

She loves her urban pad, and I loved working with her.

SOOOOO…

  • If you need another set of eyes, I am available for staging.
  • If you are ready to take the leap and want a new look, let’s start decorating.

I am currently working with clients in Boston, the Metro West and Merrimack Region.

Sparkle On, Friends.

 

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Renovation · Thoughts

My Recent Breakup; Why I have been off the grid.

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You may have noticed that I have taken a bit of a respite from writing over the past several months.

I just went through and emotional time: I just endured a heartbreaking breakup. It was painful and a long slow process.

I broke up with my house.

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Perhaps you are surprised. I can understand. Many of my posts proved that I was very much in love with that brick and mortar. Having been through a 65% gut renovation, I felt as if I knew every nail in that house;  I painstakingly chose every paint color, every stitch of fabric, every appointment, every piece of furniture.

I am uncertain whether or  not houses are gender specific, as ships or cars, but I am going to assume it is the case.

She was my labor of love.

I spent hours primping her. I painted, buffed, polished. I spent hours weeding her grounds and broke every nail ripping up the invasive bittersweet vines that threatened to devour her exterior beauty.

Making all her windows sparkle took 40 hours alone. I know. I did it three times during the two years she was interview by potential suitors. One time I landed myself in the ER where I needed four stitches from making those windows gleam.  I did it for her.

As time ticked on, she proved that she was indisputably needy  Come to think of it, to say she was needy is the world’s greatest understatement. She was the epitome of high maintenance in every possible way. I was incessantly boosting her up, overhauling her, mending her and tending to her every demand.

At two hundred six years old she was elderly. She was home to many over those years. She was rich in history but frail, despite all her repairs. She required constant care.Given her antiquity, she was full of life and experience.

 But, oh! If her walls could speak! 

Leaving her was not due to a lack of love. I just could no longer give her my 100%. I was depleted, exhausted and torn. I gave her everything I had. There were too many withdrawals and not nearly enough deposits.

It was time to part ways.

My Michael was the one who suggested the breakup. He pointed out how she was draining me and that we needed to rip off the band aid and move on. I resisted and argued, kicking and screaming. I was defensive and protective. I’ll admit I shed tears.

Michael scratched his head over those tears.  He reminded me that she was a house, after all.  I could not have disagreed more.

And how could I abandon my love?

The breakup took almost two years. It was on again and off again. We put her on the market and took her off. Each time I buffed and polished and made her sparkle. It was exhausting. It was grueling, emotional and a struggle. All the while, I felt I was betraying her.

The hardest part was finding her a new love; A new steward. It was going to take the right family; One which would love and care for her as I had. There were showings upon showings. The process was reminiscent of the many MATCH.COM dates that I had to endure before I met My Michael.

It was a great run and our fondness was mutual. Except when a pipe burst or the heating system refused to do its job. Then, I was less in love. But we got through the rocky times.

Two months ago, I passed the baton. Her new suitors took over and we said goodbye. It was heartbreaking.  It was a relief.

I am newly in like with one much younger. Call it robbing the cradle, but my new relationship is with a two-year-old home. She is very vanilla but I am in the process of giving her a makeover and appointing her so that she has just as much charm and character as my former love. We are taking it slowly but in time I am confident that my new gal will be unique and special, too.

I will share the journey with you.

But, in the honor of my past love, I will regard her by continuing to share how I brought her to her happy beautiful place. I will reminisce by sharing more posts on the transformation of my antique, my former love.

Cousin Laura visited me recently after I moved. I asked her what she thought of my new home. She replied that it was very nice but it needed to be MARY-IZED.

I am excited to do just that and to share every step of the way with you.

Sparkle on, Friends

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