Thursday, September 10

Fall 2015 Home Tour

Hi there and welcome to Designing on the Side! If you have just joined us from the last stop on the 2015 Fall Home Tours, I hope you enjoyed seeing the great decor at designPostinteriors. I am obsessed with her style and her blog. Love everything about it!

I was so glad when Marty from A Stroll Thru Life asked me to once again be a part of her home tours. In case you missed it, here was our Summer Home Tour. Summer has come and gone, and even though I am sad to see the lazy days go, I am NOT sad to say goodbye to the heat and humidity of a Washington, DC summer. It's been brutal and I am ready for cool, crisp days.

Halloween is my fav! Our community goes all out with a huge bonfire in the local park, a neighborhood parade and costume contest, and more than a few house/porch parties for the adults to enjoy while out trick or treating with the kiddos.

I've found a lot of cute stuff at different stores that make the house festive without being tacky - a little tricky when it comes to this particular holiday. Don't get me wrong...we have plenty of weird and creepy outdoor decor but I try to keep the inside a little more tasteful. Here's how it looks. 

Great Room


Advent (?) calendar in the kitchen. 


Ornaments in the living room

Tiny haunted houses on the piano

Last year's dining table decor

While I loved last year's dining table decor, for this early Fall time period I decided to go in a different direction. I thought a transitional look would be fun to try. First I started by making this centerpiece using flowers, as well as artichokes, plums and limes. I really love how it turned out!

The dining room is still very much a work in process. I don't love the black chairs and hutch but I am on an unfortunate spending hiatus while we save money for our front porch (more on that below). So they will have to do for now. I do LOVE this reclaimed wood trestle table found at the Restoration Hardware outlet which normally sells for more than $3,500 and I got for $900! A total steal!

Here's a shot looking into the dining room from the pantry. The wallpaper is Thibaut Downing Gate and the curtains are from none other than Target (my favorite place on earth). 

When I can finally afford to buy new chairs, I am seriously considering these plum ones - to add some color to the room. They are from World Market and I really love them. Hoping they are still available and on sale when it's time to buy. 

Oh..and here is a painting our builder did of what the house will look like when the front porch is done. I cannot wait. Halloween porch party 2016 here we come!!!

Hope you enjoyed Fall..Designing on the Side style. Next up on the tour is Life Love Larson and you will DIE for her style. Visit now and enjoy!!! 

~ Allie 

Friday, August 28

We Are All Ok

Dear Laura -

It's been almost six months since I heard your voice. Or got a new text. Or had a conversation about fucking cancer (a word not many people ever heard you say). Six months. And even though I come and see you frequently and we have plenty of one sided, somewhat awkward conversations, I thought you might appreciate a little update on how life is going without you.

Most importantly, I want you to know that the girls are ok. There have been many smiles in the last six months to go along with the tears and I know that would make you happy. They are surrounded by love and watched over carefully. You worried about who would brush and braid their hair and you should know that part in particular is going swimmingly. They will never be whole without you and there are no doubt some terrible, awful times ahead, but I want you to know they are ok.

Your husband has proven to be one of the strongest people I've ever met. A total and complete pain in the ass to me personally, but an incredible father who is truly kicking the shit out of option B. (That won't make sense to you. Ask around up there for a guy named Dave. He'll explain.) He misses you so much and it hurts to see him hurt, but he won't let any of us wallow and so we spend a lot of time laughing. Mostly at him. And Mike makes him fancy drinks. A lot of fancy drinks. He is ok too.

I am happy to tell you that your family has not fallen apart but instead has bonded together and pulled each other through. I watch them from a distance and think of how I'd feel if I lost my sister or my daughter and I can't breathe. They could have laid down but they haven't. Your mom even rode the zip line at your sister's house on Easter. Not kidding. There's a video. They are all ok.

Your house looks amazing (mostly thanks to me)! It's painted the darker shade of grey (sorry but the lighter one looked beige), the office is almost done (not at all like you and I discussed but still awesome), we ordered a cushion for that window seat that bugged you, and Jeremy bought you a piano. It's gorgeous and your girls will learn to play it so you can listen. The house is more than ok.

There are too many friends to update you on but safe to say your leaving hasn't been easy on any of them. They have provided meals and rides and after school care and support in too many ways to describe. And they post on your Facebook wall all the time and tell you they miss you. I often wonder if you knew how many people really loved you. I hope so. It reminds me to tell others how much I love them, which weirds people out I am sure. But that's ok.

I guess that just leaves an update on how I am. I miss you my friend. I really, really do. The change of seasons is particularly crappy. Fall is almost here and instead of dealing with carpool or heading to a Labor Day soccer tourney like last year or discussing the Halloween parade that you refused to help me plan, I came to visit yesterday and left flowers on your grave. I am still sad but I am ok.

Every once in a while I re-read our old texts. Remember that conversation we had about your 25th anniversary and how you had a vision of being there, dancing with Jer and the girls were watching? You were 100% convinced that you would get to see that day. I think about that a lot and about your unwavering belief that you'd get better and that makes me sad and angry at how unfair life can be. But there are good memories too like when you put a baby bow on your big old bald head and we sat in your kitchen at 11 o'clock on a Tuesday night laughing hysterically. I'd post that picture here but I know you'd literally haunt me which would be ok.

Life is changing in some good ways and some hard ones. The soccer season starts tomorrow and our girls aren't on the same team. I know that would have made you sad. Bobby and Claire both made travel which means we bought a bigger car and I can hear you laughing about that. School starts in ten days and I know it will be a hard day - as all firsts have and will be this year. And Jer found someone lovely to help with the girls and I know that would give you a sense of peace. Life is different now, but that is ok.

The thing about death is that it leaves a wide path of destruction in its wake. Yours is no different and there have been a lot of painful days for those you loved, and for those who loved you the most. But what amazes me is that you have left us all with the strength to move forward and to thrive in your absence. And that is the truest testament of who you are as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend that there can ever be. You made sure we'd all be ok.

Thank you for trusting me and my little family to be there for yours. It has not been an easy journey and damn, I wish you were here to do it yourself, but I consider it a gift nonetheless. Rest well, my friend. We are all ok.

Love, Allie

PS...I thought you'd like to see some pics of the kids and our goofball husbands from the past six months. I know they will make you smile.

Thursday, July 23

Lake House Dreaming

Hello friends! Long time no post eh? Busy times...but what else is new? In addition to summer highlights such as math camp (my kids hate me), we spent the 4th of July at the lake, which is one of our favorite places on earth. One week there has left us once again dreaming of buying our own lake retreat someday. There's just something so relaxing about a lake - when the biggest decision you have to make is whether or not to take the boat out. It's zen defined.

We have rented many houses at the lake and they all have unique style. This time it was a log cabin that was gorgeous in structure but let's just say that there was decor. Perhaps the highlight were the many MANY stuffed animals and not the cute fluffy kind but the dead foxes eating stuffed ducks kind. It's a miracle none of the kids in the group had nightmares. If we are ever lucky enough to get a lake house of our own, I am thinking of going in a slightly different decorating decoration. Here are a few that I am currently obsessed with.

First up is truly my dream cottage on a lake in Michigan. There is absolutely nothing that I don't love about this sweet home. It's on a blog called The Lillypad Cottage and to quote the great Rachel Zoe, I die for this house. I kind of want to stalk this chick and make her my friend just so she'll invite me over. Ohhh..kay...that is weird I know. But really, how amazing is this?

The LilyPad Cottage is a hard act to follow but there are others that I dream of. All pics courtesy of Houzz (search on Lake Houses):

Second only to the house, is of course the boat! We will no doubt want a speedy, tube towing boat if we ever get a lake house. But it would be a dream come true to buy an old fashion Chris Craft boat complete with a little American flag flying off the bag. 

And now that I have made not one, but BOTH of my brothers gag at my obnoxiousness, I will sign off. Probably for like 3 or 4 months. But it was good dreaming with you - even for just a little bit. 

Happy summer guys!!!