We’ve just moved!! Yes, back to the US we’ve returned. Our new home is a midwest Cape cod. I’ve always wanted one, so here’s to the new adventure! For a lot of reasons, this is the right move for us right now. If you’d like to see internal photos of it, click here. I haven’t created a video tour for it yet. For six weeks we lived in it empty, and now we’re up to our eyeballs in boxes!! Stay tuned.
We’ve kept our English Brighton home and [if we can pull it off financially/tenant-wise, etc.] we’d like to take the boys to spend our summers there. But for now it’s decided that the elementary school-year chapter of their lives should be spent on the U.S. side of the pond. I want the boys to get a taste of both worlds we know and love; the fabulous, magical Brighton but equally I don’t want them to become so Anglicized that they miss out on true American trick-or-treating or the draw of a Sunday-morning craving for a plate smothered in syrup served in a greasy spoon.
So here we are in American after ten years in the UK. The boys are thrilled but honestly Mr. Stone and I are a bit culture shocked/shell shocked/stuck somewhere in the middle. When I stop hopping into the car on the wrong side I’ll know I’ve truly settled back in. I’m still doing it at least twice a week. What a geek am I. I am also still converting the money in my head. I can’t think in dollars yet. I’m loving the gas prices though! Woohoo! I bought a gas guzzler and I don’t care!! Americans whining about fuel prices should try filling up a tank on a little island. My credit cards used to call for fraud checks because it didn’t seem possible to spend $500 at the pump. But indeed it was. So to fill up now for $70?! Rock on. [Sorry for the tangent.]
Back to house snooping. You can still peek in on our Brighton one. It’s all here below. As we unpack and start documenting the Cape Cod, see if you can spot what we shipped. I always think it’s interesting to see new life in recycled furniture. Even when it’s our own. I think/hope/pray I brought the right stuff. International shipping is a nightmare.
I just love snooping in other peoples homes. Love snooping. Not as in, sneaky, sneaky opening the medicine cabinet…no, no, I’m not that kind of snoop. I’m the girl craning my neck in the doorway to get a sideways glance when I go to collect something from eBay or drop Jack for a playdate. I want to see what they’ve done with the place. How the house is designed. What the KITCHEN looks like.
So…I assume people want the do the same with mine. In fact, I know they do because people crane their knecks in my doorway. And I pretty much always give them a tour. Unless they look possessed. OR my house is trashed–which does sometimes happen, i.e. the day after a party. But since you’re not actually here, just in cyberspace, I can offer you a controlled tour with guaranteed clean rooms. We don’t really live this way. But at least you can see what the house is supposed to look like.
The house is a Regency-era middle terrace. It was built in 1833. We bought it derilict and restored it ourselves. It’s a tall, skinny house with five floors, two rooms on each floor. We’re located a block from the beach. We basically live on the beach. The house is filled with colours from the beach. And rocks and shells we found on the beach. And lots of other stuff we found on the beach. And well, stuff in general. I like stuff.
Unless you’re familiar with Regency-era skinny houses, you may be confused as to how it’s layed out. So…here’s how it goes:
On the ground floor I have a formal living room and a dining room. Smack in the middle of the two is my baby grand piano. It sits in the archway. I love to create displays on my piano. You see lots of photos of it in my site, so I’m not going to add more here. You’ve seen my piano.
The front entry floor is painted in a diamond pattern with Farrow and Ball paint. [I made a video showing how I did this if you're interested...] I’m supposed to have a wall where the painted floor ends and the carpet begins. But the hallway would be too narrow for modern life, and I like open plan. So I don’t have the wall. I use the floor change to help define the space. We stores the trikes, bikes, and well, general stuff for the beach boardwalk under the piano for easy access.
The sofa and chair I bought on eBay. The piano is from eBay. In fact, most of it is from eBay. And boot sales. And charity shops. It’s all about how you pull it together. I’m on a budget.
I bought the dining set on eBay too. The chairs needed help. I recovered them in the same fabric I used on my living room curtains. Recovering chairs is very easy to do. I’ve kept the same pallete throughout the house because it picks up colours from nature outside our front door and with open plan keeping to one really helps blend the space.
I think I’m more relaxed about the house and having kids run through without care because nothing, furniture-wise, in the house is precious. It can take a beating and I don’t cringe. Not often, anyway. [I did once make a four year old playdate get off the top of my piano. There was also the incident with the fabric paint craft project gone-wrong playdate...] We tend to have 30-40 kids running through the house at parties and it all returns to normal the next day. Bless the carpet steaming machine, amen.
The kitchen is downstairs, on the lower-ground floor. This is very typical of houses from this era. I love my kitchen. It’s mostly IKEA, but who would know unless I told them.
It’s a kosher kitchen. It’s not uber uber kosher though. I’ve been allowed to host events for the Jewish community here. But my Rabbi’s wife won’t eat anything. If you see what I mean. There are grades of kosher-ness. We just skirt it I think. We’re pesche-vegetarian. So not having meat in the house makes it a lot easier. And we have two sets of everything. Including two dishwashers. Bless IKEA and their appliance deals. It’s great for parties. But I’m a bit more relaxed about kosher-ness. If you’re curious, I rattle on about it on another page.
This floor always fills up during parties. It just had a good vibe. People tend to like to be near the good food spreads too. We know how to put on a good spread.
The breakfast room has french doors [that I found in a skip] that open onto our postage-stamp sized garden. We have crammed a lot into this space; a shed for Mr. Stone to putter,a hot tub for me, a tree house for Jack and Sprinkles, and a dog house for Gracie.
If we go back up the stairs and past the ground floor, you end up on the first floor. That’s where my craft room is and our family room, known as the Library.
Up another flight, and you’re on our second floor. This is where the master bedroom and family bathroom are. I love big bathrooms. I think they should be a family space. I love reading to my boys in the tub!
Gracie loves to take baths with Jack.
The top floor is where Jack and Max are.
Max’s room is stork themed. I’m really pleased with it, had a lot of fun designed and sewing for it.
The snooker table lowered makes the ideal play table. The IKEA storage underneath is perfect for all of his toys. Kids love to come and play in Jack’s room.
and the sofa gives us mums a place to sit with coffee and chat while they play.
I’ve just taped the house tour if you’d like to watch it. Just click here: