I’ll preface this post by saying this is not a home design blog. Many fabulous design blogs are there in the world, notably design*sponge and Apartment Therapy, two of my favorites; this isn’t one of them. Design is not my knack, nor my expertise.

But that said, I’ve heard a popular refrain since Mike and I moved out to California: “Show me photos of your new place!” Which I would love to do, because frankly, I’ve really fallen for our little house.

Maybe it’s the fact there are only 1,000-square-feet to clean. Maybe it’s the fact we have snap peas and cherry tomatoes growing in our backyard. Maybe I just like cozy spaces.

Moving from a four-bedroom house in Arlington to a cottage tucked behind our landlords’ house in Mountain View has been like a long, drawn-out game of Tetris. Some pieces only fit just so. Others we had to give away and curse the fact we hauled them across the country (damn that Ikea laminate-board!).

While interior design is a new and mysterious art for me, I have found a few useful resources to decode the puzzle. Besides the two blogs noted above, I highly recommend Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan.

He consistently uses a turn of speech that really appeals to the writer in me: a “well-edited space.” It’s a saying that seems to imply that where natural talent fails, persistence and dedication can still chisel out a homey, pleasant place. It’s basically a dictum of Home Design for Dummies. Or to quote Bill Perrault, a family friend of Mike’s, on his advice for weeding: “When in doubt, pull it out.”

I have two close friends back in D.C. who model this mindset effortlessly. Incidentally both of their names rhyme with “No”; as in, “No, I don’t want your hand-me-downs. Where would that fit in my closet?” or “No, I will not save this expired scone mix simply because it was a gift.”

I could learn a thing or two from these wise ladies.

Living room

I’ve posted a few photos of our home here. Part 2, as promised!

Kitchen

Dresser

And with that I’ll leave you with the best quote on home design I’ve read yet, courtesy of William Morris, an English textile designer, artist, and writer associated with the English Arts and Crafts Movement more than a century ago:

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
—William Morris, Hopes and Fears for Art (1882)

Happy editing.