On getting settled in

Every day in the last week and a half we have had at least one or two contractors banging away at the walls or the floors or the roof of our house. I am beyond frustrated at this point, and not just because of all the deafening noise or the sense that this house is not yet our home. It feels like most of these contractors don’t really care whether or not their work is any good, and almost more than the fact that there are unnecessary holes in the walls and an inch-thick layer of sawdust on every surface in the house, I think I’m most angry about the fact that I can’t recommend any of them to my friends or family who might need their services. Need someone to install a tricky satellite hook-up? I don’t know anyone who could do that, but I could recommend someone who could come out to your house and take a huge poop in the middle of your kitchen floor. I could recommend someone who is really good at that.

One of the only bright spots in all of this was the opportunity to design our new office with the help of an interior designer. A few weeks ago Ariel put me in touch with someone who asked if we’d like to participate in a book about organic and sustainable design, all we’d have to do is let someone come in and put together a room in our house for us with eco-friendly furnishings. Then we’d take a few photos of the room for the book, and afterward we could return the room to what it was before if we didn’t like the design, or we could keep any part of it we wanted and buy it all for a significantly lower price than retail. I’ve become increasingly interested in interior design over the last few years, and since this was all for such a good cause there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to watch someone work this way. And also, Jon and I didn’t have nearly enough chaos in our lives, not at all, and were needing a fresh reason to plot each other’s slow and painful deaths.

Kelly and Sarah of Organic Interior Design flew out to Salt Lake City last week, and after Kelly took a look at the style of the house I told her I’d love a really fun and funky office with a very distinct mid-century modern feel to it, something to reflect the era of the architecture of this house. Turns out that the best way to design an eco-friendly room in your home if you live in a smaller city like we do is to shop for second-hand furnishings, because here antiques cost two or three times less than they do in bigger cities. In order to find a wide selection of vendors who have sustainable building practices and who can sell furnishings that were built with the environment in mind, you’re probably going to have to look in a more metropolitan area than we live. Like the Arctic tundra.


By Friday afternoon Kelly and Sarah had found all the furniture that they wanted to use for the shoot, and most of it came from a local shop called The Green Ant. Holy bumper dicks, is that the coolest shop in town. I had no idea it even existed, and even if I did I probably wouldn’t have ever checked it out if it weren’t for Kelly because the only thing I know about antique shops is that my mother loves them, and let’s just say that festive patriotic pigs are not my thing. Neither are Christmas roosters. Or paintings of cows dressed up like Catholic priests.

The Green Ant specializes in exactly the type of furniture we were looking for, and there she found several chairs, a desk, and various pieces of art to put on the walls. When she dropped all the pieces off at the house on Friday afternoon there were still a few contractors inside trying to hammer through my skull with their voices (they were still here today, up until just now, and will be here tomorrow through next year). Maybe because their hearing is bad from working around power tools for so many years? That’s a possibility, yes, and would certainly explain why they SHOUTED AT EACH OTHER FOR NINE STRAIGHT HOURS, but I’m more inclined to believe that the reason they have made my life so miserable for the last several days is because they wanted to see who could first make me throw a large dairy item at my husband. I considered a tub of cream cheese, although soon discovered that a box of unsalted butter would certainly leave a deeper, more satisfying gash.

Yesterday Kelly and Sarah were here for many hours setting up the room, and they even painted one wall with a light-turquoise environmentally-friendly paint, which I can definitely recommend to anyone who is interested. And I can say here that they were a joy to work with, showed up when they said they would, did exactly the work they said they would do, even cleaned up after themselves. And the room? It looks incredible:

eames rocking chair

vintage Ingram sunburst clock

retro light

(see also this daily photo)

After our long day together we all had drinks and ate a robust meal that GEORGE! had cooked on the grill in the new backyard: steak and mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. We would never had been able to host so many people in our old house, and as I was cleaning up an endless string of dishes I couldn’t have been happier with such a huge mess. It means we have lovely people in our lives, and that they ate our food and then stuck around to tell us their stories. I will miss them, and hope that they know that because of their impeccable work, my husband will not need to duck when he hears me opening the refrigerator door.