An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The Study

There is a program in the LDS religion known as “home teaching” (for men) and “visiting teaching” (for women). Basically you and a companion are assigned families to visit or check up on once a month. It keeps the community strong, enables everyone to help everyone else, and is an absolute pain in the ass.

OOPS! Sorry, Mormons. BUTT. Pain in the butt.

True story: I was on a full tuition scholarship at BYU, and in order to maintain that scholarship I had to keep my grade point average above 3.9. And I was working thirty hours a week. So I fell behind on my visiting teaching duties. You know, because I was barely treading water. This was apparently the worst sin I could have committed, other than maybe drinking a can of Coke out in the open on campus. And loving it.

So my bishop pulled me into his office, wagged his finger in my face and put me on academic probation. Told me he would not sign my ecclesiastical endorsement (you have to be religiously worthy to continue attending BYU) unless I cleaned up my act.

You have no idea how badly I would love to sit across from that man now and describe in intimate detail all the positions of sex I engaged in before I got married. While sipping a Coke and wiping my mouth on my bikini top.

All of this to tell you that in Utah many houses are built with a room specifically designated as the home teaching room. It’s usually right to the side of the front door so that the visit may be a quick one. Most of the Mormons I know accompany the words “home teacher” and “is coming over this afternoon” with a giant, displeased groan. It’s the same groan I make whenever I hear “Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann” and “opened her mouth.”

Sorry, Tea Partiers. I’ve been holding that one in A LONG TIME. I feel better now.

We have one of the home teaching rooms in our new house. And per convention it’s right off to the side of the front door. Since we don’t have home teachers visiting us any longer, we decided to use this room as a study slash sitting room slash mail room. And by mail I mean the constant stream of packages that come to our mailbox, mail that used to sit on the kitchen table that Tyrant used as a desk. Now they have a home of their own! CUTE LITTLE PACKAGES THAT I TUCK INTO BED AT NIGHT! (bed meaning a giant closet) (they are gay packages) (sorry, bad joke) (Dad, are you still reading this?)

I decided that this needed to be the next room to design because anyone who comes over sees this room immediately, and it was collecting boxes and papers at such a ridiculous pace that I feared Marlo may get lost underneath the pile indefinitely. Which would have given us a little breather, but might be this side of frightening for her. Or thrilling, given her mood.

The whole decor of the room started with two adorable poufs I found at Homegoods, a store that happens to be right next door to the salon of the woman who waxes my eyebrows (anyone in town need a good waxer or all around aesthetician? Heather is your woman. And I have made her sign a release that prevents her from telling you anything about my bikini line.)

I hadn’t ever been inside a Homegoods until Heather moved her salon from her house to her new place, and I thought I’d just pop in after an appointment to see if anything caught my eye. BAD DAY FOR THE CHECKBOOK.

The poufs and the lamp are from Homegoods, but I actually spray-painted the lamp pink. The chair is from a local furniture shop, the pillow from Target, the bamboo side table from a consignment shop called Now & Again, and the crazy plant was left here by the crazy previous owner. Luckily there was no mythical bobcat hiding behind a leaf.

I bought a lovely porcelain tea set from an Etsy shop called High Street Market, and a couple of books on style and etiquette by Kate Spade from One Kings Lane.

The biggest splurge in the room was the fireplace whose surround used to be an awful pattern of ceramic tiles the color of baby poop. We picked out the marble at a local stone dealer, and I am in love with how it turned out. I want to dress in this marble, although Lady Gaga has probably already done that.

The painting is from Homegoods, the owls from West Elm, and the miniature globes and glass coral bowl are from One Kings Lane.

This is where I sit down to write thank you notes. Originally I wanted to put the desk up against the wall, but one of the best views in the house is out through this window. The desk is from West Elm, the chair is from Brocade Home.

I wanted a bookcase in the room to stash my collection of decor magazines, and I think the rules say that you can’t call a room a study if it doesn’t have at least a few books lying around. The bookcase and children’s chair are both from Now & Again.

This is a handmade doll from Loobylu.

The vintage deer antlers are from High Street Market, and the vases are all from Ikea. The rose was part of a giant bouquet Jon gave to me for Valentine’s day.

Originally there were no moldings or paint on the walls, so we hired a handyman to come install this design in both this room and the playroom. I’ve always wanted to paint a room gray, and this color is an Olympic paint called Flagstone.

As for the carpet… we wanted to keep this room on as tight a budget as possible, so replacing it would have been cost prohibitive. It’s also the only room in the entire house that has carpet, and Leta loves to drag Marlo to this room — what she calls The Soft Room — when they want to tumble and flip around.

You may now commence with WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! comments.

  • Ineedavacation

    Damn your funny!


    Room looks great. Investing in the wall molding and the fireplace is something I would do. I have one questions- One Kings Lane, I have had shipping issues, did you receive your items in a timely manner? Did you consult a designer?

  • apostate

    Ha ha ha! Ten years ago, when DH and I bought our house, I remember saying “This will be a nice room for the HTs / VTs.”
    As it turns out, that room was not close enough to the front door. The front porch would have been better so that I could get up and walk inside every time the HTs weren’t able to refrain from asking my husband (the atheist) to say the closing prayer, or when he was finally going to start attending church. “Why IS it that we never see you in church?” “Uh… I’m an atheist. Like I told you April 30. And March 31. And Feb 28…”
    (Thanks for giving my butt a big push out the door by making me feel that there was no place in the church for my “for time only” ass, HTs.)
    Once I became apostate, I also lost my endorsement, hence my ability to finish my degree. I would probably have lost it sooner had they known how many times I brought my fiance into my bedroom and how we had bluejean sex. Spencer W. Kimball is rolling in his grave right now. I will have to start from scratch after my kids are older since the credits on their own are worth nada. (LDSBC isn’t as prestegious as BYU.)
    Like your room, ours is also used for storage. Right now, it’s housing every large dish and appliance in my kitchen until my remodel is complete. The year we had a garage sale you couldn’t even walk into that room.

    About 14 years ago, I was in a singles ward and my RS Pres. sat and SOBBED uncontrollably as not all of us were doing our visiting teaching. SOBBED. It was the most ridiculous attempted guilt trip of my life. She also added “I love each and every one of you girls!” (What’s my name? I’ll give you $50 if you can tell me.)

    Ah, good times.

  • snownurse

    Ha! We just call ours “The Mormon Room”. Of course…I aint gunna let any Mormon’s in it! I use it as my office. Like you said, these rooms have great views & I too have my desk facing the window.

  • snownurse

    Oh, and I practically live at Home Goods. However, they need one at the south end of the valley. Come on Home Goods! Draper, Riverton, South Jordan needs you!

  • bluejeanbaby

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your style. those colors are great, and I can’t wait to have a house of my own to decorate someday.

  • WriteSpell


    I however might die of absolute envy because of this awesome room. I love gray use it all the time and love how you combined the two colors.

    I consider Home Goods my second home.

    I do.


  • jassee

    the study looks great and i think you are inspirational…however i will never be interested in your bikini wax – nor do i think any of your other avid fans will be either!

  • AshesVonDust

    Holy crapcakes!

    Totally going to go out and buy a vintage lamp just so I can spray paint it pink.

  • caroworld

    I love your sense of colours! Beautiful apartment!!

  • molspins

    You know what I love best about this room? That the last pouf pic AND the arrangement on the desk are cute little faces. LOVE!

  • deepthoughts78

    Love! May I please live in your study? I just love the colors you used. I love them so much in fact that I have that yellow and gray throw pillow, and won’t let anyone touch it so they won’t “ruin” it.

    Oh, and I would have liked to see a untidy pile of mail in one of your pictures, you know just for the fun of it.

  • nikki-petey

    Now I feel left out. I live in Salt Lake and don’t have a visiting teacher room. I am also not mormon, but that is beside the point. I want one of these rooms!

  • Square Peaches

    I love those poufs and the colors! We are in the beginning stages of doing our family room/basement, and we just painted the walls a very similar shade of gray — our first attempt to move away from beige, taupe, or tan! The husband and I are finding our tastes changing to a more stream-lined style — and the need for some color! We’re using the gray as a backdrop for bright red & royal blue.

    I just posted the mood board I put together on my blog today as a matter of fact. I figure this will be quite the experiment in budget decorating!

  • Mellie373

    I too groan whenever I hear that Michelle Bachmann opened her mouth…and I’m from Minnesota. I could be kicked out just for thinking that.

    Your study is awesome, I love seeing your finished decorating projects.

  • MsIdaho

    My nickname is high school was “Ripple”. I got the nickname from a group of young men who de-pansted me and then spread the word that I only had, “One pubic hair rippling in the wind”. Obviously, I was devastated with the event and the nickname, but I embraced it because I realized it wasn’t going to go away.

    My current nickname is MOM, another name I have embreaced because I realize it won’t go away.

  • cconnelly1975

    My nickname at my old job was Convict because my last name is Connelly, not because I have ever been convicted of anything. That I know of.

  • makfan

    ROFLMAO at the Bachmann comment.

    You are great at taking a small space and making it really cool. My house is so full of paper clutter that no space looks nice right now.

  • dfrhjre356

    Want to be very warm, very fashionable, very beautiful clothes? Then come here:

  • heathersky

    Random…I just discovered HomeGoods as well and pissed away my children’s inheritance! Love the turquoise bookcase too. You little interior decorator you!

  • suzypepper

    Speaking of home teaching, I must share this:

    I sincerely hope a home teacher helped with that. I mean really.

  • denise karis

    I love the fireplace. I should have left this comment under the new ten year post but I already posted my nickname and it would feel like cheating to leave another comment – so I’m leaving it here – CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ten years! I’ve been a reader for four of those – I started reading when I became a mom because my internet life took the place of my real social life and your story with Letas birth and baby years helped me more than you could know. Thank you so much, Heather! You’re absolutely wonderful! xoxxoxoxo

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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