The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

The Wisdom of Donna Reed September 2, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:45 am
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Sandee in 1950s Kitchen

Since moving to San Francisco I have found myself with an unusual amount of free time. I found a part time job, but the demands are so much less than my usual schedule of teaching full time. The first few weeks I was able to stay busy by unpacking and organizing but now that is done.

Armed with a notepad and pen, my trusty MacBook, and the desire to be the best domestic goddess I can be I will watch the show from the beginning and find the lesson in each episode and you, dear reader, will be have access to my discoveries. Consider this your Cliff’s Notes on household harmony since it is quite possible that you may have a job that prevents you from engaging in this sort of deep cultural exploration. I am happy to share the fruits of my labor. Really, it’s the least I can do.

My goal is not to copy Donna’s every move, I am not making my life into a dusty time capsule. I want to take the wisdom of 1958 and apply it to 2010. I want to embrace timeless wisdom from a timeless woman. Donna, I surrender myself to you. Teach me.


Settling In August 24, 2010

TowerGirl @ 3:19 pm
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The San Francisco apartment is starting to take shape. This is by far the smallest place we’ve lived in so finding a home for everything has been a challenge. The space itself is lovely. It has lots of light and some great old features. San Francisco architecture is so charming. I have been spending a lot of time just wandering around and gazing at buildings.

Our place has a hallway, bathroom, nice sized kitchen (which was why we chose this place), living room, and bedroom. The main focus has been putting things away. Our dear friend Cliffy helped with this by taking us for an Ikea pilgrimage over the weekend. Now I need to think about hanging our paintings and making curtains.

It’s starting to come together and I think when it’s done it will be quite cozy. Here’s a look at the work in progress.

I’ll start the tour with the soul of the place, the kitchen. The kitchen is a nice size with a gas stove and granite countertops. It needed an island to make the space more usable and give us a place to sit. There is space for all my gadgets, but we need room to store wine. All in all it’s quite a usable space.



Now the living room which is becoming my favorite room. It’s quite cozy here and there is no need for a TV when you can look out and see all the activity on Haight Street.
Living Room

Couch Nook


Then there is the bedroom which has a big, lovely window and very little closet space. We but up some bins and that helps a lot.


Clothes Bins


That’s where we’re at. I like the way things are coming together, I think I may try some picture placement this afternoon.


Home is where the blondies are baked. August 5, 2010

TowerGirl @ 1:45 pm
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We are moving. We love our home, but the hubby has an exciting new career opportunity so we are relocating to San Francisco. I’ve been busy boxing up all our belongings and planning our new space. I’ve been trying not to feel heartbroken about leaving our beloved tower.

I try hard not to get too attached to stuff. Clearly, the important things are that my husband and I will be together, we are embarking on an exciting new adventure, and we are bound to come out of this as more interesting people. Right? This is what I am telling myself.

The part of the tower I am most attached to is my kitchen. My kitchen in compact but perfectly designed. I have accomplished great things in this kitchen. I’ve learned to bake bread, created 150 whoopie pies for a friend’s wedding, made Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, and Christmas feasts, and made countless cozy meals for two.

When looking for apartments in San Francisco, my brilliant husband, who had to do the leg-work while I scrutinized Craigslist and the photos he sent (Thank you, iPhone!), knew that the kitchen was the most important element  for me. Our new apartment, though small, has a very serviceable kitchen.

In an effort to make this move as simple as possible, we have placed a grocery order with Safeway to be delivered upon our arrival. We ordered the basics: milk, bread, eggs, bananas, cat food, cat litter, and butter. I just added chocolate chips to the order so I can whip up a batch of Platinum Blondies, our favorite comfort sweet. I think if I can make the kitchen feel, and smell, like mine right away it shouldn’t be too hard to make a new city feel like home. What can I say, some people burn sage and chant to bless a new home, but a dusting of flour and the whir of my trusty Kitchen Aid works for me.


If you can’t afford a beach house… July 12, 2010


…you can at least have the fun of decorating one. This sweltering Northeast heatwave has fueled fantasies of a little place on the shore where I can spend the days cooled by ocean breezes and brisk sea water.  I dream of this place. Being a design junky, I mostly fantasize about how I’d furnish it if I had a nice budget to do so.

I have long admired the room vignettes that Nicole Balch puts together on her totally addictive blog Making It Lovely. I have no idea if she uses the same method I did. I am sure she must have a more elegant solution than the one I used. Mine is a hodgepodge of a couple of different pieces of software.  I take a screenshot of a piece I like, I paste that into KeyNote and use the fabulous Alpha feature to isolate only the item, then I paste that into OmniGraffle to arrange my room. Be warned: this is a lot of fun and a major time sucker.

For my beach house I went with a modern, cottage-chic look. Here’s what I chose:

The total cost of my dream room is $5,097. This definitely exceeds any furniture budget I have ever had to work with, but it sure is fun to dream. Time for a vodka tonic and a trashy paperback; this is the sort of escape I can afford.


Simple Makeover March 17, 2009

TowerGirl @ 5:04 pm
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We have owned two homes. In both, we have spent a considerable of time and money making the public areas cozy and attractive. In both homes, we seem to have run out of steam and cash before addressing the bedroom.  Both homes also shared a strange layout that’s made clothing storage a challenge.  This weekend, I decided we deserved a bedroom that is more than just a place to sleep. With a small budget and a few simple upgrades, our bedroom has become a calm oasis.

Before, the mismatched bins looked cluttered and there were not enough of them. The naked windows feel cold, this is NH after all. The plastic laundry basket is functional but certainly not pretty.
Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before


I kept the fabric bins I had and purchased new ones from Target to compliment them. I went to four different Targets to get all I needed but I still could not find exactly what I needed.  I had to settle for buying two bright white bins that I tea-stained to match the others. I made the drapes. I purchased some pretty pots, some new plants, and a hamper.  The whole thing cost less than $300.00. I think it was money well spent.