Six Months in Our Living Rooms and My Ugliest Wall

We are six months in Montreal.  I’ll show you what I’ve changed since the first two weeks, what works, what STILL doesn’t work and how much it cost.

Dining Area





What Changed:

  • I can’t explain why, but something pushed me to corner the table between the shelving unit and wall.  I like how it cozies up to the art now, making the gallery stand out by being included.


It also allowed me to display our French Laundry menu which I had no idea where to hang before.  It’s not a map but it sits under our San Francisco map and on our dining table.  It’s doesn’t get more appropriate than that.


What Works:

  • Since I’ve starting planning and cooking, dinner has become sacred, full stop.  From the runner to the placemats, the table is dressed in its Sunday Best every night.  Arlo takes dinner very seriously now.  He empties his school bag with the day’s artwork and notes and places them on the table with great excitement, knowing he’s going to share his efforts with the whole family paying close, loving attention.
  • Pushing the table against the wall also solved my sloped-floor-no-man’s-land of which most of this space is comprised.  Pushing back and moving the vertical bookshelf – which is filled with beautiful cookbooks that got NO attention in the corner before – allowed plenty of room for both our high-traffic computer stations:


Making this large, open, sloping space functional and beautiful was my biggest challenge and I am pleased with the outcome.  I might even keep it for another six months.

What Doesn’t Work:

  • Kris and Farrah Star sit on the table side against the shelving unit.  I know this will come as a shock, Dear Readers but this is deliberate.  They are the smallest most petite slender.  That’s where they go.  I am sensitive to Kris not having enough room but since Farrah never stays seated, he can shove over a bit.

Cost: $40 for two large bunches of twigs and an owl.  $40 for twigs.  You have no idea how embarrassed I am to admit that.  The paper placemats were gifted to me for Christmas but rest assured I will buy more when they run out.  They are a splurge at $37 for 50 but I love them so. (Hester & Cook Kitchen Papers)


_MG_7717_MG_7715 _MG_7712

Living Area

Living Room




What Changed:

  • Rug
  • Plants
  • Couch cushions
  • Art
  • Media Console and TV

What Works:

  • Bought this new, blue remnant off craigslist and it’s big enough to bring the tv and sitting areas together.
  • Big palms flanking the seating area.  Still alive.
  • Brought in cheap cushions for the sofa and will hang my precious cushions from Tanzania on the wall.  More on that in a later post titled “Kids vs. Things, Battle Sofa”
  • Mirror Image II and Spencer Tunick’s Nudes are now prominent:


  • The media console and tv went up.

What Doesn’t Work:

  • The media console and tv.  This is the ugliest wall in the house:


Oh, it’s not that bad.  Or is it?

The giant black cable hanging from the tv again the giant white wall.  Sure I’ve hidden it behind Smoking Cuban Man but that only works if you’re looking directly at it. Unsightly!

The best I've come up with to hide the cable.  That is not a euphemism.

The empty shelves.  Useless!

The Basket of Nothing that sometimes the cats sleep in.  Nonsense Filler!


The multiple media units and all their cables that just.sit.there.  Maddening!


For six months I have been staring at, dusting and protecting disconnected media components.  Six months!  And I’ve only said something about them three times and always with an offer to help.  And I still didn’t get a Valentine.

Here are two things I like about this wall:

_MG_7804 _MG_7806

That is all.

Cost:  $300 for the carpet remnant $24 two plants $20 cushion = $344

That’s a wrap on my Montreal home!  I can post no more because it’s time to change everything again.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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