Yay! You’re Here!

Although the Yay! is pretty much coming only from Rita (as Cane is prone to using neither exclamation points nor interjections), we’re both really glad you’ve made your way to this page. We can’t wait to give you the lay of our online land.

We used to have a pretty traditional House Tour page, created back when we thought we were going to write a pretty traditional home blog–you know, the kind with a bunch of great tutorials and ideas for DIY home renovation and decor projects.

This (sorta) Old Life: home tour screen shot But…that’s not really what we’ve got going on here. We do have some tutorials and lots of ideas that others seem to like, but we don’t generally deliver the kind of content that goes viral on Pinterest.

We never hopped on the chevron bandwagon, we don’t do holiday decor posts (unless writing about why we  generally eschew holiday decor), and we love 70s style.

(The dearth of Pinning is making a whole lot of sense right about now, isn’t it? :-))

This (sorta) Old Life: bench reupholstery

Well, we do have one project with chevron–this bench reupholstered with a vintage granny blanket. We’re smitten with 70s palettes and old things made by ordinary hands.

We only have one “finished” room in the whole house, but even if we had more, a room-based house tour just doesn’t feel right to us. That’s because somewhere along the way, we realized that our focus really isn’t on lots of projects and finished rooms.

Most of our posts are about things we’re doing (or not doing) to our house, but our real subject is the connection we’re seeing between making a good home and making a good life. And it has been ever since we had a giant epiphany: home life header1

How we do home is how we do life.

We see the truth of this in every DIY project we do, so we decided we need a different kind of tour, one that’s more about the rooms of our life than the rooms of our house. We hope you’ll take some time to wander through, look around, and get a feel for what our online home is all about.


This is one of the biggest rooms of our life. Making things satisfies a great big creative itch that we’ve got to scratch to stay happy. Sometimes we make all-new things. Sometimes we make new things from old things. We’ve included a little bit of  both here. (Clicking on an image will take you to its post.)


Another large room in our life. We’d much rather use something old than buy something new, which means that we find ourselves fixing stuff quite a lot. As with the things we make, the things we fix aren’t always “things.” Sometimes they are habits or beliefs or ways of being.


“Some day I hope I can own a big ol’ 70’s split-level in the suburbs!” said neither of us ever. But we’ve come to love our home, and we’ve learned that a big part of “fixing” our home is appreciating it (and the life we’re able to live in it) just as it is.


We are an artist and an English majo–which means we’re wired to ponder. We’re question-lovers, pattern-seekers, meaning-makers, and perpetual procrastinators who love to spend time contemplating the deeper meaning of renovation decisions. Sometimes with a glass of wine in a bubble bath–but more often right here, with our smart, thoughtful community of readers.


We really are damn serious about making a good home and life for our family–but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. A stuck tub–the first of our many mishaps, missteps, and flat-out mistakes–let us know right away that we were not going to be the next Tom Silva. Laughing at ourselves keeps us from crying or yelling when it all goes sideways. (And readers seem to like laughing at along with us.)


We don’t consider ourselves true retro renovators, but we love preserving and appreciating history. Ours isn’t a time capsule home and we aren’t going to be able to take it all the way back to its roots, but we’re trying to recapture the best parts of its heritage as we make it a comfortable, functional space for today.


We’re just going to come out and say it bluntly:  There’s too much crap in this world. We aren’t the greenest folks on the planet, and we do buy some things new, but we like to reuse existing items and materials as much as we can. (No one really needs another new Target tchotchke. There are plenty of them in thrift stores!) We’ve learned that doing so isn’t as simple as it might seem–but we’re getting better at it!


Although we can get all kinds of complicated in our thinking (see Pondering, above), we long to live simply. We’re constantly in search of the sweet spot that exists between loving/acquiring stuff (because we do love some stuff) and not having too much stuff. We like simple routines, simple decor, and simple pleasures.

Home Keeping

We’ve found that how we keep house has a huge impact on how we make home and how we feel in our home. We aren’t the most meticulous homekeepers, but we have found a few tricks that work well for us.


In early 2013, we found ourselves bugged with much of the home blogging/design world. It didn’t make us feel good, and we began to wonder if our participation in it was doing good. We started talking/thinking about a philosophy of home design that would work better for us, and we cobbled together an approach that we call UnDesign. (You can see that defined in the first link.)

If you’re still with us, Yay! again!

 We hope you’ve enjoyed sampling what we do here. If you want a deeper explanation of our philosophy and what we’re all about, click  here to get to our About page. If you’d like to get notifications of new posts, you can find lots of ways to do that here.

Thanks for checking us out!


  1. kay
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 16:54:40

    hey there,

    thanks for all the awesome info regarding cork flooring. we are looking into installing cork flooring in the kitchen.
    i looked at the wicander website and the only distributer in US was in Hanover MD. May I ask how you were able to order the cork? Did you have a local vendor order from the retailer directly?

    Would appreciate your info (and all the info in your website already).

    Kay from wash dc,

  2. Cane
    Oct 15, 2013 @ 22:00:05

    We did have a vendor locally. Rug Bug Eco flooring in Portland. We were able to go in and see samples in person. Made it way easier. There are other manufacturers who make good cork flooring as well. WE Cork and US floors both come to mind. Good luck!

  3. Tommy Cannon
    Nov 29, 2013 @ 08:24:07

    love you site I built the Adirondack chairs and gave them as Christmas gifts and they where great. they were easy and fast and not as detail as the other plans I have tried to use. Great for even a beginner or experienced woodworker.

  4. Gretchen@BoxyColonial
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 09:53:32

    This is an amazingly effective “about us” type of page, as it’s making me want to stay here all day reading (and then re-writing my own about me page, which I’ve been meaning to do for forever). Sadly, I don’t have time for this, so I’m adding you to my bloglovin’ instead and coming back later. Also I might go pin those adirondack chairs just to prove you wrong re: pinnability 😉 (and also because I need new adirondack chairs)

  5. CarrieP
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 08:40:07

    Yay! I LOVE the idea of undesigning. I love to read blogs and get ideas about better living and I love lovely interiors, but I find the home blogging world depressing sometimes. It’s so temporary and trendy. You seem different, in a good way.

  6. Rita
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 20:30:49

    Thank you. “Different, in a good way” would be a great tag line.

  7. Diana
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 21:19:46

    :) Yay! I’m glad to be here. I’ve bookmarked your site. My husband and I recently moved into the suburbs with our two kiddies, leaving our lovely mid-century modern estate behind. We discovered what it appears you had as well– we thought about what “community” means to us, and turned over every rock within a reasonable commuting distance to find the place we now call home. It’s an ugly tri level at the moment, but we’re going to change that. In the meantime, we are really enjoying calling it home. :) Thanks for an awesome site.

  8. Jennifer
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 12:49:20

    Just found your blog, I love it! Lately a lot of design/DIY blogs tend to look the same: chevron, white or super-light gray, ORB spray paint. And all that is nice and drool-worthy, but mostly unrealistic. My husband and I just moved into a large traditional in the burbs. With 2 kids under 5, we don’t have the time or money to gut it (and hubby doesn’t have any DIY spirit). It’s not pinterest-perfect, and I’m slowly adding things from thrift stores or bargains, but what’s important is that it’s my children’s childhood home, and we love it! Love the Undesigned Home concept, perfect.
    Jennifer recently posted..Settling Down & Settling InMy Profile

  9. Frank
    Mar 13, 2015 @ 15:30:43

    I have to tell you guys, this is an incredible site. I just found you today and have to say that I love the mantra you’re applying to your home. I think you are spot on with the idea of how you do home is how you do life. My wife and I moved from a really small house to a more sizable a few years ago and have been slowly expanding over time. I love a lot of what I’m seeing here and can’t wait to try it out! Thanks so much for the Adirondack chair idea. It is totally my next project. I’ll keep checking in. Thanks again!

  10. Sharon
    Apr 03, 2015 @ 04:36:33

    I have been talking with my daughter this week about needing to find a way to laugh every day; in the meantime yesterday I looked up “diy sawhorses” on Google and found your site. I laughed out loud several times in the few minutes I had to begin reading about building the sawhorses and came back this morning to finish reading the post and look around your site. Again, I was laughing, as well as finding very helpful information. We too long for simple yet beautiful, and to minimize consumption. I look forward to learning about your undesign concepts and trying out the old door coffee table (oh, yeah, and the sawhorses! : ) after I finish making my “farmhouse queen bed with arch” from Ana White’s site!)

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