I Have the Key in Hand!


The papers are all signed and the key is in my hand! I am about to unlock the door to a lifelong dream.

What the picture doesn’t communicate is my giggling like a school girl and the silly happy dance I am doing at that moment.

I am one starry eyed girl right now. Dreaming about Demo, Design and Colors. I want the feel to be right, I want the look to be inviting and I want the atmosphere to be so welcoming to my guests that they spend real time in my shop.

I have visions of embracing my Missouri roots by serving Sweet Tea and cookies to shoppers who want to relax in a cozy chair while leafing thru 100 year old books.

My goal is to get back to what retail used to be, a true experience. That small town family feel where you create real bonds with your clients.

But before that can happen there is a lot to be done! Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work!


A Story Indeed!

So, here is what this plucky little secretary taught me, but first I have to go back in time a bit.

I had the opportunity to work with a “Seasoned Vet” of the antique hunting profession. Together we came across a small home hosting a few large antiques that were up for dibs. I was extremely excited and felt fortunate to have stumbled across such good luck! She shook her head and said “Pass”. Being shocked and confused by her rejection, she explained, “These pieces have been trapped in a house for years filled with cigarette smoke, that is more than just patina on those pieces. You could never resell them.” I sadly and slowly followed her lead and we walked away.

Now fast forward…I come across this Vintage Heritage Henredon Secretary. She is a lovely piece, sturdy with great classic lines and charming wire front doors. The price is great and I happily load it up thinking all it needs is a good dusting… until I get home. By the time I get home my vehicle smells like the inside of an ashtray and I know I have my hands full now!

I am an eternal optimist. Surely all it is going to take is a good cleaning. There isn’t anything soap and hot water can’t fix, right? WRONG!


The light color is the writing desk that had been safely pushed in over the years. The dark portion is the damage that years of layers and layers AND LAYERS of nicotine can do.


I tried Windex…. It barely made a dent in the layers!


Very hot water and soap, LOTS of Soap! What did I get, a slightly softer sludge type consistency that now releases the smell of cigarette smoke like a demented diffuser!


So lucky they haven’t created Smell-o-vision yet. Trust me!

Now fully understanding why my “Seasoned” friend passed on the earlier opportunity of great antiques at a “Too good to be true rate,” I seriously contemplated just walking away from this project.

That just isn’t who I am though. Oh no, I refuse to give up on something. Go big or GO HOME! Bring me my orbital sander! I am taking this piece down to the bare wood!


Are you kidding me? Look at the sanding disc! They just kept getting gummed up and I had to keep throwing them away…went through 15 Discs but I can see the light at the end of this very long tunnel.


At this point I have stopped counting the number of hours I have into this and look at it simply as a well learned lesson for the future…sniff all future purchases no matter how crazy you look doing it!

Smell is all but gone now. Just to make sure it doesn’t come back, a thick coat of KILZ primer followed by 2 coats of homemade Dove Grey chalk paint. This old girl has been through the wringer. She deserves a treat so I add charcoal grey accents and a hand painted scroll pattern on the pull out writing table.


I refurbished a matching chair and recovered the seat with a fluffy charcoal fabric to finish the look.





Project complete and I feel very accomplished! I learned a lot, will never regret the countless hours invested and have new-found wisdom.

Good News! This piece sold right away to a lovely older lady who said she had been looking for a piece “Just like this one for a long time”.

She was just waiting for me to find it, rescue it and bring it back to life!

Happy Hunting!





My occasionally, less than successful but always entertaining Evolution into Design, Décor & Style

When I was a child I was always surprised when I would visit the homes of my friend’s. Their houses were always so…interesting! There were colors and pictures hung on walls? Who did that? I grew up gazing at a blank pallet of white.

My mother was many things but creative in regards to making our home warm and welcoming was not one of them. There were no trendy accents, family photos or touches of any color other than …white.   Don’t get me wrong, our hand made school projects or coloring book treasures made it to the door of the fridge. I would marvel at our Art hung with brightly colored magnets shaped like fruit and daydream of what my home would look like, when I was all grown up.

I believe we learn what we want to be and more importantly, what we don’t want to be from our parents and I was hell bent on making my first home something bright and beautiful! No more drab and dreary walls for this girl, no sir!

The day finally arrived and as I unpacked my boxes I realized that I was back to staring at blank white walls and then it hit me! I learned why my mother had been in a “Decorating Paralysis” for so many years! This was stressful and challenging! There were so MANY choices what did I know about decorating? What did I really want to do with my new humble home? What if I messed it up?

The Library, that was where all the answers lied (back then)! For those of you, like me, that are flirting with 50! (GASP) You know where I am coming from…we had no gift of Pinterest or limitless decorating web sites to daydream in. Off I went, in search of Style and the journey to find my individual decorating taste began in earnest.

It started with Rag Dolls, Tea Cups, Toll Painting, Checkered Linen and Cows….oh, so many cows! I had a herd in my kitchen alone! No judging! Remember…..I am flirting with 50, that was very “IN” then.

My friends and guests told me that I had a “Knack” and that was all the fuelIdaho Homestead my fire needed, I was hooked! Over the next 20 years I followed every fad that raised its less than attractive head. Always focusing on what was trending. Now, I didn’t say I was overly fond of most of these styles, they always felt like they belonged to someone else. But, they were “IN” so I pushed on!

Time is a patient and wonderful teacher. As I aged and truly became comfortable in my own skin, my own sense of style was born. Like a full rich rose things began to open and bloom within me. I saw colors and textures differently and realized that the many small things that combined in my life to make me who I am are the things that I wanted around me always. My home became a HUGE hug for my heart and friends and guests told me I had a “Knack”. No longer a cookie cutter version of what was trendy, just what my heart found to be beautiful and it was enough.

I am thrilled to share my passion, humor and decorating disasters with you! If you like Thrift Store hunts, saving old pieces from the landfill and breathing new life into forgotten Treasures then you should find this entertaining! I hope you will join me in my new Journey….Rusty Romance Creations. I am sure we will learn a lot from each other!