Go ask Anna.

Okay, it’s free-or-all time! Got a question for me? Ask away.

p.s. Check the FAQ page first!

82 comments
  1. cuppyOct 9, 20091:09 pm

    When will I see you again?

    I MISSES YOU !!!!!

    xoxoxo

    [Reply]

  2. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20091:16 pm

    :D

    That’s hard to answer. Hmmm. Are you coming to New York anytime soon?

    [Reply]

  3. AsiaOct 9, 20091:18 pm

    How do you decide what goes in a room? Have you created a room around one specific item?

    [Reply]

  4. cuppyOct 9, 20091:19 pm

    I wish !!!!

    Possibly next year at some point we’ll take a trip out there again.

    I have another question:

    Do you believe in life after love?

    Dude, Cher just took over. I have no idea.

    Also: Did you see my new Morrissey tattoo?

    xoxox

    [Reply]

  5. NinaOct 9, 20091:30 pm

    Cute hair! I don’t have any questions at the moment, just thought I’d say your hair is awesome.

    [Reply]

  6. KateOct 9, 20091:31 pm

    I’m curious about the extent of work you’ve had to do to the exterior of your house. I know you posted some roof pictures a while back that showed some bad flashing and rotting wood. Did you make whatever repairs were necessary? I’d be interested in learning more about those improvements.

    Keep up the great blogging! It’s a fun read and one of my favorites.

    [Reply]

  7. CathyOct 9, 20091:35 pm

    You have a very specific aesthetic in how you decorate (obviously!) as well as what you wear. Can you talk about how your sense of style developed/ how your cultivate it?

    [Reply]

  8. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20091:41 pm

    Asia, I wish I could answer that. Obviously there are some rooms where the main content is pre-determined (like the dining room, since we already had our table before we bought the house), but for the most part, it’s been more about finding the right pieces to go in the room. I think the hardest thing is really determining what the purpose of each room is in the first place, and what you want to be able to do in there. For example, in my office, I knew I wanted to be able to use the computer, sew, and sit by the window and read. To that end, the room now contains a very large desk that’s strong enough for a sewing machine (stored in the closet when not in use), a small storage unit beside the desk for notions and supplies, a wall-mounted cabinet for printer/scanner/etc., and a rocking chair. That’s it. I don’t like to put non-functional furniture into a room, and the general rule of thumb throughout the house is that we have to LOVE every piece of furniture.

    Cuppy, I really don’t think you’re strong enough. No! :D And yes I saw your Moz tattoo,I even commented on it!!

    Nina, you can ask my hair questions, too!!

    [Reply]

  9. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20091:44 pm

    Cathy, I think it all comes down to a need for two things: (1) ease of care and simplicity, and (2) contrast of age/color/texture. I’ve had this obsession with contrast for as long as I can remember, and focusing on using contrasts to enhance a certain aspect of an object or feature (while downplaying aspects of another) is really the key to everything I do visually. This is a good idea for a post, I think — I’ll see what I can put together! :)

    [Reply]

  10. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20092:01 pm

    Kate, this will all be shown in future posts, but briefly…the exterior work includes: recoating the flat roof, rebuilding and capping chimneys, replacing all flashing, repairing gutters, replacing downspouts, repairing and painting all wood components, rebuilding porch stairs, new membrane on porch roof, replacing rotted shingles on porch roof, replacing porch ceiling and light fixture, sandblasting and powdercoating decorative ironwork, repairing sandstone lintels, repointing all brickwork, replacing rotted basement windows, waterproofing foundation, removing unused stone piers, and, eventually, removing the old storm windows.

    I think that’s everything. PHEW!

    [Reply]

  11. Mary-EllenOct 9, 20092:02 pm

    I would like to know about those two Kiehls eye creams you were using. Do you recommend either? Also any skincare tips, I’ve said before you have the best skin! (I need a new cleanser.)

    [Reply]

  12. KaraOct 9, 20092:06 pm

    Yeah, advice time! I have a specific question that I have been mulling over for a while now.

    I want to paint the walls of my foyer a light gray, but I’m so overwhelmed by the many subtleties of the color. I can’t decide if I should go completely neutral or if I should lean a little on the warm side.

    Also whatever I color I choose, it needs to coordinate with this stained glass window, which is in the stairwell: http://flickr.com/gp/kch/WNecM9 and the yellowish stain on our hardwood floors. Here are some pics of the foyer: http://flickr.com/gp/kch/X1MN28 http://flickr.com/gp/kch/N69H69 The carpet has been removed and the light fixture has been changed to a simple dark yellow glass one. Also, we are going to paint all the trim a bright white.

    Can you suggest a shade or two of light gray that would work?

    [Reply]

  13. frannieOct 9, 20092:09 pm

    i’m with mary-ellen. we need a new beauty post. my skin has taken a turn :(

    [Reply]

  14. DiPOct 9, 20092:11 pm

    What ever happened to you two (or four!) adding a BucksCo diversion to one of your Philadelphia trips????

    [Reply]

  15. StephenieOct 9, 20092:15 pm

    Anna- Your house has been under renovation for quite some time now. Have you reached a point where you really love it? I’ve been reworking my house for a few years now and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’ve done enough to really love it. It’s taken some time because there was always so much to do and it seemed like so much to buy. Also, is there ever a time you feel a room is complete? Or do you constantly look for things to add?

    [Reply]

  16. belindaOct 9, 20092:20 pm

    i can’t remember if you demolished any tile in your home. if so, was it easy or a horrible task that you wished you had not bothered with?.

    apparently the previous owners of the house we are buying were tile crazy. and not just nice plain simple tiles – we are talking tiles with pictures of fruit on them.

    [Reply]

  17. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20092:21 pm

    Mary-Ellen (& frannie!), my skin is really and truly NOT very nice. Seriously. I have maybe one day out of 50 when my skin looks okay, and that’s when I take photos! Seriously…Photoshop is the best skin care money can buy. Also, good concealer. And blush. And mascara as distraction. And if all else fails, a burlap sack.

    The Kiehls eye creams are okay. I’m still using them (they last forever), but I had a sample of a Lancome eye cream that was LOVELY…but too expensive to buy full-size. We’ll see what happens when winter sets in, because that’s usually when I have a lot of trouble with the skin around my eyes.

    DiP, we haven’t been to Philly in AGES! Next time, I swear we will incorporate a BucksCo side trip — even though I keep seeing a creepy BucksCo ad on the train that shows a couple having some kind of “romantic” weekend involving terrycloth robes and roses, which is not my scene. (You and Susan don’t make your guests wear robes, do you?)

    Kara, I’m going to check with my friend Heather to see what she would recommend for a gray color. She has a very similar kind of light in her house, and also has stained glass windows. She recently painted her floors gray (walls are white), and whatever color she would up with is perfect. I’ll get back to you. :)

    [Reply]

  18. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20092:26 pm

    Stephanie: Yes, no, and yes. It’s a neverending process, but a least we’ve reached a point where there’s nothing in the house that we HATE. And yes…it has indeed been quite some time. ;)

    belinda: We demolished a whole LOT of tile in the downstairs bathroom (this is the before). Nothing else in the house was tiled. I can’t imagine trying to live with gross tile in the long term, and there’s not much point in trying to disguise it. Demolition wasn’t all THAT bad, but we did have a guy come to take all of the debris away. The thing is that you most likely have to remove what’s UNDER the tile, too, and that’s when you discover a whole world of unknowns.

    Tiling is fun, though. VERY satisfying — you’ll enjoy it! :)

    [Reply]

  19. AmandaOct 9, 20092:44 pm

    I adore your style – your blog has given me one epiphany after another and I crave seeing what you’ll do next. One particular thing I love is the bedding/textiles you use throughout the house. I’m searching high and low for a king size duvet and some bedding accessories. I love, love, love the yellow one that’s on one of your beds, but while I think I found where you got it (dwell studio, maybe?) it’s no longer available.

    Can you suggest some great places for whimsical, colorful bedding and some tips on mixing and matching – that scares my poor, recovering-Pottery Barn-with-nine-pillows self? Oh, and all price ranges, please, because while I can dream, I think your home budget surpasses mine a tad!

    [Reply]

  20. belindaOct 9, 20092:47 pm

    i can’t wait to get started on it. i have an entire kitchen, master bath & powder room to demolish. and don’t get me started on the random tiled floors. what were they thinking?!.

    [Reply]

  21. elsieOct 9, 20092:51 pm

    Love your home and your blog. It’s so inspirational. Question: HOW do you manage to keep your house so clean?!? We have two cats, white walls and dark wood floors. This roughly equates to little paw prints on and under all our sills (or horizontally across the walls http://elauinc.blogspot.com/2009/08/our-cats-walk-across-walls.html), furbunnies everywhere and dang it, little trails of tracked litter trailing from the guest bath where the litter box resides. It’s a daily struggle. I would appreciate any tips on how to make it easier.

    [Reply]

  22. angieOct 9, 20093:31 pm

    your house is gorgeous. i love how you get to the essential. i am in the midst of what i am calling the great purge of 09, in an effort to simplify my home and my life.

    so here’s my question, where is all the stuff? like the mail, keys, books you are reading, etc. or are you so expert at parsimony that you just don’t accumulate?

    signed, envious of your zen vibe

    [Reply]

  23. kimOct 9, 20093:33 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I am a dedicated reader of your blog and I feel that you’ve shared so much about your home and yourself with us readers. You are obviously a very passionate person when it comes to your home as well as music. I was wondering what some of your other passions are?

    Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration and interesting entries :)
    Kim

    [Reply]

  24. Anna at D16Oct 9, 20093:35 pm

    Amanda, the duvet cover does indeed come from Dwell, but I bought it several years ago. The best suggestion I can offer you when it comes to bedding is to not worry about buying sets or matching too much. Take a look at the beds in this post:
    http://www.doorsixteen.com/2009/04/06/casual-beds/
    There’s not a lot going on in any of them that can’t be recreated using bedding from just about anywhere. White sheets/pillowcases, a natural wool blanket, and a single brightly-colored pillow can take you very far! I think the LAST thing you want in a bedroom is anything fussy or matchy — bedrooms should be casual, comfortable, soft, and clean. Do you see anything in that post that’s appealing to you? Let me know, and I can help you track down some affordable sources. :)

    elsie, just don’t photograph your house when it’s messy! Problem solved. :) Seriously, my house gets messy and dirty just like everyone else’s, but I try to give it a good once-over every week just to keep things in check. I think the biggest help is simply not wearing shoes in the house. It’s amazing how much dirt will come into your house on your shoes! I get dustbunnies (or dogfurbunnies) just like you, and I have to vacuum them up, too. :) As far as the cat stuff goes, you have to check out the “Mini and Bonus” post on Benita’s wonderful blog:
    http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/pets/

    [Reply]

  25. amyOct 9, 20093:41 pm

    1) If you had to do it all over again – would you go through this renovation again?

    2) Another thing, has your husband been gung-ho about buying a house that needs a lot of work?
    Or did you have to introduce him to the Wonders of Renovation, as in, was he extremely resistant to it in the beginning?
    Just slap me if it’s a personal thing, I’m just trying to get a read on my own man as we possibly might try to buy an old house that needs some work!

    3) Were there any specific websites that you found very helpful in renovating older homes?

    [Reply]

  26. nicoleOct 9, 20094:45 pm

    i love seeing your face. miss you.

    my question: is there anywhere in the world that is high up on your wish list to visit? this is one of those if-money-was-no-object and you just had wide open flexibility on your schedule questions.

    [Reply]

  27. WillOct 9, 20095:38 pm

    Hi to you too.
    So… what happened with twitter? It was nice to get bits and pieces of you there!

    [Reply]

  28. LisaOct 9, 20096:03 pm

    I recently purchased a THONET chair at a garage sale for $2. I know it’s worth more but I’m not sure how much. It looks similar to the IKEA stool you painted.

    Question is, I’m not sure how to fix the finish without ruining any value it might have. Do you have suggestions on what I can do? I posted pictures on my blog in hopes you could help. I tried researching it online but can’t find another chair like it.

    [Reply]

  29. PhillyLassOct 9, 20096:25 pm

    This is an awesome feature. I’ve been following your blog for ages and marveling at your work. I’m getting up the courage to do some DIY-ing myself. Someday I would love to buy an old West Philly Victorian and give it the D16 treatment. But baby steps. Some short-tern, fixer-upper-in-training projects will test my ability to take something like this on.

    First up, I could use some advice on finishing a table– is it cheating to buy the stain with the polyurethane already in there? Is it really worth the extra effort to put on a separate top coat? And is the manufacturer just trying to soak me for more money by claiming I need to use some kind of base coat if I’ve sanded that sucker down to nice, clean bare wood?

    Also, my parents’ house has some great hardwood floors buried under hideous wall-to-wall carpeting. I’ve been begging them to let me try my hand at refinishing my old bedroom floor for practice. How heavy duty should my sander be for the project and how many other tool purchases might be involved?

    Thanks a million!

    [Reply]

  30. AMYOct 9, 20096:34 pm

    Oh – one more question. I love what you did to your office floor – the one you painted. Now that you’ve been living with it for a while, how does the painted floor hold up?

    [Reply]

  31. cristinOct 9, 20096:43 pm

    Your blog is so unique and truly inspires me like no other! THANK YOU for sharing your home and yourself!

    My question is about painted floors. Ever since reading about yours, I’ve been longing to paint my upstairs hardwood floors. I’m nervous about how they will hold up. I thought if I explain my situation, you could give me some tips (or tell me i’m nuts!). The house is a 2 story cinderblock/stucco converted duplex from 1948 in Austin Tx. Downstairs has old saltillo tiles, which we like. Upstairs has the original hardwood floors, but there are not very nice. Narrow plank, my guess is oak. The color is pretty inconsistent, there isn’t rotting, but there are a lot of weird black stains, some water stains and the finish is worn. The color is medium blah. The wood is in our bedroom (which is the upstairs living room and will probably be a living room again in a few years), the hall & a bed room for each of my 2 daughters (there is also a bathroom with original tile from the 40’s). My daughters are 6 & 10 and we have many play dates and slumber parties. Other family members are a chihuahua and a cat. I love your painted white floor but I don’t know if that would hold up under my crew. I was thinking of making upstairs a “no shoe zone” but eventually either a kid will sneak past my radar or an adult will appear that I feel shy about asking to take their shoes off… then what? How tough are your floors? You’re life seems so serene and ordered compared to mine, do you think I’d be setting myself up for disaster? Options I’ve brainstormed are black/grey/another color instead of white, a VERY dark stain instead of paint, or something similar to the Lena Corwin Pattern Contest winner on Design Sponge (remember the beat up wooden floor with over-sized white painted designs?). I guess I was thinking that the last option would maybe help hide chipped paint, I don’t know. But when I think of the clean simplicity of that plain white… ooooo. So what do you think Anna, am I crazy? Every time I think I’ve decided to go for it, I get a vision of a tiny sneaker with a rock from the school playground stuck in it’s tread, and chicken out!

    [Reply]

  32. cristinOct 9, 20096:47 pm

    Sorry that was so long, but I’ve been fantasizing about asking you for 2 months… I couldn’t believe it when I saw your post today :0) thanks!

    [Reply]

  33. lindsayOct 9, 20097:28 pm

    Hi Anna!

    How do you feel about putting money into home improvements/renovations in this current economy/housing market? Do you plan to stay in your current home a long time?

    We have really outgrown our home. Our goal is pay down debt, then look to move on. We put lots of money and time into our home (and there’s still things I’d like to do) but I know I might as well be flushing the money right down the toliet. We live 20 minutes north of Detroit, our place is worth about 60% of what we paid for it 3 years ago.

    Do you consider these things when taking on another house project?

    Thanks for letting us ask. You always have swell advice. :)

    [Reply]

  34. peggyOct 9, 20098:54 pm

    Hi Anna. No questions here. Just want to say you are adorable and I love your blog. I’ve missed you.

    Oh – I guess I do have a question. What can we do to spruce up a lame blog?

    xxoo

    [Reply]

  35. Sarah BOct 9, 20098:57 pm

    Hi Anna, I’m still trying to get a post to come up! Arrghh! One question… why do you think it is that Door Sixteen is such a hit?

    [Reply]

  36. RobinOct 9, 20099:46 pm

    What are your current makeup must haves?

    [Reply]

  37. KateOct 9, 200910:09 pm

    What do you do during your long commute? Is that when you get your awesome ideas for your home?

    [Reply]

  38. AgnesOct 9, 200911:17 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Can you talk a little bit more about your professional work?
    How do you approach book cover design, what the process looks like, etc. etc. I am curious about your personal perspective on graphic design. Maybe make some posts related to book cover design and your portfolio.

    Agnes

    [Reply]

  39. Urban FleaOct 9, 200911:38 pm

    Just wanted to let you know, I’ve given you a wee award (Honest Scrap) Here’s the link: http://www.urbanfleadesign.net/2009/10/honest-scrap-paying-it-forward.html I love what you’re up to, and hope you pay it forward. Cheers m’dear!

    xo Katherine aka. Urban Flea :)
    http://www.urbanfleadesign.net

    [Reply]

  40. AmandaOct 10, 200912:03 am

    Thanks, Anna. Definitely love the looks, though I won’t lie: I like yours best! I get the gist of what you’re saying, though, and I’ll try to let that guide me. Keep doing what you’re doing, though, because you inspire me (and obviously many more) daily.

    [Reply]

  41. ArawaOct 10, 20099:19 am

    Hi Anna:
    I wanted to ask you how your Eames shell chair feels since you decided to paint it? Is the fabric still comfortable? Did it hold up well? I am asking because I recently purchased an Aluminum Group lounge chair and ottoman with faded upholstery. I am trying to decide if I should re-upholster or try what you did. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  42. SaraOct 10, 200911:39 am

    Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog.
    Thanks for taking the time to do it. Its one of my favourite haunts on a dark rainy night!.
    We live in London in a townhouse. Its amazing how similar things can be even though people live miles apart.
    I love Jenna Lyons house and found your blog via that.
    We bought a Chuhuahua! She comes next week. I was scanning all your posts for any info re fitting the dogs in !. So thanks for the dog posts. I am still looking for the right material to make her bed (pathetic I know)!.
    Thanks thanks thanks again for taking the time.

    [Reply]

  43. PerfectlyDisgracefulOct 10, 20091:20 pm

    I really missed your posts while you were taking a break! I love seeing pictures of your house– before, during and after. I also love seeing the pictures of stuff that inspires you.

    You inspired me to paint some of our already-painted wood floors white. I will admit that I am having a hard time keeping them clean, and I am afraid they will chip ( a problem we’ve had before, and I’m wondering if I should add a coat of poly?) but I am totally in love with how they look. Than you for inspiring me!

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  44. EvaOct 10, 20094:11 pm

    I just want to say that I too love your blog.
    I told my husband if we ever have to move to NY for work I want to buy a house in Newburgh:)

    I just remember that you mantion before that you are moving your bedroom to a different room. I wonder if it’s done and if you are planing to share pictures of it.

    Thanks again for all the inspirations!

    [Reply]

  45. AdamOct 11, 20092:00 am

    How do you go about editing decor and “knick-knacks” and figure out a system for rotating them?

    [Reply]

  46. martaOct 11, 20091:42 pm

    Hi! I like your house very very much!
    I was wondering how is your garden now? Have you finished the deck and got some space for running for your dogs?
    I think you did such a great job on this house, love the style! :)

    [Reply]

  47. SarahOct 11, 20091:54 pm

    I admire you and your husband for all the hard work you have put into your home. What an amazing home you have created! I have a question about your basement: Will you be hiring a waterproofing company, or doing it yourselves? If you are doing it yourselves, I’d love to see a post about it. The basement in our 1920s home needs work, but with so many DIY options available, it’s hard to know if they are worth it, or to just go with a professional company. Hmm….

    [Reply]

  48. cajetaOct 11, 20092:57 pm

    HI,
    I remember seeing your finished small bathroom (just like the size of mine) and I thought it came out fantastic! I remember you writing that people were saying the black tile was a risky choice because it would get dirty too easily…and I’m wondering how it’s doing? I love the style of that small tile (the black looks great), and I would think that the white would show up dirtier faster, so how’s the black been?

    [Reply]

  49. Anna at D16Oct 11, 20092:59 pm

    OMG. THIS IS A LOT OF QUESTIONS. I’m going to have to do this a little at a time, but here goes…

    angie: I don’t think I have any special system! Let’s see…to use your examples: Mail goes in two places. The junk goes directly into a recycling bin that’s right by the door. Most of our bills are paperless/online, but any that come in the mail either get taken care of immediately, or put in a drawer (where checks and a calculator also reside) for the weekend. Anything needing to be filed goes in a folder in the same drawer (Evan files stuff when the folder is full). I keep my keys in my bag, and Evan keeps his keys in a drawer in the credenza in our front hall. Magazines and books that we’re reading go in a basket by the front door (since we do most of our reading on the train). Out of date magazines go in the recycling bin. Any magazines I either want to keep or look through again get stacked up under the bar cart in the living room.

    I guess the key is not to keep stuff that’s junk, and don’t have stuff in your house that you don’t love. Also, don’t take photos of your house when it’s messy. That helps immensely. ;)

    kim: That’s a big question! Hmmm. This might be a cop-out answer, but chances are, if you’ve seen me write about it on this blog, it’s probably something I’m passionate about. (Sorry, I know that’s cheating!)

    amy: (1) Yes, of course! It has never occurred to me that anything I’ve done in this house is a waste of time or not worth the effort. (2) I don’t know that either of us have been particularly gung-ho about this at all, but this was the reality we were presented with when it came to having the kind of home we wanted. Like most things in life, the best you can do is to try to enjoy the process as much as the result. Evan is as much on-board with everything that goes on in this house as I am (sometimes more so, and sometimes less). (3) Here’s a brief list: Old House Web, This Old House, Housblogs, House in Progress, Fixing Our Historic House, Petch House

    [Reply]

  50. AmyOct 11, 20093:01 pm

    Hi-
    you mentioned at some point that you lost a lot of weight in the past several years. How did you do it?

    [Reply]

  51. Anna at D16Oct 11, 20093:12 pm

    nicole: Hi there, you. :) Hmmm. Good question. It might sound really obvious, but I’d like to go to Sweden. Like…for a whole summer. I find traveling very stressful and generally unenjoyable, but I think if I were somewhere for a longer time and could get myself into a routine, I’d enjoy it more.

    Will: No time!

    Lisa: Oh my goodness, I have no idea. I don’t really know anything about refinishing furniture, and I’d hate to suggest something that could affect the value of your chair. I’m sorry! Aside from what Google can turn up, I don’t have any advice for you.

    PhillyLass: As I said to Lisa, I really don’t know anything about refinishing furniture. That said, I tried that all-in-one stuff you’re talking about on a test scrap of wood once, and it was junk. Also, I’m not really a fan of polyurethane on furniture. Personally, I’d rather use stain and some kind of Danish/teak/tung oil, especially if it’s a table. Otherwise when the finish wears down or scratches, you have to refinish the whole thing. A properly oiled surface will be extremely durable. As far as base coats (like conditioners) go, I think it depends on the type and age or the wood, doesn’t it? I’ve never completely refinished wood furniture before, so I’m afraid I really don’t know.

    The same goes for refinishing floors, too — it’s not something I’ve ever done, so I can’t really give you advice on that. Sorry!

    [Reply]

  52. Anna at D16Oct 11, 20093:28 pm

    AMY: The painted floor has held up beautifully! It still looks the same, no chips or scratches or anything. My desk chair does leave scuff marks, but they come off with a magic eraser.

    cristin: If you want white floors, go for it. The beauty of an older home is that imperfections don’t stand out as much as they do in new construction! As long as you accept the fact that the floors will eventually scuff and show signs of wear, you’ll love it. My house is FAR from being “pristine”, trust me. :) Also, keep in mind that you CAN do touch-ups on a painted floor. I had to repaint a couple of boards in my office after we moved the radiator in (it weighs a couple hundred pounds, so it’s not surprising that dragging it across the floor did some damage!), and you’d never know that it was touched-up. The most important thing is that you prepare the floors properly before painting them, and use a REALLY good primer. The better the paint adheres and dries, the more durable it will be.

    Lindsay: We plan to stay here for a really, really long time (no plans to ever move, actually, though who can say what the future may bring!). We really never think about resale. Newburgh isn’t exactly a hotbed of real estate activity, and we’re just fine with that. We do what we want to do to make our house what WE want and to live the way that WE want to live — which, incidentally, winds up being a lot less expensive than trying to renovate with an eye for resale. All of those granite-and-cherry kitchens that people decided were “necessary for resale value” a few years ago wound up adding very little to the value of their homes in the short term, and look dated in the long term — while costing tens of thousands of dollars to install. The renovate-for-resale mentality is a huge part of why we’re in the housing crisis we’re in right now. In other words…I truly believe that if you renovate (a) according to YOUR tastes and lifestyle (not what you think some random buyer in the future might like), and (b) within your means financially, you really can’t go wrong. People get into trouble when they start taking out loans to do things they can’t afford. We haven’t done that, which is a big part of the reason why this is taking us so long! ;)

    [Reply]

  53. Anna at D16Oct 11, 20093:43 pm

    peggy: Hire a designer! There are lots of designers out there looking for work, and I’m sure they’d be willing to work within your budget to come up with a design you like. Here’s a list of blog designers I found while doing a quick Google search. Take a look at their portfolios, and see if there’s someone whose style is in sync with your vision!

    Sarah B: BECAUSE I AM AWESOME. No! I don’t know! I have no idea. It’s probably because I don’t have any agenda or goals or ads, so I can pretty much write about whatever I want. I think people gravitate toward my sparkling personality (UM) and bad moods (UM, UM) as much as they do the content and subject matter. Also, I have cute dogs. :)

    Robin: I’ve been using Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer for months now, and I love it! I also really like the Black Honey lip balm (in the tube, not the stick) that Clinique makes now. I wear it every day.

    Kate: I read, sleep, listen to music, talk to Evan, do crosswords, look out the window…pretty much anything other than use the computer. :)

    Agnes: You can see a bunch of my book covers here. Maybe someday I’ll post about it, but in the mean time, at least you have a visual to tide you over!

    Urban Flea: Thank you, that’s very sweet!

    Arawa: I still love the painted chair! It really just feels like burlap. No cracking or peeling or anything like that. I say go for it — what do you have to lose? Worst case scenario is you get the chair reupholstered, which is your only other option right now anyway, right?

    [Reply]

  54. Anna at D16Oct 11, 20093:58 pm

    Sara: That’s why I love all of the London townhouses in LivingEtc — the layout is always the same as my house. (And there is nothing pathetic about making doggy beds, hee!)

    Adam: I don’t really have knick-knacks, but if you mean stuff like vases and books…hmmm. I don’t really think I have a method. I tend to leave things where they are, but if I feel like a want something white in a room, I just look around for something white from somewhere else. It’s all very casual, and I try to think about my house in the same way as I do anything else I’m designing — you push and move and take away until you wind up with something balanced. You read Benita’s blog, right? She has excellent advice on rotating “stuff” and arranging things on shelves, and she knows what she’s talking about. :)

    marta: We have done NOTHING with the garden since I last posted photos. Shameful, I know! Next summer…

    Sarah: Our contractor did the waterproofing. He dug all the way down to the bottom of the foundation on on the outside — it was pretty crazy-looking! I don’t know what he did from that point on, really. We’re not planning to finish the basement or anything, we just wanted to stop groundwater from seeping in through the back wall of the house. So far, so good.

    cajeta: The matte black tile/black grout combination is AMAZING. Nothing shows on it. I clean it once a week because I know it’s dirty even though I can’t see it, but it never looks dusty or anything. I have zero regrets!

    Amy: Eating less food, and eating better food. Evan and I were both eating like teenage boys, and that’s no good. It’s really just about discipline and doing what you know is healthy. Weight Watchers is great for learning about portion size and for keeping yourself honest about what you’re really putting into your body. Really, though…there’s no special secret other than having better eating habits. I never went “on a diet”, I just completely changed the way I ate. I’ve definitely gained a little back in the past year, but there’s no great mystery as to why — we’ve simply been eating too many meals out, so we’re trying to reign that in now. I’m sure why weight will go back down again once that happens.

    [Reply]

  55. AliceOct 11, 20096:01 pm

    Hi Anna –

    I have been SLOWLY renovating my house for the past 2 years. Your blog has been inspirational when I feel stuck. I moved from Los Angeles to a small up and coming artist community in Maine and am mainly working on my 1943 house by myself. I am about to do the kitchen floor and was considering VCT in Chalk. How do you like your kitchen floor now? Was it easy to install? My other option is cork or recycled rubber.

    Thanks for your great blog.

    Alice

    [Reply]

  56. Anna at D16Oct 11, 200910:18 pm

    Alice: We had a verrrry tiny budget and zero experience (the kitchen was the first room we overhauled after buying the house), so VCT was a great choice for us. It wears very well, the price was minimal (I think we did 175 SF for about $200), and although it was time consuming to install, it wasn’t particularly difficult. If I had to do it all over again, though, I probably would have gone with either Marmoleum (real linoleum) or cork…or even painted wood. It would have been a little more expensive, but also far more environmentally-friendly. Also, the VCT does lack a certain warmth that real linoleum has. That said, it was incredibly cheap, and I love the commercial look of it.

    [Reply]

  57. jennyOct 11, 200910:34 pm

    excellent feature – have enjoyed reading the Qs and As!
    My question: how are Bruno and Fritz?

    [Reply]

  58. Anna at D16Oct 11, 200910:47 pm

    F&B are great! They’re both sleeping right now :)

    [Reply]

  59. tamstylesOct 12, 20092:41 am

    Do you read other blogs? Which are your favs?

    [Reply]

  60. Anna at D16Oct 12, 20097:50 am

    My favorite blogs are the ones in my blogroll (over in the right-hand column)!

    [Reply]

  61. AmandaOct 12, 200911:37 am

    Anna,
    You have such a neat blog! I went through a series of home renovations on our 140 year old farmhouse (my kids are 5th generation – my husband’s family) before undergoing a MASSIVE renovation. It was like living in a This Old House show. We had to move out for almost 5 months and we are still working on little things here and there. Anyway, just saying that so you would know that I know what you’re going through. ;-)

    Thank you, also, for sending your readers to Beautiful Blog Designs. I am glad the list designers were useful to you and I hope others find it useful also. It is an ad free blog like yours is (I have resisted going there even though some designers have approached me).

    [Reply]

  62. BrigidanneOct 12, 20091:03 pm

    Would you consider puting your home on the Historic House Tour?

    [Reply]

  63. kristinOct 12, 20091:27 pm

    Hi Anna-
    I have an eames lounge chair and ottoman that I am looking to recover in a fun fabric. it needs about 6 yards and I am looking to spend under $250. Any suggestions on fabric??
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  64. Anna at D16Oct 12, 20092:51 pm

    Brigidanne: I like the idea…but I think it would be far too stressful for me. I get very nervous/self-conscious having people in my house, and I think I would feel a bit…invaded. Maybe someday, though. :)

    kristin: Take a look at Modern Fabrics. They have a very good selection of high-end upholstery fabrics for excellent prices. If you’re at all unsure about whether a particular fabric is suitable for that kind of use, you can definitely give them a call. They have excellent customer service, and I’m sure they’d be will to help you out!

    [Reply]

  65. edith_pearldiverOct 12, 20094:20 pm

    *INSPIRATION*

    Hi Anna,
    What do you to get and/or stay inspired both for your work and also for you home (I know that is work too but a different kind)?

    Thank You

    [Reply]

  66. Barb F (Australia)Oct 13, 20097:06 am

    Hi Anna,

    No questions, just wanted to say it’s lovely to have you back.

    [Reply]

  67. MondayOct 13, 20093:23 pm

    2) Do you have any ideas about solving world hunger?

    3) Should the USA get out of Afghanistan now?

    ;)

    [Reply]

  68. jamieOct 13, 20097:53 pm

    I love your bangs! This may seem like a weird questions – But I also have dark hair and have been thinking of getting bangs, but I have ALOT of gray including a patch in the front, which I am able to hide between touch ups by wearing it to the side and tucking it behind my ear, but I afraid I might not be able to get away with that with bangs. I get my hair colored every 4 weeks, but still.

    Do you have any gray and problems with it showing up in your bangs?

    [Reply]

  69. DanOct 13, 20099:24 pm

    I have a silly question: Do you get recognized a lot? Sometimes? I feel like if I ever saw you it would be like a celebrity sighting!

    [Reply]

  70. Anna at D16Oct 14, 200912:13 am

    edith_pearldiver: Anything in the world can be potentially inspiring — I don’t look anywhere in particular.

    jamie: I don’t have any grays, sorry!

    Dan: That’s kind of creepy, man. I used to get recognized on the subway sometimes when I lived in Brooklyn and had my old blog, but that hasn’t happened in ages. If it ever does, I’ll probably stop blogging…

    [Reply]

  71. KatjaOct 14, 20099:30 am

    Hi Anna,
    Thank you very much for your wonderful blog. It is such an inspiration ! I actually had never considered using black & white before seeing your fabulous home…
    I have two very lame questions :
    1. How did you manage to secure your Aspvik cupboard on the wall ? And how many kilos do you think it could hold ? I am thinking of getting one for my record collection, but those puppies are heavy…
    2. How do you manage to paint walls, floors, etc. during winter ? Unless paint in the US is completely different from the one in Europe… over here they always recommend not to paint when temperatures drop under 5 – 10° C (no idea how much that is in American). And you also need to ventilate the room – which can be a problem when its freezing cold outside. So what is your secret ?
    Merci beaucoup !!!
    Katja

    [Reply]

  72. ValOct 14, 200911:05 am

    Hi Anna,
    did you ever have to save the original subway tile? Is there a way to re-hone them ? We’d love to save 1920s subway tiles in the bathroom, but most of them rather dirty looking and slightly scratched at the surface. Do you have any ideas about it, can you recommend any online resourses that show you how its done etc ?
    Thanks in advance,
    Val.

    [Reply]

  73. Anna at D16Oct 14, 20094:26 pm

    Monday: 2) I do, actually, but this isn’t really the best forum to debate that subject; 3) Yes. What happened to #1?

    Katja: The cabinet is attached on either end with heavy-duty plaster anchors and screws, and directly to a stud in the center. My walls are plaster and lath. Your method of hanging will depend on what YOUR walls are made of! The weight limit will also depend on the method of hanging, and whether you can access the inside of the wall to attach additional reinforcement between studs (absolutely necessary if you’re planning to put records in ANY kind of wall-mounted cabinet). Hanging heavy things on the wall is a very specific and individual kind of thing, so I can’t really give you a lot of advice for your particular situation, sorry.

    I haven’t had issues with painting in the winter — the heat is on indoors, so the temperature doesn’t drop that low (even with the window cracked open). In the US we have a lot of options with non-toxic, VOC-free paints, but I’m afraid I don’t know what brand to recommend overseas!

    Val: Sorry, I’ve never done tile restoration (there was no original tile in my house aside from the fireplace, which is in good shape)! I just Googled “subway tile restoration” and found this discussion, perhaps that’s helpful?

    [Reply]

  74. ErinOct 14, 20094:44 pm

    Did you ever have your tub refinished? Have you been happy with the results? Was the cost a significant savings over buying a comparable new tub?

    [Reply]

  75. Anna at D16Oct 14, 20095:07 pm

    Erin: I had the clawfoot tub, sink, and radiator (all original) in my upstairs bathroom sandblasted and powder-coated offsite. The results are OUTSTANDING and rock-hard. Powder-coating is much tougher than epoxy refinishing.

    We never considered getting rid of the original fixtures, so I never did cost comparisons, sorry.

    [Reply]

  76. PhillyLassOct 14, 20098:28 pm

    Follow-up question to Erin’s– can you use abrasive cleaners like comet or soft scrub on a powder coated tub?

    [Reply]

  77. euniOct 31, 20097:52 pm

    this was super fun to read! thanks anna!

    [Reply]

  78. MonicaNov 11, 20091:00 pm

    Hello Anna,

    I’m from Portugal, and I have a question.
    In your home office do you have a cabinet with your files? Your gas bill, bank statments, etc? How do you label it?

    Sorry about my english.

    Monica

    [Reply]

  79. Anna at D16Nov 11, 20091:08 pm

    Monica: I just have a small file box (like this). Nothing fancy. All of our bills and statements are paperless and all billing is done online, so there is very little paperwork to store.

    [Reply]

  80. MonicaNov 11, 20091:39 pm

    Thank you for your answer.
    Here in Portugal, we still have a lot of paper to file, lots of mail everyday, gas, water, electricity, insurance, bank, etc
    The file box is very nice, Thanks for the tip.

    [Reply]

  81. mayFeb 2, 20101:50 pm

    You blog is inspirational. Just see what you made me do?
    We tore down the dry wall to find an old fireplace.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39841889@N03/sets/72157623335702890/

    Do you ever consider helping others figure our their space?
    For a payment fee or friendly advice?

    [Reply]

  82. Amy P - BrooklynMay 30, 20103:57 pm

    Where did you get the bjork-esque font? It’s fab.

    [Reply]

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