Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I am blogging at now!

Thanks for making the switch manually since I am not techie enough to auto-link it!

Thanks for following to see what we're up to next!



P.S. Invite your friends! And leave a comment to let me know you've safely arrived!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fields Benjamin: 10 Months


Oh sweet boy. You were 10 months on July 13th, and we love this age. Pulling up to stand and crawling all over, you are on many new adventures. You eat everything we do, just in baby bites. Recently you've been a drool monster, getting some major teeth, with lots of tears and fevers. I think all of your back teeth are coming at once. (wishful thinking) On our recent vacation you swam in the lake and napped in the boat. We like introducing you to new things. You and Daddy have your own language, making noises back and forth.

I love it when you get dirt in your toes, because you are playing along with the big kids. You sleep with your gray donkey in a cozy sleep sack. We love it when you laugh out loud, usually with Tegegne tickling you. Daddy has enjoyed extra time with you, since he's on summer break.

We love you Baby Fields. Starting to think about your first birthday!



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Modern Fence Concept: Hedge

Walking down Deleware Street through the River Market this morning and noticed Max Kaiser's Shop sells Ranka...lasting greenery that looks great! Also known as faux boxwood, or faux ivy. More expensive than the real thing, but it's one and done. No need to trim or water this baby. Just do the quarterly rinse off with the hose to get it shinin' again! 

I think it would make a fine privacy fence. Don't you? 

Now I'm wondering, at the end of the would it price out compared to a cedar fence. Probably more...but if I do the math I'll letcha know.

(Ranka via Max Kaiser, buy onlineother modern fence concepts with greenery)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Quality Time: Quality Coffee

Spending some quality time, (at Quay Coffee in the River Market) working on a set of drawings for a remodel in Prairie Village. (Working with a contractor to turn a Cape Cod into a Colonial!) This quality time deserved quality coffee...pour over coffee, that is. A Finca Las Lajas, Coasta Rican blend with sweet molassas, a nutty, yada, yada...good quality stuff. I am being more honest with myself these days. Coffee has made a fine appearance in our city. It tastes good, and as a working mother, I kind of like this little morning pick-me-up. I've always prided myself in not being "a daily" coffee drinker, like one of those people who needs my coffee before I can be friendly. Well, I'm not there yet...but ask me about it ten years and it will most likely be a different story. (Because I'm guessing that having my children between ages 12 and 18 will keep me up just as much as ages zero to five...ahhhh!)




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Follow Me: Via Bloglovin'

Sooooo, this happened months ago, but I just remembered to tell you this. If you used Google Reader to follow blogs and were lost when it went away...

then try bloglovin. Here's the link to set it up!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interiors: Tips on Rugs

I'm working with some friends interiors of their new bungalow. We are starting with their first impression once you walk in the door...the living room. Michael scored them a sweet find...these Le Corbusier sofa and lounge chair in white leather. I'm helping them find a rug to complement the pieces. One thing to consider when finding a rug, is to consider the entire space. In this particular instance, it's important that these beautiful classic furniture pieces are not overwhelmed or distracted. 

Then there's the question...should the furniture sit entirely on, or entirely off, or somewhere in between. Let me be honest and say I don't have a "professional" opinion, but would say that it depends on the thickness of the rug. I'd say that half on, half off, would be less desirable. 

Can I put a rug on top of carpet? Hmmm, that also really depends on the weight/thickness of the carpet and the thickness of the rug. A thin carpet can host a shaggy rug much easier than the opposite!

I am thankful for design tools when making decisions like this. It's so nice to be able to pop these ideas into 3D. It also helps to consider the drapery, pillows, coffee table books...tying the space together helps to see that the rug does not have to say it all. "All of the space" says it all. 

Now go ahead, and Get Ruggy With It


P.S. I think West Elm has a nice area rug collection. (I am not getting any perks for recommending this.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Husband: My Client

So we are going to look at a house on Thursday. It's a 1600 sf shirtwaist with 2 full baths and 4 bedrooms. For me, it's like a design meeting with Michael as my client. I can walk through a house and picture it remodeled and awesome, but in order to really discuss it well, it must be drawn in 3D, right?

I sent him these rough drafts today. The idea is, it's 400 square feet less than we live in now, but if it's planned out well, with efficient square footage, it can work. I love, love, love the idea that this house could have glass along the entire back. So we could stand at our sink and look out into the back yard. I also love the sofa with chaise lounge off the kitchen...a great way to socialize around the kitchen. All 3 kids can have their own room on the 2nd floor and we can have the 3rd floor which has French doors to a balcony. 

Please ignore the vehicles...they may be out of scale. I was doing this very quickly! Also, I haven't been in the house...just took the few room measurements from the listing and total square footage and worked in the other spaces. If it's anything like I've interpreted it, it'll totally work!

I'm just hoping the foundation isn't caving in like the last house we saw. 


Monday, July 8, 2013

When We First Met: We Never Knew


When we first met, we never knew...

...we would design and renovate houses together.
Better yet, you never knew I'd want to design and renovate more than one house together. 
We never knew we would have 3 kids by age 30.
We never knew that our children would be best friends and fight so much. (age 2 can be very difficult to work with!)
I never knew you would bake more chocolate chip cookies than Chips Ahoy.
You never knew (but only hoped) that I'd enjoy matching your bike socks.
You never knew that you could care more about hanging out with our family than going on a group ride.
I never knew what it looked like to dine on a dime, and make magic come out of the cupboards.

We never knew that going out to dinner together, just the two of us, would be a well sought luxury.

We never knew what was in store. In seasons of abundance and seasons of drought, I'm so thankful to be in the midst of learning what we never knew.

P.S. I was just wondering if in 20 years I'll be saying things like...

You never knew how gratified you would feel to bring me coffee in bed each morning.
We never knew how much we would enjoy our summer getaways to France.
We never knew that our small children would make such wonderful adults.
We never knew, in our 30's that when we waited so long to buy that "dream" house, that what really mattered was the journey...the dreaming...the exhaustion...the patience...and realizing that having each other is what matters most. And by golly, we can even make a run-of-the-mill shirtwaist house cool with a little time and money.

I really hope those summer getaways really happen.




Friday, July 5, 2013

House: Potential Buyers + My Game

So we've had some recent interest in our home. One individual would like the refrigerator in the kitchen, and a 2 car garage. So here was my response! "Yes ma'am, let's put that refrigerator in the's where it'll go! And go ahead and do that 2 car garage, lovely. I'm totally with you on that!" (Note: She didn't ask us to do these things, but these were her concerns...and our realtor replied on my behalf.) 

Then there are some other folks that must sell their condo first. 

Then there's me, over here, playing this game that Michael loves...

"Honey, what about a simple house like this...can't you see it...


Could become this...(with a definite imagination...pop random windows into upstairs 1st floor with windows/doors across kitchen and dining...deck across entire house and terrace big steps down into yard...)


Could become this...


Could be a symmetrical version of this...(or be asymmetrical if we build it out slightly into the dining room, also remove both windows, beams, paint woodwork or remove (yes, I said it.)...)


Could house this...

I mean, isn't this game so much fun? For the low price of $19.99 each of the photos above could be turned into the photo that follows. I wish. But really though, we are either looking at bigger houses where wires have been pulled and plumbing is missing, or way ugly, slightly smaller, finished houses like this one...with wires and plumbing and HVAC, just lots of aesthetic remodeling to be done.

Thanks, Michael, for appeasing me by playing along in this exciting game.



Monday, June 24, 2013

Light: Bright and Good

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 
1 John 1:5

I am embarking on a busy couple of weeks of designing. I get a fast heartbeat and overwhelmed state when I try to think of the big picture. In order to trump that feeling, I will recite this verse in my mind. Simple, but so profound. And I will continually be encouraged by my dear husband, who is so helpful and present to me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Conversations: With Our Big Boy

Mom: Tell me all about school. 
Tegegne: I was very nervous at first (Michael had to leave you in the cafeteria with all of kids and their parents who waited to walk them to their classroom.). Then more people came and I was less nervous...Recess was pretty good...played soccer, but I didn't see Kade. I didn't like that I had to wait so long for lunch. (That's my fault, son...we usually eat at 11am at home!) But we got to take a snack to recess! And I did see Kade at art...

Dad: What are your friends names?
T: Macy...and I forgot...Oh, and Towns!
D: I had Town's sister in summer school last year...he's cool!

M: And your helper teacher...what is her name?
T: Madam Prisca. She's chocolate like me. 
M: She's very pretty.
T: Yeah, she is.
D: Aren't there several chocolate kids in your class?
T: Just two. 

(Pointing at your first school worksheet of the alphabet...)
T: I colored these red and blue for the Jayhawks, and these are black and purple for the Cats.  
D: Cool, who told you that?
T: Macy. She sits at my table!

T: Towns was splashing me so much in the pool that my eyes turned red. I splashed him back. 

T: Mom, why do you want two hugs...cooome on! I've already given you one.

Then for tuck in after the second day of school I asked you the best and hardest parts of the day. The best part was playing soccer and the worst part was when the big kid pushed you because you weren't playing the game right.  I got Daddy because he has lots of experience with "bullies" on the playground. You two had a good conversation, and you know that your teacher is there to help.

We are so proud of you. A highlight for all of us in this new phase of your life, is that you get special time with Dad to and from school. So far that's involved donuts and a trip to the toy store. You two are thriving with this extra time together, and it's so neat to watch. Dad is extra excited to hear you speaking French, and overall we feel content. One of the few things your Birth Mama told us is that she wanted you to have an education. Her wish is coming true. You are witty, can converse with adults, and are at a school where people know and look after you. She would be so proud, Son.  Let's look to the stars tonight and say a prayer that she would somehow know that her wish for you is coming true. 

Love, love, love you,

Mama (You and Hensley have been calling me Mama, since that's what Fields says!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kansas City: Brick Studio

So, here it is all beautiful and in full glory! Our dream home. And yours, probably. I mean, this place has beautiful potential.  Unfortunately it's priced too high for us as it has no plumbing, electrical, HVAC, needs windows, new storefront, etc, etc, etc. Hopefully its new owner will make it really super awesome and get on the cover of Dwell Magazine

See yesterday's post (Our Pursuit of Homes) for some of our design ideas for the building. Several months ago, Michael decided to write the owners of this building and see if they'd consider selling it. After our second letter, they said they'd consider selling they have had many offers before but loved the idea of turning it into a family home. They loved that Michael was a teacher in KC, MO as they are both retired teachers. They loved it that the park was just down the street and that we had 3 children...

We really do like the idea of a family moving into the studio. That is exactly what would please us the most!

I really need to think more of you and your family because you have a lot to do on this building to be ready to live in it by fall, and that would be my goal for you. 

We had asked the price, but it wasn't until they got back to Kansas City that they got in touch with a realtor friend of theirs that thought it could sell for much more as a commercial building, aka live/work, than to sell it to a family. So, sadly, they changed their minds and it went on the market yesterday 

As for our community and close friends, thank you for your listening ear. We have talked about our pursuit to it's death. I, especially, could talk design all day and do that with every possible space. Our vacation last week was perfect timing. But now, I must takie a breakie from this pursuit and get back to what's right in front of me. (Which at the moment is Hensley's little self, sitting on my lap, trying to hit the space bar.)



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Pursuit Of: Homes

For over six months we've been in the pursuit of...


And for a little while this...

(Master Suite has amazing views of nearby park, and rooftop terraces would be so fun for parties!)

But Mostly This...

For which we designed this...

And thought of things like this...

None of that worked, (insert sadness...especially with the brick building) but then we considered this...

This one has a 3rd floor master suite that would be amazing. It's finished up to the drywall, and is ready for kitchens and a double lot. But not best location.

And the search goes on. In the mean time we are LOVING our new air conditioning, and thankful for this wonderful home. Hopefully someone will aslo fall in love and purchase it soon! 



Baby: Sun + Dotter


Check out what Janette (with FLP) has been up to with Sun + Dotter!  

She is offering online classes and personalized styling for all things baby...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Mother: A Blessed Soul

Mother and Son
Hi there. It's a pony tail kind of day, or week for that matter. I've been busy with a design project, which has included many daytime phone calls, a site visit with 3 kids in tow, and many daytime hours in front of my computer. Sorry kids. I don't like being this distracted. I have battled being short with you, and reaching with all my might for patience and intentional time with you. A friend sent me this blog post about a mom who was overworked and yelled at her kids, and I cried. I notice when I am stressed with other things, I am much less patient with you. 

The week took a turn for the better thanks to two really wonderful times at church. They are doing Summer Institutes...classes that range from study of the bible, to African culture, to running club, to dancing. Michael and I are doing a study on 1 John lead by our pastor. It was so so refreshing to open the bible and study. It had been way too long. 

The other class I went to this morning was for Mothers. It was good for my soul. I sat down in the class, and Jessi, our teacher started speaking to us with her words of wisdom and I teared up. Motherhood, what a cherished and challenging job. She started our time by asking...who got others dressed besides yourselves, and fed others, and changed another's diaper this morning...she asked who helped someone in crisis. Most of us had our hands up most of the time. She noted Philippians 2:5-7 and pointed out that Jesus emptied himself. That is what mother's do. Emptying self all day, often into the night for the sake of their family.  In order to give, we must receive. Receive help from God. Jesus was able to empty himself because he was constantly with God.

She then had us share our birth and adoption and fertility stories in small groups. After that she shared more scripture and said that the bible is full of references to Mother's, she noted how God is like a Mother. Then she gave us a half hour to be by ourselves and reflect, journal, pray, walk, or whatever we pleased. It was such a wonderful morning. 

I, the Lord, made you, Kristyn.
I will help you.
Do not fear, Kristyn, whom I have chosen. 
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring. 
And they will spring up among the grass.

Tegegne will say, "I am the Lords"
And Hensley will call on the name of Jacob;
And Fields will write on his hand, "Belonging to the Lord..."

Rephrased these things and reflected from Isaiah 44:1-5. 

More photos of you, my beloved children, with your Mother...

Tegegne, I love laughing with you.
A new mother holding you tight.
Brand New Baby Fields with his Peaceful Mother.  

Hensley, you love to eat, just like your Mother.

I spy Baby Fields!

My 2nd Day as a New Mother
We were so worried about you, Baby Tegegne! (Well, you were 2 and 4 months, but seemed closer to 18 months.)
Brand new Baby Hensley and Tired Laboring Mother
Motherhood, an exhausting and beautiful and life giving journey. 

Love you children,

Your Mother
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