Hello friends! I started this post at the beginning of August, thinking, wow where did July go? And BAM here we are September, August has gone and COOKED. I hope it was wonderful for you! Life is moving at a crazy fast pace (thank you captain obvious) and we have a lot to catch up on. I recently (well not so much anymore) wrapped up an extended stay in my home state of Michigan over the Summer with a major epiphany
A: you work too much
B: you need to stop working so much
C: why the hell do you work so much!?
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
It’s not that I don’t love working and am grateful to be able-bodied and hustle. It’s just there are other things I’d like to give a whirl and candidly, the business side of the design is beginning to overwhelm me. Time to hire more staff. But hiring/training/implementing takes time. And at the same time, am I ready for that? My kids really like me still. I decided to hit pause, say no thank you to any new client projects and love, nurture and finish the ones I already have. Maybe love on my own home for a few too? Or blog more? Winner winner.
This all stemmed from the breezy sunny days and long walks in the level pebble. Man, give your brain time to rest and you’ll be amazed at the ideas, the peace you come up with. I chewed on some dreams and ideas while saying hello this Mama and her babies almost every day.
Admired the charm, care, and thoughtfulness of this sweet cottage home on Dad’s street. My whole life long, this home and yard have been immaculate. My dad always thought the owner of this house used professional services, like those offered by https://www.lawncare.net/, to keep their yard looking so perfect. That yard has always been appealing. Hopefully, one day mine will look like that.
I walked my “walker” walk past the elementary school and thought about all the Winter mornings I trudged up this hill in my snowsuit and boots, the sound my snowsuit made, shush, shush, shush and the crunching of the snow as you broke through the thin top layer to total powder, up to your little second grade knees. We would arrive early (that sure changed) and they would make us wait in the vestibule/breezeway?! Just slightly less cold than being outside. Grateful and yes probably all the tougher for it but why? Inside, we’d completely disrobe, puddles of melted snow all over the class. Your garb would kinda sorta dry up around lunch, just in time to put back on for recess. Slightly damp, still cold. Atlanta looking really good right about now.
All these memories, had me thinking what I’d like my philanthropy to be. And as I cruise my hometown, I’m continually blown away with the architecture and quaint charm of the homes here. I’m like “do you all have any idea how much it would cost you TODAY to build a house like this?” Crazy money. They don’t make plaster walls anymore unless you wanna spend sick money. And then you’re like really? Spend how much? When you know that money would make such a difference in someone else’s life. I drive around and stare at these hidden gems. The same scene as a kid on my bike…” if I owned that house, I would so paint it _____ and get rid of those plastic pots” (it would actually be my sister schooling you on the plastic pots -they drive her crazy!). The homes have such history and potential. Like original hardwood floors top to bottom, glass knobs, solid core doors (that you’ll never find at Lowes), clothes chutes in the wall that fall two stories down, milk doors, kind of charm. I DREAM, DREAAAAAM about getting my hands on all of them, my BABIES, and I thought, why not offer your services to anyone and everyone in your hometown that gives a rip – for free? I’ve contemplated putting anonymous notes in their mailboxes anyway???
Ever thought about painting your door red?
Sincerely, Augustus Gustas
So here it is, anyone out there thinking about painting, upgrading, or just wants to send me a picture of their home and ask, how can I improve the curb appeal? I’m all yours! I’ve heard that a soft wash (try out aplussoftwash.com if you want professional help) can help bring some new life into your home. My friend mentioned to me how her home feels after a soft wash. Her home felt like new with all the dirt that was removed. You would be amazed at the few subtle little details you can make, and bam, more money in your pocket and your neighbors love you. Redoing your driveway is a really cheap and effective way of improving the curb appeal of your home. Don’t forget to use driveway sealers though! Educate folks on the correlation between curb appeal and higher home values #ittakesavillage. Take pride in your hometown, its potential and all it has to offer. I use to think that place was SO BORING and the worst ever. Now all I want to do is get back there. It’s so chill. So here I am, walking around the high school track, being the little flower girl dreamer Mama raised and thought of the name, and got really excited. Besides design, I love branding and coming up with names for stuff like that and though we will call it CHARM SCHOOL! And we’ll put a pretty little sign out front, with the crown logo, as they do for the graduates. Ha. Just kidding about that part. But it probably would be a good way to get the word out? Hopefully, it would sound something like this…” look another cute house with one of those crown signs out front, what is that all about?”. ;-)))
A cute house on my walk, that won’t need much, if any, charm school. But just to give you an idea of what we are working with. Many built in the 1920s with truckloads of potential. Imagine if we just redesigned the railing on that second story balcony? LOVE the American flag. That would definitely be a requirement/suggestion of charm school and if we had major funds a tasteful basketball hoop for any little girl or boy that wanted it. Ugh, I walked by this cute as pie home that I’m smacking myself for not taking a picture of. I’m sketching in my head a cute little pergola connecting the one car garage to the home, some thick painted concrete stripes on the front porch and a pretty little wicker settee and ferns. Bam, bam, bam, I had it all figured out.
We’ll stick to just the outside, inside a WHOLE other animal. However, sometimes the drawback of older homes like these is the lack of modern amenities people want in a new build. I say we break the rules of these old house layouts. Who says you need a formal dining room? Grandma’s was priceless. But maybe just make the kitchen and dining one big open kitchen? And many, have these great wide arches that open from the dining to living. They really are a masterpiece in the art of architecture. In our little home we grew up in if you were upstairs, you were upstairs and felt very private from downstairs. I can remember being so pissed off we had to watch Willy Wonka on our black and white tv in our bedroom one year because there was some Historical Society meeting or something Mom was hosting downstairs. I can see my sister now in her Holly Hobbie robe, way too small and my brother banging the nerf basketball against the wall. We’re all crammed around 13 inches of fuzz. It was like the worst year ever of watching Wonka AND you had to wait an ENTIRE year to see it again. The same goes for the basement. As kids, we partied in the basement, blaring the stereo, Donna Summer, dance routines, (some friends basements we’d roller skate in) and never could we hear the Thanksgiving party going on upstairs until the dreaded “time to clean up!” Total buzzkill for a ten-year-old.
So what do you think? Charm School, a good idea? I hope so. Just scratching the surface. Btw, I’ve had this idea for a little while now and started a Pinterest board a couple of years ago titled “level pebble” HERE for ideas that I thought would be conducive to the kind of homes in my neighborhood because you just never know. And if you live in my hometown and read the road, these ideas are for you! xo
This home reminded me of a style, stature you might find in Flat Rock and how easy and affordable it is to add charm, funk and curb appeal. The only thing missing is a pair of crusty urns flanking the front door, or maybe terra-cotta pots randomly sprinkled along with the steps to the right, like the oversized pots that sprinkle the steps at the Delano in South Beach
Can you all help me get the word out? Start small, just the hometown, near and dear (again captain obvious). But we’ll hit Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The hubs, not a fan of social media, doesn’t get it and I get that. I have to continually explain BABE I wanna do BIG THINGS, I want to live a BIG LIFE and social media can help with all that. The fact he can actually keep a straight face hearing me say this must be love! Hah.
I’m very fortunate to grow up in a family that dedicated itself to service. Mom served on many civic organizations, the city planning commission (she HATED the proposed city hall they built and petitioned against it, dragging me along the door to door). As a kid, you’re like WHAT? Is mom gone? The star of our show? Another night of Dad’s ham and scalloped potatoes? Uncle Lee was right there, many others in my fam, but it was Grandma (and Grandpa) who set the bar. A school in her honor, but many other feathers in her cap.
We’ll start small, like all good grassroots efforts. However, I’m inspired by people like Dan Gilbert, a fellow Spartonian. If you don’t know him, he’s been monumental in the revitalization of Detroit. And that’s the kind of shit that FIRES me up. A life well-lived. I think the man he must be so proud of himself? What a grinder.
This is the train station, as we locals refer to it, or Michigan Central Depot. Its been sitting stoically in the city of
ruins Detroit, while slowly rotting away for decades. Recently, the billionaire owner started adding windows to its shell. A glimmer of hope. I wanna save this building so much it hurts. And I am not alone. It would be such a pivotal moment in Detroit’s history. To me, it would encourage such confidence in a city that has been willing and ready for its turn. We may never see the Lions win a Superbowl, damn it, but we all hope and feel for the renaissance that’s been brewing in Detroit for some years now. So viable, so right there on the cusp, yet still fragile. The resurrection of this building, I think, would do wonders for the confidence and the fragile. And how awesome as a designer, historic preservationist, and lover of all things Detroit to play a part? More sidewalk dreaming. But I do have the wallpaper picked out if they wanna give me a shot at one of the bathrooms. ;-))))
At night, the interior is illuminated so you can catch a glimpse of all its former grandeur. This building gets a lot of press, but there are so many more works of art like it. Let’s save them all! Architecture from this era is art. No different from a Degas or Monet. You shake your head thinking how can you not see that? Your 2015 drywall will never replicate this?
Another great vibe, push here in Detroit Rock City is the importance of recycling, refurbishing, building with reclaimed materials. We chowed down on some serious fried chicken (albeit the portions were kinda small) at Detroit’s Gold Cash Cold in Corktown, named after the cash for titles building it use to be. The owners tried to design the entire place with salvaged materials from many of Detroit’s beautiful but sadly razed buildings.
Stained glass from an old church…
The restroom doors are made from the old sign that hung out front…so beats the typical plastic crap…am I right? Love the juxtaposition of the fancy gold gilt mirror with the old sign and penny tile floors. GOOD work team.
You think, man what a bummer we lost that building, but yet there is hope, validation, in that some parts of it were saved. Like this gym floor with the mascot in the center…DIG!
How fired up are you if this was your Christian elementary school, part of some old gorgeous, storied church, that had seen better days? I was over the moon over the floor. Because they don’t build gym floors like this anymore. Hats off to the gal or guy that saved it.
This next idea came to mind just last weekend (what designer doesn’t dream about starting their own product line) but I was walking through Michigan State’s campus (one of those BEST DAY EVER kind of days), the Spartans just put on a show for national television and the hubs asks, so what do you think? And truthfully, in my forty-second year of life, all I could think about was how much I LOVE MOM AND DAD for putting me here! What can I do to show the magnitude of my love and gratitude? Not that either is looking. You know mom and dads, they just want you “happy and healthy.” But I think about those stylish Olson twins and how they started a fashion line named after their parents. I love that! A “Lawrence and Lucinda” lighting line sounds perfect to me, all in lower case, in some crazy good font.
Anything is possible. It’s up to you to paint it pretty. I won’t bore you with the vintage t-shirt line, because I don’t want you to think I’ve completely lost my marbles. How the hell am I going to find time for that? But I might have sketches and enough intel to be dangerous ha. So yes, let’s explore and expand the brand, let’s try new things. Let’s blog more and share ideas. Here’s a picture of my old high school gym and a little hint of what my first t-design might be. The Lucinda. Those who know, know Mom drew the mascot, plucked right out of her head. So hard to do! I’m thinking hand screen print on a faded butter yellow, cut off sleeve, rock, and roll, soft jersey, ragged edge type of shirt (slightly long waisted because muffin tops are
a bitch hard to get rid of).
Ugh sorry for the bad photo Best I could do in digging up a shot of the Ram mascot. Trust me when I tell you, its pretty f____ cool. But not biased at all.
So once we’ve saved the world, saved Detroit, redesigned every cute charming cottage home in Flat Rock, while blogging it to the world, everyone outfitted in killer, flattering, make-you-smile, Michigan theme, vintage t-shirts (all profits to charm school candidates, community schools and gardens), the Lions win the Superbowl and I mange to feed my children and take a shower, that Heeeeey handsome hubby of mine chimes in with the idea of “jsho to go” a virtual design arm of my business that maybe I’d like to experiment with? The dreaming and possibilities are endless. I’m going to plow ahead because I know single working moms out there that want to but can’t find the time. Because we have sisters out there with BIG ideas that maybe don’t have the gumption or means to materialize them. I think that’s something we can all get behind. So thanks for listening. So grateful to take this time, sit down and put it out in the universe. Let’s go make it happen. And holy shit its 2 am. and I’m a one-man band tomorrow. Cheers!
Jenny from the good vibes rock.
You’re a good egg. Charm School. I LOVE it!
l hear your heart talking and l’m loving it!!!
Rock on! love it…can’t wait to see what happens!
What a wonderful blog post my friend. Reading about your hopes, dreams and plans was not only a joy but also inspiring.
Cheers to living your dreams and making the world more beautiful.
Love this…miss my ole stoping grounds too…and yes I am with you and Charm School…love walking the blocks thinking the same thing…this house would look so cute if they just did this or that…sending some love to you…I with ya Sunshine…PS…YUCK the city hall building!
you so crazy my friend….and I love it! Now is the time to go after those hopes and dreams cause times a ticking and you will be my age before you know it and it takes so more much energy to get up and go as they say…..hahaha! Love your unbridled energy:)
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