Aloha From Hell

My original vision of turning this half-acre into our own private midcentury tropical oasis was obviously stronger than my common sense. Because if I saw the original property listing now, I’d scream “Run! Run away!” to my husband, and yank out the power cord on the laptop.

To Weed or Not To Weed

Well I think we all know the answer to that question. And it includes having 7 yards of gravel dumped into your driveway on a rainy Saturday morning in late February, so you can finally put an end to the 24-hr. weed-breeding factory that is laughingly known as your side yard. The area I’m referring to was…

I Like To Move It, Move It

“Hot damn, we have a money-tree!” I shrieked after David told me the high valuation our sod landscape crew had attached to the Japanese maple growing inside a barrel next to our back patio. “No, a money-tree is something that gives you money. This is likely going to cost us money. Especially now that I know it’s value and…

Once, Twice, Three Times for Lighting

As any good interior designer will tell you, lighting is the one thing that can make or break a space. And as any retro enthusiast will tell you, finding mint-condition, period-correct lighting for your midcentury home is like looking for Bigfoot. Most of those swanky retro lamp styles hit the landfills in the 1980’s, when people were in favor…

Grass For Days

“Will anything even grow back here?” David asked, bending down to inspect the bare, sandy soil that looked as if horses had just trampled through it. We had just closed on the Retro Ranch and now owned 10,000 sq. feet of dirt that we had absolutely no idea what to do with. “The hell if I know.…

Thrifty Shades of Grey

It was finally summer in Portland. We moved into the Retro Ranch in late October, the beginning of the rainy season in the Pacific Northwest, and never got the chance to spend much time studying the exterior of it until now. This is when we determined that our house? Was the color of butter. And I’m not…