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On Blogging and Life…Thinking Aloud

computer work

[This is a verrrry long post tonight, so read it when you have some extra time.]

Today was the last day of my summer vacation.  I return to my job tomorrow, and the students go back to school next week…holey moley it’s only July.:(Although I have been exceedingly busy, I didn’t get much of my summer to-do list done.

No room above the garage finished.

upstairs room

No curtains made from the fabric I bought a month ago.

(Yes, it is black and white buffalo check.:))

upstairs kitchen

No pictures hung on the walls (but there is a coffee maker ready up there. Hallelujah!)

upstairs coffee bar

One thing that I did accomplish though, was a lot of thinking about…


garage room rain on window

I also accomplished starting a Facebook page for Talk of the House.:)

But  then…

I unpublished it.

Are you wondering why?

I’ve been asking myself for the last couple of months Why do I blog?  I started this little place here because I really love the interaction between the blog writer and their readers.  It is truly a place for conversation and community.  I still dearly love that part of blogging.  I also started it with the intent of eventually adding advertising here so that I could supplement retirement income.  I haven’t retired yet and… I also haven’t added advertising yet.  The money making part of blogging has been eating at me this summer…big time.

You see, I really think I need to be adding to our income here if I am going to spend 6 or more hours a day on this blog. My family deserves that if I am taking away that much time from what I could do with/for them.   And if I could earn some (I’m not talking a huge amount), I could go ahead and retire and work on this full time. It would be good for our family and good for all you readers.:)  But there is this problem…

I don’t think I am cut out for monetizing it.


Are you wondering why not?

Well, you see I have always always disliked salesmen, and I really think you have to be a salesman of sort to monetize your blog. (I apologize if that is what you or someone you love does for a living.)  I am sure it goes back to my being an independent thinker who doesn’t want anyone telling her what she needs to do with her money or time.  It also goes back to my freshman year in college when I ran off a cookware salesman in our dorm.  Yes, it’s true.  He was about to take a group of freshmen girls to the cleaners with his sales pitch and his contract with an exorbitant interest rate they would have to pay for years. (Why did freshmen students with college meal plans even need expensive cookware??)  He packed up and left rather quickly when I explained to all those poor girls what he was doing with compound interest!

So I have had a difficult time trusting any sales pitch.

deck in the rain

I remember the first time one of my favorite bloggers put sponsor ads on her site.   I thought…oh no…she has gone commercial (over to the dark side!) And I have seen how bloggers have gone to the extreme with monetizing their blog – when every other post is a sponsored post trying to tell their readers how great this or that product is…or even worse, bloggers who have their own shop and practically every post includes a sales pitch for some of the items in their online shop. It is like blogging has completely become another platform for advertising…somewhere in between a television ad and an ad in a magazine.

porch tableAnd there is another issue with monetizing the blog.  It seems you have to be a major marketer to publicize your blog, and I don’t think I am cut out for that either.

Are you wondering why not?

Blogging, by its very nature, is a look-what-I’ve-done place.  And yes, I know every single time I put a photo on the blog of our house and what we have done here, it is a look-what-I’ve-done post.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to come across as boastful.  I feel incredibly blessed to have the family support, the desire for creativity, and the work ethic to accomplish what I do.  What I want to come across as is… helpful. So I write the post, and I hesitantly pin an image or two to Pinterest in the hope that someone else may use the idea. Occasionally, I will put out a tweet on Twitter, but it feels very look-at-me-ish to do so.  If I wanted to truly make money on this, that would definitely not be enough.

Big time bloggers seem to be major publicists for their blogs. They want big numbers for their readership.  They use Twitter to tweet their latest post 5 or more times a day, (possibly to the point of annoyance) and they do the same on Facebook.   They even use Viraltag to “publish” their pins on Pinterest at researched optimal viewing times.  I guess what I fear is that we are losing the person in the blogger, and they are merely working themselves to death as marketers in the business of their blog. So I have put off monetizing for awhile now because I don’t want to lose the personal-ness of my blog by allowing it to become commercial in some way.   Does that even matter to anyone other than me?  What I loved originally about blogs (besides the incredible content) was the connections among the readers and the person behind the blog.  Is that a very outdated view in today’s social media society?


On the flipside, I do totally get that for many bloggers, their blog is their source of income, and they need to make money doing it to support themselves and their family.  (And when you consider how many hours go into a quality post, it should be regarded as a job.)  I am lucky to have a career that allows me to be both employed and do this thing that I love here without having to go the route of monetizing the blog.

So now that you have all this background knowledge on my thinking about marketing the blog, do you see why I unpublished the blog’s Facebook page?  It just seemed to be a step towards commercialism…a step I didn’t think I wanted to take.

But I felt guilty.

Are you wondering why?

rain on the leaves

I kept thinking…I am not blogging the way it is supposed to be done. I’m supposed to be using Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and maximizing Pinterest and linking up to a lot of linky parties to get big BIG numbers for my blog.  I am supposed to be racing to grow…and I haven’t been doing any of those things.  But then…I read this post on a blog called Let Why Lead (appropriate title:)), and it REALLY opened my eyes.  Erica wrote about why not jumping on every opportunity of social media and growing a blog slowly is a good thing.  I LOVED this…

The beautiful thing about growing slowly is that you gain friends, not numbers. Connections, not stats.

Friends and connections…I’d be honored with that.:)

after the rain

And then I realized the answer to Why do I blog?

I do it because it is a gift for my friends. 

There is joy in that for me.  And afterall, isn’t it better to give than receive?:) And once I finally figured all of that out, I decided that this gift of the blog needed to be wrapped in a prettier package… for you.  So I have spent the last 7 days and nights working on it. Literally.

The beds have been left unmade…

boys room(Yes, I have tweaked the boys’ room.  Don’t fuss.  Post coming in August.:))


The cookie jars have had nothing but crumbs in them.:(

jars(except for the oreos…middle child – the oreo eating one, is away for the summer.)

cookie jarBut I was determined to make the blog work better for you.  (And since I have no training in this, just basically trial and error, it took forever.)  You probably won’t notice all the changes here…some changes are in the way the links and comments work in the old posts; some are in better categorizing of the posts. You might notice prettier labels on the sidebar:)and new pages that have been created.  The Categories list has been removed from the sidebar and is now a page with photos.

a page categories

paint colorsI have added our paint colors to the sidebar since soooo many people email me about them.  There is also a spot for the 3 most recent posts just in case you might have missed one or two.   And to be more helpful for you, I added a feed with some of the blogs that I enjoy reading along with their most current post. You might find a new one there to enjoy.:)

I have also come to the conclusion that social media can be good in moderation.  You will find my most recent pins from Pinterest on the sidebar. Sharing the creativity of others can also be considered a gift.  (Of course, I am always delighted when I find that you have shared something from here on Pinterest.:))

The biggie that took the most time, was creating a page called The House.  I removed the Our House page because it was a very long list of post titles that I had difficulty sorting and keeping current.  I think the new page is better because you can see a number of photos for each room here plus a list of all the sources (with links when possible) for things that readers ask me about.

a page the house

And now my current thoughts on monetizing this blog.

I am going to do it, but I will not bombard you with ads all over the page.  I added a “related content” widget below these posts.  It will give you ideas for older posts that you might like to read.  Eventually, I will allow it to run one or two small ads in the boxes there.  I am contemplating using an advertising network for just one banner ad or one sidebar ad.  Not sure of that yet.  Moderation is the key.  With that in mind, I added one more page to the menu at the top.  It is called The Books.

a page the books

It shows all the books or authors that we have talked about here at Talk of the House, and it takes you to my affiliate link at Amazon. This is one other way I am handling sponsorship here on the blog…hopefully not too offensive to anyone.

And what about that Facebook page?:) I have decided to publish it in the hopes that I can share interesting things I find on other sites as well as ideas from here.  I think it is a good thing to share with friends.  Right?

Glory this has been long…and rambling…and opinionated.  I wanted to get this out to you before I head back to work in the morning.  Thank you so very much for making your way to the end of the post.  I hope to have vacation posts coming out soon for you. (I can pretend I am still on vacation while it is our first full week back at work!)

Until next time…

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Barbara Hinske - July 24, 2014 - 12:31 am

You scared me to death!! I started reading this and thought you were going to tell us you were closing this glorious blog down. I would cry for a week!!! You have the classiest blog, with the most authentic voice, and without a hint of cheesy commercialization. You are more than entitled to make money from this blog. Through Amazon Associates/ads/sponsored posts. With your sense of ethics and propriety, I have no doubt everything will be lovely. In fact, I appreciate ads from bloggers I respect.

The new look is fabulous. And I loved that — on occasion — you have unmade beds, too.

I’ll bet that I speak for all your readers when I say that we all love you and want you to make tons of money from your blog so you can retire and blog more!!

School next week–what are they thinking??

All of this new focus of your blog will be fabulous! So happy for you!

Katherine Leighty - July 24, 2014 - 12:43 am

Kelly…I myself have considered blogging…however I am retired and I don’t want the pressure! Besides I would only be trying to recreate the wonderful MSN message boards I managed and Facebook messed that up for all of us…I mean me and the over 400 members on my decorating board that is…a place where you could all post pictures of projects and share possibilities…I lost many friends because we did not have time to exchange e-mail addresses… Anyway, I decided I would share on pinterest things I have done…not bragging but sharing other possibilities! Everyone has a different take on things…gives them more ideas and frankly a lot of what is shown has not been done like I have done…so no links, no page just the picture on the pin and maybe some explanations in the pin…seems a lot easier for me! I think advertising as sales are easier when it is products you believe in! To me you have to march to your own drum…stay with what you are comfortable with and works for you! Liked getting into your thinking process! Good article!

Bobbie - July 24, 2014 - 12:55 am

I am a recently retired teacher. You do all of us in the profession proud. And I must say I was thrilled to see that you didn’t make the beds—-even if just for a day. I have decided that occasionally it is okay to “forget the housekeeping and smell the roses.”


vickie - July 24, 2014 - 12:58 am

Hi- I have been reading your blog for several months now. I totally love the content and your honest thoughtful voice. Like Barb, I was very concerned that you were closing down your blog. I am so very glad that you are continuing to write. Your site is so beautifully designed. It looks like a true labor of love.

I hope that you have an awesome school year!

Nancy - July 24, 2014 - 1:06 am

I agree that too much advertising is distracting and sometimes a nuisance,and I don’t care for blogs that constantly promote products provided by advertisers. On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with wanting/needing to generate income from the blog. A good blog takes a tremendous amount of time/work and sometimes money for the projects the blogger shows/writes about. I see nothing wrong with making one’s blog a full-time occupation. Ads on the sides of the blog don’t bother me. Even a blogger selling her products doesn’t bother me if the blog doesn’t center around that. I think the key is moderation. Good examples of tasteful blogs are the Stonegable blog with ads or Jenmy Hobick’s blog with a store. Yvonne’s personality and connection with her readers still shine through.
Her casual writing style, admission of foibles, family anecdotes, excellent content, and humor make it personal even with ads. I would rather see ads on your blog and have you generating some income rather than not see your blog. I always enjoy what you post and would really miss reading it and learning from it. Blogs are the new magazines for women, and even print magazines have ads to stay afloat. I think even if you have some ads, etc., your readers will still feel they have a relation with you because your personality and desire for relationship will still be evident. Also, many of your readers have been with you quite awhile and already know of your sincerity and the quality of your blog. They will remain faithful. Again, I think moderation is the key. I do, however, appreciate your concerns and honesty.
Do what you enjoy or love, make some income, and give us the pleasure of reading what you’re up to!

On another note, In reference to our common order of three willow baskets, I sent mine back with some financial loss due to postage. They did not look as good in reality as they did on the blog. The tea towels/dishes made it difficult to see the entire product. Good photography also enhances. But, in fairness, I should not have expected to receive three top quality baskets for that price. Lesson learned– maybe don’t buy baskets online.

Dawn - July 24, 2014 - 1:20 am

Hello Kelly!

It is a late night for me, too, because I juat finished a long and hectic shift and have to go right back into work early in the morning. I just saw your email pop in and decided to read it NOW because I consider these as something to “savor.” They provide instant stress relief!

Well, my heart sank to my stomach as i read your first few sentences. The thought of summer ending so quickly for you, for all of us, always bothers me. But as I sifted further through your heartfelt words, I feared that you were going to say that you were ending your blog! I have never even written to you before, but I have already come to think of you as a friend that also loves red, and geraniums, and the same books, and same decorators, and herbs, and, and, AND!! I have marveled at your incredible talent and eye for detail, not to mention your ability to juggle career and family while finding time to do THIS! Of course there should be some financial balance for you! Our favorite authors get paid, don’t they? I do believe if you had said you were LEAVING us, I would have started a campaign to raise funds to RETAIN you! I AM SO DELIGHTED THAT YOU ARE CONTINUING WITH THIS! WHEW!

We will welcome your thoughtful changes, and look forward to the beauty and insight that you so uniquely share with us! It IS a gift! And thank you for being so REAL…including unmade beds and empty jars! Wishing you all the best in the new school year! (What lucky students!)

Rae Hilhorst - July 24, 2014 - 5:29 am

I know what you mean with thoughts on monetizing your blog. I am attending the ProBlogger training conference at the end of August in Queensland, I know it is going to be about monetizing but that’s not why I am going. I’m gong to have a fun weekend with like minded people.I am not interested in making money from my blog a sit is my hobby, but never say never. Good luck with your decision xxx

Voula - July 24, 2014 - 5:49 am

Hi Kelly, the care and time you put in your blog is evident and I am sad to hear about the problems it has caused you. The internet is vast and never ending and I choose my blogs (for reading) carefully for the same reason – so that I don’t neglect my family and other interests! I’m from Australia and one of the reasons I like your blog is that it gives me an insight into a different way of life, customs, etc. Your writing is warm and non judgemental and the fact you have no advertising is actually a plus for me as I have found the ‘revenue raising’ component of some (other) blogs offputting. Ultimately the incessant ads, pop ups, reviews of sponsored posts etc compromise (for me) the true voice of the blogger. Having said that, your blog is changing and so are you and it was interesting to read your thoughts about how to take it to the next level. I hope you and your blog will be around for awhile. Warmest regards, Voula

Thirkellgirl - July 24, 2014 - 6:14 am

I want to write you a longer note when I’m not squinting at my IPad keyboard, but the bottom line will be…good for you! I love your blog and am in complete agreement with everything you’ve just written.

Julie - July 24, 2014 - 6:54 am

Kelly – I only follow a few blogs regularly – a conscious choice to limit my online time – and yours is my favorite. I love your style, your candor, your perspective. I respect your decision to include ads/links and appreciate the thoughtful consideration of what to include; I hope it brings in revenue for you!
For you to invest so much of your time (your life) into this blog is a gift for your readers….I hope to return the gift by supporting your links!
Again, thanks for the post sharing your rationale for the change….another example why your readers feel the “connection”!
With joy, Julie

Barbara - July 24, 2014 - 6:58 am

I recently found your blog on my daily tour of the others that are part of my ‘me’ time in the early morning hours. Your blog is inspiring and offers me another place to get ideas from other women that are home decorators at heart! Thank you for letting me sit a bit longer, enjoy my coffee and see your ideas.

Paula B. - July 24, 2014 - 7:18 am

First off, “Phew”! I was holding my breath as I read, so afraid that this was your farewell post. Secondly, I can’t believe you have to go back to school in July!!! And, lastly, you wrote very eloquently on the demands associated with growing a blog. I have to say that some of my (formerly) favorite ones are now so jam-packed with ads that it is a real turn off to enjoying the content. You are taking a very thoughtful approach to the direction in which you will go, and that I am sure will keep you on a path that reflects all that you are. Honestly, as avid a fan as I am of many blogs, I never “follow” them elsewhere, not on facebook, pinterest, twitter – it just never entered my mind to do that. We will be on this journey with you, Kelly, I know only good things await the future of Talk of the House!

Karen - July 24, 2014 - 7:25 am

I really enjoy your blog and you inspire me with your creativity and character. I think you made some great decisions for your blog. It is a lot of work and you should try to make some income for that time spent. Thank you for keeping perspective about blogging and social media. It can be a real challenge to maintain balance and I think you are doing a great job.

Melon - July 24, 2014 - 7:40 am

Hi Kelly,
I really enjoyed your thoughtful comments on your blog today. I will say that I get hundreds of e-mails every week but your posting is the only one that I (and my husband) never miss. We both enjoy your style and get many wonderful ideas from you. Thanks! …your work is a delight to us. And I will add that not everything will be ‘monetized’ in life. Every time that I work in my Garden Club’s Food Pantry Garden or launder the alter linens for my Church, I do so realizing that there will not be a paycheck sent to me at the end of the week but I know that is what I need to be doing. So, keep up the good work!

Robin - July 24, 2014 - 7:45 am

I am SO glad this did not turn out to be a farewell post. Your blog is, by far, my favorite and the only one that I have not grown weary of over the last two years since I began perusing decorating/home blogs. Someone else mentioned the word ‘classy’ and that is definitely the word I would ascribe to your blog as well. Thank you for opening up to us so candidly about your conflicting thoughts with regard to the growth of your blog. I have complete confidence that you will continue to expand your blog with grace, style, and quality over quantity.

Linda - July 24, 2014 - 7:59 am

When I was still blogging, I had a huge following of a different decorating genre and was contacted several times about sponsored posts. I said no thank you because I didn’t want to become a salesperson either. Blogging for me was about sharing with like minded readers and connections. It sounds to me like you have come to a thoughtful way to help offset your time and effort blogging while still maintaining your personal goals. I applaud you! Even though our styles are different, I enjoy your home and each and every blog post you make. Best wishes moving forward!

Sandy - July 24, 2014 - 8:15 am

Hello Kelly – I have not posted on a blog before, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy and learn from your blog. You are a fine writer, photographer, decorator, and blogger. Your site is my favorite, Really! It resonates with me. Today when I saw there was a message from you, my first thought was,”Oh good! What a nice way to start the day!” Your blog mentioned friendship as a major motivation for continuing your postings. It Does feel like you are an email friend, and for that, I sincerely thank you. It takes way more time than I realized for you to do a blog, but it means a great deal to many. So, this is a thank-you note to simply say you make a difference, and I am delighted you are not ending your blog, but just making things work better. I am one of your loyal followers, and I will continue to pay attention to books, movies, etc., you mention. I will also look at products you suggest. Thanks for everything!

Lisa - July 24, 2014 - 8:29 am

Phew! I thought you were leaving us! I love your blog. It is so classy, friendly and beautiful. It is also one of my favorites, because you are not trying to sell us something every post. I am sad that I’ve actually starting skipping some old favorite blog lists because it is all about ads. Thank you for what you do, and thank you for not leaving us! Have a great school year ;)

Jayne - July 24, 2014 - 8:32 am

Kelly, thank you for this wonderful insight! I am in the process of rethinking my whole blog. From changing the title and the whole look to whether or not I should even continue to blog. I hadn’t been doing it for the right reasons just selfish one. I too want to monetize me blog. We could really use the extra income.
God just use you in a mighty way. You have no idea! I think I may take a break from blogging, spend some time in prayer and work on my blog. I just may email you with questions about how you did some of what you did, if you don’t mind.
So glad you are still blogging. You and your home are being used to bring God glory.

Dee - July 24, 2014 - 8:44 am

Kelly, your blog is one of my favorites. I get zapped with viruses constantly on the blogs that have the ad feeds. (Three times yesterday although they were from clicking blogs in a linky party.) There are a couple of VERY popular blogs that I’ve quit going to altogether because of repeat virus attacks. I figure if my virus detection is catching that many, then how many are getting through undetected? It has gotten so bad that I’ve considered weaning off all blogs that have the feeds and have “unfollowed” one that has ads blasting audio at 5 am when my husband is still sleeping.;)

I was in email contact (and on facebook) with one of the bloggers that was constantly hitting me with a virus and she said that I wasn’t the only one getting zapped. I was able to determine it was coming from one of the ad feeds that she has no control over. She stated that she was considering getting rid of them because they didn’t earn very much money to warrant chasing readers off. She didn’t get rid of it. I got zapped again. I won’t go back to her blog now even though I adore her humor.

I start following blogs because I enjoy the people and what they share. It seems after they get a good following they begin chasing numbers, money, followers, and/or pushing a product while losing the reason I started reading them in the first place. It is evident when people are blogging as a creative outlet and those who are now doing it for traffic. Some have even taken their beautiful home and turned it into someone else’s style to the point that it is just another depressing white/grey/beige space with the same rug, same sofa, same throw pillows, etc. as all the others. Many times I can’t even tell if it is a “real” picture or one that has been photoshopped using greyscale.

I’m sure the joy of blogging is gone after chasing income and it becomes a mundane job rather than a passion or creative outlet. And who clicks those ads? Is it worth keeping them there especially when your readers become afraid to visit? Keep doing what you’re doing. I love your home. I love your recipes. I love your book reviews. I love your “trips” to other locations and homes. I love your blog! (…and I usually don’t post comments on blogs, but you need to know that your blog is one of few that I actually enjoy visiting.)

Carolyn Smith - July 24, 2014 - 9:09 am

Good gracious alive, the beginning of your blog made me think you were saying good bye to your blog and all of us. I would have felt like I have lost a dear friend. You inspire, teach and bless all of us with your blog. Love the changes. I respect your decision to include ads/links and appreciate the thoughtful consideration of what to include. I totally get that. I hope it brings in revenue for you! You truly have a gift and love that you share it with others. As I tell my family and friends, I want to be just like you. Blessings.

Jill - July 24, 2014 - 9:18 am

I thought you were telling us you were going away!! I recently came upon your blog – you are my inspiration to get my house in shape! I have neglected it but you and i have very similar tastes and I too have a porch that we live in….I have a blog that I do nothing with but someday!!! I look every day for a new post I was lost this week thinking you must be on vacation! :) Love what you do!

Lori Lucas - July 24, 2014 - 9:59 am

I struggle with every single idea you listed as well. In fact, instead of blogging more to increase readership, I have only blogged sparsely. I think to myself, “Who really cares what I do, or make, or cook, or create?” I don’t think it in a poor-pitiful me way, but in a realistic way. I too am at that spot where I need to decide what I’m going to do, or just forget it. I’m glad you were able to find your compromise, because your blog is just lovely. I look forward to reading each and every post. Now, about that going back to school already…OUCH!! I still have two weeks left. (And I will still not be ready!!) As a teacher, (high school English), I would love to see some of your creative ideas in your classroom. I can adapt ideas to my level from any idea I am given!! I would also buy any print you might just happen to create and put up for sale (just food for thought!!) Thanks for a great post. Lori Lucas

Debra - July 24, 2014 - 10:00 am

I think I have to agree with most of what Dee has just posted. I understand you wanting to make income for all the effort and time involved with your blog, but please don’t go changing to the point of losing the “quaintness” of your blog. Your sharing is genuine and your passion of travel, design, food and most of all “love of family” is what has kept me here. Too many blogs are showing that it has come to be all about commercialism. What a turn off. I stumbled upon yours by just the click and search of a picture for inspiration, so there you go, with just how the internet has changed the world. Some of it good and some of it bad. Your blog is a “good thing”. Just think how with TV we are inundated with ads and we can’t control that other than hitting the mute button. Thank goodness for PBS I say! Well, I’m so glad I found you. Please just don’t get too commercial on us Kelly. P.S. I like the new format as I frequent past posts and this layout looks great.


Scribbler Unfocused - July 24, 2014 - 10:12 am

I share a lot of your opinions about monetizing blogs. I have railed on about this subject for a while, and it always makes me beyond sad when someone drinks the KoolAid and joins the Coven (my own little term for what happens to perfectly nice people with very nice blogs when they buy into advertising on their blogs).

I realize, as you do, that some people have had to take their blogs and turn them into jobs for various reasons. However, there are quite a few (very popular ones) that I will not even read anymore because it is very difficult to even find the blog content among the ads. It is beyond annoying to try to read a post, while the ads keep popping up in front of the post.

I think of lot of the advertising is motivated purely by greed, the desire for a lot of “free stuff” and just plain competition. In fact, I am so turned off by a lot of what I have seen happen to blogging in the last couple of years, that I have been seriously considering quitting altogether. The only reason I keep doing it, I suppose, is the interaction with the nice ones who are still real people, the ones who still maintain human contact and friendly interaction with other bloggers. I continue to find good ideas and inspiration from a lot of blogs including yours, but so many have become nothing more than a bid for the most clicks to get more money. I find the constant self-aggrandizing and preachy tones of some of the self-styled “experts” who don’t know s**t from shinola about design more than tiring and ridiculous.

As one of your commenters pointed out, you pick up viruses and very undesirable spammers not to mention even questionable followers (read stalkers) many times. I have never accepted ads, although I have had offers, because I don’t not want to be beholden to anyone. My blog is my voice, my opinions and my doings — both good and bad.

beth - July 24, 2014 - 10:13 am

Have you ever considered offering redesign services for readers or something like that? I am sure it is difficult for non professionally trained design and decor bloggers to not paint themselves as “experts” or whatnot at times. I personally can totally imagine paying you a reasonable fee for some advice! I love the style of your home, and I’ve often wondered what you would suggest for my own home. However, that just means more time that you would be devoting to this adventure, and that may not be a good fit for you. I don’t know.

Lori - July 24, 2014 - 10:16 am

Whew….I can breathe now. I thought you were going to say you were going to close up shop. Goodness….don’t scare us like that! I agree with so many of your points and feelings on this subject. I love your posts…and I love the new look!

Ashley - July 24, 2014 - 10:41 am

Kelly, can I just say that what I love the most about your blog is the non-commercialization and the non-”look at me” self promoting. I grow very weary of blog posts I read that have pictures after picture of themselves, and the home projects that were provided by this store or that store, and expect that the average reader has the extra cash to just go out and buy the materials or the object. It makes those who don’t have the talent or the cash feel horrible about their circumstances and their homes. I have stopped reading many blogs because I just can’t stand the constant self promotion and advertising promotion. What I especially love about your blog is the home tours. Even though I’ll never be able to afford the luxurious homes you visit, I love to dream, and sometimes they give me ideas for possible projects in my modest home. Please keep blogging, and please listen to your heart and only post what you’re comfortable posting. Stay you, stay authentic, and thank you for being mindful about what your readers what to see, read, and purchase. Thank you for this post.

Bobbie - July 24, 2014 - 10:43 am

I do subscribe to a few blogs but by far you have always been my favorite!
Thank you so much for doing what you do!


Shar - July 24, 2014 - 10:44 am

Whew! I started to read & couldn’t take the suspense, so I shot to the end to see if this was a goodbye letter–so glad you’re staying! You have an amazing ability to reach your readers–I feel like the neighbor next door, coming over to chat & have coffee when I read your blog. I never take anything you post as a “look at me” type of thing. It’s more like a good friend saying “Hey, I found a really great ‘something’–want to hear about it?” Thanks for staying–you are an inspiration. :)

PS Ugh! Too early to go back to school. I have 3 weeks of vacation left.

Donnamae - July 24, 2014 - 10:45 am

You have a great blog…great photos, interesting commentary, and diversity. I was so scared you were going to stop blogging at first! Glad to hear you are not…I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. And if you want to start making some money from your blog….go for it! Can not believe you have to go back to work already! WHAT are they thinking? Our schools in Wisconsin don’t start until after Labor Day. Enjoy what little precious free time you have! ;)

Regina - July 24, 2014 - 10:49 am

Staying true to yourself is simple, not necessarily easy. Good for you for doing so! I understand the draw to make money from such a venue, AND I understand the need to keep the money relationship separate or at least minimal.

I have some crafty/creative gifts. When people ask me to work FOR them on a project and get paid, I’m so uncomfortable. I do crafty/creative projects because I love the process, the creativity and the outcomes. And because I love all that, I’m eager to share what I know how to do with my friends with no monetary compensation to me.

I do admire people who can utilize their gifts as a money-making venture and stay true to themselves. My experiences show me how my truth may be modified as time goes on, as my circumstances and needs change. So again, good for you for staying true to yourself, and for allowing your truth to modify. I enjoy being one of your followers.

anita - July 24, 2014 - 10:49 am

I wanted to scroll down and down really fast to see if you were going finish the post with a goodbye. Super glad you’re not doing that because you are VERY good at blogging. As for the improvements to your blog, I am sure they will enhance every part of it which is already outstanding. As for the advertisements on blogs, I don’t mind them because I learn of different companies that are not available here in Canada. Looking forward to more of your great adventures in decorating.

Jackie Caruso - July 24, 2014 - 10:51 am

I, like so many of your readers, feared you were telling us you were going to stop blogging. I thought to myself, “oh no, this is my favorite blog and my number one go to place for ideas.” I wish you had the time to blog everyday, that’s how much I enjoy your blog. When I first discovered your blog early this summer, I went back and read every single post that you had published.
As a side note, I’m hosting a dinner tonight for a group of friends that started out as coworkers and have remained friends long after the coworking stopped. My table settings include the rolled down paper bags filled with goodies that I saw on your blog. When they compliment me on them, I will mention your blog for my inspiration.
Your blog is a feast for the eyes and I’m so happy to know you plan to continue blogging.

Mary - July 24, 2014 - 11:25 am

God bless you!! Reading this post reminds me of the reasons I love to read your postings!! You are so honest and real and creative – I love your style, and I also love the soul that you bring to your writing, and to your life!! Thank you for all that you share and all that you ARE!!

=) Mary

nancy reves - July 24, 2014 - 11:42 am

I love your blog! Your blog is one of the best. Lots of eye candy, food, and inspiration. If you decide to include ads, I will not think less of you nor will I stop visiting! How do you keep all the balls in the air like you do? :=)

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - July 24, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Bravo Kelly….I applaud you!…I just got “accepted” to a network..however, I know in my heart that the reason I blog is that number one, I enjoy it and I have enjoyed the many friendships that it has brought to me…I recently spent time with a fellow blogger/friend and realized how wonderful that is to me…the friendships…if I make a little money, then that is OK..My life is hectic with so many activities of family, friends, community and travel…that is my number one priority. I am SO HAPPY that you have made the decision to stick with your blog and the plans you have for it…as I love your inspire me!!!..Good luck on the new school year!

Garden, Home and Party - July 24, 2014 - 12:26 pm

I’m so happy you’ve made peace with this blogging business. I have thought that as long as I enjoy blogging I’ll blog, when it becomes work, I’ll quit and just enjoy the hard work of others. Your site is always a bright spot in my day!

Sorry you have to return to school so early, I hope you can find time to share what you did this past several weeks of summer.

Gracia @ Gracious Offering - July 24, 2014 - 12:32 pm

I too read your opening lines and feared you were closing your blog. So glad you are not! When a friend directed me to your blog, I too spent hours over several days reading almost every post and clicking on all your categories…”met” some new designers through you! I love your aesthetic and taste…love your love of red! And, I have to be honest, did love that there were no ads popping up at me. With that said, I totally understand the time it takes to create your wonderful posts, and think careful monetizing is justified…i.e. sidebar, unobtrusive, etc. I have stopped going to some of my past favorite blogs due to the pop up ads, “subscribe” bar that follows the content and is in your face, and even somewhat inappropriate ads that are linked in the same manner as the blogger’s own posts, and the “linky parties” that seem to have no point. But here’s the thing…we trust you! The fact that you have wrestled with all this and will approach your choices carefully speak so highly of your integrity!Please keep blogging!
I love that your house is not another grey/greige/white one. Your new changes are wonderful and I look forward to checking it all out. Sorry your summer is almost over…how does it rush by so quickly?!!I’m sure your new batch of students will be happy to see you :).

Marianne in Mo. - July 24, 2014 - 12:37 pm

Scared me to near death! So glad you are not giving up….yet. I personally think you should make some money from this, just hope for you, that it will be enough. I do think some bloggers go too far with ads, but I have no idea what kind of money it takes for them to make even a “break even” income. I just like seeing what others are doing. Do what you need to do, I’ll still be here!
Have to comment also about the cookware story – I was visited by one when I graduated high school. I fell for the pitch, sadly, and paid installments for a year. But I was engaged at the time, so I thought it was a good idea. Long story short, I broke up with the guy, lived single a while, then married hubby. After 43yrs., I still use the cookware, it still looks almost new, so I guess it has paid off! I thought I had made the dumbest mistake ever back then, and I kinda did, but at least it worked out okay in the long run.
Marianne, that is amazing about the cookware! I guess I judged it too quickly. :) Thank you for the compliments on the blog. I appreciate that you will still be reading here no matter what route I go (but I promise it won’t change the blog.) You are the best!

Cindy - July 24, 2014 - 1:07 pm

I was so worried, I thought you were going to stop blogging!!!
I would miss you so much, because yes, through your blog we have become friends. I enjoy seeing what you are doing, the houses you love, your kids, your jars, your VW vans, your house. Having said all of that, I appreciate the thought you put in your next step in blogging, I am not at all surprised because it is what you do. The unfinished room, your job, when to retire, your family, how your blogging friends will feel about what you do, everything you do is given a great about of time and thought. I love that about you, plus your honesty. I do agree to many sponsor post are not what I want to see and have left some blogs because of it. Whatever you do will be right and tactful. (The funny thing I knew something was up because you hadn’t blogged in a while, like when you were sick or had a bad couple of months.) See, friends know these things about each other.
Hope you have a good school year! Cindy

Charlene - July 24, 2014 - 1:13 pm

When I started reading your piece, I was so afraid that you were going to announce the end of your blog. And I would’ve been devastated! Your blog, by far, is my favorite. The one I check on every day and refer back to on a regular basis. It is the most real, the most authentic blog out there. And I look at a lot of them! Your home is beautiful and also one that most homeowners can relate to. Your style is impeccable and also doesn’t prescribe to one particular aspect of decorating. I get ideas and feel inspired by you with every post you make. I don’t have a blog, therefore, I know nothing about the business end of it. But I am a teacher, and I know the massive amount of time that profession can demand, which some people might not realize. So I can imagine the commitment of time you have made balancing both. So, my message – you do what you need to do and feel comfortable doing to keep this blog going. I can’t tell you how much it would be missed if you decided to end it. I also have to say that I hope you keep the elements of comfortable, inspirational, and educational to the blog….because that’s what it has meant to me. I love your blog. Thank you for devoting the time to bring it to us!

Peggy - July 24, 2014 - 1:32 pm

Dear Kelli, you gave me such a scare there. I just found your blog this summer and have enjoyed every delectable, delicious and delightful post! You have a wonderful voice. And I am absolutely bonkers over your style! Red geraniums, red buffalo check, and jars full of red gumballs are so joyful. I know that you will make the right choices for you and yor family. I think you have every right to make an income from blogging — my gracious, the work involved is like a second job. As to what everyone thinks, life is too short to worry about that. Bless you!

Sue - July 24, 2014 - 1:44 pm

I agree with all: I panicked when I thought you were going to stop blogging as I love looking at your blog and appreciate your sharing your life and your beautiful home with all of us. I just have to comment on the cookware salesman. He wasn’t a dorm visitor in my life (girls school, mid-sixties, no men allowed) but my first year teaching. We had been warned even before we began our new lives and careers that he would be calling. Even so, a very attractive young man, offering to cook dinner for us to demonstrate the cookware, how could we say no? I bought the set as did my roommate. Naive young things! However, having said that, now 50 years later, I still use the stainless flatware that came with the set and the mixing bowls. The canisters have long since gone, but most of the pans are still being used. Sadly, when handles broke on a couple of the most useful sizes, I tossed them, forgetting the lifetime guarantee. The company is still in business and I looked on their website to see about getting replacements for the pieces I am missing (it is still the best cookware I have ever used) and a single pot is now hundreds of dollars, even more than All-Clad. I don’t remember the compounding interest part of the deal but I am sure we paid for the pans many times over. LOL, funny that even with the difference in our ages, we had at least one of the same experiences. Please keep writing; the changes you’ve made sound wonderful and again, thank you.
Oh I forgot they came to the schools too! Yes, there was one every year in our school long ago! Totally forgot all about that. I am glad to know the pots and pans lasted a very long time. (They should have for the price. LOL) Thanks for setting me straight on the cookware. Guess I need to go find that salesman! :)

Teresa H. Fields - July 24, 2014 - 2:21 pm

Thank you for this post. I have followed you for about a year and enjoy how you blog seems “simple” to follow and enjoy. Ihave friends who are encouraging me to start blogging, and a lot of my hesitation is on things you just said! Still thinking and praying, but this post helped me make sense of keeping things simple, grow slow, and not feel like I need every bell and whistle. Also evaluating the Why’s.

Debbie w - July 24, 2014 - 3:32 pm

You had me worried, too! I like your blog because you share your beautiful rooms. I share your decorating style. I read you because you teach….as I did. I hope you will have a Facebook page. I will follow you there, too. Please keep on keeping on!

Kathleen Grace - July 24, 2014 - 4:05 pm

I am a new reader of your blog, but I have been blogging for over 7 years. I too have toyed with monetizing but for all the reasons you have listed here I have not. I’m not one of the “big girls”, and I am not interested in turning my blog into a job. Over the years I have cherished the idea that my blog is my own little creative corner of the world and I have made friends through blogging that have been with me most or all of that time. The thought of a sponsor having input just doesn’t appeal. I was nodding all the way through this. I think the way you are starting out is great, and I will continue to read. I love that you have an authentic voice and that you are interested in the personal connections…and I love your house and decorating ideas. Thanks for all the work you put into this, and good luck on another year of teaching!

Talia - July 24, 2014 - 4:09 pm

Yipes! I was so worried you were going to close down your beautiful blog. Whew…you have a faithful reader in me!

Erica Layne - July 24, 2014 - 4:09 pm

Hi Kelly! I’m touched that my post about growing a blog slowly came to you at the right time. Oh how I can relate to all of this. My desire to grow and my desire to remain grounded are constantly at battle. It’s so easy to get caught up in that pinterest spiral, where you how from one blogging how-to article to the next and feel like you’re throwing you blog down the toilet by not doing everything they say. :)

Well anyway, I think the steps you’re taking are great. Best wishes to you!
Erica, I am finally finding my way through all my emails of the past week. (Starting up a school year throws everything into turmoil at this time of year!) Yes, the timing of your post was perfect (even though it was a year after you wrote it!) Your words so spoke to my heart…to the point that I believe I said “Yes!” out loud. :) I am happy you were able to see how they influenced me here, and good grief at all the amazing comments on the post. So just know that you are most appreciated!!

Michele Jensen - July 24, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Dear Kelly, What an interesting post. I just wanted to say that I love your blog and do feel like each post is a letter from a friend. I would also like to admit that because of reading your blog in the past, I have purchased: a chalkboard from Pottery Barn, a large coffee pot just like yours from Bed Bath and Beyond (for making Christmas punch), glass jars from Target, picture frames like yours from, various books, those very cool colored drinking straws, and probably many more things I can’t remember. Now I am thinking that it would have been LOVELY if you could have benefited in some small way from the purchases I made because of your wonderful influence. You have a fabulous plan for “monetizing” the blog. You are much appreciated!

Jill - July 24, 2014 - 4:52 pm

So Kelly, I want to know who gave you access to inside my head for the last couple weeks?? Seriously, I’ve been thinking a lot about these same ideas recently. Why do I blog? Should I continue? Should I monetize? It’s become so business oriented and that is not for me, even though a little income would be nice. The home blog niche is SO saturated that it is really hard to compete….and by compete I mean develop any kind of readership. Any more, these blogs are filled with DIY projects and tutorials….every day. I don’t know how they keep up. It must be so much pressure! That is also not me. The only reason I have toyed with the idea of sponsorship is to fund legitimate projects around my home that could be shared. I really think it is a vicious circle though and bloggers are becoming dependent upon sponsors for content. (That’s why you are so unique!) The other trend I’m noticing is that you not only have to promote your own blog, but now you also have to promote and “like” other blogs to get noticed. I don’t think I have time for that. I’m not only a blogger, but I’m a blog reader. I choose what blogs I read carefully based on my interests and what inspires me. I’m sorry but I’m not going to fill up my Facebook feed with “liked” blogs that I’m not even interested in. I guess it is the line between hobby and business. I’m realizing that I really just want to be mostly on the hobby side and that my goal is more to encourage and inspire. I could go on more, but I won’t . I’ll just say that I respect the thoughtful decisions you’ve made. I think all the new additions are great. I think you are putting yourself in a good position for the future if you choose to go the business route too. (I can so totally see a Talk Of The House brand.) Yet you’ve done it I such a tasteful way that shouldn’t offend the following that you have now. I will always come back no matter what. You had me at “Hi, I’m Kelly and I like to talk about houses…”

Sally - July 24, 2014 - 5:19 pm

Yes, yes, yes, and… YES! Been there, THOUGHT that. I have even gone the “ads” route [in a small way], and unless you{I} have a kazillion readers, there is no possible way that it will EVER be a source of income for me. What I try to say to everyone who thinks these thoughts is, “To thine own self be true!” — and I hope that they WILL. Because, if I’m reading your blog, it’s because I like it, and I want you to stay around. That said, sometimes we need to change how we approach our blogs and how much time we spend on them… But Kelly — always know how much you and your blog are loved and appreciated. All of the research you do for you posts is amazing, but I will confess that my most favorite posts of all are the ones about your very own home. You make me feel welcomed right in, and I am tickled that you “brag” about a new find, or a new pair of freshly sewn Buffalo Check curtains [Is there any other kind? Nobody else "works 'em" like you do girl!]

Oh, one thing though… the empty cookie jars? Seriously? That will never do. LOL [You know I'm kidding] #jarlove

xo ~Sally

DeeDee - July 24, 2014 - 5:50 pm

Kelly- At the end of the day, it’s YOU that has to look in the mirror and like what you see! There’s nothing wrong with staying true to yourself, for it is you that keeps us, your readers and blogland friends, coming back day after day. I too, am sooo turned off by bloggers who pitch products only because a certain company is paying them. Advertisements on the otherhand, don’t bother me on a blog page as long as the page isn’t too cluttered.
Thank you for your honesty and mostly for your humility. It’s refreshing!
All the best to you

bsirious - July 24, 2014 - 6:27 pm

You blog is new to me. Today I decided I need to unsubscribe to some of the blogs I read. The reason is because I get caught up in what someone bought and feel I just have to have that. Absolutely nothing against the bloggers. This is MY problem. I am focussing too much on what neat/cute item or outfit can I buy. I am going through my in box and keeping or deleting. As I come across each one I make a decision. I will continue to subscribe. I am totally ok with advertising. I’ve learned a lot about new products on the market that a “real person” has tried. I’ve learned from many blogs regarding DIY. I am grateful. Moderation is key. I agree is is important to keep it real and for readers to feel a connection with the bloggers. Keep up the great work. You rock.

PJ Bronson - July 24, 2014 - 6:43 pm

I happily read to the end of your recent post, enjoying your thought process and in the process, learning more about blogging. Must admit, I was holding my breath for fear your conclusion might be that you were retiring. You have a way with words, wonderful ideas and such a creative spirit! Your Blog is a treasure and I am so happy it will continue to be a part of my inspiration for my home, holidays and travel. The creativity you pour into all your projects is a reflection of your love for your friends and family. It encourages me to make the extra effort to make whatever it is special for those around me. Thank you!
PJ Bronson

Marlene - July 24, 2014 - 7:27 pm

I was so concerned when I first started reading that you were going to stop blogging. I so enjoy your blog and when I see that I have mail from Talk of the House, I often wait till evening so I can have time to enjoy what you have written. You are so talented and love all the special things you do for your family, friends and share them with us. We appreciate you and know that even though I rarely write…I thank you for taking the time to share your talent with us.

Anne from Atlanta - July 24, 2014 - 7:27 pm

Hi Kelly–Ditto to all of the comments above. I, too, am so happy that you are continuing your blog. It is a lovely gift to all of us. The amount of time and effort that you put into it shows. I support whatever allows you to continue to blog. Thanks again for always being a bright spot in my day! Anne

Shelley @ Calypso in the Country - July 24, 2014 - 7:50 pm

First of all, I think I have the same black and white buffalo check fabric waiting around to make into a sink skirt for my laundry room!…
Second, I want to say that I love your blog and am glad to hear that you aren’t quitting! I can totally understand how you feel about monetizing your blog though. I remember back in the day when a blogger would “cross over” to the monetizing world and they would apologize for it! Now it is common and actually expected at some point but I haven’t done it either. I actually started a post about my thoughts about that too so I can relate to what you are saying. I am not a salesperson either and have a hard time pushing things on people. I never want to come across as being insincere so I think that holds me back. I think it’s just important to do what is comfortable for you. Everyone has their own style and what works for one person may not work for another. I am sure whatever you decide will be fine with your readers. Thanks for being so open with your thoughts!

Jeanne Bell - July 24, 2014 - 8:13 pm

I read your entire blog today because I was afraid you were quitting. You add interest and fun to my day. You have taken me to some great places that I would otherwise never have seen. You are one of the other few people that I know that use their kids pictures for art in their house. You have done all of this with grace and dignity and I am sure any thing you add to your blog will be done the same way.
Good luck and God bless.

Debbi - July 24, 2014 - 8:29 pm

You go for it girl! I have found some amazing products and interesting websites from my favorite bloggers. Hopefully this will enable us to hear from you more!!! But please, please don’t quit. You are one of my favorites and you have unlimited potential!

Amy O'Quinn - July 24, 2014 - 8:39 pm

Okay, so when I first started reading this post, my heart sank. I thought, “Oh, no! She can’t stop blogging!” There are about five blogs that I check every single day for new posts, and yours is always at the top of the list. So, I was relieved when I read the rest of the post. I started blogging in 2006, although I hardly ever post anything anymore…and my first two blogs don’t even exist anymore. I hate I lost all my writing, photos, recipes, etc. And I know from experience how much time blogging can take. There is no one I know who is more deserving than you are to be compensated a bit for all the wonderful information and inspiration you provide for your readers. You never ever come across pushy or as a know it all. I, for one, appreciate the time you take on this blog, and monetizing and having affiliate links for the books/resources you talk about is A-okay in my book! I hope your blog grows and grows!
Thanks for your insight…and for keeping on blogging!
Prayers for a wonderful school year!

Megan - July 24, 2014 - 9:04 pm

HI there Kelly,
First off – so happy that you are sticking with it. I have long noticed that your blog is the only one that I have seen that does not have any advertising. I also noticed that you did not take part in all of the “linky parties”. And yet you still have an amazing following. Your subscribers are faithful to you. We love your posts, and I personally feel that I learn so much from you about all things “Home”. I understand the need to monetize the blog (frankly, I am surprised that it didn’t happen sooner!). As I have said before – your blogging is on a level far above the others. I foresee many great things to come for you – and not just through advertising!! I have a feeling that you may be finding yourself with a new career – and that blogging will have led you to it. Keep up the great work!!

Leslie - July 24, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Hi Kelly! Thank you for writing such a real and candid post. I follow your blog because it makes me so happy. My family all knows when Kelly updates! I hope it makes YOU happy and I think it does because it shows! Follow your heart and do what you want to do! Your readers admire you ALOT and will roll with your changes. You can always add or take away in the future if you want to. I really wish you all the best and will be following every post like always. Oh and thank you! You inspired me to get black and white buffalo checked curtains in my cream kitchen! I adore them! Enjoy your new school year. You inspire your readers and I am sure you inspire those little kids who need it!

Jennifer - July 24, 2014 - 9:16 pm

I didn’t realize until I read this post what set your blog apart from so many others. Thank you so much for giving so much of your time, this blog truly is a gift. AND you are gifted in so many ways (but I did feel a little better seeing the empty jar ;) Your humility and your honesty is quite frankly, refreshing….

Mimi - July 24, 2014 - 9:51 pm

Trust me, my friend, YOU are the one who is blogging the way it is supposed to be done. :-) Over the years, I have read a lot of blogs, but my list continues to get shorter rather than longer. Some of my beloved bloggers have sold out and it shows–there are more ads than content, and they as writers have forgotten why we the readers loved them in the first place.

As a reader, I so appreciate that you respond if I leave a comment. Do I expect you to reply every time I comment? Heck no, I know you are a busy woman with a life. But when you reply, I feel valued as a person. I have left comments FOR YEARS on some of the big blogs and have never received one reply. Not that I was looking for a reply, but you’d think that ONCE in five years I might have said ONE thing that deserved a smiley face. :-) I no longer read them because I don’t feel like they care if I do–I’m just a number.

I have never once felt like you were boastful or showing off. You are so darn clever and creative that I can’t wait to see your latest idea (so I can copy! ha!)

I think you absolutely should gain monetarily for your hard work and effort. Here’s the difference between you and the other bloggers–and it’s a BIG one: WE ask YOU where to buy things all the time. You write the posts, we love what you did, and WE want to know where to get the items featured in the posts. The Amazon affiliate is a natural fit because you feature wonderful books and items (VW Vans) that we want. You could advertise jars,;-) material, furniture, chalkboards, food packaging, etc. and we would LOVE it because it’s a genuine buying guide for your materials. It would be a helpful resource for us–you wouldn’t even have to try selling things.

Sorry for writing the great American novel here. I hope you see by the overwhelming response of your readers that you are dearly loved as a writer AND a person. Your motives (and heart) are always sincere and I greatly appreciate that.

Cindy Ross - July 24, 2014 - 9:53 pm

Okay I am with the rest of the group. I thought you were going to say you were closing the blog. I was going to offer to come finish the room above the garage if you would continue to blog. I think we will all agree this is a comfort for us all. You have a unique way of writing, presenting you post about your trips, your dinners, etc. I feel you should take your blog to the next level if that is what you feel is best for you and your family. You deserve to be paid for your blog and to make extra income for you and your family especially if you are doing this during family time and involving your family with your blog activities. I think you will keep your blog very tasteful because that is just the kind of person you are. Just remember to stay true to what you believe in and everything will fall into place for you. Sorry you have to go back to school so soon. Seems like it was just yesterday that you were saying you were getting out for the summer. Enjoy your first day with the kids and be sure to let us all know how it went. Looking forward to hearing all about it. Luv ya girl <3

Dawn - July 24, 2014 - 10:07 pm


Barbara in the very first comment couldn’t have said what I was thinking better! I was so worried at first but then you so very carefully explained everything. I am not on Facebook since I am a teacher (I respect your choice to be on it to promote the blog though). I am so glad that you have decided to monetize your beautiful blog. I know it will be done in a classy way and I appreciate your explanation. I wish you all the best with your blog and with going back to work! I will be here looking forward to your next post.

Ellen Martin - July 24, 2014 - 10:32 pm

I rarely post my thoughts and appreciation, but have loved your blog for the year and a half or so I have followed it. I, like others, was afraid as I began to read that you were saying goodbye to blogging. How happy I am that as you processed your feelings you have decided to continue. Your blog, unlike others, is so personal. Your love for your family and creating a lovely, enjoyable, fun home for them is evident in every post.

Thank you for your honesty concerning blogging and money. I pray that you will be able to strike a balance with this, and continue to do what you do so well, inspiring your readers with your posts. I do appreciate the time you spend.

Mary B - July 24, 2014 - 10:35 pm

So relieved this post didnt go the other way!!!! As so many have said above— your blog is my favorite and the only one that i look forward to reading. Im sure whatever you do with it will remain as classy as always!

Lynne - July 24, 2014 - 11:22 pm

Kelly, I’m so glad this wasn’t a farewell blog post! I thoroughly enjoy your blog and the time you devote to it. I love that your real voice can be heard! I understand some people need to make money from their blog, and some advertising isn’t bad. However, the ads that pop up and you have to tap the “x” to make them go away are the biggest nuisance ever! Just when you think you are hitting the x they somehow move and you end up opening their ad! It makes me crazy and I’ve stopped following some very popular blogs because of it. I asked myself if reading a blog post was worth the frustration and decided it was not. I don’t mind affiliate links or sidebar advertising but the rest drives me nuts. I appreciate a blogger who says right in the first sentence that this post is a sponsored one. Then I can choose not to read the ones that don’t interest me. Last year a ton of bloggers were talking about tissues, and only one blogger disclosed it was a sponsored post in the first sentence. I certainly am not swayed to buy tissues because they have paid 100 bloggers to talk about them. Lol! Thanks for your honesty and for continuing with your blog! It’s one of my very favorites! Oh, btw, you were the only blogger who responded to my query about my iPad crashing when I tried to read your blog! You figured out what I needed to do. The others just said that no one else was having problems so it must be me. I can’t tell you how touched I was that you took time to help me!

laura - July 25, 2014 - 9:15 am

Thank GOD for your decision to monetize in moderation! I can’t keep up with how many blogs I have chosen not to follow because I felt I was being sold something and not shared something! Kudos!

Bev - July 25, 2014 - 12:13 pm

I LOVE your blog. Your creativity and style inspire. I am always happy when I see you have posted something. I am grateful you are still going to post. May the $$$ come in a new creative way. Thank you for sharing.

Louvina - July 25, 2014 - 1:15 pm

Mercy Kelly! I raced through the posting trying to see what was happening– because it had a different look and tone–”sad like” especially the empty table! –so I had to read Barbara’s reply to make sure I was understanding it. And then I quickly scrolled down and saw ALL the many replies–I didn’t have time to read more and did not finish until late last night. Almost “went blind” reading so much– I always read each and every reply because I feel a kinship to all your readers. Well, I wondered what more I could say —but feel the same way as the others and will do whatever it takes to help you continue TOTH. I can’t find a word for your blog but know it is a God given talent you have in writing, sharing and taking photos. I don’t know anything about what it takes to do this outreach–but I do know something magical is happening here and there is something greater for you in this line of work. I want to help –so you do the “Kelly” touch and tell us what we can do!! I’m behind you 100%. I miss when you don’t post and look every day if there is some news and many times go back and reread past posts. I don’t even know how I found you–it just happened!! And I was hooked!! I felt like you were a “soul sister!” An old soul as my close friends and I like to say– so do the right thing for you and yours and we will be here. Much love and prayers for guidance on your decisions.

Patty in Michigan - July 25, 2014 - 1:54 pm

As I began reading I was thinking is Kelly closing up her blog….whew! So happy that you aren’t. I love reading your blog and have enjoyed our cyber friendship so much that it would be so sad if it was over. Yeah! it’s not. I have always loved the way you have poured out your heart in your different posts, and I so appreciate your honesty in this one. It really is amazing how much time and effort it takes to prepare a post. I really LOVE each and every one. It is a real blessing to me…really!!! So happy you are going to keep them coming and it sounds like it’s going to just get better. I pray many blessings for you and your awesome blog future and returning to teacher…sorry summer is over so quickly.

Jen - July 25, 2014 - 2:53 pm

Hi Kelly,
This is an excellent post, and I totally understand why you are conflicted. I haven’t written a blog post in over a year because I feel the same way. It just takes too much time away from my family to make it worth it unless I can justify it with some sort of income (no matter how small), and I am not great at marketing ( I almost feel guilty about it)! I really like and appreciate the conclusion that you have come to. I think you can have a great blog that people love to read and also one that is aesthetically pleasing without bombarding readers with tons of ads. I love your blog and I admire you because it seems like I know you through your posts. Keep true to yourself and Thank you for spending your time with us readers and inspiring us!
Have a great school year!

Anne Boykin - July 25, 2014 - 3:38 pm

Hi Kelly, I used to follow a whole lot of blogs until I realized that there were some that touched my heart and made me feel good and others, not so much. Several months ago I cut back on my blogs considerably but I found that I just love yours, it’s one of my favorites. I love your style of decorating, your open heart and fun adventures that always include houses. You even came to my little town of Newnan for a visit, much to my surprise. So do whatever you want to be happy but know that you do bring a lot of happiness to those that follow you. I also love Miss Mustard Seed’s blog and she’s very different from you but you both put your heart into what you do and it shows. Hugs, Anne P.S. I do honestly enjoy the ads on my favorite blogs because they are usually companies I know or like once I do discover them through a blog. Just saying :-)

Pam - July 25, 2014 - 4:57 pm

Kelly- I happened upon your blog a few months ago and to me it is like a favorite little cafe where I can stop in for a cup of coffee and something yummy- I just always leave feeling happy. I often wondered how much time you must devote to your lovely posts. I have a blog but it really just serves as a catalog of work for my very localized business, so I don’t have pressure that “commercial” bloggers must feel. I fully support your decision to gain some income for your effort and it most certainly will not keep me away. Best of luck with your journey and thank you for deciding to stick around. I’ll be reading. :)

heidi sapa - July 25, 2014 - 8:48 pm

I really appreciate your “thought-full” process and explanation. You are my favorite blogger and I am seriously happy that you explained how you felt about the blogging world. I have watched other spots become ads and places for self-promotion. Needless to say, I don’t follow them anymore.

You are a delightful break in my busy day and I want to thank you for this. I know you will stay true to yourself, however the blog is “packaged.”

In appreciation, Heidi

Katrina - July 25, 2014 - 9:50 pm

Oh my…. Just like when I read a good mystery, sometimes I sneak and read the last two pages….. I had to scroll down because after reading your first paragraph, my heart started racing because I thought you were going to tell us good bye. Phew, okay now that that scare is over…… Kelly, your blog stands mountains over any other blog I read !!! You are never boastful ( which sadly some blogs seem to be)and your posts are down to earth yet full of delightful ideas or dreams. I totally support whatever decisions you make concerning your blog because I know that whatever you decide to do will be tasteful and ethical!!!
So, so sorry summer break is over for you! I wish you a wonderful school year and I know that you are a gift to every student you have!!!!!

Becky Smith - July 26, 2014 - 12:11 am

Kelly, I have read your blog since the beginning, but have never commented. Like many others have stated, I was so afraid you were going to stop blogging. Your blog is one that I love reading, and if I could move in to your lovely home I wouldn’t change a thing. I admire you so much because I think teaching is such an honorable profession, and because I love anyone who loves Mitford as much as I do. I wish you much luck and success in everything you do.

cindy hattersley - July 26, 2014 - 10:35 am

Great post I am dropping you an email!!!

classic•casual•home - July 26, 2014 - 11:14 am

I think it would be great to see you on Facebook. I publish there, too, as for some people who are really not blog readers, that’s their major entertainment. That was interesting what one reader commented about viruses from ads…I have never heard that before. This was my first time here. I’m going to stay awhile :)

Shelley - July 26, 2014 - 11:25 am

Phew! You had me worried there for a minute! Thank goodness you are not leaving us! I completely agree with everything you say and your reasons. Funny…I am in Sales and I too hate Sales Reps…which might explain why I’m not as successful as some of the other reps in the company I work for…

I especially agree with your comment about blogs that have their own shops and every blog entry is a plug for their shop or something they are selling somewhere and their curated line at Joss and Main. They have lost the reason for blogging and sharing and it is such a turn off that I no longer follow them…This being said I agree you should make money for all the work you put into this, but just don’t make it all about the money…

I love your blog!!!

Sue - July 26, 2014 - 3:51 pm

I am going to join the throngs and tell you how happy I am that you are going to keep blogging. I am fairly new to your blog, but I have gone back and read it ~
I know that to do the blog the way you do it takes a ton of time and so it makes sense to add the affiliate links.
I agreed with everything you said, so many blogs I once enjoyed are just ads and free product reviews and selling their stuff. I enjoyed reading them in the beginning because I enjoyed their style and it was fun to get to know them. There was a little give and take in the comments etc. Now, not so much and so I no longer follow them.
On another note, I can’t believe you are going back to school so soon! A month cut off your summer! I do love the beginning of a new school year though ~ a freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils and all that:-) Pray yours get off to a great start!

Sue - July 26, 2014 - 3:55 pm

And I forgot my totally selfish reason I’m glad you’re still blogging ~ we are very fortunate to be building a small lake house and I am going to go back through your blog for lots of great ideas. Your blog is a treasure trove for me! {But difficult to decide exactly which way to go ~ I like so many different things}
Thanks so much for all of the inspiration, both in your own home, love that red, and in the homes and inns you feature.

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - July 26, 2014 - 10:37 pm

I’m late reading this, but can sympathize with many of your points. I do have a few ads on my blog, but cut out many of the local advertisers because they really wanted to dictate what I wrote, and that drove me crazy. I get very discouraged and stop reading blogs that are mostly advertised posts. I now hate Frog Tape because it has taken over the mind of perfectly decent people! Enough with the TAPE, people!

Facebook is a necessary evil, and many of my readers ONLY see my posts on facebook, so I link my posts there once a day, but don’t really interact or involve myself with facebook other than a few minutes each day.

Do what you need to do to be happy. I think good content always shines through, no matter which format you choose.
I am laughing out loud at your Frog Tape comment, and I know exactly what you mean! :) Thanks for the info on your use of Facebook. That helps. :)

Debbie V. - July 27, 2014 - 10:49 am


Don’t change a thing! Your blog is my of my absolute favorites and I love your honesty and your style, which is why I am a faithful reader.

Karen - July 27, 2014 - 12:57 pm

I only recently found your blog and enjoy it so much. It’s refreshing and honest – thank you! As a retired designer, I enjoy perusing the vast amount of interiors and exteriors by many talented designers and diy’ers. The blogs heavy with advertising are annoying but I have the choice to not view it :) What concerns me more are the number of bloggers selling on-line design services when they’re not certified and fail to divulge that to their readers upfront. Even if certification isn’t mandatory for all consumers searching for design consults, I do believe consumers/readers deserve honesty.

Jessie @ Dream and Differ - July 27, 2014 - 1:13 pm

I first saw your cozy house when it was featured by The Lettered Cottage, and I immediately went on a hunt to find more info. I was disappointed at the time that you’d didn’t have a blog, so imagine my happiness when, some time later, Pinterest led me here! I so enjoy reading your blog and am always impressed by the quality of writing and your blog design, not to mention the beautiful images. It is clear that you put a lot of work and love into each post. Your unique voice and obvious enjoyment in creating “Talk of the House” shines through with each post.
It’s a pleasure to read and a great example of blogging done right (one I would like to follow). Thank you for being a bright spot in my reader!

Lori - July 29, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Catching up and checking in. All I can say is….good for you! As others have stated, I am thankful you are staying around for sure! You did scare us. I truly enjoy stopping by, catching up and seeing your latest posts. Always a pleasure.

Hilary @ My So-Called Home - July 31, 2014 - 11:04 am

You seriously have the most beautiful, thoughtful, coziest, and (like a previous commenter said) classiest home I have ever seen! I am seriously so happy to have found your blog and SO happy you are not going anywhere! Good golly lady you more than deserve to be paid for your time, effort, and skill and there is no shame in that. Keep up the good work! :)

Wendy in KY - August 1, 2014 - 11:11 am

Hi Kelly! I am behind in all my blog reading… much for the same reasons (have not accomplished all on my to-do list for summer and see it waning quickly!) I read this entry in email form and had some immediate thoughts, but failed to execute my intentions to write them down at the time.
A) When you were first introduced to me by my sister, I IMMEDIATELY looked for you on Facebook so that I could share each of your insights and eye for beauty with my friends. I am happy to learn you will be publishing there!
B) God has given you a gift and an eye for beauty. A gift to share. In this day and age where the world is full of “ugly,” a person needs to find respite and resting spot. Your blog provides that. Even though I am not physically sitting on your porch, at your table, or chatting with you in person, I feel like I AM when I open my email or come to your site. Advertising will not change that. I consider you to be in the upper echelon of Bloggers. You have the class and ability to run with the Big Dogs. Now, go and Run!

Barb - August 3, 2014 - 2:06 am

Phew…you had me worried. So glad you’re still going to blog. I love the new ideas you’re starting. My wish is that you get as much enjoyment out of blogging as we do in receiving everything you share with us.

tessa - August 3, 2014 - 10:52 pm

oh kelly, i struggled forever about the whole ad issue too. then once i did it, i was upset i waited so long! i do recommend using a publishing network, like blogher, when you do. they make it easy. my in frequent blogging certainly doesn’t have me raking in the dough, but it’s a little extra spending money each month i didn’t have before. i will say i’ve done a few sponsored posts and it hasn’t felt right, so i’ve kind of stepped away from those. and i don’t use FB or twitter, so don’t feel that is essential! :) good luck with it. you’ll cringe the first time you see an ad on ur site and then slowly you will get over it. ha! xo, tessa
I am glad to know your thoughts on monetizing your blog Tessa. Yes, you did wait a long time before doing it, and your current ones are not obtrusive at all. Moderation…all in moderation. :) I am planning on applying to Blogher, and I know that may take awhile. Thank you for adding your input to that VERY long post!

Renee Cook - August 6, 2014 - 11:54 am

Dear Kelly… I am glad you feel free to follow your heart and do what is right for you and your family. Your blog is so lovely, and is one of only a couple I follow. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into creating a beautiful little respite in the midst of our days! May you have a blessed and happy school year! Renee

Carpenter and MacNeille: A Design Firm to Love

Selkirk Lodge exterior Carpenter MacNeillesource   photo by Gordon Beall

You have probably seen the beautiful home above.  That gorgeous exterior has been all over Pinterest, and it was featured several years ago in Architectural Digest. But do you know the story behind it?

This was the before

selkirk lodge before renovation Carpenter MacNeillesource 

The 19th century Massachusetts home with its wonderful setting between a river and the Atlantic Ocean was almost at the point of needing to be torn down, but luckily, a Russian couple discovered it in their hunt for a home near their American boarding school children.  And even better than that, they hired the award winning firm of Carpenter and MacNeille to restore and enlarge it.  The firm took it down to the studs and added almost 2,200 square feet and this amazing terrace to the old house.

Selkirk lodge terrace Carpenter and   photo by Gordon Beall

Quite a transformation, right?

But it wasn’t that house that drew me to the design firm.  It was actually this kitchen:

Bakers kitchen cabinets Carpenter photo by Eric Roth

Don’t you just love it with it’s panelled cabinets,(painted Benjamin Moore’s Linen White) dark hardware, black granite countertops, and beadboard backsplash?  Let me tell you the story behind it.  This kitchen belongs to a family with 4 children – the wife was a lawyer, and the husband is an educator.  When the children were young, the wife would bake cookies for their classes and for relatives and for parties.

Bakers kitchen Carpenter  photo by Eric Roth

She did a lot of baking, and she loved it.  And her cookies were good.:) After years of doing this, she decided she wanted to turn it into a business, but here’s the catch.  She wanted to continue to bake the cookies at home. They were just about to start a kitchen renovation.

bakers kitchen island Carpenter   photo by Eric Roth

But being the smart lawyer she was, she knew there were laws regarding businesses operated from home – specifically food businesses operated from home kitchens.  So after researching all the health regulations, she and her husband contacted the firm of Carpenter and MacNeille to design and build a kitchen that would meet all those regulations. You would never know by looking at this kitchen that it was anything more than a beautiful home kitchen would you?

baking area Carpenter  photo by Eric Roth

The baking counter was put in 4 inches lower than the other counters so that it was more comfortable to work there, and a cover was installed on drawers with baking supplies.

Bakers kitchen drawer Stephen

And now the kitchen is home to Boston Globe’s 2009 Cookie of the Year. :)

Batter Up Bakery

Would you like to see another Carpenter and MacNeille house?


How about this one?

Chubbs Hill exterior Carpenter  photo by Sam Gray

And of course there is a story behind this one as well.

Would you believe this home was originally built as a spec house in 1993??  It’s true. The Carpenter and MacNeille firm was doing a renovation right across the street from it, and the owners of this home approached them about doing a simple entryway redesign.

Chubbs Hill photo by Sam Gray

Well one thing led to another, and that entryway redesign led to a room redesign, which led to all the interiors being redone, which then led to the exterior being totally redone and clad in shingles.  Talk about a domino effect!

Chubbs Hill living photo by Sam Gray

(In case you can’t tell, the wife of this family likes blue.:))

I love the kitchen.  Just look at that ceiling!

Chubbs Hill kitchen Carpenter  photo by Sam Gray

The breakfast nook above is nestled in the ground level of the 3 story “tower.”  (Look back at the exterior photo to see what I am referring to.)  The built-in bench in that area was designed to resemble a bench from an English garden.  So pretty!

And now one more house you might like…:)

Marblehead Neck exterior  Carpenter  photo by Richard Mandelkorn

When the Carpenter and MacNeille firm was hired for this project, the house was a hodge-podge of different styles from various eras…an 1890′s part, a 1920′s part, and a 1960′s part complete with garage and a flat roofed room surrounded by walls of windows. The initial plan was a kitchen renovation, but like so many other jobs, one change led to another.

Marblehead Neck kitchen Carpenter 

In the end they wanted to bring consistency to the home’s design, scale the rooms to an appropriate size for the home, and take advantage of the gorgeous views.  With that in mind, they removed portions (the 1960′s era parts) and added others. I think it turned out beautifully – with the perfect mix of old and new.  The room below is the ocean room.  Wouldn’t you just love to be seated in one of those chairs by the windows?

Marblehead Neck ocean room Carpenter

And now that I have shown you some of their amazing work, let me tell you just a little about the firm of Carpenter and MacNeille.  Located in Essex, Massachusetts, it began in 1996 when builder Terry Carpenter and architect Rob MacNeille decided to start a company that meshed both aspects in home design.  They expanded it to include interior design in 2002, and added custom millwork with Stephen Terhune Woodworking in 2004. Then in 2008, they established a home services devision that handles home maintenance.   This is a firm that can do it all – from exterior and interior design, to custom woodworking, to helping with the upkeep of a residence. Sadly, partner Terry Carpenter passed away in 2007 before he could see the final division added to their firm.

Marblehead Neck porch  Carpenter

I love their attention to detail – especially in all the woodwork.  I think that is what sets their projects apart from others.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that they are incorporating New England style in so much of what they do!:)(And I am not sure why this Southern girl is so smitten with New England??)

I have a couple more pretty New England design posts planned for you later this week, and then I will bombard you with posts about our vacation on an island.  I hope that doesn’t scare you away!

Until next time…

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Louvina - July 15, 2014 - 7:38 pm

I think New England must whisper to some of us “home style”! I have the same feeling about anything from that area. Once I even worked my way through a small NE recipe book making each recipe! I have a problem ceiling connecting my kitchen and family room– and thinking about some type of wooden one. Enjoying all these posts — :)
So I am not alone in my New England love then. Yay! I can’t say I have taken it as far as cooking a book of recipes from there though. :) I love wooden ceilings, so I say go for it! That is what we put in the room over the garage.

Garden, Home and Party - July 15, 2014 - 7:43 pm

At the risk of sounding like a broken record…unbelievable! This firm does amazing work. The kitchen of the cookie lady is my favorite. I’ve been favoring white cabinets with black counters lately. But the patio views and attention to detail inside each of these homes strikes a chord. I was sad to read that one of the main partners died in 2007.
I’ve been to Massachusetts only once, but we visited nearly all of the cities within the state. I loved it. Thanks for always finding such fun places for us to drool over! :-)
You are welcome! Thank you for reading the posts about all these houses, Karen. :) I loved loved that kitchen. I think I will always be drawn to white kitchens. Your Massachusetts trip to visit all the cities in the state sounds like it would have been fun! (And I bet you could really enjoy some great meals as well!)

Martha - July 15, 2014 - 8:17 pm

What perfection!!!! When I hit the lottery I will have that first kitchen…the white cabinets & black granite (or maybe soapstone) is just what I envision as my dream kitchen. I have a thing for New England too….something about the purity of design…..anyway, thanks so much for all your wonderful posts. I look forward to more New England design….and I love all your info and back stories. You do a lot of research and that is what makes your blog so special!
Thank you Martha! I hope you do win the lottery and can get that kitchen of your dreams. :) I have more for you to drool over coming soon. Thanks for reading and commenting!

cindy hattersley - July 15, 2014 - 8:17 pm

I love a beautiful shingle style home and these are spectacular. Always so interesting to hear the story behind the pictures! Great Post!!
I am glad you enjoyed it Cindy! I am quite partial to shingle style homes myself. (And we are going to be replacing some of our board and batten here with cedar shake shingles in the coming months. Yay!)

Megan - July 15, 2014 - 8:22 pm

Hi Kelly,
Oh how I love the New England style! I am a New York girl at heart, but currently live in MA. I love these homes – and wish that I had the budget to hire this firm for a remodel! They did an amazing job :) One thing that I noticed (I am always on the lookout) are the black chairs and the black stool that are in the Chubbs’ Hill house (I clicked on the link…hehe). Do you know what style they would be called? I would love to find something similar.
Yay another New England style lover! I am glad you clicked on the links. There are so many good things to see on their site. :) I am afraid I do not know what style chair those are. At first I thought perhaps they were an Amish interpretation of Windsor or Empire style..definitely remind me of Windsor chair legs. Then I thought perhaps they were an Ethan Allen chair I had seen long ago, but I could not find anything currently offered on their site that looks like them. I will keep a lookout for you.

Katherine Leighty - July 15, 2014 - 9:31 pm

Oh how I wish more Design firms would fall under such detail to period design incorporated with modern convenience! These homes are done with period elegance and truly will be the grand ladies to see 50 years from now! They are gorgeous and really have a feel of timelessness! Good design is good design anywhere…I am on the west coast and adore these homes! Really great article I enjoyed very much…thank you Kelly!
You have described them perfectly Katherine – grand ladies in 50 years. :) I’m so glad you enjoyed the post there on the west coast. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment!

Debra - July 15, 2014 - 11:27 pm

These homes you have featured are quite spectacular. Look at that deck, the gorgeous wicker furniture and oh that waterfront view. I can’t imagine having that everyday to enjoy. The kitchen with that breakfast nook with the built in bench is my favorite. Love the big pedestal table, with black birdcage chairs and that light fixture. How cozy in a grand way. Love the sink area too with the big window adorned with topiaries. I could wash dishes and more dishes until I got dishpan hands. Wonderful feature Kelly, you do know how to take us away. Now let me slip into my dated kitchen for a refill on my glass of water and come back to reality. Ugh!


Arlene@Nanaland - July 16, 2014 - 8:10 am

I love a black and white kitchen. I like my granite countertops but I am wishing that I had gone with my first choice of color which was black. I let someone tell me it was too dark and I followed their advice. Sometimes you just need to go with your gut!!

Terri - July 16, 2014 - 8:47 am

WOW!!!!! That transformation in the first house is incredible!!!!! I am sooooooooo in love with the black and white kitchen(s) ….. these homes are certainly “Grand Beauties” for sure!!! Someone would have to pry me off those porches / terraces with that ocean view!!!!!:) … Thanks Kelly… looking forward to the next post!!

Barbara (WA) - July 16, 2014 - 8:52 am

Rather than “just” showing us gorgeous homes you share the background stories/details which makes for such interesting reading, thank you! Love the baker’s kitchen (Pinning like a mad woman presently, heheh!)

Cheri - July 16, 2014 - 8:56 am

Again, Kelly, you showed some gorgeous homes and I would be hard pressed to pick one that I loved. Just when I think…this is the one…the next one is just as lovely. Any house that had wonderful windows to look out at the water (not necessarily a beach) would impress me. I just need a large sum of moola to appear to make my dream house happen, but then, that would be a problem…which builder and architect???? LOL

Cathy Norrie - July 16, 2014 - 9:31 am

Hi Kelly,

Thanks so much for this lovely post. Yes, New England style absolutely speaks to me. When I lived in Nova Svotia for 2 years eons ago I drooled over the gorgeous homes in Chester Basin and Lunenberg etc. Did you know that New England originally included our Canadian provinces? That north/south bond goes way back and it shows in many ways not the least of which is the gorgeous architecture.

We are busy sailing our new little Pixie (see our blog for details), gardening (enjoying our VERY short growing season), and painting bits and pieces on our lil old house in Calgary. Summer fun!
Thanks again for another lovely post :)


theresa - July 16, 2014 - 10:38 am

just thought it was funny that the name of the firm is kind of a play on an old singing duo ” The Captain and Tenille” on purpose or coincidence?

Lynne Smith - July 16, 2014 - 10:55 am

I had the good fortune to live in Acton, MA in the early ’60′s when I was in high school. Our 1 acre lot was bordered by the original rock walls that were built as the revolutionary war era farmers first cleared the land. Several houses down the street a british soldier was buried in the basement; the owners did not want it know that they sympathized with the crown. I am now almost 70, and that area remains my very favorite of multiple places I have lived during my lifetime–even though I was terribly teased for having a southern accent when I arrived.

Dawn - July 16, 2014 - 12:24 pm


I too am always drawn to any home built near the water. In the summer I love to boat around and just look at all the homes built on the lake at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Some are quant cottages and some of them are dream homes. It is so neat to see all of the different styles. I love the attention to detail that Carpenter and MacNeille put into all of the homes they do. Thanks for sharing them with us. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us. Yesterday we spent 8 hours just boating around ever so slowly looking at homes.

Sarah K - July 16, 2014 - 4:19 pm

Thhis Georgia girl (exiled to California!) is fond of New England disgin too. My new desire for our house – a picket fence. I was totally charmed by them on a recent East Coast road trip and must have one now! Plus it will help keep our dogs contained.

Sarah K - July 16, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Oops, I can spell I just didn’t have my reading glasses on!

Susan - July 16, 2014 - 6:17 pm

Add me to the lovers of New England style!

Paula B. - July 17, 2014 - 10:26 am

Gorgeous renovations. I feel like that first home is one I have driven by a few times, I wonder where it’s located? As much as I drooled over the transformations, there’s something in me that loves the hodge-podge architecture of the originals. All that history of the home and the family that could be seen in each addition. Then, I see the new home and I am truly amazed. (By the way, now that I’m retired I think I should start a cookie business out of my kitchen, yum!)

Jayne - July 19, 2014 - 7:28 pm

The thing that caught my attention right away was the size of the houses. I would love to have a large house! Of course a house like those is way above our pay grade! So, I’ll stick with my little house. Besides, it’s all I can do to keep up with this house! haha. I love the New England feel as well. I think it’s really more of a airy, beach feel that comes with New England homes. And being form Amelia, you know how much I love the beach!

Part 2: The Cottages at River Dunes

River Dunes cottagessource

Happy Weekend to you! We are headed home from a week on an island (which I will of course share with you later.):)But today I wanted you to enjoy a few more wonderful cottages from this little enclave at River Dunes. If you missed part 1, please be sure you go back and take a look there for more eye candy.  Today we are going inside the larger cottages at River Dunes.  These are perfect for a family or two couples travelling together. All were designed by Historical Concepts.

First let’s take a peek at the beautiful two bedroom Sabre Cottage – accessorized with photographs of Sabre Yachts. I love the metal roof and the single side shutters.

Sabre Cottage

The cottage has a little under 800 square feet of interior space, but it lives larger with its porches.  The extensive use of wood here and the built in banquette are very reminiscent of the interior of a boat – where every inch of space counts.

Sabre Cottage photo by Richard Leo Johnson

But I don’t think you would find a bathroom like this second floor one on any yacht.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Sabre Cottage photo by Richard Leo Johnson

Here is the upstairs guest room.

Sabre Cottage guest

You can see that there is a screened porch right off the master bedroom below. Aren’t the windows and window treatments just perfect for this space?

Sabre Cottage master photo by Richard Leo Johnson

An even larger cottage, the Grand Banks, has three bedrooms (of which two are master suites) and three full baths. It is almost double the size of the Sabre Cottage and has a more rustic interior, but still keeping with the nautical feel of the decor.

Grand Banks cottage River DunesOur Town Plans via

Is it just me, or do you think this one has the feel of the house in the movie, Message in a Bottle?

Grand Banks Cottage living and dining photo by Richard Leo Johnson

Grand Banks Cottage photo by Richard Leo Johnson

I really hate to stop here, but we have got to hit the road to get home.  So I am going to leave you with a few more links to check out.

There are two more 3 bedroom rental cottages that I have not shown you here.

And although this next home at River Dunes is not a rental, I know you will want to see photos of its interior.:)

Click here.

Ballast Point home River

Same goes for this one.  Click here.

(I am showing you the rear view because all the trimwork is just superb!)

lattice trim on home in River

And if you are in the market for a new home in the area of Oriental, North Carolina, this one at River Dunes might be just what you are looking for.

home for sale in River

It is a replica of the 2001 Coastal Living Idea House that was located in Habersham (near Beaufort, South Carolina.) I think I like the kitchen better in this one than in the Idea House.

Here is the new one:

kitchen in River Dunes

And here is the original Idea House kitchen in Habersham just for comparison.  See what you think. (It’s probably that wonderful apron front sink above that is making me love that kitchen more.:))

Habersham Idea House

I know the big draw for River Dunes is the water, but for those of us who are smitten with  architectural details, you cannot beat the quality found there.  There are just soooo many beautiful homes!  I hope you have enjoyed our tour of the cottages and some of the homes.

River Dunes

Until next time…

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Jayne - July 12, 2014 - 9:50 pm

All of these cottages are so adorable! I can’t pick a favorite. The are loaded with inspiration and ideas! You know how I love inspiration and ideas! Thanks for sharing Hope you are having a great time!
Aren’t they cute! I know I said I had a favorite, but I would be more than happy to stay in any of them. Yes, you are an inspiration loving girl, Jayne! :)

Louvina - July 12, 2014 - 10:15 pm

It amazes me the use of wood in these cottages and how it gives them an uncluttered and much bigger appearance. I truly like the wood on the ceilings which gives them a nautical and casual feeling. I think I could live this way full time not just for vacation. And I think that I could live on a houseboat and be very happy! Hope you have been having a great time wherever you have been–looking forward to seeing vacation pictures soon!
I LOVE planked walls, and would take wood everywhere I could in this house – but it would have to be painted to not feel too dark and depressing. Living on a houseboat! Oh wow! That would be something!

Dawn - July 12, 2014 - 10:19 pm

74 Ballast Point has me smitten! The brick fireplace on the outside to start with and when you click on the link the use of green in that house has me written all over it! Thanks for sharing these with us Kelly. I can’t wait to see where you have been!
It does have you written all over it with its green! Be sure to ask for that one when you reserve your cottage there, Dawn. :) I know you will love it. Vacation photos coming next week (I hope!)

Jill - July 12, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Sign me up! I’m ready to go now! :D
Wow, such beautiful homes. Talk about gracious Southern living!!
Hope you enjoyed your getaway!
Make your reservation and pack your bags Jill! You will love it! It would be wonderful place to visit.

Moj Beli - July 13, 2014 - 11:23 am

Kelly, I have so enjoyed your Cottages at River Dunes post.
I follow Historical Concepts and Our Town Plans on Houzz.
Always looking for updates.
I Love this area of the States. I have family in the area.
It’s hard to leave when you visit. Thank you
Isn’t Historical Concepts just wonderful? I love everything they do. It would be hard to leave that gorgeous area of North Carolina.

Garden, Home and Party - July 13, 2014 - 6:35 pm

Hi Kelly,
This is better than thumbing through a magazine. So many pretty rooms I could move right in. Thanks for sharing this little break in the day for me!
I’ll be eager to hear where you were this weekend. I can always count on seeing some fun stuff!
Glad you enjoyed the cottages Karen! I will have our vacation posts next week. Lots of houses to show you from that!

Vicki - July 13, 2014 - 10:47 pm

These cottages are so neat, and it’s fun to be spoiled with your links to even more goodness. You’re right, an apron front sink gives a kitchen a lot of appeal– I kept scrolling to compare the two. What a cool built-in bed by the window at 74 Ballast Point- I’d love to have something like that in my daughter’s room. Definitely could use those drawers!

Hope you had a wonderful time on the island!
I’m so glad you checked out the links Vicki! You are right…lots more goodies to see. :) And I soooo love an apron front sink. Wish we could have found a way to make it work in our upstairs room. Loved that built in bed too…great storage with the bookcases at the ends!

Design Chic - July 13, 2014 - 11:30 pm

I love this area. I’ve never seen inside the cottages, but we went to the Idea House when it was open and loved it – quintessential coastal style at its best. Fun tour!
Oh how lucky you were to get to tour the inside of the Idea House! Yes, it was the quintessential coastal style. So glad I could help you have a virtual tour of the cottages. :)

Debra - July 14, 2014 - 12:51 am

I can’t believe you’ve been gone for a week and your posting? Oh, the devoted blogger and we love you for it. No vacation here yet… thank you for this “coastal” post and a get away, at least in my mind. I love the kitchens and seeing those black Adirondack chairs has me thinking. I picked up an additional pair for our fire pit area. I am trying to decide if I should paint them black, red or white. I have a picnic set and pair already that are painted white…Oh decisions. Black??Well, I stopped in at Home Goods for a quick look around today. Yahoo, low and behold I found a pack of red stripe ice cream paper cups with wooden spoons. Score! Happy dance. Confessions too, (raised hand) I have purchased a few glass jars at Target too. I have been Kelly-a-fied?? Ha! Can’t wait for your getaway share yet to come.

Thanks for appreciating my efforts Debra! The schedule around here has been whacko the last couple of weeks so my blogging schedule (whatever that is!) has also been off. I vote for red on your chairs.:) You DID score on the ice cream cups!! Way to go!!! Kelly-a-fied…too funny. That is what my college roommate’s husband told her she was when she decorated her mantel. :) It sounds like a cooking term to me. LOL

Trisha - July 14, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Hi Kelly! I’ve never been to River Dunes, but this post certainly makes me want to take a trip there! And, I love the designs by Historical Concepts and Our Town Plans, too. My husband had the pleasure of working with them a few years ago on a house for the TerraBella Village in Covington, LA (definitely one of my favorite projects). I really enjoyed your tour of the cottages! – Trisha
How fun to get to work with Historical Concepts! My favorite!! Glad you enjoyed the tour of the charming cottages. I hope you get to visit them in person one day. It would make for a great vacation!

Suzanne Stern - July 18, 2014 - 12:33 pm

We love the houses and cottages at River Dunes!
For those who might be interested, plans for all the houses (large and small) that are pictured here are available for purchase through Our Town Plans.

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