It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this week we are off to Newburyport, Massachusetts! This charming historic seaport town north of Boston that was settled in 1634, Newburyport Brown Square

boasts some of the grandest 17th century colonial homes of seafaring entrepreneurs who owned and worked in the shipyards. Lining the main streets and back roads, many of these stately homes feature widow’s walks, structures on the roof where the women could watch for the return of their loved ones on sailing vessels that had been out to sea for months, sometimes years.

Newburyport Dalton House

Rich in history, dating back to the slave trades prior to the Revolutionary War, this city is charming in stature, and provides residents and tourists alike with plenty of fabulous dining and shopping options. The hub of the waterfront shopping district is Merchant Square and State Street,

Newburyport Market Square

where shoppers are tempted with an array of offered goods, ranging from gourmet eats at Stonewall Kitchen to gourmet doggie treats @ Just Dogs Gourmet! Some of my favorite shops, including Flukes and Finds and Friends, a co-op shop where vendors always greet you with a smile (and possibly a witch’s hat and a cup of brew, if you happen to visit during Halloween : )

Such a fun place to shop, warm and welcoming, full of hidden gems around every corner.

Newburyport Flukes and Finds

Both Ivy Lane and Vintage Chic Boutique offer a bit of everything old that’s new again-from vintage broaches to refurbished furnishings, many of which may have come from those historic homes.  I first stumbled upon the Vintage Chic Boutique

Newburyport Vintage Chic Boutique

last spring at the Vintage Bazaar @ Pettingill Farm. Although there were many vendors selling re-painted furniture featuring chalk paint finishes (presently quite the rage for the DIY fan), their pieces were outstanding in their choice of color and finishes.  Their refurbished vintage pieces were done in rich, muted tones with a gorgeous waxy patina finish, my first introduction to Annie Sloan paints and waxes. I have since tried it myself (see Coffee, Tea or Free for details) and have to say I love the finish!

At the fall fair, I discovered the newly-opened Ivy Lane, a shop with a similar design sense: taking something old and making it new and beautiful again.

Newburyport Ivy Lane

The owners, along with their in-house interior designer Holly Gagne (who drives a fabulous tricked-out vintage aqua VW to showcase her wares) Newburyport Holly Gagne VW create a warm and inviting shop featuring antiques, collectibles and upcycled furniture using eco-friendly CeCe Caldwell paints and finishes. Newburyport CeCe Caldwell Paints

I could go on for another ten blog posts, but there are just so many great shops and restaurants in Newburyport-way too many to mention here. But definitely worth the trip to spend a day strolling cobblestone streets, dining at one of the many pubs and shopping for your new favorite collectible. Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! Susan

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Lonny Mag CoverPerusing my inbox this morning, and was delighted to see the link for the current issue of Lonny Magazine. For those of you not familiar with Lonny, according to Wikipedia:  “Lonny is a bimonthly online magazine, launched in October 2009, that focuses on lifestyle and home decor.The magazine’s name was formed by combining London and New York, the hometowns of its two founders, the designer Michelle Adams and the photographer Patrick Cline. Adams is the creator of Rubie Green, a collection of organic textiles and home accessories, and Cline is the founder of Brand Arts, a digital retouching and commercial photography printing company.” What I love about Lonny is that every issue takes you on a world tour of design. They showcase all kinds of spaces, some small and intimate, some grand and gorgeous, all incredible. In the Jan/Feb 2013 issue, there were several features that literally took my breath away.

This Sunbrella ad (I know, its an ad, but even the ads are wow in this publication)

This featured space by Boston native Jessika Goranson, owner of Holiday Boutique of Beacon Hill. When she recently found herself renting in NYC, she managed to make this quite small space her own by “mixing high and low pieces-such as blending art from Paris with finds from Target- to create, as she describes it “a charming, if humble home.” I am loving this floor length beveled mirror behind the small table and Japanese garden bench. Adds drama and light to the space.

I need to travel to this Austrian ski lodge Jagdgut Wachtelhof and dine in their rustic country room. Warm and cozy.

What’s to be said about this amazing kitchen from the Houston home of Kay O’Toole? It’s vintage decor in whites and neutrals with touches of lavendar and blue are so warm and inviting.

Obsessing over this shelving area, that features vintage plates and a bust of Ben Franklin surrounded by marble. Where can I get me one of him?

Full page spread of the newly opened San Francisco-based housewares shop Hudson Grace, specializing in classicly simple goods for your home.

So if you haven’t had a chance to check out Lonny Magazine, here is the link. Inspired designs, loads of helpful decorating tips. Eye candy for the decorating soul. Have a sunny Sunday everyone!! Susan

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Is there an app for that? Essentially everyone I know has a smart phone or a smart tablet or a smart something. Iphone 5Who out there doesn’t play Words with Friends with at least a dozen other people?!? But, as we all know, the free downloads typically have pop-up ads, and some apps can range up to $10 apiece!! So this week’s High Five for Friday goes to Crate and Barrel, who is providing some free iphone/pad/pod downloads-free, that’s right, free!! Just go to There you will find download links for Scrabble, movie trivia, kids books, an Itunes party playlist and more.C&B Get the DownloadAnd the Crate and Barrel website says to check back often, as they will be updating their free downloads and adding more. So a big high five to Crate and Barrel, for not only giving us great design and decorating ideas in their January Inspiration Catalog,

C & B January Inspiration

but for adding a little fun to our Fridays as well! Have a fun weekend everyone! Susan

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If you are fortunate enough to have done some extensive traveling to some fabulous places, it only seems natural to want to have a few photos around your space to show to your visitors. Recently, my daughter asked for my help in putting together a gallery wall in her hallway. Along with the photos are the word “love” in many languages, including Swedish (Karlek) and Dinosaur (rwrrrr)- so cute, and so personal to their space.

Kablek Gallery Wall

She had been collecting travel photos of she and her boyfriend for quite some time, chronicaling their global adventures. Recently, she had some of her fav black and white 4 x 6’s printed to hang. Rather than using a heavy frame, she went with the clear, frameless glass ones from Ikea. So being frameless, the photos appear almost collage-like, rather than individually framed pieces. The trick is getting them into order and then hanging symmetrically on the wall! Now it would have been a bit easier if we had this nifty Iphone Tapeulator app

gallery wall tapeulator

(download available free from Crate and Barrel!). Not wanting an entire wall of black and white, she added just a pop of color.

Memory Gallery Frenchie

In this case a super cute graphic of a french bulldog representing their beloved little guy, Bartlet (note the resemblance?!?)

by Marc Roulstone of Marcart.  We discovered him at the SOWA market last summer : ) The bright yellow helps to break up the otherwise blue, black and white wall. Gallery Wall

Imagine my delight when I opened the January 2013 Pottery Barn catalog and spotted this:

Create A Memory Wall
Create A Memory Wall

create a memory wall, under Style Resolutions No.15. Same idea, essentially the same color scheme (except for her Bartlet pics : ). I guess she was on the right track! Have a memorable Thursday everyone! Susan

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..less home. Over the years, I have purchased more than a dozen vacuum cleaners of various shapes and sizes, spending hundreds of $$$$.

Vacuum Graveyard

I do all my research, check the consumer surveys, read all the real consumer online reviews. So when I purchase said vacuums, I am hoping they will work as advertised. Pretty simple, actually. Suck up dirt, get rid of the dog fur, deep clean the few area rugs we have in our home as well as the stairs. Alas, I have yet to find a vacuum that can do it all. And some can’t do much of anything! These are our (I use that term with some amusement, as Coach does not have enough of a vacuum use track record to weigh in on this particular subject. Awhile ago, I sent him to the vacuum repair shop to retrieve the Bissell that had malfunctioned almost immediately after I had purchased it. The voicemail he left? “Hi, I am at the vacuum store and they are trying to give me a maroon vacuum cleaner. Is our vacuum maroon? I thought it was blue.” Just saying…) current units we have at Casa Mathison.  Presently we have FOUR vacuums stuffed in our closets, two hand-helds, two uprights. (not counting the shop vac in the basement- which is fine- at the moment).

Number 1: A Black and Decker Cyclonic Dustbuster.

Vacuum Dustbuster

Apparently cyclonic means that there is a bit of a tornado going on inside, so as the bits are retrieved off the floor, they swirl around away from the filter so it doesn’t get clogged or slow down. Makes sense. Great for picking up small bits in the kitchen, like when the dog knocks all the unwanted food out of her bowl, or when I drop oatmeal on the floor while making cookies. But not flour. It won’t pick up flour. And clearly not for vacuuming an entire house, especially carpeting!

Number 2: Shark hand held vacuum with the beater bar.

Vacuum Shark

This one is for the stairs, where the dog fur collects in the corners and risers. The main part works fine for a short time, but the hose attachment gets clogged up with the fur while I am trying to do the corners, and there is no way to detach it to clear it out, except to use a knitting needle-yikes! Once it’s clogged, it’s done.

Number 3: Eureka! I found it! Or at least I thought I had found a great little machine for doing the floors with this Eureka stick vacuum.

Vacuum Eureka

I am not sure what the “four-in-one” is, as it pretty much just stands up and picks up small bits on the floors. No beater bar. Not enough suction to clean a carpet. Can’t do stairs, whether you keep the handle long or short. And then there is this bad boy, Number 4: the Bissell PRO-LITE with 12 amps of power! (This is where Tim Allen is supposed to make that “more power, ar, ar ar nosie”)

Vacuum Bissell

Did my research, purchased it for the best price, assembled it. Best vacuum I ever had. Not too noisy, lots of suction. Then the switch broke and needed repair. And then pieces started falling off of it! It seemed like every time I took it out of the closet, more parts fell off the bottom- the entire base is now being held on with one bolt. Then the suction lessened, so it doesn’t really clean the rugs deeply any more. Tough with the dog, and the winter sand and salt presently making its way into the house.Vacuum BissellSo here I am, once again searching again for the one vacuum that will do it all-floors, stairs, area rugs, dog fur. This time I would like a cannister vac-but one with some serious power to get the rugs clean and do the stairs! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I just don’t want to purchase yet another unit that will quickly kick the bucket and join the growing heap of parts in the vacuum graveyard. Here’s hoping your Sunday doesn’t suck-or maybe hoping it does-literally!!  Susan

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Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style.


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Inspired. Rustic. New Country the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.

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