Category: Blog

Renovation: Phase One Update, Demolition and Framing

As I reported at the beginning of the month, phase one of my home renovation has begun.  At this point, it is well underway.  In the past few weeks we have been through demolition, added structural support and plumbing, and started some basic framing.  (If you don’t remember where we started, take a look at my April 6 post, here.)  It is loud, dusty and there have been one or two surprises.  But, it is nice to see progress.  Even though it is still rough, there is enough framing that we can walk the rooms and start to get a feel for the space.  Take a look for yourself.
Future Garden Room
Future Garden Room Bathroom
Future Stairway
Future Guest Room
Future Guest Room Bathroom
Of course, when you renovate a home that is almost 90 years old, there are always surprises.  It has happened in all of our past projects and this time is no different.  First, we had to close off part of the kitchen (originally not to be touched until Phase Two begins) to facilitate some structural work.  Then, when we demolished the guest room it became apparent that a prior owner had removed PART OF THE FOUNDATION of the house when doing a prior renovation.  So, as a result, we have been digging an unplanned trench to replace the segment of the foundation that had been removed and add additional support to the space.  (See below.)  There is never a dull moment around here, that is for sure.
The next step is to start ordering tile and fixtures in the next couple of weeks.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

Sites We Love:

lecartsf logo
I recently had a chance to sit down with Jenny Moore and Mary Graf, the founders of LeCartSF is one of our favorite websites for unique flea market finds and revamped vintage décor.   Jenny and Mary comb flea markets, estate sales, and second hand shops for furniture and accessories that they think deserve a second life (sometimes with a little TLC in the form or new paint/finishing, reupholstering, and/or repurposing). Their results are gorgeous and sell out quickly.

Jenny and Mary are not only business partners, but they have also been best friends since age 2, when then met at St. George’s Preschool in Nashville, Tennessee.   Whoever said that friends should not do business together never met these two amazing women. They manage to juggle homes, children, the website, Jenny’s interior design business, and volunteer work, all the while keeping their sense of humor and friendship intact.
LeCart Mary Jenny
There is no doubt that design is in their blood. Both remember appreciating it from a young age. As teenagers they were sponge-painting, rearranging their bedroom furniture, and tackling their college dorm rooms. They have always been interested in repurposing items that may have been forgotten or were simply in need of some sprucing up. Long before launching LeCartSF, they were distressing beds and case goods, and adding trim to lampshades. Many of those pieces have stood the test of time and still remain in their homes. We are thrilled that Jenny and Mary could take time out of their jam-packed schedules to share their resources, inspiration, and future plans with us.
What are your favorite resources for finding products for your site?  
We are always on the hunt. Locally, we find many things at the Alameda Flea Market, Treasure Island Market, Marin County Antique Faire, consignment stores, and Estate sales. We have traveled to the Rose Bowl flea market as well as flea markets in Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida. Currently we’re planning a summer inventory-buying road trip, but the itinerary is not yet set. Our dream is taking an inventory trip to Paris flea markets.
What inspires you?
We love it all! But we both have our niches.
Jenny: I follow my favorite designers and fabric manufacturers on Instagram.   I am inspired by beautiful fabric and I read a ton of print magazines including House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Traditional Home. My favorite designers are Ruthie Sommers, Celerie Kemball, Ashley Whitaker, Miles Redd (NY), though the list goes on. These days I feel like I am inspired by the “cozy” – I want to be able to sink into a room.
Mary: I am a magazine reader – House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Town & Country, Architectural Digest and I read them in print (not online). I’m inspired by interior designers, but also by fashion – I follow Rachel Zoe, Olivia Palermo, and Aerin Lauder on Instagram. I love seeing things that are over the top, Miles Redd comes to mind, but I also love the traditional (i.e. Bunny Williams, Charlotte Moss).
Is there anything about your childhoods that inspired you to follow this path?
We both grew up in “girly,” southern homes.
Mary: my mother loved beautiful antiques. They were gorgeous but fragile and not necessarily kid-friendly. I don’t think I appreciated the beauty then, but I do now. As mother to three small girls, I try to use beautiful antiques in a livable, modern way.
Jenny: I also remember having a beautiful home growing up but I think the thing that influenced me the most having the freedom to explore with my design taste. At some point I was repainting our bathroom ONCE A WEEK. It was great to have the opportunity to experiment then.
How did you get the idea for
After finishing design school Jenny was working in the field and we started talking about the idea. We always went to the Alameda flea market together and knew we had similar aesthetics. Originally the idea was to open a brick & mortar store – but we needed more manpower, more money, and really and truly we are moms we wanted more flexibility. So, we decided that a website was the way to go. We talked about it for over a year before launching and built the website ourselves. We launched in 2012.
What is the most difficult part of running an on-line retail shop?
For us, it is having enough time to put into the business consistently. There are never enough hours in the day and months fly by. Because we are also creating the product, we worry about staying relevant.
How do you attract buyers to your site?
Initially we received some great press. We also have been fortunate to hold successful shows (5 in the last two years) and rely a lot on word of mouth. Sometimes, we are not sure how people find us. We have had buyers from Ohio, New Jersey and Australia. One person told us they found the site through a Google search.
Do you have any favorite pieces?
Yes, we both LOVED a bench with roll arms and pretty cabriolets and gold on them. We reupholstered in a blue and white Schummacher chinoiserie fabric. It was gorgeous.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Yes, we have a show coming up on May 5-6, 2015 where we plan to debut some fun, new custom items. It is at the Edgewood Fair at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio (website here). We are excited because this is the 49th year of the show, which is a fundraiser for the Edgewood Center for Children & Families.  We will be donating 25% of revenue to the Edgewood Center
If our readers can’t make it to the Edgewood Fair, how can they find you?
If you want to see our most recent fun finds, Instagram is the best source.  We try to keep the website up to date, but sometimes inventory sells off Instagram before it ever makes it on to the website.   You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook as lecartsf.

Egg-static About Eggs: Three Dishes To Try

RD - No Dye Easter Eggs
Image courtesy of
Easter is almost here and I can’t help thinking about eggs.  Of course, with small children, we’ll be dying Easter eggs this weekend and hunting for jelly bean-filled plastic eggs in the yard.  We stick to the basics – food-coloring dye, drawing in crayon, maybe some glitter and/or stickers if things get really interesting.  But, I got to thinking, what are my favorite egg dishes?  Three immediately came to mind and I thought they would be fun to share.
poached egg toast
Image courtesy of
Poached Egg On Avocado Toast (one of my favorite weekend brunch/lunch items )

One slice hearty grain bread (I like brown or squaw bread)
1/2 ripe avocado
Handful of baby arugula
One egg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:  Toast bread.  Slice avocado on top of bread.  Add one handful of arugula on top of arugula.  Poach egg and place directly over arugula.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Eat immediately.
Deviled Eggs 2
Park Tavern Deviled Eggs
Growing up, my mom made deviled eggs for every holiday gathering and neighborhood get together (it was the 70s).  Unfortunately, they were alway a little blah and chalky (sorry mom).  Thankfully, I was not permanently scarred by the experience and rediscovered them during their most recent resurgence over the past few years.  I am glad I did.  Having tried many at this point, I think Park Tavern’s are the best around and have even made them for my own neighborhood gatherings (talk about history repeating itself).  I am happy to report, these are anything but blah or chalky.
Park Tavern Recipe
Image and recipe courtesy of
Real Simple Fritatta
Potato Ham & Spinach Frittata
In my opinion, nothing beats frittata when you are hosting friends for brunch.  After you get the initial prep done, it is very hands-off.  Add some store-bought pastries, coffee, and mimosas and your guests will not be hungry until dinner.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small russet potatoes (about 3/4 pound), peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
9 large eggs
kosher salt and black pepper
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
4 ounces white Cheddar, grated (1 cup)
4 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and onion and cook, tossing occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix in the spinach, Cheddar, and ham.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the skillet, stir once, and transfer the skillet to oven. Cook until the eggs are set, 12 to 14 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the lettuce and toss to coat. Serve with the frittata.

Image and recipe courtesy of