Category Archives: retro firniture

A Special Ornament Every Holiday

My Dad

 During the Christmas season…Tons of memories flood my tiny little brain. The main one is always of my father. My Dad LOVED… I mean La La LOVED this time of year! Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole Christmas music was blaring on the stereo and we set out to find the perfect  Christmas tree (which meant HUGE). Oh and it had to be flocked…you know …for the snow effect. Although we did not get a lot of snow in El Paso TX…my Dad loved the flocked trees. I guess it reminded him of the wintery settings he enjoyed through his youth in Rochester NY with his 8 brothers and sisters! (Big Irish Catholic Family)

When I lost my father, I lost my best friend…my support….my hero. He was John Wayne! I was the youngest and only girl and I believe my Dad was wrapped around my little finger. (wink wink smiley face) We did a lot growing up together and yes, I would do all the “boy stuff” like camping, fishing and working in the yard with him.

He was a man of integrity… with God in his heart, strength in his hands and very humble. My family and I were amazed at the countless letters of condolences regarding my father’s passing that year and how much he did for their family. Juan (hubby) could not believe the charitable things he did without telling anyone…without saying a word. He was a good man with a HUGE heart.

I honor Pops each year during the holidays. If you have lost a loved one…or know someone who did…this is a great token to give to a loved one who has lost someone special.

I know you can buy these at any craft store; small picture frames that are made to hang as ornaments. My sister-in-law found several of these and put dad’s picture in it. She made one for me, her husband (my brother) and my other brother. It was a tough year 2007, the three siblings PLUS their spouses each lost a parent that year. No kidding… each one of us. So my beautiful and thoughtful “sis-n-law” created such a beautiful token to honor my Dad each year when I trim the tree. For me…that small little picture frame ornament was THE most precious gift I received that year. No amount of technology, jewelry or clothing could top such a gift. It brought tears to my eyes and I will never forget such a thoughtful and wonderful gift.

So if you’ve lost someone special OR you know someone close who has lost a loved one, I would recommend getting one of these little frame ornaments and creating a special gift.

May this year be the merriest of holidays for you and your family.


Paradise Wrapped Up in an Adorable 934 Square Feet

“It’s not having what you want but wanting what you’ve got….I have no master suite but I’m still the king of me.” (Lyrics from Sheryl Crow~ and… words Ileana likes to live by)

Wow! I can’t (or won’t) tell you how long Ileana and I have known each other. Let’s put it this way, we met when she graduated elementary school and I graduated elementary school and met at EL Paso High! GO La High! Go Tigers! Here’s a picture of us when we were juniors and part of the cheerleading squad.

1923 Craftsman

For us from the late 1960’s early 70’s, we are so thankful (well most of us) for Facebook. It has given us an opportunity to peek into our friends lives and become a part of their world. Seeing how they changed, who they have become as a person and enjoying the little “Mini-Me’s” /their children, and how much they look like your best school mate when you were that age! I was lucky enough to reconnect with Ileana and am so thankful!

You see, Ileana get’s it…yup. She not only get’s it…she’s got it! She has a beautiful 1923 Craftsman with a Double-Clipped-Gable roof that she has lived in for over 5 years. Her castle is an amazing 934 sqft, 2 bedrooms 1 bath and all the charm in the world.
Guest Suite or Family Retreat!
Ileana said she had been living in the area and for some reason this house called to her. She found it and for 9 months, she would go by this” diamond in the rough” and say to herself…”This house is going to be mine.” She would tell her boys, anyone who would listen…”This is my new house!” Not everyone could see this house the way Ileana did. I guess many people would say Ileana viewed the house through beautiful stem wine glasses as she must be tipsy or plain crazy to want to purchase this house. From what she said, the house needed a lot of attention and love and she was the up for the challenge.

Rudy enjoying the deck

The house needed a new roof; a large hole in the foundation that if not stabilized would find its way down to PCH, weeds as high as 4-5ft high, many issues. However, she didn’t see those things and probably a good thing as she was so committed in bringing this beauty back to life.

Quiet time for two

So….she took a leap of faith and purchased the house. (Again some people thought she was crazy) After signing the papers and getting the keys to this tiny bungalow, she and her family began outside trying to tackle the landscape (which took 12 weekends of hard work.) Her neighbor comes out one day shortly after she purchased and asked “So when are you going to tear down this place?” Ileana had no plans to tear down the house and over the years she and her family tackled many projects and now they enjoy a beautiful piece of paradise at the beach. When many begin to pack their bags to head back home from their vacation at the beach…Ileana and her family enjoy vacation EVERY DAY!


Party cart on coasters also storage

Ileana and her family have done incredible things in creating a spacious place. One smart and creative idea, they built a guest house suite. It is a beautiful 124 sq ft guest house for when friends and family come to visit. Or…when her sons friends are over, they can hide in their little retreat! This is a great idea if you own a small historic home and wish to add more square footage without damaging the integrity of your home especially if it is of historic value.

Loads of storage

Another thing to bolster more square footage was to create additional outdoor living spaces. They created four separate areas outside where one can escape with a good book, magazine or most importantly a nap. By creating these outdoor relaxed seating areas for cups of coffee in the morning, a casual dining area for impromptu family dinners or a cozy place to lay and bask in the sun…one can have multiple options to escape and enjoy a space of their own.  



Lastly, but HUGE on the scale in the importance of living small….multi-purpose furniture. As Ileana can attest, you have to have the ability to utilize space with functional furniture that can double as an office desk by day and dining table at night. Or storage… as this is vital with small spaces especially much older homes where closets were very small or non-existent. The ability to store extra clothing, bedding or other items is essential. 
Ileana was proud to let me know that this past May; her house was placed on the historic register. It is registered as the Chapman House as this is the original family that built the home. I get the feeling that Ileana and her family are honored to have this house…to make this house their home. A strong memory that she has kept all these years is a conversation she had with her abuelita (grandmother) when she was a very young child. Ileana told her abuelita that when she grows up, she was going to live in a 1920’s bungalow.

Sunsets from the living room

Funny thing…Ileana is living in a 1920’s bungalow; actually the house was built in 1923. Another reason this house belongs to her…the house was built on August 3rd, 1923. Would you believe August 3rd is her birthday. 


Where do you want to put this?

So another weekend, the big one! The big moving day. I had a plan; I knew where everything was going. Unfortunately the morning started off a little rough as I strained my “bum knee” not good. But today’s the day and I was so excited about our new place. We had the bedroom furniture in (thanks to IKEA and Juan for putting it together) and now the fun begins our new/old midcentury modern furniture. 
Well we start bringing in our 1962 Fisher stereo, our cool Danish couch and chair, a small side chair (Juan’s find) and our wonderful school chairs aka new dining chairs. It’s so exciting. But then….more and more keeps coming in and as the day wears on, I’m getting tired and cranky and my knee is really throbbing. Juan is feeling the stress and strain of a long day and taking the burden of carrying and managing most of the heavy bulky items. 
Tension rises and even though we thought we got rid of a lot of stuff, more and more items keep pouring in our 900 square foot home. 
Is it going in the garbage? Are we selling it? 
He said: So where do you want the grandfather clock?
She said: I don’t know 
He said: What are you staring at? 
She said: Huh? Nothing. 
He said: So where? 
She said: In the living room corner
He said: It’s not going to fit there
She said: Why? 
He said: Because too much furniture in that room
She said: Hhmmm
He said: Shawn,
She said: Yeah
He said: What are you staring at?
She said: Nothing (I was truly thinking but yes staring)
He said exasperated: Fine! 
Storms off, slamming doors, cabinets etc 
She said: Juan?! Juan! Talk to me….where do you want me to put this and don’t say in the garbage or up my @**! 
Bottom line is this….when you think you have eliminated more than enough? You haven’t…Nope, no way, “ain’t gonna happen”…guess again. I truly thought we did an awesome job in getting rid of stuff(we did, goes to show you how much stuff we really had). But, when I began unpacking the kitchen, we had WAY more stuff than what I thought. Or our new cabinets shrunk.
Again, Juan and I sat in the new kitchen contemplating what on earth do we get rid of now? Yes, we STILL had stuff to sell, give away or donate. So we started with the pots and pans and realized we do not need that many pots and pans just take the ones you utilize the most. Keep the larger size and small one; get rid of everything in the middle. Create the piles once again; SELL, DONATE, THROW AWAY. Just needed a little fine tuning, but after all we’ve become “Masters of Condensing and Eliminating”.  We’re gettin’ this!
So here are some pictures of our 900 square foot home with our finds at our vintage shops! Modern Manor & Phoenix Metro Retro as well as Ikea.
First off….let’s start off “Old School” and check out my 1962 Fisher Electra Stereo!
Now for some basic pictures of some of my new “stuff” in our 900 Square foot casita!

Originally black came from my Mom and Dad circa 1960’s

Walkway into our Patio home

Ikea Bedroom for now!

Shelving with doors now holds clothes



Kitchen View


Table with  1950’s school chairs refurbished

Check out our teak coffee table

Now we have extra side tables!


Yes, retro floor lamp

Yes, it works!

Would love to read your comments about what we did and how we did it. I have more fun ideas to show next time…. 
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