Jim Trudeau understands enoughness. I dare say he came into the world wired this way. He is a breath of fresh air.  And his work has made its way into many of our homes - and the homes of many - because of this exact and extraordinary quality.  Jim is an artist, a potter, living and working …

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Here we are.  A whole new year thrust upon us.  And almost as proof of this, there is the subtle change of landscape that I witness every year about this time.  Our holiday lights are slowly coming down, and for me, it’s an adjustment.  A spot that was once bathed in sparkle, is now just—well, I guess its true self.  We are putting the lights away until next year.  

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It's the time of year when I quote from my favorite holiday special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Lucy says to her blanket-toting little brother, “You think you’re so smart with that blanket. What are you gonna do with it when you grow up?”  Linus replies, “Maybe I’ll turn it into a sport coat.”  Which, besides cracking me up, is actually pretty wise.  During the holidays we want the comfort and security that some of our old habits and traditions can provide.  

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The town of Essex is known far and wide for antiques, and antiquing.  But a new list of businesses have arrived to town in the last 18 months that have given a boost to the idea of home design.  This isn’t totally new, of course.  There are some who have forged the way long ago.  But it’s an interesting uptick.  And it seems to be driven by new residents who have moved to Essex, brought their entrepreneurial hustle with them.

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It’s definitely deep fall.  I can’t cheerfully deny it any longer.  And, yes, I know, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it. I mean, early fall has long been my favorite season.  But deep fall has a purgatory quality to it the same way early spring does for me. It’s got its foot in the threshold of two different seasons, and it can wreak havoc on my mind in a similar way that it does to my wardrobe.

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My friend’s son is getting married - and I think it makes everyone in our group feel a little bit older. But it got me to thinking about that first house that we owned, on that dead-end street where we all raised our kids.  Our house needed some work, and I was young and absolutely baffled by how to go about hiring someone.  

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When I was still married, my then-husband used to tell me that I was a delicate ecosystem.  He had a point.  I get migraines if I don’t drink enough water.  I need yoga or the outdoors or meditation to ground me.  

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Wow, what an unexpectedly dreary summer so far.  And I have to say, I didn’t see it coming.  This was supposed to be our big break from COVID, right?  We knew the break might be fleeting, but we had earned the freedoms that this summer was going to bring us and our hopes were high.

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As some of you may know, my design mantra is all about putting your “you-ness” into your home.  So, it may surprise you that as a designer, my first priority is not your you-ness, but it is that your room be functional.

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I was visiting my daughter over the weekend—she’s at college in Providence.  Seeing her apartment always reminds me of some of my own when I was her age and renting in Boston.  It’s heady stuff – getting those early apartments.  Oh, the possibilities, the promise, and the adrenalin surge of undeniable autonomy! But, holy moly, what we put up with.

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What are the bumps that happen with home decorating?  Well, the most common is sticker shock as the estimates come in. I do what I can on this front, but the estimates are not under my control and austerity measures must at times be made.  As your designer, I could grit my teeth and remain attached to my original idea and think of any other plan as a disappointing compromise.  But then I would miss out on some of the interesting challenges that come along with reining your project in.

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What a month March was for me.  I lost a week to sickness - not COVID, but a flu.  Like I couldn’t lift my head from the pillow and slept 20 hours a day type of flu.  But when I finally felt better I seemed to view the world just a little bit differently.  What does this have to do with homes, you may be asking? I’m really not sure yet, so you’ll have to just bear with me. 

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A clay pot is often the solution when we desire a container made of classic material, is durable, reasonably priced, and available in virtually every size and style.  Clay pots have been around for a long time, and still serve us well. Some local history may be of interest.

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So, there went Valentine's Day. And what are the chances of this almost divorced, hardworking, under-appreciated, mother of four being sparky about a holiday that truly only works for so few people in the universe? You're right. The chances are slim.

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It’s January, and what should we be doing with our homes? Oh let’s see… checking our weather stripping, analyzing our heat loss, watching for ice damns. Ugh… such drudgery. Me? Cozy, cozy, cozy! That’s all I want. Wake-me-when-its-over cozy.

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See you later 2020.  It’s so nice to see you go, that I almost feel bad.  I was on an elevator once when someone brought on an ancient service dog that looked so sweet as he entered, but that made my eyes water by farting his way up to his floor.  As he was being led out, he looked up at me as if to say, “Sorry lady, I’m just doing what I do.” 

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Every family has their favorite holiday specials.  Ours was A Charlie Brown Christmas, and this year it feels more poignant than ever. Here’s Charlie Brown talking to Linus: “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus.  Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy.  I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel.” 

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It's official.  With "holiday season" kicking off at Thanksgiving, it's time to acknowledge that you are the boss, the leader of your home space.  Act like one.  You'll never feel better, writes Jen Coles in her column this week.

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I recently had some family over for dinner, COVID and all.  I thought we’d eat in the living room, and had our socially distanced chairs all set up.  But my guests came in as a group and while I was busy with the bustle and the greetings and the coats, they had all plopped themselves around my dining room table.  It was so organic and so perfect that I just quietly swapped the buffet setup for place settings, and took a seat myself.