The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

So far, so good December 30, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 9:28 pm
Oh, wait. It isn’t 2008 yet. False alarm. Sorry.
Back to the truffles people, you’ve got another day.
Time’s up! Wishing you all the success in 2008!
I know it is hard to tell, but that photo is not really us, it is from cottage living.

Sweet Escape: Reflections December 29, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Inspired Living,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:30 am
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Can you believe it? 2007 is coming to a close. I’ve really enjoyed my little blogging break (my sweet escape this week!) to reflect on my life, recharge my batteries, rev up my enthusiasm and get myself inspired for the new year. It is amazing to me what a little R&R can do! I hope you have all had some time to reflect in silence over the holidays! If not, shut off your computer and take some time for yourself right now! Alone time! Quiet time will do wonders for you, and it is not too late.

For some of us, 2007 was a great year. For others, 2007 had its challenges. But for all of us, 2008 offers hope. Hope that this year will be better in some way. We’ll laugh more, love more, care more, get organized, look better, feel better, worry less, eat better, exercise more, weigh less, be more productive while doing less. And our homes will be the nurturing places we desire them to be. Phew, I could go on but I am exhausted already! Just kidding, I love the idea of New Years Resolutions but not the pressure. My solution? I don’t make a big list of unattainable expectations. I look back at my life last year, desiring to slowly build upon my successes and learn from my failures so that the new year holds promise of great reward. Baby steps, but forward motion.


Here is to a new year of inspiration in creating the life we want to live! That is my goal in blogging. I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you! Each of you are a great source of encouragement and inspiration to me and so many others!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.–Mark Twain

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. –Henry David Thoreau

To succeed you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you–Tony Dorsett

Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. –Winston Churchill

Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. –John Rohn

“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: Those who are afraid to try themselves, and those who are afraid that you will succeed.” –Ray Goforth

images from Decorative Country Living

Cranberry Blissfulness December 26, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 2:00 pm


Just popped in with a little post-Christmas hello for my blogging friends! Hello! I’ve been a busy bee entertaining large groups of people in my home — so that means lots of food preparation, lots of presents, lots of clean up and lots of noise! We enjoyed it all, but I must confess yesterday afternoon was the most blissful day of all.

After our final Christmas group had eaten and the gifts were all opened, we sat around drinking lattes, nestled down in plump sofas by a toasty warm fire as SNOW fell outside our window for the first time in probably 20 years on Christmas Day. Christmas snow (any snow, really) is a rarity in Portland, Oregon! Let’s just say our favorite word all together now: COZY. Yeah, I was a happy girl.

Between extended family gatherings, high schoolers, college kids, and 7 year old boys, we’ll be having more fun, more food and more noise all the way through New Years. We aren’t done yet! But for the next few days, I’m relaxing and recharging. Soaking it all in. I’m thinking books, movies, peacefulness and peppermint mochas. Blissful sigh.

Hope you are all enjoying the peace of the season and a rest from the usual routine! Looking forward to the new year of inspiration from each of you and catching up soon!

For those of you who’ve been wondering but are afraid to ask, this was the closet thing we had to an unpleasant rat incident over the holidays. Rats and giraffes (both alive and dead) had mercy on us. But the mechanical rats are roaming freely, twitching their noses and scaring me as I round dark corners. Little boys love that sort of humor.


Christmas December 19, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 12:08 pm

As we are drawing nearer to the Christmas holiday, I finding myself strangely calm and quiet, yes, introspective! I am increasingly pulling back in my thoughts. I am less able to focus on creativity, home decor and twinkling lights — and inspiration is not springing forth to my blog. While I love all the festive homes, ideas and stories of holiday traditions, I’ve enjoyed each one so much, this week I find myself more in a contemplative mood. The story of Christ’s birth plays through my head and I am in awe of the miracle that took place and all the circumstances surrounding that event. I think about Mary and what she must’ve been feeling, giving birth that night. It is mentioned in the book of Luke that while so many things were happening to Mary, she “quietly treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I love that. The thought of “quietly treasuring things” in our hearts.

I think of the song, Mary Did You Know, and I imagine some of the things she was thinking about. I am sure she was weighing the magnitude of her circumstance, the blessing and responsibility God himself had bestowed on her. She was treasuring in her heart what was taking place and pondering what was yet to come. As a mom myself, who has cradled an infant son in her arms, I feel a wave of emotion rush over me as I think about her thoughts that night.

Mary Did You Know written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I AM.

Every time I hear that song or think of the Christmas story, I imagine Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms, stroking his head, kissing his cheeks, holding him close, and treasuring it all in her heart. Such a simple picture but one that really touches me. A tiny baby, born in a humble stable, and an event that changed the world. I need nothing more than to slow down and treasure these things in my heart. I am content to do just that.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!


Counting Your Blessings December 16, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Creative Inspiration & Projects — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 11:04 pm
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I really wanted to share about this book and its author during Creative Inspiration Week, but long story short it didn’t happen. While I didn’t get it posted that week, the good news is that now I can give it the special attention it deserves.

While many of the women I featured during Creative Inspiration Week have written books and are sought after by magazines on a regular basis, I think we can also be inspired by women who are more or less just starting out on their journey of influence. We don’t all have publishers or connections to magazine editors, but it is the most determined among us that will succeed in whatever we set our minds to. For some bloggers and aspiring authors, writing a book is something they dream about. Polly, from the blog Counting Your Blessings, shared with me a little bit about her first book and how she took it from a dream to reality:

I suppose I’m not unlike many bloggers in that I’ve always hoped to write a real book someday. And, like many others, the blog slipped into my life at just the right time and has been wonderfully fulfilling. Yet I’ve always been kind of nutty about books, magazines, photo albums… I love them! So when I found a way to put together a few words and few pictures, and actually see it all in a bound form, I couldn’t wait to try it out. And that’s what Vintage Christmas is – my first try. Truly, just my own photos and a few of my own comments – nothing deep or complex. Because I was self-publishing I didn’t have to worry about what everyone else was going to think. I just put it out of my mind and told myself that if it’s garbage in the end, nobody will have seen it but me. It wasn’t really about whether it’s popular or not. For me, it was about trying. It was time to step away from my fears and give it a go. Now that I’ve waded into these waters, I’m excited to go a little deeper and start working on that “real” book!

I am proud of her for taking this step and I really wanted to share it with all of you. I really encourage you to stop by and visit Polly’s blog. You can find out about her Vintage Christmas book and start reading a bit of her life story in her recent postings on her blog, which I am sure will make a fascinating book one day!

I am turning off the comments on this post to honor Polly, who currently has her comments turned off on her blog as well! She is a humble person and wants to share from her heart. I love the idea of occasional silent posts, although I think I only managed ONE in spite of my intentions! In an effort to make Polly feel at ease about being featured, I decided to turn off comments on this post. I debated on this because I really wanted to be of encouragement to her and I KNOW you are the best encouragers EVER. But, because I want to be sensitive to her desire to have no comments on her own blog right now, I decided to follow that through for this. But I would love it if you would visit her blog and get to know her! You can however encourage her via email (info on her blog) if you want to contact her personally.

Congratulations, Polly, on your first book! Thanks for sharing about your journey!

photos are copyright of Polly at Counting Your Blessings


Sweet Escape: Four Poster Coziness December 13, 2007

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:47 pm

In the new issue of House Beautiful almost every article refers to the word COZY. Of course, I was very drawn to that idea! Especially right this minute because I am absolutely freezing! I am wearing a coat with a fur collar, that is how cold I am, even in my house. If I could type with mittens on, I would. I am ready to go put on my PJ’s and leap under my covers to be cozy in my bed, but I want to be ON TIME this week for my Friday Sweet Escape so I am staying up a bit longer to put this together. Because I love you all, I am a dedicated blogger.

So for our Sweet Escape this week, of course we must escape into Four Poster Bed Coziness! What? Is that lame? Pathetic? No adventures, no trains, no Scottish castles, no dreams of buying equestrian estates, just coziness? I know, this month just begs for posts on holidays and coziness. It is hard for me to focus on anything else!

Speaking of being cozy, do you know what my favorite movies are to watch when I want to be cozy? Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II. I have watched those movies dozens of times. I laugh and cry the whole way through. I love everything about those movies. I adore the house (it’s cozy), cry about the daughter getting married, laugh hysterically at Franc. I might have to go watch it again right now. Love that show. It is the kind of movie I just want to watch wearing my flannel pajamas and bunny slippers. In a four poster bed, if I had one.

Ok, so coziness. Here are a few bedrooms with four poster beds that looked pretty cozy to me. Remember awhile back when I told you I was going to turn my whole third floor into a cozy master suite? I still am going to do that. Just haven’t gotten there yet, but I am still planning on it. A few of these cozy photos are my inspiration photos, so for those of you who have been my BFF you probably have seen some of them here before.

Thanks for indulging me in my cozy fest. You know, one of my BFF Shelbi Keeper of the Chocolates said the NICEST thing to me the other day (and please visit her blog for a great post on giving to a worthy charity!). She said I have the best girlfriend blog EVER. That is because I have the best girlfriend blog READERS ever.


Top photo: Cathy Kincaid, Above, Rob Melnychuck: cottage living

Above, Gemma Comas and below, Paul Costello: Domino Magazine

Above, Carolyn Roehm via Peak of Chic


Above: Charlotte Moss

My Christmas House December 11, 2007

Filed under: Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 7:08 pm
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Hi girls! (and guys, I know at least one guy has admitted to reading this). Oh, ever have one of those days? Sheesh, I do. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say I am in need of a personal assistant to keep from losing my own head sometimes.

I sure wish I could just invite you all over, but I did try my best to get some new photos of my house today so you can feel like we had a little get together. Unfortunately someone has borrowed the tri-pod and I couldn’t for the life of me get my camera to hold still. Lots of my photos looked like I took them from a moving train! So, I have a few shots that are OK but you’ll have to use your imagination on most of them. I also have a really hard time taking photos in a couple of rooms in my house that are naturally very dark. While they look cozy in real life, in a photo it is hard for me to capture a good photo. Guess I need special lighting for those rooms. That is why you will probably get sick of seeing photos in my kitchen on this blog, the only room where light isn’t a real issue.

Do you ever take pictures around your house and then suddenly see a problem with your decor? With a 1930s fixer upper, unfinished rooms are the norm in my house!

The photo above is one of the only ones I have today from a small corner of my dark living room. It is a very large room, paneled on several walls in mahogany. The rest of the walls are heavy combed plaster, original to the house from the 1930s. The room feels a bit like an old English library or a lodge. It has a large stone fireplace, which adds to the cozy feel. It is a beautiful room but hard to photograph! This photo (above) is looking from the room up the stairs into our entry. While you go downstairs from the entry to get to the room, the room is actually level to the backyard.

I try to make the stairway as dramatic as I can with garland, lights and ribbon so it gives a grand feeling as you enter the room! We have our tree in this room, it is a 9 foot tall noble, I’d say about 8 feet across! SUPER chubby! It was challenging to get down the staircase! I will try to take a photo of it that would be worth looking at later. I couldn’t get it all in the shot without a tri-pod.

This is a boat on top of a bookshelf in that same room. I stuck some branches, pinecones and lights in it to make it feel dressed up for the holidays.

As you enter the front door, you can look to the left and see the dining room. You can see a bit of the garland on the railing there. That is bordering the stairway down to the living room. Again, sorry it is so dark!

This is as you walk into the dining room from the entry. This room also has heavy combed plaster walls with antique white wainscoting. It is another large room but we keep our table small and intimate now for game playing. My daughter plays the baby grand, and it is also a player piano so we can turn it on to play Christmas carols for us during a party. Very fun and gives a real festive mood to an event! For the party Saturday my table was much more festive, we had cake plates and a tablecloth. This is where we served desserts.

Now we are coming around the table to our cozy bench and going to look at the room from the swinging door to the kitchen, looking back at the entryway.

These wise men are in my entry. The other one is just out of the picture.


This is back in my kitchen. Notice the stubby candles, evidence of our party the other night! Some of the rest of these you may have seen.

The next two photos are from my kids’ rooms. I try to add little holiday touches to their rooms for fun too. They are pretty bad shots but I thought you’d be happy to see the giraffe is feeling much better after the episode in my hallway just before Thanksgiving. The second photo is my middle daughter’s room, we added some sparkling garland to a mirror to reflect light to a dark corner.

And finally, my bedroom. I will try to give a bit more tour later, once I have a tri-pod and more daylight! Off to a school concert, I am still looking forward to catching up with you all this week!