The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Sweet Escape: Little Glass Houses For You And For Me May 30, 2008

Filed under: Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

Another super busy week has come and gone! Eek, how time flies! I am always SO READY for my escape on Fridays! So for today, in my dream world I am escaping to a little glass house. Is that a fairytale or what? I’d sit out there every morning, sipping my coffee, feet up on a footstool. BLISS! Ok, who am I fooling with the “every morning” thing. I could LIVE in this house ALL DAY. Who needs a main residence if you have something this adorable in your backyard?

Have a beautiful and relaxing weekend, dear friends!

Oh, and if you have a chance, do a drive by for us so we can see all the loveliness in your world!

photo Tanglewood Conservatories via The House that A-M Built


Filed under: drive bys — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 5:10 pm
Tags: , ,



1. Do a drive by. Meaning, you can walk, run, bike or drive though your favorite neighborhood and show us photos of what you see! We all love to see the houses in particular, but feel free to snap away at gardens or landmarks as well. You can show an entire house, or zero in on special exterior details. They don’t have to be fancy schmancy houses, but pick ones you like in some way, whether they are modest or mansions. This will become a regular feature, if you all enjoy it, so sometimes we might do DOOR DRIVE BYS or FENCE DRIVE BYS or who knows.

2. I do ask that you put at least three photos in your post (the more the better!), and try to make them large enough so that we can enjoy them! I can’t include you if you make your photos too tiny or if they are not really a drive by. Also: let us know where your photos are taken (at least which country or state!). That way we can learn!

3. You must link your drive by back to The Inspired Room. (i.e. when you post your DRIVE BY, mention that you were doing it as a part of this DRIVE BY event.) You can either link to this introductory post or my Drive By. If you link to me, I will add you to my next DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD POST. You must link back to be included in the fun. This will not be done via MR. LINKY, at least this time. I will be adding links myself. The idea is that by linking, we can all enjoy each other’s drive bys, all around the world.

4. If you want to do a DRIVE BY, you’ll be added for the next one. Go ahead and do your drive by, linking to this post or my previous DRIVE BY and I will add your name to the next DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD post.

5. Any questions, feel free to email me.


photo: Melissa Michaels


Outdoor Rooms: Solutions May 28, 2008

Filed under: Gardens & Outdoor Rooms — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

Here are a few solutions to common problems with outdoor spaces.

I’ve seen this hint used in Cannon Beach, Oregon. They hang a clear bag of water above doors to keep the bugs out of shops. They say it helps, something about seeing their image magnified or thinking it is a body of water keeps the bugs out. Guess it is worth a try! Photo: Living Etc.

Don’t have enough room for gardening? Try going vertical! I saw this in Living Etc, but couldn’t find the actual product. However, you could hang planters just like you do window boxes, filling up a blank wall.

We got one of these net cabanas at Smith & Hawken last year. You simply put it over your umbrella and it keeps the bugs out!

Don’t know what to do with your patio furniture in the off season? Use furniture covers from Pottery Barn.

Need to cover a less than lovely patio or porch? Or simply want to define a space? How about an outdoor rug?

Want a more permanent solution to spruce up a concrete patio? How about acacia wood interlocking floor tiles from Pottery Barn?

Need some sun protection but don’t have a large space? How about this half umbrella from Grandin Road?

via The Washington Post

Chilly nights? Try a table top patio heater! Via The Washington Post, at Lowe’s stores in July

Need to shade a large area? Use an offset patio umbrella from Cushions and Umbrellas! Use the discount code theinspiredroom for 10% off!

Need to transform an old wood deck? How about painting some diamonds? Domino Mag

If you really want to garden but must sit on a stool, why not throw your pride out the window and wear a strap on stool? Yeah. That is wacky alright. Clean Air Gardening Supply via This Old House.

And last, but not least, if you want to garden in the rain… via This Old House

Happy Wednesday everyone!


Living An Authentic Life: My Journey May 26, 2008

Filed under: Authentic Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 4:37 pm

Decorative Country Living

As most of you know, I’m a believer in what I call “Authentic Living.” This is a topic that really speaks to me because it affects so much of our life either positively or negatively. I’ve learned this through experience, so I thought I’d share a bit more of my journey of discovery. By my loose definition, authentic living is living a life that works for you. It is finding satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment in the present. And, perhaps more importantly, it is a life where we are useful to people around us because we are able to give of ourselves in the way we want to. It can be a life filled with dreams, hard work and determination, but at its foundation is authenticity to both who we are and what is appropriate for us at any given point in life. It is like a compass, it helps us to determine if we are spending our time and money appropriately. It is living well within our means not only financially, but emotionally, physically, time-wise, and in other ways as well.

Learning to live authentically has been a lifelong process for me, as I think it is for most people. What was “authentic” while growing up in our parents’ house is different for what we think is authentic in our 20s or 30s. And often times in those early adulthood years, we don’t know what is authentic for us. We might think we do, and some might even have a firm grasp on who they are, but for most of us, we are “just learning the ropes” of who we really are, separate from our parents. We are still trying out different hats, different paths and really learning who we are and what works for us. With each life change (careers, marriage, children, moving, empty nests), we have to adjust our way of living life.

Country Homes & Interiors 2005

As I find myself in my 40s, I feel that I am poised now to be living my most authentic life, because I have had more experience with what works for me and what doesn’t. While authenticity is something I always believed in, it has taken time, trial and error to really grab a hold of what it means to me and how I live that out. That is not to say I have it all figured out, I’m still learning and adjusting. I’m still on the journey of discovery and growth.

When I was a young wife, I thought my authentic self was destined to live in some sort of dreamy environment. You know, if I worked hard enough at it I could have the spotlessly clean house, cute cherub children, the perfectly decorated home. It seemed natural for me, as I had grown up in a few homes that were close to most people’s definition of perfection. I had dreamed of my perfect fairytale life as a wife and mom ever since I was little. That was all I knew and it seemed like a realistic option! But as my husband and I carved our own way in life, it became clear to me that life was different in my new family than it was in my original one. Not better or worse, just different. I had some adjusting to do.

House Beautiful

The difficulty I ran into with the perfection route was something always suffered when I tried to achieve it. Contrary to my original assessment of what life as an adult would be like, I was not in a position to do it all. And usually what suffered were things I held dear. I lacked the time and/or money for my expectations and that led to feelings of discontent and frustration. It took awhile for me to realize that I was running ahead full steam in a direction that I thought was important, when really it wasn’t what I valued the most or was capable of achieving. My priorities confused me and left me wondering if that was how life was supposed to feel.

So, in the process of refining how I live, I had to reconcile the parts of me that loved a beautiful environment and the parts of me that couldn’t keep that up! I wanted to live a “beautiful life” and it was important to me to do so for many reasons, but I didn’t always have the money or the time to do things the way I wanted to. I wanted to be true to who I was, but I didn’t know how.

House Beautiful

As time has marched on, I have had to redefine for myself what a beautiful life looked like. Again, this process was a part of learning to live authentically. My husband and I moved quite a bit in our married years, I think each time we moved we were seeking more authenticity. A bigger house, a smaller house, a different neighborhood, digging out of a rough financial patch. While we were able to pay off debts, earn equity in our homes, accommodate career changes and build up our assets, the moving took a toll on our life. We kept working hard on our houses only to move and have to start over. We’d get our life organized in one house, and then had to re-do it the next. We’d fully landscape one backyard and move to a home that needed the same overhaul. It began to feel like we were on a treadmill and never were arriving at our destination.

It was an exhausting exercise in trying to find authenticity. Looking back, I thought if I got everything arranged in life just so, the right house, the right career, the right yard, the right decorating and the right size of house, authenticity and contentment would fall into place. True, if where you are at in life is completely inappropriate for you (your house is way too expensive for your income, for example), then switching homes might be a good idea. But still, many times in life when I made a decision to move or re-do something, my focus might have been off. I would solve one or two problems and create a half dozen more.

House Beautiful

What I have learned for myself is that the goal is not always to make everything perfect around me, but to LIVE fully, to the best of my ability, wherever I am. It is being content to balance my life with what God gives me! I have had to change my focus and perception of how I look at life. Yes, sometimes that means moving to a new house, remodeling or getting a new job in order to live more fully. But sometimes that means projects remain undone for years at a time (my backyard, for instance, GASP!) so I can redirect my time and resources to something else that is more important to me. Sometimes living authentically means I give my kids the master bedroom for a teen hangout while my husband and I use a regular bedroom. Other times, like now, it means I take that master bedroom back and use it as a retreat for my husband and me as we are both in need of time away from the world. Sometimes living authentically means I work harder than I want to and sometimes it means I work less. Sometimes it means I start a business, sometimes I quit one. Sometimes it means I drive a new car and sometimes it means I am stuck for years on end driving a mini-van.

Ideal Home via House to Home

Circumstances will ebb and flow, but now that I am fully embracing authentic living, my intent remains the same in spite of my circumstances or whims. Authentic living isn’t necessarily being frugal in every way or living simply, as some people do, it is living on purpose and with purpose according to what I have been given. I have to make sacrifices in order to fully live with contentment in the moments I have. I can’t chase down authenticity or find it somewhere else, nor can I have every duck in a row at all times. Authenticity looks different at my house than it might look at your house. You can’t necessarily spot someone who is living authentically just because of the car they drive, the kind of house they live in, the things they have, or the place they buy their groceries.

Authenticity is a series of personal decisions I make every day. While I sometimes think it would be great to go back in time and make life a “do over” I’m content where I am today. Life isn’t perfect, struggles still loom over us and some uncertainty of our future remains. But I’m happy to just fully live in the moments I’m given.

So, in a nutshell, that is my journey towards authentic living.


Stay tuned for an upcoming related post:
Creative Concealment (my solution to achieving a beautiful home and still having money and time leftover for living)

Related posts:

Balanced Living in 2008


Dream Big Dreams! May 25, 2008

Filed under: Inspired Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

Dreams come a size too big,

so that we can grow into them.

-Josie Bisset

Quote Found On: French Garden House

Sweet Escape: Holiday Weekend, Drive Bys & Shopping May 22, 2008

Filed under: Gardens & Outdoor Rooms,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:49 am

Phew, this has been a long week! Did it seem extra long to the rest of you? It all went by in a blur, but I was ready for the week to be over a few days ago. I’m ready!

Special thanks to all of you who enjoyed and commented on the Drive By! It is always so much fun to do my drive bys now because I can share them with you. Before it was just me stalking and gawking, all by myself. It is kind of sad, now that I think of life before blogging. LBF, that is what we should call it. LBF, it was just me, driving up and down streets and alleyways, enjoying all the loveliness with no one around that I could say “LOOK AT THIS, FRIENDS!!!” Being able to share things makes life more fun. You are such a great group of friends, I appreciate that you like to gaze at beautiful things, just like me.


I just had an idea. Let’s do something fun. We are overdo for some fun. If you do a drive by, and you link back to my drive bys, I’ll link to your drive bys. Then more people can enjoy DRIVE BYS all over the world! Let’s do it!

I think this will work. I’ll do a special DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD post linking back to all of your Drive Bys, once enough of you have posted about DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD on your blog. When you do your post, just link back to my Drive By post from this week. You can also email me link (address in sidebar). Then, I’ll gather up all of your posts and link back to you all in a special DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD post. YIPEE! This will be fun! Spread the word! I’ll announce this again later…

Will someone make me a button for this? I don’t know how. THANKS CRE8TIVA FOR VOLUNTEERING!

Ok, so, for those of you in the U.S., it is a holiday weekend! Woo Hoo!

There is nothing like a long holiday weekend for a Sweet Escape! I hope you all have wonderful plans for Memorial Day weekend. I might be heading to the BEACH HOUSE, in which case I will come back with photos! But, if they are refinishing the floors, I won’t be going for another week or so. It really is almost done. Almost. It better be, because we are planning to hold my daughter’s wedding reception there this summer!

Happy weekend! Blessings to you all. Be safe, brave and courageous when you do your Drive Bys.


Great news for weekend shoppers! If you want to beautify your outdoor room with some lovely umbrellas or patio cushions, Cushions & Umbrellas is offering readers of The Inspired Room a special sale this weekend! Anything you buy is 10% off if you use the code: theinspiredroom!

Cushions & Umbrellas offers the largest selection of fabrics and choices anywhere on the net. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the owner, Robert. He is very knowledgeable and personable so I am sure he’d be happy to help answer your questions. I love to support a small family business, so please check out his store online and let him know I sent you. Visit his website for a blog, informative articles, tips and a great selection of products!

Photo credit:

Chairs: Robert Stubbert Cottage Living online
Daisies: Melissa Michaels