The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Drive By: Beach Cottages August 20, 2008

Filed under: drive bys,Gardens & Outdoor Rooms — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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The wedding is now over and I have finally returned home again. My daughter and I intended for her wedding to be a “simple beach wedding” and in many ways it was. But as with any “destination wedding” (even a destination just 1 1/2 hours from home!) there are a few logistical issues to deal with. The first was how to handle accommodations for the wedding party. Fortunately, we have good friends who generously shared their lovely beach house in Gearhart so we would have a comfortable place for some of the wedding party to stay for the weekend.

We were so grateful for the use of that house, we ended up frosting 200 cupcakes in their kitchen the morning of the rehearsal. We made such a mess! Eek. It took us a few hours to clean up after ourselves. I’ll share the story & photos of the cupcake episode and the whole wedding weekend later, once I get everything all loaded and ready to show.

While I was in Gearhart to clean frosting off kitchen cupboards the day after the wedding, I snapped a few photos for you around the neighborhood. Because I KNOW you all love drive bys and I can’t possibly do a drive by without sharing it with you. I thought of you every time I took a photo, I knew you’d love the houses. So here you go, a quick Drive By in Gearhart, Oregon. Just for you, my chickadees.

Oh, and FYI, the reason that I didn’t run up for super closeups on too many of these houses (as I normally would for you) was because of the enormous pain I was in the day after from wearing super high-heeled red patent leather shoes for the wedding. I pulled some thigh muscles I didn’t know I had, running up and down stairs all day. OW! But, dang, I looked cute in those shoes if I do say so myself. Yet, I am facing the fact that my over 40 year old legs need more sensible shoes, I guess. Next dress up event, I’m wearing grandma style loafers.

Enjoy the tour…

To view all of my drive bys, click HERE!


Old Looking New Houses: The Charm of Yesteryear July 15, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,drive bys,Gardens & Outdoor Rooms — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

So, how about an old looking new house? I know, I am still carrying on about this dilemma from yesterday. I wasn’t going to post today, really I wasn’t going to bug you all again (I try to spare you all my thoughts unless I really feel inspired by something). But, I got all excited when I saw these photos. Excitement leads to posting. And I know you all love a great Drive By.

So, yesterday, a few of you suggested the idea of new houses that look old — trying to get the best of both worlds. Then one of my blogging friends shared some great photos she had on her blog and I couldn’t keep them to myself. We (me and Leah of More Ways to Waste Time) had one of those weird, random parallel universe dual mind posts yesterday. Do you ever have one of those? This was a strange one.

I was blabbing away about my old house new house dilemma and she was posting an interesting piece about a little neighborhood that looks very old but is new! So, we are joining forces on this topic and I am sharing a few of her photos so you all can enjoy them too (with her permission). You can read about this neighborhood and see more photos here on her blog. Tell us what you think!

There are some quality homes in neighborhoods with that “old look” in our area, all at around a million dollars each, but I can’t say that they look as good as these. I love the variety of architectural styles. Somehow these seem to do a better job at capturing that new old look than most. Strange to see such lovely homes looking old but in pristinely new condition!

I know the sad thing for me about this solution is that homes of this quality tend to be very expensive. Ok, ridiculously expensive. But don’t burst my bubble. I’m dreaming of a tree lined family neighborhood street and a new charming home with leaded glass doors that can open without scraping the floor, wide baseboard moldings, gables and front porches, reasonably sized rooms with sweeping views of open space, pocket doors, restored vintage hardware, solid walls, wood and stone floors, large kitchen with vintage details and modern conveniences, working bathrooms with old fashioned charm, real wood window trim, iron gates, solid staircases and railings, beautiful windows that open and close without a hammer or screwdriver… old house details and exceptional quality, new house energy efficiency and condition.

Oh, but I would have to make up a faux romantic history to go along with the house. New houses are missing the allure of a long history, but I guess I could get over that.

Do I ask too much?

Photos: copyright More Ways To Waste Time, used by permission


Drive Bys: Around The World – #1 June 3, 2008

Filed under: drive bys,Gardens & Outdoor Rooms — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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Photo: Sweet Cottage Dreams

Welcome! I’ve had so much fun doing my drive bys that I thought it would be great fun to gather up some drive bys from around the world to share! I’ve had some of you take me up on that idea and post your own drive bys to give us a peek into what you see where you are! Or in some cases, where you’ve been on vacation!

Photo: Southern Hospitality-Rhoda

It is always amazing to me how different things can look in different parts of the country or the world. That is why I am a firm believer in traveling if you are able. It opens you up to new creative ideas to stretch your mind to what is possible! But, the second best thing to traveling is to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

A Scrapbook of Inspiration – Karen Harvey Cox

So, with that in mind, enjoy the list of links to faraway places! Thank you to each and every one of you for taking the time to share your world. I am just featuring A FEW photos at random of the wonders you’ll find in these upcoming links!! You’ll have to click on each blog in the list below to see all the Drive Bys!

Photo: Neutral Dwelling

I’ve found that doing drive bys helps me to slow down and savor each detail of what I see. A pretty lantern, a picket fence, a welcoming front porch, cottage flowers framing a bench. Rather than serving to depress me or make me dissatisfied with what I have, drive bys help me see the beauty around me and what is possible. Beauty in, beauty out. In other words, seeing beauty in the world helps me reproduce it, usually with more creativity than money!

Photo: Balliwick Designs

If you all would be so kind as to let your fellow blog readers know that they can come here to see some drive bys, the participants would be forever grateful! Thanks for spreading the news. And please, if you don’t mind, would you thank each of these bloggers in their comments for sharing their photos with us on Drive Bys: Around the World?

Photo: Off The Wall Home

Let me know if you contacted me and I forgot your link…I tried hard to keep track but I could’ve missed someone on accident!

Now that I’ve whet your appetite with some sneak peeks, it is time to check out the Drive Bys! The moment you’ve all been waiting for…from Marrakesh to Australia to Texas, to Florida, Alabama, California and a bunch of places in between:


Off the Wall Home

Neutral Dwelling

Balliwick Designs

Sweet Cottage Dreams

Christine Annette

Nesting Company

Andersen Seven

Housepeepers 1

Housepeepers 2

Hooked on Houses

Compulsively Compiled

Southern Hospitality – Rhoda

Crockett Crew

Southern Seven

My Marrakesh

Hathersage Hall

A Haven for Vee

Mrs. B


Happy Turtle

A Scrapbook of Inspiration

And of course, my latest drive by, The Outdoor Room edition

NOTE: If you’d like to participate in the next Drive By, follow the instructions here and I will do another DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD post in the near future to share your view of the world! Show us your favorite neighborhood, the gardens you love, the little gate that makes you smile, the beauty you find in your world!

Photo: Nesting Company



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


Drive Bys: The Outdoor Room Edition May 20, 2008

Filed under: drive bys,Gardens & Outdoor Rooms — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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Hey little drive by fanatics! I’ve been out on the prowl again. Risking life and limb to take a peek into my neighbor’s gardens, outdoor rooms and gates. This time, however, I was on my own. I think after the last embarrassing Drive By incident my hubby has decided against joining me in my expeditions. At least for awhile. Unfortunately, being on my own meant I was driving the car AND taking the photos. I didn’t have time to be out on foot so when I saw something I liked, I snapped right through my open car window.

Being stuck in the car was probably for the best. I would’ve totally run right down that pathway had I been on foot. This is one of my favorite little worlds. Ever. The first three photos are all from one house in the Eastmoreland neighborhood of Portland.

Oh! Look at this! This is such a beautiful outdoor room. I really wanted to go sit on one of those benches.

This little cutie was for sale. It was for sale a few years back and I really wanted to buy it then. So many houses, so little time. But, since the last time it was for sale they’ve added lots of charming details.

Here, I zoomed in for you. Look at that cute bench, the shutters, hand painted awning, leaded glass window. I am a lover of detail. I really wish I could live in one house long enough to get around to the details! The setting is so inviting! Entries should welcome you right into a little world. They did a great job with all the special details. This house is also in Eastmoreland.

I’ve shown you this house before, back in the fall. I always love this copper door and all the green in the front yard.

All the green and repetition of plants makes the setting feel so restful.

Sometimes just a little birdbath surrounded by flowers is enough to designate an outdoor space. Having a focal point or purpose to the space makes it special. All of these first houses are in Eastmoreland, the last neighborhood my husband and I lived in before we moved to where we live now. It is definitely a charming neighborhood. I loved it there! Still do.

This is a gorgeous wood gate. But that wall makes it a little too private for me. I like to PEEK INSIDE just a bit. This was impossible to do, without scaling the wall. Next time. Note to self: bring climbing shoes.

Another welcoming front gate. It is fun to see that seasonal planting area greeting you.

This one caught my eye because of the funky unique factor.

I thought this was a sweet outdoor room. However, that garbage can was completely in the way. I thought about jumping out and knocking it down but another car came up behind me and prevented me from an act of vandalism. Next time I am for sure getting out of the car.

White picket fences, yellow houses, shutters and window boxes…so lovely. We are now driving around in Lake Oswego, where I grew up.

See the peek over to the lake? I lived on that lake for a few years as a teenager. I have many happy memories of canoing and laying out on floaty cushions. It was a great life. I’ll show you one of the houses we lived in on Lake Oswego.

Here (above) was the house I lived in. It didn’t look exactly like this though. Now it looks a bit like Disneyland. Then it was a lovely white washed brick English style house with lots of greenery and vines growing up the house. The basic house is the same, the stone walls are the same (but we had lions on top of the stonework and not a poodle!), but that big double black gate was added by someone else. Too bad because it blocks the view for Drive Bys. What were they thinking? It is a lovely place with water surrounding it on three sides. I’d wake up every morning to sparkles on my ceiling, the reflection of the sun off the water. Sigh. Good times.

This was our next door neighbor’s house. Oops, got the car mirror in the photo. Luckily you can’t see my face with the drool dribbling down my chin. Have I mentioned how much I ADORE doing Drive Bys?

Ooo, another secret garden. Good thing I have my seatbelt securely fastened.

I loved this simple rock planter right as you entered into this yard.

Totally loved this front courtyard. And how nice of them to leave it open enough for me to see its goodness!

Hello, another peek at the lake…

Another inviting entry, private but open enough for voyeurs like me.

Whoa, got a little tipsy there trying to snap and drive, but I loved that little cafe table and cherub girl. Another adorable outdoor space. You’ve seen this house before too, in a previous Drive By.

Loved this gate.

Of course, I am always happy when shrubs and plantings part and I can see the loveliness of the yard.

Now we are driving around the neighborhood where my husband and I lived for about six years when our girls were small. First Addition of Lake Oswego.

Neat and tidy.

I’m pretty sure this house was in Cottage Living at one point.

This house is on the corner so you can see the whole thing from the side.

My husband and I used to call the lady who owned this house (above) the Martha Stewart of First Addition. She was always out snipping and pruning! This house has a definite secret garden, with all of those green shrubs hiding your view.

Her hedges are amazing! They surround the entire back and two sides of her property. They are immaculately trimmed and always so healthy. In the hedge below you can see a cutout where she has a white door, pictured next.

Martha Stewart of First Addition’s gate has always one of my most intriguing places to walk by. Only once or twice was the gate left open and I was able to peer into the dreamy world beyond! If I was only a bit taller or carried a step stool I could peek into that little iron grid. I envy tall people sometimes.

Well, there you have it. Another installment of my Drive Bys. Now that the weather is nicer and I can be outside more, there will be more to come! Have a lovely day, chickadees!

All photos by Melissa Michaels

Check out DRIVE BYS: AROUND THE WORLD where readers share their view of the world!
Or, come along with me on a Cannon Beach drive by!
Risk life and limb with me as I venture into neighborhoods of Portland for another drive by
See some fairytale houses in my favorite neighborhoods around Portland!


Our Little Escape + Coastal Drive Bys March 3, 2008

Filed under: Authentic Living,drive bys,Inspired Living,Sweet Escape,Traditions & Memory Making — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:37 pm
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On Thursday of last week I decided I was ready for an ESCAPE. For real. No imaginary trip to a castle in Scotland was going to do this time. I called my husband and sheepishly said, “Do you want to leave the kids this weekend and head to the beach?” He said, “You mean for the day, right? The beach house isn’t done yet.” And I said, “No. I’m talking about going to The Cannon Beach Hotel — for two nights.”

I could hear him smile on the other end of the phone. It was a spur of the moment idea, the sun was shining and I knew we had a window of opportunity that probably wouldn’t come again until summer. And I was ready to get out of town NOW! This is not something we do very often — just taking off spontaneously without the kids. And normally it involves a bit more planning and reality is, it usually involves an anniversary. This time, it was all about being spontaneous and fun. And continuing in my resolve to be deliberately disconnected from the computer in order to live a full life in the real world.

I called the charming Cannon Beach Hotel and lo and behold, they had a vacancy! We threw our bags in the car the next morning and off we went! One and a half hours later (and a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard for each of us), we arrived. YAHOO! A weekend, UNPLUGGED and CHILDLESS! I think all that talk about the beach house and coastal kitchens last week, coupled with the “Disconnect Challenge” finally merged. A Beach Weekend, Unplugged. I was determined to live out my dreams, yes indeed.

I have to say that we are pretty much homebodies most of the time. We love travel but our life usually revolves around kids, schedules, our house, computers, cleaning, cooking, laundry, working and starting over again the next day with the same routine. Typical days for families with several children. The routine grows comfortable and familiar. Life is good and we are happy with it. But every now and then it is good (and necessary) to escape and get away as a couple (or even alone or with friends!). And that we did. Usually we’d escape to our own beach house, which we are so blessed to have, but knowing that it is still a ways from completion, we splurged on a hotel.

We had breakfast in bed overlooking a cozy fireplace, leisurely walks, tasty food from real restaurants (no Burger Kings), coffee breaks in charming bistros and time to breathe in the fresh sea air. The sun was shining most of the time. We took a couple of naps. We had time to talk about anything and nothing all. We had no where we had to be. And no computer in sight.

I loved this little espresso cafe (below). It had tons of vintage Scottie stuff and antique paintings everywhere. We sat at the copper counter and drank lattes and ate cinnamon rolls. Yummy. The cafe was in Gearhart, a town just a few miles from Cannon Beach near Seaside. Super quaint beach town.


Across the street from this cafe was an adorable cottage shop. Much to my utter embarrassment, my husband got the hiccups (very LOUD hiccups) while we were chatting with the owner, oohing and ahh’ing over all the cute stuff she had. I tried to usher him quietly out the door, but the owner stopped us and graciously shared her natural remedy for hiccups. She ran and got him a lovely bottled water and a cup. You would have laughed hysterically had I taken photos, he was drinking out of a cup upside down bending over in the middle of her cottage shop. She was carefully instructing him how to drink from a cup while upside down. I was mortified. But, it worked. He was hiccup free the rest of the trip. Thank goodness.


Cannon Beach has some really charming shops, restaurants and buildings. I never tire of wandering through them. In the summer all the flower beds are absolutely gorgeous bursting with blooms and greenery. In the winter all the trees are covered in magical white lights.

This is an adorable theatre where we have seen a few plays over the years. My parents just bought season tickets so I’m sure it will become their regular hangout!


I couldn’t resist taking a few little charming Drive By beach cottage photos just for you, my chickadeees! Yeah, my husband graciously pulled over and backed up and nearly drove off the side of a cliff for me to snap a few photos for you. He’s a gem. I tried not to take too many as I was trying to be completely unplugged from blogging. This was just a wee compromise. We do both enjoy houses so it wasn’t too torturous for him.


I had to show you photos of these furry Easter bun buns. Aren’t they adorable? They were just romping around freely in one section of Cannon Beach. Tons of them hopping all over the place. I’m a sucker for little cute animals. I love them.

OH, yes, and speaking of bunnies, I saw a movie I absolutely adored. I rarely love movies, most of them leave me snoring, but I thought this one was exceptional.

Miss Potter. The story of Beatrix Potter.

I am definitely buying it and will add it to my other list of favorites, including Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II. It has a great story, cast, awesome scenery and houses (a must for me!), and cute little animals frolicking about. My husband even liked it, which was a miracle because it had nothing remotely to do with sci-fi, action or aliens.


There you have it, My Beach Weekend — Unplugged.