The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Dreamy Seaside Cottage Living June 2, 2008

I thought you all might enjoy a peek at this Seaside Sanctuary from the June 2008 issue of Architectural Digest! The setting, the simplicity, the cottage gardens…I could get used to that!

I’m always attracted to homes that evoke a certain lifestyle. Whether it is a fairytale princess in a castle kind of house, a lazy summer beach cottage or a rambling historic family home, to me it is all about the ambience and lifestyle the home exudes. I can flip flop all over the place trying to decide what life I would like the best!

But in the summer, seaside cottages are at the top of my dream list! In my mind, seaside cottage living means life is simple, time stands still, the air is fresh and salty, the barbecue is fired up, the sun is shining and it is all about family. I know, I’m a dreamer through and through.

Even if you can’t buy a charming beach cottage in Martha’s Vineyard, I believe you can create a seaside lifestyle wherever you are. That is what I love about dreaming. It gives you inspiration and ideas to bring back to reality. You imagine a life you want and you make it happen with what you have. You get creative. It isn’t always about buying perfection, it is about LIVING the way you really want to, wherever you are. You can create a seaside cottage in the most humble of houses in any neighborhood.

I dare you to dream.

Photos Featured in Architectural Digest online
Photo: Richard Mandelkorn
Architect: Joseph W. Dick

Beach cottage articles by The Inspired Room:

Coastal Cottage Kitchen Inspiration

The Endless Beach House Remodel

Our Little Escape & Coastal Drive Bys

Authentic Coastal Style


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

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
Tags: ,

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.




Around the house February 24, 2008

Filed under: Inspired Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 7:15 pm

Rooster plate on left, lower shelf was a prize from Pat @ Back Porch Musings!

Greetings dear blogging friends! I thought I’d share a few random photos I captured around my house to show you all how I was enjoying just “BEING” while disconnected this weekend! Funny how when you disconnect from the internet you start to see your real life more clearly! I turned off the computer around 9 or 10 on Saturday morning (I had to catch up on a few things before disconnecting, but no blog surfing!) and I didn’t turn the computer back on until Sunday. Can you say LIBERATING?! Just knowing the computer was not an option opened up a world of possibilities to me! I’m definitely enjoying the whole disconnect idea.

photos taken in my kitchen (you must be sick of seeing my kitchen by now, sorry)

While I intended to spend my first “disconnected day” in more creative ways, having the flu actually forced me to stay in my jammies curled up in bed all day Saturday! Yet, I must say, with the exception of feeling lousy, it was great to shut out the world and stay cozy in my bed. I even read part of a book I’ve been meaning to start and dozed off now and then. There was something quite peaceful about knowing that I was fully immersed in relaxation and not rushing about catching up with the world or with my self-imposed schedule.

photos of one of our bathrooms

On Sunday I felt a wee bit better so I wandered about doing a little fluffing. I put away some of the more wintery things laying about. I rearranged a few things on table tops. Basically just fluffed my way through the day. I had plenty of time to think and dream and interact with my daughter who had returned home from college in the afternoon. I roamed around my house appreciating the way the light came through a window or lingering on some of the simple things I pass by each day. I read books and drank tasty coffee with whipped cream. I sat in my new office and enjoyed the silence (yes, I’ll share pictures soon of how things are coming along with that project!).

Oh, ok, well, here is a sneak peek of part of my office, I finally have a memory board up to put all of my sweet notes and blogging mementos! I did a beautiful horrific job with the cork, I made this myself. I need to redo it, as it didn’t occur to me that the cork needed to be thicker than 1/8″ thick in order to use push pins. I’m so crafty (not!).


So, friends, if (or when) any of you tried an unplugged hour or day or morning, do tell your experience for the rest of us! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay tuned, this week I’ll share photos of our BEACH HOUSE (still under construction after one year) and hopefully this week I’ll have some photos of my home office!


Disconnect Challenge February 19, 2008

Filed under: Authentic Living,Inspired Living,Organization — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello my dearest ones. I’ve been thinking. Oh, yes, I know that sounds dangerous, but stay with me here. You know that on The Inspired Room blog I try to encourage us to have Inspired Lives, not just Inspired Rooms, right? Because my motto is “our life should inspire our homes” first and foremost it is about our life. And if our life is not being lived in balance, to its fullest, or if we are neglecting very important parts of our life, our homes are just empty decorated shells. I cannot in good conscience encourage you to decorate, decorate, decorate when I don’t balance things out with the life behind the decor. So, this is one of those posts! Yes, we’ve shared many over the past 7 months. Like here, here, and here, and here, and here.

Remember a little over a week ago when we were getting inspired to find beauty everyday? Remember my little interview with Alexandra Stoddard? Remember how she said “mostly it is not good to be so connected”? I’ve been mulling that thought over as I had before she even said it. I’m torn. Torn between the great love I have for blogging and the people I’ve met, and the need for solitude and real life interaction. And those words “mostly it is not good to be so connected…” keep running through my mind. “Mostly it is not good,” she said.

Now, I realize that she is not a blogger so she may not see the wonderful community and business opportunity we all have here. There are wonderful things about being connected in this way! But that doesn’t change the point of her words. Community and opportunity are good things. But are they The Best Things? The things we should pour ourselves into above all else? And does our connection keep us from truly experiencing the life we could lead if we knew how to keep it in perspective?

I’ve been wanting to revisit Alexandra’s statement. I have been writing my thoughts over the past few days in preparation to share this when I visited the blog of one of our dear contributors to inspiration week. When I saw that her thoughts were resonating with my own heart, I knew that now was the time for me to share. For sure. She is a kindred spirit!

I’ve heard from so many of you since that Alexandra interview. Those of you who understand what Alexandra meant. Those of you who have that still small voice inside of you nudging you to “step away from the blogs” and engage yourself part of the week in something else. Not to completely abandon blogging. No! Never! But to balance it properly in our life. To see it for what it is. A wonderful thing that can sometimes make us lose sight of The Best Things. A wonderful thing that sometimes consumes hours upon hours of our day. Every day. A wonderful thing that sometimes becomes the center of our world.

When I read Rebecca Sower’s post challenging us to a day to disconnect, I knew that I too needed to have that challenge here. I need that challenge to put my feelings into action. While I do not post every day as it is (I try to skip a day or two here and there for everyone’s sanity!), and I do not visit everyone every day, I still feel that tug to check email and connect. And every time I do, another half hour is gone. Every day I connect in some way and many half hours go by. And by connecting I know I am missing out on valuable chunks of time I could use to have more to show from my day than another blog post or 20 more emails.

What if we accepted the challenge to disconnect just one day a week or a couple of evenings? Or two days? What could we do with our newfound concentration? With some time of solitude? Would we feel differently? Would our creativity and productivity soar? Would our relationships in our own family grow? Could we use our time to exercise? Pray? Play? Read? To enjoy the beauty of life? Would we be more organized or prepared for other things in life? Would that time of disconnect be the thing that brings us our next opportunity, because we took the time necessary to be proactive on something?

I for one am accepting the challenge to take balanced living to a new level. At least one (I’m considering two) days or evenings per week I will not even check my email. I will not blog. I will not visit online. I will not even peek at your wonderful creations or inspirations until I return. Yes, I will miss some posts. Especially on the blogs that post everyday. Yes, I might miss some fun. Yes, my blog might suffer because you might forget about me if I don’t visit you that day. And that pains me! But it pains me more to not live a balanced life. And that is my goal. Balanced Living. My goal is not to be blogger extraordinaire. I need to keep that straight in my own mind.

So, I invite you to join me in this challenge. If you want to. Not all of you need this. You can do this any way you want, including unplugging the phone and TV if they distract you. You can choose a half a day, or evening or a couple of days. Or just the early morning hours. Whatever feels right to you. No pressure from me to do this, we all need to do what is right for us. If you do decide that this challenge is for you, let me know! Let me know what you want to do with your time! We’ll revisit this next week (I’ll keep myself accountable that way) and you can check in with your own progress if you’d like.

I need time for solitude. I need time to catch up paperwork and design work. I need to spend more time with my kids. I need to exercise. I need down time. I really need this challenge, probably more than I realize.

Are you with me?


Sweet Escape: A Girl Can Dream February 14, 2008

Filed under: Inspired Living,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 7:46 pm
Dear Valentine Cherubs,
I was looking around for a simple photo today (you know how that goes) and found myself swept off my feet into my fairytale Valentine Escape. Now before I could say “Feet, stay on the ground!” I was whisked away to Provence, caught up in the romance and beauty of it all. This country house made me swoon with love!
I shut my eyes and pictured myself nestled in a big cozy bed until noon, sipping wine and nibbing on delicacies on the veranda, basking in the light that Cezanne loved so much (quoting the villa’s website)…then slipping inside to relax in a hot bubble bath…
Soon, I was taking a nap in another beautiful bed before having afternoon tea in the courtyard! Bliss!

Then, as the night turned dark and the stars came out, I was dressing in my finest for a romantic dinner with my Valentine in that glorious dining room…

…before retiring to my room and fetching Ian (oh, dearest Ian! where have you been?) to draw the curtains, turn down the bed and bring my hot toddy (which, incidentally, I have never had in my life but it always seems well-suited to a moment like this…).
And then, just as I was drifting off to a blissful slumber, I heard my kitchen timer buzzing waking me with its harsh shrill. OH NO! I am not in Provence. I’m in Portland! And our Tuna Casserole is ready. Gotta run! Love to you all on St. Valentine’s Day!