You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

My home decor addiction

We’re doing a small renovation. It’s nothing, really, especially after you watch that TV show where they completely remodel a kitchen while the homeowners go through the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A. But life is full of perspective, and this is ours right now:

Our house is torn up, from stem to stern, and all day long there is the constant hum of some kind of machinery. Shop-Vac. Belt sander. Drill. Luckily I was raised in a newsroom and can pretty much write under any conditions. Or so I’ve been bragging. Then one day this week, I snapped and bought a $100 pair of noise cancellation ear phones.

Trouble is, I still hear like a champ, but now I just look ridiculous when I wave to the mailman.

For a while - say, about 23 minutes after we moved the refrigerator - our new living arrangements were kind of fun, almost like living in a small Manhattan walk-up.

The coffee pot is in the dining room, clean clothes are in a plastic bin, somewhere, and our bed is in the living room. At night, the front porch light keeps me awake.

How weird is that?

It can be overwhelming, really, but our homes are our equity. Right? We have to keep them nice. Get rid of the termite damage, and the rotten window sills, and the old cast iron plumbing. Our small reno comes courtesy of what’s called “a home improvement loan,” a trick we Americans use when we’ve let things go for a (long) while because we’ve chosen to spend our money on spring training baseball, disposable clothing at Old Navy, and overnight shipping fees. (Hey, everybody needs a new LeBron James’ jersey ASAP this time of year.)

Home improvement loans are fantastic because one minute you’re pretty much broke, and the next minute you’ve got a fat bank balance and you’re actually thinking that Damask wallpaper would lend an air of sophistication to the far living room wall.

When this new bank balance permanently merges with a homeowner’s imagination, it creates a volatile explosion of online imagery that is impossible to stop, even if you wanted to.

Kitchen sinks. Yellow paint. Cabinet pulls. White antique bedding. There’s no 12-step program for home design porn.

I knew we were approaching intervention when I ordered black and white toile fabric for the kitchen at 3 in the morning and then, the next morning - while writing a profile of a soap opera star for a magazine - I suddenly found myself looking at a picture of a “Belfast Saddle Stool in Rustic Oak.”


Had I bookmarked this? Sent it to myself in an email? Pinned it from Pinterest? Who knows?

Turns out, the “Belfast Saddle Stool in Rustic Oak” wasn’t exactly what I wanted - wrong height, wrong color, totally wrong design - but I bought it anyway. It just seemed like some sort of sign.

My husband, a dear soul, has been a good sport about this, helping with some of the most intensive Googling searches. I mean, a girl can’t find the perfect corner TV stand all by her lonesome. He tells me, without prompting, that I am doing “a great job” of juggling everything, even when I’m sitting there with my hard hat on - Safety first! - crying because my order is not on the truck and “out for delivery.” (Priorities, people.)

But there are others in worse shape than me, which is something I seem to be saying a lot lately. Like this one decor addict I found online who became obsessed with a turquoise ceramic-glazed lamp she saw in a magazine,

“I am trying to buy the lamp on Page 9 of the May edition,” she wrote on a House Beautiful “comments” thread.

“Does anybody know where I can find it?” she wrote a few days later.

That was three years - and nothing. Poor girl. I hope she’s enjoying life in the institution.

Linda Lipshutz, a Palm Beach Gardens therapist I often call upon to make sense of the world’s disorder, says it’s easy today to become distracted with home decor, especially with all the ideas online.

“It’s a great topic in today’s time,” Lipshutz said. “I think a lot of people view their home as a visual extension of themselves and they worry about what others will think.

“They feel pressured with anxiety: ‘Will people like my choices, my decisions, my home?’

Plus, you want to make sure you get exactly what you want, and for a good price.

“It’s fun when you’re enjoying it,” she says. “But some people take it to the extreme.”

Yeah. Some people.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community

Lance Armstrong engaged to longtime girlfriend Anna Hansen
Lance Armstrong engaged to longtime girlfriend Anna Hansen

Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong is getting married to longtime girlfriend Anna Hansen.   Armstrong, 45, popped the question Tuesday evening at Lake Austin. In a photo posted to Armstrong’s Instagram account, Hansen sits on his lap with a sparkling engagement ring on her finger while the sun sets in the background. The photo was...
Ariana Grande’s fans offer sympathy, support: ‘This is NOT your fault’
Ariana Grande’s fans offer sympathy, support: ‘This is NOT your fault’

“This is NOT your fault. please stay strong.” Twitter user Sebastian Olzanski’s simple, comforting line is only one of more than 130,000 responses to the distraught “broken” message that singer Ariana Grande sent to fans in the wake of the devastating explosion at her Manchester, England concert on Monday that...
Before Ivanka Trump, Dina Merrill was Palm Beach’s first blond princess
Before Ivanka Trump, Dina Merrill was Palm Beach’s first blond princess

Nedenia Marjorie Hutton was the first blond princess of Mar-a-Lago, the first beautiful little girl to sleep in the silver-leafed canopy bed of the nursery and study the rhymes written in the tiles of her bathroom. Her parents, Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton, called her “Deenie.” Deenie’s room later became Ivanka...
Memorial Day 2017: Peanut Island Guide - Things to know before you go
Memorial Day 2017: Peanut Island Guide - Things to know before you go

Every big holiday weekend that involves beach, fun and sand has to include ‘Peanut’ That’s what the locals call Peanut Island, the 80-acre tropical island located at the west end of the Palm Beach (Lake Worth) Inlet. It’s a get-there-by-only-boat county park, where long strings of boats raft up while hundreds of people...
What Trump book got this Palm Beach author a quick publishing deal?
What Trump book got this Palm Beach author a quick publishing deal?

Got a good story about President Trump in Palm Beach? Journalist and author Laurence Leamer wants to hear it. The ink is still drying on the part-time Palm Beach resident’s new contract to write “Trump’s Palm Beach,” a book about Donald Trump and the Town of Palm Beach. “The arc of the book is Trump’s journey...
More Stories