Block Island House Tour
Part Two

BI House Tour, done!  I thought I would share a few of the highlights with you and give a mini tour of our house this week.

One highlight that is hard to overlook is that it POURED RAIN the day of the house tour.  It has not rained all summer, almost 3″ of rain fell on Tuesday.  As you can see in the picture above, our lawn is brown.  Hard, crunchy and brown.  Even our dachshund avoids the grass.

People braving the rain on the rain on the way to our house....

People braving the rain on the way to our house….

All of the summer rain was saved up for August 11th.  The 200+ people that went on the house tour deserve some accolades.  It would have been very easy to stay home and do nothing!

I left some of my business cards out in case anyone liked my eclectic style and wanted some decorating help.  We grabbed our dachshund Rhino (she was irritated the entire day) and ventured out to do the tour ourselves.  Our house was in good hands with the BI Historical Society volunteers and I was too nervous to hang around and listen to any comments I might not want to hear!

Before I start the tour of our house, just a reminder that it was built in 1910 and is only 1,500 square feet, so all of the rooms sort of run into each other.  Nothing really matches, but somehow it all works together.

Living room.

Another view of the living room with our dining area and door out to the deck.  Believe it or not, our dining table expands to seat 14.

Love my orange!  View into the kitchen and of our lovely heating grate on the living room floor, circa OLD.


Our small TV room.  It was originally the dining room.

The TV room is right off of the living room/dining area.

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Our downstairs guest room is tiny.  Tucked behind the stairs, I decorated it in lime green and yellow based on the vintage yellow bureau that was left behind in the room.

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Next to the guest room is the downstairs bath.

I fell in love with this fabric and rug combo last year, so I had to use it in the house.  The downstair bath got it.  The old claw foot tub still lives in there too.

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The kitchen is off the living room and TV room.  Basically, you can walk around in a circle and see everything in about 3 minutes!



Moving upstairs.  There are two bedrooms, a small landing where we watch movies and a bathroom.

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In my daughters’ room (yes, they share and are not happy about it at this stage), I went bright.  Lilly Pulitzer.  I am confident both of their first apartments will be shades of beige and cream.


Three twin beds, one for a guest.  Although, we have had up to ten sleeping here at any given time.

Into the upstairs landing.

Making the most of all of our space, a place to watch movies or read a book.

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I loved this Dana Gibson Canton fabric so much, I used it in blue for a roman shade up here.

Master Bedroom.

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If you are a glutton for punishment, you can also see what I did to get ready for the house tour here.

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That’s it!

the wry home

Block Island
House Tour

The Block Island Historical Society has an annual house tour every summer.  My friend Sarah and I go every year and have probably seen over 60 houses on the island.  A favorite summer tradition.

Well, my house is on the tour this year.  It’s hard to believe they asked me, especially since our cottage is only 1,500 square feet and the tour will be over before it begins!  Thankfully there will be lemonade on the deck for all guests when they are done.

I promised myself I wouldn’t go crazy with “fixing” things around the house in anticipation of the house tour.  Easier said than done…

I did do a couple of little things around here.  Not too much, but the list could go on if I let it.  So, here are the tweaks I made in anticipation of the BI house tour:

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A new path (thank you Ned Phillips) we actually added last summer.  Perfect timing!  For 14 years we let our guest wander up and down our grass hill with no lights to guide them.  Not the safest.  Ned put in this beautiful stone path with solar lights.

A new hammock from Lilly Pulitzer at Target.

Adirondack chairs take a beating here, so I replaced our old ones with these lime green chairs and a Pier One table on sale for $39.99.

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I put up a magnetic picture board to match my red hutch in the kitchen.  A place to keep our BI memories.

On the left, some remnants found in our wall when we renovated the kitchen.  The postmark on the letter is Providence to Block Island, circa 1939.

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Target comes to the rescue again.  A $129.99 rolling bar cart I can wheel anywhere we are having a party!

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We have to maximize all of the space in our house and the upstairs landing is actually big enough for a small sitting area/place to watch movies on an ancient TV.  I made a few updates here.

A new roman shade.

New pillows to go with the new roman shade.

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I recovered an old ottoman we had with white cotton duck and piped it with leftover red chenille.  A striped Jonathan Adler placemat under a Crate and Barrel lamp ties in the blue.  I recycled an old blue couch into the upstairs hallway that folds into a double bed for spillover guests.  We have to make the most of every square inch!

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An old wooden chest that holds all of our DVD’S gets some new knobs.

The refrigerator we inherited with the house froze all of our produce, so I got this one on sale at Home Depot.  The old fashioned kind where you can still use magnets!

Robin Langsdorf

Artist: Robin Langsdorf

A painting of our house gets a new frame.

Marilyn Bogdanfey

Artist: Marilyn Bogdanffy (fish)

Forrest Rodts

Artist: Forrest Rodts

Two new pieces of art for our walls.

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My new Dunes and Duchess mirror goes up in our bedroom.  Love this shape!

Another old ottoman gets recovered in blue fabric I had at home, piped with white cotton duck.

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That’s pretty much it.

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If you are around on Tuesday, August 11th from 9:00 – 1:00, I encourage you to go on the Block Island House Tour.  There are some beautiful homes to see and it is really FUN.

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Sarah and I are primed and ready to go!

The two of us on the BI House Tour

Sarah and I on a BI House Tour

the wry home

The Porch with a House Attached

One of the drawbacks of a very small house is the stir-crazy factor.  Our old cottage (above) had “enough” space inside.  But, on a rainy day or when we had a lot of guests….  aaaagggghhhhh!

First party on the weird long enclosed porch

First party on the weird, skinny enclosed porch

There was a long, skinny enclosed porch on the front of our house.  It made no sense and the nine windows barely opened, so it was really stuffy.  But we did use it when we had overflow or needed a place to ESCAPE.

12After a few years of this, we realized that we desperately needed outside space where we could hang out and decided to add a deck to the front of the house.  The plan was to ultimately open up the enclosed porch, but that was a much bigger job ( ie: it was holding up the second floor), so we attacked the deck project first.

We wanted a big front deck with a little jog off to the right to place a couple of Adirondack chairs and an umbrella where someone (me) could (hide) read.

Grace helping with the construction.

Grace helping out with the construction.


Finished product!  Yes, I am jumping ahead...


We chose to use Trex  instead of wood for the deck floor because it is durable, soft on the feet and a lot less expensive.  This is the soft gray color.

17Here it is, finished!  This is before we planted our tiny hydrangeas all around the deck.  They took 100 years to fill in, but finally did.

Miriam Websters definition of a deck is: a flat floored roofless area adjoining a house.  My definition of a deck is: a place to gather with family and friends.  Watch a sunset.  Have a party.  Read a book.  Take a nap.  Sunbathe.  Host an outdoor dinner.  Grill.  Enjoy a cocktail or two.

Which we did.

Annual summer birthday party

Annual summer birthday party



Our project to open up the enclosed porch got postponed for a bit.  Some upstairs windows decided to fall out, so they got replaced.  Then we had to reshingle the house around the new windows.  But, finally we were able to do it.


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My mother coined the term “a porch with a house attached” and she was right.  Everything we did moved outside.  We had a fabulous covered area now that the enclosed porch was open and a great deck.

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The hydrangeas grew in.

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Parties became frequent.


A lot of our initial deck furniture was left behind in the house from the estate sale.  Costco and L.L. Bean helped out too.  For a while, we had a giant sleeper sofa outside under the covered porch.  Many guests ended up sleeping over on that couch.  It looked awful, but was obviously comfortable!

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Many memories have been created here.

My mom, in the middle, who coined the phrase.

My mom, in the middle, who coined the phrase.

In so many ways, I think it was one of the best investments we ever made.

In memory of my wonderful stepfather, Barry Held.  On our porch.

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Beach Bathroom, Round #3

Our BI Cottage when we bought it

Our BI Cottage before any work!

I wrote about our old cottage on Block Island last week (see here) in a general sense.  But, this week, I want to focus on a specific room.

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We have two bathrooms in our little house.  The upstairs bathroom is shared by all four of us and there is a hall/guest bathroom downstairs (shown above it its original state).  Despite my concern about how they both looked, not as many people see the upstairs bathroom.  The one on the first floor is on full display, and is the one I wanted to GUT.

New breadboard ceiling in

New beadboard ceiling

There was an old claw foot tub in the bathroom that we kept because, frankly, it was too heavy to move.  The wallpaper, curtains, and floor (linoleum) all had to go…  The plaster ceiling was falling down, so we attacked that first and added a new overhead light in the room.


We took down the old wallpaper.  It came off in 1″ x 1″ pieces because it was permanently laminated to the horsehair plaster walls!  I painted the walls a deep red, and added a new white tile floor.  The old sink and pull-chain sconces stayed for the time being.


Fabric inspiration for the bathroom window treatment

Fabric inspiration for the bathroom color scheme

Round #1 of the downstairs bathroom redesign complete!

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A few years later, I got around to adding new wall sconces and a new sink.  As an ode to our old house, I installed pull-chain sconces again, but more contemporary.  I also added a big 20″ D x 24″ W Kohler sink.

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A colorful striped rug from Crate and Barrel and monogramed yellow towels, completed round #2.


This April, I drove to Block Island to assess the state of the house after the unusually cold winter.  How many candles did the mice eat?  How many cracks in the wall paint?  How many appliances don’t work anymore?  …the usual.


The downstairs bathroom had a lot of peeling paint and mold on the ceiling, so I decided to give it a complete face lift.

Stroheim fabric and Dash & Albert rug that HAD to be in the bathroom!

Stroheim fabric and Dash & Albert rug that I wanted in the bathroom

Inspired by a Stroheim fabric in the window at the D&D in New York, paired with a tangerine/white Dash & Albert rug, I had my color palette.

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Down came the pictures (handsome husband at the helm) and down went the newspaper.


Love this Benjamin Moore cherry red on the walls for my spring DIY project!

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Ceiling got a new coat of anti-mold white paint and so did the inside of this old cabinet mounted on the wall.

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A new French Poster was added to the room and an old lighthouse painting left behind in the house, got propped up on my beadboard cabinet.

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My Stroheim window treatment around a sailboat tieback and blue towels from Garnet Hill to match the fabric.


Getting close to being done…



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I love my new bathroom.  A little elbow grease and a few new additions made it feel like new!


the wry home

Using, the two winners of The Wry Home Red, White and Blue Giveaway are:

Frances: “My favorite Fourth of July tradition is going out with my family on our Parker boat, parking in Diamond Cove and enjoying a little wine, cheese and crackers before watching the fireworks from Casco Bay!”

– and –

Mary: “Love the pictures. It all looks so idyllic. On the 4th of July I enjoy being with immediate and extended family at our house at Seabrook Island, SC , watching fireworks on the golf course and of course the parade.”

Please e-mail me directly at so I can get the address where you would like me to send the pillow.

Thank you!