Category Archives: Mera’s House

Celebrating Two Years With Winifred

Red House West || Winifred

It’s been two years since I first brought Winifred home, and she has turned into the sweetest, most cuddly, difficult, unbiddable dog I’ve ever loved.

Before Winnie I always had herding mutts–dogs who lived to please and stuck to me like glue.  I don’t know what caused me to stray from my type and bring Winnie home, except the warmth I saw in her gaze, and my childhood dream of having my very own Sandy like Little Orphan Annie.

Red House West || Winifred

We don’t know Winnie’s breed, but she was labelled a “Delta Mix” (meaning the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta in Western Alaska) by the rescue organization.  My best guess is that she’s a combination of Alaska Husky and Wheaton Terrier.  It’s been a steep learning curve trying to figure out what makes her tick.  Terriers were bred to work alone without a human present at all, which pretty much means they don’t give a sh*t what you want them to do.  Unlike every dog I’ve had in the past, scolding Winnie only makes her act worse (we went through a period of about a month where every time I would leave the kitchen and come back I would find her with all four paws up on the counters or table).  I’ll still correct her in the moment, but I also heap praise on her for anything and everything she does that isn’t objectionable (you came inside from the backyard, what an amazing dog you are! Wolsey head butted you and you didn’t try to hump him in return, you’re fantastic!), and it seems to be working.

Red House West || Winifred

The other thing that has really helped is our new dog walker.  When my pregnancy turned difficult and I couldn’t walk the girls anymore, we hired Juli Morgan of Barks n’ Rec.  She’s been amazing–she is patient and sweet with Winnie, and just seems to really get her.  Both girls come home exhausted from afternoons with Juli, and Winnie also seems mentally exhausted, but in a good way.  Juli also takes great photos (all the outdoor photos in this post are hers)!

Red House West || Winifred

Our other dog Cora is basically Winnie’s life coach.  For her own part Cora isn’t that excited by other dogs, and that includes Winnie, but Winnie loooves Cora.  She’s always trying to get her to wrestle and play, and when we’re out on a hike Winnie sticks close to Cora and watches her for cues about what she’s supposed to be doing.

Red House West || Winifred IMG_3993

Winnie doesn’t always have the best reactions–she can be growly if she’s startled or nervous–and I always watch her with Opal.  But I have to give her credit and say that she is really devoted to Opal and has always been gentle and sweet with her.  She isn’t one to dole out kisses, but if Opal’s face is nearby, it’s another story.

Red House West || Winifred IMG_2235 IMG_3692

Winnie has a special spot in my heart.  She’s a complicated soul with a checkered past, and I’m really proud of how far she’s come.  She’s much more trusting and relaxed than she was two years ago, and I completely adore her.

By the way, she still sleeps on the dog bed I made for her to celebrate her official adoption, but I don’t recommend making a dog bed out of undyed muslin.  I’ve washed the bed lots of times and the printing has held up well, but the fabric is no match for Winnie’s perpetually damp and dirty lady beard.  Next time I’ll use a darker fabric!

Mera’s House: The Bedroom Chronicles

Our new master bedroom is so close to crossing the finish line, but sadly not with a triumphant strong finish — more like a marathoner who collapses in the chute, poops herself, and then drags herself across the finish line on bleeding elbows.

We’ve run into a few hiccups with the closet, and the writing may finally be on the wall for the Serena & Lily bed I bought seven months ago, but still haven’t received (for the background on this saga click here). Here’s the closet before and updated, but not done, after:

Red House West || Master Bedroom

Red House West || Bedroom Progress

One of the guys who worked on the closet said that building it was the hardest thing he’d ever done, and the fact that it’s taken 3x longer than expected bears that out.  It’s not even close to square, nor does it slope consistently one way or the other – I’m so glad we hired professionals to do this, Chester and I wouldn’t stand a chance!

The contractors are still working out a few kinks, but I’m excited about how it’s turning out.  My heart sings every time I peek at the flock of drawers and their beautiful plumage.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Progress

In bed-buying news, things are not looking good for the bed I ordered from Serena & Lily back in October.  I called last week and was told that, though they had gotten more of the beautiful indigo linen fabric I chose in stock, they rejected it for quality issues.  Meanwhile I find myself wandering into the room, laptop in hand, wistfully gazing at my original mood board:

Bedroom Plan Round 3

I also make little shrines with the fabric samples for the window shades and the bed and text Katie pictures accompanied by weeping emojis.

Red House West || Bedroom Progress

Winifred says “My mom has vowed to not trim the vision-obstructing hair on the bridge of my nose until the bed arrives!  Send the bed or send help!”

This week I realized that these adumbrations may be as close as I ever get to the Serena & Lily bed.  I’m trying not to dwell, and I think I’ve found a good alternative, one that might even work better in our bitty room.

Another bedroom possibility

It’s from CB2, and actually will fit even better under our low windows than the Serena & Lily Bed.  It would mean a lot more wood and less color than the look I originally envisioned, but after talking it through with Katie I think it could be just the thing.

So what do you think, should I give the Serena & Lily bed a little more time, or should I pull the trigger on the CB2 bed?  Thanks for weighing in!

An Updated Bedroom Design Plan & A Thank You Note To My House

We’ve hired pros for our new master bedroom remodel, so it is rapidly zooming into focus. The room is going to be done soon, but my decorating “plan” is still just a loosey-goosey collection of ideas.

As a reminder, here is what the room looked like in the raw “before” state:
Red House West || Bedroom Decisions
Red House West || Bedroom Decisions It’s hard to get a clear sense of scale, but just know that the room is tiny. The bed in these photos is a full, and it takes up pretty much the whole room. How to fit a queen bed and a closet for two was the challenge, and after taping out the size of a queen size bed on the floor, going through a whole pad of graph paper, and meeting with our awesome contractor, we’ve got a plan that’s going to work.
The closet is going in this long skinny eave that was housing Chester’s bitty closet and my sewing area:
Red House West || Master Bedroom
I had thought that we would each have a side of the eave as our designated closet, with a mix of drawers and hanging space (see my original closet plan here).  But after monkeying with the design I decided that the simplest solution is best.   The entire left side (where the dresser is in the photo above) will be built in drawers, and the entire right side will be hanging space with sliding doors.  This plan works better because the knee wall on the right side is actually higher than the one on the left (which slopes like a funhouse) so there’s more height for hanging clothes.  Will it be a long closet tube?  Yep.  Will it house both of our wardrobes? I desperately hope so.  Will it be a big improvement on our current closet sitch?  Most definitely.

Here’s a peek (in terribly lit iPhone photos) at what it looks like currently:

IMG_3538 IMG_3539Back to the decorating plan.  You might remember that I was debating between a spool bed and an upholstered bed.   I love spool beds, and I think they look especially sweet in small attic-y rooms, so when I found this I convinced myself it was the one (not in this color though):

The company’s website doesn’t include dimensions, but here’s the description: “The Farmhouse Spool Bed enjoys a vintage look that makes one nostalgic for the relaxed pace of a summer cottage. With its smaller scale, this bed will fit the coziest of bedrooms.”  Perfect!  My bedroom is cozy, I’m nostalgic for a relaxed pace, I enjoy a vintage look!  But when I got the dimensions I learned that what they bill as basically a dollhouse bed is TOO BIG for our bedroom.

Next I found this petite and simple bed at Serena and Lily:

Red House West || Master Bedroom

A totally different look, but I think it’s versatile and simple and, most importantly, it will fit in the room.  I thought I wanted a patterned fabric like the one I shared here, but after ordering fabric swatches I decided on a solid indigo linen.  With the sloped ceilings, paneled walls, and newly revealed wood floors, there’s a lot of pattern and texture in the room already.  I want the room to feel like a cozy and serene retreat for grown ups, so I figured solid was the way to go.  I bought the bed while it was on sale and got an email a few weeks later saying it was going into production, then nothing. For months. Finally in December I called customer service, and after talking to several people learned that my bed hadn’t gone into production because they didn’t actually have enough of the fabric to upholster it. They say they’ll get more in February, and to make it up to me they gave me an additional 40% off, and free shipping! Free furniture shipping to Alaska makes me feel like they’re paying me to buy this thing! I’m not counting my bed chickens before they hatch, but fingers crossed they’ll have enough fabric soon.

Assuming it all works out, I think it will look something like this (click here if you want to see previous plans):

Bedroom Plan Round 3

Finally, you might have heard about (or experienced) the big 7.1 earthquake we had here last weekend.  Nothing was damaged at our house, but the kitchen drawers and cabinets swung open, everything on the walls was akimbo, and a few things fell off the bookshelves.  To my dear darling house, house that survived the 1964 earthquake too, I say thank you.   You’ve earned those janky angles and sloping floors, and I am very grateful that you are strong and solid and keep my family safe.