Whenever we go on vacation, I come home with new ideas about how to change our house.  I get these ideas not from magazines, but from the vacation rentals where we stay.  They’re always so bright and free of the clutter that comes from everyday living in an older home that has so little storage and not as much usable space as you’d think it would.

Last year when we got home, I moved the dining table out of the dining room, put in a couple small pieces of wicker and changed the cushions to match the living room colors so that the flow-through effect worked.  I call it the Morning Room.  Bruce calls it the Parlor, which I think sounds too old-fashioned.  The dog loves it because she can go straight to the back door without having to run around the table.  Bruce loves it because he doesn’t bump his pointy elbow on the chair as he’s coming through from the kitchen.  I love it because it is another place to sit and see outside, and living in Missouri, believe me, there are plenty of days you want to see outside from the comfort of inside.

This year I changed kitchen curtains, swapping out the dominant color from green to red, and while I was at it I cleared off the counter tops and got rid of everything hanging on the refrigerator, including the magnets.  It’s streamlined, simple and airy now.  I followed up by cleaning out every closet in the house and packing away all the little things that were setting around.  Now my house is decorated in what Bruce calls “cozy minimalist” style.  I think the prettiest thing I did by far was to clear off the mantle and change the picture over it.  The handmade pewter candlestick we purchased as our anniversary gift this year with the taper from our wedding and familiar phrase just say us:  “And they lived happily ever after.”