domesticity,  the sticks,  unpackamania



I’m all unpacked and ready to share photos. Though, I don’t really love the photos. I wish I could spend days and days carefully painting walls, selecting carpets and big giant art to hang on the walls. There is so much I could do to make this place shine. But it’s not going to happen. I’ve stolen enough time away from freelancing to do as much as I have. I have to buckle down and work work work so I can pay for rugs and wall hangings and other important things like food and bills and taxes. So consider these photos a work in progress.

First up is the outside. It’s a trailer. It’s not like I can lift it up and put it on some kind of foundation. No swing porch here. My mom has been growing flowers in that front bricked area. They aren’t really doing it for me. I have visions of aloes growing there. I’m thinking I might channel Georgia O’Keefe and go with the whole desert flavor. Anyone have a cow skull they want to donate to my cause?

walk-the-dog atire curb appeal

Here’s a view from the curb (on the right). That’s green rock you see there. It’s very popular out here in the desert. You don’t have to water it. Maybe I need to enlarge that so you can really see it’s awesome beauty.

curb appeal

All I can say is I’m sure glad I have such a cute red car to distract from it. The kid helps a lot too. I think the front yard will look much better with a big cow skull right there in the middle in the gray rock, next to the misshapen pine tree. Don’t you think? Maybe I just think too much.

parking zone

Here is my entry way and tricycle parking zone. I thought putting some plants here sort of gave my side door, that I use as a front door, a little privacy. I can’t really explain it but I felt like my door needed some kind of transition other than driveway meet kitchen. Isn’t there some sort of Japanese term for that?

I’m so proud of my giant yucca plant. It was a b-i-t-c-h to move but I love it so. I got that big plant way back in 1995 from Smith’s Food and Drug. I used to work in their advertising department and for some reason someone gave it to me in a paper cup right when I got laid off and they picked up shop and moved back to Utah. I’m not kidding. A paper cup! It was so small and now look how big it is. I hope I keep it forever. I might have to plant it in the ground one of these years though. It’s getting so big. I just hope the frosts out here in the desert don’t kill it. Yuccas come from the desert, right? It should survive. Hopefully it didn’t get too spoiled living by the beach all these years (sort of like me).

cooking area

From the driveway, you walk into the kitchen. This is my cooking area. If I was going to live here forever (which I’m not), I’d take out all the floral wallpaper and lay in one of those sheets of tiny turquoise tile behind the stove. But then again, if I was going to live here forever I’d probably rip out the stove and paint the cabinets white and…oh I can’t even start. I’m not going to live here forever!!! That’s all there is to it.


Across from the cooking zone is the sink and microwave zone. I do sort of miss my old sink with the view of all the people walking to the coffee shop. The good thing is, I don’t spend hours and hours in front of the sink anymore because I have a dishwasher!!! Woo hoo! It’s so great. Just as great as I always imagined it would be. It’s noisy and whirs madly all the time but I love it so.

view from the hall

Here’s a view from down the hall. You’ll be glad to see my froggy painting moved with me. And somebody needs to put their shoes away! We are working on this. Bug is terrible about kicking off her shoes right when she walks in the door and then leaving them out in the middle of everywhere for me to trip on. Also, those shoes have officially been retired. They were worn through on the heels. She wears them everyday!! Of course Gap no longer carries them so I don’t know what the princess is going to wear now. I hope her pink cowboy boots suffice.


This is the kitchen view while standing in the dining room. It’s not so bad. I thought I would get rid of the chabby chic chandelier thingy but it’s growing on me. It used to be bronze colored but my mom and I painted it white a few years ago when we were attempting to de-seventies the trailer.

another view of the hutch thingy

We also took out the avocado green plexiglass from the hutch and put in this black screening you see, thinking it would look like an old fashioned pie safe. My mom is into country. I’m not. Now I’m kinda wishing I kept the green plexiglass. It was kind of groovy (and matched the ugly stove!). I could put in some paper (white? avocado green? persimmon? a print?) behind the screening but I’m on the fence. I’m waiting for some kind of crazy inspiration to hit me. Until then, the black screen is fine. My mom used to have those cupboards packed with all kinds of country clutter which was fun but sooo cluttery. I may be rebelling a bit.

my glassware

No country clutter here. Looks like I’m ready for a housewarming party. How about next week? You’re all invited.


But apparently the apple does not fall that far from the country clutter tree when it comes to baskets. Look how I’ve filled up that entire buffet space with a bunch of baskets. What the?!! I put them there when I was unpacking and then just left them. It’s not ideal but I don’t know where else I’m going to put my baskets. Why do I have so many baskets anyway? Do they multiply in the night? This is just wrong.

won't you take me to funky time?

Did you notice my new funky red clock? (insert singing: Wontcha take me to FunkyTime!) I kinda dig it. Too bad it’s light plastic and cheap from Target. But we can pretend it’s metal and I found it in a diner on route 66 or something.

dining window

Next up, the dining room. Sorry, Mom, but the cute apple print calico window covering on the door has got to go. I would have taken it down already but the screen door is an eyesore (it has a plastic rubbermaid bin lid stuck in it to keep the dogs from going through it. I can’t make this stuff up.) and I need the privacy from my neighbor, the rapper, who lives right next door. Yes, I live next door to a rapper. I guess he has some albums out but I don’t remember his name. I need to go make friends with him and his family. I never see them but I hear them. Oh, do I hear them.

paris cafe shelf

You might have noticed the shelf thingy. What do you call that? That’s another remnant of my mom’s style that I thought I’d get rid of but is now growing on me. I’m pretending it’s my Paris cafe shelf. I really have to be careful not to clutter it up though. I love the espresso cups and the books but the other stuff is too much maybe. I did get those cups in Paris just in case you were wondering. Oh the memories…

it's a pink, pink christmas

From there, if you turn you will see my living room/office and a PINK Christmas tree! I ordered that lovely thing online when I was back in Washington D.C. I wasn’t going to. I thought it was a little over the top and frivolous but Bethany talked me into it. I thought it would make Christmas in a trailer a little more special for a certain pink-loving princess. We are going back to the beach to celebrate Christmas Day with Toby but in the meantime we can be festive out here too.

decorating pink Christmas

Naturally, Bug loves it.

We love our dog.

Santa Holly

And so does our pink Christmas dog.

Too bad I took that shot in low light and it’s blurry (because I refuse to use my point-and-shoot camera’s flash). I could have used that shot for my Christmas card this year. Maybe I’ll re-shoot. I don’t even know if I’m going to tackle Christmas cards this year. It’s always a good business move since I LOVE to design cards but the whole broken-family thing sort of puts a damper on my holiday message. I have some ideas but I’m not getting my hopes up.


Here is a view of the living room again, aka the ballroom.

kid movie zone

This is the movie-viewing zone. I’m borrowing my mom’s mac mini until she needs it in January. It’s really nice to have it because we can watch DVD’s, view Netflicks movies and play on the internet without using my laptop. Eventually I’ll have to set up something else when I give my mom her computer back but for now it’s useful AND it makes my office look super professional, as if I need to have TWO computers to do all the massive freelance jobs I have.

my office

This is my office. This is the one area that needs some big things. I have my eye on a craft table at Ikea that has a light box built into it! It’s only $130 (with legs) but I’m holding off because I have already spent too much on this move.

I’d also like a great big giant painting on that wall. My friend Deb creates these really beautiful watercolor wash paintings that I’m in love with except most of her paintings are influenced by the ocean (as that’s where she lives) and I’m thinking I need a desert version. She said we could create one together. I’m really looking forward to that.

her office, my office

Here’s a close-up of my uber cool desk. As you can see, Bug “works” next to me. She has her own laptop. I need to take a picture of it. It’s a baby wipe container with keys marker-penned into the inside. It opens and closes just like mine. I’d take credit for that brilliant idea but Bug got the idea from Annalie.

Enough office, living room, kitchen…let’s move onto the bedrooms!

my room

My room looks much better thanks to a refurbished mattress and box springs that I bought at a thrift store. Don’t worry, it’s clean and unused. No bed bugs here and it was a ton cheaper than buying one new. It’s actually kinda comfy. The quilt is borrowed from my Grandma. The curtains are cast offs from the kids I babysit. I probably should iron them one of these days.

On top of the curtain rod is a funny stuffed monster snake guy that Heather bought for me ages ago. He’s not looking very photogenic up there. I really need to take some close-up photos. He’s the best stuffed animal ever. I think he keeps bad dreams away too.

my yellow florescent lit bathroom

Another shot of my bathroom and me posing. I’m too sexy for my hair-doing station. Bah Hahah!

Bug's bathroom

This is Bug’s bathroom that is across the hall from my room. I know! We have TWO bathrooms!! You move inland and suddenly property value goes down and all these luxury items start showing up in trailers. It’s crazy and I love it.

Bug and her room

And last, but not least, we have Bug’s room. We still haven’t really figured out where to put her bed but for now we have a folded up futon that fits under the counters. She doesn’t really sleep there but she does spend a lot of time there crying and carrying on when I send her to her room for not listening. I’ve since taken down that bulletin board and moved it into my office so I can put up my inspiration pictures on it. The phone cords need to go too but I haven’t gotten that far. Also that shelf under the air conditioner is soon to be dismantled. That was left over from my mom’s computer desk.

ugly plastic dresser and nap zone shelfery

The other sides of Bug’s room are not very photogenic either. I hate her plastic dresser. It used to hide in her closet and didn’t offend me so much but now, as you can see, her closet is built-in with shelves. I actually am very thankful for all those shelves because I have a lot of art and craft supplies (and she has a lot of toys) and they all seem to fit in here with room to spare. She hangs her dresses up in my closet. We’ve worked it out. So this basically is just a play room that she shares with me and my craft supplies.

And that’s that! Phew, that was a long post! I guess I’ll post more photos as I make more improvements but for now I’m done with the inside. Next up: yard work!


  • bshine

    Wow – the place looks amazing! So feminine and nice! Love the pink tree!

    The Japanese term you’re looking for is a “genkan”, it means an entryway. In Japan it’s where you take off your shoes before stepping up a little into the actual house (the house is a slightly higher level than the genkan area).

  • Ruth

    Brenda, this is beautiful! I’m currently (slowly) working on moving out of my parents’ house, and when you just need a space of your own, suddenly any new space seems perfect and glamorous and just-right. I’m glad you’re happy with yours :)

    (PS That little red flower-shaped bowl in your bathroom–I have the same ones! In orange and yellow. From a thrift store, I think. Funny!)

  • OMSH

    Brenda, it looks GREAT! I see so many of your little touches to make it a home. And yes, I agree you DO NEED that table. You absolutely, positively NEED that table. Maybe Santa will bring you the cash for it. Santa has many, MANY helpers you know.

    It looks cozy and organized.
    Now, for WORK!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for the tour! You should hire yourself out as a speed-unpacker! It’s quite impressive how soon you’ve made the home your own.

  • gingermog

    Wow things are changing every day you really are making it look like home. Thanks for the update I’ve enjoyed viewing your photos and getting a feel for where you live. One of the many delightful things about my visit to over the summer was I recognised so much of your home from your photos. I love interiors as well and never have enough time/ money to get them exactly how I want them. its worth doing though as little things like colourful dishes can be uplifting. I guess its the designer in us.

    I love the pink tinsel tree, I was eying up a similar one in a shop on Saturday. I know the exact IKEA light box craft table you mean (I’ve been eying it up myself) and I also collect wicker storage baskets. I can’t help myself its a compulsion. I love boxes full stop.

    Good luck with the freelance work xxx

  • gretchen

    Enjoy the dishwasher! When we bought our house (9 years ago) I was so excited about finally having a dishwasher. I came in to work and said “there’s this machine in our house… you put dirty dishes in and they come out clean!” My boss still remembers that 9 years later. And I still love our LOUD dishwasher! Happy holidays to you and Bug.

  • Laurie

    It looks lovely and like you are getting more settled in. That is important, I know. Glad it seems to be going well and that you both are doing OK. Much hugs to your family this holiday season.

  • Melissa

    Faithful reader delurking… Brenda – you are such an inspiration to me by just being who you are. I adore your style, your designs, your writing and most of all your strong determination. Seeing how you, when faced with adversity, just forge ahead and make your world the best possible place to be gives me courage to do the same.

    I love your new home. You can see all the happiness and joy in each room. In Bug’s smile. And in your words.

    P.S. I also have that little red flower dish on the sink counter in your bathroom. Funny.

  • Ninotchka

    You made it look gorgeous. You’re so good at that! And I love the doggie pic. Looks just like my Charlie except black. So sweet. Definitely do a re-shoot. It’s just too precious.

  • s

    is it bad that I have dishwasher envy? we’ve remodeled our house but not the kitchen and after 15+ years here, I’m not going to hold my breath!!

    from other blog posts, its very clear that you don’t like trailers, but you should make no apologies about your new home – you are doing such a nice job fixing it up with limited time and funds – imagine it months from now – keep that long term view in your mind vs apologizing for any short term shortcomings – most of us don’t live in model dream homes. Physical foundations aren’t as important as the one you are building in your life. You’ll get there, in this place or your next or whatever awaits you, but don’t apologize – you are crafting a home, you are building your life, and there is absolutely not a thing you need to make an excuse for or apologize for or diminish in any way.

  • Amanda Brown

    Your trailer looks way more inviting and homey than my newly renovated house. You’ve got such an eye for making things look pretty and I am jealous! How’s that?! I am jealous of your trailer!! :) Again, I am just marveling at your grace under fire, Brenda! Good things are ahead of you, I just know it.

  • Madge

    Yay for dishwashers!!! Ours went out last week and I helped Fish hand wash dishes for two days. TWO DAYS. Kidding, I’m not that spoiled, but I can appreciate loving that dishwasher after hand washing as long as you did.

    I think the place has come together very well. I can’t wait to see it in person.

  • Elizabeth

    Faithful reader-lurker here — you have done such a lovely job in making your new home a cozy haven for you and Bug. It looks warm and comfortable and full of love. Thank you so much for sharing! It’s really fun to see you ladies settling in, and I know you will make a good life for yourselves there. You’re such a strong woman. Bug is really lucky you’re her mom. And of course, you’re lucky to have such an adorable and spunky little girl. Take care of each other! I hope you have a great holiday season, and keep posting!

  • Annalie

    Wow. I really like your new house! And I really like Bug’s room, and the dog that you’re borrowing. I wish I had a dog, but I’m glad with the two cats I have. I like the little computer Bug made, and her little desk.

    And BOY, I like your pink Christmas tree! I hope your tree has lots of presents under it like ours does.

    I miss you and I hope you have fun in your new house, Bug! Bye!

  • Chrisy in Chicago

    You’ve done a really amazing job making this place not only a home – but YOUR home. I only know you from your blog, but I can “see” you (or my idea of who you are (weird?)) throughout the house. It’s bright and friendly and welcoming. And from a purely organizational standpoint, you’ve made such great use of limited space!

    You go, girl – this is your time to shine!

  • Yara

    I have dishwasher & *2* bathroom envy.
    I have 5 people sharing one tiny bathroom : (
    And my dishwasher sits in the garage because this rental house has no dishwasher connections.

    I think the inside of your house is absolutely adorable : )

    I may even be inspired enough to clean the kids room & get our pink Christmas tree from the garage. Yup, we have a pink Christmas tree from Lorelei’s pink days. It’s small, though.

  • Danita

    Hey I love it actually. How fun to have your own space, your own way – totally quaint! I suggest rocking the vintage-kitch look in there – I know I would. Also I have some wicked hot pink curtains if you want them for Bugs room? I just changed Audreys room to green and have them sitting here – I would be more then happy to ship them your way. Regardless they wold be a good amount of pink fabric for SOMETHING to be done with them.

  • Ami

    Thanks for sharing yourself and the details with us. You’re a talented designer and the touches in your home show that. I had two thoughts to share with you:
    a) covering up the wall paper with turquoise tiles and painting cabinets white in no way means you have to stay there. It would only mean you did something to make an unpleasant chore (cooking) a little more pleasant. I think it would look fantastic, by the way. You could paint that little french cafe shelf turquoise too (or shiny white) — oooh, or red to match your clock!
    b) perhaps what was broken was your marriage, and your family isn’t broken — in fact, it’s more like you “unbroke” your family by taking this courageous and scary and tricky step, right?
    Be good to yourself.

  • Marilyn

    great job! i think Bug’s futon under that table actually looks kind of cozy. it reminds me of a ‘fort’ i had in my bedroom when i was about her age. maybe you could rig up some sort of sheer covering to pin under that table that could extend out over her bed at night. it could be her princess sleeping chamber. ;)

  • Susan

    Brenda, it’s amazing how nice you’ve made it. I admire your bravery and resourcefulness. Somehow I think a cow skull will come to you to complete the front vision.
    Best wishes in the new abode.

  • Mrs. Wilson

    Wow. It looks really amazing in there! I think you’ve done an awesome job of making it home for you and Bug.

    Also, you have a snake that wards off bad dreams? I AM SO JEALOUS!

    (I’m all about the bad dreams lately and I HATE THEM.)

  • Andrea

    Lots of lovely things in your new home, I hope it is good to you and brings you all kinds of new experiences and discoveries. It may not be all that you wish for, but it sounds like quite possibly it is just what you need.

    p.s I love your open and honest way of writing too.

  • Alady

    As I am starting a new life myself, I have found that this quote has made an impression on me… to one Paris lover to another, words from a master:

    ” Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”
    Pablo Picasso

    Not that you are starting from destruction (I have no idea what your starting from), but whenever a new path of life calls, we must pave that path with the bricks we’ve kept around our heart which formally protected us from our unhappiness… and I see you have some beautiful bricks :)

    Woman to woman… Goodjob. xo

  • Penny

    I love how you have settled in so quickly. You are amazing and your little family is far from broken. Like “s” said, don’t ever apologize for what you have and what you do. You are a hard working mom who is doing great things for her family. That is what you are. Yes, I think you need to meet the rapper that lives next door. It is always good to know who your neighbors are. I do not have a dishwasher by choice. I actually enjoy doing dishes. It is relaxing to me and I hardly ever make my girls do them, because I love cleaning the kitchen. i am weird like that. Just wanted to tell you that things are looking wonderful in your new home. Thanks for sharing it is great to see how things are progressing.

  • mar

    I too, am jealous of your dishwasher – I live in a teeny, tiny house with a kitchen even smaller than yours- and can’t figure out where we would put one ….

    Re: the baskets – cup hooks in the ceiling – you can hang them from the ceiling – gets them out of the way, but still there when you want them.

    My mom’s best friend lived in several rented houses as she moved from place to place over the years – she always said the key to making it feel like home, no matter how short a time you live there, was to pretend that it wasn’t a rental – buy/make new curtains, get a piece of furniture you love, hang art (she sometimes swapped art with friends, and in our town, believe it or not, the library has paintings you can borrow!!!) – but don’t settle, or you’ll resent the time you spend there.

    Your place looks amazing already – definitely not just a house, but a home! I’m sure so much of it has been hard, but making it homey will make a huge difference to you and Bug!

    Keeping your whole family in my thoughts!

  • sarah

    Your home is beautiful, Brenda, just like you are. You inspire me! As I keep repeating to myself: It’s not what you have, but what you do with it.

    I hate moving and it takes me months to get around to doing all the stuff you detailed in one post. I find that amzaing! Wishing you all the best with your new start.


    WOW!! I don’t know how you made/found the time to do all of that so fast!! It looks wonderful, and already so much like your home!! Bug must be good at keeping herself entertained, or it’s just your super-duper organizer skills that allows lots of multi-tasking to keep her entertained as you work!! (Either way, you totally rocked it!!)

  • Amanda

    Love the picture with you waving in the mirror. The place looks pretty great. Glad to see you’re settling in well. :) And I love the PINK tree!! :D

  • Stephanie

    I love it :)
    Firstly, I’m so incredibly impressed by your swift and efficient organizational skills and I wiiiiiish you could come and help out my cluttery self!
    Secondly, I’m so happy that you and Bug have gotten settled in somewhere so great. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but I believe it: everything is going to be OK. :)

  • Clover

    Nice decorating! My daughter just got those pink Gap shoes as a hand-me-down and she hardly takes them off. I think your pink tree is perfect for your little pink girl!

  • LaurenC

    Oh Brenda, I love your new place. It’s cute and has a lot of personality which I love.
    That white retro chandelier is strangely attractive to me. Your red clock rocks.
    Also. Baskets DEFINITELY multiply when you are sleeping. My house is proof of this.
    And the misshapen pine tree in your yard is clearly just trying to fulfil its destiny as an oversized bonsai right?

    I hope you are well and settling in.
    Have a wonderful christmas.

  • BeachMama

    Looks like you are settling in very well. I love the pink Christmas tree!! I have secretly wanted one, but would get really chastised in my house if I did that, one day when I have my own studio I will do it :). I love what you have done with the house and how well you have established everything. I love it all!

  • TexasLea

    The place looks like a home to me. I think it’s all the more special because it is YOUR home and you are the one who made it that!I’m wishing you and Bug nothing but the best!

  • Callie

    I love what you’ve done with your new home. Awhile ago I moved and had to abandon/sell many things. I’ve concentrated too much on what I do not have. I’m hoping to add a little pizazz even if it’s second hand. I also live in the desert (the sunrises and sunsets are indeed amazing! it’s like cotton candy) and have started to embrace the rocks and cacti. Anyway, kudos to you moving forward whatever happens. Hang in there! Your attitude and creativity is inspiring and I’m sure Bug sees this :)

    p.s. looking forward to more items in your Etsy account

  • Kuky

    Isabelle really likes your pink Christmas tree. She’s asking when we can visit you guys again. :) I have to tell her that you guys are really far far away. Then she asked for your number. Ha!

  • Tresa

    Hey B! Only you, Super-Duper-Fantabulous YOU could make a trailer in the desert so cute! Great pics! I’ve always adored you and your style. Through the years you just get better & better, stronger & stronger! Keep moving forward and stay true to yourself. Your Bug is so darling and your love for each other shines!
    Wishing you all the best!

  • Dawn K.

    I’m so glad you’re getting settled!

    Random, but I’m pretty sure I saw those shoes in my local GAP outlet just last week! I don’t know if you’re near any, or know anyone who is, but it could be worth a trip.

    Merry Christmas and Happy new Year!