After a too-long hiatus, your favorite Southern Dandy is back!  **Pause for applause from the crowd**.    Having been silent for over a month, I’m sure y’all are all wondering what I’ve been up to.  Decorating the Governor’s manse? Starting an online magazine that will catapult me into the stratosphere of fame with the likes of Martha?  Writing the next great Southern novel? Sadly, no.  I’ve been very busy being a bad blogger.  Pure & simple.  I’ve not been tending to my tasks lists & have been stressing about my lack of work.  It’s an ugly cycle.  I’ve come to accept this truth: that there will definitely be times that I’m highly productive, but there will also be times when I feel stalled or that the work is extremely slow-moving.  That’s what happens when you’re doing it all yourself.  Had I a team of minions (I call it Martha-style), the direction of this blog would be very, very different.

So, let’s get to what I really want to talk about today: your space.  More specifically, making that space work for you.  I know you’re thinking, “duh, it’s my space; of course I’m going to make it work for me.”  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Here’s why: we have been given a pre-conceived set of ideas about how the space in our homes should be used.  And, usually, we try very, very hard to stick to those ideas.  Living rooms always have sofas, bedrooms always have beds, Dandies always have cocktails in hand…ok, so that last one is not so much an absolute but a very, very good rule of thumb…and sometimes you have to break rules.

Case in point: the Romain Way Estate.  When we moved in, I was incredibly excited to have a cute little 1940’s cottage with three bedrooms—THREE BEDROOMS!   Moving from an open concept one bedroom loft into a house with three bedrooms was a huge change.  The house felt enormous (keep in mind, we’re talking about 1100 square feet, give or take).  We set up the living room, kitchen, guest & master bedrooms…all very easy, logical stuff…but, what to do with the third bedroom?  We didn’t necessarily need 2 guest bedrooms, so I set out to use it in the most logical ways.  In eight years, it has been:

  • A Media Lounge.  The concept sounded really cool.  I envisioned a cozy little den full of all of the technology that distracted us when people were over.  No more watching TV as we enjoyed cocktails…a home for the Mac…maybe a place to relax & read…you get the point.  The reality was that the living room ended up not being used.  At all.  People love TV.  And nothing is sadder than sitting around, drinking vodka, with your friends, not talking about how hot Dylan McDermott is (it’s insane, right?), laughing at Miss Coco Peru’s YouTube videos or how lucky & clueless Sooki Stackhouse is.   I had to stop fighting it.
  • A junk room.  A literal free-for-all with no concept or plan.  Every time I walked in, my OCD shot up about 20 degrees.  I couldn’t deal with it.  That didn’t last long at all.
  • A study.  My grandfather’s MCM desk would be the perfect place to write, the two leather club chairs & armoire converted into a bar would give it a Mad-Men-Meets-Midtown vibe, right? No ma’am.  I don’t write at the desk; I write on the couch watching True Blood or sitting in bed listening to iTunes.  And, as much as I love that armoire (and love having a bar), it is really a large piece of furniture for our little house.
  • A Litter Box room.  Let’s be real:  if y’all have cats that spend any time indoors, you need to have a litter box, just in case.  That’s the most use the third bedroom has gotten in the last year.  Does that drive me to the brink of insanity? Yes ma’am.

I’ve been racking my brain to figure out the best way to use this space…and, like a ray of light (but without Madonna & her creepy arms), it hit me…we need a dining room.  Who cares if it’s labeled a bedroom–I’ve already established that I don’t need more people trying to stay for longer than a weekend & right now our table is a folding game table that seats four at the absolute most.  As much as we like to entertain, even if the dining room was used once or twice a month, that’s WAY more than it’s being used now.  Problem solved? (!)

No ma’am.  That has simply led to the next quandary.  Now I have to figure out what to do with the furniture.  I really don’t like the idea of selling anything on Craigslist and hate the idea of parting with Mitchell Gold chairs, but they’re not in the best shape, so maybe I should just donate them.   Once the room is cleared, what type of dining room furniture?  I’ve landed on two different aesthetics:

Rustic/Modern mix:



or Polished Antique/Modern mix:

Duncan Phyfe

Duncan Phyfe style mixed with…

modern white chair #1

a modern White Chair like this…

Modern white chair #2

or this…yes ma’am, sometimes Ikea does it right…

You get it, I like to mix.  I also like mixers.  Alas, they do take their toll on your waistline. Wish your Dandy well dear readers.  Hopefully the next time I surface, it is with major accomplishments & pearls of wisdom to share.  Until then, I leave you with my other favorite redhead…


MIss Coco Peru

Why such a small glass?  I have no idea.