A la francaise

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Photographed by yours truly, Laura Shultice. Paris, France 2015 during my daughters graduation celebration.

It’s been a busy month. I am preparing my youngest to attend the university to study interior design. We’ve had so much fun hitting garage sales, scouring antique & second hand stores and strolled the isles of Home Goods and T.J.Maxx more times than I’d care to admit.  I am trying to mentally prepare myself for surviving an empty nest. Professionally, I sold a darling chateau to a very sweet couple and sold their home of 16 years. It was an emotional transition but leaves me with a great sense of reward. I made a French inspired picnic basket as a wedding gift to my niece & her husband. With the assistance of my brother John and mother, I have been putting the pieces together of our family history. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my great grandmother, (my mother’s grandmother), Susanna Santee was born in N.E. France. I deemed it appropriate to share with you my fascination and connection to the French culture.

The French way of life has always been a subject of admiration and fascination for the rest of the world. It’s gold standard of living, natural essences, effortless styles, and chic are all wrapped into one big beautiful culture. Needless to say traveling to France had my head spinning. Upon returning to the U.S., I needed to know more. I stumbled across the book “How to be Parisian wherever you are. Love, style, and bad habits”. Not a bad read. It graces my bookshelves today.


While in France, sachets were commonly found in most gift shoppes. Although native to southern France, lavender can be found in French homes all over the country. It’s strong familiar scent and its antibacterial properties make this a staple in multiple areas of the house. In the bedroom it is carefully hung on a bedpost to aid in a good night’s sleep. It is also placed in drawers and cabinets to ward off moths. We found one tucked in our bedroom armoire which scented our clothing wonderfully. My next door neighbor kindly gave me her abundance of lavender so I could make my own sachets.

My preferred modes of transportation, and a favorite scent, fresh lavender.  During the drying process my garage smells heavenly.
I embroidered these linen pouches to be given as small gift gestures.
Our Paris apartment rental was just perfect for our stay. If you have interest in renting your own, contact Parisperfect.com. A shout out to our hostess Victoria.
A selfie in the reflection of an aged French mirror.
Centre Pompidou, Paris.

We’ve been fortunate to provide our children with the opportunity of international travel. I love this picture that I photographed inside the Centre Pompidou gallery in Paris. It pretty much sums up my world…my family, and their innate ability to share my passion, the arts. Oh how I’ve been blessed a million times over with these three in my life.

“Eiffel Tower” purchased along the Seine River, Paris adorns my WC. Collecting art during my travels is my favorite souvenir.


Breathtaking in person, and one of my favorite masters. Self-portrait (1889) by Vincent van Gogh, Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

A quick French lesson for my husband, so you can understand my text messages.

Bonne nuit – Good night

Je t’aime – Love you

Crepes, art galleries, flea markets, the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, lazy picnics, subways, wine, shopping, LV, perfume, fashion, the sparkling Eiffel Tower, evening strolls, Midnight in Paris, performance artists, Come Dine with Me, Disney… “Merci Paris”, your memory will be forever etched in my mind. “Je reviendrai en 2018!”

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Ballard Designs, are offering these stunning prints for those wanting a bit of French inspiration in their own homes.

And these shoes are on my radar for the fall.

I’m anxiously awaiting a reproduction of “Diana Artemis of Versailles” to grace my newly designed living room. Photos and sources to follow.


A few more pics to share

Enjoying pages from my favorite author F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Images such as this, swim in my head, page after page. One of my favorite American artists, Edward Hopper. Compartment Car.

“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.”
“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
“More of me comes out when I improvise.”
“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.
-Edward Hopper
The gentleman who upholstered the Shasta seats is a Native American. When I picked them up, he and his wife kindly invited me to a pow wow, celebrating their rich heritage. I hung my daughters dream catcher by the bed as a reminder of diversity, human kindness and optimism.
Our friend Paul graciously let us borrow his kayaks for the morning. (I think Santa may have a surprise in store…)

A sneak preview

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After: New floor, polished interior aluminum, hand sewn window treatments, newly upholstered seats, refinished cabinet fronts, & stocked with vintage finds. Original turquoise countertops.
Mr. & Mrs.
One last trip before the exterior paint job! I just love the striped awning, thanks Marti!  Source: Marti’s Awnings, CA. Poles from Austin Kayak, (ACK).




Polishing the wings & Z stripe


I took the advise of reddirtshasta.blogspot.com to use Mother’s Aluminum Polish to shine up the wings on my 1958 Shasta camper. I first started with a fine steel wool to take of the first layer of dirt & grime. Another tip I found online that helped tremendously, was to sprinkle basic flour on top of the black grime that remains after you rub off the Mother’s Aluminum Polish. The flour picks up all the remaining black residue and leaves you with a pretty shine. I received this tip from reading a forum about refinishing the exterior of an Airstream. Since it is summer, and I am working in a hot garage, I kept the polish in our outdoor refrigerator so the paste stayed firm and was easy to work with.

Later this week I will be tackling the task of polishing the Z stripe. I have researched the process and will provide you with tips next week.


My little “cupcakz” updates

Updating our vintage 1958 Shasta has been such a joy. This has been a group effort in most cases. Doug and I are fortunate to have both sets of parents live within 25 minutes and all very skilled. We appreciate their generosity by allowing us to park in their driveway, sharing their tools, and kindly providing us with fresh coffee and lively conversation. Personally I have tackled a few daunting tasks that I never thought I could ever do. I can proudly say I now know how to sew a zippered pillow cover, and I officially laid flooring tiles and grouted them all by myself! DIY girl power!



The camper when we first purchased was actually in excellent condition and a time capsule of sorts. Coming from a design background, I felt compelled to take it to the next level. The original flooring had been covered up, so adding an underlayment and new tiles was the smart thing to do. I found the flooring at Lowe’s which came in standard 12″x12″ size. We cut them to 9″x9″ like the originals and I feel like it was the best scale. I didn’t like the tiny cracks between them and figured they would just fill in with dust and dirt over time. I then researched grout for laminate tiles and bingo, I found the solution. I grouted in-between the tiles, by simply using my finger to press the grout into the tiny cracks. I then wiped the surface with a clean damp towel. Easy enough. I purchased armstrong polish for the finish coat from amazon. My local hardware stores only sold the shiny, but I preferred the matte finish.

New flooring pattern.
The camper door was original and in fair condition. Rather than sanding and refinishing with shellac, I decided to give it a coat of classic black chalk paint. We have had fun allowing our camping trips to be documented by having guests sign their name on the door. I’ve been of course photographing so we can remember those who have enjoyed and shared in our adventures. We did remove the screen door and I sanded it down, gave it a coat of Bulls Eye amber shellac and replaced the screen. Somebody has already broken it in with her little paws scratching away reminding us that she too wants to join in on the fun.