A Photo Journey Along a Trail of Portuguese Tiles

One of the first thing you notice in Portugal, whether you’re in Lisbon or the Algarve or anywhere else in this wonderful country, is the tile work. While not necessarily unique to Portugal, the extent to which the Portuguese use tile as an integral feature of their architecture is, at least in our experience, unmatched. Today’s post is a photo journey along a trail of Portuguese tiles (not too many words but LOTS of pictures – the way Debra likes it!). We’re so glad you’ve decided to join us!

Building clad in blue tileThe cladding shown on this building is typical, reflecting an attitude of “Why paint when you can tile?” Continue reading “A Photo Journey Along a Trail of Portuguese Tiles”

A Brighter Home, a Brighter Mind: How Natural Light Keeps Us Happy and Well – Guest Post

Dan here. Today, we have a special treat: a guest post from Eliza Cochrane of Carlen Glass, located in lovely Dublin, Ireland. She has a post on the benefits of natural light. If you’re a regular on With the Barretts, you know that lots of natural light in living spaces is important to us. We appreciate Eliza sharing and hope you enjoy her post.

room with natural light

I recall a few weeks ago, a brief spell of troubled sleeping. I would go to bed early every night and, after about four hours, would “waken” into a light semi-conscious drift. I’m not sure what caused the spell — though it probably had something to do with the increasing temperature of the summer nights — but there was one morning in particular that struck me as peculiar. On what was perhaps the hottest night of the year, I decided to sleep with the windows open and curtains drawn, to let a draught in should it come. I woke naturally — again, after a few hours of what should have been groggy sleep, only this time to the in-pouring of brilliant sunshine.

And not only did I feel fine, I felt great.

Experience Backed by Research

The experience was so strange to me that I decided to do a little research on natural light and the human body for an explanation: I quickly found out more about the natural sleep-wake cycle, and the regulatory hormones of this cycle. Continue reading “A Brighter Home, a Brighter Mind: How Natural Light Keeps Us Happy and Well – Guest Post”

Dining on the (NEW!) Deck – A Hildring House Outdoor Adventure from Debra

outdoor sofa
Photo by Amber Shumake Creative

Welcome to my looooong overdue post about the deck. I’m not gonna lie, I thought this deck was overkill …. a lot of $$$ …. would it really add that much to the value of the house …. etc etc.

Luckily, it was Mr WTB’s turn to win and so onward we went with the OTT plan. (Dan here. Notice how when it’s my plan, it’s over the top? Just wait until the post about the new 35 square foot bath in Debra’s Domain!)

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

exterior pergola before

This is the listing photo— that pergola was quite wobbly, there was a large ‘step down’ from the house to the patio. Continue reading “Dining on the (NEW!) Deck – A Hildring House Outdoor Adventure from Debra”

The Littlest Bathroom Renovation – Hildring House – part 2

Renovation of the Littlest Bathroom in Hildring House

Hi! Dan here, kibitzing at the beginning of Debra’s post. As you know, (go here for the first inspiration post)  the bath in Debra’s Domain was sorely in need of a re-do. Hence, we continue with the Hildring House littlest bathroom renovation. This is actually the second inspiration post. I may be chiming in (who am I kidding? Of course I’ll be chiming in!) in italics.

Just because it’s tiny doesn’t lessen the work load. For me, every decision feels even MORE important because there is no room for mistakes in 35 square feet!

Decor Pad

I’ve spent some time (okay, LOTS of time) [days and days] looking at vanities. The easy (well, easier) part: size. Unless we moved walls, nothing bigger than 33 inches is going to fit. While I love the look of a console or pedestal sink in small spaces, I actually use this bathroom daily. Continue reading “The Littlest Bathroom Renovation – Hildring House – part 2”

Hildring House Bathroom Renovation: the Beginning

Bathroom Renovation: the Beginning

We are very lucky to have an abundance of bathrooms at Hildring House- one for the grandboys, one for the mister, one for me, and a powder for guests. The powder is pretty – I love it very much:

Powder Bath full view
Photo by Trey Freeze

We talked about it in a prior posts. (Dan kibitzing again – you can find that post here.)  The master has a 1980’s makeover that is in need of an update. But it’s functional and, now that it’s been painted, tolerable. Now, however, in Debra’s Domain at Hildring House, it’s time for a full-on Bathroom Renovation: the Beginning.

The very small (35 square feet!) bath in Debra’s Domain is the next Hildring House project. I know, we never finished the last project..but that’s the way renovations go sometimes. The outdoor reveal will have to wait a while. So for now- onward with Bathroom Renovation: the Beginning.

Dreams and Inspiration

I am still in the planning phase – my hope is that a really good plan will eliminate most of the surprises and speed things along once we get started. So this post is all about the planning process. Let’s start with the dreams: Continue reading “Hildring House Bathroom Renovation: the Beginning”

A Small Closet Adventure With A Big Impact at Hildring House

Debra says: Some changes improve the look of your house. And some  increase the value of your house. But some make your life better – every single day. This post is about one of the last kind: a small closet adventure with a big impact at Hildring House.

Before

You may remember that about a year ago, I mentioned that the mother-in-law suite at Hildring House would become Debra’s Domain (you can find that post here, if you’re interested – it’s really all about demo, so it’s pretty messy). Well, Debra’s Domain is a thing now. It has two closets – one big one that we “stole” from the garage, and one smaller one that was the only original closet in the space. (You can find that process in the middle of this post.)

Since we built the larger one pretty much from scratch, it’s pretty nice: well-organized, new fixtures, etc.

The smaller one was the problem.

Closet before - oneSee what I mean? Continue reading “A Small Closet Adventure With A Big Impact at Hildring House”