Monthly Archives: July 2012

Inside Theresa’s Head – Back to the Kitchen Table

I bought this at a fundraiser for our local Boys & Girls Club. It is an original and how could I resist wanting to be the Business Woman represented here.

When Larry and I started Land Dimensions, we had two children under the ages of four and two.  We had taken every cent we had and put it down on a new home the year before.  So, there was no money in the bank, and with my encouragement, Larry quit his job so that we could own our own business.  Side note:  Sometimes when you “own” your own business – it owns you, you don’t own it.

We had no money to live on except a small sum of money Larry got from a profit sharing plan and the small life insurance policy that we cashed in.  This is what we lived on until we got paid by the first couple of clients.

In 1979, the most technologically advanced business machine that we could afford was an IBM selectric typewriter.  The cost of the typewriter was $600.00, which we did not have.  The nice salesman made an arrangement with me to rent the typewriter for six months for $50.00 per month, but at the end of the six month period, I needed to come up with the remaining $300.00.  Deal.

I still own an IBM. I use it to type envelopes

Because I was the only cheap labor Larry could find, he hired me for 0 dollars a week to do everything he couldn’t – i.e., take dictation and transcribe and type into letters and reports; do the billing, and maintain the accounts receivables and payables.  (In order to maintain the books, I did do everything with a pencil and eraser.  We didn’t have the money to buy me a calculator, so I exercised my brain by doing all of the math long hand.)  I took on this responsibility in a nightshift position – between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and whatever time it took to get my work done – anywhere between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.  I choose to take the nightshift, because I spent the dayshift working for the two and four year olds – at the same pay scale – $0.00.

That was a long time ago when we started the business in a different world that did not have the technology we have today.  Over the years, we have sat together at the office and at our kitchen table working through projects, brainstorming on business development and thinking through the state of our business which provides the bread and butter.

I have been prompted to write this little musing because we were at the kitchen table again on Saturday for three hours working on a project.  I was so struck by how business is transacted today, different than when we started. Land Dimensions, a land use planning and engineering consulting company, was contracted to do a planning study that needs to be finished soon.  Larry and I spent the morning giving our input into the study that our Professional Planner, Persefoni*, has spent more than a year researching, documenting and writing.  (*This was not an intentional alliteration.)

The typewriter that I worked at at the kitchen table, has been replaced by a laptop computer that connects me to the world through WiFi.

The Kitchen Table – Bought at a Used Furniture Store and Dining Chairs Bought at Home Goods. The Chandelier was Relocated From the Dining Room

When we started the business, we had draftsmen working for us in the drafting room.   That classification became obsolete when we started hiring women and called them draftspeople.

Our draftspeople sat at drafting tables and had a whole array of tools to work with to draft engineering designs.  They worked together in the drafting room. Our draftspeople became CAD operators and now sit in cubes in front of computers.   They are now all together in their own cubes that are now located in the production room.

Jamie – Our CAD operator in her cube in the production room

Our secretaries became administrative assistants, I think, when we replaced their typewriters with computers.  (We were a progressive company, so we skipped right over word processors).

The first person in the office to get a computer was Jim, the head of the survey department. This is sitting in our garage – weren’t we ahead of our time!

Persefoni doesn’t sit in a cube anymore in the production room.  (But, Persefoni did have the best real estate in the house.  Her nice sized cube on the second floor overlooks the future of Glassboro’s downtown revitalization efforts.)  Ahmad lives in her space now.

View from Persefoni/Ahmad’s Window

Persefoni went back to her roots and lives in Greece with her husband and their two beautiful daughters.  (Another side note:  Persefoni and Petros got married on the Greek Island of Chios, where her parents are from.   We went to Chios for the wedding and it was nothing less than magical.

Persefoni’s Parents Walked Her to the Church

The Village Followed Persefoni and her Parents

It Was a Magical Time For Us

We Called it Quits Around 4:00 a.m. While The Party Was Still Going Strong

Persefoni can live in Greece and work for a South Jersey Planning and Engineering company.  Larry and I can sit at our kitchen table reviewing the draft study that she e-mailed to us.  Larry was on the phone with her at 6:30 this morning telling her about what I had sent to her yesterday.  Whoops!  No Larry – I’m working on it right now – tell Persefoni I will e-mail it to her in a few more minutes.

Today, July 30th  is a special day.  It is my oldest son’s birthday – the less than four year old I worked for way back when.   Today he is 37 and a doctor.  Wow!  Happy Birthday Dr. Matthew.   Now that Larry and I are a two iPad and two iPhone couple, we are so technologically advanced, we don’t Skype any longer, we do facetime to send Happy Birthday wishes.

In August Michael, the son that was not quite two that I worked for, will be 35.  He is a paid fireman in the country’s most dangerous city – Camden – Wow!  Thank you Michael for growing up and having your Mom never have to worry about you again!

Matthew and Michael graduated medical school and the fire academy at the same time. Time to celebrate!

And the one son that wasn’t thought of when we started the business, was 27 on July 1.  Happy Belated Blog Post Birthday Christopher – Wow!  I am the mother of a Preacher man.

July 30th is also Persefoni and Petros Anniversary.  I remember because of the mother’s guilt I felt being in Greece for Matthew’s 30th birthday.  Oh well –

Happy Anniversary Peter (I call him by his English name) and Persefoni.  The time we spent in Greece for the wedding festivities will never be forgotton.

Theresa, A Mid 20th Century Girl Doing Business in a 21st Century World

P.S.  Background information can be found at We Packed Our Bags and A Peacock and a Fish


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Of Course, the Answer is Two Boar Heads

One Boar Head

What is a bigger design dilemma than one boar head hanging from the wall in the reception area of the executive office of the IHQ for a sorority? Of course, the answer is two boar heads.

Two Boar Heads

Beautiful Historic Townhome on Camac Street in Philadelphia. Delta Phi Epsilon IHQ

It wasn’t long after the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority had been a tenant in the building, that the landlord agreed that historic protraits as a replacement for the boar heads would be more appropriate for the female tenants that resided in the leased office space.

That was the extent of the re-decorating that had been accomplished when we were called in. DPhiE now had creative control of the reception area and requested that it serve the dual purpose of greeting guests and serving as a small boutique for DPhiE items.

Cheryl found a photo in a magazine that showcased a Benjamin Moore color – Razzle Dazzle – we both loved the color and the name. Knowing that painting all of the wall space Razzle Dazle would have been a bit much, we painted the wall space under the chair rail a soft white. With Nicole’s (the Executive Director) agreement, we had the top wall space painted pink.

Inspiration Photo

The Color Reads Orange in this Pic, but Honest – it is Razzle Dazzle

I love the contrast of the dark wood of the file cabinet console against the pink wall and next to that beautiful arched door

Bonus Notes:

We do our best to save our clients money. For example, rather than spending the money on four new wall sconces (two over each fireplace), we re-worked the one’s that were there.

You need to move quickly if you want the best stuff. (That previous line is a promo for my next venture “Found in America” – coming soon!).

We Find the BEST Stuff

Cheryl was at a Home Goods store and spotted this love seat and thought it would be perfect with Razzle Dazzle. She sent me a text with the pic, I sent a text off to Nicole for her approval, she sent me back a thumbs up, and Cherl threw herself on the love seat until I got there to pay for it. The ladies at Home Goods were circling her and it until I got there – good job Cheryl at saving this love seat for DPhiE.

Comments were made on the FB page when pics of the design were posted. Two stand out in my mind.

1. It is a little too Elle Woods for my taste.

So…what is wrong with that? I really liked Legally Blonde, but I do think the sequel fell short.

2. DPhiE colors are purple and gold. Why didn’t they use those colors?

The conference room is a beautiful, elegant room that we believe should have a place of honor and stand out. If the opportunity comes our way, that is where those DPhiE colors will be used.

My two favorite shots – even if they are blurry.

I Need to Move the Vase and the Greeery just a Smidge

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I Made The Bed – A Sequel to Physician Heal Thyself

I Made The Bed

A Sequel to yesterday’s blog – Physician Heal Thyself.  The sequel includes a bonus feature (the closet makeover), what was edited out (the quilt from Chickasha, Oklahoma), flashbacks (white painted chests and gondola lamp),  coming previews of the next sequel entitled “Motivation” subtitled – the bathroom will probably get finished when I am ready to put the house up for sale,” and crass commercialism by referring back to past blog posts.  Please note Pink Princess Phone on night stand and refer back to “From Party Line to Cell Phone” for inside story.

Before – The Desk has a Stain Finish

After – The Desk has a Stain Finish

In defiense of the stain finish on the desk.  My husband put so much effort years ago into painstakingly staining this desk, I didn’t have the heart to paint it.  No, it does not go with the decor – don’t tell Cheryl.   Yes, there are only three knobs.  I took one off to try it on something else, and now I have no idea where it is.  I saved money by moving the gondola lamp from the living room side of the bedroom to the bedroom side of the bedroom.

I Saved Money by Moving the Gondola Lamp from the Living Room Side of the Bedroom to the Bedroom Side of the Bedroom

Don’t Tell Cheryl about the Silk Dogwood Tree

In defense of the dogwood tree.  It moved with me to this house in 1992.  It served its purpose – it took up space until I could figure out what to do with the bedroom.  When I finally decorated the bedroom in 1999, it just stayed.

What is Hanging on the Knob? It is an apron my youngest son made for me when he was seven. He is now 27.

Please read Blog Post – “Where Are the Drawers” to get the behind the scenes story on the white cupboard.

FLASHBACK – Moved to the Living Room Side of the Bedroom

Before – Sewing Machine is Stained

After – Sewing Machine is Stained

In defense of the stain finish on the sewing machine.  I have a beautiful vintage linen and I had no where to place it where I could enjoy its beauty.  (Don’t tell Cheryl that the sewing machine is still stained and worse than that I have a big “doily” on it.)

After – Where the Sewing Machine Was

A door that my incredibly talented niece painted for me years and years ago

FLASHBACK – Big Blank Wall

What got cut from yesterday’s blog.

It is an embroidered quilt of ads for businesses and stores in 1923 located in Chickasha, Oklahoma.  I bought the quilt years ago at a yard sale.  The woman whom I bought it from said she contacted the Chamber of Chickasha because surely they would have an interest in their heritage.  There were no takers.  I was more than happy to be the taker even though I have no connection with Chickasha, Oklahoma.  I believe that I have in my possession a true piece of Americana.

Chickasha Business Ads 1923

The Dixie Biggest & Best Dept. Store
Oscar Dotson 5th St. Blacksmith Shop
McFarland Hotel Chickasha The Best

Lee Tires Smile at Miles
LaVogue, Ladies Ready to Wear of Individual Character
Manhattan Cafe

Bonus Feature – The Closet Makeover.  A benefit to the bedroom makeover was the motivation to do something with the closet.  It is a walk-in with a partition wall between my husband’s side and my side.  We painted his side green and we painted my side Positively Pink.  When I enter the closet, I walk past his green painted walls.  To dress it up a bit, I hung a picture on his side.  The black shoe holder is a four cubbie wall shelf that I bought at a yard sale.

The curtains are beautiful vintage barkcloth. Please refer back to the Beatlemania Now and Then blog post on my reference to barkcloth.

I also have a love for vintage jewelry and hung them on this shutter that I bought at a yard sale. We bought hooks at Lowe’s so that I could display them and get enjoyment out of them

Bought a mini chandelier at Lowe’s

Moved the dresser and mirror from the living room side of the bedroom into the closet

This chest was in front of the bed. It is a little big for the closet space – but that’s OK. Don’t tell Cheryl – she doesn’t like the way it is painted

Sneak Preview – The Bathroom



The grand finale – the other vintage quilt in my room that I love – it is at the bottom of the bed and made from flour sacks.

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Physician Heal Thyself

This is the blank wall I have lived with for more than a year.  But in all fairness, it is a better looking wall than what I lived with for the prior 12 years.

Very Fashionable in 1999

We moved into our new home in 1992 and it took me seven long yeas to figure out what to do with the bedroom.   Once I found the wallpaper, I was on my way.


These three pieces got painted and moved from the bedroom side of the bedroom to the living room side of the bedroom

Moved to the Living Room Side of the Bedroom

It is still a work in progress.  I have a list of things “to do.”  Buy floating shelves and do a collage of vintage beach photos of loved ones on the big blue blank wall.  Take the time to order a small sectional sofa from Ikea to replace “slipcovered” loveseat and chair.  Slipcovers are vintage bedspreads.  Paint the antique wicker table.

Big Blank Wall

Tile over the 90’s mauve marble fireplace surround.

Love this lamp. It moved from the living room part of the bedroom to the bedroom part of the bedroom


Love this – it is over the mantle

I can’t show the before and after pics of the bedroom part of the bedroom because I didn’t make the bed before I left this morning.   If I have time before I leave tomorow, I’ll mak the bed and finish the story. 


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What is There to Say

Living Room with Door Open

Living Room with Door Closed

A Comfortable Chair Next to the Fish Tank in Front of the Closet Door for TV Viewing

We have Named the Carpet Color Fuschia Fandango

What is There to Say

We have spent a little bit of time today looking at photos of homes on the real estate market.  We wanted to offer up some suggestions/solutions to design dilemmas we have spotted.  We believe with a little bit of money, some time, and a lot of vision, things can change.

Tired! It Needs Geritol

We are not in the 70’s anymore.  Brick fireplaces are out of vogue.  What to do?  Paint the brick using the following suggested colors:  dove gray, taupe, or cream.  Add a wood surround with a chunky mantle.  For placement over new mantle, choose either a mirror to reflect light, or colorful art.  Paint bookcases same color as selected for brick, or paint in a contrasting color.  Add doors to lower shelves of bookcases.  Don’t put crap back up on mantle.


A Mom Cave – For Real!

Small kitchens need to be light and airy.  Keep clutter to a minimum.  Lighten the cabinet color with paint, or if in the budget, replace cabinet doors.  Replace handles to up-date.  Floor needs to be replaced.  Faux wood laminate flooring is not a budget buster.  Keep island and paint an accent color – may we suggest pale blue – this will make it a focal point.  Rugs will be a plus as well as colorful handtowels.  Suggestions to up-style and add interest to an older kitchen are to add greenery, painting walls white and adding colorful art.



Cheryl – Question to Theresa – For $520,000, what would make you get out of the car and go inside that house?

Theresa – Answer to Cheryl – A gun to my head?

Where We Would Start

Where should we start on the inside?



Join Theresa and Cheryl for 3D Hour.  The Doctors of Design Dilemmas “will be in” on Tuesday, July 17, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., to answer your design dilemma questions.  E-mail us at with a pic of your design dilemma and question and we will answer with a Facebook post during our office hours on Tuesday.

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Beatlemania Now and Then

Beatles First Appearance on Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964

Beatlemania Now Trump Plaza July 7, 2012

This past Saturday evening we went to Trump Plaza in Atlantic City for the Beatlemania Now show.  The performers were so very talented and three were very local – Phialdelphia, Cherry Hill and Haddonfield.  The fourth was from not that far away – New York City.

I don’t think the four young men from England had any idea of the musical impact they would have throughout the decades.

Mad Men, the American Movie Channel series about an advertising agency in the 1960’s has influenced the contemporary world of interior design and decorating.  It has set off a renewed interest in  things with a sleek and contemporary look.

Christopher and Liz

My future daughter-in-law came to live with us in 2008 for the five months prior to the wedding.  When she stayed with us on weekends, she stayed in what had been my oldest son’s room.  It was good enough for a short weekend stay,  but not for a permanent five month living condition.  I wanted the room to be her home away from our home for Liz; a mini retreat.  I was able to pull it together with stuff from my basement and the Glassboro Innovasion store and basement, and shopped for everything else in between.

The room is great space, but because of the doormer ceilings, I was never able to figure out how  to make the space work when my son had it as his bedroom.  The hardest part was trying to make the bed work.  When it was my son’s room, the bed moved a couple of times, but it was never right.

It clicked for me when I decided to put the bed in front of the window that faced the front of the house.  What I lost by doing this was the cute window seat that is built in under the window.  When I bought the storefront that became the Innovasion Glassboro store, there were shelves in the basement that we put together to make screens.  One of the screens, the bedroom furniture and the desk came home to Wenonah.

Screen Used as Headboard

Dormer Ceiling Rooms Are Architecturally Cool But Not Easy to Decorate

Desk Without Chair

Desk With Chair

The only reason the platform sofa exists is because I threw myself across it to save it from going to the trash.  I went to an estate sale fifteen years ago….long before I had a vintage home furnishings business.  In the basement/rec room was the most amazing mid century living room set.  I had to buy it because I imagined one day I would have a business, and I created in my head the hip urban couple that would come into my store and have to have this set.

My husband got tired of the furniture hanging around, moving from place to place (our front porch, back deck and basement).  Sadly two pieces went to the curb and my husband relented when I begged for the third piece to stay.

Platform Sofa Up-dated with Contemporary Pillows

My Husband was Surprised by How Good it Looked and was Happy I Saved it

When Matthew and Eunice and the kids come to visit, they all camp out in Matthew’s old room.

The Happy Campers

Michael and Jess Practicing Dancing for Their Up-Coming November Wedding

Michael and Jess  – as the middle children, I didn’t want you to feel left out of this blog post.

Beatles First Appearance on Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964

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Benjamin Moore Predicts Innovasion’s Future Use of Color

Benjamin Moore Predicts Front Door Color in September 1963 Ad

The Front Door at Innovasion

Benjamin Moore Predicts Innovasion’s Use of Interior Colors

On The Way to Cape May Colors

I Bought These Pillows in Charleston, SC Right After we Decided to use Pantone’s 2012 Color Tangerine Tango

Last year I bought myself a bike to cruise the boards.  It’s a Jamis Earth Cruiser.  Here is what Jamis had to say about the bike in 1979 –

Jamis introduces the Earth Cruiser. A re-designed & re-engineered no-longer-classic-now-revolutionary cantilever cruiser that mixes equal parts fun & fashion and spurs the whole beach cruiser movement.

What I say about the Earth Cruiser – I love it – its fun!

Who would think I could find sheet music from 1948 in what color?

Had to buy it even though my name is spelled with an h

P.S. For more about Tangerine Tango, please see A Peacock and A Fish

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