Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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La Brea Design Crawl

Article Featured over at http://dormerandmass.wordpress.com.

The holiday slumber is taking hold, and people are stepping away from their offices and stepping out to do their shopping. I’m no exception. However, for me, going through stores that focus on home design, household function and just pain gorgeousness is where I’m at today. So, I decided that while having some down time in my life right now, I’d go down Los Angeles’ La Brea Boulevard – the ribbon of road that houses some of the most beautiful designs that bedeck and adorn the mansions of the Hollywood elite, and makes the rest of us swoon with each beautiful showroom display.

Today, I walked from 1st street up to Beverly and wandered into the little sanctuaries of modern and vintage design. It gives me some life, and offers ideas for future interior design projects at home.

Over at Maison Midi, French vintage mixed with modern style and function are on parade, with bold colors for Christmas, and beautiful artifacts for gift giving.  The photos above are from Fornasetti  home fragrances,  a line up of intoxicating yet delicate aromas for the home, available in store. This luxury brand is for real hard core collector, with feminine, sexy surreal candle holders, diffusers and ceramic bottle spray containers highly priced. This is a very special gift for someone very special who appreciates intriguing touches to her demure boudoir.

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Modern means French warmth with this funky marbleize crockery resting on textured table cloth at Maison Midi. Can you imagine this in your imaginary French villa? Or maybe in your home resting on a grey modern credenza. Either way, this adds a unique touch to your dining area – or anywhere.

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This book cover is a work of art itself. My Cuban mother would have loved this for Christmas if she were still with us.

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A walk further up La Brea led me into , where Americana Folk Art decor lives in warm deep woods, hand crafted artifacts, quilts of many colors and designs beyond imagination. Cast iron doorstops, old wooden bowling pins, barrels, chairs, and a checkerboard side table, Santa Fe designs and textiles. The smell of leather and furniture oil hangs around, and you can feel the spirit of our North American craftsman on your shoulder. Sturdy, romantic fixtures for the home. Great inspiration during Christmas time when you feel like nesting and bringing all that homestead soulfulness indoors.

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After spending considerable time at Maison Midi and East Meets West Antiques, I headed up to Nadeau near Beverly.  Their motto is “Furniture with A Soul”, and it definitely fits this affordable blend of eclectic, well crafted furnishings for the home.  After spending time at HD Buttercup last week (and ABC Home in NYC), it was refreshing to walk into this duplex showroom of amazing media centers, bedroom bureaus, credenzas, chairs, side tables, hutches that are reasonably priced.  There are styles for every taste, and just walking in makes you want to start designing a new home. It’s just crackling with different items and caters to most design palettes. Quirky moments are found in hidden corners, like this wrought iron bench above with whimsical pillows. Oh hello!

I wasn’t aware they had a line of home decor like pillows, wall hangings and their own line of signature candles. I love me some scented candles because it adds to the five senses that bring the vibe of a room to life. 

So that ends my La Brea design crawl for this week. I’ve covered the east side of La Brea from 2nd Street north to Beverly.  Where will my next crawl be? Another side of the street? Downtown LA? Maybe NYC?  Watch this space and find out!

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please check out my Instagram account – @dormerandmass where I post the pictures on this blog and much, much more.

Also, head over to my Pinterest account which has an eclectic blend of interests, but design still abounds at www.pinterest.com/drotmil/

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Order. Color. Structure.

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Painting on 2nd Floor of Vintage Oddities at “HDButtercup”- Los Angeles.

Besides writing about things, I have another passion. I adore interior design and various home decor. One of the ways I keep my sanity is to visit shops that are likely way beyond my means to gain inspiration. The colors, patterns and textures enrich me. They create moments. They fulfill stories. They allow us to chose items of elegance, depth of meaning and a mirror to one’s soul.

This photo above is from HD Buttercup’s unusual 2nd floor display. The entire level is filled with shabby early 20th century decor. Dark wired fans, rustic wooden floor. Dark walls and old time French and American posters, crackled, beaten, worn and haunting. The painting reminded me of Dick Whitman, catching a ride out of town – running from his own self in the tail end of the dustbowl, waiting to get back to Chicago to reclaim his old high school flame before she marries the town brute.

The whole store does that. There are so many potential stories and human lives to be lived out in the details of each living room display, artifact, price tag and rugged texture.

These are the items, if we chose to buy them, that define us. The beautiful things we put in our homes not only provides function, but they stimulate energy that allows us to be the person we feel on the inside. How you feel depends on you. But making our surroundings beautiful is a start.

I dedicate my love for luscious, beautiful home decor to Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeannie”, whose little lair of billowy curtains and lush pillows set inside her gem encrusted bottle, has set me on a lifelong course to emulate that look.

(To my wonderful followers – I’ve started another blog that will be dedicated to home interior design over at http://www.dormerandmass.wordpress.com. I’d love to gain some followers. Once I do, I’m going to make it official and pay to have the “wordpress” taken off so it’s a stand alone blog.

Also, please visit my instagram account @dormerandmass. Also find me at @drotmil for my random photos. And if you love Basset hounds, I’ve created an account for my dog Baxter over @BaxtersBelly. Enjoy!!)


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Emptying Drawers, Clearing Shelves

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Last week, I sold a beloved nine drawer Spanish dresser my parents bought for me as part of a matching bedroom set for the new house they moved into while I was in college. It was for my room, the one I’d stay in while visiting, or as life would have it, lived in  periodically throughout those years.

The dresser was hand carved, heavy oak wood, beautifully polished into a lustrous golden smooth shine. The knobs on each drawer were dark iron metal, fastened to square bevels carved into the front panels. The square motifs continued down the sides of the piece. It was the center piece of an ensemble: End tables, bed head board and an additional little side bureau that completed the delicate rustic uniform that contained the same bejeweled hand carve squares.

The thing about the lovely dresser is that it always remained at my parents home, even after I moved out. Living in NYC, my early days proved difficult in terms of finding a large enough apartment to accommodate furniture of this size to my new dwelling. In fact, earning enough to have a larger space and bringing all this furniture with me, to use (you know, like a civilized person, where you have drawers to keep your clothes rather than pile them up in a deep shelf in the one and only closet you have in your loft studio apartment) was to be an achievement worth striving for.

When I was able to afford a one bedroom, my father felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when I was able to bring my pretty bedroom furniture and that big dresser to my new place. It was as if I arrived. I grew up.

Then, something happened. My folks passed away and I saw how all their own heavy furniture was a burden I had to dispose of. How they cherished these things I could not use and were in need of being sold off, auctioned off, or sadly – left on the curb.

And I realized, as I moved from place to place, how cumbersome this giant dresser was to transport. It cost so much to move. There were hallways too narrow and ceilings too low to lift it and bring it into certain rooms.  When I moved to LA, this dresser – all 200 pounds of it – made relocation costs more expensive than I anticipated. It rolled across the country, waiting to meet me on the other side, ready with new intention and experiences, only to find it wouldn’t fit in the bedroom of my small one bedroom LA apartment. So, it lived in the living room until  I moved into a larger LA deco apartment, where I currently live.  It looked perfect, beautiful in this LA pad, perfect for the sunny weather and spanish feel of Los Angeles style. I’ve been in the LA area 5 1/2 years, and the dresser settled in.

Yet, here’s the rub.

I want to go home.

I want to move back to NYC soon. No real date, but soon. A goal post – by this autumn.

This dresser can’t come back with me. It’s too heavy. It’s too expensive to relocate with (as history has shown me) and I want to travel light, as unencumbered as possible without giving it all away.

So, I sold it last week. I let it go. Thirty years of memories, of homes and family experiences kissed goodbye and hopefully blessed over to the next owners.

I don’t feel lighter. I have boxes and boxes temporarily filled with what used to be the contents of those drawers.

Donate. Throw out. Keep. All categorized, yet I can’t think straight with each toss of an old tee-shirt.

The space looks like I’m in mid-packing mode, yet I haven’t locked down the destination of this end chapter of the journey.

After the delivery guys came to pick up the dresser – that night, I woke up from sleep (as I usually do) and laid awake until I could drift back to dreamland. In the middle of meditative state and twilight,  I thought I heard my father’s voice call my name through the din and electrical current of some cosmic frequency.

In my mind I could only tell him I love him, and that it was time to come back home, to the city that was the main pulse of the region where I was born, back to the familiar, back to east coast time, back to what I know. Not to move backwards, but to move forward with a new perspective back home.

And  I’ll return with a little less baggage.


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Re-Arranging Furniture

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This is not my home, but this boho living room is glorious.

I spent the better part of Saturday re-arranging the furniture in my living room. I had to. I’ve lived in my apartment for 2 1/2 years, and kept the layout the same as the day I moved in.  I shoved the armoire over there and that table and wall hanging over here. They all sat in their designated spots, each in the wrong place, with lack of foresight or understanding of how major items of furniture should be centralized instead of hidden against back walls and corners. There’s a reason why accent tables were given their name. They accentuate areas relegated as after thoughts. That corner near the door – that back wall near the kitchen.

In re-creating my space, it allowed me to re-arrange the energy around me. I’ve always held a connection between visuals and spiritual well being. Maybe it’s the Sagittarius in me. I love aesthetics. Vibrant colors, patterns and textures provide a sense of calmness. Areas allotted for open space allow the air to circulate. I breathe easier. The flow works better. The mind becomes uncluttered and stimulated. The climate within my walls has changed for the better. Ideas for writing and business are cleared for take off. But this is only a recent change. It wasn’t always this way.

For the past two years, there was a particularly challenging neighbor who lived next door. We shared the main living room wall. A few days after I moved in, my welcome from her was a knock on the door to tell me my dog cried all day while I was at work. It wasn’t exactly a nice house warming, but I didn’t expect much. I felt terrible about it and tried my best to bring in dog walkers and friends who would hang out and calm him down until he got used to the new place. But that didn’t last since she ambushed them at my door, complaining that she told the lady (me) about how my dog cries all day.

One of my friends felt backed into a corner by her, and called her a bitch. If you knew my kind hearted friend, you’d realize that she really had to be badly spoken to for that word to come out. I’ve been on the receiving end of this neighbor’s wrath, and it was easy to be placed in a defensive mode. That was the neighbor’s energy. My friend loves my dog, and sadly said she could no longer come by to hang out with him. The vibes next door were too negative.

I spent the next two years trying to keep the peace by spending thousands of dollars on doggy day care. Money I could have spent building my business. Money I could have spent going back home to New York. Money I could have spent buying new clothes and a desk to write on. I let her do this to me. I own that. But her energy was a darkness.

You might ask, well – what did you do to provoke her? Nothing. Really. She kind of scared me. I wanted nothing of her, and feared her knock on my back door.  I stayed to myself, went to work, kept my dog out of the house, or took him with me for night time excursions to the supermarket. I lived my life and minded my own business.

If we encountered each other, I’d be grateful if she was nice to me. She gave me her phone number in case I needed help while recuperating from surgery.  She tried to be friendly when the dust up of our last argument settled, confrontations started by her. Yet, I was always uncomfortable – always felt awkward which must have made her feel the same.

There was something going on beyond that wall.  Maybe her stay at home business was going under? Maybe she was emotionally damaged?  Maybe she thought I was the negative force? Just the idea bothers me intensely. I contributed nothing to the emotional state she chose to live by, and I resented being pulled into her drama.

One night, I noticed a flash of light beyond my kitchen door. (We shared a back landing – our kitchen doors faced each other about 10 feet away.)  I looked through my door window to find her hovered over a pot, burning sage or paper, practicing what I could only guess was the art of smudging, because the next day, I found a piece of paper under her door with smudged markings on it. It stayed there for weeks.

I’m not sure if this was because of me, or if she was warding off other negative forces happening in her life.  It seemed that on any given day, she would also burn sage outside her back door in broad daylight. As a devotee of burning incense myself, I truly respect the practice of burning sage. However, knowing the person behind the smoke, the intent was questionable. The smoke would enter my kitchen smelling like bad weed.

Sadly, the sage couldn’t save her from the man who kept ringing her doorbell and knocking on the back door the she refused to answer. It couldn’t dissipate her dispute with the building management.  It couldn’t prevent her from presumably having to leave her apartment for not paying rent. The current new tenant said he accidentally opened mail he thought was addressed to him from our management firm. It was really for her, stating she owed several thousands of dollars in rent. (Funny, she told me the landlord owed her.)

I can’t be mad at her. She was likely an angry soul fighting for her right to live on her own terms, even if it forced others with sensitive natures to live under her darkness. Depending on one’s past and psychological make up, when a person feels powerless, they try to control others to compensate. I was her prey. And I allowed it – just to keep the peace. I didn’t want to hear that angry knock on my door.

Now, that she’s gone, and my  new neighbor is a dog loving sweetheart of a guy – the air has cleared. My lessons have been learned. I’ve moved my armoire to the main wall, my pretty furniture to the forefront, my sofa sideways, my big photo over there and my pretty mirror over the faux fireplace mantel. I even set up a dropcam so I can see my dog at home while I’m at work, and can monitor his, what turns out to be, infrequent crying. (He’s a hound. He gets lonely.)

It’s clearing. The webs and the darkness. Open spaces, light and fresh new air.

As for the former neighbor – I hope she finds peace. I really do. There are millions of people in this world who are as angry and as tormented as she. Let’s hope they all find the open space and the fresh air.

Meanwhile – things are shifting nicely.