The Lady Den - DanaChirps

In my last post, I told you about the process of Brett and I buying a condo and moving to Newburyport. Although we aren’t done with our projects just yet, I’m excited to show you my favorite room in the house.

Our condo has a small, 10x10’ room at the end of the hallway on the main floor. The moment I saw it I became excited by the potential to have a dedicated room that would allow for me to do all the things I love: write, paint, and work on photos. To be fair, I told Brett he could decorate and design the living room however his heart desired as long as I could have the freedom to do whatever I wanted to this small room. It was a deal. In fact, Brett chummed that he was going to have “the greatest man cave of all time.” Little did he know that I had plans of a lady den up my sleeve. ;)

It is worth mentioning that I (recently) accepted a job offer that is a WFH (work from home) with travel arrangement. Like my passions, my job is creative in nature. I’ll be doing marketing for luxury apartments (which is what I did in South Florida) while also acting as the point person for content (aka writing). So, when there is a special project that requires a higher level of writing, I’ll lead that particular aspect of the project. All of this to say that I needed to make sure this space was designed to inspire creativity while giving me the environment to act like the #bossbabe I am on a client call.

Here is the “before” photo with the former owner’s stuff in it.

It took four coats of white paint to cover the green.

It took four coats of white paint to cover the green.

Although the green didn’t offend me, it wasn’t my style at all. I also wanted to make the space feel bigger so I opted for a bright white. Every piece of furniture was selected with the mentality of “what is the biggest size I can get away with that won’t dwarf the room size?” I chose a rug the shape of the room–again, to give the illusion the room is larger than it is.

I purchased the rug on sale for $70 on Overstock. The white center of it has colorful specks stitched throughout, which is perfect for camouflaging when (not “if”) I drop paint on it.

Lady Den Rug - DanaChirps

Like most people that paint, I have loads of supplies and tubes of paint. I searched online for creative storage ideas and stumbled upon this example. Then I went on the hunt for wood to use and was mostly looking at already finished wood signs. I saw the bull at Hobby Lobby but wasn’t sure if the wood would be strong enough so I ended up going to two other stores. But I kept thinking about that bull and Brett was confident he could make it work. So we went back so I could get it (50% off, for $30 total). Brett was kind enough to drill the hooks and set it up for me since I don’t quite have tool skills (yet). I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.

I love the easy access I have to my paint. It also helps me keep tabs on what colors I’m running low on. I keep my camera on top of the black drawers. It’s so convenient to be able to grab it and go!

I love the easy access I have to my paint. It also helps me keep tabs on what colors I’m running low on. I keep my camera on top of the black drawers. It’s so convenient to be able to grab it and go!

At Home Goods I bought the desk ($150) and the black drawers ($120). I bought the art cart online at Target for about $100 and painted it grey (we had paint leftover from our living room) to soften it up. The chair was a Pier 1 splurge at $173 due to shipping and surcharge fees (eye roll), but would have been $130 otherwise. It is mega comfy and I love the bowed mid-century modern legs.

Overall, I am so delighted with how this room has turned out. I am still on the hunt for a couple more pieces, the light fixture being the most significant. But I have already begun to do more of the things I enjoy the most, now that I have the space.

The Lady Den. My favorite room in the house.

The Lady Den. My favorite room in the house.










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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Three Month Whirldwind - DanaChirps

Has it really been over 3 months since I wrote a blog post? That’s easily the longest I’ve gone without hitting “publish.” Weird, but explainable…

After Brett and I moved back to the states from Bermuda late last fall, we moved into his condo in downtown Portsmouth, NH. It’s a grey, beer-drinking town with a funky art scene that I’m pretty sure boasts more plaid shirts per capital than anywhere else in the world. The restaurants there are top notch and you can literally walk to Maine or drive a traffic-free 20 minutes to Massachusetts. Brett had renovated his condo just before we moved to Bermuda so it was fun to finally get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

But there were several reasons why we ultimately decided to move out of Portsmouth. Although we were completely fine with the amount of living space, Brett’s condo didn’t have the storage space that we both wanted. I was working as a writer in Amesbury, MA, about a 30 minute drive each way. Brett flew and continues to fly in and out of Bedford, MA. Even with logistics aside, I felt “trapped” in Portsmouth and too far away from the city life that makes my soul come alive. And the independent woman in me (cue the Z-snap) loathed living in a place that was Brett’s - his town, his condo, his friends, etc. It’s hard to not feel like a guest in your own home/town with that set up. That’s not to say that he didn’t do everything he could to make me feel like it was “ours” - because he did and I love him for that. I just happen to be deeply passionate about living in a place I can make my own, that we can make our own.

We started looking for new places early on, initially out of curiosity. Thankfully, Brett’s best friend since forever is a (wonderful) local realtor and was happy to show us options. At first this process stressed me out beyond belief because I was already forced to leave Bermuda and move somewhere that wasn’t my top choice (though, it’s far from my bottom pick), I had never bought a home before and was terrified of the idea of planting roots (regardless of location), and I didn’t know the area well enough to know if I was formulating smart opinions. However, looking back, even as hard as it was, I am glad we did this because it helped me get to know the different towns quickly. As soon as I saw Newburyport, I loved it. (For the Richmonders reading this, imagine Monument Ave + The Fan but with a nautical New England vibe.)

Last March, Brett had dropped me off at an appointment and he went to tour a condo in Newburyport to kill time. When he came back to pick me up, he blurted out, “I found our place!” I told him to call the realtor to see if I can go see it since we were in the area. She didn’t answer. So he called his best friend (our realtor), who connected with the realtor representing the condo. It’s after hours. There were already four offers. So in true New England real estate fashion, we offered well above the asking price (so did the others) but sweetened the pot by offering a move-in date that we knew would appeal to the owners. And we got it. Yes, we put an offer on a house before I had laid eyes on it. I know, I know. Such a classic Dana move. But I trusted that Brett would never take the chance on being wrong with something as big as buying a home.

So we moved into our condo early July. It’s 2/2 and about three times the size of our condo in Portsmouth (which we rented out). We have been doing house projects ever since. So much painting. Pealing paint. Painting paint. Hiring painters to paint. So many coats of paint. Sanding. Patching. Ordering furniture. Sending furniture back. Hanging things on walls. There is a sense of urgency because it’s impossible to do stuff during winter and because living in a place that feels incomplete drives.me.batshit.crazy. We’re THIS close to having the place be presentable enough to have people over.

Although we are in the midst of approximately 12,000 house projects, it feels so good to live here. We have plenty of space, plenty of storage. We both love living in Newburyport. We are two blocks from the water and appreciate how it’s such a focal point in this town. The downtown is smaller than Portsmouth’s, but Newburyport is more open. There are tons of parks, trails, and paths which we take advantage of regularly. We are a five minute drive from the beach, Plum Island. There is a train in town that takes you to North Station in Boston. If we wanted to drive into the city, we can easily do so, too.

I have the space to do the things I love. The space to walk and explore. The space to think and write and paint. For the first time since moving back to the states, I finally feel like I can breathe.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.