Guest Bloggers

Little Brown Pen: Favorite Things

August 20, 2009

A few of my favorite things: Little Brown Pen

Hi everyone. I’m Nichole from Little Brown Pen (blog and etsy shop), and I’m delighted to share a few of my favorite things today. It’s no surprise Holly asked me to take part in this series, as a few of her favorite things are now mine. Quite literally.

Last month, my husband and I drove to Holly’s home in New Hampshire, and like a couple of brazen, broad-daylight thieves, stuffed her sofa, chairs, tables, dresser and lamps into the back of a UHaul. We took anything that wasn’t nailed down, including some rhubarb we yanked out of the patch next to her shed.

What surprised us most is that Holly and her husband allowed this to happen. No arguments. No cops. No car chases. Not even a token four-letter word. In fact, Holly and Thorsten helped us load the truck, and provided us with refreshments and a parting gift (a cute Jonathan Adler plate).

If this sounds like it took place in some sort of alternate universe where fairy design bloggers bestow their best furniture upon the needy, you’re not far off. We were very much in need of furniture—lots of furniture—because we had just returned from living abroad in Pairs. Holly was more than happy to stuff our Uhaul, because the more we took, the less she had to worry about selling prior to her move to Germany. Her move abroad and our return to the US could not have been timed any better. Divine design intervention? You bet. Holly’s furniture has made our new house feel like a home, and I’ve shifted my focus from the things my home needs to things in my home that make me happy. Here are a few of them.

Little Brown Pen: Favorite Things

The patio. I went completely crazy at the nursery, and transformed our bare patio into a cheerful, green space where my husband and I enjoy early evening drinks.

Little Brown Pen: Favorite Things

The kitchen nook. Thanks to Holly’s table and chairs, and the light from the large windows, this is one of my favorite places to have afternoon coffee.

Little Brown Pen: Favorite Things

The office. I’m a freelance writer, and for as long as I can remember I’ve longed for an office. For years, I lived in small apartments and worked on my bed or at the kitchen table. I feel spoiled simply because I get to sit on a chair at a real desk.

Little Brown Pen: Favorite Things

The living room. I like to ambush my unsuspecting toddlers when they’re chilling out on the couch – kisses, hugs, giggles. The good stuff.

Little Brown Pen: Favorite Things

The kitchen. Especially the espresso machine. It was a splurge when I was pregnant with my second son. We cancelled our vacation due to relentless morning sickness, and as consolation, channeled the money we would have spent into an outrageously priced espresso machine. We use it multiple times a day, and it’s honestly the best money we ever spent.

On Inspiration: When it comes to inspiration, it comes down to two things: complex thought and simple living. I’m inspired by people who make me think, rethink, engage, and question, and by the small pleasures (coffee, snow, laughter) that add up to a full life.

On Advice: When it comes to advice, I look to my dad. He taught me simple, but important things like, “don’t get in over your head,” “don’t stress about things you can’t change,” and “enjoy every moment.” I’ve rarely seen my dad in a bad mood – he takes everything in stride – and it’s served him well. He’s one of the happiest, most content people I know. When I feel lost, disconnected or in need of a kick in the pants, I read Alain de Botton or Matthew Arnold. Their eloquent writing and insight into the human condition inspire me to either write better or live better. And usually both. – Nichole

(images: little brown pen)


  • Reply Jamie August 20, 2009 at 5:43 am

    that is some pretty great advice from your dad. reminds me of my moms daily reminder of “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

    beautiful home!
    .-= Jamie´s last blog in my mouth =-.

  • Reply chiaroscuro August 20, 2009 at 6:00 am

    I LOVE the cup! Where can I get one?
    .-= chiaroscuro´s last blog ..white days =-.

  • Reply nichole August 20, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Chiaroscuro –

    It’s an Orla Kiely mug from Target. I couldn’t resist Orla at Target prices.
    .-= nichole´s last blog ..Flan =-.

  • Reply Make, Do & Send August 20, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I think i should start living by these three rules “don’t get in over your head,” “don’t stress about things you can’t change,” and “enjoy every moment.” – im sure i would be much happier and a lot more chilled!

    ps. i love, love ,love your office, its my dream space. thanks for sharing ;)

  • Reply City Chic - Jamie August 20, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Some things are just meant to be, arent’ they? Funny how that works. Your home is lovely! I especially admire your patio! Thanks for sharing!
    .-= City Chic – Jamie´s last blog ..Sunday Afternoon with Amy Butler’s Software =-.

  • Reply Farmgirl Susan August 20, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I loved reading this, love your home (especially that fabulously inviting patio!), love the really great advice, love that you, too, splurged on a fancy espresso machine and have not regretted it one bit – but I especially love that you yanked some of the rhubarb out of Holly’s patch! :)
    .-= Farmgirl Susan´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute =-.

  • Reply The Shutter August 20, 2009 at 8:34 am

    After being in Paris for two-weeks my heart longs to go back, it must be tough. Thanks for sharing these photos of your home.
    .-= The Shutter´s last blog ..Afternoon Delight =-.

  • Reply Marlene August 20, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Beautiful space. I love, love, love your patio!
    .-= Marlene´s last blog ..Whimsical Bird Print =-.

  • Reply trish August 20, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Thanks- Nicole, been biting into the simplicity mode myself and the weeding of excess- feels really good.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with your dad, it gave me the warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It’s a good feeling to know that someone is always there, no matter what. The wonderful thing is that calming figure is such a great soundboard when the hectic volume turns up. My dad had a similar monk energy, like an elm with deep roots. Serenity now, and always. And thanks for opening up LittleBrownPen’s home and office for us all to see. :)
    .-= trish´s last blog ..Sherlock Homes =-.

  • Reply Arabella August 20, 2009 at 9:01 am

    OK, that’s a first: a design/decorate post with a Matthew Arnold reference. I’m off to link to Miss Little Brown Pen for more finely structured sentences. Thank you! (Non-practicing 19th Century Poetry academic).
    .-= Arabella´s last blog ..I’m Outta Here =-.

  • Reply kelly August 20, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Love the kitchen. We have very similar cabinets and love the black counter top you have. What do the floors look like? I need ideas there!! :0)

  • Reply Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams August 20, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Beautiful images! And I love it when splurge purchases turn out to be terrific investments.

  • Reply Jamie Watson August 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I love this post. I am going to look up those writers.
    .-= Jamie Watson´s last blog ..Kauai no ka ‘oi =-.

  • Reply montague August 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

    so lucky you managed to grab some of this lovely stuff! your home look beautiful!
    .-= montague´s last blog ..i ? new york – i still ? coney island =-.

  • Reply Estelle August 20, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I love what you said about complex thinking and simple living. I’m working every day to move closer to the simple living idea. Got the complex thinking down. And I really want to replace my coffee maker with and espresso maker. What kind did you get? Did you do a lot of research?

  • Reply Mrs. M August 20, 2009 at 10:54 am

    you have a gorgeous home, Nichole! I would kill for that patio!!!

  • Reply Minnie August 20, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Hmmmm….lovely, peaceful images of your home. So lovely, I just had to check out your blog and read a little about your life in Paris. What a great experience with your two little ones. Such an enjoyable blog that you have. I love the diversity of topics.
    .-= Minnie´s last blog ..Kids’ Nooks: Room to explore, from Israel =-.

  • Reply Nuit August 20, 2009 at 11:13 am

    woooow I LOVED this post. Gorgeous home!
    .-= Nuit´s last blog ..A Fab New York City Modern Apartment =-.

  • Reply nichole August 20, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Wow, thanks everyone! I really enjoy being settled after Paris, and Holly’s loot helped tremendously. ;)

    Estelle –

    The espresso machine is from Delonghi. THE BEST. A perfect latte any time I want it. No barista skills necessary. ;)

    We bought ours from Williams Sonoma (lifetime warrenty!). It was a seriou$$$ splurge, but worth it.

    Here is the official site:

    .-= nichole´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

  • Reply Crystal August 20, 2009 at 11:39 am

    LOVE your house!!! Fab taste. Where did you get your couch? Love it!
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Wine Bottles =-.

  • Reply nichole August 20, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Crystal – the couch is Holly’s – LOL. And is from Room and Board.

    Holly – I am sure this is cracking you up!
    .-= nichole´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

    • Reply decor8 August 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

      Everyone – EVERYTHING Nichole owns, with the exception of her hot husband and adorable children, once belonged to me. Including her vital organs. In fact, she is my alter Paris-New Jersey living petite hot blonde ego. :) :)

  • Reply Jennifer August 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Love the kitchen!!!! All great photos!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..An obsession of mine………. =-.

  • Reply Suzanne August 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    One of my favorite people on another one of my favorite blogs. As usual…beautiful images and words Nichole. Oh how the world would be such a better place if more people simply followed your father’s sage advice. :)
    .-= Suzanne´s last blog ..{ thursday thoughts } =-.

  • Reply Raina Kattelson August 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Love the coffee table- did you get that from Holly as well? I would love to have it.
    .-= Raina Kattelson´s last blog ..white and silver =-.

  • Reply Houston Graham August 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    You have some great spaces to enjoy in your home!

    Nichole, in your office, the IKEA Expedit shelf unit, how did you remove the shelf wall to fit the printer? Maybe this is a question for Holly as she once owned it? :)

    • Reply decor8 August 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

      Houston – Nope, didn’t own that — that’s all Nichole, all the time. ;)

  • Reply nichole August 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Houston –

    That was actually a mistake! MY husband hammered a bit too hard and broke the shelf, so he removed it. There is a hole where the peg would go, but we embraced it because it fits the printer so nicely. ;)
    .-= nichole´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

  • Reply nichole August 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Raina – The coffee table is indeed Holly’s. WAS Holly’s – ha! ;)

    It is from Mash Studios:
    .-= nichole´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

  • Reply nicole August 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    @chiaroscuro target has alot of orla kierly stuff on sale on their website, but her stuff is hard to find in the actual stores.

    also, i love love love the coffee table in your living room. may i ask where it came from? :)

  • Reply Houston Graham August 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    nichole, a pleasant mistake then!

  • Reply claire August 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Welcome back to the US Nichole! You have a super lovely home!
    .-= claire´s last blog ..Berry Good! =-.

  • Reply Amy@OldSweetSong August 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Wow. Your home is stunning. It’s so clean and clutter free. Why can I simply not achieve this?!

  • Reply Caitlin August 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Love how you decorated your new home. I’m all about simplicity. Where is the floor lamp from in the living room? I’ve been searching for one.

  • Reply nichole August 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Amy – I am an anal minimalist. I probably drive everyone crazy with my perfectionism, but the plus is that my house is clutter free. I border on wasteful because I will get rid of just about anything that adds to clutter even if it is useful!

    Caitlin – That lamp was Hollys (LOL!) and I am not sure where she got it. Holly?
    .-= nichole´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

  • Reply joslyn August 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I LOVE Nichole, and I especially love this

    When it comes to inspiration, it comes down to two things: complex thought and simple living

    right on ;-)


  • Reply mrs. french August 31, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    so beautiful…I love her! thank holly! xo t
    .-= mrs. french´s last blog ..I heart Monday. =-.

  • Reply Elisa_Croatia November 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    What a coincidence, you moving back to the States and Holly moving to Germany. We had to sell all of our furniture when we moved from Colorado overseas. Only the master bedroom furniture went to my older sister. I wish she could have found more space for other pieces but the timing wasn’t right as she had already furnished her home.

    I love your Dad’s advice.

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up