Welcome to No. 139 Maplewood Avenue. Let me tell you a story…

“That’s the most perfect house around here.” I said to our Realtor as she drove Gary and me away from the Maplewood Train Station. Only an hour before we had left our Brooklyn apartment in search of the suburban dream. Ha!I felt more like Carrie Bradshaw shopping for a wedding a dress during her Aidan phase than Trudy Campbell fawning all over her dream home in Cos Cob.

“That’s too bad”, she said. “It sold about six months ago.” Sigh. So we drove around. And around. And around. And then, we saw it…a gorgeous South Orange center hall colonial reminiscent of Southern-style homes with its large field stone front patio flanked by two sets of French doors and soaring columns. Miraculously, I was no longer hyperventilating. I was in love…for real.

FAST FORWARD seven years.

Remember that “perfect house” I mentioned? Well, it went on the market, we made an offer, and it was ours!  Yep, we bought a Victorian known as “The Mayor of Maplewood” on a whim.   It’s important to note that we were in the midst of planning a first floor renovation on our colonial – the plans were drawn up: soap stone counters, appliances, custom cabinetry – all ordered. We immediately cancelled everything and set a new course to get our South Orange home sold as soon as possible. It sold in less than a week.

I felt more like Carrie Bradshaw shopping for a wedding a dress during her Aidan phase than Trudy Campbell fawning all over her dream home in Cos Cob.

And so here we are.  Although our home was owned by only four families, No. 139 Maplewood Avenue was significantly altered over the years and was a flip at one point.  It’s impossible to go for historical perfection in this house as much of the original moldings were ripped out and replaced with standard designs you can find at the Home Depot.  And the updates that were made were done on the cheap.

But! We have plans to reimagine her, to bring back a few lost details, and to make her the showpiece she was always meant to be.

I invite you to follow me on our adventures in No. 139 Maplewood Avenue in my writings!

The History of My Home | The Thompson’s 1907 – 1966

The history of my home tells a unique story about a family in love with Maplewood, NJ. 

Do you ever wonder who lived in your home before you? Do you wonder what changes they made and why?  What were their kids like – did they love sliding down the banister just like mine do? It took more then a few hours of research over several months to compile the history of my home and I learned about the Thompson’s,

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We Nearly Sold No. 139 Maplewood Ave.

A perk of practicing real estate is the Broker Open. This is when agents debut new listings or listings with a recent price modification or renovation of some sort or another to their colleagues.  As a lover of historic homes, it’s such a treat. My husband calls it an occupational hazard.  I sometimes fall really hard and suddenly find myself daydreaming about selling No. 139 Maplewood Ave and moving.

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Successful Landscape Design is Child’s Play

When Carla approached me to write about landscape design, I was unsure of an approach. I could discuss Aesthetics, Function, Feel, Grading and Drainage, Privacy,  Lighting,  Water, Trees/shrubs/Perennials, Native Plants,  Sustainability, Play structures, Garden furniture/Ornaments, Firepits, Outdoor structures,  Vegetable Gardens, Decking/Patios, Retaining walls, Water features, etc.  I started writing down some ideas and then quickly scrapped them all.

While Landscape Design encompasses these topics, yesterdays visit with a client reinforced for me the importance of combining  children’s safety with the above. 

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Torrential Rainstorm, Flooded Basement & Burned Out Sump Pump

The last week of March brought torrential rain to Maplewood, NJ, so much rain in fact, that at one point on Saturday, our one sump pump burned out.

Earlier in the morning, Gary was in basement doing laundry and by mid-afternoon,  a good 2 inches of water flooded the laundry room and the back half of the basement. It happened in a blink of an eye!

Basco Maliqi of Instant Plumbing &

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Magnetic Chalkboard Wall

GOAL: Create a large chalkboard wall to display the loads of artwork created by my three kids – all at the same time.

Admittedly, this is gonna be a difficult and somewhat time-consuming project. It will take at least an entire weekend. If you’re like us, you have pile of artwork created by your kids and no place to hang it. Well, actually I have come up with other ways to showcase their works (i.e.

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FOUNDER & LEAD CONTENT STRATEGIST I live in a gorgeous 1895 Victorian otherwise know as No.139, with my husband Gary McDaniel, who is a frequent foodie contributor to this blog, and our three kids. While only four other families have called this place home, some of them made really bad choices that altered it’s classic design. And there was a cheapo flipper in the mix too. Now, we’re cleaning up their messes. This blog is a creative outlet for the love of home design and art, doable DIY, indulging in good eats, and throwing a good party. While I write many of our articles, I’m not the only voice. Tradespersons, small business owners, or our good neighbors with special talents will share what they’ve learned through posts, photography, and video. Think about it. Who better to give you advice on landscape design, a well-stocked bar, or how to hire (and fire) the right contractor for your home reno than those who do it for a living or simply a passion to give voice to their hobby? My day (and weekend) job as a REALTOR®-Salesperson for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Maplewood, NJ, gives me a unique opportunity to peek inside homes. Whether a it’s a sparkling or still-in-the-rough kind of diamond – all are dream worthy. I manage my real estate biz through my brand, INHABIT SOMa by Carla Labianca.

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