COTE DE TEXAS: COTE DE TEXAS: WE'VE DOWNSIZED!!!!!!

COTE DE TEXAS: WE'VE DOWNSIZED!!!!!!


I’ve been holding back writing this because it’s a highly personal tale about me and my family.  But, since in the end, it DOES deal with interior design…..here goes….




Seven years ago when I Instagramed this photo, I had no idea what this exact photo would mean in the future – to me, to Ben, to Elisabeth, and to our family and friends, in general.  This photo shows Ben on exactly the day his headaches become much worse.  This day was the start of Ben going from having “bad migraines” to being diagnosed with the extremely frightful “Daily, Chronic, Migraine.”

And yes, that is a diagnosis.

When Ben was a young boy, he started getting migraines.  I distinctly remember the first time I saw him with a migraine – we had just started dating.  Little did I know how wrapped up in the world of migraines I would become.

Our Engagement Photo

Over the long years of our marriage, Ben’s migraines were manageable – he averaged one a week, sometimes less, sometimes more.   He’s seen a host of doctors, from the general practitioner to the Head of Neurology at one of the esteemed medical schools in Houston, and many in between.There is no cure for migraines, nor was there any medicine developed FOR migraines until Aimovig, which was just released last summer, swiftly followed by two others medicines like Aimovig.

That’s it for migraine medicine – everything else is just anecdotal. 

Over the years to lessen his pain and to stop his headaches, Ben has tried a host of medicines and treatments including blood pressure pills, head massage, botox, acupuncture, opiates, anti-depressants,  IV magnesium, various electrotherapies, and on and on and on.   If you have read about a cure – he has tried it.  He had expensive, experimental surgery where the nerves all over his head were cut and stripped.  That didn’t work, either.     It’s all been the proverbial Band-Aid on an elephant.

And so, back in 2012, when I took that Instagram photo of Ben lying on the couch, what we didn’t know then, was that picture was the start of a long seven year migraine that didn’t abate except for just a few days at a time – and that was a rare occurrence. He laid on the couch all day long until the late afternoon when the pain became tolerable.


He could no longer work and lost his business as a result.

His former partner actually had the nerve to tell Ben that HIS wife would have found a cure for HIS migraines if he had them.  Sure.  Sure she would.   The ignorance is astounding.

There is NO cure for migraines.

When this all started, Ben was 57 and expected to work for 10, maybe 15 more years.  Thankfully we had some savings,  but the truth is savings only lasts so long – and, it’s never enough.  Besides worrying about Ben, I was now worried about our life.

How did we get here so fast? 

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were newly married, with a baby  and a new house in the dream neighborhood that we loved?  In the blink of the eye, we were near retirement age and our newborn was out of college and had been for five years.  I was counting down the days until we reached 65 and became eligible for Medicare.



The living room in the old house.

Our beloved house that we had built and spent years decorating had suddenly became an albatross around our necks.  Ben was too ill to worry about it, so I would do that for both of us.  The property taxes alone were scary enough.  The upkeep was staggering – after 25 years, everything needed redoing:  the roof, the bathrooms, the floors, the landscaping – everything.  And there were the stairs.  Suddenly going upstairs had us thinking of where we could install an elevator.  Or, moving to a one story.  The ease of apartment living started to become  very appealing.

The breakfast room in the old house.

All I could think of was I wanted to move and get a fresh start, but where and how?   How could I ever pack up my house by myself - with all that we had collected, the good and the bad, the antiques and the useless junk?

The family room in the old house. That thought was overwhelming and paralyzing.

Besides packing up, there was this question - where would we go?  It was so scary for me to even think about that each time I did, I would run to bathroom and be nauseated.   To calm me down, Ben would say – “Don’t worry.  It will all work out.”

In the end, he was right.  It did.

The dining room in the old house.

One thing about selling the house that really stopped me in my tracks was hiring a realtor.  I wasn’t in the frame of mind to have a chirpy millennium come into my home and point out all that would need to be discarded in order to “style” my house for selling it.  I didn’t have the energy for that and neither did Ben. 

The best solution was someone who would buy the house “as is” and flip it.  You won’t make near the same money that you would if you go the conventional route with a realtor, but you won’t have Open Houses either.  Plus, your house is sold right now, as opposed to next year.  We didn’t have a choice really.  We needed a fresh start.The nagging question in the end was always, how would I ever manage it all, basically alone?


Elisabeth’s bedroom in the old house.

HEY!  I’m a Jewish American Princess!!  We don’t know from emptying attics and packing boxes!!




Thankfully the people that bought our house arranged it all.  They hooked us up with a team of people who spent a week packing us up and then moving it all which took a few days.

The worst of it?

A garage filled with Webb Design work and a library filled with beautiful and expensive design books.   The attic?  Who knows.  We left it filled with all the junk and old luggage that Ben would never allow me to throw out.  I’m sure the flippers threw that all out too. 

The kitchen boxes – and I don’t even cook!


The best idea was this:  The mover/packers rented these huge trash bins from Home Depot that when filled, they would come and cart them off.
 Our old garage.

My entire garage went in those bins on the driveway.  I even saw a roll of Bennison Fabric, never used, peeking up from the refuse.

Don’t ask.

Some Fortuny went in there too.
I could cry thinking now of all that was thrown out. At the time I was too busy to cry, except for once.


The entry in the old house.

The most pressing issue quickly became where would we live?

The truth was we never used most of our house.  Ben and I lived in our family room.   When he got sick, many nights Ben just stayed on the sofa not even using the bedroom.   We kept saying we could be happy in an efficiency as long as we didn’t have to pay property taxes!    



Our bedroom in the old house.
 

I mentioned to my cousin that we had sold our house and were looking to rent a house or a condo while we tried to get Ben well.  My cousin said there was an apartment in his complex that was up for rent, right on Buffalo Bayou, the one place in Houston with a view.  Houston is flatter than a pancake, without any hills and our bayous are our natural beauty.   That’s a joke.  But, Buffalo Bayou IS unique to Houston.  It’s the one bayou that was left alone and not concreted over.  On weekends, people even kayak down the bayou.   In most parts Buffalo Bayou is amazingly the same as it was when settlers first came here in the 1800s.
 Buffalo Bayou back then – it looks much the same today outside our apartment.



I love this photo of Buffalo Bayou in the late 1800s.  Those carriages!  How in the world did they get down to the bayou in the carriages???  And they must have been so hot.   Again, not much has changed on the bayou.

  

Further up a block, there has been an incredible revitalization of Buffalo Bayou with dog parks and restaurants and trails and more.

That same day, we went to look at this apartment, which was the only place we even toured, and put down a deposit.  Two bedroom/two bath, 1500 sq ft.

Half the space of our house.


OY.





Actually, it was all such a relief.  No more Property Taxes!  YEAH!!!!    No more outrageous electrical bills, yard work bills, ridiculously high water bills, and no more home owners insurance, among other bills.

The guest room in the old house.

Of course I was worried about decorating the apartment, but just decided I would move in and figure it all out somehow.  There were a few things that gnawed at me and still do.

The First Biggest Regret:

My books.

[image1%255B3%255D.png]The library.

 This is just some of them.  There is another wall behind this, out of view, filled with even more design books.  Then there were the books on the landing shelves and Ben’s books in the guest room.  I’m sure there were close to 2,000 books.

They couldn’t come with us, there was no room.  They would have to go.  To Half Price Books.

It took three days for the moving team to pack them all up and take them to Half Price Books.  In the end, I should have just left them there in the house.

The check from Half Price Books for all of these?

$50.

Which I actually never even received from them.

Yeah.

Deep sigh.

It makes me sick to think about, but with three storage units already, they just had to go.


The entry in the old house.

Silver lining:  I did have all the newest books on this table downstairs that were packed up and came with me.  And I’m slowly buying those books I miss the most or need for the blog.
 

The Second Biggest Regret?

The Doggie Door.



Aww, my doggie door.  Sammie Joe and Georgie both passed away but now we have the twinsies – Micki and Lucy.  How in the world would we ever deal with no doggie door??!?!?



Micki & Lucy learn to wait for the elevator in the new apartment.  There have been a few accidents while waiting.

We’ve always had dogs and always had doggie doors.  Getting into the routine of early morning, freezing cold walks has not been easy, but honestly, it’s also fun.  More about that later – the fun part.

It took two days to load the moving truck and then two more to unload it.  A million thanks to my sister in law Shannon and Ben’s brother Kirk and Wills and his friends who helped me more than I can ever even say.

Thank you Webbs!


The breakfast room in the old house.

I never cried, not once UNTIL that hot July night when the movers were trying to bring my armoire in and nothing looked good and nothing fit and I had way too much furniture that I thought would fit and I just burst out crying and couldn’t stop.  Ben called Elisabeth and told her to call me.  It didn’t help.  Then he called Shannon.  I think I sobbed hard for 15 minutes.

Done.  Over with.

It’s been almost a year now and we love being here.  We love walking the dogs along the bayou (Ben does that when he feels good) and we love the elevator and seeing and talking to people all the time!!  It’s so different than being at home, isolated and alone.

As for Ben.  

When his Chronic, Daily Migraine started all those years ago, our neurologist told us about this new drug that was coming out, some type of monoclonal antibody therapy. 

It’s been in the making for decades.  Aimovig is the first one on the market.   At the time we were so excited!!  When can we get it?!?!?!?  Little did we know we would wait five years.

Aimovig came out on the market last summer.

Be started on the Aimovig which for four months was a miracle.  The headache beast was gone and only poked out once a week at most.   He even went back to work!

It was a miracle drug for four months but this Christmas the headache returned and except for a few days, it’s been constant again.   Very depressing to say the least. 

This month he started on the second “miracle” drug.  Not such a miracle so far.

But, at least we are settled now.  I’m not sure how long we will be here, but it’s a huge relief to not worry about everything that owning a house brings.  We’re on one floor, no stairs.  We’ll take it year by year.

Decorating the new apartment.

We could have chosen a brand new apartment with a fabulous kitchen with quartzite.  But, most of those are just boxes that overlook your neighbor.   The one we chose was older, but its public spaces was just completely redone and is gorgeous.  But what sold us are the views out our apartment that make up for the lack of quartzite  (kind of.) LOL

We’re really enjoying seeing the seasons change and we can see the sky and the moon – things that were impossible from our former postage stamp sized courtyard.

SO…..

Here’s a look at the apartment. 

Goodbye to the old! 



And – here we are!!   So fancy!  Established 2018!   I haven’t decorated the little patio outside our door.  Just a Ballard’s mat signifying our move-in year.



When you enter the front door there is a loooooong hall to the sitting room/kitchen and master bedroom.   The second bedroom is at the left off the hall.

It’s hard to take a photograph of the entry area, I did my best.



The entry area had this nook that fit my Buffet a deux perfectly.    I also decided to use all my Masonware that had been in storage for years – as opposed to using the all white accessories as I had at the house.  

On each side is a one of a pair of blue and white vases.  The bottom door tends to open, so I started placing this heavy cameo there and I did it again in the apartment.




And looking back at the front door.




I like the Masonware here.  It’s colorful and it gives guests (and me!) something to look at when they walk in, instead of the long boring hall, full of doors.


On the left wall in the entry, I put the small antique mirror, the sunburst, and two Chinese figures.




From this view, the Masonware looks so pretty captured in the mirror.



The long hall was an issue for me.  It’s a lot of doors where the laundry and closet and guest bath and bedroom are.  At first I put down a runner down but it didn’t look great.  So I thought I would treat this area as a gallery (lol.)  The arrogance!





Down the hall, there were a series of three light fixtures that were just horrible, flushmounts that probably cost $15 each.  Instead I put up three stars that cost around $90 each.  Oh, this is so funny!!!   I’m cracking myself up.

The lights were one of the best things I did.  It really changed the look of the hall.  I keep them on low – so it’s a soft glow.   Between all the doors, I put something of interest on the walls (if I might say so myself!)

If my poor Monica hadn’t passed away, I would replace the doors with portieres ala what Brooke/Patina Farm did in her closet.  But Monica is gone and I don’t have a new drapery person. 




At this end of the hall, I put up these four antique prints of show horses ? (hey, Ben bought them!!!)  The baskets below are our “office.”   We keep all the staples and envelopes and tape and pens in there and I’ve even trained Ben to say “There in the office!!!!” when I ask him if we have any stamps.   At the left is a lantern that I’ve had forever.   Since all my sconces are now either in storage or gone, I still have this. 

Sniff.



At the end of the long hall is the dining area on the left and the kitchen and sitting area on the right.    The clock fit perfectly on that bit of wall between the kitchen and sitting room.

The clock and all the white painted furniture is from The Lone Ranger.   LOVE HIM!



The sitting room – I used the furniture from our family room, mostly.




The windows are nice and open all the way on both sides.




The two side chairs from the house didn’t fit, nor did my coffee table – the long rectangular one.  This was when I started crying!!  Haha.  It seems so silly now.  But I didn’t have as much room as I thought.  I had no floor plan and didn’t really measure anything, so I made every mistake I would never make with a client.

My sister in law is babysitting my chairs and coffee table until we move one day.   And my gorgeous antique chandelier from Tara Shaw is at HER sister’s house, until we move one day.  It was just too long for here.  And too dressy.




        

  I’m using these Restoration Hardware lamps that were in my guest room at the house and they are a nice change. 





Ben's inspired to collect books about Buffalo Bayou.  We have three now and a few new fossils.




I ordered seagrass to cover the rooms.  It’s one big piece in here – there was no way around it to have two pieces.

Outside – it’s fall on the bayou.





Across from the sofa our TV and this table that was my tea table in the living room at the house.  Underneath are a collection of shells and coral.

One loss – I had two of these chairs and planned to use them both, but the movers left one behind.   We sent Elisabeth to go retrieve it that night and the new owners had already thrown it in the Home Depot bin and it was ruined.  Sniff.



On top are some mineral spheres via Ben and antique books and clock via me.



 I bought the zebra rug from my great friend Artie of Color Outside The Lines.  He’s always selling things and this was a GREAT buy!  Thanks Artie, my sweet, sweet friend. Smile



This side table holds boxes and more coral and more books.  There’s a large bar that separates the kitchen from the sitting area where I’ve put more THINGS on top!

Hey, I thought we were editing!!!!!!



I culled through the crystal collection and took the better pieces – and put them on a silver tray.   A pair of Aidan Gray lamps flank the bar. 



The other side with amethysts and a pink rose quartz sphere which is my favorite thing ever, so far!




Behind the sofa I hung the large mirror I bought years ago in Austin – one of our earliest antique purchases in our marriage.  I flanked it with the same collection of celadon plates and urns.  The chandelier was the one in our dining room at the house.





Lots of blue and white!  LOL.  My two huge urns in my dining room are renting a room at my sister in laws.   Rent free, of course.




Across from the sitting area is the dining area which has strange proportions. 




The sun makes the walls look peach.  They aren’t.






These demi lunes were in my entry at the house.  My dining room’s skirted table with the gorgeous cream matte silk is in some storage room somewhere in Chappell Hill (I hope.)  My metal breakfast table with the curvy French lines is renting a room at my bestie’s, Lisa’s, along with the cane chairs.




The lady and the barometer made the cut.

That was the hardest thing – deciding what would go and what would stay.   I chose antiques over reproductions as much as possible.   The good things, like the breakfast table and coffee table,   I would rather my family and friends use them than live in a storage unit.   I didn’t sell anything because I’m hoping one day Elisabeth will want it all.


From the other way towards the long hall. 

There was another one of those $15 light fixtures here, so I bought this online.  A little glitz to go with all the gilt.




The table top changes a lot.






The kitchen is not much to write home about.  At all.   I just try to ignore it.   I’ve decorated it as best I could, but…




If it was a condo, this would be bombed out tomorrow.   Ignore.






There’s a big balcony with a few of my chairs and things.





Here’s a view from our apartment of Buffalo Bayou when we moved in.  It provides hours of entertainment for Ben – and a few minutes for me.   He’s obsessed with the wildlife there, the turtles and rabbits and ducks, etc.


This winter we could see the bayou winding all the way to the right, since the leaves had dropped. 




Recently, the trees are sprouting leaves again.  It’s amazing to have a view after only having a tiny courtyard for 25 or so years.



Off the dining area is our bedroom.   The two bedrooms had carpet, but we had them take it up and put down the floor in there, so we could cover it up completely with the seagrass!  Makes perfect sense to me!



Go ahead.   Ask me.   The answer is YES.

Immensely so !!!

The question?

Do I miss my handpainted wallpaper that Simon P. Scott GIFTED me with!!!  Go HERE to read the story.




My desk.  Those lamps were in my living room at the house, but they look better here to be honest.



The armoire actually fit in the elevator AND the bedroom.  I didn’t think the armoire would fit in the elevator and had Shannon’s son on standby to run it up the garage to our floor.

Hey, I wasn’t thinking rationally!!!!!




Blue opaline collection.  Instead of my usual end tables – I used this pair of demi lunes from The Lone Ranger.






The other side.




Oriental altar fruit.





The chandelier came from our guest room via Aidan Gray.


And last, is the guest bedroom:



The bedroom is used for TV watching during March Madness and College Football days.   Also, this is a very comfortable single bed and Elisabeth used it for a few months in between apartments.

That was another selling point for me for this apartment.  Since it’s older than all the newer ones – the bedrooms are very large and so are the closets.

Now, if only the kitchen was better!!!  Good thing I don’t cook!




I basically used my living furniture and Elisabeth’s bedroom furniture in here.

I took these photos at night for some reason.  It looks prettier in the sunlight. 




The Chandelier came from our library and the mirror is from Tara Shaw.





Lone Ranger desk.  BVIZ pillows.





The santos came from Olivine.





Across from the daybed is the antique bakers rack inherited by the infamous Betty Rae aka Mother!

I couldn’t give away the old books.  I was so surprised that they filled up this rack.   And the globes stayed, but only the old ones.  The others were repros.






And the chaise is across from the daybed.  This was also in Elisabeth’s room. 





I will probably get curtains for the two windows here that you can’t see.

I would also love them in the sitting room and my bedroom but there is the issue of the obscenely bright sun from east.   It’s brutal here for some reason.  Silk would disintegrate in a year or two or three.  Anything printed would quickly fade.   I might do an indoor/outdoor fabric like a pretty check, or maybe just a white linen.  Snooze.   I could do pretty silk panels here in the guest room because the sun is not nearly as bright in here and I probably will if I can find someone.

So, this is it.

Baby Boomer Downsizing. 

If Ben hadn’t gotten sick we would have probably stayed in our house even though we dreamed of downsizing.  But he did get sick and reality quickly set in.   Living in our house became too expensive.

Besides that, it made sense to move.  I think of the stairs and all those rooms we never used.  We never used our living room or dining room or guest room.  I only walked in the library when I needed to find a book.   I didn’t lounge around in there and read like I imagined I would.

We didn’t need a four bedroom house anymore.  Our bathrooms needed updating and we needed a new roof.  Our floors need to be sanded and stained again.  We had a house filled with junk in every drawer and shelf, in the attic and in the garage.

In other words – we needed a change and a fresh start and we will stay here until we figure out where we go next.  Who knows how long that will be.  All I know is it’s been a huge relief for all of us.

And we’re not alone.  It seems like every day I hear about another friend or family member who is downsizing.





And that’s all folks!!!!!! 






































































337 comments :

  1. I realize I can get long winded here and write my own abbreviated saga of being "forced" to downsize. I could relate to every word of this. Thank you for being so open. You are fortunate for the emotional support (and storage!) provided by family and close friends. Wishing you well! Susan

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    1. OMG!!!! All these comments are so sweet!!! I'm having Ben read them. All your prayers are so appreciated. Thank you all so much for your kind words!!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate them.

      I put this up here so hopefully everyone will see it!!

      Joni

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    2. Oh my goodness! All the trouble and trials you and Ben have been through and you continued to post such lovely blogs. My prayers are with you both but I LOVE your new place and what you've done with it! I hope Ben will continue to recuperate as new drugs are available.
      I live in a small austin stone cottage in Deveonshire, Dallas, about 1475 SF. I recently redid it (just for moi), you can see the photos at michelle@michellemeredith.com under the residential section. I also got rid of a lot of stuff but not nearly what you did. My home is just for me and I love it! Truly, what troopers you both are and I so appreciate your sharing this on your blog.

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    3. Stop it with your ig'nert self.

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  2. Joni, what a beautiful new place! You have made it your own, and that view is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing all of the details - it sounds like you and Ben have been through a lot over the past few years. Hope Ben continues to feel better on the new medicine.

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  3. Thank you Joni for sharing your story. I can't imagine living with a migrane as Ben has endured, and hope that he is feeling better. Your are an amazing woman/designer, you truly made this apartment a home! I loved your old house and am so impressed how you carried it over to your new abode. We are the same age, and have lived in our home 30 years. We too talk about moving, but as many say, "where would we go?" We live in the Los Angeles area, and prices are ridiculous! We too have stairs, and I wonder how we will handle as we age. For now, we want to be close to our son and his family, so we will stay put (I think) You have inspired me that if one day we have to move, I will (hope) to let go of a lot of stuff (or at least put in storage) LOL!

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  4. Dearest Joni, my heart was breaking on so many levels while reading this post. First and foremost Ben's illness and the lack of compassion in others is just unthinkable and I am SO sorry you had to endure that. Lovely furniture and fabric going into dumpsters... as a military wife I've been there. Sometimes we just have to make sacrifices in difficult moments. In the end you have come away with a beautiful new home, less stress and the knowledge of knowing who your real friends and loved ones are. This is priceless and a great comfort to you I am sure. I shall keep you both in my prayers.

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  5. Joni, this isn’t about a house really,it’s doing the things that work best for our family. I too have had chronic issues and understand how misunderstood they can be. Migraines decimate people, I hope a combo of some treatments help. I have had it on my mind strangely when reading about Ben in the past that maybe he has an autonomic disorder. There are simply a ton of mismatched symptoms that do not seem related but are. I was diagnosed many years ago but last year received a pacemaker despite not having a heart problem. I too have migraines with this. I certainly do not want to be a weirdo suggesting someone but if you are so inclined look up Dr. Blair Grubb at the University of Toledo. Tons of research, and my doctor. I just wonder if Ben has some of the symptoms, as I found no one in the medical community understood. So, back to your apartment, I love it even more than I have loved your house. Good move, time is the most precious commodity. Best of luck to your family❤️🙏🏻

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  6. By golly, you did it! Very impressed with your new apartment and the strong design style that you brought with you. It is beautiful. Also appreciate the strength it took to handle your emotions and push the move through. You've shown us much grace under pressure and for that, thank you.
    Katherine

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  7. Joni, My first thoughts are about Ben and the pain he is enduring--then to you, his supportive wife. Your apartment is so lovely. You truly made it a beautiful home. The rest of your things were just "stuff" in the broader scheme of things. I wish you two much happiness with this new beginning. The views from your new home are so beautiful. How wonderful that Ben loves nature and is enjoying it. You may stay in this apartment for a long tie! We have friends who prefer to rent an apartment permanently. Thank you for sharing your story. We are about your same age and have thought about downsizing as well.

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  8. I love your new apartment! This post is a great lesson. We often DON'T need everything we think we need. Everything DOES work out. It WILL all be okay. You are such a talented designer, and your gift obviously shines no matter the size of the home. I am so happy for you!

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  9. So sorry for all you’ve gone through. Thank you for brightenIng our days with your gorgeous posts, even when your days were crushing. We hope there’s a cure around the corner for Ben...

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  10. Joni,
    I absolutely adore the new home! Why would you ever want to leave this cute condo? You made it instantly charming and cozy because of the beautifully curated items you've collected over the years....your new place instantly has SOUL.
    I'm so sorry to hear about all the migraines....praying you'll continue to find new avenues on helping Ben.
    Thanks again for sharing your story and your beautiful new place.

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  11. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” --Alexander Graham Bell
    Thank you for helping us see the newly opened door. Thank you for giving us reality. I love everything that you did. I love your blog.

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  12. Dear Joni, I really appreciate you have taken the time and have found the courage to write your story here. This is real life!!!That is what happens when you are making other plans! I feel so very sorry for Ben. Me too I suffer from migraine from time to time! Joni, I do understand you really had a difficult time but you are a strong woman and what you did here in your apartment is just AMAZING!! So beautiful and so you!! So cozy! So homy!! I am sure you and Ben just feel comfortable in your new apartment! And yes indeed, we too, we are thinking about downsizing! Thank you again Joni for sharing your story here! I wish you and Ben all the best in your lovely new home! Hope Ben will find the best treatment now! Warmest regards, Greet

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  13. First of all...this is the first blog post you've written in years that I actually read every word and looked at every photo. It's not that I don't appreciate what time, effort and research go into them, but it is more of not having the time to read them. Joni, your blog was the first decor blog I found online while searching something random, and I was a fan from the start! Because I found it after you had been blogging for many years, I made it a point to have a little note on my desk to keep up with each prior post, as I read each one. One day my husband finally asked...what is that note with dates about on your desk? Ha! Second, what you're doing is something we will face in a few years, however a bit differently. But a move nonetheless, and combining two homes and their contents into one. While we aren't downsizing, I will have the hard decision of what to keep and what to let go. Believe me, I am attached to my surroundings just as you are. I'm so happy to see that you, of all people who love to "collect" as much as I do, was able to do it so well! I know you have furnishings farmed out and also in storage, but you have the option down the road to reunite with them, either in another location or at your daughter's home! Which brings me to another subject that I don't like and that is the fact that their generation doesn't want our "stuff" and many are minimalist anyway, i.e. my son. I do want you to know how much I admire what you did, how much I love the new place and how fresh your old furnishings look in new settings! What Ben endures in suffering, and what you brave as his caretaker and witness are monumental. I'm very happy for your change of scenery and the new "lease" on life! I hope Ben will find relief again soon in other drugs, and I wish you all the best!

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  14. wow - so much to process here! So glad you made it to the other side and you were blogging the whole time!!! Your apartment looks just so perfect. I'm a huge supporter of the downsizing!! 4 bedrooms? What for? Congratulations and best wishes to slipper socks man on continued progress with those migraines. They run in my family too and they're really the most horrible thing. xo

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  15. Thank you for sharing your intimate story with us. So sorry to hear about about your losses (the chair, those books.. etc) I am amazed how through all of this you continued to entertain us with your posts and sense of humour. Sending you warm virtual hugs and hope for a cure for those awful migraines.

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  16. Joni, this is just an incredible post on so many levels. My prayers for Ben & a lasting recovery & for you and Elisabeth as you offer him love and support. You have absolutely made lemonade from lemons. Your new apartment is lovely, lovely, lovely. Your design skills are so enviable. I know all too well the pain of parting with my beloved "stuff"...cleaning out, sending thousands of dollars worth of things to consignment and a month later receiving a check for $155. But I can BREATHE now....I no longer have a huge storage facility and I can walk through my home and enjoy what IS here. Almost a year has passed for you and most of us had no idea that your life was turned upside down last summer. But you have landed on your feet, and you have Ben, Elisabeth and the sweet dogs. That is truly "winning" at every turn. May God bless and keep you all.

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  17. Oh Joni!! I can’t believe you held this in for so long. Bless you, dear. I think of Ben often and have wondered how his health has been. Thank you for updating us and please know that I have you both in my prayers. Now for the truth about your new home, I LOVE IT!!! I honestly dream about downsizing and love seeing how you pared down. What you kept and what you let go. Your new home (I’ll never call it an apartment) is warm and inviting, beautiful in every corner. I was hoping to back my trailer up and load that darling little secretary into it, but I see you made space for it. Shucks. A trip to Round Top to visit Lone Ranger Antiques is on my bucket list! May you make many new, happy memories at your new home!! Blessings to you, dear Joni! xx, Emily of Eleven Gables

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  18. Thank you for sharing your story. Your new home is so beautiful. Your strong marriage is beautiful too.

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  19. Im an Htown resident myself and BB area is gorgeous with that said any condo/apt in that vicinity is a great catch. I truly feel for Ben's medical difficulties but with so much unnecessary clutter (no matter what it cost or who designed it) at the end of the day in that small space all the extra fluff you have at every corner of the room makes it look so overwhelming. I figured you had minimized and pared down so that the condo breathed in serenity and tranquility. I got a migraine (no pun intended) just seeing the extremely cluttered kitchen (no space for simple bar stools) along with every room. You have such a beauitful sliding door with great views but instead of having unobstructed views of the outdoors you decide to cover it with more od your white slipcover chairs.

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    1. It is clear after reading this post that the past year has been extremely difficult for Joni and Ben. Have you ever heard the expression "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" It would have been a wise - and much kinder choice - to have heeded that expression.

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    2. I think Joni's apartment looks better by having more "stuff" around. I think if she had done the usual thing and had fewer accessories it would not look nearly as charming as it does. Good job Joni!

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    3. Samson slew the multitude with the jawbone of an ass. Congratulations. You've just accomplished the same.

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    4. Yes, every inch is jam-packed, but that's what she likes and it's her house. She came from a larger house that was really full also. It's her taste and more of a function of the traditional style readers of this blog like. You could say this same thing maybe in a nicer way.

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    5. Joni will be Joni wherever she goes--and I think that is terrific!!

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    6. This is a "collected" look, you idiot. Many people would pay LOTS of money to have a designer achieve this look in their home. This happens to be my very favorite look....and the items are all STUNNING. How you could negatively comment on the look of her and her husband's new home after all they have been through is unconscionable.

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    7. I'm surprised at how little negative comments there are! Thanks y'all. So much. But it's ok. I've heard negative things for 12 years now. Wow. 12!! My skin was toughened up and wrinkled up. Now, does anyone have a good solution for wrinkles besides a face lift? lol

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  20. All of these years I've read your blog, and I had no idea what difficult health challenges Ben was experiencing. Thank you for sharing your family's story. I hope for all the best for his health and for better treatments for migraines. Your apartment looks beautiful! If definitely inspires me not to be afraid to downsize.

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  21. Joni,
    Thanks for sharing your heart felt story. We will all be downsizing at some point in our lives. You've done a great job and your HOME looks beautiful, comfy and still you. I wish you and the hubby the best as you head into the years of new adventures and fun and hopefully less migraines. Laura

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  22. Hey, Joni, I'm so glad this popped up so I could read it today! I'm so sorry for all the health challenges that Ben has gone through.I remember you sharing that pic and talking about his migrains. I'm sure none of us could ever know the extent of all you've been dealing with. But Baby Boomer and downsizing, yes I get that! We have a 2600 s.f. house that we love very much and have no plans to leave anytime soon, but I sure get the upkeep when one is down and how hard that is. I'm so glad you landed in such a pretty place with such a gorgeous view. You have made it totally your own space with all your beloved antiques and I'm happy for you. You know how to make the best of any situation and that's a good trait to have. I wish you the very best, dear Joni! I don't leave comments often, but just had to say something on this one. Take care! xoxo

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  23. Joni, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of and prayed for Ben since seeing the photo of him on the sofa, those years ago. I’m a custom drapery maker in Tennessee and I’d be honored to make the draperies as a gift for your new home (no charge for the labor and lining). You’ve given us so much and this is a small way to say thank you, from one design professional to another. Think about it and we can iron out the details. My contact info is online. Blessings! -Camille CamilleMoore.com

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  24. I have faithfully read your blog for years. I don't comment often but was compelled to let you know how sorry I am for your's and Ben's struggles. And also to let you know how inspired I am by your attitude in the face of these challenges. I pray that Ben's medical problems can be better addressed in the near future. Love your new apartment! So glad to see so many of my favorite pieces from your previous home. Who would have thought there'd be room for your gorgeous Buffet a deux? It is glorious in the new space and provides so much interest and beauty to your entry. I bet this apartment is proud to be decorated more beautifully than I'm sure it's ever been. As always, you've made an inviting and beautiful home. My prayers are with you both as well as the medical providers assisting you.

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  25. Joni...Big Hug! Change is always hard but usually for the better. I'm 56 and have had lots of change. I thought at this stage of my life things would be routine and settled. NOT. The only solution is to lean into it. Your new place is lovely and home is where your heart and hubby are. I can't imagine the stress and pain poor Ben has endured. I will keep you and Ben in my prayers. May God bless you in your new home.

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  26. Joni - I have followed you for so long I've lost count of the years! I am sad to read Ben's migraines are so debilitating. My heart goes out to him and you. Over the years you have mentioned his headaches, I often wondered how he was doing. I teared up reading your story. My husband and I are facing a move too. But I keep saying I just can't yet. The way you handled it is to be admired. The agony of letting go of all your precious things must have been heartbreaking. But faced with "we have to do this" - I say you did an incredible job. I am a fellow Houstonian with one of those huge homes on 1+ acre. Just 2 of us at now. My health is not great - I totally get the reasoning of letting all the upkeep behind!! Joni, thank you for sharing this. You showed me it can be done. You are my hero. hugs

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  27. ...darling girl...i have not posted for years...but this deserves saying...your new home is beyond amazing and beautiful...but not nearly as amazing and beautiful as ben's wife...may God rest His eye upon your house...and fill your home with love...blessings laney

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  28. Joni,
    I'm so sorry to hear about Ben's battle with migraines. I have a dear friend that has long struggled with them. I understand how debilitating they can be.
    That said, this post hit home for me. 2 years ago we did the exact same thing (downsizing) and are getting ready to move once more. There were times I found it stressful (to say the least) and a little sad, but 2 years out I can tell you that for us it has been so freeing. Our home of 35 years had been remodeled/renovated over and over. It was nearly perfect to me, but for reasons you mention, (new roof needed, new patio overhang, and more) it made sense to move. We've rented this past two years and have been so happy even if the rental isn't exactly finished in my taste. We got rid of a lot and I'm still culling my treasures to keep just the best items (the one's that "spark joy"!) laughter.
    I wish you the best, love what you've done to the place and think it's wonderful.
    xo,
    Karen

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  29. Dear Joni, I have admired you so much over the years that I have followed your blog. Now, I admire you all the more. I am so sorry that Ben (Mr. Slipper Man) has endured such pain over the years. Your tenacity and love shines through your words. Letting go of so much had to be difficult. But what you have created has to give you both peace of mind. Your condo is stunning. Wishing you both the best and relief from pain for Ben.

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  30. YOU don't know this...but, we really are "soul mates." My dear hubs, 48 years, had " mind blowing" headaches...turns out, the curse is "Trigeminal Neuralgia"...one of the most mis diagnosed afflictions. Thankfully, a brain specialist..."took mercy on us" at UVA Medical Research and relief was "almost" instantaneous...he did have to get follow up surgery a year later...so far, so...hope. Our beautiful Tudor of 42 years...sold..." as is." Crying doesn't even come close...we're in a lot cabin on a beautiful lake...starting...mostly over. It is very isolated...I'm "fighting my own demons"...thank goodness for "blogs" such as yours!! Ever onward...franki

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  31. Joni,
    What a gorgeous home you have created!!! Its's amazing how well you did downsizing. And your views!!! I never had so many wonderful things as you, but with our last move I gave away to family and friends the good things and sold the rest. I miss a few things. Just things. I know from our moves that books weigh so much and are costly to move. So even though you got ripped off there...at least someone is enjoying them (I just donated ours).

    I pray that Ben finds some relief. You are a strong, talented, beautiful, funny woman, wife and friend to so many (including me). I'd love to give you a hug in person...some day it will happen!
    Mary Ann

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  32. "you made a silk purse from a sow's ear" as they say somewhere in the USA. Your new place is lovely. What a rough time you and your husband have had and we never knew, at least I didn't. I really appreciate your blog. I have learned so much ...history, decorating, gossip, architecture, etc. etc. so much research and care going into it.
    Hey you should have had a sale of those books online like Artie does (quite often)but it should be fun getting new ones of your favorites. Your place looks wonderful..we need you here in N.C.!!

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  33. It takes my breath away to know that as you were providing me with so many joyous hours of photos and education, you were trying to put one foot in front of the other. So on top of it all, you've given me a spiritual jolt. We never know what burdens others are carrying. May your new home be filled with love and good health -- in addition to the beauty you've already established it contains!

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  34. I don't think I've ever written a comment on any blog I follow before, but I felt compelled to say something here. I have followed and appreciated your blog for years and had no idea of course of what you were going through. I want you to know how much your honesty and openness touched me. You never know what someone else is going through, do you? My elderly parents just downsized from their 5,000 sq ft home to a town house last month and it was a very similar emotional experience. But in the end, it is all just stuff and you can't take it with you! And I agree that you realize after you are through it that it all works out in the end, if you just wait it out. Best of luck to you and your husband on his health. Thank you again for sharing.

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  35. A range of emotions came over me as I read this fascinating post. As another reader has said, there was a great deal to process! But you took what might have been a tale of sadness and resignation, and turned it into something hopeful and positive. That is your great gift--perspective, along with humour and a real sense of humanity. On top of all that, you are a brilliant decorator with a real skill for arrangement and atmosphere. It pained me to read about having to abandoned your library of design books, though I see how they'd never fit into the new rooms. There are several life lessons here, mostly to do with a sort of brave detachment, the kind that can transform adversity into a creative triumph. Bravo! Or rather, Brava, Joni!

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  36. Oh Joni! My heart aches to hear about Ben's battle with migraines. Most medical issues are a mystery to our "modern" Western medicine. Charlie had migraines when he was a teenager, and they were terrifying. The neurologists just wanted to medicate him. Western medicine never seems to be interested in the cause. Only the band aid. I'm so sorry that you all are trying to navigate the medical maze. We've been down that road many times. As we get older, it seems like we all spend our time there.
    In true Joni Webb spirit, you have made lemonade out of lemons. Your new apartment is beautiful. May you two find peace in your new home, and if you ever want to hear what we've discovered in our journey down the medical rabbit hole please feel free to reach out. Much love, Brooke

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  37. Your new home is just lovely, and it looks just like your style. My mom sold her home and downsized in much the same way that you did, and it took me a long time to (mostly) come to terms with the things that she gave away or sold. In the end, I've realized it's just Stuff, and that I'm happier to hold things loosely. I know what a tremendous amount of work it is to do what you did, but I think you did the smart thing. What a beautiful view you have! I love your cabinet with the pottery inside your front door, and I absolutely love those star light fixtures. All the very best to you both. The Stuff will burn someday, but the memories you make together will last, so try to focus more on that.

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  38. Joni your post has affected me on so many levels. I am your age, and have sometimes envied you for your put together seemingly perfect life. At the same time I regret to admit that I have somethimes felt sorry for myself for all of the changes I have endured. But we never know what burdens others are carrying, and the best part is that when we come out on the other side life is usually better in some way. This was a truly inspiring post - thank you!

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  39. I was in tears reading your life story here.I hope your beloved Slipper Socks Man finds a solution. I cried the most about the books. I laughed about your kitchen. In my case, I would look for a one room kitchen with a bed! Once again that Shannon knows how to show up. So glad you have her. Don't mess with strong Texas women, I say and that comes from a great deal of admiration from a Sooner girl. You may "style" yourself as a Jewish American Princess. Well you showed your grit and your ability to move on. So impressed with you! Glad to see the dogs are adjusting and that the view of the park is a site that brings you and Ben a new day. Hoping for all of the best, fingers crossed, and truly impressed with what you have done.

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  40. I've always loved your posts but this post brought tears to my eyes and made me want to reach out to you with a big hug. You never know what twists and turns our lives are going to go in but you have dealt with one of those twists with such grace. When I read that you parted with all of those wonderful books for $50....OMG!! I pray that medical science comes up with help for your dear Ben. You are an amazing woman and I hope to meet you one of these days.

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  41. Thank you for sharing the reality of your life Joni. My heart truly breaks for your husband's health struggles. Your new home is absolutely gorgeous. Your blog is the first design blog I started following. It is still my favorite. Thank you for your transparency in your struggles. Most of us can relate in some way. God Bless You.

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  42. Oh my.....your story was gut wrenching and similar to my story. I know 'our things' are just 'things' but my heart was broken over giving away and storing so many of my beautiful 'things' after a lifetime of collecting and designing to make my home perfect. I hope your husband does find a miracle drug for good and that you keep up the spirit and style that is so uplifting. Your story was uplifting to me. When I went through it, I felt like I was totally alone in it. I really enjoyed your posts for years now and will continue to love them!

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  43. Joni, Your courage to share your story is touching beyond words! Having suffered from migraines for decades I can sympathize with Ben. I wish him all the best and know he’s not alone in the world. One never knows what will happen in a given time! The one thing that is certain, and can’t be replaced is our loved ones! My dear, your style and taste will go were ever you go! Home is were you make it! By the way this is your BEST post yet!:) Love and Hugs, Sara

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  44. Joni your apartment is fabulous! It reminds me of Mary Ann's San Francisco apartment. It too did not have a fabulous kitchen but she has made the best of it and they love to cook. We need to do the same thing you are doing but it is really hard for me to get Steve moving in that direction. I am so sorry that illness forced your move but hopefully Ben will find a drug that will work and he will have his health back. You have made the best of a difficult situation. Thank you so much for sharing. You have given us all so much inspiration over the years and we so respect and admire you.

    Fondly, Cindy

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  45. This has touched me so deeply. I am sad for Ben, but how wonderful you have each other. Houses and objects are just chapters in our lives. They will always be in our BOOK, but life is about moving on to the next. Downsizing is cathartic. Your new place is lovely, but even more so knowing all the love that went into the decision to move. My best to Ben. Thank you for sharing..Myles.

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  46. I've been reading your blog for years- I'm now 35- and it's been such an entertaining and absorbing education in design for me. Just wanted to say how much I've appreciated you and your writing, and this very personal post. Your new home is gorgeous and I love how I'd know it's yours anywhere! I also love how you've surrounded yourselves with beloved and beautiful items to hopefully ease this transition. Hoping and praying for the best for you both; especially for Ben's health!

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  47. Ps. I will be lighting a Andle at MASS for you and Ben....Myles

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  48. Joni,
    I'm so sorry to read this. The heartache must be so intense to see a loved one suffer on a daily basis. On an upnote, your new place is gorgeous! On the bayou, the view is amazing! I'm in the Heights, and I love that area. And in the city, that's the only way to get a view is to go up. I am with you on the downsizing too. I hope you are enjoying it. You really picked a place with an amazing view. I am hoping you can get more relief for Ben, and that you don't give up.

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  49. I have read your blog for years ( you were one of my first blogs I followed) but I think I’ve only commented an handful of times. Sharing this very private journey is inspiration to us all. Your home was so beautiful but you have made your new home completely you. I have never seen such a “charming” apartment. I am so sorry your husband has suffered for so long with this terrible affliction. But the way you have stood by him with loving support is incredible.
    I know you are probably getting a million bits of advice but I do go to someone who might be able to help if you are open to alternative medicine. Which one of my sons call “voodoo doctors”. But this woman is quite well regarded., Joanne Gallagher. This is her website, if you feel so sorry clines just read about her.
    http://lifeexpressionwellness.com/team/joanne-m-gallagher-rcst/
    Thank you again for your fabulous blog and today’s inspiring blog. God Bless and best of luck to you and Ben on this difficult journey.

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  50. Beautiful and very inspiring post, You know a lot of us for whatever reasons have to a some point downsize and you just showed how elegant that can be!
    And where on earth did you find those fabulous ceiling star light for the hall way?! Divine!

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  51. It looks stunning, Joni! Have loved reading your blog over the years. You have such beautiful things; I'm glad you could bring some of them with you and that they continue to wrap you and your husband in comfort and bring you joy. Prayers for you both.

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  52. My heart cries for you. I had no idea that Ben was suffering and that you continued wth the blog in spite of it all. Honestly, I wish I had been there to help with the packing. You mean the world to me. Ann

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  53. With your immense talent and gorgeous pieces, you have made your new home absolutely stunning. You've made the most of a very challenging situation and I hope that miracle drug is waiting right around the corner, with permanent relief in sight! I've thought about what our next 20+ years look like. I try not to think about it too much, but it's staring us in the face. We'll probably stay put, but you never know what life has in store. One day at a time! You're amazing and don't forget it! God bless!

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  54. It's fabulous and has this baby boomer (me) longing to downsize. The apartment is gorgeous and I love how you've added your personal touch with the light fixtures, rugs, etc. The only thing missing is Mr. Slipper Socks' slipper socks on his side of the bed!

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  55. What a spectacular apartment and beautiful view. I for one am impressed with your attention to detail. You have collected lovely things.
    Can you please share your source for those star pendants in the hallway??? Thanks:)

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  56. Love and support to you and your dear Ben. You have inspired me for years and now even more for other reasons.
    Julie in Fort Worth.

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  57. Your apartment is lovely, with all of the items you saved from your home, that mean the most to you. I love it!!!! DH and I downsized 15 years ago, from a four bedroom, 3 bath, very large home on 3 acres with water frontage, to a brand new home in the city. Three bedroom, living, dining, kitchen, and family room, with a huge basement (didn't need that). Then 7 years ago,we decided our yard was again too large, and still a very expensive place with high taxes. Today, living in much smaller three bedroom, one used as office and library, living room,kitchen and dining combo. Are we happy here? Yes, never thought I would be. Just as you are happy, but sad I had to sell so many things, my baby grand piano hurt the most, and I cried. I do still have most of my books,even tho many of them went to Good Will, and I was able to keep some of the antiques. I made room for. Your home is still "you" with really really beautiful furniture, beautiful lamps, beautiful antiques, well beautiful everything. You have done an amazing job with it all. I know it had to hurt to leave the house, but thankfully, you were able to save things in storage for your daughter. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and your husbands journey. I will pray his migraines will cease, once a new medicine comes available, and life will be softer for the two of you. I love your blog, and I thank you for that also. Enjoy your BEAUTIFUL space...it truly is awesome! Hugs to you both, Bonnie in WI

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  58. Dear Joni, We downsized two years ago. At our moving sale it was sad to see items that I loved practically given away. Actually some were given away. In all this time I believe twice I went hunting for an item that I realized I let go and never lost any sleep over it. I like our new home and don't regret a thing.

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  59. It's beautiful, Joni. I'm glad you've shared this journey. I think that there is a lot to be learned of this post. It shows everyone that when you buy things you love, you can move them to spaces smaller or larger, brighter or darker, older or newer and it still looks gorgeous and creates a welcoming home. It also gives some great tips on small things you can do to make an apartment feel special, and stylish. All my best to you and Ben in this new journey, and more prayers for his hopeful pain-free future with the new meds.

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  60. First of all, I'm so sorry that Ben has been suffering from agonizing and debilitating migraines. I hope and pray that there will be a new treatment that will work for him and many others. It is true that we never know what others are going through, and if someone doesn't look physically sick, we can all make assumptions that can be terribly wrong. My daughter-in-law (mother of my young grandchildren) has CSF leaks after undergoing trigeminal neuralgia surgery. She is often in agonizing pain and has to have grueling 'patching' done that is only temporary. None have lasted. This has been going on for six years. I know that it can be particularly hard for a partner who has to deal with all the everyday living and household stuff as well as be as supportive as possible. Wishing the best for you both.

    Secondly, I can relate to the downsizing. Nearly five years ago, we downsized to our vacation cabin. That had always been the plan when we bought it. We absolutely love it here, but downsizing to 1400 sf was hard! Since we had furnished our vacation cabin, we had to combine two houses worth of furniture and to accommodate my family antiques that I couldn't part with. I remember the moment when we were unpacking and settling in where I came to tears because I thought there was no way it would all fit. And I had had years to think about it and knew where every piece of furniture would go, but it was all the other stuff that was difficult - two kitchens worth of cooking equipment and dishes, tools and household gadgets, and books. I gave away so many books, but I still have boxes in storage. I couldn't bear to part with as many of them as you did. Our cabin is small with hardly any storage and my bedroom closet is four feet by two feet! So, a lot had to go, including lots of inherited stuff and decorative items I had collected. I can identify with what you went through. And our grown and married boys took very little.

    Your apartment is lovely, and you have given it your signature style. It is amazing what you have done with it. I think having that view of nature certainly trumps having a nicer kitchen. I take so much joy from our beautiful view of mountains and trees, and looking at nature can be so restorative. I hope it will help with Ben's healing.

    Thanks for informing and entertaining us with your blog. I'm a longtime follower and had no idea what y'all were going through. Change is the only constant. Even though it can sometimes be painful, we can learn to adapt and make the most of it, which you certainly prove.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your journey. All will be well.

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  61. In the end — even though it's all just STUFF, anyway — you've made a beautiful home and kept the STUFF that you wanted...Don't let the haters affect you for a minute! Your new place is lovely and you definitely have the most important STUFF — the two of you — to make it even more lovely.

    Thanks for sharing an emotional journey in a thought-provoking and touching way. I'm sorry that your husband has been suffering from migraines and pray that he will improve and get stronger daily. I received an MS diagnosis in 2001 and can relate to having a health crisis, but God has been good and I haven't had a relapse since 2008. Hope and pray that Ben will have a similar experience with his headaches!

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    1. Only saw one 'hater'. Everyone else is very sympathetic.

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  62. Gosh Joni - what a surprise, but uplifting post. I've followed you since we had a little farm in Brenham where I emulated your great taste in design to make our little farmhouse its very best. I took your inspiration to a condo on the beach in DE, then to a house on the beach in DE and finally to our home in Illinois near our granddaughters. Full circles are exhausting aren't they? But your honesty, positive attitude and determination once again prevail and you have a beautiful piet a terre which is so very fitting not to mention beautiful. I've always felt kitchens were overrated so I like how you styled it. Give me a great cup of coffee and ice cream and that's fully functional. God Bless Ben in his recovery and bless you two since being a caretaker is a very demanding role. I look forward to future blogs about the Webb Piet a Terre adventures.

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  63. Dear Joni,

    I have enjoyed your blog for many years and have admired the graduate level research papers you have created.

    Like many responding to your downsizing post, my wife and I went through a similar situation two years ago when we left our home of 20 years for a much smaller townhouse. Fortunately for us our decision was self-inflicted and not due to health issues.

    I can relate to everything you went through and am so pleased that it has worked out well for you too. Your apartment is stunning!

    May God continue to bless you, Ben, and Elizabeth.

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  64. Dear Joni...your blog has been in my favorite feed for years and reading this, every word, has been an answer to prayers! My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years back and it’s now becoming more debilitating. So we just had the final conversation that the money tree out back has died and we can’t go on being house poor trying to hang on to 4,000 square ft. when we too only really live in 3 rooms! The pool guy, the landscapers and those water bills are gonna bankrupt us as soon as my hubby can’t work anymore so we’re gonna sell this summer. You made this doable after reading your journey. Rents are crazy here in SanDiego but we may have to go east and find something affordable. My daughter too suffers from migraines so I cried realizing your husbands pain, fighting for an answer all these years must be heartbreaking. So a return prayer said for you both and again thank you for sharing, showing me that home is where those you love...land! PS I had an addiction to decor books and my son in law who was supposed to be making room for their storage in our unit decided I didn’t need those anymore, didn’t even donate them because the boxes were too heavy, tossed thousands of $’s worth...in the city dump!!! Oh well couldn’t read them in storage anyways! God bless.

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    1. Tracy, please forgive my intrusion on Joni's article, but you must see this new information about Parkinson's! Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jWi6WQQ9wo&fbclid=IwAR1BWE5-Pxg1H_yUqxCwRd9hVRVHFIA0Md6qFRAE25GentrgZEW88mmcAYU Cheryl

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  65. Joni, this was inspiring! First of all, I hope Ben can find some relief from his near constant pain. Pain of a family member is like a ripple on a pond, affecting so much. I have several chronic illnesses (which I feel guilty about due to the impact on my family) similar to Ben's. I'm happy that you seem to care about him so much. There may or may not be some resentment due to your new changes, but that is normal as long as it is worked through.

    My husband and I are looking to do the exact same thing as you have had to do, by necessity. I alternately feel excited, then dejected, all in a never-ending cycle. Hopefully when we finally land, these emotions will pass.

    My mother just moved to Oregon from a lifetime in Texas. She and my brother took just their bare essentials, and had a local auction-type business buy the ENTIRE contents of her house, from junk to treasures. Serendipitously (for my mom), the lady of the home they bought their new house (on a bayou!) from a woman who had to move to an assisted care facility so Mom went into a fully furnished home. Mom is 88 years old and couldn't be happier!

    Your new home is beautiful! Those crystals are to DIE for! Love them!

    Good luck on your new step FORWARD!

    (Wow, a lot of us "Susans" here!)

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  66. I've been reading your blog for years and it's still the best decorating blog. I'm so impressed that you kept it going while your life was turned upside down. The apartment looks fabulous! And as my millennial nephew says, "Renting is the ultimate luxury."

    Prayers for your husband's healing.

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  67. Joni, thank you for this moving post. Life is hard and your devotion to your husband is to be admired! I know he must be so thankful for you. I have followed you for years and you have been my decorating hero. I remember when you said you could have French style in Houston and that was a new thought to me. I have come a long way in decorating thanks to you.I LOVE your new home and only you could have done such a fabulous job. May you make happy memories where ever you and yours are.

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  68. Thanks for sharing - it's inspirational in so many ways. I love your new apartment, the view and the den/guest bedroom but what I love most of all is the love story behind it all. Sending positive vibes that this latest drug will bring Ben relief. xo Michele

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  69. It's very difficult to leave a beloved home, and it's challenging to let go of items with memories and beauty. We had a two-story home with a full basement. After the kids left home, there were rooms we didn't go into for weeks other than to dust or vacuum, but it was paid off and suited us. Then my husband had surgery, and we realized how unsuitable it was to have the main floor with no shower (just a powder room) or bedrooms. I could not physically help him up the stairs to bed or to bathe. We looked for a one story with all the living on one floor, plus the requisite basement for Tornado Alley. I don't have to tell you it was a challenge to fit three floors of furnishings into two! We culled, tossed, gave away, and sent things to auction. We adjusted to our new home--there are positives to help balance the negatives--and enjoyed the lovely covered deck with park-like views. I thought we'd be here the rest of our lives, but age and health have made us realize the necessity of moving closer to our children. Once again, we are tasked with the Herculean effort of downsizing further, and it's been stressful. I watched Marie Kondo's series, and it's been helpful in giving me a feeling of gratitude towards those things I've giving up instead of the feeling of struggle and loss. It's not easy starting over, but you've done it with acceptance and grace. I hope to do the same.

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  70. Joni, Your new abode is stunning! Simply stunning! Thank for sharing the pictures and your story. You are an inspiration. Keep it up!! We're cheering (and praying) for you and Ben!

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  71. The one thing I really hate about renting is that there's a 99% chance that one will have to move AGAIN...ugh! And then it may be the landlord's choice when you move...another ugh. Or the rent goes up next year, and that is the reason you move. Ugh, ugh, and ugh.
    I really feel like I only have one more move in me at this age.

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    1. One other thing about selling a house and then renting:
      Two couples, old friends, both sold their homes and started renting. Neither one of these couples can now afford to buy another home as they have not owned a home for several years, and now homes have appreciated so much in the booming real estate market that they cannot afford to jump back in. If they would have bought a place sooner after selling, it would have worked, but houses keep appreciating, and if you're not owning, you are out of the appreciation loop. Then you tend (these people have anyway) to spend that money, here and there, that you got selling your home, and soon there's no chance that you'll ever own again. (Unless a person is wealthy) Have you thought about buying just a tiny little place that you could call your own? Just some thoughts from personal experiences with friends, I realize you said you're happy there-everybody has their own ideas on what works for them. It was just a wake up call when I saw people who once owned their own homes, and are now struggling financially because not only did they sell and then start renting, but also spent down their monies from the sales of them over a number of years. They owned something, and now in their older years, they have nothing. I feel badly for them.

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  72. The family moved my in-laws to a lovely retirement center last summer. They have lots of space, their 3 bed apt was completely remodeled. The owners of the retirement center gut all units, including bathrooms and kitchens after previous owners "leave" so they have brand spankin' new appliances and a marble/glass shower (no tub). They were able to choose paint colors and flooring.
    The couple had a home for 40+ years and were very traditional; lots of wood, crystal, antiques etc, and they went minimalist modern. They wanted a complete change, and they LOVE it!
    The place is so nice and new I feel I could move right in. They say when the times comes, it will be a breeze to get through with their canes and walkers. lol

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  73. Love the new place - you've styled it beautifully! Thanks for sharing it. I get ideas for my own house every time I see one of your posts.

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  74. Dear Joni, I think I was the first to read this post last night in a bout of insomnia! It touched me so much, on so many levels. I just re-read it and I want to say I know how hard this was for you. But you are brave. I know it takes a lot of courage to make a move like this because I've had to do it too. Four downsizes in five years! It takes a toll both emotionally and physically. You just have to put your big girl pants on and get er done. And boy did you get er done!
    I love your new apartment and what you've done to it to make it yours. Your furniture looks fabulous and I love that you put your signature seagrass down. You inspired me to do the same in my new house! As for the kitchen, it looks great with your collections. Cooking is overrated anyway.
    I can only imagine how relieved you both must be to be settled. That view of the bayou from your balcony is just gorgeous and I'm glad it gives Ben hours of respite and joy. And you too. I hope and pray Ben can find relief from the pain soon. Wishing your much happiness in your new home.
    Sending you a virtual hug...... ~Delores Arabian

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  75. Big hugs and prayers to Ben and you !!!
    This community of Design enthusiasts is a loving and supportive crowd :)
    I so hope Ben gets more days and relief from the Migraines - I honestly cannot imagine. You are a great spouse and your strength and determination to move forward is inspirational.
    Your house was so lovely and you are a testament to making any space beautiful is possible and it's all about the love and beauty expressed & you do it with so much panache!
    I do love a big and beautiful house - but your new home is everything a person could ask for and MORE.

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  76. I too just downsized from a house to a 2 bed condo. NO REGRETS. It's so liberating! I'm a follower of your blog, and I think you should use your immense talent to help all of us downsizers (why not do a blog just for downsizing???). Your place looks stunning and I adore the guest/sitting room...and I'd love to copy!
    That being said, prayers that your husband finds a solution to his pain. I am crying over the fabric and books but I've had to do it too! Just not with Fortuny! Do please give yourself a huge pat on the back and a hug. It is astonishing what you've been through and how nice of you to let us share your experience. The kitchen you can always offer to redo at your own expense. But if you help me with my guest room :-) I'll cook your dinners for a month! Thank you for sharing your experience and your beautiful new space with us.

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    1. I don't really think that someone who moved partly due to financial issues is going to redo a kitchen in a rental apartment with their own money...You never know about people though.

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  77. God bless and Keep You and Yours, Please go on with Your wonderful Blog...
    dap

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  78. And yet throughout all of this you continued to write and share wonderful posts - amazing! My heart hurts for you and Ben but it's also filled with admiration for taking the bull by the horns and getting on with the tough stuff. I'm in the midst of the same thing but for different, though also painful, reasons. I took a big downsize 9 years ago and am now preparing to do the same again. It's crazy stressful but I know it's the right thing - and I'm eager to have the same relief that I heard in your post. You've given me new inspiration for holding on to what I love and being ok with releasing what needs to go. And I know, too, that my new home may be much smaller but it will eventually feel like home, too. God speed to you and Ben and thank you so much for your wonderful blog! Linda

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  79. Oh Joni, I teared up reading your post! I can relate on so many levels. As a migraine sufferer, I can sympathize with Ben and his daily migraines. I can't even imagine. I was hoping that new medicine would be the cure. I will continue to pray for Ben that he be healed and that the doctors can find some relief for him in the meantime. I'm also praying for you! Being the spouse to someone with a chronic condition must be so hard. And then to have to downsize on top of it! You managed it all with such grace and dignity. You are so inspiring and I have no doubt that you will start a new trend and that everyone will want a 1500 sq ft apartment with a view after seeing your gorgeous place. What beauty you have created! I am in awe! Blessings to you both!

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  80. We did the move after I recovered from Stage 4 cancer and couldn't work anymore. Luckily after two years on disability I automatically qualified for Medicare. Yeah, another huge bill we did not have to pay each month. We went from two homes, one in Colorado and another in the mountains of Mexico, to 1500 square feet in Phoenix. Not my first choice of a landing spot but two of our adult children and three grands were here, so here we are. The other choices were New Hampshire (too cold), San Francisco (too PC and too $$$) and Houston (too $$$ again). Now I am thinking of an apartment with no taxes or insurance or maintenance. Hubby can't help much anymore so if I can't do it, I have to find a gardener or handyman. Sigh! Aging isn't for wimps. I will pray for you and Ben. Especially for Ben's health. Please keep up your blog. I love it so.

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  81. Firstly, this was such a moving story, no pun intended. I don't think I can say anymore than whats already been said but, my prayers are with Ben and your family.Your strength really shows! Thank you for sharing and being so candid. The new place is amazingly beautiful and I enjoyed seeing your pieces rearranged in a new light.

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  82. Thank you for posting this. I admire your work and your fortitude. I have a home that is too large and I am looking at retirement. It is time to downsize. It is painful, but your post makes me realize that not only can I do this, I must.

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  83. I love your decorating style. The apartment turned out very chic.

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    1. P.S. Your apartment is still bigger than my shoebox sized house.

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  84. Joni...your apartment looks gorgeous! You did such a wonderful job! We need to down size too...we have a large home and a pool that nobody uses...I want to leave California, but my hubby cant leave the ocean...Will see!
    I cant even imagine living with migraines every day...your poor husband! he will be in my prays and I wish the best for both of you!

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  85. Joni, Thank you for sharing this. I have a friend whose husband is in the same boat as Ben. It takes courage for both of you to keep putting one foot in front of the other like you both have. Downsizing is not for the faint of heart, but almost everyone who does it seems happy in their new circumstances. I am looking forward to downsizing sooner rather than later, and have begun the process of "Marie Kondoing" my home. The most difficult choice for me is all about my books. I am slowly letting all but my absolute favorites go. I still have a long way to go! I adore what you have done in your new home, and with some of the pressure off financially, I pray that Ben finds a combination that will work for him long term and that you both can enjoy your latter years with health, prosperity and peace in your hearts. Keep on blogging!

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  86. I have always loved your blog the most. Your love of design and research makes my heart sing. Reading this post today, I felt sad for you and yet so proud of you I imagine you Joni, your priorities and values are so admirable. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Praying for your precious husband. Beth

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  87. I just cannot fathom what Ben has been enduring for years - my heart goes out to him and, of course, to you for what you've been through. Man plans, God laughs, as the saying goes. I always thought that at this stage of my life, my husband would be retiring and we'd build our dream home on acreage in our beloved Texas. Instead, there was an unexpected divorce after 28 years of marriage, and I moved to a different state, went back to work full-time, bought a house 2/3 the size as the one we had, and put a lot of stuff into storage. Two years ago, I moved again to yet another state to be near my only daughter - another downsize of 1/3 of the square footage, a second storage unit for Christmas decorations and 2,000 books, the grand piano loaned indefinitely to friend's church. It's tough to realize that I'll never have that dream home and, in fact, I keep joking that if I keep going on this way, I'll end up living in a walk-in closet, lol! But the sudden death of a friend and some health issues of my own have recently made me realize that if something happened to me, I don't want to saddle my daughter with dealing with all this stuff. As much as I love it, she would only be interested in a small fraction of it. It's unlikely I'll ever have a spot for the piano again - the church will continue to enjoy it. I'll either add on a room for my books this year or get rid of them (not going to lie - that will be the one thing that will break my heart). I'll be going back to clean out the original storage unit that I've paid a fortune to maintain for 10 years, and I plan to take only a few things and have the rest hauled off!! What a waste. Do I wish I had more space? I do - especially in the kitchen. But it's just me and the dogs, so it's more than adequate, and we're making it a home. I'd prefer to have your view! Life is full unexpected and difficult challenges; how you meet them reveals your character, and you are doing just great!

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  88. Hi Joni, I just posted a comment but not sure if I did it correctly.
    So here I go again.
    Firstly, I love your new space. beautiful as always.
    We downsized 10 years ago. We still have too much space for 2 people and my dream is an Eventual "mouse house". Tiny, with all my very favorite treasures, nothing more. We all have way too much stuff anyway.
    The real reason for my posting is Ben's struggle with migraine. I know from a friend how debilitating this illness can be.
    We live in Colorado where CANNABIS has been legal for a while now and is being used to treat some illnesses very successfully where other medical options just did not do the job. Such as seizure disorders in children and other diseases that do not respond well to traditional medical treatments. We have parents move to CO from other states so their kids can be treated here. I am not a doctor but I think it might be worth looking into this.There are some articles on the internet as well. Just a thought I wanted to share with you.
    Wishing you nothing but the best, Monika

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  89. Joni,
    Your blog was the first one I ever read, and it is still my favorite one today. I felt like I was moving into that apartment myself. I loved the pictures and descriptions of where you put each cherished piece you brought with you. I'm thankful you have "loaned" some other treasures to your family and friends. I pray for you and Ben to find a path to his restored good health. Miracles happen every day.
    Susie

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  90. Dear Joni, I have loved your blog and the unique voice you have shared with your enthusiastic readers for years! I cannot begin to tell you what joy your encyclopedic treatment of so many different design stories over the years has meant to me personally. After a serious legal career then full time mothering, I decided at 49 that my real passion was interior design. That coincided with the advent of Cote de Texas and you will never know what an important teacher you were to me, inspiring and instructing me over and over again such that I had a successful design career for 10 very fulfilling years. I am still always so thrilled every time I see a post go up from you, knowing what a treat I have in store. I had to tell you again how much I admire and appreciate you and how sorry I am to learn of the challenges that you and Ben (Mr Slipper socks) have borne these last many years. Your new home is gorgeous and your ability to create such a beautiful new space with your gorgeous antiques and collections is very inspiring. But No Surprise! Sending love, healing energy and gratitude! Anne HH

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  91. Thanks for sharing your story. I (half) joke about keeping my favorite Persian carpet and my pink Baker sofa, because it will look fabulous when I am forced to downsize to that double-wide. Interesting how we spend the first half of our lives collecting things and the second half getting rid of it. Wishing you the best!

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  92. Well first of all Half Price Books should be held accountable and I am sad for your books... I always loved the addition of your library. You gave us here a great example on how to downsize and cull the very best. Your apartment is beautiful! I love the guest room. Best of luck on your husband's continued journey to end the migraines.

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  93. I am so sorry that you all have had to deal with such a difficult illness for so long. It is truly overwhelming to think of what that pain must feel like day after day - and being the caregiver is never easy either. Your downsized home is stunning. I think we could plop you in a pop up pup tent and you would make it look stunning. Everything looks amazing, it is wonderful that some of your stress has been alleviated as far as dealing with your home and it is wonderful that the bayou distracts your husband atleast part of the time! Cheers to fresh starts. Thank you for sharing!

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  94. Joni, you are so brave to be so honest about your downsizing. Know that your experience can probably be shared by many, many people who read your blog and, therefore, they know they are not alone. Your new home is so lovely, so you, so tastefully done. I personally hate change so I totally understand what you're saying. People who use platitudes like "move forward" or "change is good" or "now you can enjoy your new life" should have their cojones put in a vise! (LOL)

    I can't imagine what Ben has been going through all these years. Hope that in his lifetime someone discovers how to eliminate migraines totally.

    Gina from The Midwest

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  95. You have excellent taste Joni. I love the crockery display in the hall. All the very best from Melbourne.

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  96. I love your style and your blog. I think the new place is gorgeous. Prayers for your husband to find a medication that will work for him and then for you both to relax and enjoy your new lifestyle. Home is where the heart is❤️ XX Barbara Bryant

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  97. Joni
    I am sorry to hear of your husbands migraines and all that your family has had to endure over the past 7 years.It doesn't matter the neighborhood you live in or the size of your home, where ever you land your home will always be beautiful because it is a reflection of you and the way you choose to share and see life.
    You have been blessed with strength, love of family and those you reach in your blog.
    Stay strong and know that prayers and well wishes are always with you and Ben.

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  98. Joni, have read your blog for years and was stunned to hear of your husbands health. You did the right thing to downsize. Your place is charming and you are together. You apartment is tasteful and luckily you are able to keep some of your favorite things. Thank you for your wonderful blog--you never disappoint. Best wishes to both and enjoy your new abode. Thanks for sharing.

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  99. Joni, I'm so sorry to hear of Ben's health condition and am sending up prayers for a medication that will help him! Your apartment is stunning. I love those Monrovia star light fixtures (at least I think that's what they're called?) and everything else. So beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for writing your blog...I've enjoyed it and learned so much from you!! Wishing you and Ben the very best.
    Take care, Renee in Nor/Cal

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  100. Sweet Joni. You are so strong...and brave. Sending positive karma vibes to your husband. I wish him peace and relief. Reading your story was shocking. Not because it happened to you and you were so forthright about it all, but because I will be facing this very same life event myself. Scrolling down as I read, I felt a strange sensation that you were my deja vu. Yes, I am feeling the panic and the surreal numbness of not wanting anything and crying at what I will have to leave behind; all of it worthless and priceless at the same time. Things...just things. Time to move on and only bring what I need to float out of harm's way. Sending you hugs and lots of baci from a sister-in-arms who has been a fan for a very long time. Bianca

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  101. BRAVO to you Joni! I too began a serious and painful downsize when I moved from Houston to Delray Beach, FL. From,2,300 to exactly 760 sq. ft. I shed a husband and circled the wagons. Sorting, sorting, sorting. I figured I had bought or sold every shiny object that had caught my eye as a traveller, designer and antique dealer could desire in one lifetime. I had so many books....I sold 500 alone at the last Urban Market and what I had left that I could part with I made into lamps and donated to my library. I have rarely brought another item into my domaine of 760 square feet. When I had to gift someone I shopped at home, a book or a pair of candlesticks, out the door. And lord did eBay and ETSY save my life! Selling on both I would just wander around my house and clean out a cupboard and list it. So many things finding happy new homes. I still have a condo filled with some of my favorite objects that remind me of family, friends or travels. I concentrate on my pillows and the glorious fabrics from the past 50 years and finally get to see them come to fruition and sell them. I feel the same way you did...it is liberating! So, my dear, enjoy your view. You have done a wonderful thing for you and your family and the new nest looks FAB!

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  102. Joni--your story touched me in so many ways. Thank you for your openness about such a series of critical life changes. I am so sorry for Ben's illness--it sounds as if your move is an unexpected gift in many ways, taking pressure off financially and administratively--how to handle all that "stuff". I speak too from experience. We moved from an older home almost 9 years ago--downsized to a cluster home and have so enjoyed our new space. Majolica, antiques, Canton china, sets of beautiful dinner plates and 1800 books--went to auction, charity and some to kids, but they want different things. We love our neighbors and see them as we take our daily walks--we promised to buy no new things after the first changes we made--and we've fairly well stuck to it. So it has turned out to be a move which took off the pressure of fixing the old home, caring for the yard,etc. Unexpectedly, my husband has an ongoing illness--so it has also turned out to be an additional blessing to have downsized. Yes, I occasionally miss the silver demitasse pot for flowers and other symbolic and special pieces--but it passes quickly and the joy of flowers in a handmade pottery vase seems more fitting to the surroundings.
    I wish you well and hope Ben finds help for his migraines--may I suggest healing touch & Emotional Freedom Techniques as a possible help. My son had horrible migraines as a child as did my dad, but fortunately they both outgrew them as they got older--they are incapacitating. I pray for his relief and your calmness. All the best to you both--you have chosen to live your best life and I applaud you and thank you for sharing.

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  103. Hello Joni, I had no idea you were having such dramatic problems while producing some of your most delightful and well-researched posts. I hope that Ben's headaches will be brought under control. What a terrible burden migraines are--I know a number of sufferers, but I have never heard of a case as bad as Ben's.

    About the house to apartment move. I suppose that everything happened so suddenly that you didn't have time, but a good house/moving sale person could have gotten you quite a sum of money and also taken care of the cleanout. The key is to get good recommendations.

    Any new space takes time to experiment and see what works where. You have already come up with a number of clever solutions (I may steal your idea of quartz crystals on a silver tray.) The problem with people "babysitting" your things is that after a while it is difficult to ask for them back. Never mind; with that view, I would be very reluctant to move!
    --Jim

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  104. wow, Joni! You and Ben have been through so much! I'm so sorry for your pain and pray that Ben will respond well to the new medication. You are an inspiration with your resilience and belief in the power of living beautifully wherever that may be. You have done an AMAZING job with your apartment and it reflects your gracious style just as your former home did.
    Love and Prayers,
    Janet

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  105. Hi Joni! I've read your blog for years and followed you on Instagram, as well - you really were the first out there with the design blogs and set the tone. You're doing it again with this honest and lovely post. I'm sure you've had it up to your gills with medical advice, but, just in case no one has mentioned going vegan, I'll put it out there. I went vegan 6 years ago for other reasons and have done extensive reading on it and many have gotten relief from cutting out meat, and especially dairy. I hope Ben gets the relief he needs and deserves. Your new home is lovely - it really is all about our health, isn't it?

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    1. He's not vegan and no chance of that. He loves chicken way too much! But I'll see.
      I'll look it up.

      Thanks so much!

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  106. Our health is our wealth. Godspeed to you both.

    Grew up driving along Buffalo Bayou for decades on way to church. Prettiest spot in Houston.

    No accident ya'll landed along its shores.

    We see the world as we are. Amazing, snarky people don't realize how purely they out themselves. Bless their heart.

    Congrats on this new chapter, and thank you for taking us along.

    Garden & Be Well, XoTara

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    1. Tara - I didn't know you were from Houston?????????


      Thanks!!

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  107. So sorry for Ben & you having to deal with migraines. Love your beautiful home & collections. I too have so many things collected, inherited. Got my wheels turning thinking about what I’d keep. Tomorrow is another day. I’ll think about it another day. What a lovely, well written capsule of your lives. I ‘m so glad you shared.

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    1. OK Scarlet! Tomorrow IS another day!!!

      Thanks so much for your sweet words.

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  108. Hi Joni: This is my first comment on your wonderful blog. I am also a designer and a blogger and appreciate the research and beautiful content you present. I am commenting because I am a migraineur as well. I am currently having relief following Dr. Angela Stanton's protocol which is outlined in her book; "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic Complete Guide How to Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medications. Dr. Stanton's work is the result of being a migraineur. There is a Facebook Group of over 4,000 participants who follow her protocol and help each other prevent migraines. The migraine brain is unique and has its own requirement for electrolytes, protein and fat. If Ben has not tried this approach it may be very helpful. Love your new home.

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    1. I'm going to go look right now!!! THANK YOU!!!

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    2. ok. i SENT in a request. Fingers crossed.

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  109. I have so enjoyed reading your blog for a few years now. Love the detail and history. I know how difficult it is to downsize but your new home looks fabulous! Best wishes to you and your husband...

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    1. Thank you Unknown!
      You've left a lot of comments today!!! LOL

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  110. Joni- I've read your blog for years, and I am always amazed by your research and knowledge and commitment to a story. You are a truly talented designer who I admire SO much and a talented writer with such personality! I'm so glad you shared your journey. I am wishing you and Mr. slipper-socks man much love and a miracle cure for the migraines. As someone who suffers only occasionally, I know from experience how debilitating they can be. I'm saying prayers for you both. and by the way--I applaud your courage to downsize-yes it's completely courageous to break out of the comfort of the familiar and begin again, and Joni-- you did it with grace.

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  111. Joni! I love love love your new home! I want to come and visit and hang out...it looks so comfortable and cozy and such CLASS !!!!

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    1. Come on girl!!!!!!!!
      You're welcome for sure!

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  112. Joni,
    Beautiful post and touching story. I'm very sorry to learn of you and Ben's trials. I am hopeful that he will find permanent relief. I cannot imagine how hard the past ten years have been. Your blog has never shown a hint strife. It's very brave of you to speak so intimately, I feel certain that your story will help many. I'm very impressed, yet not surprised with your downsizing project. Your new home is simply stunning, I've learned to expect nothing less from you. I too miss the hand painted wallpaper behind your bed! Maybe once you find your permanent home, you may again have something similar. Life is a journey, the only thing certain is change. You've managed this change with grace. Wishing you and Ben strength, relief and much happiness!

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    1. I"m surprised people are saying they didn't know? I've talked about it on IG and here I thought. So, I'm glad to see that maybe I didn't talk about his illness too much? I hope not.
      The wallpaper is terrible. I really miss it. Sad about that, honestly. ok, Chin up now!!!!
      Thanks!!!
      j

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  113. I think the horses in the print are lipizzaners! I only mention it because they have their own rather fabulously decorated home.
    https://www.viennaconcerts.com/si/riding_school_vienna/spanish_riding_School4.jpg

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    1. hmmmm. Wow!

      I'm too lazy to go get them down and look. I will though for sure. I think they are French tho????

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  114. Dear Joni..I follow you via email and Instagram. We are most likely the same age. I am an interior designer in Virginia..actively working and really enjoy each day. You certainly have written a compelling story of the stage of life so many baby boomers will face sooner or later. My Husband is happily retired and I am happily working.
    First, I am so sorry about Ben..so hard to imagine being in pain every day. He is a strong man and is blessed to have you as his bride and life partner. You did a remarkable job downsizing..with a few tears and a sense of humor(best combination of survival skills).You are an inspiration, truly!!! I have followed your beautiful posts for some time..but, Girlfriend..THIS IS THE BEST OF THE BEST!!! Thank you from all your Boomer Sisters..you are leading the way.
    Keeping Ben and you in my prayers. Love and Happiness to you from Granny LuLu in Virginia

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    1. Granny LuLu - I"m going to be JoJo and Ben is Deedaw. That's been our names forever - can't wait for a marriage and grandchild. Please God!!!!!!

      Thanks so much for your kind words!!!!!!!!!!!

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  115. I've read and read your blog. My heart feels your anguish. Loosing my husband 5 years ago this past February, we were in the same boat, after many years of illness he finally was at rest. We weren't in a position to move and a difficult one to stay. There was no moving him he wouldn't have survived the move. By the grace of God I've been able to hang onto my home and do some updating that like you, desperately needed to be done. My life is mine now and I feel as though I can breath. I appreciate you saying there was no time for tears, you had to push through. I pray with everything I have that Ben finds the relief he needs and you the peace and understanding to sustain the pain he goes through. If I could reach out and give you a big 'ole Missouri I hug I sure would. My thoughts are with you daily.... ~ hugs Lynne ~

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    1. I'm so sorry your husband passed away. I can't imagine that. We both could use a hug, Virtual hug. I'm so sorry for your loss.

      J

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  116. As a long time reader I am sending along best wishes for hope, health, healing and your new home! You have made a wonderful new home here - such an inspiration for me - another Boomer Sister! Always hoping for your interior design blog postings to be made into a book - and yes -- I will be in line waiting for your autograph! Cheers! Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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    1. I know you have been a long time reader! Maybe one of the longest?????
      Thanks so much Jan!

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  117. You are amazingly strong and obviously grounded, an inspiration to all! You knew what was important in life and did what you had to do with grace and style and found the positive side to a difficult situation. Your new home is lovely. All of the furnishings you brought look great in the new space because of your design talents and now your home can again be a haven and not a source of stress. I will think of you and your husband and pray that a cure or drug comes along that will alleviate his chronic pain. You have provided a lot of pleasure to many with your blog so I hope the outpouring of good wishes for both you and your husband will provide some support as you continue to navigate what life has brought your way. Wishing for health and happiness in your future. Jackie

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    1. Thanks Jackie! So much. The dr. thinks he will outgrow them. LIke when though?

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  118. You've done a wonderful job. Wishing the best for Ben in managing his chronic migraines and having a better quality of living. Wishing the best for you in managing your journey from here. We are in the midst of a downsize, from an big home and landscape garden to an urban loft, and I am very tired.

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    1. Urban loft! I love those, but the stairs. Are you getting an elevator?

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  119. I am stunned by how challenging this all must have been and pray that Ben finds help. I had ONE migraine long ago and thought I would die. Your taste is just lovely and I hope all is well. Thank you for sharing.

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  120. Thank you for sharing this. So sorry to hear of Ben's illness. I struggled with migraines for a few years, but I cannot imagine this level of suffering. Yours,too. Lots of big decisions and stuff to do. It would be easy to be overwhelmed and paralyzed, but you but you managed. The new space is lovely and looks like a home, not some random space! May you both find relief and joy in your new, but familiar surroundings.

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    1. You are so lucky to get over your migraines. Women's are tied to their cycles. Maybe you're done with yours?
      Thanks so much for your kind words!!!

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  121. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am so sorry to hear of the struggles you and your husband have had to endure with his migraines. It's so difficult to watch the ones we love in pain. I do hope that the new medicine will help. Your new home is beautiful! You should be very proud of your positive attitude. You are truly an inspiration!

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    1. Well, my attitude is def not always positive. Especially walking the dogs in freezing mornings!!!!!

      thank you so much for your kind words.

      J

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  122. I love all your posts but I think this is your most important. Thank you for sharing your trials with us. I choked up reading each paragraph and seeing each picture. I loved your old place as I have followed your blog for soo long. But I just love your new place too along the mental and financial freedom it gives you. Those things are so important especially as we get older. Your new view is to die for. I would love to downsize in a few years. I look at my large empty house and wonder why I ever thought I needed so much space to maintain. I hope there is a cure for your Ben. I, too, suffer from a chronic illness and the endless search for a solution is tiring and tiresome. I have found bits of critical helpful advice in the craziest of areas...odd message boards, reddit, anywhere where those suffering the same issues can congregate and share like information. Hopefully there will be a solution to his pain soon. Maybe CBD vape with or without THC. Who knows. It's worth a shot at this point. I look forward to hearing of your new adventures.

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    1. I'm so sorry you too are sick. He did try oil from Colorado. It did nothing. Maybe he should do it again?
      I hope you find a cure soon. If you need to talk, call me!!
      thanks again,
      J

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  123. Joni, what a brave and moving piece. You have been providing us with amazing, beautiful and well-researched blogs for years, all the while your family was dealing with horrible illness. I am glad you have come out the other side and are beginning to enjoy your new chapter. I hope Ben finds some relief from his pain. Thank you for all you do, you really have taught me so much about design and interiors. Your new place is gorgeous! —Karen

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    1. Thank you so much. Despite the illness, we still laugh.. late at night, when he feels better!

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  124. Sending love, more love, and still more love! I appreciate both of you--Ben's incredible wisdom as well as your incredible determination to follow that wisdom. What a team! I want to hug you both!

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  125. Very nice article.. i like it, thanks for sharing.

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  126. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been reading your blog for years and appreciate all your design knowledge and sleuthing. I hope your husband feels better. Life has ebbs and flows. Your new home looks beautiful. Less stuff is better = more time to writing amazing blog posts!

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    1. you are so right - everything is so much easier, except the dogs - especially the one that has to go every two hours!!!

      Thanks!!!

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  127. Hi Joni,
    I just had the opportunity to read your post and it struck home with me.Thank you for sharing. We are trying to figure out what to do and reading your article gives me courage and strength. Hugs to you and Ben.
    Cindy

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    1. I'm here is you ever want to talk!!!

      Thanks!!!

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  128. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome info! Keep posting, Hookah

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  129. I'm so very sorry to hear of your husband's migraines. I can't imagine enduring that level of pain day after day. I get cluster headaches and prednisone is the only thing that breaks the cycle of inflammation for me. Hope that Ben's doctors find something that works for him.
    I've read and loved your blog for years and love how you've styled your new place. The location looks heavenly! I'm your age trying to maintain an old house in an expensive city. It all feels so daunting, both staying or trying to move with the problems of health and shrinking income. You're a real inspiration and I wish you and Ben all the best!

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    1. The inflammation is one thing. It's like the brain gets all worked up and it's so hard to quiet it down. I don't think we've tried prednisone. I"m going to ask about that!

      Thank you!!!

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  130. It was a wise decision to unload the big house and even all those possessions. We did the same thing 6 years ago and I don't miss my former home at all. Although it was difficult getting rid of so many possessions I still brought far too many items with me. In fact I still have items stored in boxes and although I know if I haven't used them in 6 years I'm not ready to give them away.

    I have so much empathy for your husband and what you've had to contend with. Hopefully a successful treatment isn't far off. Your sister-in-law was certainly a huge help to you. Just having that support when one is feeling so discouraged is so important as a life line.

    The view in your new place everything. Just being able to sit on the balcony and watching the change of seasons and all the wildlife is so calming and restful.

    May you both find peace and happiness in your new home.

    naz

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    1. Thank you. I can't imagine getting rid of some things. I don't know why, but like my kitchen table. It's at my friends. I'll never give that away, it was too h ard to find. Hopefully Elisabeth will want it one day.
      Thanks again!!!

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  131. I can echo everyone's positive sentiments and not say them as well. So many thanks to you. Thank you for your interesting, fascinating and thorough blog posts! Thank you for sharing your real life. Your resilience is inspirational, your new home is beautiful and feels familiar. What a lovely way to transition, kudos! Ben's determination in the face of debilitating pain is inspirational. Laura (from Galena Park)

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    1. My first home was in Galena Park. My parents lived behind our grocery store!!!!! The other two stores were on Lyons Avenue!! My old stomping ground. Thanks Laura for your sweet words.

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  132. Joni, Your new home is as lovely as the larger one and what a gorgeous view to wake up to everyday. I am so sorry for all you guys have had to go through. I hope they find something to ease Ben's pain. Hopefully being there without the stress will help you both. You are an amazing lady and write the best blog ever. I have spent so many enjoyable hours here and learned so much. You have a gift. I am so impressed you were able to blog through all this. I can barely do so during a remodel. Stay strong and know so many have you both in our thoughts and hearts. You have encouraged others to take chances and make changes with this post!! Hugs, Kim

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    1. Thanks Kim. Actually blogging kept my mind off all of it.
      Thanks so much for your kind words!!!

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  133. Joni - Three cheers for living in the present, letting go of unused stuff, and loving your man Ben more than the house, the books, or any of those things in it. God bless and keep you and Ben (and your puppies) healthier, happier, more calm, and enjoying this new chapter in your life together:) Keep on blogging!! Shari

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    1. I do love that man. Sssshhh - don't tell him.

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  134. Joni - you did a beautiful job on your new place. I too am approaching the downsizing (property taxes) decision and wondering where to go. I love you new home - perhaps I'll see you there!

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    1. I wish!!! Even though I have no clue who you are - we need more downsizers here. There's not many. Come on out!

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  135. I've never written an online comment, but I have to say your place looks spectacular. In my opinion it's better than the house! You get to surround yourself with all favorites. It's truly a masterpiece!

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    1. Not really. lol~!!!!! I do love it.

      ONE THING - it's older and it's built like a highrise. It's soooooo quiet. We have a newborn next door and we have never hear one peep. IT's soooo quiet because it's all concrete? I think???

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  136. The worst thing about an apartment though is that you are not in charge of your own destiny.

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    1. Or your damned kitchen!

      Mine is horrible. I can't even begin to describe the countertops. They are wood. Yep.

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  137. I know that through all of the heartache you are able to breathe a sigh of relief now. Eventually we all have to face the "downsizing" and I do not look forward to it.
    I love your wonderful vignettes and design style.
    Would you mind sharing paint color you used in your "old" guest room? Also, what is the source for pillows on wicker chairs in your current dining room? Thanks in advance!

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    1. It was a restoration hardware color. DO they even still make paint? I haven't looked at their web site for paint. It was a beautiful bluish green. take the photo to a paint store - they should be able to match it.

      Those pillows ALSO came from Restoration Hardware. I think. 95% on that answer!!!

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  138. Dear Joni,
    The spectacular design and decor beauty of your new home matches the profound beauty of the two of you. I am honored to read your blog each time it comes out. Thank you for your gift of depth and richness. Love and blessings always, a fellow traveler

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    1. Really? EACH time???? lol. Even my husband doesn't do that. I give you permission to skip every other week. I"m getting slap happy with these comments!!!!

      Thank you so much!!
      J

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  139. dear Joni, You are amazingly brave to share this very personal journey. Your strength and love of home, family and especially of Ben shines bright in this post. I am so very, very sorry that this terrible illness has debilitated Ben's health, and your entire life this way. As someone who used to struggle with migraines in the past I simply can NOT imagine the agony of a seven year migraine. You and Ben are both very strong.  Ben must be so grateful for your love and support. As the OG and Godmother of design blogs (!) you continue to teach us interior design and life lessons through your writing. The new apartment is stunning and perfectly you!  Coming from interior Dallas I also know the holistic, spiritual value of having amazing view from one's home.  I am so happy for you both that you found such a great apartment with that beautiful view.  The Moravian star light fixtures were simply genius!  I have always loved them and they look fabulous in your entry. You did a masterful job of turning a simple apartment into a beautiful home. Thank you for sharing your new home and your story with us all.
    Sending you and Ben much love, light and healing prayers.  xxojoan

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    1. Thanks so much Joan. Coming from you is such a compliment!!!!

      I do love the lights. They were just 90. on Wayfair. I love a bargain too!!!!

      Thanks again,
      J

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  140. Joni, I have been an avid reader of your blog for at least 9 years and have never missed a post! You have taught me so much through your blog posts and design insights. As with so many other loyal readers, we could never repay you all of the joy you have given with your beautiful design posts all these years. I am so sorry to hear what you have gone through over the past year. You are so strong and I know how hard that must have been for you! We too recently downsized to a historic home and I had to basically give away an entire attic full of furniture/decor items. And, sold all my custom curtains for next to nothing because the new owners didn't want them. Its hard!! Especially for those of us who love pretty things. I really feel for you and appreciate how much you have overcome. Your new apartment is lovely and the view is incredible. I wish you so much happiness in the new place and continued thoughts and prayers for Ben (Mr. Slippersocks) health!
    Sincerely,
    Amanda McNeill

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    1. Just 9 years?????? what about the other 3??????? hahahaha.

      I gave Shannon some of my curtains. A lot were sun damaged and I didn't even realize it. I would love to be in a historic home instead of a non historic apartment! You're lucky. We don't have many historic houses in Houston.

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  141. Apparently you create the same harmony and beauty in your relationships as you do in your interiors. My jaw is dropped in awe with admiration. Peace to you and Ben. And I'll keep watch for your book to be published, the one which will be the most fun for you to write. In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy your new blogs.

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    1. you & me both!!! I am shocked by the comments. Humbled. It's really amazing. Unreal really.
      No book. I don't have enough photographs for that.

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  142. Dear Joni,
    Wishing you and Ben well. My wife suffers from chronic acute migraines too and I understand how helpless you must feel. She is now seeing a functional MD to drastically modify diet and supplements. Nothing else has been working. She did consider that surgery for a while, but decided against it. Thank you for sharing your story, I'm happy for you both that you are living in a more manageable space, have that incredible view, and still have the most beautiful home I can imagine.

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    1. Don't get that operation - tell her it's a hoax. An expensive hoax.
      Thanks for your sweet thoughts!!!

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