The Survivor’s Nest – Two Things I Learned From Serendipity


I believe in serendipity, especially in decorating. Despite my natural inclination to plan, there’s something about making desirable discoveries by accident that brings a spark of surprise and life to any decorating project.

I’ll give you a great example from my own decorating life. About 18 months ago, I was in the middle of a renovation of our 1960’s era kitchen. We decided to put a small family room off the back of our house as part of the renovation. I designed the room with two large windows to bring in the light. My contractor suggested a vaulted ceiling, which enlarged the room significantly. Once the work was in progress, he remembered he had an unused palladium window he was happy to give me (yes, give me!) to put over one of the windows. I loved the idea and was excited about the opportunity to bring in more light and make the little room a bit grander.

My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when he took out his tape measure and discovered that the palladium window wouldn’t fit between the window and the ceiling line. There just wasn’t enough room. So much for that idea.

Later, when the construction was over, I had to decide what went where. As the kitchen and living room were entirely reconfigured, my collection of souvenir plates couldn’t return to their original place on a living room wall because that wall was gone for good. I put them up on another wall and quickly took them down. It just didn’t look right.

Finally, I looked beyond the living room and into that small family room. I realized that the space above the window was perfect for my collection. If you look closely, you’ll see that the plates directly above the window create the shape of a palladium window. The remaining plates cascade down the sides of the window to envelop it. I love the colors and interest the plates bring to the space. Also, it’s a very personal collection which means a lot more to me than the window would have.

I learned two things (again) from this experience: 1) Bad news and disappointments aren’t always for the worst. If you hold on and work through them, you may actually see them for the opportunities that they are, and 2) look beyond expectations and old ways of doing things to find new, exciting solutions.

In decorating, as in life, there are no guaranteed plans. Embrace serendipity and find joy in accidental discoveries. You never know where they will take you.

Do you have any decorating serendipity stories? I’d love to hear them.

Survival > Existence,



Image courtesy of



I guess serendipity can mean being in the right place at the right time. I took two sessions of a poetry writing class as part of Leisure Learning in Basking Ridge while I was undergoing radiation. I loved the classes and was very disappointment when the class wasn’t offered this year. However, when I was in the music appreciation class this week (which I almost skipped), the poetry teacher happened to sit down next to me. When I told her how sorry I was that her class was no longer being offered, she informed me that it is, indeed, being offered beginning next week! I had never written poetry before and found that expressing my many feelings, fears, anxieties about breast cancer in poetry helped me deal with those feelings. As a two year survivor, I am now in an entirely different state regarding my feelings about survival and am looking forward to being able to express them.
Debbie's picture

Poetry Was Your Lucky Discovery


That’s a great serendipity story! It was a lucky discovery to find the poetry class in the first place, and then you discovered it again! Enjoy it and I’m sure the poetry you write will be absolutely wonderful.

Survival > Existence,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.