Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Crow

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When I was younger I was running with a friend and she referred to me as a "Crow." 
I had never noticed it myself, but she quickly picked up on my penchant for seeking out shiny objects (even apparently while on the go).
Like the crow, I wasn't one to feather my nest with these items,
but they definitely caught my eye and drew me in for a closer look.

Today still, I am always looking around for objects with forms and textures that I can re-purpose to use in my home. 

A few months back I started keeping an eye on the shoreline for a sturdy and straight piece of driftwood to replace my stock handrails in my back staircase. I was lucky enough to pick up one small length after the last hurricane, but finding a 12' piece proved to be a greater challenge.

Good things come to those who wait and finally last week on that same jogging route I spotted this...

* Please excuse the pile of scrap lumber from another project

Like any good scavenger, I made a quick mental note of the mile marker and ran straight home to get my car. (I would have attempted running home with it, asking my friends to line up to carry it Viking style, but my running group is too new and I didn't want to frighten anyone off on one of our first days out)

With a few simple tools: skill saw, palm sander and using the existing brackets since they were already securely in the wall studs... I am now the proud owner of not one, but three driftwood handrails.

I love the weathered gray, the sturdiness of the hardened wood and the local character it lends an otherwise utilitarian back hall stairway.

 Before and After...

I'm hoping to pick up a great piece for this large wall at the Brimfield Antique Fair in May! What am I going to do with these circa 1976 baby photos of me and my sister?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Before and Afters...

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This is the time of year when the yard-sale signs go up and I get antsy for some new projects. Last year at this time we had just bought a new house so I was full of ideas and couldn't wait to start planning and hunting for treasures to remake. Tonight I dug out some of the before and after photos so when I drive by the house tomorrow and see all that still needs to be done, I can remind myself how far we've come. 

The second bedroom in the "Periwinkle Palace" is TINY, a stretch at 10'x9.'
I needed to be able to sleep two people, accommodate a dresser with a small television, storage for about a week's worth of clothing, lighting and room for a few personal items.

I decided to paint the room Martha Stewart's "Kettle Pond"- a color I LOVE that has become a staple in my own home. (having a spare gallon in my basement didn't hurt). 
It's cool, but not cold, clean and fresh and makes the room look crisp.

Aqua is one of my favorite neutrals. It goes beautifully with with warm colors like red, tangerine and sunny yellow, but works equally as well with naturals- whites, tans, browns and creams for a beachy vibe without being too literal.


White bunks, blue and white polka dot sheets, a recycled lime green night stand with a fishing net lamp and some room darkening striped curtains were all it needed to transform this sad, ugly little room into a fresh space perfect for a summer guest or a sleepover.

Here is a before of the master bedroom. It's a great size, but dated, dreary and dirty. 

However... there is nothing that a case of caulking and a few coats of Cottage White and some Shaker Beige can't cure!
I recycled a gently used bedroom set from a friend's garage, lengthened the miniature windows with some Ikea linen drapes hung floor to ceiling and added pendant lights to either side of the bed to free up space on the night stands. Photos of those coming up soon...


In order to save on plumbing costs I decided to keep the laundry in it's existing location on the enclosed porch and simply upgrade the old wiring to support the new HE machines. 

I really liked the exterior windows and siding in this area and opted to leave both, but cleaned up all of the surfaces with a fresh coat of high gloss bright white paint to light to a small space. 

The vintage pink indoor /outdoor carpeting while lovely, just didn't make the cut..

At some point I may have to break down and add some shelving or cabinets for practical purposes, but for now I am happy to find a good home for my old school $2 yard sale blackboard. I'm thinking marigold might be a good color choice for the wooden frame.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Resurrection

Pin It With Easter around the corner I think it's only fitting to share our most recent "resurrection." We bought the "Periwinkle Palace" last May from a local woman who had enjoyed the cottage and it's prime location in our coastal community for the past fifty years.
 *side note- the former owner just won the largest Powerball jackpot in history last month and is likely headed towards building the "cottage" of her dreams down in Texas!

As a yard-saler, you should have an affection for "Shabby Chic" but this little cottage had way more shabby than chic going on.

From the moment I saw it I knew I had to save it. I hadn't even gone inside but I could see that someone had once loved it. The garden was overgrown, but there were tangles of raspberries and roses mixed with budding asparagus. I think the asparagus was what clinched it for me.

The house itself is tiny but still functional enough for our needs and had a lot of potential so we decided to find a way to revive it while spending as little money as possible and furnishing it with yard-sale finds.

There were a few odd items to deal with, like that giant plate glass window which was serving to turn the living room into a convection oven.

After looking back at some photos of a recent trip to New Orleans we settled on full length shutters to solve the problem. I knew these inspiration photos would be put to good use!

There is still so much to be done, replacing the remaining six windows (that tells you how small it is!), the sliding glass doors, maybe some built ins for storage, landscaping, garage repairs... the list is endless but I'm looking forward to starting the next phase of exterior updates!

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As a child, I watched my father build houses and developed a passion not only for architecture, but for wood. I loved the smell of sawdust and the way he could take a pile of sticks, a few simple tools, and some drawings and quickly turn them into a real home. It seemed so easy and natural, and I wanted to do it, too. My parents teamed up to build homes, and Mom and I would sit at the kitchen table scouring design books and rearranging walls while we dreamed. For a child, having the opportunity to offer an opinion in an adult world not only sparked an interest in home design, but taught me that I too had a say and could contribute to creating my own environment.

Ten years ago, I had the good fortune to move from Boston to Newport, RI.
My husband and I bought a small cape house with a front porch perfect for rockers, a great yard and fantastic neighbors. With very little money, a lot of paint and an abundance of youthful energy, we turned that house into our first home.

Four years and one baby later, we purchased our current home, or what we affectionately refer to as "The Plantation." It has taken almost seven years of trial and error, a lot of hard work, and some creative accounting to take this house from "homeless shelter" to "home", but here is the end result. 

This is what we bought...

And where we are today... (even the skies brightened up when we finished!)

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