a touch of nature

For the most part this season, I am decorating with elements inspired by nature.  Rather simply too.  I opted for a lighter, brighter color palette rather than the traditional warm, fall colors.  This palette can also be found at the shop and many of these elements are for sale there.  Typically I am decorating similarly at home as I am at West End Garage.  It keeps things simple!

natural fall mantel display with stacked wood

Cotton stems have been very popular and you can see why.  They’re so easy to work with.  Just plop them in a vase or in this case, a galvanized flower bucket.  They really can be on display from late summer/harvest season through New Year’s.  So many options!  They look good alone or with an accent flower.  I thought it was fun to pair them with twigs and vintage arrows for this vignette.  I used just 3 stems in each bucket to get this look.

cotton & arrows

The other accessories include feather balls, mini pumpkins and antler ornaments.  The antlers are small reproductions so they’re sort of guilt free for people who are into the antler trend but not a fan of decorating with animal relics.  They’re available at West End Garage too along with a quickly growing collection of ornaments.  Tis the season!

simply natural fall mantel

simply natural fall mantel

I got my wish of beautifully stacked wood after pining and pinning!  Our wood burning stove has been installed and is ready for winter.  I love how the seasoned wood accents this display and gives purpose to the mantel.  And the faux bois planter certainly doesn’t hurt.

fall mantel display with stacked wood

Peering past the mantel into the corner, you can see the Captain has something new over there and it’s not just the orange raffia pumpkin (also available at West End Garage).  He’s perched up on a vintage 6-drawer card catalog which I am super excited about.  I spotted this in an antique shop and spent a week dreaming about it for this space while fearing it would be gone by the time I got back.  It was there waiting for me and it is the ideal fit for this corner.  Plus the drawers are the perfect size to hold DVDs.

fall card catalog side table preview

I am deciding where to go from here with it, aesthetically.  It needs to be boosted up a few inches to true side table status.  Probably with casters since I seem to put casters on everything in my home.  Also, should I paint it?  That corner seems dark and the wood isn’t anything spectacular.  Linen seems like a viable option – maybe just the frame and not the drawers?  Please do weigh in!  Would you paint a vintage card catalog?

ammo trunk

Vintage Trunks are the best, aren’t they?  Clearly they provide storage as that was the intention in the utilitarian object to begin with.  However, they also lend an aesthetic appeal to a space.

Vintage Ammo Trunk

A few years back I scored this large vintage ammo trunk as part of a lot of trunks.  It was a WWII US Navy trunk. In fact, the shipping labels are still in tact which indicate that it was sent to the US Air Force in New York.  The trunk, overall, is in great shape.

Vintage US Navy Ammo Trunk

I have a soft spot for World War II memorabilia.  It is probably the least feminine thing to collect but there is something visually appealing to me about the army green, type fonts, rivets and brass details typically associated with the items.  It generally leads me to wonder about what our country was like at that time with women headed to work while men were at war; what my grandparents were doing; what technology was in play and so on.  It is also the era that my collections date back to.  I don’t really gravitate toward many pieces earlier than 1940’s.

vintage army jacket

Naturally I loved this green trunk although I did initially try to sell it but had no takers.  When that happens it is a sure sign that it is meant to stay with us…at least for now.

Junk in the Trunk! vintage trunks stacked

Over the past year it has lived a double life after receiving a set of casters on the bottom so it can easily be pushed around.  First, it made a fantastic window seat when covered with a thick, tufted cushion and pillows.

vintage ammo trunk turned bench window seat

The problem was that it simply wasn’t getting enough use beyond its storage abilities.   A few months ago, I pushed it into play as an extra long coffee table where it seems to have a more fulfilling life.  Plus, this made more room for vintage chair hoarding.

vintage nautical living room with army trunk coffee table

 You can do no wrong to it. Drink rings cause no damage.  This thing was in war after all!  And brass always looks good with army green.

vintage brass tray & paper weight

What is your favorite way to use a vintage trunk?

Vintage Ammo Trunk

P.S. Don’t forget about the upcoming milk paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown on Sunday!

the topless table

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4414

Flow Blue Gilded Table

This little side table is so cute and petite and just unique.  I brought it home topless.  I suppose it had a top when I found it though.  The flea market dealer I bought it from had a piece of glass over it that obviously belonged to another long, lost table because it wasn’t the right size or proportion.  I chose to leave the glass behind and knew we’d come up with something all our own for this little transformation.  The ‘before’ shot is pictured below with my new favorite chenille draped over it.

before...

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4419

Ryan cut and secured a wood top to fit the table.  I customized the new top with Maison Blanche’s glacage.  Have you heard of this product?  It is essentially a texturizing embossing cream for wood.  Fellow vendor, Eastcote Lane, sells it at The West End Garage.  I was very excited to give this product a shot and am happy with the one-of-a-kind results.  Better than a wobbly, ill-fitting glass top!

Flow Blue milk paint + glacage

I gave the entire table two coats of milk paint in Flow Blue followed by furniture wax and a bit of antiquing wax on the textured top.  Something about these mid-century pieces always seem to call for a moody blue, navy or black in my opinion.  The finishing touch, though, was in the gilding wax around the edge.  I love how the gold captures the light.

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4417

The formerly topless table is now for sale at The West End Garage along with a selection of gorgeous olive trees in perfectly weathered clay pots.

Flow Blue Gilded Table at West End Garage

we took the plunge

The Ardex plunge, that is. This product has taken the DIY world by storm lately. For those of you that don’t know, Ardex- Feather Finish is a concrete substrate traditionally used in subflooring.  It has been getting increasingly popular as a low-cost way to resurface laminate counter tops.  In my continued quest to update our 80’s kitchen on a tight budget, I thought it was worth a try.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

The über fake looking wood grain formica counter never jived well with the true wood backsplash we installed a couple of years back.

Pallet Wood Backsplash

Counters Before Ardex

Last you saw the space we installed chrome hardware, about a year ago.  At that time, I had searched for Ardex- Feather Finish planning to move right into the counter project. The product is difficult to find although I tracked it down at a local tile shop and now it is readily available on Amazon.

Rustic Industrial Wood & Concrete Kitchen - applying Ardex Feather Finish

I delayed the counter installation because I couldn’t make a decision on what sealer to use.  It is very much personal preference however you must choose a food safe sealer considering this is a kitchen counter after all.    Some concrete sealers have a fungicide in them which make sense in a shower or on a patio but on a counter I prefer not to have any pesticides as food may come in direct contact.  You also have the aesthetic choice of sealers with a matte finish, more of a sheen and even stains.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

We went with a sealer we had all along…Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil.  It stained and sealed the concrete, plus it is food safe.  I applied three coats back to back because the porous surface kept soaking it up.  I plan to apply another coat or two this week until it reaches total saturation.
hemp oil

Mixing Ardex is very similar to mixing milk paint.  It comes in a powder form and mixes easily with water.  (1 part Ardex to 1/2 part water)  To prep, we first sanded the countertop to rough it up a bit for best adhesion.  Then we carefully and quickly applied one thin coat right over the formica using a trowel.  It was much like icing a cake.  Ardex dries very quickly and turns to a clay like consistency.

Rustic Industrial Wood & Concrete Kitchen - applying Ardex Feather Finish

Twenty four hours later, it was dry and ready to be sanded down to a smooth finish.  I used 60 grit sandpaper and then 150.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

After vacuuming up the dust, I applied another slightly thicker coat. And then repeated the above steps again the following day to make for a third coat.  As you can see, we did not remove the sink.  We simply took the Ardex right up to the edge.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

On the third and final coat, I was more deliberate in my application and trowel marks as I realized these would be seen on the finished surface.

From laminate kitchen counters to concrete on a budget

The process went pretty quickly.  Actual application only took about 30 minutes each time as we didn’t have much counter space to cover.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen

The final step was sealing the concrete finish.  As I mentioned, we chose hemp oil since it is all natural and food safe. I simply brushed on the hemp oil.  This will need to be applied annually as will most sealers on a porous counter.  I am also considering applying a coat of furniture wax for a little luster.

Using hemp oil has a sealer on concrete counters

It soaked into the surface right before our eyes and we continued on with the next coat.

Using hemp oil has a sealer on concrete counters

Overall I love the final finish.  It has a natural rustic feel vs. the fake plastic look we had previously.  I am not convinced that it has the look of a poured concrete counter but I am happy with this low-budget transformation.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

Here’s where this space started and where it has progressed over the past few years.  You can review the transformation starting with painting laminate cabinets, installing a wood backsplash, adding hardware and now resurfacing the counters…

From 80's Laminate to Rustic Kitchen

Next up, the floors!  Then maybe a fancy range hood?

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

 

 

chenille love

Can we reflect for a moment on my love for chenille?

vintage chenille rug in cottage bathroom

My vintage home decor tastes are constantly changing from nautical to industrial to cottage and back again but through all styles, chenille remains constant.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s just a little dose of granny whimsy usually in the form of a blanket.

chenille blanket in coastal bedroom

When I found this yellow chenille rug a few weeks back, I knew it would be right at home in the cottage-style bathroom we finished last winter.

upcycled cottage bathroom

It is thin and worn and some of the frayed edges are long gone but I love it just the same.  Sigh.

vintage chenille rug & milk paint stool

And that stool?  That was a quick little milk paint makeover.  The worn finish on the top matches the vanity almost perfectly.  Happy accident!

ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool #mmsmp

It is simply constructed of plywood.

#mmsmp ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool-4310

The first coat of paint was done in lucketts green on the top and base.

chenille rug & milk paint stool

Then the wax puck made an appearance again between layers of paint…

wax pucks

The top was painted with some leftover ironstone and the base with leftover shutter gray.  A little bit of furniture wax and the stool was finished!

vintage cottage bathroom

A couple of winners!  Am I alone in my adoration of vintage chenille?

 

 

 

 

 

 

roar & a look book

Lots to share today!  First off, I am loving this sweet little tricycle red chair.  Lately I have been experimenting with heavy distressing which I’m not sure is always my thing.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but this chair was meant for distressing.

mms milk paint tricycle chair-4332

I picked it up a few weeks ago on our road trip.  I actually didn’t mind it in its before state…already perfectly worn and distressed however I thought the mauve color was boring.

chair before

MMS milk paint in Tricycle punched it up!

mms milk paint tricycle chair- wax puck distressing

To achieve this style of distressing I rubbed a wax puck all over the chair before painting.  I focused on areas that were already worn as well as places that would naturally wear like the edges, rungs and back.

mmsmp wax puck

Then I painted two coats of tricycle over the entire piece.  Once it dried, I rubbed back where the wax puck was applied with steel wool to reveal the mauve and raw wood in some places.  And finally, a coat of antiquing wax was applied to the chair to further age and distress.

mms milk paint tricycle chair- wax puck distressing

I love this little lion pillow as well.  It was handmade for me by a family friend several years back.  It seemed like the perfect juvenile prop for this chair.

mms milk paint tricycle chair-4330

While we’re talking about pint-sized chairs, handmade pillows and milk paint, guess what has arrived?  The much-anticipated Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Look Book!

mmsmp look book one-4352

And yours truly has a little feature.  This rocking chair is in the dried lavender section for all to see!  My cousin and her new baby girl are the owners of this chair.  Such an honor to have it featured along with my very own photography. Can I call this my first photo credit in print?

mmsmp look book one - dried lavender

The look book is gorgeous and full of loads of inspiration and tips.  I will have a few available at both locations very soon. They were only produced in limited numbers so if you’d like to own one, grab it fast!  Or let me know so I can reserve you a copy.

mmsmp look book one-4356

And P.S. major sneak peek into our new slate flooring…it makes a fantastic photo backdrop.