cottage chic

My parents recently bought a quaint cottage in our bay side neighborhood.  They’re thrilled to finally own a vacation home which has been their lifelong dream.  They plan to spend as much time here as possible and more than likely retire here one day.  Bonus, it’s just a few blocks away from us (and has a huge garage!).  Never did we imagine that we’d all end up as neighbors just blocks from the water.  Actually I guess we did imagine just that but never thought it would happen so soon!

vintage cottage treasures-5641

The three bedroom cottage needs some TLC to bring out its fullest potential. Right now it is basically just a blank canvas, inside and out.  Over the holiday break we made decorating plans for each room beginning with the living areas.  And of course, my mom and I cut to the fun stuff and bought a few accessories although we’re obviously nowhere near styling just yet.

vintage cottage treasures-5643

I’m very excited about the feature wall my dad and I are collaborating on in the family room.  This wall had a terrible texture and not in a faux finish way but more of a botched up drywall tape way.  There might even be some wallpaper under there too.  Who knows.  The home is 50-60 years old.

cottage plank wall before 5548

We decided to go cottage chic and create a horizontal plank wall using packaged white wood tongue & groove shiplap from Lowe’s.  After the wood was acclimated to the home’s environment, it was time for installation.  There is not a level surface in this vintage cottage so leveling the first panel was tough.

cottage plank wall-5549

Subsequently each board went on smoothly using liquid nails to attach it to the wall and brad nails to secure it.  Now that the entire wood wall is installed, it’s time for paint!

driftwood look milk paint wood plank wall during-5654

It is tempting to paint the plank wall bright white and call it a day but you probably guessed that I’d have another idea.  This is raw shiplap wood paneling.  Raw wood is the best kind of wood for milk paint.  It will absorb into the wood like a stain.  Currently we are experimenting with different finishes and techniques to create a look similar to driftwood. Here are a few of the samples.

driftwood look milk paint wood plank samples

I think I am leaning toward ‘linen over curio’.

linen over curio milk paint for a driftwood look

‘Linen over typewriter’ isn’t bad either but more gray than tan.

driftwood look milk paint linen over typewriter I’ll have to check in with my clients and see what they think.  Which is your favorite combination for a beachy, driftwood look without going too dark?

winter blues

I’ve got the winter blues, my friends.  Not so much in spirit.  I’m actually really enjoying this stretch of dark, dreary winter this year surprising even myself.  In year’s past, I would typically be very disappointed when it came time to put away the Christmas decorations and accept the stillness of January.  This year is different though.  I’ve found solitude knowing this period is brief which has led to productivity and organization on the project front.  You’re in for a real treat around here as I share all of the details of each project as they unfold!

french enamel table-5551

As for the blues, that’s all in the paint colors I’ve been gravitating toward.  I’m in the midst of completing a large cedar closet in moody artissimo – a deep midnight blue. Today though, I’m sharing a French enamel end table – more of a cheerful beachy blue.

french enamel table-5559

This table is solid oak and isn’t too old.  It feels very 90’s which reminds me that the 1990’s can technically be classified as vintage already!  Shocking to think that my high school era is basically vintage.  As if!

90s end table before

The decidedly 90’s table has great lines, subtle curves and an inlaid oak grain on the top.

french enamel table-5565

I painted the 1st coat with lucketts green with bonding agent because the table was very shiny to start.  The 2nd coat was painted French enamel without bonding agent.

french enamel table-5568

I often get asked whether you need to use bonding agent in both coats or not.  Here is the correct answer:  For best adhesion, it is recommended that you use bonding agent in all coats.  With that said, I like to walk on the wild side and experiment a bit therefore chose not to use bonding agent in the 2nd coat.  Also, I’m not a perfectionist.  The 2nd coat lifted the paint in some areas creating a distressed, chipping look.

french enamel table-5556

I decided to accent the chipping grain by using white wax liberally.  First I sanded it smooth using a fine grit sandpaper. I blended the white wax with furniture wax and buffed.

french enamel table-5561

This table is the perfect addition for someone’s beach cottage!  Now available at The West End Garage.

french enamel table-5552

shuffling furniture

The first furniture makeover of the year is here!

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel toned wingback

I love how this little vignette came together.  Alone the gray chest of drawers is neutral.  It is painted with 2 coats of MMSMP trophy with bonding agent.  It is a warm gray lightened and sealed with white wax.  It is also a little lighter because the base of this chest was ivory when it started.

trophy mmsmp chest + garnet lamp

This is a newer chest of drawers that was sporting a factory finish.  It wasn’t bad, just uninspiring and of course I wanted to add milk paint.

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones

I lightly distressed the edges of the drawers to reveal the ivory underneath.

trophy mmsmp chest

It is just so fun with the addition of the garnet chair, lamp and other jewel tones proving the gray really is the go-to neutral right now.

trophy mmsmp chest + marsala wingback chair

Funny story about that wingback chair…we have an ongoing joke in my family about the furniture shuffle that occurs.  We actually have dubbed it the Marston Shuffle.  It’s not quite a hand-me-down or even a prized family heirloom but more of a shuffle of furniture from home to home.  This chair has been shuffled 3 or 4 times now.

We started noticing this trend when we were buying our first and second homes respectively.  One family would be moving or upgrading furniture and no longer need a chair/table/dresser, etc. while another was trying to outfit a particular space where chair/table/dresser, etc. would work.  And the Marston Shuffle was born!

A piece can come back to the original owner if need-be, although I am pretty sure that hasn’t ever occurred.  Not yet anyway.  Bottom line, if it is sturdy and well-made, then there’s always someone there to scoop up a cast-off piece of furniture when one sibling is no longer interested.  I suppose that is actually the definition of a hand-me-down though, isn’t it?  Well, we prefer to shuffle furniture.

We all have some hoarding tendencies around here I guess.  That lamp by the way was originally mine.  Now it’s my mom’s.  Exhibit B.

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones

As for the fete of the chair, it is likely to end up with a light slip cover and maybe even some painted legs but I do love how the vintage, velvet garnet photographed here.

Do I dare say that it is close to Marsala, the color of the year?

trophy mmsmp chest + garnet wingback

At any rate, the trophy chest of drawers is now for sale at The West End Garage which is open Friday-Sunday in January.  The chair though, that will never leave the shuffle!

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones-5580

Do you shuffle furniture around your family?

tree trimmings

cottage Christmas

Our holiday decorating is a wrap at this point.  We’re enjoying the warm glow of the tree every night and we’re watching the pile of wrapped presents slowly grow.  We went with a smaller than usual tree this year but propped it up on my favorite vintage card catalog table.  As for the ornaments, we kept fairly traditional.  I’ve been known to go all one color or theme in the past but not this year.  Christmas 2014-5331

The only big curve ball I threw on the tree were arrows.  I guess I should say I “shot” at the tree.  arrow Christmas tree decor

Since we had no specific color scheme, I thought these bright vintage arrows were a fun addition around the top of the tree.   What do you think?

vintage arrows Christmas tree ornaments

You may remember the arrows and antlers from my fall mantel.  Yep, they easily transitioned to the next season…along with the cotton stems too.

antler ornament

Both have been a hit in the shop along with some other outdoorsy and almost season-less ornaments like the vintage style chairs, acorns & lanterns.

ornaments

For garland this year, I simply used chenille ribbon.  I love this stuff!  It can go around your gifts or on the tree.  We still have some available to trim your own tree with!

cottage Christmas

Tonight is Serendipity of Doylestown’s open house from 6-9.  Check out all of these ornaments and more!

 

Christmas is coming

 Aside from tree ornaments, there are very few things we pulled out of storage to create a warm, seasonal home.  Instead we opted to use everyday and season-less items with just a hint of Christmas ambiance in a relatively traditional color palette.

Organic Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Our decor this year is very organic with the exception of the vintage chippy mirror and salvaged pillars.  The blooming paperwhites whimsically frame a live succulent wreath.  Why go for evergreens when you can have succulents?  You must ask yourself.

live succulent wreath

Preserved boxwood topiaries add a bit of formality as they anchor the ends of the mantel plus they will last for  years.

Christmas mantelscape with cotton & candles

I continue to obsess over cotton stems.  I simply laid them on their side to create a nice, full garland across the mantel.

cotton garland

Fresh holly from the yard nestles amongst the cotton.

cotton & holly Christmas garland

Firewood is accompanied by a nearly blooming Christmas cactus.

Christmas firewood

The firewood tea light candle holder adds just a bit of warmth to the holiday display.

firewood log candle holder

How are you decorating your mantel this holiday season?

Natural Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Many of these items and similar ones are available at The West End Garage.

Bonus:  they can easily transition into the new year with the omission of the holly and ornaments!

holiday door decor

We’ve been decking the halls for weeks already yet somehow we’ve barely scratched the surface at our own home.  That is about to change though.  Over the weekend we rolled out the welcome mat and pulled the vintage sled out of storage.

holiday door decor - vintage sled, mistletoe wreath, lantern, retro chair

There is a simple formula for holiday door decor that I like to follow every December: vintage sled (always), seasonal wreath and fresh greenery.

holiday door decor - vintage green sled, mistletoe wreath, mixed greens tree

We’re going bold this season with blue, yellow and layers of green.  Sort of nautical, sort of traditional.  I painted the sled in boxwood milk paint this time around and framed it with a joint ruler star and holly.  The felt mistletoe wreath, from Uncommon Goods, fits right in as it is traditional yet unexpected.

felt mistletoe wreath, brass anchor door knocker

The folks at Uncommon Goods contacted me last month to check out their Christmas gifts.  I love the texture of the mistletoe wreath and the adorable white berries.  I’ve been a fan of Uncommon Goods since I learned about the company a few years ago.  They provide a platform for uncommon artists and designers to sell their handmade wares while also highlighting their work spaces and studios so you can see where the products you’re about to purchase are made.

felt mistletoe wreath

Uncommon Goods is a B Corporation which means they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  Ryan and I have consciously sourced inventory for our shop from other B Corporations since earning the B seal means the company meets a rigorous standard on a range of issues, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the local community.  We can certainly get behind that especially in the season of giving.

Later this week, I’ll share details about that little statement tree by the door.  You’ll never believe how easy it is to make!

mixed greens Christmas tree