The spring edition of Cape May magazine is now available. Aside from featuring everything we love about this town, the regional magazine also offers a regular decorating column called Interior Motives. Earlier this season, I was asked to contribute to the current column’s theme of refreshing the bathroom.
Bathrooms? I can talk bathrooms!
I met with the editor and we discussed redecorating the bathroom for the upcoming season using new paint, fixtures and accessories. Naturally I didn’t stray far from the themes of repurposing and styling with vintage. The cottage bathroom that we completed last year in our home was mentioned in the article (as well as one we’re currently working on using that pretty brass fixture).
Here’s how that cottage bathroom looks today with the addition of sconce lighting that we recently added over the sink. For months I was on the hunt for just the right vanity light fixture. Then, at the flea market, I came across a pair of gooseneck, task lamps. Thinking outside of the box, it was clear to me that these lights could be the finishing touch that we needed in this bathroom. Insert light bulb pun here.
Ryan worked his magic dismantling and reconfiguring these task lights into sconces. He took off the switches and exterior cord and hardwired them to work on the light switch. We also sprayed them glossy heat-resistant white.
And voila, a custom vanity light for our bathroom. I like how the lights have a gallery vibe to them as if they’re illuminating the heirloom mirror like a piece of fine art. If you’re curious, you can see how we constructed the vanity out of a dresser here.
The magazine article also references ways to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in the bathroom. We talked about using tough coat as a protective top coat to preserve wood surfaces around water and humidity such as the mirror.
Check out the magazine next time you’re in Cape May. You can always purchase online too.
Vintage fiends like myself always have a list of must-find items tucked away in the back of one’s mind. Perhaps it is an industrial antique scale, a factory cart coffee table, a 1940’s 2-tier plant stand (not to be specific or anything).
For me, as of late, it was a brass bed.
Not a cheap, shiny 1980’s brass bed but a high quality solid brass with a warm patina. A queen size brass bed with serious antique style which would make it vintage, of course, because queen size beds weren’t available until the 1950’s or so. And the price had to be right. After only a few months searching, the perfect piece popped up on Craigslist. The only problem was that it was over 2 hours away. This was a great deal even factoring in gas and tolls. Ryan made the trip picking up the head board, foot board and frame for my birthday. Lucky girl.
This bed was a game changer for sure. It works very well with our existing French provincial family heirloom furniture. That’s not going anywhere. However, I decided to part with the coastal salvage vibe that we had going on previously.
I found a fantastic brass hued mirror that coordinated very well with the furniture and lamps. I brought in Mildred, the necklace-wearing-bust, and other vintage jewelry vessels that I’ve collected. The window seat got outfitted with more pillows because there are never enough. And we finally did something with one of our wedding pictures turning it into a canvas for above the bed. The shell lamps stayed as did the duvet with the addition of new ticking shams.
The biggest change of all is the flooring. Previously this room was outfitted with pink carpet. This winter our home has received many upgrades including new flooring throughout thanks to my patient husband who has redone almost every square foot. I floated a flat weave, natural chevron rug over the weathered-look wood floor.
This bedroom now has a sophisticated yet collected vibe featuring vintage finds and family heirlooms. Each one tells a story. Of course, it is always entertaining to look at the progress of a space. The ‘before’ picture is exactly how this room looked when we first saw the house. It gives me the heebie jeebies. The next one shows how it was last styled with a coastal salvage spin. And of course the present look. You can see that the symmetry remains the same.
What is on your must-find list?
I’ve got a before and after to share today and a new color combination that I am digging…
This French provincial nightstand started out rough. Even the drawer pull was on upside down. However it had great lines and most of the wood was raw making it a great starting point for milk paint. This well-loved piece needed a thorough cleaning and some repair before paint.
I was hoping that the paint would find a few areas to resist and it sure did creating the perfect crackle effect with a bit of chipping.
I applied two coats of Layla’s Mint without bonding agent to the body. The drawer and the side detail was painted Marzipan.
The nightstand was waxed and distressed with furniture wax and a little bit of antiquing wax.
The drawer pull received a makeover as well. I used gold gilding wax to give it a new look.
Overall, I love the color combination and will be trying marzipan and Layla’s mint together again soon. These colors combined with the aged yellow headboard, lamp & alarm clock are really working for me. Perhaps because the headboard is French provincial as well. Either way it all seems perfectly imperfect including the rumpled sheets, ticking fabric and chipped milk paint. Sigh… The nightstand is not staying here though.
Last week I shared some updates regarding vintage in the kitchen. We didn’t stop at the furniture and accessories but took it to the lighting too.
The funnel-like object over the dining table started the recycled lighting movement in the kitchen. This piece has been lighting our meals for over a year now. I still love its quirk and charm. And we still have no idea as to what it could have possibly been in a former life. We assume it belonged on a farm but have no idea. The mystery continues. I love to hear guesses.
Ryan installed a new light where one didn’t exist. This is essentially a foyer area where the door opens into the room. We needed lighting to define the space. We found this galvanized piece at an antique store and both instantly thought “light”. I know, it’s as if a light went off! Anyway, it appears to be the top of a cupola and that’s exactly how it was found. Ryan wired it to serve as a pendant in this space.
Across the room, we replaced the light above the sink. I love this beautiful rusty structure. This is a wind turbine/air vent that more than likely came from a barn or commercial building. It is large and in charge. Light peeks out of all of the openings casting pretty shadows on the ceiling at night.
Just for fun, the before pictures…
There are still a number of updates and DIY projects to go in this room like making use of the pesky space above the cabinets and replacing the hood. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the vintage aspects so much more than the dated builder grade choices. It is fun to push the envelope. Why not?
More out of the ordinary kitchen projects:
The kitchen is the heart of the home. That is certainly the case in our home. We’ve never done a gut renovation to the space. Instead we’ve tackled one DIY project at a time to make it feel more like “us”. Regardless of all of the other projects we’re working on, we always seem to come back to the kitchen. This winter Ryan redid the floors and closet doors.
When putting the room back together between every project, I find that more and more vintage accessories creep into the room which makes me very happy. Occasionally we find something so unique or that it is deemed a keeper. I’ve been hoarding some of these keepers for years just waiting for the right space. Before I give you a tour of the vintage treasures in action, let’s check out a kitchen before and after from the same angle…for fun.
I’ve had this milk crate for as long as I can remember. It has been totally utilitarian. It has served as a centerpiece filled with vases. Now, turned on its side and mounted to the wall, it is a spice rack. The openings are the perfect size for pint ball jars and smaller.
Vintage quart ball jars work well as canisters on a rack in the pantry.
This scale is just divine in its vintage green paint glory. I didn’t even have to think out of the box for its use. Once again, it is a produce scale housing potatoes. I love that the face says Philadelphia.
The old potting bench is made from reclaimed wood and topped in zinc. It is the perfect microwave cart with a drawer for linens and a shelf to corral cookbooks and cutting boards. It frees up storage space elsewhere. Plus, it’s so charming!
The metal copy easel was a gift a few years back. I find it to be totally practical as a cookbook stand. It even has an arm that serves as a placeholder.
We’ve also added some fantastic recycled lighting. I’ll be sharing that soon.
How do you incorporate vintage into your kitchen?
Around this time last week I shared a picture of this adorable pink nightstand on social media. This was a custom paint job for a little girl who loves pink. And also for her stylish mom who is designing a beautiful “big girl room” with pink included, of course. You can see Holly’s inspiring design board over on her blog.
What I didn’t share was the dresser. The base and curve perfectly coordinate with the nightstand although they’re not originally a set. A little bit of paint ties them and the room together.
While the nightstand was matte black, the dresser was very shiny – perhaps some poly was applied to it. I rarely sand a piece prior to painting but we weren’t looking for a chippy look and that shine made me nervous. I gave the dresser a once over with 100 grit sandpaper to prep it for paint.
Can you guess what this beautiful soft color is?
It is MMS milk paint Arabesque from the new European Colors. I used bonding agent in every coat and applied several thin coats. I find this gives the best adhesion when avoiding a heavily distressed or chippy look.
I had fun accentuating the paint color with the waxes. I used all three – white, antiquing and furniture wax. The white really captures the detail such as these spindles. White wax also softens the pink and pulls in the mood of the design board. There is just a tiny bit of antiquing wax around the corners to add some depth. And the rest was finished with furniture wax to seal and protect.
But the true finishing touch is the set of porcelain knobs that Holly found. The black and white knobs are the perfect set of “bling” for this feminine dresser, don’t you think?