pretty in pink

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.

Arabesque Nightstand- Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

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.

Arabesque Dressser- Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

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?
Arabesque Dressser-5852

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.

Arabesque Dressser #mmsmp

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.

Arabesque Dressser + white wax

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?

Arabesque Dressser- porcelain knobs

winter blues

There’s yet another winter storm forecasted for later this week.  Admittedly, I am not totally devastated by this news.  Why?  Well, because I’m bringing the spring indoors with perky pastels and pops of color to pass the final stretch of winter.  Plus I’m planning a trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show to get an early dose of spring gardening.  Assuming the winter storm doesn’t get in my way.

Cottage Living Room - Bergere Coffee Table-5866

At any rate, I’ve been having a ball with the new European Colors in the MMS milk paint line.  Today I am sharing a coffee table updated with Bergere.  It is a bit of a smoky light blue and pairs well with white wax for a beach cottage look.

MMSMP Bergere

The table base was painted with 2 coats of Bergere with the addition of bonding agent.  The chunky turned legs remind me of a cross between farmhouse and beach house style.  Ryan built and stained the top.  It is a big, sturdy piece that will be around for years.  Imagine the hours of Monopoly that will be played on that thing.  This piece will be for sale at The West End Garage.

Monkey fist knobs are a great accessory.  I love these.  We now carry them in both locations in various colors.  They are all hand-knotted and made in the USA by a small family owned business.  Aren’t they fun?

Monkey Fist Knobs

Did that tray catch your eye?  The colors are just perfect.  It is made out of reclaimed barnwood.  We have a few of these available in the chippy blues seen here.

Cottage Living-Barnwood Tray

P.S. I am searching for the first mate that pairs with the captain lamp seen here. I put out an SOS on instagram with the mate’s picture.  Let me know if you see the first mate lamp for sale!  We need him.

Old Salt Ship Captain Lamp

 

 

 

 

 

tiny house living

Have you been following the tiny house trend that has swept the nation over the past few years?  I am totally captivated with the concept and it seems to be making its way east.  I have been following this site and I’m smitten with the homes that are built using reclaimed materials. Surely you can see what there is to love…

Honestly, I don’t know if I could commit to tiny house living 100% because I love stuff and I’m a bit of a hoarder quite frankly.  In 2013 we downsized to approximately 1000 square feet of live/work space.  At times it can be hard.  Not so much living small but working small.  On the other hand, it presents a fun challenge allowing one to push the organizational boundaries, consider how they use and store items especially clothing and kitchen gadgets.  Clothing was the area that we purged most when downsizing due to limited closet space.

We often daydream about owning a tiny guest house at some point.  How fun would it be to put friends up in their own secluded tree house or cabin coming in at just a few hundred square feet of comfortable living space?  We have casually looked at pre-fab cabins although I’m not sure that this is the route we’d go if given the opportunity to own a tiny house.  When it comes to owning a tiny house there are utilities to consider, land use ordinances and many other legalities and associated expenses.  Spoiler alert!  That is where our dreaming has stopped at this point but never say never as this trend is becoming more mainstream and accepted.

We’ve actually had our share of tiny house stays over the years while traveling across the states.  Often I consider how the spaces were used in those rentals to accommodate two people.  I dug through my archives to share two of my favorite tiny house stays.  Both were stand alone buildings at about 300 and 400 square feet including a kitchen, full bed and full bath.  How much more do you need?

New Mexico Casita

Casita actually means small house in Spanish.  I loved the outside of this building.  It fit right in amongst the Santa Fe architecture.  When you walked into the home, you faced the sleeping quarters.  The kitchen and bath were to the right.  Another beautiful architectural feature was the brick floor.

NM casita/ tiny house

NM casita interior

Colorado Cabin

Both of these homes had distinct exterior features and private outdoor space.  The cabin just outside of Aspen was a dream mostly due to its setting.  When you walked into the knotty pine cabin there was a seating area to the right.  Straight ahead was a sleeping loft which was above the bathroom and kitchen spaces.  I like the loft for the fact that it saved space in the living quarters however I’m not sure that climbing a ladder into bed every night is ideal.  I’d prefer stairs to a loft.  The majestic view from bed was worth it though!

CO tiny house cabin

CO cabin interior Aspen, CO

Would you ever consider tiny house living?  If so, would you choose a lofted sleeping area or one in the center of the home?  Rustic reclaimed building materials or modern and new?

prepping cabinets for milk paint

It’s happening.  We’re milk painting builder grade oak kitchen cabinets, my friends.  It was only a matter of time! Here’s a glimpse of what we’re working with over at the cottage.  Don’t worry, that ancient stove is long gone.  In fact, the cabinet to the left is gone too as we made way for a dishwasher. kitchen cabinets before We removed the cabinet fronts and got to work prepping them for milk paint.  The doors have a beautiful, simple shape that will benefit immensely with a good cleaning, new paint and hardware. IMG_5799 Cooking grease, grime and residue all needed to be thoroughly removed.  I prefer to do this with a natural cleanser as to not introduce any harsh chemicals to the surface of the wood which milk paint may resist. I used a scouring pad to lift any grime while also lightly roughing up the current finish.  Then sprayed and wiped the surfaces.prepping cabinets for milk paint .. Vinegar is a fantastic natural cleanser.  But who can stand the smell of vinegar for very long?  Long enough to scrub 14 cabinets, 3 drawers and a lazy susan anyway.  There is a very easy fix for that…oranges! citrus cleanser-5807 About a year ago my friends introduced me to the simple concept of making citrus vinegar cleanser and I’ve never looked back.  I use it all over the house.  The oils in citrus peels also have natural cleaning abilities. DIY Citrus Cleanser Simply fill a glass jar with your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and cover completely with white vinegar.  Seal the jar and allow the peels to soak for a minimum of a month.  You can shake it up from time to time.  The longer the peels soak, the stronger the citrus scent will be.  Figure out the ratio that you like best.  I let this most recent batch soak for about 3 months and it smells heavenly however the yield in cleaning solution was lower as the peels really soaked up the vinegar. citrus cleanser-5790 When you’re ready, simply funnel or strain the cleanser into a spray bottle and start cleaning.  The remaining vinegar soaked peels can be composted.  Smile because you just saved a ton of money! citrus cleanser-5794 Here’s a sneak peek of where the cabinet fronts are with one coat of MMSMP Mora and bonding agent…  To be continued. citrus cleanser-5801

from snow to sun

Ryan and I recently went away to beautiful Vermont.  I really, really love New England and our increasing trips north.  That part of the country boasts so many beautiful old homes brimming with character and antiques.  No wonder I feel right at home there.

Vermont snow

We stayed in a circa 1900 home that encompassed the style of the region so well.  It was at the end of a snow-covered mountain road within walking distance to town.  Every detail was perfect from the stacks of old books to the antique church pew and area rug.  I had serious rug envy!  I’m also coveting French doors.Vermont cottage

While Ryan skied in the below freezing temperatures, I explored back roads, dug through little shops and read. I had very limited access to the online world.  Sorry friends but it was great to disconnect for this vacation.

However, it is always nice to get back home to our own routine.  So long for now, Vermont!

Let’s talk New Jersey for a minute.  Cape May specifically.  A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was milk painting a cedar closet a rich navy – Artissimo.  Well, here it is!

Artissimo closet-5764

This started off as a generic old thrift store cedar closet.  They’re a dime a dozen.  I particularly liked the size of this one as I had a space for it in the cottage we’re working on.

closet before

The closet required very little prep work as the wood was mostly raw.  I used two coats of Artissimo without bonding agent.  I love the richness and depth in this color.  I probably could have gotten away with just one coat since this wood soaked up the paint so nicely.  I anticipated some chipping milk paint where there was a bit of varnish left but only one area across the front chipped.  I couldn’t have planned the placement better myself. The entire piece was finished with furniture wax.

Artissimo closet-5768

I took this opportunity to hand paint the “on the way to Cape May” lyrics across the flat closet front which is always a hit in these parts.  We finished off the front with a new glass knob.

Artissimo closet-5774

I left the inside unpainted and I swear it is not that orange in real life!  We get beautiful natural light in this room which is mostly a blessing but in this case, a curse.  This closet will function perfectly for guests to use.  I can’t wait to pull the rest of the room together.  The room will have a bit of a mid-century vibe.  You’ll die when I post pictures of the beautiful vintage dresser…

Artissimo closet-5772

 

 

an empire table

We had a great group turnout for the milk paint demonstration on Sunday. They left me inspired and ready to tackle some of my own projects!  As a result, I painted the day away yesterday using the new European colors.  Everything is “in progress” so today I’m sharing a December project that I’ve yet to post.

This table was nearly a goner.  The veneer on the base was chipped and needed some repair albeit not perfect.  We needed new molding around the column to secure it too.  It just needed TLC to inject some life into it again.

lucketts green empire table-5608

Empire style furniture dates back to the 1800’s.  Often pieces are identified by that round, circular-like foot.  I have seen dressers like this but this was the first table so I snatched it up.  Those curved feet were what attracted me to it in the first place.

lucketts green empire table-5612

The wood was very worn and raw – a perfect match for milk paint without any bonding agent.  I applied 2 coats of Lucketts Green followed by furniture wax with a little bit of antiquing wax to add depth to the color.  This table has so many possibilities for its next life.  A dining spot in a small kitchen.  An entry table in a large foyer.  You name it.  It is for sale at The West End Garage.

lucketts green empire table-5613

And these arrows.  I can’t get enough of them.  The colors are so bright and cheerful.  I’ll tell you, I become a real hoarder this time of year.  Constantly editing and re-editing vignettes at home.  It might be time to thin out this collection though.

lucketts green empire table-5616