diy cottage style bathroom reno

We have had a quiet yet incredibly productive winter.  We needed it quite frankly.  We also really needed a new bathroom.  The 80′s builder grade hall bath was so dated and just blah.  We gave it a bright makeover on a DIY budget.  Ok, a renovation really.  Here’s how it looked when we acquired the house.  Yikes.

Bathroom Before

Let’s check out the updates.  Come on in…

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

I’ve been hoarding this dresser for a while because I knew it was just right for the new vanity.  And it only cost about $40 because the drawers needed work which is a basic requirement of turning a dresser into a vanity anyway.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Storage is at a minimum in this house so preserving as much drawer space as possible was a goal that we easily met by using a porcelain trough sink instead of a drop sink.  I love how it turned out!

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Check out this post for details on how the vanity was constructed.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Please admire the vanity mirror.  It makes this tiny room seem much larger than it is and the bonus is that we had it all along.  It is very special to me.  The mirror is part of the French provincial bedroom set that I inherited from my grandmother.  I didn’t want to use the mirror with the dresser in our bedroom and opted to split the set up.  It worked out to be the perfect width to pair with the new vanity when hung vertically.  I didn’t touch the old finish.  It seemed like just the right warm, contrast to all of the cool aqua and white.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

 I really can never have enough hound dogs on guard around here.  Especially when they are in the form of vintage paint by numbers.

Vintage Hound Dog Paint By Numbers

Did you catch a glimpse of the shell chandelier.  Yup, I’m pretty smitten with that DIY too.  Sigh.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Details about how we pulled that off for under 30 bucks are posted here.  The salvaged radiator grate is actually acting as a screen to the bathroom fan.  It is so much more interesting looking than the hardware store options.

DIY Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

The renovation began with Ryan demoing out the old vinyl flooring and vanity.

Bathroom demo

He then installed white ceramic hex tile for my birthday present!  The gift of home is the kind I love.  Seriously.  The vintage hooked rug was a birthday gift to myself.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Next up was the PVC beadboard installation that Ryan also DIY’d.  We kept the stained wood molding around the door and window to match the rest of the house.  However, we replaced the door with a white beadboard style which we’ll continue throughout the house.  This seems to be a great compromise between the bright cottage style I love and the craftsman wood style that Ryan loves.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

We picked up a few old brass ship plates last year at Brimfield.  The ‘Certified Private Lavatory’ one found a home paired with the wire bike basket.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

We went with top down window shades again.  I love the privacy they give but the light they allow in.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Thanks for visiting.  Stay tuned for some DIY tutorials from this room in the coming days.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

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a copper top table

Last week I shared the updates we made in the kitchen, specifically in the dining nook. You may have caught a glimpse of our vintage dining table.  It’s a one-of-a-kind find that seems to infuse French legs with a copper top.  And rumor has it that copper is big for 2014.

Flea Market Style Dining Nook

I’d say that the top was a DIY update added to the table by the previous owners.  Most likely copper infused vinyl.  But surely it is real copper because occasionally we get the telltale green copper tarnish.

Copper Top Dining Table

I love when copper tarnishes to beautiful aqua…but not where I am eating.

tarnished copper lid

You may have spied the copper table in the background of some of my recipe posts.  The copper captures the light in such a beautiful way that morphs throughout the day.  It provides such a fabulous backdrop for the pictures too.

apple butternut squash soup

(Butternut Squash Soup)

Spicy Tortilla Soup Recipe

(Spicy Tortilla Soup)

So you want to know where we found such a rare gem?  Well, Ryan and I shopped the very chic marketplace known as the curb for this find.  It also came with a large leaf and 4 upholstered French caned back chairs.  Yes, you read that right.  A full dining room set for nothing!  The chairs are “on deck” for a serious makeover of their own and a different table to pair them with.  They have high backs so they didn’t work with the mix of low back chairs we have in this space now.

Flea Market Style Dining Nook

Ryan and I definitely have different styles when it comes to architecture and decorating.  He sways toward natural and craftsman style – those doors.  I like eclectic, collected and vintage.  This table seemed to meet both of our aesthetic needs and we agreed on it right away.  You can picture us standing at the curb with the tailgate open gushing about how truly perfect it is.  Because that’s exactly what happened.

Eat in Kitchen

The light legs and apron seemed to have been an updated too. They needed a refresh so after scrubbing the table I applied a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in grain sack with bonding agent.  That’s all they needed – one coat.  Can I tell you a secret?  I didn’t wax or put a top coat on either since it is just table legs.  A twenty-minute paint job and they were good as new.  And don’t you love the simple blue and yellow braided rug that anchors the space?

Grain sack painted legs

What’s your best curbside find?

P.S.  We’re still completely stumped as to what our upcycled galvanized hanging light above the table used to be.  Please share any insight you may have!  I’m thinking it was on a farm…

salvaging a bedroom

Things are starting to feel more and more settled around our new permanent home.  Well you know that it is not actually new at all or new to us for that matter.  And the things in it aren’t new, of course.  You could have guessed that.  But the permanence of this home is what’s new.

architectural salvage bedroom

Today I am sharing how the old is pulled together to create a new salvaged, coastal bedroom.  This is one of my favorite places to relax.

I love all of the colors and textures…and also the view of the season changing out of the window that this bed faces. In fact, the previous owners oriented their bed on the adjacent wall which only left a view directly into the bathroom facing the toilet. Blech.  The back wall is all windows so it seemed obvious to face the bed in that direction.  I’ll share the window seat in another post…when we upgrade to top down shades.

garden rake belt organization  (2 of 6)

Naturally, I always go for loads of pillows covered in neutral solids.  However, I am not afraid to punch up the duvet with pattern.  For winter, I brought in this warm medallion duvet from Crate & Barrel.  The palette in here is so inviting…

architectural salvage bedroom

And that headboard is an old door that I updated a few years ago with paint, driftwood and starfish.

The vintage lamps are one of the best treasures the previous owners left behind in this house.  They needed an updated shade but, man, they are perfection.  Those oars are one of the first accessories I bought for this room and they’re still a fave.

architectural salvage bedroom

The furniture made the move with us.  It is part of my Grandmother’s French provincial bedroom suite.  After having all of the pieces living together in our guest room in the last house, I decided it would be better to break them up a bit.

Isn’t it funny how the finish on the night stands and dresser look like milk paint with antiquing wax?  It most likely is but I didn’t do it!  They’ve been finished this way for decades.  They’re a perfect fit here and are an inspiration for updating French pieces like this moving forward.

architectural salvage coastal bedroom

The driftwood shelf was salvaged a couple of years ago.  I added hooks recently for my necklaces.

The mirror is not dirty.  It’s called patina!  I love mirrors with this much wear on the glass but apparently others do not because it didn’t sell this summer.  I took it home from the shop and I am trying it in this space.  I am undecided on whether it is taking the coastal theme too far.  Is that even possible?  The Golden Girls set is what I am generally trying to avoid however this mirror doesn’t say Rose to me.

architectural salvage coastal bedroom

There’s always room to add more beach glass and shells that wash up…

coastal collection

The life-preserver I love.  And the columns were salvaged from an old Cape May home.  They’re kind of crazy town in here but they’re not going anywhere.  I like crazy.

And I’m obsessed with vintage chenille blankets especially in aqua.  This throw has been around awhile and is here to stay.

So that’s my happy place, friends.  Happy Tuesday!

architectural salvage bedroom

layering a window seat

Yesterday was one of those days where I packed in enough activities to fill a few days. Man, I got so much done that I am actually sore.  I planted 80 bulbs in an hour using my tried and true electric drill/auger method.  Can’t wait to see those babies bloom in the spring.   Prior to that, I started out the day finishing up this window seat nook in our living room.

vintage military ammo trunk turned window seat by Circa Dee

Our living room is pretty big.  It was originally two rooms (small living room and a tiny bedroom) that a previous owner opened up to make one large space.  I love how open it is but it still calls for two different zones.  I sort of think of the TV watching area as the “family” room and this side as the “living” room where we have a sitting area and then a bar cart to the side.

We added roman shades and vintage toile drapes.  In fact, the roman shades are the only things that are brand spankin’ new in this space.

vintage military ammo trunk turned window seat + toile drapes by Circa Dee

Before I go any further, please allow me to insert a beautiful “before” picture here of this side of the room.  This house was screaming bad 80s (and in some cases, still is) so it is a real joy to recreate.

before

I should also point out that I lost the battle on painting all of the maple stained trim in this house.  When paired with the new bright roman shades, it doesn’t seem that bad however I would like to de-orange it a bit with a darker stain.  But of course that is a daunting task that I am really not ready to embark on.

You may remember the drapes from the dining room in our previous house.  It’s funny how different they look in here.  Rather than using drape hooks this time, I went with rod clips so I could easily loop them over the fishing rod curtains rods.

vintage toile drapes

Yes, I said fishing rods.  One thing about making the beach house our permanent residence is determining how much “beach” to mix into the decor.  After all I don’t want to turn this place into the set of the Golden Girls.  Or maybe I do actually.  Blanche had quite the social life.  Anyway, I am still experimenting with how much beach is too much.

I digress.

The fishing reels and one of the rods are special because they belonged to Ryan’s grandfather and father.  I like how they’re on display but also totally functional for this space.  That seems to be a recurring theme since we moved.  Many of the things we chose to keep with us are sentimental and family heirlooms so we’re trying to find ways to not only admire them but actually use them as well.

repurposing fishing rod and reel as curtain rod

As soon as we decided to move, I knew this trunk was going right in this space.  The reason is two fold.  1)  This window is just calling out for a seat and the trunk was just the right size.  And 2) storage!

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

This is a vintage navy ammo trunk with its original labels.  You know how I feel about vintage military accessories.  Maybe you don’t.  I love them!  I tried to sell this one once upon a time when I didn’t need a huge ammo trunk however it didn’t sell.  Obviously no one saw my bench vision in the ginormous trunk!  We added castors so it easily moves as needed.  It can actually double as a coffee table too sans the pillows.  I’m sure I will be wheeling this out of the window to make room for a Christmas tree sometime soon.

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

Did you notice the cushion?  It is the perfect size for the trunk and it came off of a metal bench that we already owned.  A bench without storage so it didn’t make the cut in here.

window seat trunk

I know you spotted the rug.  Is it not the most perfect selection of loomed wool that you ever did see?

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

Let me tell you that an area rug was a must have for this little space.  It never felt complete without it.  I wanted to ground the space.  This Turkish kilim number did exactly that.  After drooling over very expensive kilims and overdyed wool rugs online for months, I found this antique one at an estate sale last week for a steal.  Plus a nicely coordinating one that I can’t wait to share too!  Jackpot.

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

I’m pretty happy with how this space came together.  It is functional and full of vintage style.  I even snuck in some mixing bowls on the windowsill.

  beach bungalow window seat

living on less

We’ve made some major changes in our lives over the past few months.  For starters, we got hitched in May.  You already knew that unless you’re just tuning in for the first time.  And if you are, welcome!

wedding

What happened next surprised us though.  A good surprise in retrospect but the type of surprise we weren’t totally prepared for.  It knocked the wind out of us at first actually.  We picked up suddenly and moved to Cape May, NJ.  Permanently. We quickly consolidated two houses into one small beach bungalow.  You could call it the great downsize of 2013.  We sold tons of furniture, donated pounds of clothes and narrowed down our favorite housewares.

milk paint table makeover & ship captain lamp

We made the decision to move in June after being faced with some tough issues primarily related to Ryan’s MS which he was diagnosed with last year.  I’ll save all of the gritty details for my future best-selling memoir.  Ultimately we decided what is most important to us is living a simple healthy life together in a place we love.  We made the quick decision to eliminate unnecessary noise and chaos and to leave the grind behind.  Why wait the previously planned 15-20 years to move to our beloved Cape May?  We packed up truckload after truckload and settled into our beach bungalow turned forever home in August.  Now we live somewhere between the woods of Cape May and the sandy shore of the Delaware Bay.  It is quiet, restful and simple.

beach

We’ve taken on a motto of living on less which is a bit of a change from my previous fill-every-closet-in-the-house lifestyle.  Who am I kidding?  Once a hoarder, always a hoarder but I have been making smarter decisions about what I actually need and what collected anecdotes make me happy.  We only have two closets in the entire house and one dresser each so excess clothing was the first to go.  It is kind of refreshing to have such limitations in a way.

vintage ship captain collection

But living on less doesn’t mean bare rooms and no fun. Trust me.  There will be lots of room makeovers now that we’re settled into our new permanent address.  Well, four room makeovers if I have my way.  Several are already in progress.  We have just four rooms in our 1000 square foot home and two bathrooms plus loads of outdoor space.  Doesn’t it sound freeing to only have to maintain four rooms?  All two and a half of us really do not need more space than that.

kitchen

Don’t get me wrong, we are not living in total seclusion here.  I still love the action that the city has to offer.  We make frequent trips “up north” but are thrilled to come home to our peaceful, collected abode by the sea.

bedroom

And being that I built a business based on beautiful things, the hunting and gathering will continue.  Joyfully!  I’ll continue to sell vintage and repurposed wares at The West End Garage in Cape May.  Let’s call that our flagship store, shall we?  Plus on our frequent trips to Philly, we’ll pop up at our favorite Clover Market.  And of course, I’ll continue to be a driving force with milk paint at Serendipity Shops in Doylestown plus it is available for sale online.  In fact, I have another demo coming up on November 17th at 1pm.

That’s our big news!  Coming to you from Cape May, NJ.  When the world gives you lemons, take them to the beach…

garden fencing and rakes

Well we took full advantage of that warm front that passed through over the weekend.  How about you?

We worked outside non-stop in Cape May.  Mostly on a garden related project that we originally thought we’d hold off on until spring.  However, we recently had some utility work done (not the topic fun blog posts are made of) so the yard was already dug up.  It just made sense to move forward with the garden layout now instead of waiting until spring.  Plus, the weather felt like spring anyway!  Bonus.

But before we can get to the fun part of the garden, actual gardening, we needed to work on the fence.  We inherited a homemade fence of horizontal 2×4′s done by previous owners post and rail style.  Their day had come.  It was time to remove the old fence and unfortunately I didn’t take a before picture but there wasn’t much to look at anyway.  The funny thing is that whoever installed the posts, installed them completely unevenly.  Instead of placing them 8 feet apart, they were like 7’9″ or 7’11″.  No two posts were the same distance apart.  But sturdy rails that they are, we were determined to reuse them instead of recreating the wheel.

picket fencing

We headed to Lowe’s and picked up a portion of the American dream.  Picket fencing in 8 foot widths.  Before finishing the unfinished fence, we temporarily installed them with the leftover posts.  This meant measuring and cutting a picket here or there to fit the aforementioned wonky post distances.

At the end of day one, we had what looked like a newly installed fence.  However, we quickly labeled each portion of fencing and removed them from the posts so they could be finished.  Once they’re finished, it should be easy to install them in order.

installing a fence

I thought we were moving onto the beginning of the fun part…customizing the fence.  Boy, was I wrong.  Painting a fence is so incredibly daunting.  We decided to use milk paint to stain the raw wood pickets a nice, custom mixed light blue.  At the end of day 2, they had a beach cottagey, blue washed look to them.  Fun!

But they’re still not ready to be re-hung on the fence posts.  We are planning to seal the milk paint in with tung oil which will protect the finish in the elements.  I can’t wait to share the color and finish.

tung oil

As soon as we can find time to oil them, we’ll re-install the fence and work on prepping the garden for spring.  I am planning on a perennial cutting garden since this space gets full sun!

Here are some of my inspiration photos for this garden space…

I am liking this rock border.

garden source unknown

source: unkown

Yes, I am considering a bike planter. Thoughts?  It seems like a very Cape May thing to do.

garden source french country cottage

source: French Country Cottage

While everyone else is on fall, I am dreaming about my spring garden .  Go figure!

All of that work in the garden had me inspired to bring a portion of it in.  I have been looking for a way to organize our belts for some time now (other than downsizing my belts because I have too many).

garden rake belt organization

I am sure you are no stranger to the idea of repurposing an old garden rake head as hooks for everything from jewelry to stemmed wine glasses.  Well, I decided to install our extra garden rake as a belt hook.  However, I did not remove the handle.  Honestly, I felt guilt cutting a perfectly fine rake in half.

garden rake belt organization

This was a no brainer.  After cleaning the rake followed by a hemp oil application to moisturize the wood, I positioned it against the wall near our master bath.  All set and the belts have one place to live. I like that I can see them all.

garden rake belt organization

And if I get bored of it, I can still use the rake outside again.