Aside from being Earth Week, turns out it is Administrative Professionals Week a.k.a. Secretaries Day. Calling a person your secretary is so passe but you can still refer to your furniture as your secretary without any raised eyebrows. This, my friends, is a secretary desk. A beautiful serpentine one at that.
It was a hand-me-down from family friends. I was so sad that it didn’t fit my own secretary nook where we have a more petite version. The ample storage and curvy base are something to be envious of regardless of the missing support. Low and behold it fits perfectly in the entry of my parent’s cottage. Yes, the cottage. Remember that fixer upper we’ve been working on?
When you enter the house, you walk directly into a room larger than a foyer but smaller than a living room. It is actually a porch that was converted into a room. We’re calling it the parlor as it opens up to a larger family room. It is the perfect space to store beach towels, kick off your flip-flops, drop your keys and pen a postcard. All of which can be done with the help of the secretary. Who says you don’t need a secretary at the beach?
This little gem was one of the first pieces of furniture we moved in months ago. It needed to be lightened up for this cottage space. Pink seemed like a fun and unexpected choice yet MMSMP Arabesque is not overly feminine. It received 2 coats of Arabesque with bonding agent added. I played around with the waxes and worked in both white and antiquing wax for some depth while also lightly distressed.
The drawers were painted separately from the body and you may notice that they have a slightly peach hue to them. This is the fun that milk paint can offer. Slight variation like this is what I love about it.
As for the rest of the cottage, it is slowly but surely coming together with the addition of another bathroom being the major project which is subsequently holding up some of the others. Not to mention this has been a part-time project for all of us. However, we finished painting the oak kitchen cabinets but have yet to choose hardware or make a few other updates in the kitchen. I’ll snap some pictures soon so I can share details about the process of milk painting cabinets.
Finally, I’d like to mention that I’ll be in Doylestown on Sunday demonstrating milk paint to those who are interested! Join us…
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.