Last month’s cover of Philadelphia magazine left me grinning. The editors read my mind. It has essentially been my goal to get everyone I know from Philly to become my neighbor here, “down the shore”, even if just seasonally.
In the past year, we’ve successfully converted two couples. As you know, we’re working on my parents weekend cottage but you probably didn’t know that our friends, Marsha & Steven, also purchased a home here. I originally met Marsha when we were neighbors at multiple Clover Markets. Since then, they’ve become real neighbors!
They spent last fall and winter turning the fixer upper into an inviting retreat where they can relax and pursue their crafts. It is no surprise that they were able to transform this house into a home so quickly. Marsha had a successful career as an interior decorator for over twenty years.
Since retiring, she paints, gardens and makes mixed-media jewelry that she sells on Etsy and at local markets. Their beach house is complete with a studio brimming with vintage materials for her jewelry line.
The home has been updated from floor to ceiling with fresh paint, new flooring and carpet. Collections of shells and sea glass hued bottles line the shelves as if they were always there. The couple furnished the house with a mix of antiques that they’ve owned for years and new vintage-style pieces that blend seamlessly with the old. As Marsha said, “If you stay with the things you love, they’ll never go out of style.”
I love nothing more than to be invited in to tour someone’s home. To peruse the layout, the architecture, the way they use color, mix patterns and especially their “finds”. It’s so inspiring!
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.
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!
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?
With the fear of frost looming at the end of October, we had to come up with a suitable winter home for our plant collection which was taking up residence outside and our deck.
They’re now sitting pretty in our living room amongst my favorite pair of vintage chairs.
We came up with a game plan to extend our sunny bay windowsill in order to accommodate the plants and my favorite vintage pots, bowls and vases. We started with fantastic weathered old 1×6 lumber that has almost a barnwood-like quality. We needed 6 – 5 foot boards in total. The boards previously made up a section of simple post and beam fencing in our yard. Each was stripped down to expose the worn grain. Two boards were paired together to make a 12 inch deep shelf. Three sets of boards were attached vertically to one another to create a 3-tier shelf system.
Plumbing pipe shelving is not a new concept but we came up with our own simple plant stand version using pipes and fittings to connect the unit. There are 2 connecting points on each shelf therefore we used a total of 4 – 9 inch plumbing nipples and 8 flanges which screw into the wood. These also double nicely as book ends. The plumbing materials were the most expensive part of this DIY project.
We decided on a set of simple 7 inch turned legs for the bottom which cost less than $5 each at Lowe’s. The raw wood of the legs and shelves received an application of hemp oil for a durable water repellent topcoat which also left a subtle stain highlighting the wood grain.
The plants have happily been relocated to the new plant stand where they are enjoying the expansive window and, normally, bright light.
These snaps are from this morning during a dreary, cold November rain. I love the mix of terra cotta amongst the saturated colors in the kilim rug and mohair chairs – all vintage finds of course. Such a cozy new space!
Vintage Trunks are the best, aren’t they? Clearly they provide storage as that was the intention in the utilitarian object to begin with. However, they also lend an aesthetic appeal to a space.
A few years back I scored this large vintage ammo trunk as part of a lot of trunks. It was a WWII US Navy trunk. In fact, the shipping labels are still in tact which indicate that it was sent to the US Air Force in New York. The trunk, overall, is in great shape.
I have a soft spot for World War II memorabilia. It is probably the least feminine thing to collect but there is something visually appealing to me about the army green, type fonts, rivets and brass details typically associated with the items. It generally leads me to wonder about what our country was like at that time with women headed to work while men were at war; what my grandparents were doing; what technology was in play and so on. It is also the era that my collections date back to. I don’t really gravitate toward many pieces earlier than 1940’s.
Naturally I loved this green trunk although I did initially try to sell it but had no takers. When that happens it is a sure sign that it is meant to stay with us…at least for now.
Over the past year it has lived a double life after receiving a set of casters on the bottom so it can easily be pushed around. First, it made a fantastic window seat when covered with a thick, tufted cushion and pillows.
The problem was that it simply wasn’t getting enough use beyond its storage abilities. A few months ago, I pushed it into play as an extra long coffee table where it seems to have a more fulfilling life. Plus, this made more room for vintage chair hoarding.
You can do no wrong to it. Drink rings cause no damage. This thing was in war after all! And brass always looks good with army green.
What is your favorite way to use a vintage trunk?
P.S. Don’t forget about the upcoming milk paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown on Sunday!
A few weeks ago I shuffled the chairs around the dining table leaving my beloved vintage ones homeless. Or at least table-less. But only temporarily. They’ve been displaced to my new favorite seating area in the house – what shall now be known as the living room. Along with an old cage-turned-coffee-table, that we’ve had for years, in a similar green hue.
We’ve been working on carving out different areas in our great room to make it most functional. Using furniture as a divider, or floating it, seems to be working with our current layout. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t rearrange again soon.)
I’m happy with how the space under the bay window has evolved. This cozy little sitting area is saturated in deep colors from the walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs to the over-dyed blue and orange kilim rug. The space can handle all of the dark, dramatic color thanks to all of the natural light that pours in.
The “living room” is conveniently adjacent to the bar where we store glassware & mix cocktails
…beside the captain. The count is getting pretty high on sea captains around here. This is Gorton.
So that is the fate of the chairs. I know you were worried about them. They are indeed one of my favorite vintage finds ever.
What is your best vintage find ever?
P.S. For more inspiration on what to do with your vintage finds, check out the recently updated (and always evolving) Home tab which features our vintage home style.
I’ve never thought of myself as a very transient person being that I always lived within minutes from family and close friends. Always in the Philadelphia area. And let’s face it, this last move to Cape May is still pretty much within the Philadelphia metro area…only a mere two hours away. Still practically a Philadelphia suburb if you ask me. People here are Phillies fans. And Eagles fans. It is definitely still like home in that regard.
However, this is the first time in my life I’ve ever moved out of Pennsylvania. I’m faced with learning New Jersey laws and regulations. Most of which are much lighter and easier than Pennsylvania’s.
It has occurred to me that I have lived in five homes in the last 10 years. Five! I must be more transient than I thought with that many addresses under my belt. This is my first official New Jersey home.
With each move, comes decorating and redecorating. Especially around the holidays.
Questions arise like where will the Christmas tree go?
Where will the stockings be hung?
Will Santa know where to find us?
And with each move, comes new traditions.
A new sense of “home”.
Happy holidays, friends!