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?

home for the plants

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.

succulents reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

They’re now sitting pretty in our living room amongst my favorite pair of vintage chairs.

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug,  reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase, locker

terra cotta & olive, mohair chair

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.

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand/ bookcase

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.

olive tree,  reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-4999

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.

succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4992

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-

The plants have happily been relocated to the new plant stand where they are enjoying the expansive window and, normally, bright light.

indoor terra cotta succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

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 mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

ammo trunk

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.

Vintage Ammo Trunk

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.

Vintage US Navy Ammo Trunk

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.

vintage army jacket

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.

Junk in the Trunk! vintage trunks stacked

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.

vintage ammo trunk turned bench window seat

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.

vintage nautical living room with army trunk coffee table

 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.

vintage brass tray & paper weight

What is your favorite way to use a vintage trunk?

Vintage Ammo Trunk

P.S. Don’t forget about the upcoming milk paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown on Sunday!

the fate of the mohair chairs

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.

Ward Bennett chairs, vintage nautical living room

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.)

diving spaces, nautical living

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.

walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs

The “living room” is conveniently adjacent to the bar where we store glassware & mix cocktails

eclectic living room

modern bar in a vintage world

…beside the captain.  The count is getting pretty high on sea captains around here.  This is Gorton.

ship captain oil painting

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.

vintage walnut & mohair Ward Bennett

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.

 

 

 

home for the holidays

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.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

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.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

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.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

With each move, comes decorating and redecorating.  Especially around the holidays.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

Questions arise like where will the Christmas tree go?

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

Where will the stockings be hung?

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

Will Santa know where to find us?

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

And with each move, comes new traditions.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

A new sense of “home”.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

New beginnings…

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

Happy holidays, friends!

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

 

Linking to:

Jennifer-Rizzo-link-party-button-Holiday

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