Christmas is coming

 Aside from tree ornaments, there are very few things we pulled out of storage to create a warm, seasonal home.  Instead we opted to use everyday and season-less items with just a hint of Christmas ambiance in a relatively traditional color palette.

Organic Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Our decor this year is very organic with the exception of the vintage chippy mirror and salvaged pillars.  The blooming paperwhites whimsically frame a live succulent wreath.  Why go for evergreens when you can have succulents?  You must ask yourself.

live succulent wreath

Preserved boxwood topiaries add a bit of formality as they anchor the ends of the mantel plus they will last for  years.

Christmas mantelscape with cotton & candles

I continue to obsess over cotton stems.  I simply laid them on their side to create a nice, full garland across the mantel.

cotton garland

Fresh holly from the yard nestles amongst the cotton.

cotton & holly Christmas garland

Firewood is accompanied by a nearly blooming Christmas cactus.

Christmas firewood

The firewood tea light candle holder adds just a bit of warmth to the holiday display.

firewood log candle holder

How are you decorating your mantel this holiday season?

Natural Christmas 2014-Circa Dee

Many of these items and similar ones are available at The West End Garage.

Bonus:  they can easily transition into the new year with the omission of the holly and ornaments!

makers

This week has been all about making.  And pricing but we won’t talk about the endless task of tagging holiday inventory.  Making, however, is one of my favorite things to do.  My second favorite actually.  Buying, sourcing, picking, whatever you want to call it…that is my very favorite task in this business.

When sourcing vintage inventory it is common for us to come across old wood, doors, trim and the related that can be used to paint a vintage style sign.  I can get lost for hours sketching, painting and conceptualizing these signs.  This week they were primarily holiday specific.

Ryan prepares the surfaces, cuts and secures boards and attached the hardware.  Some are simple but evoke the spirit of the season.

handpainted holiday "Believe" sign on reclaimed wood + driftwood tree

Painting smalls like these signs presents a great opportunity to use leftover milk paint mixed from a larger project.

handpainted vintage style Santa sign on reclaimed wood

The Santa is permanent chalk over rustic old boards with great texture.  I achieved the look by using a fine flat brush and grainsack milk paint applied over the initial chalk sketch.

handpainted Santa Clause sign on reclaimed wood

I think this board was part of an old cupboard door.  The green streak of paint was already there along with the texture and smudges.  I took a lead from those colors when choosing the aqua and brown acrylic paints for my design.  I painted a similar Moose Lodge sign a few years ago.  I always loved it so decided to replicate it with a different color palette.

handpainted holiday sign on reclaimed wood-Moose Lodge

I went over the moose with white wax to blend it into the old paint job on the door.

handpainted holiday sign on reclalmed wood-Moose Lodge

This Silent Night sign is a piece of scalloped trim.  Nothing fancy.  I like the muted color scheme provided by a wash of shutter gray and navy lettering.

handpainted Silent Night on salvaged trim #mmsmp

Another project on tap this week was turning a salvaged column into a clothes tree for retail display.  We’ve had a pair of salvaged white Cape May porch columns for several years.  They’ve made cameos a number of places including in our salvage style bedroom (which is currently getting a more sophisticated re-vamp).

salvaged column clothes tree painted with mmmsmp kitchen scale, retail booth display

I decided to paint one in kitchen scale and topcoat it with antiquing wax.  Ryan built a tiered support system on the bottom and secured a trio of iron hooks on top.

salvaged column clothes tree painted with mmmsmp kitchen scale-5064

The new and improved salvaged column clothes tree will be popping up in a retail display this season!  All of the vintage style signs will be available for sale.

linen stockings + salvaged column clothes tree painted with mmmsmp kitchen scale-5066

what a long, strange trip it’s been

Ok, it wasn’t long at all.  Ryan and I were gone for about 36 hours over the weekend.

vintage treasure haul

But it was strange.

where are her pants?

We decided to hit the back roads of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to quench our junking thirst.  We quite literally took the roads less traveled.  Passing rolling hills of farm land boasting the most perfectly dilapidated old barns.  Followed by the swampy marsh land dotted with the most perfectly dilapidated old boats.

barn door and concrete planters

We scored all sorts of vintage treasures hitting junk shops, flea markets and yard sales.

retro yellow porch chair

The junking trifecta if you will.

vintage aqua pots and pink trowels

vintage art

We even stayed at what seemed to be a trucker motel…

treasure hunting

I’m not sure I’m ready to talk about that experience yet.

vintage drexel nightstand

We had dinner in a swanky drape lined lair where men apparently wear fancy hats.

dinner

Ahh, yes, the things dreams are made of…

The wide open road, an empty truck and no real agenda.  I’m so glad we chose this strange career.

Perhaps it chose us.

upcycled lighting

Hey guys! I’m still in the spirit of Earth Day/Week here so I’d like to share how we turned this galvanized piece of junk into a one of a kind chandelier in our dining nook. And of course, I do mean junque.

Flea Market Style Industrial Galvanized Light Chandelier

The question still remains: What the heck is it?

Galvanized Light

We really don’t know but it seems like some sort of farm machinery.  Someone suggested that it may be for cotton picking.  I have no idea.  Do you?  It’s probably for manure…

It was not originally a funnel.  Ryan cut the hole to replicate a funnel so we could wire the light fixture through.

galvanized light

Galvanized Pendant Chandelier Light

This light transformation was easier than you might think because we had all of the parts already.  Do you remember the kitchen from when we first moved in?  Check out that 80’s light fixture.

kitchen before

Look a little closer because the innards for it are what made up our new light.

before

Breakfast Nook

We carefully took it apart saving all of the pieces.  A few tweaks were made to the innards – new light sleeves plus I sprayed the old shiny brass antique white and hemp oiled the wood.

making a light

Ryan wired the light using our new-to-us “shade” with all of the old light’s parts.  We also switched out the gold chain for a reasonably rusty galvanized chain to complete the look.

Breakfast Nook

We love turning random objects into lights and shades.  Here are a few of other favorites from the archives…

Galvanized Funnel Pendant Lights Galvanized Funnel Lights-3206

Mason Jar Pendant

Mason Jar Pendant

 Vintage Birdcage Light

Vintage Birdcage Light

Shell Fan/Chandelier

Shell Bathroom Fan/Chandelier

What have you upcycled or repurposed lately?

upcycled toolbox table

A couple of weeks ago I posted a quick snapshot on instagram and facebook of an upcycled table we put together.  The new table deserves a proper feature here today…

upcycled toolbox table

This was a fun little collaboration. Our lead picker, Jake, found this old, heavy toolbox a few months back. Lucky for him it was loaded with many worthwhile tools.

upcycled toolbox table

The utilitarian case is sturdy and well made yet too heavy to lug around filled with tools in modern times.  The rectangular box is the perfect size for a small coffee table or side table and has a lot of life left in it. The vintage piece has the best patina which tells stories of decades of hard work.  The original creamy yellow color is under there too.  After a thorough cleaning, I applied a coat of furniture wax for a nice durable finish.

upcycled toolbox table

I set out to find a nice set of legs and scored with these tapered mid-century ones.  We attached the legs to give the toolbox a boost to table status while leaving all of the original hardware in place.  I particularly love the brass corners.

upcycled toolbox table

Bonus, the table acts as a great storage piece since the top opens the same way the toolbox once did.

upcycled toolbox table

The toolbox table has found a new home!  Thanks for your interest in it.

Have you repurposed anything lately?

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