the game changer

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.

vintage brass bed, ticking shams, French provincial furniture #brass

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.

vintage brass bed, ticking shams, French provincial furniture #brass

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?

 

a collected summer mantel

Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer but for me, it seems to be Independence Day.  Once the 4th of July hits, we’re all fully aware of the season; the rising temperatures and the long, lingering days followed by breezy evenings.  And it’s right around the corner!

We’ve kept things casual in the seasonal decorating department lately.  Just a rotating collection of vintage and handmade favorites on the mantel.  For summer we have a fish painting on a barn door that was gifted to us along with a handmade swan sculpture, a wedding gift.  Surrounding the art are our own handmade baluster candlesticks plus an endless collection of vintage lanterns.  The yellow planter is borrowed from my McCoy collection which is dispersed throughout the house.

vintage summer mantel

The mantel itself is not original to the house but the art deco piece seems to fit proportionally.  We popped a mirror inside.  This was actually a happy accident as it is doing a great job of bouncing light into this otherwise dark corner.  Over the winter, we painted the wall that it is on.  The previous blue accent wall had to go.  The neutral backdrop is much more conducive to a rotating cast of collections.

And that chair!  Still our favorite rehab to this day.  I’m so glad we decided to keep it.  It was a full gut job, shopped from the curb and saved from the landfill!

vintage collection summer mantel

I’m having a moment with these vintage arrows as well.  So bright, fun & cheerful.  They coordinate well with the Crate & Barrel recycled rag rug in the room too.

vintage collection arrows

That’s where things stand in my current vintage collections.  Seemingly high between lanterns, McCoy and arrows, among other things like aqua mixing bowls and ship captains, not pictured.  What are you collecting this summer?

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…