twinning on a budget

Remember the beach cottage that we’ve slowly but surely been putting our mark on?

twin beach bedroom on a budget

Today I’m sharing the kids space.  It is a very simple white box that we filled in with a loose red & blue color scheme.  I have to admit that this isn’t one of those spaces that is going to knock your socks off with ingenuity or a great before and after.  However, it is totally functional and well received by its little guests.

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I can assure that there is not a new piece in sight aside from the bedding, some of it anyway.  Everything else was found, free or flea.  Very easy on the pockets.  The matching quilts are vintage and possibly my favorite find in the entire space.  I always pick favorites.  I found these at a Navajo estate last summer and just knew they were right for the space.

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Who remembers This End Up from the ’80s and ’90s?  These beds were bunked in my brothers’ childhood room and fortunately I come from a long line of hoarders so these solid wood beds are still going strong over 25 years later, ready for the next generation.  The simple twin beds have classic lines that remind me of summer camp.

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The dresser was another shabby vintage piece which I intended to paint but once we moved it into the space, the rusty-red color just worked with the quilts and the warm wood.  Easy peasy.

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The mirror brings a bit of beach cottage flavor to the space along with the adjacent oar wall.  We originally planned for a standing closet here, specifically vintage blue lockers.  As the space evolved and we saw how it was being utilized we found that we didn’t need to take up square footage with a closet.  No one is staying in there long-term so oar hooks do the trick for the wanderluster.

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Across the room, our little visitors can pull up a chair and page through a book or do a craft while they’re here.  Our bigger visitors can use the small table between the beds as a nightstand.  We’re versatile like that.

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The cedar storage chest at the end of the bed is not permanent in this space. In fact, it sold shortly after I took these pictures.  It was painted MMSMP farmhouse white and was just the right storage piece for toys or bedding at the foot of a twin bed.  I think we’ll need to duplicate this look in the future because it worked well here.

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We hung some simple thrifted, waffle texture curtains although I’m really on the fence with the length.  I don’t want floor length in this room because of the little ones but this particular length feels like a bad tea length dress.  It is just cutting the room’s height mid-calf.  You know what I mean?  I’ll let that evolve though, as I’m sure I’ll know the right textile when I see it, along with the art as I have a vision of more beachy/nautical pieces above the length of the beds.

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That’s it! Welcome to the kids room at the cottage.

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hello spring, hello color

We’re ready for another season of long, sunny days here in beautiful Cape May!  Spring has been a bit of a tease this year but honestly, I love it.  It actually works out perfectly when the sun heats up enough to blow open all of the blooms from forsythia to pear, dogwood and cherry trees.  Then the temps drop to a blustery 40 degrees allowing spring to be put on ice.  Quite literally.  All of those blossoms hold on just a little bit longer than they would had the temps continued to soar.  We’re still enjoying the sunshine and, of course, all of the color that spring brings with it.

spring in Cape May with Circa Dee

Living near the marsh offers calming sounds of nature…better than any sound machine money could buy.  In late winter, the peepers seem to wake up from their hibernation and croak sometimes together in unison and sometimes in a row.  They are quiet today as I write this but that may have to do with the cool temperature.  Legend has it that once the peepers return singing for a second time, the fear of frost is gone for the season.  Forget the zoning calendar, we have peepers to tell us when it’s safe to plant.

Milk Paint Hutch with signs of spring @mmsmilkpaint

Would you believe me if I told you we had a roving tom turkey visit us for Easter?  I almost can’t believe it myself and I saw it firsthand.  The Easter turkey gobbled down the path beside our house using it as a thoroughfare from the woods to the marsh I suppose.  Free to range being that it’s spring.

Apron Strings Cabinet-481

Tom the Easter turkey follows a long line of visitors in the past year including a barred owl that peered in our window at Halloween.  While his visit was a bit spooky, I occasionally find myself checking for the owl in the middle of the night.  Then there was the hawk that landed on our deck last spring and chose to stay overnight, without invitation.  The aforementioned countless peepers, bats, raccoons, turtles, snakes, rabbits and array of birds from woodpeckers to cardinals and orioles. Plus the monarchs. I can’t wait for monarch season!  There is also the brief period when the dragonflies visit at dusk in summertime.  I’d be remiss not to mention the skunks.  Phew!  Wilson had a duel with a skunk in our yard about a month ago. Needless to say, the skunk won…

Apron Strings Cabinet-482

This is the time of year when I find myself falling in love with this town again because of nature’s simplicity.  It certainly is spring with the return of all of this life and color!  Inside I appealed more to neutrals and calming whites all winter long but as of late, I am back on the color bandwagon.  Pictured here are a few of the latest projects featuring bright, spring colors!

Milk Paint Hutch- bergere over artissimmo @mmsmilkpaint

Be sure to visit Cape May in springtime and take in the sounds of the season.  The West End Garage is open Friday through Monday now and will return to a daily schedule in mid-May.  That means summer is right around the corner!  In case you missed an earlier announcement, Circa Dee is now only at The West End Garage.  More frequent posts and updates are on our facebook and instagram.  Happy Spring!Milk Paint Hutch - vintage OPEN sign

free demo

Good morning!

Are you fleeing the city this weekend due to all of the Pope closures?  Come visit us.  Cape May will be open!  #popecation

We have another free milk paint demonstration scheduled for this weekend.  It will take place at The West End Garage…

Sept demo

summer bucket list

It seems like we anticipate summer all year long living in Cape May.  All of the seasons are beautiful here in this quaint coastal town but summer takes the cake.  The town swells with visitors.  The locals are busy working their craft whether it be retail, hospitality or agriculture.  The energy in the southernmost point of New Jersey is amazing.  Yet there is still time for a sunset bike ride by the bay, an afternoon nap on the beach or an early morning walk in the garden.  The days are so long and full of possibility.

This year I don’t want to solely consume myself with work and miss out on what the season has to offer.  I may have been guilty of that last summer.  We put together a summer bucket list to keep ourselves motivated to enjoy all that life has to offer.  We may even spend a few days acting like tourists as we did prior to moving here on a full-time basis.

Here goes.

summer bucket list

With July rapidly approaching, I challenge you to make a summer bucket list too.  Keep track of your goals whether on a piece of paper, a chalkboard, email, whatever works for you.  Simply challenge yourself to fully enjoy the season without any regrets.

What’s on your summer bucket list?

While discussing bucket lists and goals, I should mention that I was interviewed in June’s issue of Cape May magazine. We talked lighting.  Of course, I was happy to discuss all of the upcycled lighting we’ve created and posted about over the years.

CM mag june

Earlier this year, I made a goals list and included “contribute to a regional magazine” amongst what I wished to accomplish in 2015.  And wouldn’t you know I did just that two months in a row!  I am convinced that there is really something to putting your goals in writing and therefore releasing them into the world.  It holds you responsible for accomplishing the tasks, even if only as simple as doing yoga on the beach just once this summer.

secretaries day

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.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6429

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?

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6444

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.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6437

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.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6434

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.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6442

Finally, I’d like to mention that I’ll be in Doylestown on Sunday demonstrating milk paint to those who are interested!  Join us…

mmsmp april

 

 

 

 

Cape May magazine

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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

spring happenings

Spring is just around the corner!  My favorite time of year.  Everyone comes out of hibernation.  Daffodils begin to emerge.  The days continue to get longer.  We start freshening up our porches and outdoor spaces while confirming summer vacation plans.  Oh the prospect of the season ahead.  It is so exciting, isn’t it?

Circa Dee at West End Garage spring 2015-6024

We’ve made a few plans of our own.  Circa Dee is heading to Clover Market this spring.  We’re keeping it small and sharing space with In With The Old at 2 of the 4 spring markets.  We’ve been stashing vintage finds for Clover Market all winter long.  It is going to be fantastic and I can’t wait to see YOU.

Circa Dee at West End Garage spring 2015-6021

Expect to find Circa Dee and In With The Old at the season opener in Chestnut Hill on Sunday, April 12th.  And the season closer on Sunday, June 7th in Bryn Mawr – note the new location.  You can check out all of the market details here.

Circa Dee at West End Garage spring 2015-6027

The next milk paint demonstration is scheduled for this Sunday, March 23rd at 1 pm at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.  All are welcome.  No registration required.  Just plain fun.

Circa Dee at West End Garage spring 2015-6028

Down at The West End Garage in Cape May, we’re stocked for spring.  Be sure to stop by and visit us while you’re at the beach!  The West End Garage is open Friday-Sunday in March & Friday-Monday in April.  Hope to see you soon.

Circa Dee at West End Garage spring 2015-6031

snow way

Finally Cape May county got hit with a snowstorm!  Usually we just get rain or a dusting when winter storms move through the region.  This storm was all ours though, dumping a manageable half-foot Monday night.  The snow quietly enveloped the region – from coast to farmland.  Very exciting.  The tide seemed to slow down just enough to allow the water to freeze under the frigid temperatures.  It is almost unbelievable to see the beach in this state, isn’t it?  Ryan was on feeding duty at the local alpaca farm.  I tagged along to visit the animals who seemed less than impressed with the snow.  Just look at their expressions!

snow at Sunset Beach Cape May-5834

 

from snow to sun

Ryan and I recently went away to beautiful Vermont.  I really, really love New England and our increasing trips north.  That part of the country boasts so many beautiful old homes brimming with character and antiques.  No wonder I feel right at home there.

Vermont snow

We stayed in a circa 1900 home that encompassed the style of the region so well.  It was at the end of a snow-covered mountain road within walking distance to town.  Every detail was perfect from the stacks of old books to the antique church pew and area rug.  I had serious rug envy!  I’m also coveting French doors.Vermont cottage

While Ryan skied in the below freezing temperatures, I explored back roads, dug through little shops and read. I had very limited access to the online world.  Sorry friends but it was great to disconnect for this vacation.

However, it is always nice to get back home to our own routine.  So long for now, Vermont!

Let’s talk New Jersey for a minute.  Cape May specifically.  A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was milk painting a cedar closet a rich navy – Artissimo.  Well, here it is!

Artissimo closet-5764

This started off as a generic old thrift store cedar closet.  They’re a dime a dozen.  I particularly liked the size of this one as I had a space for it in the cottage we’re working on.

closet before

The closet required very little prep work as the wood was mostly raw.  I used two coats of Artissimo without bonding agent.  I love the richness and depth in this color.  I probably could have gotten away with just one coat since this wood soaked up the paint so nicely.  I anticipated some chipping milk paint where there was a bit of varnish left but only one area across the front chipped.  I couldn’t have planned the placement better myself. The entire piece was finished with furniture wax.

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I took this opportunity to hand paint the “on the way to Cape May” lyrics across the flat closet front which is always a hit in these parts.  We finished off the front with a new glass knob.

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I left the inside unpainted and I swear it is not that orange in real life!  We get beautiful natural light in this room which is mostly a blessing but in this case, a curse.  This closet will function perfectly for guests to use.  I can’t wait to pull the rest of the room together.  The room will have a bit of a mid-century vibe.  You’ll die when I post pictures of the beautiful vintage dresser…

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