falling for October

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the first frost is still looming.  We had a few unseasonably warm days this month that had me believing fall would never come.  That quite literally changed overnight though and the vibrant leaf colors have peaked.

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I’ve cut and enjoyed the last of the bold zinnias as doomsday is near and they’ll all be history once that frost does set in.  Any day now…

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Our potted plants have all been moved inside and continue to get shuffled around until we settle on just the right place for their winter habitat.  The Christmas cacti are showing buds and will be blooming before we know it…Thanksgiving actually.

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We’ve started pulling out our favorite wool blankets for cozying up by the fire.  We’ve only lit a few so far but soon the wood stove will be blazing.

vintage locker and woodstove fall-16-624

I’ve embraced my knack for using orange in my decor even outside of October.  I’ve never thought of myself as an orange person but as you can see, I apparently am.  It definitely adds some punch.  That’s for sure.

vintage mohair and wool pumpkin collection fall-16-677

You might also remember my pledge just a few posts ago that I wouldn’t be changing a thing about my living room.  Well, certainly that wouldn’t last.  And it didn’t.  We found this cool, handmade coffee table on a trip to New York in August.  The table top is reclaimed hardwood floor cut on a bias and married to an iron base that was once supported a soapstone utility sink.  Needless to say, it is sturdy. It could easily be a bench in another space or lifetime.

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I also came across a great wicker trunk recently and decided to keep it for myself.  This is a vintage European piece that is ideal for hoarding my throw pillow stash.  I was previously at capacity on seasonal pillows but apparently I have room for a few more now so I recently picked up that handmade pumpkin pillow cover.  The wicker trunk is sturdy enough to double as an end table topped with a tray and more plants, of course.

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In addition, I’ve been stockpiling furniture projects for the the slower winter months.  It’s always hard to find fresh finds when it’s freezing out and let’s face it, I can’t merely shuffle pillows, plants and throw blankets around my house all season.  There are a number of recent projects completed that I’ve yet to share here.  You may have caught them on instagram or facebook.  If not, here’s a glimpse…

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There are a pair of these boxwood green nightstands with chippy insets…still available.  That lamp is made from a recycled corbel salvaged from a Victorian Cape May house that was in a fire years ago.  We made a pair which sold very quickly so we made another pair which are currently available.  Those are all of the Cape May corbels we have left though.

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Another pair of fantastic nightstands are available.  These gray “schloss” beauties are not so chippy.  I like the soft finish achieved with white wax.

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This coffee table is taking it back to summertime.  It is extremely chippy, on the other hand.  People who get the distressed chippy look, get it.  This table sold in a day.  Not for the faint of heart.

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Just a sweet little stool and a stencil.  There will be more news to share on this stencil and others very soon.  I can’t wait!

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That’s what I’ve managed to document here over the past few months.  What’s new as the seasons change in your world?

 

 

 

 

 

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touring a turquoise cottage

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.

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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!

beach cottage living room

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.

beach cottage china closet

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!

beach cottage living room  beach cottage sea glass hues

wood stove & surround

shells

 

 

 

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?

 

tree trimmings

cottage Christmas

Our holiday decorating is a wrap at this point.  We’re enjoying the warm glow of the tree every night and we’re watching the pile of wrapped presents slowly grow.  We went with a smaller than usual tree this year but propped it up on my favorite vintage card catalog table.  As for the ornaments, we kept fairly traditional.  I’ve been known to go all one color or theme in the past but not this year.  Christmas 2014-5331

The only big curve ball I threw on the tree were arrows.  I guess I should say I “shot” at the tree.  arrow Christmas tree decor

Since we had no specific color scheme, I thought these bright vintage arrows were a fun addition around the top of the tree.   What do you think?

vintage arrows Christmas tree ornaments

You may remember the arrows and antlers from my fall mantel.  Yep, they easily transitioned to the next season…along with the cotton stems too.

antler ornament

Both have been a hit in the shop along with some other outdoorsy and almost season-less ornaments like the vintage style chairs, acorns & lanterns.

ornaments

For garland this year, I simply used chenille ribbon.  I love this stuff!  It can go around your gifts or on the tree.  We still have some available to trim your own tree with!

cottage Christmas

Tonight is Serendipity of Doylestown’s open house from 6-9.  Check out all of these ornaments and more!

 

chenille love

Can we reflect for a moment on my love for chenille?

vintage chenille rug in cottage bathroom

My vintage home decor tastes are constantly changing from nautical to industrial to cottage and back again but through all styles, chenille remains constant.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s just a little dose of granny whimsy usually in the form of a blanket.

chenille blanket in coastal bedroom

When I found this yellow chenille rug a few weeks back, I knew it would be right at home in the cottage-style bathroom we finished last winter.

upcycled cottage bathroom

It is thin and worn and some of the frayed edges are long gone but I love it just the same.  Sigh.

vintage chenille rug & milk paint stool

And that stool?  That was a quick little milk paint makeover.  The worn finish on the top matches the vanity almost perfectly.  Happy accident!

ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool #mmsmp

It is simply constructed of plywood.

#mmsmp ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool-4310

The first coat of paint was done in lucketts green on the top and base.

chenille rug & milk paint stool

Then the wax puck made an appearance again between layers of paint…

wax pucks

The top was painted with some leftover ironstone and the base with leftover shutter gray.  A little bit of furniture wax and the stool was finished!

vintage cottage bathroom

A couple of winners!  Am I alone in my adoration of vintage chenille?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

blast from the past

Macrame and String Art are two trends from the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s that are having quite the moment again.  In fact, they have been for a while now.  We’re seeing vintage versions crop up as well as handmade and manufactured reproductions.

I personally have fully embraced both in our home.  The vintage versions, of course, which have been sparking conversations amongst visitors.

Macrame is the art of making textiles through tying knots.  Plant hangers have been the most abundant version out there.  Over the winter I scored two macrame plant hangers each with coordinating glazed planters at an estate sale.  I just love the combo.

macrame and glazed planter

Don’t remind Ryan of this but a few years ago while having a deep conversation about decorating he made a suggestion that involved macrame planters and beaded curtains.  Naturally I rolled my eyes and wouldn’t even entertain the thought of either.  I can assure you that I stand firm on the beaded curtains though.

macrame and glazed planter

String art is usually constructed on a one-dimensional surface.  It is characterized by geometric and usually abstract shapes made by stringing thread from point to point, usually nails or pins.  It is a very calculated design.

We have this gigantic string art displayed on our screened in porch.  My father-in-law made it over 30 years ago!  Such precision and patience he has.  There are more where that came from too.  Isn’t it cool?  Or should I say groovy…

String Art

So tell me, where do you stand on the return of both macrame and string art?  The previous generation’s Do It Yourself projects.  Love or loathe?

a whole lot of legs

I picked up this drop leaf table while in Brimfield. I have a growing drop leaf table collection. It is an addiction really. I don’t know what it is about them. Their versatility. The timeworn tops. Not sure. But I’ve never met one I don’t like.

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Well that’s not totally true. When the tops are impeccable and shiny, I don’t usually like them. I like a worn stained finish and of course a chippy worn paint job to match on the legs.

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And that’s the exact treatment this table got.

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Oh the power of milk paint and the chippy goodness it can create.

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The first coat on the legs is Trophy.

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The second coat is Grain Sack.

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I followed a similar suit on the ladder back chairs which I previewed here before.

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This chair features Apron Strings & a custom mix of French Enamel and Linen…I think.

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The options are endless when it comes to milk paint.  But to get this layered look you need to create a resist between colors and coats.  This can be achieved a number of ways including applying the wax puck or hemp oil as a resist.

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See, milk paint naturally wants to absorb into the surface unless, of course, there is a previous finish there for it to resist.  That’s where it gets interesting.

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All three pieces are available individually at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

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a dose of spring

This little lady has brought a breath of fresh air on an otherwise gloomy day.  Most of our friends to the north and even the south are buried in a foot of snow or more so I just had to share this unlikely February sight.

blooming geranium in February

I think unanimously everyone is looking forward to spring.  Actually, I am sure of that.  In the meantime, I’ll bring spring to your computer.

blooming geranium in February

Did you know that you can successfully overwinter geraniums?  And if conditions are optimum, your geranium might just put out a rare winter bloom.

Here’s how…

  • Before the first frost (usually in October ’round these parts), bring potted geraniums indoors.  You can transplant geraniums from your garden beds into pots if you’re up for it.
  • Dead head any spent blooms and wilting leaves.
  • Keep geraniums in a cool (50-60 degrees), sunny area over the winter.  This potted geranium lives in my office which is typically about 60 degrees believe it or not.  Optimum geranium-overwintering conditions!
  • Don’t over water it!  That is the most common mistake made with all potted plants really.  Generally speaking, water when the soil is dry to the touch.

over wintering a geranium

And of course my favorite vintage McCoy planter is home to this geranium.  A cute planter is a must.  I have a collection of yellow McCoy planters.

blooming geranium in February

Ahh,  we’re in the home stretch now friends.   Soon we’ll all be looking at gardens lined with hot pink geraniums.  Soon.

blooming geranium in February

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you in October how you were feeling on this particularly stormy winter day so you remember to dig up your geraniums and nurse them  through the cold months so they’ll bloom indoors for you next winter.  Or you can just pin this as a reminder…

overwintering geraniums