a vintage birthday shoot

Using vintage props in a photo shoot is not a new idea but it is always a good idea, in my opinion.  When my sister-in-law asked me if she could use our fantastic French ticking settee for my niece’s first birthday shoot, of course I was on board!  Normally we just admire this petite piece of furniture and finally it was called into duty.

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To execute the vision we needed to scout locations, sort through props, try on hair flair and arrange outfit changes for the model, as well as, a nap.  Such a diva!  Fortunately Hadley was pretty agreeable to the arrangements we made and signed off on the whole “first birthday photo shoot” deal.

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She’s pretty much a natural at working the camera and the vintage.

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We warmed up with a portrait shoot using the driftwood inspired wall as a back drop and a hot pink slipper chair – another vintage find that I knew I was saving for a special reason.  While the vintage pieces play a nice supporting part in these photos, I think it’s clear who steals the show!

When you have a vintage Pedigree pram, it only seems appropriate to pose the baby and doting parents with it, right?  But the faux fur stole completes the look.

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It’s a tough call but my favorite are the photos with the settee and that adorable one year old…

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend with your babies.

driftwood lamps

What’s old is new again!
Driftwood Lamp Collection 3

A battered piece of driftwood crafted into a sculptural one-of-a-kind lamp is feeling very current with a nod to the late 60’s/early 70’s.  I’m digging how these are coastal with a dose of industrial due to a hint exposed brass-tone hardware.

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In fact, driftwood lamps can go in so many design directions.  Obviously the organic pieces have a nautical feel.  Perhaps less obvious is that the sculptural aspect lends itself to a modern or mid-century modern design as well.

Driftwood Lamp Collection-7324

The lamps can also be the statement piece in an otherwise traditional room.  Lastly, let’s not leave out the boho style that is trending hard right now.  Mixing driftwood with layers of pattern gives your eye a place to rest in bohemian design aesthetic.

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All of the credit on the driftwood lamp collection goes to Ryan, my partner in crime & design.  He conceptualized, designed and wired each piece.  I think he did a phenomenal job.  They’re all for sale although we’re sad to part with them.  That’s typical here, though.  We can’t keep them all!

driftwood inspired wall

This was a totally fun and unique project to conceptualize and complete.

driftwood inspired wall #mmsmp-6803

Probably because there was no right or wrong when coming up with the color combination for a driftwood inspired wall at the cottage. There were so many directions we could have gone in…

driftwood look milk paint wood plank samples

and we did.  But here’s where we ended up…

driftwood inspired wall #mmsmp

The project began with raw pine tongue & groove boards installed over drywall.

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I simply mixed up a quart of MMSMP Curio and poured it into a paint tray.  I applied it to the wall using a foam roller.

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You can see that one coat of Curio didn’t exactly provide even coverage in this case but it gets better as we go (as does my footwear).  It’s safe to say that this is the “ugly phase” of this particular project.

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Now for the “weathering”.  I dry brushed Linen over Curio applying more in some areas and less in others to create some depth. I also used a little Grainsack.

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Then we pondered the finish over the course of a few weeks.  Did it need more color/lighter/darker/hemp oil?  All of the above?  Basically it was reading very flat at this stage so I went back through with Marzipan which is the closest color in the line to Linen and worked it in with a brush.  That helped to add depth and texture.  I even used a tiny bit of Schloss, which is more gray in color with a slightly green undertone.

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Finally, I finished the entire wall with a light sanding and a coat of hemp oil.  This really pulled it all together!

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Attempting to mimic weathered wood that only nature can truly create was a bit challenging but like I said, there was no right or wrong!  It’s only paint.  A little bit of this, a lot of that, finish with hemp oil and voila!

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We’re on the hunt for a nubby-textured, neutral slipcover for the wing back chair in order to cut down on the “Christmas in July” vibe that the vignette currently has. Yes, the console is painted in MMSMP Boxwood.  Good eye!

cottage chic

My parents recently bought a quaint cottage in our bay side neighborhood.  They’re thrilled to finally own a vacation home which has been their lifelong dream.  They plan to spend as much time here as possible and more than likely retire here one day.  Bonus, it’s just a few blocks away from us (and has a huge garage!).  Never did we imagine that we’d all end up as neighbors just blocks from the water.  Actually I guess we did imagine just that but never thought it would happen so soon!

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The three bedroom cottage needs some TLC to bring out its fullest potential. Right now it is basically just a blank canvas, inside and out.  Over the holiday break we made decorating plans for each room beginning with the living areas.  And of course, my mom and I cut to the fun stuff and bought a few accessories although we’re obviously nowhere near styling just yet.

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I’m very excited about the feature wall my dad and I are collaborating on in the family room.  This wall had a terrible texture and not in a faux finish way but more of a botched up drywall tape way.  There might even be some wallpaper under there too.  Who knows.  The home is 50-60 years old.

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We decided to go cottage chic and create a horizontal plank wall using packaged white wood tongue & groove shiplap from Lowe’s.  After the wood was acclimated to the home’s environment, it was time for installation.  There is not a level surface in this vintage cottage so leveling the first panel was tough.

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Subsequently each board went on smoothly using liquid nails to attach it to the wall and brad nails to secure it.  Now that the entire wood wall is installed, it’s time for paint!

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It is tempting to paint the plank wall bright white and call it a day but you probably guessed that I’d have another idea.  This is raw shiplap wood paneling.  Raw wood is the best kind of wood for milk paint.  It will absorb into the wood like a stain.  Currently we are experimenting with different finishes and techniques to create a look similar to driftwood. Here are a few of the samples.

driftwood look milk paint wood plank samples

I think I am leaning toward ‘linen over curio’.

linen over curio milk paint for a driftwood look

‘Linen over typewriter’ isn’t bad either but more gray than tan.

driftwood look milk paint linen over typewriter I’ll have to check in with my clients and see what they think.  Which is your favorite combination for a beachy, driftwood look without going too dark?

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


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We did some driftwood scouting recently and came up with perfectly weathered 2×4’s.

Something only nature can do this well.

Ryan cut them into even pieces and assembled by screwing reclaimed boards perpendicular to the back of the 2×4’s.  And added a sturdy wire for hanging.

I did what I do and painted “On the way to Cape May…” on the front.

Because those lyrics just never get old around here.

And this repurposed beach treasure is up for sale at West End Garage in Cape May!  Come visit me there this weekend.

Happy Hunting!

designs adrift

You’ve got to see this!

So I was perusing my new copy of Coastal Living over the weekend and came across a gem of an article.

 On page 34, the magazine featured a carpenter/sculptor who works exclusively with driftwood.  Michael Fleming of Designs Adrift is quite the artist.  I am stunned and just had to share.  Check out his sculpted horse!

Yep, makes my lil’ old driftwood tree seem so amateur.  Well,  I suppose that I am an amateur driftwood sculptor, aren’t I?  Can I even use the word sculptor to describe myself?

Anywho, here are some more images of what this guy can do with driftwood.  A lamp?  Yes, driftwood!  Truly amazing…

And furniture too. I would love to have this club chair in our beach house guest room…or anywhere for that matter.  Swoon!

His process is quite involved from hauling a large backpack along the coast of Maine we he harvests the pieces to allowing the driftwood to cure for months. He certainly captures all the beauty driftwood offers by transforming them into practical and gorgeous home decor.

Just had to share friends!  I heart driftwood.  That’s all.

P.S. Don’t forget about the Sleek & Unique coaster giveaway going on now. Go check it out.

drifting away

Good day friends!  Is anyone else out there dreaming of summer? 
Cocktails outside.  Long, lingering sunny days.  Bright blooming flowers. 
And of course anything beach side.

I sure am!  I had a styrofoam tree leftover from Christmas crafting. I never got to this one and rather than tucking it away into the Christmas bins for next year, I decided to make a year ’round project with the tree form and splash some more sunny beach decor into the house.

I collected some small pieces of driftwood from the beach and I will admit I bought some as well.  The pieces needed to be just 2-4 inches long.

I started at the base of the tree hot gluing bulkier pieces neatly together and working my way up.  The pieces have to fit together like a puzzle as to not expose the styrofoam in between.  The driftwood pieces should also hang over the edge of the tree base a bit for a natural shape.  Keep gluing round and round til you get to the top!

The last step to making a driftwood tree is to adhere a flat round piece of driftwood to the bottom to create the tree stump.

Finally, shop a spot around the house to display the driftwood tree all year!

Are we any closer to summer yet?

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the room without a closet

Happy Monday!  It is a happy one for me because I am still on staycation a.k.a still in my pajamas.  I have a lot of vacation days to burn and that’s what I am doing.  I could really get used to this.  All of this time off has really got me thinking about how I manage my time and conquer home decor projects that are meaningful to me.  There must be a way to leave the corporate grind behind and do this full-time.  I have tackled some major furniture rehabs and holiday decorating as well…don’t worry I will share them all here.

The first project was 2 years in the making…

The guest room in Cape May is closetless.  The home is really not that old (circa 1986) for it to have been built without a closet but sure enough this bedroom didn’t have one until now. 

I have been passively looking for an armoire that could be painted to fit the room. The catch was that I was looking for a cheap one.  Then I found this gem on the cheap.  It was dinged and scratched.  Perfect.  I can’t help but to look at that shiny orange beast and cringe.  I sanded off all of the varnish exposing the bare cedar to prepare it for a whitewash effect.

I’ve been in a coastal and driftwood place lately so that is where I got my cue for the color palette.

I used my new obsession – Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I mixed 1 part Paris Grey and 1 part Pure White adding 2 parts water to create a greyish whitewash on the sides and front allowing the knots in the wood to show through.  For the closet borders I only used 1 part water to thicken the whitewash up a bit.  This gave me the look I wanted with the paint colors creating some depth.  I lightly clear waxed the whole closet.

I love that the original cedar is still there.  It is just limited to inside the closet and not shiny and all over.

Fortunately this little space doubles nicely as a home office.  When the closet is not occupied by guest’s clothes, the shelf works as a computer desk.  So as long as I have to work the corporate grind, I don’t mind doing it in my rehabbed cedar closet turned computer desk.  Ryan keeps asking me why I would want to work in the closet.  It seems like a good space to me.

I am liking how this room is shaping up all due to just a bit of paint.  Remember the red nightstand? Well that sits across from the new closet.

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