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

beach cottage bedroom

vintage salvage style beach cottage bedroom

Is it spring yet?  The beach sure is lonely without you.  I am counting down the days until the neighborhood is bustling again.  As much as a I love a little wintertime solitude, I prefer the action that warm sunny weather brings to the sandy beaches.  With that said, let’s check out a bright and cheerful beach cottage bedroom.  Between starfish and vintage swimsuit art, it is just brimming with anticipation of summer!

vintage salvage style beach cottage bedroom

If you are a regular around here, you probably remember that my folks bought a cute beach cottage about a year ago.  We’ve been gradually making progress room by room.  Each space was basically a neutral space that needed a punch of color and personality.  The carpet is brand new so it wasn’t going.  They also weren’t into painting as it was also recently done.  The reality is that other time-consuming projects, like creating a bathroom, took priority.  Basically we just pulled together a color palette and accessorized on a budget.  To do that, we used a combination of salvaged pieces, vintage, second-hand finds plus new textiles and art.  The color scheme is just so happy.  Perfect for the beach, right?

vintage salvage style beach cottage bedroom 393

Once upon a time, the headboard was in my bedroom.  It’s a salvaged door which so happens to measure a short 60 inches – the same width as a queen bed.  Years ago, I adorned it with driftwood, paint and starfish which are still fun.

Possibly my favorite part of the room are the swimsuit prints.  These were very hard to find!  We spotted them about a year ago at Bed, Bath & Beyond but were not ready to pull the trigger.  Of course that was a mistake.  Months later when we ready for art and agreed on the swimsuit prints, they were gone of course.  Local stores were wiped out.  Spoiler alert, after weeks of searching, I finally found them AND they were half price.  Naturally, I also hoarded a set for myself because you never know when you’ll need vintage-inspired swimsuit art.  These were the only two patterns available out of the original six or eight prints.  Fortunately, the colors were perfect.

beach cottage bedside tables + vintage swimsuit art

Those lamps are new-ish but found second-hand for mere dollars.  Aren’t they perfect?  The end tables are both painted in MMS milk paint, apron strings on the left & kitchen scale on the right.  The kitchen scale drum table doesn’t actually belong in this room.  It is one of a pair which are available for sale at West End Garage.  Normally we have a coordinating chest on the right but this one looks pretty darn good there.

vintage salvage style beach cottage bedroom -390

Let me divert your attention to the other side of the room.  What was once two dusty old closets, is now a full bathroom.  It is the tiniest full bathroom aptly named The Water Closet.

The Water Closet-

The closet space was the selling point on this old house but not for storing clothes.  The house had all the space they were looking for in a beach cottage but just one bathroom which was a deal breaker.  We stood in this very room when I had the bright idea that the side-by-side closets from adjacent bedrooms could be knocked out to make room for approximately a 30 square foot bathroom.

WC before

Now, I can’t take all of the credit.  My dad is the plumber who masterminded the water closet complete with a pocket door.  I will take credit for the pocket door actually.  That was my idea.

pocket door water closet bathroom

To the left is the toilet and to the right is a shower stall.

water closet tiny full bathroom

Admittedly two closets were lost in the making of this full bathroom.  However, we compensated with stand alone closets in each room.  As it turns out an additional bathroom is strongly preferred over closet space in a beach house anyway.

vintage salvage style beach cottage bedroom -396

Just three months until Memorial Day!

vintage salvage style beach cottage bedroom -383

Source List


  • Bedding – Homegoods
  • Headboard – salvage
  • Tin Shelf – salvage
  • Night stands – vintage painted in MMSMP Apron Strings & Kitchen Scale
  • Lamps – estate sale finds
  • Curtains – thrifted
  • Top down shades – JCPenney
  • Swimsuit prints – Bed, Bath & Beyond (sold out)
  • Cedar Closet – vintage painted in MMSMP Artissimo

Water Closet

  • Towels – Homegoods
  • Shower Curtain – Homegoods
  • Tile – Home Depot ‘Noce’
  • Mirror – vintage
  • Rattan shelf – trash (no shame)
  • Rattan baskets – Homegoods
  • Plumbing – Marston Mechanical





Christmas at home

It has been quite some time since I’ve shared projects from my own home.  And for good reason.  We’ve been shuffling furniture around still trying to find the “perfect” layout and pieces.  We’ve settled on this cozy arrangement in our family room for the holidays.  It feels good to “nest” again, one of my favorite winter past times!

Christmas living room

I finally got a bee in my bonnet about the sofa situation that I had been less than thrilled with.  I had enough of trying to camouflage the overstuffed brown sectional.  After a ton of research, I finally went ahead and ordered the creamy tufted Chesterfield of my dreams.  It arrived last weekend, ten days early!  Just in time for holiday decorating.  Come get acquainted with this beauty.

white velvet Chesterfield sofa

Don’t be shy.  Reach out and touch that velvety tufting.

tufted white Chesterfield sofa

The sofa coordinates nicely with the vintage club chair we already had which was reupholstered in hemp fabric a few years back.  Suddenly this space feels bright, airy and inviting!

corner club chair buffalo check reindeer Christmas

I plucked a fading bench out of the garden to try as a coffee table for the season.  The measurements are just right.  The newness of the sofa almost felt too regal for my rustic-loving self.  The chipping, vintage bench seems to juxtapose the sofa just right.

chipping white garden bench coffee table baluster lamp white sofa

I scored the old bench for 5 bucks at a yard sale about 5 years ago.  Five dollars well spent I’d say.

chipping white garden bench coffee table recycled fabric hooked rug

I like how the chipping finish coordinates with the chipping window frame that we just moved into this space.  We used the window as our seating chart at our wedding in 2013.  We never removed the names of our guests and instead used this as a frame by outfitting each pane with a 5×7 photo from our special day.  This is as far as we’ve gotten in making any sort of wedding album.  That baluster lamp is one of Ryan’s creations.  Pink is rapidly and unintentionally becoming accent color in here.

vintage window picture collage

Before we move onto Christmas decor, let me point out one more change.  We boosted this vintage card catalog up to proper end table height with the addition of tapered legs.  I also painted the frame of the piece however did not want to mess with the drawers, specifically the old pulls.  I am still deciding on whether to stain or paint the legs but for now we’re enjoying the table in its unfinished state.
vintage card catalog end table

The mantel always gets pride of season.  This year I was compelled to follow a traditional red & green palette for the most part. I only slightly switched things up from the autumn mantel by adding the lemon cypress trees, red pomegranates, last year’s felt wreath plus a little bling of course.  The botanical prints, another newer addition, have been up since late summer.vintage red and green botanical Christmas mantel

I also switched out the blanket on our battered, splattered ladder.  Say that 3 times fast!  We made the flannel bunting a couple of years ago.

vintage red and green botanical Christmas mantel

The tree decor is pretty laid back this year.  We always choose a fresh Fraser fir.  Growing up, we had full Douglas fir trees but I’ve become accustomed to the irregular shape of a Fraser.  The gaps are perfect for filling with twigs of cotton and the like.


Presents are starting to pile up under the tree.  I’m ahead of the game this year with gifts already wrapped and tagged.  Would you believe I found all of these pretty papers at the dollar store?  I was impressed with their selection.  For a touch of rustic, I corralled the small gifts in this vintage wire basket.


I like to put my favorite vintage Christmas balls on display in bowl.  I am always worried they’ll break if I hang them on the tree plus this gives the ornaments the opportunity to really shine on their own.  The un-silvered, glass balls date back to World War II.  They’ve always been my absolute favorite.  Of course, the vintage mercury glass ones are pretty too.      Christmas-337

The natural centerpiece was a breeze to put together.  It’s all about the layering.   Starting with the wood charger and fresh greens from the woods.  It’s best to do this just before company comes so it looks fresh.  The paperwhites are growing rapidly right before our eyes!  It’s the little things that make me happy this time of year…and the new sofa too.


**Many of the pieces used to decorate my home are for sale through Circa Dee at The West End Garage and Serendipity.  Pictured are the wood charger, tree bark wreaths, lemon cypress tree, cotton, paperwhites, flannel bunting, grainsack stockings and we have similar vintage and baluster lamps too!**

Happy Holidays!