“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
—Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Patios and small garden spaces can pose a problem or a goldmine for the creative gardener. We have a small brick patio leading to the back door of our home, and I was bored with simply lining it with container plants each Spring. A trip to a local resale/salvage yard proffered some (inexpensive) vintage finds that added varying height, color, and interest to my patio “garden.”
Here’s the mishmash of what I brought home one day for under $35:
My haul included two tables, an old toolbox, and a window. I liked the colors and the varying heights of the pieces as well as the weathered and chipped paint. The only work needed was to clean them a bit and decide how to use them. Continue reading
On a trip to the charming city of Charleston, I became a fan of “haint” paint. “Haint” is southern slang for “haunt,” and legend holds that painting a porch ceiling in a lovely shade of blue will guard your home against evil spirits. Many swear it also wards off insects! While I unfortunately don’t have the charming wrap-around porch that graces many a Charleston home, I employed the concept of “haint paint” to help transform my dark family room to more of a beachy, cottage look. Keep reading to see The Before and After…
Our family room was a cave. 1970s dark wood paneling covered the walls and the bookcases that flanked the pinkish brick fireplace. It was a look stolen right from the set of The Brady Bunch. I dreamed of revamping the room to reflect my favorite place on earth–Ocean City, NJ. The task seemed monumental. Tear out the walls and start from studs? Reface the horrid brick of the fireplace? Dollar signs danced before my eyes. In the end, all that was needed was a little paint and a lot of elbow grease.
I opted to keep the paneling on the walls and paint over it. First, I “washed” the walls with Liquid Sandpaper to remove any dirt and wax. It took a first coat of heavy duty primer and 3 additional coats of white paint (Benjamin Moore’s Atrium White in an eggshell finish) to cover the dark wood. I used a roller to apply the first primer coat, but every seam between each panel had to be painted with a brush for full coverage. The tedious work was worth it–the painted paneling looks like bead board, contributing to the desired beach cottage atmosphere.
Next, I tackled the fireplace. I scrubbed the brick with a wire brush and detergent to remove any grime. A thorough vacuuming removed any lingering dust. The same routine of primer and 3 coats of paint (same color but a semi-gloss finish) covered the brick. I learned my lesson from the painstaking chore of painting over each panel seam by hand and used a heavy-knap roller for the fireplace. Much better coverage!
I’ll chat about how the room got the blues in my next post…
Beach Cottage Family Room
“The beauty of Zen is found in simplicity and tranquility, in a sense of the all-embracing harmony of things.”
~ Thich Thien-An
Zen. Tranquil. Simple. This was the state I was trying to achieve when I remodeled our downstairs bathroom. Less was more, and I didn’t want to clutter the small room. However, I still desired a certain pop. A floor-to-ceiling pebble wall instead of a traditional tile backsplash achieved all of these goals.
Pebble tile is available at most tile stores and online as well. Pebble tile is sold as a mosaic, with individual pebble stones attached to a mesh backing, usually in 12×12 squares. The edges are patterned to fit together like interlocking puzzle pieces–what could be simpler? Continue reading
Here’s a quick and easy way to add some character to an ordinary modern door–replace the builder’s grade doorknob with a vintage crystal knob. Crystal knobs can be easily found in resale shops, stores like Anthropologie, even at Home Depot.
Like all good things, however, it’s a bit trickier than simply swapping one knob out for the other. Vintage knobs have a square stem rather than the half-moon shaped stem of modern knobs. This requires a mortise latch bolt, which can be easily and cheaply found on the Internet (I purchased mine from Home Depot for under $10). Additionally, older doors are typically solid wood and thicker than most modern doors; hence, the knob’s stem is often too long. Continue reading
I’ve always dreamed of falling asleep to the crackle of a roaring fire. Nothing screams romantic B & B like a fireplace in the bedroom. Alas, no such luxury existed in our bedroom, though that is not to say that sparks don’t occasionally fly in the master suite.
A chance sighting of a vintage mantle in a local salvage yard brought my dream to life. Sort of. I bought the piece and sanded it down to remove the worn, chipped paint. I repainted it, then did some sanding of my own to add the character back into the mantle. Continue reading