Monday, July 31, 2006

maybe it's finally time

We were away last week on vacation and I had time to think about my furniture. My dilemma has been, do I paint white my buffet and china cabinet? Both pieces are beautiful, both not necessarily 'me'.

The china cabinet came my way a few years ago when my parents bought a new one. My mom purchased it at a garage sale for less than $100 waaaay back when. Important to note: I have a matching dining room table, currently in storage (since I don't have a dining room.)

The story of the buffet is similar. I love the piece, but I can certainly imagine it painted white, with some beautiful new knobs/pulls (glass?). I saw a buffet so much like it that had been painted at an antiques shop a few years ago and that image continues to stick in my mind.

I'm about ready to jump in and do the china cabinet. Even if it is reunited with the table some day, I don't think I'd mind it if the pieces don't 'match'. The buffet scares me a little bit. It's a beautiful piece, and I don't want to ruin it. But with my love of white and all....hmmmm! Does anyone have some advice to share about this...any chance you encountered a similar project or situation? What did you do? What would you do?

Friday, July 21, 2006


I use a lot of MacKenzie-Childs in my decorating. My every day dishes are MKC and I also have many pieces sprinkled around the house on display. The colors and patterns of the lines are beautiful and soothing, and I love that all their pieces are different from one another but look wonderful together. That's the idea behind cottage decorating, I think. Lots of different looks or ideas or themes, all coming together in a burst of creativity.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

magic indeed

I've heard a couple of bad stories about using Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser on painted walls (actually, I think I took part in one of those stories). But today I saw this commercial about using it for tile grout. Let me tell you, if you have white tile grout (as I do), it works.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

season's greetings

I love these vintage-reproduction-painted signs by Moonlight & Roses. I'm working on getting one for each holiday. This one comes out for Memorial Day and stays out to celebrate The 4th, as well as Labor Day (that's a somewhat patriotic holiday, right?) before heading back to the cupboard. They are cheerful and sweet, and there are so many designs for each occasion that it's tough to choose just one.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

a project completed

The kitchen is one of my favorite examples of our progress. You can see in the before/after pictures above how it looked when we moved in and how it looks now. When we first moved in we painted the cupboards white and the walls blue. Then, my husband's parents gave us a dishwasher for Christmas (much appreciated!!) and we got a contractor to help us install that, as well as a new countertop, sink & faucet, backsplash, and floor. These changes have made such a difference in the whole feel of the room.

I had fun decorating this space. The color blue on the walls is my all-time favorite color. And my inspiration for the rest of the room was the wooden fish you see hanging on the wall above my pie safe. Not a great picture, but I think you can see that it is colorful and fun. I bought it at an artist's shop on Captiva Island, Fl. With that piece as my inspiration, we decided to go in the direction of fun!...the raspberry countertop, the fish tiles in the backsplash (from MacKenzie-Childs), the fish floorcloth (custom painted). I love it. I know this kind of color is not for everyone, and it might not work in a bigger kitchen, but it works here. I found a great fabric that incorporates the raspberry and blue perfectly in a cute plaid, and had valances made for the windows and an apron curtain for the space below the sink. I painted my pie safe the same raspberry as the counter and had fabric panels made to hang where there used to be tin covering the openings.

I'm very happy with how everything turned out, and even happier that the kitchen is in the 'completed' column of our project list. I'm sure you'd agree that it's motivating to keep going when you see results that you like!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ready! Set! wait.

The house painter who we had lined up to start this week has gone MIA. I'm sure he's overbooked himself with summer business. It's disappointing that he didn't work out, but better to find out now than somewhere in mid-job that he's unreliable. The good news is that we have a comparable quote from another guy and he says he can start around the middle of September. That seems like a long way off, considering we were all set to go...but I'm sure in the end I won't even remember that I had to wait a little longer.

We want to lighten the place up, so we're having the wood shingles painted white to match the siding up top. We're planning black shutters and a red door. I was looking around for pictures, and this one is close to what I'm imagining for our place. I think the red door will give it a nice touch.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Those little 'cottage' touches

One of the things that drew me to this house was all the little nooks and crannies included. From what I understand, the guy who built it and lived here first was a carpenter, and he added all these great built-ins and extra storage spaces that you wouldn't expect. For instance, in the basement we have an entire wall with small built-in storage drawers, similar to what you find in a hardware store. They still have labels on them: nails, screws, measuring tape, etc. We've found that they are each just tall and wide enough to hold about 4 bottles of wine laying down.

Here's one of our notable nooks. It is a small shelf just off of our main room. Do you see the little telephone jack there? Unfortunately it is no longer in working condition. I have a picture frame that I usually keep centered on the shelf, and sometimes I put a little vase with fresh flowers there. I've also thought that it looks like the kind of shelf you see at church with a little bowl of holy water resting there.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


We bought our home in 2003 from a woman who had lived in it most of her life. This is the way it looked then. After touring it my husband said to the real estate agent, "it needs a lot of work." I said, "I love it." And, I do! The house was actually in pretty good shape, but needed (and needs) some TLC to be brought into the new century. We're getting there, slowly but surely.

Most of our rejuvenation efforts have taken place indoors, but that is changing. Last summer we added a picket fence around the sides and back of the house. The pine tree by the garage was in bad shape and could not be saved, so it came down. This past weekend we had the large bushes removed from the front of the house, and we have plans to paint in August. It looks a little barren without the bushes, but we'll fill in eventually with some plants that are a better fit for the space.