Sunday, September 28, 2014

Visit to the Harvest Fair

Nothing says "Fall is here" than fall festivals. Our little island has a Harvest Fair every year. It's held at an old farm, has live music, local food and lots of booths offering farm goods and information.

The community mingles and plays under the old apple trees in the orchard.

My kids enjoyed seeing the animals. 

And looking for compost critters.... worms, rolly pollies and even a newt!

I fell in love with this gypsy wagon! It's so pretty with stained glass windows.

We sat and listened to live music and ate fresh Beignets.

The outing ended with a powdered sugar battle... I'm certain we made quite an impression on our new community. 

If you can't be infamous. 

A Simple Fireplace Makeover

Our house has a nice propane fireplace insert that was installed sometime in the early 90's. It is actually not bad looking, it doesn't have the clunky brass surrounds with tiny windows as we saw in a few other homes. It has a nice big glass and fairly realistic looking logs. I REALLY did not care for the surround color. It's was bright brick red...

The surround felt really pieced together.. It also showed that it was not quite the same size on one side vs the other. And though the red was probably designed to go with brick. It didn't match the brick we have.. So I picked up a few supplies.

1. A drop cloth... I used this to protect my driveway from overspray.
2. Painter's tape. I used just a bit to cover the switch.. I didn't want to try taking it off, it was on pretty tight.
3. High Heat black spray paint. Designed for BBQ's and other metals exposed to heat, it's very important to use this type on fireplace projects.

I got out a few tools and started carefully taking apart the surround.
I carefully unplugged the wires from the corner switch and used tape to keep track of what went to what connector. They were not marked in any way and I didn't want to reverse them.

I took the metal panels out to the driveway and gave them a couple coats of paint. Let dry and then put it all back together.. the result...I much cleaner look for the fireplace. It's much more neutral and compliments the decor. It also hides any issues with being square with the insert.

Linking up to:

Uncommon Designs

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Union Jack Dresser

My Union Jack dresser started life with me as a thrift store dresser. It had been painted with that textured stone paint.. it was cream with black flecks. The knobs were simple wood. I took it home and painted it glossy black and added antique gold pulls.
Here is what it looked like when I bought it.. I'm about to paint here, drawers are pulled out and hardware removed.

Then it lived in our house for a few years.. and onto another house. It was a good look with my Tuscan/vineyard decor at the time. 

Four years later I was ready for a new look. When we moved to a home that was a bit more cottage I had discovered Anne Sloan Chalk Pant and Union Jack dressers were popping up on Pinterest. I decided to take my own colorway. I love sage green, but I decided to go with Olive. It' made me think of military uniforms. I used two coats of  Olive and then taped off the Union Jack and painted the stripes with Old White. When it was dry I removed the tape, sanded and distressed with a sanding block and finished with a coat of clear wax. The black and cream paint came through when I distressed and really look great with the olive. 

Now this dresser is living happily in our island home. 

Linking up to:

Liz Marie Blog

Friday, September 26, 2014

How to Choose Curtains

I love curtains, they can change the feel of a space very quickly. You can add an accent color, soften a wall color or change the way light comes into your room. In this case, I wanted to make my room actually feel softer and bigger. I brought home a couple different curtains that had some of the same colors as room accents. In this case both matched a color in my carpet, and both had a modern cottage vibe. I find the only way to know for sure if they will look good, is to simply hang them and see. Most places allow you to return them if they don't work. I bought these at TJMaxx, they allow returns, though I do carefully fold and put them in the package. I feel it's rude to return in a messy, used looking lump.
The best way to see how a curtain will affect lighting is to take a photo of each, using natural light. In this case I used my phone. I took a photo of each and posted it to my facebook to see what my friends and family thought. Most people voted on the stripes. I had to agree, it was much brighter than the lattice print and didn't compete with the carpet.

The side by side photo really shows how the light and colors of the room were different. 

And when taken with a real camera the room looks even better.

Living Room Progression

The living room has had quite a few different looks, and we only moved here in July. The room pretty much started out as just a place to put stuff that no longer had a home. It's progressed to having a "new to us" sofa and freshly painted furniture to tie it together. Most of the changes were done using what we had. The only purchased items are the new painting, curtains and the sofa slipcover. Oh and the wall paint of course.

Here is the room from when we bought the house. Notice the dark yellow paint, this paint seems to be very common in this area.. we looked at a few different homes painted in what I call "Waldorf Yellow" I think the common thought it a sunny yellow will combat the feel of the dark and the gray outside. I find that yellow wall paint tends to change the other colors inside the house, making things look harsher and more reflective, including skin tone of people living in the house. The wood also blends into it, instead of complementing it.

Here is the room after I painted it with "Creamy Pebbles" and used a mossy brown as an accent. (later I regretted the accent wall and painted it over) The wood floor color is already looking warmer.

Next we moved our furniture into the house, and I tried to do what I could with what we had. It looked dark and had a very BoHo vibe to it. Appropriate for the island, probably.. but not really me. We placed the china hutch as close to the table as we could, on this wall it stuck out into the room a bit and made the space feel smaller. The painting was actually for my sewing room... but it was the only thing that fit the rather narrow wall space above the fireplace. The carpet is from a kids room.

Next came a re-arranging. I had in my mind that this space needed a sectional to truly work, but hubby was in doubt that one would fit. So I arranged the sofa and a chair into the dimensions of a sectional to get a sense of the space and try to win him over with the idea. The black shelf was moved to make a buffer between the dining space and living and the hutch was moved to the corner to allow for easier flow around the end of the sofa.

Next came a bit of good luck. I found this Bauhaus sofa on our local facebook group for free! I didn't have to talk hubby into plunking money for a sectional after all. The white canvas was stained but it was clean and had been washed, the foam under the covers was clean. I decided to give it a go, and it fit the room so prefectly. The lighter color added brightness to the room immediately. All it needed was a slipcover. I guessed that it was pretty close in shape and size to the Ikea Ektorp sectional and next trip to Seattle I picked one out to try.

I chose to get the Risane natural slipcover, It's kind of a drop cloth canvas look with cute buttons on the sides.

And it mostly fits.. there is just some extra on the sides of the bottom cushions and the main cover at the corner. These I can either live with... or tailor at some point if I feel like it. The best part is- it's machine washable. 

The important thing is it fit the arms and the back... and I get really lucky they did. I may have to buy another slipcover to swap and wash, so far i have a sofa that cost me $299.00. Not too shabby. 

Overall, I am quite happy with how the room is shaping up. The painted furniture and slipcover look is much more comfortable in this cottage home. 

Our Living Room

Our move to this house was actually a downsize. What you can get for your money on this little island is quite different from what we can buy in eastern Washington. Over there we had a very large 5 bedroom home with huge great room and formal dining. Here were have a three bedroom and two smaller living areas. Both spaces were much smaller than our old great room, and I had to decide what room was getting our furniture. Most of our stuff ended up going into the family room, and it has more of a "den" feel to it. It's also the room with the flat screen. This living area I have kept electronic free, this room is for conversation, reading and homework. I wanted the distractions out of sight.
When we first moved in the room was basically where we put the extra stuff that no longer had a home. My berry colored love seat from my previous craft studio, a Target shelf and nightstand from our old guest bedroom and the china hutch that doesn't really fit on the wall opposite the table.

 If you would like to check out some photo of it's before and progression click HERE.

It's finally getting to where it feels more "me". It feels cozy and cottage now, though I imagine that it will still have many changes this year. For one.. holiday decorating is just around the corner.

The vinyl covered storage truck will need replacing at some point. We are using it as an occasional table, but it really belongs in our travel trailer as clothing storage. I just haven't found the right cottage piece yet.

I finally settled on this flora carpet. It did look good in our master bedroom... but it looks looks so good with the colors I have down here, I think this will be it's final home. The striped curtains I found at TJMaxx, I love that they are simple cotton (no off-gassing smells) They allow quite a bit of light in the room and seem to make the room feel wider. To see how I chose them check out this POST.

I'm not content with the wall that has the antique mirror. I may be adding to that wall at some point. I do like having a mirror to reflect the light from the windows. I found my china hutch fits best in this corner.. It does feel strange to not have it close to the dining table, but I think I may be more flexible with what I put in it. In the livingroom I can display more than just dishes in it.

 The blue shelf, behind the sofa, was a few weeks ago black. It's a melamine shelf from Target, I bought it and it's matching nightstand off Craigslist three houses ago. In this house, with it's soft light filtered through the trees, I'm slowly making over my black painted furniture in favor of softer cottage colors. We need all the brightness we can get. In this case I painted it with Annie Sloan Duck Egg and a clear wax. I lightly distressed to show some of the black beneath. You can see the before and afters HERE.

In the corner I put my Union Jack dresser. It actually is where we store our family board games and some magnetic blocks for the boys. This dresser was a project from four houses ago.. I found it at a thrift store and painted it black. When we moved into our previous home I had discovered chalk paint and this is one of my favorite make overs. The olive and cream with the rustic black showing through is perfect with my decor. I have some before and after photos HERE.

The sofa is a cozy spot. I love sitting right under the window and reading on a rainy day. It's also a favorite spot for the dogs, they love to sit up on top of the cushions where they can watch for squirrels and raccoons.

House Spy Friday

I have a confession to make....
I look at real estate pages quite often. I love looking at homes and getting ideas for things to do with mine. Colors, landscape ideas.. furniture placement. Though often the homes are staged now a days, it's still fun to do. So I'm one that messes up the realtor's stats on their listings...because they are recording who is interested and viewing the online gallery...but I'm not buying, just window shopping.

So I'm going to start doing a House Spy Friday. A post to show some of these little treasures out on the market. Most of the homes will be smaller cottages, though some will be bigger if they have creative or fascinating architecture or decorating.

I'm starting off with a brick tudor from Seattle. It's actually a very common style of home in that area, but what caught my eye was the pretty finishes inside and the dreamy conservatory. I would so love to have one just like it, including the sweet cream colored stove.

The inside is staged with a clean coastal vibe. 

The kitchen's colors compliment the wood tones. 

I love how small city homes often make creative use of space. This home has an attic that was converted into a master bedroom, bath and closet. The whole suite feels like a luxurious tree house.. I would love this space. 

And of course the conservatory, so appropriate here in our climate. I would love a lovely glass room to sit out and enjoy the changing colors of the trees.. but yet stay warm and dry. A place that would have plenty of natural light to read or sew. That little cast iron stove is adorable.

The conservatory was integrated into the landscape well.. they had to do some work to use the slope effectively, but the result is varied spaces that could be made into cottage garden "rooms" with some added potted plants and an arbor. 

That concludes our little house spy for the week. I'm sure I will have another gem to show next Friday. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Kitchen

Our home came with a custom kitchen the previous homeowners installed about 10 years ago or so. We have lovely appliances like a dishwasher with cabinet facing, and a AGA legacy range.

The cabinetry is very pretty, and it was made by hand locally. It has an Apron sink, soapstone counters, tall efficient cabinets with some glass fronts for display, good lighting and pretty knobs.... the only problem is my dream kitchen has these same things but is white. Yes the traditional white farmhouse kitchen so popular right now.  I have always liked how light and airy they feel. This kitchen has everything but... and the wood is in good condition and is in no way the regular builders grade cabinetry. So I have a quandary. Do I paint it and make it into my dream kitchen? Or do I hold off...knowing wood will come back around and I may love it again. It does make the home feel darker. I plan to hold off and see how it feels in the dark island winter.

For now I plan to enjoy the English cottage vibe.. the cobalt blue AGA certainly helps.

Behind my glass doors, I currently have wine glasses, some china and white depression glass with ironstone. Mostly picked up from thrift stores. I plan to change out with some seasonal display later in the year.

It's quite an efficient layout. Though not quite big enough for an island... I find it has plenty of space for spreading out when cooking. The kitchen is open to our living room and dining area.