Chippy Vintage Outdoor Dining

We gave away our old outdoor dining set the other day.

I have no photos of said same, which is just as well.

Meanwhile, one wonders at this point:

what are we to do when we want to dine al fresco?

Luckily, I had a light bulb moment when I spied this table,

languishing unused in our cellar hideaway.

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I thought — wouldn’t it make an unusual + charming outdoor table?

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People.  That very shade of green is crazy in style now.

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And who doesn’t  love the enamel table top?

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Within minutes, G.O. + I carried our table outside

+ set it in front of our garden shed.

Please allow me to point out a couple items.

That DOOR remains in its awful before state, which I hate.

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Fingers crossed we’ll re-do them yet this year.

 And please may I point out our shed’s roof finials?

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I was after a colonial Williamsburg vibe at the time.

But back to the table.

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Soon I started gathering a few things,

hoping that a quaint vignette would ensue.

Check this out.

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It’s one of those weed/cedar trees that are all over the yard!

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I thought it would look great in a pot,

 but shockingly, G.O. predicted it would never live.

So far, so good, but there is winter, looming.

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Next — these vintage folding chairs were languishing unused in our garden shed:

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I have to say that I love a good chair project

+ I’ve done plenty of them.

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For these chairs, I decided that I’d sew some simple cushions,

using my go-to fabric — the blue ticking stripe cotton.

 I had hand-stenciled them with my go-to motif,

the red circle + white plus sign.

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You can just see a peak of the pretty pale blue liner fabric:

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I decided to attach the chair pad with ties

that I’d sewn with the same blue + white ticking stripe.

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I’ll be sure + keep you posted re: our shed doors.

Stay tuned, later this wee, I hope!

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Saga Of The Spring Bulbs

By this time, most years, I’m not as enthusiastic

too lazy to spend quality time working in our yard.

 Of course, this problem can be a tad troublesome

if one wishes to greet the following spring with a yard full of flowers.

Flowers like my favorites — Musari or Grape Hyacinths:

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One of the few flowers that are a true (not purple) blue!

My color scheme in spring bulbs is blue (of course), white + soft pinks.

I ordered $80-ish worth of bulbs online,

+ they’re scheduled to ship right about now.  Yay!

Since then, we found some here in town + planted them yesterday.

This first batch is in the stone pathway side of our porch steps,

about which I recently posted.

The bulbs are underneath the mulch in this photo:

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Here’s what we planted:

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I love white Daffodils + had lots of them in our old yard!

Yes, the yellow ones are as cheerful as all get out,

but I like the white ones for being unusual + cheerful, all at once!

Win win!

Next, some Chionodoxa for my blue + white flower obsession:

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I am pretty sure we had some of those cuties at our old house.

And in conclusion, another favorite:

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These are the only iris flowers that I like, + I really, really like them!

Now, then.

My gardening friend told me that we mustn’t forget to add Blood Meal to the soil.

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We found this at Menards.

She said to sprinkle a little on top of each bulb before they’re covered up.

It adds all sorts of nutrients that the bulbs + their roots need,

to get a good jump start.

For the planting, we used this tool that we already owned:

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I’m pretty sure that it was another purchase

from the late, great Martha at K-Mart ‘experiment’.

I MISS HER K-MART MERCH!!

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Meanwhile, I would love to share what bulbs I have coming in the mail,

IF I COULD REMEMBER WHAT THE WHAT I ORDERED!!??

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Looks like we’ll all be surprised when they finally land in our mailbox.

The mailbox which isn’t here yet because it is sadly out of stock.

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Stay tuned — to view our new mailbox

+ to be surprised (along with me) to see what bulbs I ordered!


Our Pretty Stone Pathway

Since I last blogged about the Dutch colonial,

there’s been unbelievable progress, out front!

Let’s remember the sad before, a few weeks after we bought the house:

dutch colonial -- front 'before

Here’s a look at the midway:

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And as it looks today, the ‘almost’ after:

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WOW.

I think I’ll just share bits of it at a time, in small doses.

Let’s start with our new stone pathway

which transitions between the new brick sidewalk + our side yard.

Here’s a glimpse of it, as one approaches the house:

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We went shopping at a nearby landscaping place + looked at stone,

+ we bought 3 large slabs of limestone.

G.O. brought out his trusty 4″ angle grinder with a masonry blade, as one does,

+ cut the slabs into smaller, stepping stone friendly pieces:

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We had scooped out a shallow trough for the stones.

Once we decided we liked their arrangement,

we put a layer of ordinary play sand underneath each stone:

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Funny story.

He grabbed some bags of said play sand at the garden center,

not realizing until he got home that one of the bags contained purple sand!

Who knew?  Crayola makes colored play sand!

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In his defense, he said he thought the bag was purple!  HA!

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Look!  It’s Chloe the Dachshund!

 

I’m love the gentle curve of the stones,

because I think curves in the landscaping are beautiful + visually pleasing.

Now it’s time to discuss all those beautiful plants!

After weeks + weeks of indecision,

I knew this side of the porch needed a topiary

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I remembered seeing some blue spruce topiaries at Home Depot,

+ since I am a huge fan of the blue spruce any-thing, off we went.

Over G.O.’s very strong objections.  Of course.

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But people.  COME ON.

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Nailed it!!!

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Those spiky, grassy plants underneath are ‘Lucerne’ Blue-Eyed Grass,

which have small, bright purple-blue flowers in Spring through early Summer.

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Nearby, we planted some silvery-white Artemisia,

as I wanted to repeat the silvery blue needles of our topiary.

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Those are going to look great, once they fill in.

Since white flowers also complement silvery foliage,

we planted these cuties along the curve of the stone pathway.

Rapido White Bellflowers:

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We repeated these sweet small rose plants on both sides of the pathway,

as I wanted to visually tie that area together.

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The green + burgundy Purple Palace Coral Bells

are repeated from the opposite side of the porch,

to once again, tie the whole front foundation plantings together,

from 1 side of the house to the other.

The Coral Bells were planted to accent the 2 curves in this bed —

both the stone pathway . . .

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. . . + the curve where this bed meets the lawn (+ the new grass!), out front:

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Disclaimer:  everything is going to look so much better with dark brown mulch!

I ordered nearly $80 worth of Spring-flowering bulbs

a couple weeks ago, + I want to plant them before the mulch goes in.

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Stay tuned!

 

 


I Still Love Moody Gray

 Let’s take a break from gushing about touring 4 barn homes

in Country Living Magazine’s October issue.

Here are 2 of them, about which I recently blogged:

Kit Barn (read my post)

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Modern Barn (read my post about it)

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Instead, let’s discuss something about which I am obsessing lately.

WHITE WALLS

My current design crush, Emily Henderson (that’s her), loves white walls.

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Remember?  She won HGTV’s Design Star when that was still on

emily henderson winning design star

I’ve been following her online for years.

To see why I’m such a fan,

look at this genius before + after in her own kitchen.

Before:

emily henderson kitchen before

After:

emily henderson kitchen after

I KNOW!!  RIGHT??

Here’s yet more white awesomeness from Emily:

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I could go on posting yummy white rooms for days,

but you get my point.

It’s cool . . .

. . . + of course, now I’m yearning to repaint all our walls WHITE!

IN-cluding our beloved power room (??)

(which is now Flagstone by Pittsburgh Paints.)

I’ve been wanting white walls all summer,

+ then I spy this, in one of my favorite blogs, just the other day:

gray house staircase

O  M  i  G  o  s  h  !

There’s gray everything, even the ceiling!

And look how great all their design choices look with all that gray!

That lantern:

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The sisal carpeted staircase:

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Here’s some more gray fabulousness from the same house:

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Yet more:

gray house table with books

Hold on now.  Let’s study the genius styling in this little area,

because I have been studying it + now wish to copy it.**

**More on that soon.

Let’s break it down.

Natural wood tone table pops nicely against the dark wall

Antique mirror does the same thing:

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Stack of books on the floor (note to self: one is askew!):

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Wire basket with mags on the floor

Please.

I have enough magazines to have about 80 baskets full of them,

scattered all over the house.

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Back to the vignette!

Art piece on the floor:

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Bucket o’ logs on the floor (more wood popping with dark):

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Wood item  (what is that?) leaning against the corner

Leaning stuff = love

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Including multiples of natural wood is a great example

of the repeat an element (at least) 3 times rule,

which of course, we all do.  Right?

Anyway, in conclusion, I’m asking:

Is one beautifully moody gray house enough

to distract me from Emily Henderson’s white awesomeness?

What do you think?

 

 


Country Living’s Kit Barn

It’s LIVING IN A BARN WEEK!

This month’s Country Living magazine features 4 converted barn homes,

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+ it’s my job to review each one, starting with yesterday’s Modern Barn.

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Today I shall discuss the Kit Barn.

Kit meaning it’s built from precut posts-and-beams + arrives on a truck

from Country Carpenters in Connecticut.

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But first.  Remember how I geeked out over the sweet paintings of the barns?

I read the tiny print to see who the talented artist was,

+ her name is Emily Isabella.

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How adorable!

She has an etsy shop, which I need to investigate further.

We’ll discuss.

But first.  Back to today’s Kit Barn.

This is a small detail, but how much do we love that transom-style window

above the garage door?

A lot.

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Some people in our town added a garage to their beautiful older home,

+ I was so impressed when I saw that they had included a similar transom window!

I mean, WHO does that?  Besides nobody!

Perhaps I’ll risk having a restraining order placed upon me

+ snap a photo to share with the class.

Anyway.  The homeowner is Laura, + she lives in Napa Valley.

Turns out she’s a fixer upper flipper with her own company,

Del Mar Restoration!

I can’t wait to look at their website.

I’ll report back.

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I’m SO sorry for my crappy photos!

I am a huge fan of Adirondack chairs,

+ this one earns extra points for being modern + navy.

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 I like all the crunchy gravel surrounding the barn

+ the charming cupola + weathervane.

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Inside, there’s a bedroom tucked under the exposed rafters.

That bed looks like it’s been upholstered with a gray linen,

+ the mix of pillows + the Hudson Bay blanket fit nicely in a rustic barn home.

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Nearby there’s a seating area with another favorite, a brown leather couch.

The light fixture + that rug (navy + plus signs!) are both swell.

That coffee table, though.  Whoa.

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Wish I could persuade G.O. to try + make one for us.  Stay tuned.

That horse trough tub is cool.

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I can only imagine how hard it would be to persuade G.O. that we need one!

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HA!  It’s always tons of fun when I get to use the fighting cat photo!

But wait.

My fave feature of this entire barn would be the RED WHEELS on their table.

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O . . . M . . . G !

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I told G.O. that, if he/we ever see anything like them, we must get them!!

I’ll keep you posted.

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Next on the barn home agenda is the Neutral Barn.

Hint: lots of white.  See you then!

 

 


Modern Barn In Country Living

Do you know what makes a FUN day at our house?

When the latest issue of Country Living magazine lands in my mailbox!

Check it out:  October 2017

Could that cover BE more appealing??

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Must be the colors + the pumpkins + the folded blankets.

But look more closely — see the headline at the top of the cover?

country living october 17

“I LIVE IN A BARN!”  FOUR MUST-SEE CONVERTED HOMES

Well, say no more, Country Living!

  Let’s have a MUST-SEE!

We’ll start with this awesomeness, called the Modern Barn,

a weekend getaway for a Memphis, TN couple:

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Omigosh, that simple drawing couldn’t be more charming!

Do you like it, too?

House portraits are a thing now, + I’ve long

dreamt of painting our house(s).

If I can’t find the time in my highly busy schedule, all is not lost.

There are all sorts of etsy artists who do custom house paintings,

like this one:

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OMIGOSH!  So sweet!

Speaking of sweet, have you see HGTV’s Home Town show?

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Have you noticed that host Erin (next to husband Ben)

paints a house portrait on every episode for the homeowners?

I couldn’t find any photos of her paintings online,

but here she is, hard at work:

hometown girl drawing

But I digress.

Shall we have a look-see at the Modern Barn, at long last?

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How I love the board + batten siding,

+ the metal roof + that grey-on-grey exterior!

I’m giving extra points for the shutters that are actually operable.

(It’s just not me — you’ve noticed things like that, too, right?)

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The deck + screened porch are sporting my favorite X-motif railings . . .

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. . . + there’s an outdoor fireplace (which I have always wanted!)

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Inside, the rustic 2-story gathering room has its own stone fireplace:

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Everything is quite neutral but definitely not boring,

as the plan includes so many different textures.

Notice how the brown leather arm chairs (yes, please!)

echo the warm wood of the paneled walls.

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I’m loving the dark metal of the window sashes,

which is repeated in the industrial-style iron chandelier.

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This is important — they’ve added accents of blue in the pillows + throw.

I fear that the room, sans the pops of blue, might skew too boring.

What do you think?

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Anyway, in contrast to the dark + cozy vibe of the gathering room,

the kitchen is light + bright, + dare I say it?

AIRY!

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The warm wood tones are repeated in the beams, wood bowl + X-back stools,

+ here’s that blue again, in the plaid chair cushions:

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I can’t be the only one who’s geeked out over plaid being such a thing, can I?

Do you have any plaid in your home?

 And finally, in closing, what’s not to love about the dining area?

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I’m a smitten kitten of all their white ironstone:

The warm wood* is back, too.

(*Yikes, for the painted furniture people!  It’s not over, is it?)

That’s a topic for another day.  Back to the dining room:

Blue is repeated here, too, in the napkins + that throw.

Yes, I  love how cohesive the décor is,

with elements repeated throughout.

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And lastly, YES, it is mandatory

that we all participate in a fun field trip TO-day,

to gather some pretty branches to bring home + shove in a vase.

Who’s in?

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Pass me the car keys + the clippers!

I’ll share later, so stay tuned for that,

+ yet more of my musings about the Country Living barns . . .

. . . this next one, a Kit Barn in California’s wine country!

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+

 

 

 


Sea Side Maine Charmer

Is anyone out there following For The Love Of Old Houses on Facebook?

That sounds like it would be right up our alley, doesn’t it?

Sadly, most of the featured homes are just too large or too grand,

+ I just can’t see myself living in them.

Sad!

But wait.  I need to get U-Haul on the phone,

because I am totally ready to move into today’s ‘Old House’!

OF COURSE, IT’S IN MAINE!

Maine is where the charming sea side homes are!

Let’s see what you think.

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They had me at the shingle exterior,

the steeply pitched, saltbox roof line, all those windows,

the twiggy stair hand rail, the hydrangeas . . .

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. . . the sweet window box, the lean-to entrance with the ‘grandpa’ screen door.

Notice, too, that where the second story shingles meet the first,

they flare just a bit.

I love little details like that, don’t you?

Speaking of  love, wow oh wow, that living/dining room!

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Obviously, that view, that wall o’ windows  + the exposed beams are ooh la la,

+ I’m also loving the furnishings.

The scale of that sectional is perfect for its space, is it not?

A small-ish room with ginormous furniture makes me cross.

But people.  Please look closely at that floor.

It’s painted the prettiest shade of blue with white stripes!

You’ll have to excuse me for a sec, because I am going to swoon!

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Just between us,

I am plotting + planning how I’ll paint the floor of our front porch (finally!)

It will be the same shade of gray as our new steps,

but it can’t just be plain Jane, can it?

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No.  It can not.

I’ve been toying with possible buffalo checks or stenciled tiles,

+ so now I’ve added stripes into my possible choices.

After all, you can never go wrong with stripes.

Please notice the striped area rug, below.

How I love it when an area rug is used to anchor a seating area, like this:

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Now we know how the TV set’s been incorporated, + I approve!

That coffee table looks fantastic, doesn’t it?

I love the natural wood with all that blue + white paint!

Please.  That kitchen.

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I think the stainless range hood is very simple + perfection.

Notice the art work that’s leaning on top of those counter tops.

 about which I am currently obsessing!

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Are they concrete?

I think so, although they could be zinc, which would also rule  my world.

Of course, we all love the trendy open shelving + restaurant-style faucet,

but look at that huge, rectangular sink + that under-counter skirt!

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SO WACKY!

I mean that in the best possible sense.

The older I get, the more I wish to make what I call wacky decor choices.

Sadly, I fear that our house is not nearly wacky enough!

More on that, later.

Let’s look at the pantry doors.

maine house pantry doors

Some of the comments were not favorable (too rustic!),

re: those chippy, recycled doors, but I disagree!

They are FAB, people (+ I also love the large, black clock!)

Of course, the bathroom is as charming as all get-out,

+ I am wondering how I might incorporate the long shelf into ours.

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The bedroom.

The vaulted, wood-clad ceiling, the beams, the gable window, the view —

they’re all stellar, BUT THE FLOORS!!!

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Painted + spattered floors like this are/were a ‘thing’ New England,

+ I, for one, think they should be a ‘thing’ all over the U.S.!

Across the room, there’s the cutest, little dresser, ever,

+ a small scale slip covered chair.  ADORABLE!

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And, in closing, let’s have another look-see at the fantastic view.

maine house sail boats

One of the reasons that New England is so charming would be all the sailboats!

I shan’t risk hurting the feelings of any jet ski enthusiasts who read my blog,

but let me say that I think the jet ski is the antithesis of the sailboat.

Our beloved G.O. loves the jet ski.  Oops.

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Let’s focus, instead, on something more pleasant.

They’re finally back + waiting for me at the grocery store!

affy tapple


Lauren Liess On HGTV

So.  Flash back to just a few days ago.

Remember when we were all psyched about designer Lauren Liess’ HGTV pilot?

They named it Best House On The Block.

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Her book is called HABITAT / A Field Guide To Decorating.

You can buy a signed copy (it’s good) on her website.

HABITAT COVER

I just went to her website, but there was no mention of whether HGTV

was going to pick them up for an entire season.

While we wait for good news, let’s look at + judge my bad photos of the TV screen!

Here are the lucky homeowners:

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Their 60’s brick ranch was in a neighborhood filled with identical brick ranches.

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They had $60 grand to spend on their re-do, + here’s what they were getting:

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I’m always surprised at the amount of money that’s allotted for painting on HGTV.

$5,000?  Really?

That’s why you do the painting YOURSELVES, you whippersnappers!

Seriously.  I am going to insist that you get off my lawn.

*****

But first, this, speaking of paint:

 

Raise your hand if you knew they were going to paint their brick.

That makes G.O. cross, but I’m usually on board.

More on this, later.

*****

I failed to take many before  or during snapshots, because who cares, really?

Ha!  I “kid”!

Here’s one before look at the back door + stairway to the basement.

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Lauren was able to level that area by reversing the basement steps!

Genius!

Here’s a good look at it in the after floor plan:

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In real life:

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You can also see that they removed the wall between the kitchen + family room.

How I love the black cabs with the warm wood counter tops!

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Everything’s so wonderfully staged!

THAT GINORMOUS WALL O’ WINDOWS!

Yes, it’s unconventional to put the stove under the windows,

but I think those are fixed + not made to open.

WOW, that’s a stunning stove, isn’t it?

The exhaust fan is probably along the back.

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Did all this black + warm wood remind you of this house boat from Fixer Upper?

If you’d like to see more of it, check out my blog post devoted to it.

fixer upper boat after

The island is custom made with old barn wood.

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Lauren + her husband, David, went to a reclaimed lumber business in Virginia.

The boards they chose came from an old barn that was built just after the Civil War.

Come ON, though!

Look at her!  How stylish is she?

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Back to the island:

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Wait.  What is that artwork in the family room?

Lauren foraged for botanicals in the homeowner’s wooded back yard,

gathering enough to press, frame + hang multiples in a grid.

This is one of her signature “looks”, + I love it!

 

Here is a view across that new basement staircase,

from the new dining room.

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Homeowner hubby, David, is inspecting the new shelves

Lauren designed for their daughter’s toys:

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The couple already owned the round Saarenin “tulip” table,

+ Lauren added a few pieces to make the dining room complete.

I’m glad to see that pairs of lamps are still a thing.

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Here’s a photo of the after front exterior.

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Some asbestos was discovered in the kitchen,

+ it cost $3000 to be removed.

As you can see, they took that amount from the furnish + style fund.

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I really loved the show, didn’t you?

Fingers crossed there will be more episodes!


Gotta Love Frenchie House Numbers

So.  Our front porch is almost finished.

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I blogged about said same earlier in the week.

We don’t have hand rails yet, but perhaps G.O. will work on them today.

fingers crossed

Anyway, methinks it’s now time for our house numbers.

Okay, I know this is goofy, but we already have 2 different sets of them.

We just don’t know where they are.

HA!  We’re such losers!

Whatever.

I may not even remember what our “lost” house numbers looked like (I don’t),

but who cares?

I found some that I like better, inside my favorite mag:

country living cover september 2017

I shan’t mince words:

It’s a good issue — go buy it.

Here’s what I found on CL page 85,

4″ x 6″ enamel steel number signs from Kaufman Mercantile!

They’re my favorite color!  — dark blue!

numbers for house

So Frenchie!  Literally.

From Kaufman Mercantile’s online shopping site:

The family-owned company that makes these enamel house plates started in 1905, but you can trace its heritage of enamel-making back to the 1830s. At the turn of the 20th-century, the founder opened a small factory on the north coast of France and began producing decorative enamel objects, signs, and kitchenware. His great grandson continues to offer these items using the same methods as over a century ago.

I know!!  How cool, right??

Also very cool is that the numbers are on sale right now:

Were: $20.40 each, Now: $12.24 each.

number 1 for house

 I actually did some math this morning,

+ for our house numbers (we have 3), our cost would be $37.72!

  • *****

You’ll have to trust me on this one, but that’s a real bargain,

considering the prices of these dark blue beauties, 

from a Danish company, Ramsign:

number blue oval

Engelshom 9″ x 5.5″ @ $79.00

I’ve been such a fan of these signs,

but just today I learned that they’re from Denmark, not France.

That’s still cool.

Anyway, here’s the Danish company founder, Nick Brandt:

ramsign owner

Here’s how he describes his business:

Our Metropolitan house numbers are the quintessential classic northern European porcelain enamel sign. The white and blue single-trimmed signs are imbued with a rich history, dating back to 19th century Europe. Today, we bring over 150 years of tradition to your doorstep.

number blue

Lilleborg 8.5″ x 4″ @$69.00

*****

But Kay!  you’re asking.

What about all the grays + blacks

you’ve chosen for that front porch of yours?

number house black

Havreholm 7.5″ x 5″ @$69.00

Okay.  I think I like this one better than the blue!

surprised baby

Perhaps G.O. will find those missing house numbers

while I continue ponderng the enamel ones.

Stay tuned!


Finally! Porch Steps!

It’s August already!

What am I doing, still thinking of new plants + containers to buy?

I’m obsessing about these topiaries!

Blue+Spruce+Globe+on+Std

 

How sweet would they look inside a pair of these urns?

urn and pedestal charcoal

So what’s with all this landscaping dreaming,

so close to the end of summer?

Here’s what:

We’re finally getting stairs for our front porch!

This means we can now safely plant things next to them,

+ let’s be real.

Is that not the most up front + important spot in our entire yard?

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OMIGOSH!  LET’S DO THIS!

Calm down — back to those porch steps.

Here they are, in progress, just a few days ago:

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A few days later, they’re still unfinished

but are sporting their new lattice “skirts” on each side.

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So cute! — + matching the skirts underneath the rest of our porch:

G.O. started painting the new stair treads yesterday.

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It was a challenge, as it always is, coming up with the perfect color.

Yes, I chose gray, but not just any gray.

It has to “play nicely with” (a.k.a. complement) all the other grays of our house,

most especially those near the new steps,

on the foundation’s stones + the lattice.

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By no means do I mean that I want all the grays to match.

No way!

In my world, contrast is often more important than matching.

Since I really want the stair treads + porch floor to “pop” (a.k.a. contrast),

 I decided they needed to be fairly dark.

Here’s the paint color I chose:

Knight’s Armor from Pittsburgh Paints.

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Whoa.  That’s DARK! — isn’t it?

Disclaimer:  I really feared that it was too dark.  Yikes.

My instinct was to forge ahead, though.

In the past, I’ve had remorse when I settled on a safer, lighter color

because I’d been too timid to go really dark.

Not this time!

Let’s see how those treads look, in place:

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People.  I have only envisioned this bit of happiness for years!

It’s like I’m dreaming!

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Notice the porch ceiling.

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G.O. has started stripping the old paint off the existing bead board,

+ we’ll repaint it a pale blue.

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I like that light fixture (something discontinued from Pottery Barn),

but we’re thinking of replacing it with an outdoor ceiling fan.

Dunno yet.

Next, we’ll need some stair railings + posts + stuff.

Here’s what we have, at left, + here’s what I want, at right.

Stay tuned for a cool transformation (I hope!)

This concludes my porch musings, but wait.

Remember the pair of urns + topiaries that I want to get?

 

My plans are to place one on either side of our bottom step.

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Perfect!

Maybe we’ll go shopping tomorrow — stay tuned!

 


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