Saturday, May 31, 2008

Everything's coming up roses!

Well, here we are at the end of May! I don't really know where the last month has gone to as it has been a whirl of activity here at the cottage and at the Vintage Home website. Lots of exciting things have been happening here including some re-decoration, quirky purchases of the vintage-type and chance meetings with some wonderful people. I promise I will elaborate on all of this, and more, throughout the coming months! I'm also hoping to spend some relaxation time in the garden during June, appreciating the many flowers; isn't that rose a beauty? After several days of wet and dreary weather, it was a treat to be able to get outside and photograph the signs that Summer really is on its way!
This is a nice little spot, don't you think? I look forward to sitting here with a cold drink and a good read.

We have lots of these wild gladioli growing the garden, such a pretty colour...

One of my all-time favourite cottage garden flowers, the sweet william...

Here are the geraniums in the greenhouse, they are just about ready to plant out into their terracotta pots.

Despite the recent wet weather, we have been out and about gathering together lots of vintage stock for the website. There are some pretty additions which reflect the season ahead; this delightful green and cream basket is so sweet...

...these stunning curtains are covered in carnations!

This pretty lamp has a wonderful floral shade...

...and this 1950s chair is covered in gorgeous roses!

This is the star of the show though; a Victorian prie dieu with original fine hand embroidery - exquisite roses, of course!

A really big thank you to every one who has recently purchased from the shop and I hope you enjoy your browse at the latest goodies. I think I might have that little sit-down now - have a wonderful weekend and week ahead!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Got a Trend Goin' On

I've been changing and rearranging my accessories
and I've noticed,
that without really thinking about it,
I've got a design trend happening.

Can you see it?
I think I'm having a natural attraction to
all things black and white and garden inspired.
Isn't it fun when things fall together like that?!?

Especially when I'm using things I already have.

And my favorite black spray paint!

Summer savings and loans...

photo: Butik Sophie

Who said summer was less expensive than winter? Sure, we save on heating costs, don't have to shop for Christmas presents, and can eat more hotdogs...but it certainly isn't cheap!! In between trips to the grocery store to stock up on ice-cream and barbeque fixings, jaunts to the local nursery for perrenials and annuals, and family vacations in our gas-guzzling vehicles, summer can drain the pocketbook like no other time!!
Progress on Sophie's playhouse continues, a project that my husband has now labelled "the money pit"...not quite the whimsical name I had envisioned for it!! Still, he is right; most of the summer projects we all undertake involve handing money over fist. We opened our pool for the season, and just that cost $100 - even before purchasing the summer supply of chemicals we will need to keep the pool sparkling clean (no cost for my labour, of course...). We have discussed building planters, trellises, finishing details on the pool deck, even tossed around options for the driveway. My enterprising hubby is actually considering pouring his own concrete driveway and walkway (with his dream team of like-minded buddies). When I piped up about wanting to do something a little different with the walkway (i.e. stamped, coloured concrete to mimic flagstone), my frank husband cocked his head, furrowed his eyebrows and casually replied, "You can't afford different!"
So true...nothing like a good bucket of cold water thrown onto me every now and then to remind me that I'm not Linda Rockefeller...!!
In fact, I like being who I am. I come from blue-collar roots and you can't beat them out of me. Sure, I like pretty things; but I get the greatest thrill from doing or making them ourselves. In fact, I just finished helping one of my best friends make-over her living room. She spent a total of $300, which included slipcovers, seagrass ottomans, a new light fixture, and paint. We had so much fun putting the final touches on the room, and we share a love of getting a great look for little money. She has no airs about her and was happy to accept some of the decorative items I was no longer in need of, which we put in the room. It turned out beautifully, with a wonderfully beachy feel like the rest of her home, and that is what really matters.

So... that's my take on the cost of summer. Sure, we all pay in sunburns, too many calories, and insect bites, but what really takes a hit is our bank accounts. Camping is not cheap, a Sunday drive is not free if you stop for five ice-creams, an outdoor project always costs more than you imagined, and the power used to run your pool pump and/or heater does not add up to savings in home heating costs. Those are the facts. Now... go hang your clothes on the line and fire up the barbeques for some $2/pack of hotdogs. Now that's cheap!!
(ice cream photo: Matthew Mead Style)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Miami Beach - A Video Tour

Miami is a great place to live, especially for those who love a year round warm climate. The southern part of Miami Beach, commonly referred to as South Beach, has become known as the American Riviera. The video tour below gives a glimpse of why visitors love to come to Miami for vacation. Enjoy!

Miami Beach (South Beach) Tour

Put it in the oven for baby and me...

I was inspired to show off these photos of my then two year-old daughter "baking" on my carpet. I remember this day so well. I had gone upstairs to find something, and when I came back down - lo and behold, there was my little one rolling out some icing sugar on my family room rug!! I had always kept my mostly untouched baking supplies in a lower drawer in my kitchen; and poor, little Sophie must have felt we needed something yummy to eat! Evidently, she shares my baking skills...why not roll out some icing sugar when the mood strikes?? I had the presence of mind to stifle my laughter (and surprise) and sneak away in search of my camera. I love the innocence and charm of these photos and I wish she was still as little, so I could give that sweet baby a big squeeze, and kiss those chubby cheeks...
I actually have a cake baking in the oven as I write this. Of course, never mind that it comes from a package, and the icing from a icing sugar needed this time...!!!

Pick Your Friends, Not Your Nose

I LOVE vintage suitcases! I've been collecting them for years. I don't pay a lot for them or buy them on-line or at antique shops because, let's face it, 1-they're not a necessity of life, and 2-(more importantly) I'm cheap! However, because I limit my buying options I have to be more creative. (I love when I have to be more creative because I can really surprise myself!)
When I decided that I wanted a bigger variety in my suitcase collection, I knew I couldn't do it all on my own. I enlisted the help of friends and acquaintances. Now, I must warn you that this is a tricky process. It is very important that you pick the right friends! If you pick the wrong friends you may end up having more competition for finding your treasure. Interestingly enough, some people may suddenly decide that because you're interested in a certain item they now want it too. Then there's the people who see only dollar signs and figure they can pick up the treasure you're interested in and sell it to you or someone else for a lot more money. But if you pick your friends carefully it can result in. . .


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tissue Anyone?

The bathroom of my son's house was a fun make-over. I didn't take before pictures, so imagine a small bathroom with CARPET on the floor, walls with their fair share of dings and patches, and 1980's standard issue light fixture and stainless framed mirror with the attached plastic sliding door storage.
Got the picture?
We ripped out the carpeting, sealed the floor, and applied peel and stick tiles that have the look of ceramic tile. The floor was quick, easy, inexpensive, and it looks good too. We replaced the mirror and the lighting, which helped give the room a fresh look. But it was the walls where I got creative.
I bought several packs of white tissue paper, the kind that you put in gifts. I crumpled the individual sheets. Then I painted a section of the wall, applied a sheet of tissue paper and then applied another coat of paint on top of the tissue. I continued this process throughout the entire room, lining up the sheets. It creates a unique textured finish on the walls. If you click on the picture below, you can see the texture a bit better. Once the paint is cured, you can go over the walls with a glaze to highlight the texture, but that wasn't the style that I was trying to achieve here.

Painted tissue paper is a unique wall treatment. The finished product resembles a combination of a crumpled up cotton sheet and Venetian plaster. It's a great solution for camouflaging banged up walls. And it's fun too! If you decide to try this technique I would recommend that you enlist a friend to help the process go faster.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Box to Reflect Upon

My oldest son and daughter-in-law moved into a home that needed a little TLC. I would describe their decorating style as modern/retro---the clean, straight lines of modern, mixed with the funky retro look. The home is a split level. Their living room and kitchen are on the main level and there is a large opening between the two areas. In the living room area there is only one wall that can be decorated. Because of the open floor plan this wall can be seen from the kitchen as well. (Have I thoroughly confused you yet?)
Last year, while they were on vacation, we did a surprise make-over on the majority of the house. I designed, and we built this shelf unit for the wall in the living room. It hangs above the sofa. I purchase an inexpensive door mirror and removed it from the plastic frame. Then we built a box to the dimensions of the mirror. We secured the box to the wall using wall anchors, and then placed the mirror inside using double-sided tape. The mirror reflects the objects inside as well as reflecting light back into the room.

PGA TOUR Comes TO Wakefield Plantation June 2 - 8, 2008

The Rex Hospital is proud to welcome the PGA Nationwide Tour to Wakefield Plantation! This will be the 21st year that Rex Hospital has raised funds for the Rex Hospital Foundation through the game of golf.

You are invited to become part of the action. In addition to the thrill of playing in the Pro-Am, volunteering and getting up close and personal with the Pros, hosting customers in hospitality suites and watching championship golf ensure a bright future for this Nationwide Tour stop. Not only does the Tournament boast incredible golf as the pros compete for the $500,000 dollar purse, but this premier sporting event focuses the national spotlight on the community, providing significant opportunities for nationwide recognition of corporate partners. ~ From The Rex Hospital Open website

The Rex Hospital Open will also showcase corporate hospitality at it's finest! You can entertain your clients and best prospects at a premier event. Amateur players are given the opportunity to play with a Nationwide Tour professional and receive a variety of VIP treatment, including:
  • Premier Pro-Am gift package & accessories
  • Clubhouse Valet Parking
  • Golf Bag transfers
  • Two complimentary clubhouse meals
  • Awards for first - third team placement
  • Commemorative Pro-Am credential and guest badge
  • Commemorative team photo with Tour professional

The purse for this event is $500,000 with the Winning Share at $90,000.

Event Schedule:

Sunday, June 1 Pro Junior Invitational 9:30 a.m. TPC Wakefield

Monday, June 2 First Tee of Triangle Cup Pro-Am 9:00 a.m. TPC WakefieldGrand Champions Pro-Am 11:00 a.m. Hasentree

Wednesday, June 4 Official Nationwide Tour Pro-Am 8:00 a.m. & 1:15 p.m. shotgun starts TPC Wakefield

Thursday, June 5 First Round, Rex Hospital Open 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. & Noon - 2:00 p.m. tee timesSplit-tee start (#1 & #10)TPC Wakefield

Friday, June 6 Second Round, Rex Hospital Open 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. & Noon - 2:00 p.m. tee timesSplit-tee start (#1 & #10)TPC Wakefield

Saturday, June 7 Third Round, Rex Hospital Open approx 9:00 a.m. TPC Wakefield

Sunday, June 8 Final Round, Rex Hospital Open approx 8:00 a.m. TPC Wakefield

Trophy Ceremony Immediately following play 18th green

*All times tentative and subject to change

For TPC Wakefield Plantation Information:

Tournament Site:

TPC Wakefield Plantation

2201 Wakefield Plantation Drive

Raleigh, NC 27614Clubhouse

Phone: 919-488-5100

Golf Shop Phone: 919-488-5200

For more information about Wakefield Plantation please feel free to email meor call me direct! There are numerous styles of homes available and one sure to fit any ones price point! I would welcome the opportunity to give you a tour of the area....

National Spotlight on My Back Yard....

Summer Porches...

This porch (above) was styled by Matthew Mead and is on the cover of the current issue of Country Home magazine. Isn't it gorgeous??

Well, the folks over at Country Home magazine have inspired me yet again. You all know I love a front porch, and lately have been putting ours to good use. Whether it's swinging on my porch swing... sipping tea... while watching our kids ride bikes, skateboard... or perhaps trying to hide from them (which never works...they always find us) or simply perching on the front step and watching the world go by, it is a happy spot to be.

Mine is not yet complete. We still have a privacy issue to deal with, we have plans for some great planters in which to grow my favourite flowers, and I still need to paint the floor of the porch. Still, the necessary components exist: a good swing, lanterns on a dimmer, and the perfunctory white wicker chairs to sit and relax in. Because really...isn't that what a front (or back) porch is all about??

all photos: Country Home magazine


My porches.........old,

and new. The one above was taken last year. I will take a new photo after I do my "updates."

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Day to Remember

Remembering all those who lived and died
that we might enjoy our life and freedom.

Wishing you a nice Memorial Day.
It's a time to reflect on the life's of others
who have blessed us.

It's also the beginning of the summer holidays when we fly flags and show our patriotism. I made my flag holders out of stair balusters and scrap wood. Just a quick project to show how proud we are to be Americans!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

You're showering where??


Would you, could you, shower outside? Exposed to the elements, vulnerable to the biteS of mosquitoes... trusting that the shower curtain won't be flung open by a laughing child?
Well, that's the question. Outdoor showers are the newest trend in extending one's outdoor living space. They range from the simple, rustic shower meant for rinsing off before jumping into the swimming pool (with no worries about supplying a heat source to warm the water), to more design-worthy, quality-tiled masterpieces meant for serious showering - fitted with all the comforts of their indoor cousins. The grander versions are often housed in large pool/beach houses, doors flung open to allow summer breezes to float in. Outdoor showers have also become de rigeur for those lucky enough to have summer cottages, and complete the picture of easy, summer living. photo: Pottery Barn Kids

What do you think? Are they practical, or are they just another outdoor accessory that we are "not meant to live without?" Are they the new summer staple...along with beach chairs, barbeques, and portable campfires/chimneas?. As for me, I love the idea of them, and we have toyed with adding one to our pool deck. But then I ask myself: when is enough, enough? Must we have all the comforts of our homes outside...when we are merely steps to our homes???
Or, is an outdoor shower just as refreshing, and welcomed, as a real summer shower? My verdict is not in, just yet, but I definitely feel swayed by these gorgeous photos!!

photo: Coastal

photo source:

Who am I kidding? Outdoor showers are divine...maybe someday I'll have one...!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Urning Their Ribbons

You know that I had to tweak them just a little bit!
Layers are an important aspect of good design.
Read Shirlee's cute comments on the last post
for more ideas on urn toppings.

Urned Love

Remember those three white urns from my previous post? As much as I love a nice white urn, these were not nice. The finish was flat, chalky and grungy. They didn't have a finished glaze coat, so of course that meant that they could easily be painted! I used black craft paint. Black just seems to make things a bit classier. I once heard a designer say, "Think of the color of black this way . . .you can wear a cheap pair of white pants or a cheap pair of black pants, but the black pants will always look more expensive." So that's been my design philosophy when I'm trying to class up something with a little paint.
I finished off each urn with a clear coat, floral foam, moss and a pear.

They sit in my kitchen window sill, above my sink, which is really white and not the sickly pink that the picture shows. I always seem to do a post on my windows on cloudy days, so the picture turns out a little off in color.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Proof of an Addiction

These are some of the thrift store treasures I purchased during the past week. Isn't it a delightful display! It's the stuff that makes my heart skip a beat and puts a smile on my face, which is why I have to openly admit that I am addicted! I can't help it. Just look at this stuff:
*an old picnic basket that matches one I already have
*a tarnished silver tray with a lot of character
*two milk glass Sunkist juicers
*a Martha Stewart measuring scoop
*a great frame and a beaded board clock
*three urns (an idea for a future post)
*a vintage vase
*a striped suitcase---you know how I love suitcases
I do admit that I have an addiction, but I justify it by saying that I only have a few addictions (chocolate, thrift stores---you understand, right?!?!). I think it's one of the healthier addictions to have. I haven't gotten to the point that my family would turn me into Oprah because I have a warehouse full of stuff. . . a room full, but not a warehouse full.
Anyway, the first step to recovery is to admit that you have an addiction. I admit it! But I also admit that I'm not willing to give it up. I mean, what's wrong with a little harmless addiction?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mending Miami Market

Sunset Island Home Sold For $5,700,000

Some people won’t believe this, but the real estate market in Miami is beginning to show signs of mending. A few months ago, there were very few buyers around as reflected in the snails pace sales of homes in Miami. Everyone wants to know when things will turn. What if they are turning right now?

This past week alone, 3
luxury homes sold in the Miami Beach area, one on Palm Island, and another on Sunset Island 2, and a third in Bal Harbour. The property located at 4 Palm Ave. on Palm Island is an 8,169 square feet home situated on a 17,603 square feet lot with 100 linear feet of bay front. The home sold for $7,900,000, amounting to $967 per square foot of interior living space

Sunset Island home located at 1425 W. 27th St. on Miami Beach is a 6,595 square feet home, situated on a 20,000 square feet lot, with 100 linear feet of bay front. It sold for $5,700,000, amounting to $864 per square foot of interior living space. The property located at 268 Park Drive in Bal Harbour is a 6,986 square feet home, and is situated on a lot measuring 15,825 square feet, and is the only one of the 3 properties that is not a waterfront home. The home sold for $5,500,000, which amounts to $787 per square foot of interior living space.

The sales of these 3 homes are significant and demonstrate that the buyers are out there, and that they are slowly beginning to purchase homes. This was not happening in the
Miami area just a few months ago, and the tourist season is over. Traditionally, the tourist season, beginning in November and “officially” ending in mid April, has been the most active time for property sales in Miami. This year things have been a little different, however, because sales were few and far between during the season, and they are slowly beginning to pick up now.

Chief Economist Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors feels optimistic about the future of real estate in the US. In his mid year housing update, he spoke about a recovery and when we can expect one. He feels that the worst is over, and that the market is going to soon rebound. He expressed that the real estate market in Florida will also recover, because baby boomers are going to be retiring in the next several years, and buying up properties in the warm Miami climate. He thinks that this time now, might very well be a great time for buyers who have been waiting, to jump into the marketplace, while home prices are still bottoming out.

Garden Getaways...

Ask yourself: are you making the most of your garden? Does it inspire you to steal away for a spell and read, chat, daydream...or create? While it can be as simple as a great Adirondack chair or a breezy hammock, have you ever thought of creating a place that is yours alone? We are in the midst of building our daughter a playhouse, and it has me thinking that someday I'd love such a place for myself..
photo: Butik Sophie

The current summer issues of our favourite magazines have wonderful examples of cabanas, potting sheds, artist's cottages, pool houses and boat houses with glorious lofts. Each option sounds heavenly, doesn't it? Well, of course we can't all conjure up (or afford) such perfect spaces, but we can carve out our own little corner of the garden for our use.
photo: Victoria Magazine


The next photo is of my mum's former backyard (frequent moving runs in the family...). This is a shot I took of her pretty garden shed. She also has a sweet, little potting shed in the garden of her present home. It is not as large (or functional, she might add) as this one, but it is charming all the same!
A couple of homes ago (which I know sounds odd...), we had what we jokingly called a secret garden of sorts. It was a small area at the bottom of our deck steps that served as a threshold to our open-area backyard. It was a sheltered spot, with a canopy of trees that provided the only shade in our garden. We knew it was also the only spot that afforded us some semblance of privacy; so we decided to create a garden within our garden: a place to sip a cold drink on a hot day - shaded as we watched our then-toddler daughter play with the neighbourhood children.
Below is the only picture I could find of it...and it was obviously taken during the construction phase!
My husband built a bench with a trellised back on which to grow vines and hang flowering baskets. The floppy branches of the trees above served as the perfect spot from which to hang our outdoor chandelier. We used pea gravel as the ground cover, and we placed an iron bistro set underneath. We thinned the little wooded area (more scrub than woods) for our boys to play in, and planted shrubs and flowers in the planter behind the bench. It turned out quite charming, and was the only pretty spot in our otherwise treeless, back garden.

My sister has a wonderful big yard and plenty of trees to shade herself under. She has wooden, outdoor chairs that I have coveted for many years now, and they are the perfect spot to sit and chat when I visit her each summer. She loves to comb the local yardsales every Saturday and her incredible finds kill me...!!!

My current yard's tiny proportions are utilized to capacity, but someday, when my children are grown, I will strive to create a beautiful garden get-away of my very own to perhaps pot flowers, create something of interest, nap or just read. I am a shade lover anyway... so by that time, I will undoubtedly also be trying to prevent further wrinkles as I enjoy the great outdoors. For now, I will enjoy ducking my head as I enter Sophie's playhouse to admire our work and squish myself into one of her little chairs and pretend I am seven again. It is a bigger project than I first anticipated, and I look forward to sharing the outcome of our joint venture with those of you who share an appreciation for whimsical get-aways!

photo: source unknown