Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brown Transferware

Hey, just a quick note to tell you that Libby at An Eye For Detail is featuring my small collection of brown transferware in her weekly Fabulous Finds post.

Click on the photo below of my beloved Johnson Brothers turkey platter to see some of the other pieces of I've collected!

Thanks, Libby!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

An English-Inspired Cupboard

I haven't painted anything in awhile, but today I bought (for a song) a wonderful white, chippy park bench at Spruce Antiques and Interiors in Hillsborough. I want the piece to remain chippy (rather than eventually being only bare wood--it's that chippy!), so I pulled out my paintbrush and applied a coat of Polyacrylic to seal it. 

It felt great to go through the motions of painting and now I'm looking forward to painting again!

The weather here has been utterly perfect here, with sunshine and highs in the 60s.  The leaves are nearing their peak of color and I can't help but be in a non-stop good mood!  It's perfect painting weather, too, and so I'll have to knock out some projects in the next few weeks. 

I'm getting ready to try an HVLP sprayer on a few pieces for a friend, and I scored a picnic table and pair of benches from Craigslist that are crying out for a coat of paint before finding a new home on the screened-in porch.

My interest has a tendency, in all projects I do, to ebb and flow.  And the desire to paint had definitely ebbed in recent months in favor of sewing and generally getting ready for Fifi and Mark's visit.  But now it's flowing, so be on the lookout for some painted furniture before and afters in the coming weeks!  In the meantime, here's a project I completed over the summer and hadn't yet blogged about.

This is was the living room television armoire.

It was originally unfinished pine, but last fall I wanted to mute the warm wood tones, and tried drybrushing it with paint leftover from painting several rooms in the house.  I layered Benjamin Moore Linen White and Wythe Blue, but was way, way too light-handed.  For some reason--I think because I was trying to start *and* finish the project in one morning during preschool--I stopped after just a couple quick coats of paint and then hurriedly sealed the armoire with Polyacrylic.

Within days I regretted the decision. Even as close as the sofa, you could hardly tell the thing was painted. And since I had been such a genius to seal it, I knew it'd be a massive pain in the heiney to sand off all that poly in order to repaint it.  So I did nothing.

Well, then the whole Annie Sloan Chalk Paint craze happened this past spring.  As soon as I heard you could paint straight over poly'd pieces with ASCP, I was sold.  And fortunately, an ASCP retailer in less than half an hour away.

However, it wasn't until I saw this photo in the beautiful English magazine Period Living that I knew how I wanted to paint the armoire.

Everything is this photos seems so quintessentially English and I lurve it.  And I was completely smitten with the armoire.  The soft grey-blue paint, worn and chipped, was exactly what the living room needed. And once I looked the photo more closely and realized the the dream armoire and my armoire were pretty darn similar in shape and details...well...ding, ding, ding...we have a winner!

First, I painted a coat of Old White, followed by a coat of Paris Grey. And then, with a sanding sponge, I sanded. A LOT. (I ended up making a pretty big mess, actually. But at that point, I was so happy with the way things were looking, I didn't mind cleaning up all the fine paint dust.) Finally, a coat of wax, buffed to a satiny smooth finish, completed the transformation.

Here is the end result:

There is no doubt this armoire has paint on it now!

P.S.--The knobs are from Hobby Lobby--I love them so much that I will bore you with a second close-up.

$2 each - that's it.  Don't hate.

Trying to show you the subtle sheen of the waxed surface. It's smooth as buttah!

Love how the Old White peeks through in places.

Mission complete!

Have you painted anything lately that you're pleased-as-punch about?


Linking to:
The Inspiration Board at Homework
Piece of Work Wednesday at Primitive and Proper
Restored It Wednesday at Restore Interiors
Whatever Wednesday at Momma Hen's Coop
Transformation Thursday at Shabby Creek Cottage
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
All Things Furniture at Perfectly Imperfect

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

House Tour: The Master Bedroom

So, let's continue the house tour today with the master bedroom.  Seems only logical since we started off in the master bathroom last week!

This room, like several in the house, has two log walls and two walls covered in a combination of drywall and beadboard.  Maybe a little schizophrenic for decorating, but that's the nature of living in a log home. My spin on this is that there are lots of opportunities to contrast wood and painted surfaces and keep the house from being a sea of brown wood.

My favorite thing about the master bedroom is that it simply glows in the afternoon light. The warm tones from the walls and furniture are the essence of comfort and coziness to me. My husband is a big fan of oak furniture, and while I wouldn't mind more painted pieces myself, I've tried to balance the wood in here with light-colored linens by way of the slipcovered (in dropcloth) wing chair, linen-blend curtains, vintage hooked rugs, and the white duvet.

View of the master bedroom from the master bathroom - the wall color is Benjamin Moore's Camouflage and the beadboard and door trim are BM Linen White (a wonderful creamy white!)

After our original bed frame broke over the summer, my mom--a long-time collector of antiques and auction-goer--gave us this oak highback bed she picked up years ago.  I was inspired to outfit the bed with a white duvet and white and linen-colored pillow cases after seeing this serene photo in Enrica Stabile's Comfortable Country. The quilt at the foot of the bed came from a trip to the Liberty Antiques Festival back in April and was just the finishing touch I needed to complete the "comfortable country" feel for the bed.

I sleep on the left side of the bed, and my bedside table is a walnut table that once belonged to my maternal grandmother's parents.  A white-framed mirror hangs above and the vintage glass lamp adds lightness to the corner, both literally and texturally.

On the opposite side of the room, and to the left of the master bathroom entrance, sits my husband's dresser.  We picked this up at auction, as well as the mirrored dresser in the first photo.  You'd be surprised at how cheaply you can sometimes acquire durable, well-made solid oak furniture at auction.  Perhaps this is a bit influenced by living where we live (North Carolina is/was renowned for its furniture production) but we've had nothing but good luck finding late 19th-century and early 20th-century oak pieces for bargain prices.  And that's why my house has so much of it... :)

Above the dresser is a shelf we made over the summer based off of a tutorial that Robin of Happy at Home published in 2010. (P.S.--Robin's blog is a wonderful read if you're looking for vintage/farmhouse inspiration!)   We originally wanted to hang the shelf over the bed, but once we knew we'd be getting the highback, the shelf was hung over the dresser to fill that wall.  I still need to arrange a better vignette, but I did snap a photo of it featuring one of Cindy Austin's beautiful paintings lent to me for the photoshoot in September.

The last vignette for this room is found on top of the small, creamy white bookcase that sits between the two front windows.  It's a useful arrangement and it's where I keep my jewelry  A few necklaces hang from the mossy green picture holder, which I found at Kirkland's years ago, and now displays vintage postcards.  Other jewelry, which I honestly don't much wear any more since I no longer have a job that requires it, goes in the wood jewelry box and the art deco tin.  My favorite thing about this spot is the vintage floral patterned tea cup which says 'Mother' on it.  I mostly wear french hook earrings, so I hang them all along the edge of teacup.  It keeps the dangly ones from getting tangled up and it makes for a pretty display!

Hope you're all having a wonderful week.  Fall is here in full force and I'm loving it!

Take care,

Linking to:

Transformation Thursday

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

House Tour: The Master Bathroom

Before the first installment of the house tour begins, I want to direct you guys to Fifi O'Neill's blog where she announced the topic of her new book and shared a few pics taken while she and Mark were here last month.  (I know y'all are probably tired of hearing me natter on and on and on about this, so I won't keep harping--promise!)

You can see an adorable photo of our pigs, a shot of our restored 1949 Farmall Super A tractor, and a few interior vignettes.  And of course, photos of several beautiful houses that were shot while Fifi and Mark were on the East Coast in September. So. much. eye. candy.

I was also super excited that, of the three photos Fifi chose from "my" shoot to preview on the blog, she posted one of a painting that the insanely talented Cindy Austin lent me for the shoot.

Cindy, who blogs (often times hilariously, I might add) at Cindy's Fractured Fairytale, is an artist who specializes in oils and paints gorgeous landscapes, animal portraits and still lifes.  Cindy lives one town over in Hillsborough, NC, and she was kind enough to share a few of her paintings for Fifi's visit to help cover some of my bare walls!

Some of you may already be familiar with Cindy because Miss Mustard Seed commissioned a cow painting a few months ago and Cindy totally knocked her socks off with Eulalie. Cindy captures animals in such a striking way, it's no wonder Fifi loved the sheep painting. When you see it on Fifi's blog, you'll totally understand why.

Thank you, many times over, Cindy, for lending me your beautiful artwork for this special occasion. 

Now, go check it all out at Chez Fifi and when you're done, come back here for the rest of the post! :)


Okay, you back?  See, wasn't that a fun detour?  Fifi's Prairie Style Cookbook is going to be fabulous!

So, now... for the first stop on the Carolina Country Living House Tour.


I'm sure you're like, "The bathroom?!?  Really?"

Well, I wanted to start with a room that Fifi and Mark didn't photograph, and because, well, I really love my periwinkle bathroom.  :)

It's a tricky space to photo though, so I'll be doing a little explaining so you can understand how it's laid out.

This room adjoins the master bedroom and when you first cross the threshold, the double vanity sits to your left.

My husband tiled the top with run-of-the-mill cream-colored tiles from one of the big-box home improvement stores.  Since the vanity is five-feet long, getting a solid surface countertop was just too pricey that far into the construction project, so he went the frugal route, salvaged a piece of thick plywood and tiled right over it.  At first I wasn't a big fan of it, but it's grown on me over the last few years and I like the humble simplicity of it.
Now, as you're standing in the doorway of the bathroom, to your right is this sweet little corner cabinet I picked up several years ago at Nest.  That's a mid-century bathroom heater sitting on top that my husband's grandmother gave us.  I don't know how safe it is, but it sure throws good heat in the wintertime!  And for some reason I just like that funky-looking appliance. 

A close-up of the corner cabinet...

And some good old Ivory soap in a basket lined with a vintage hankie...

When we built the house, we chose to forgo a tub in favor of an oversized walk-in shower.  My husband had a spine fusion surgery nearly 7 years ago, plus he's 6'2" tall, and so even a garden-sized tub doesn't work well for him.  And as much as I like the idea of luxuriating in bubble bath, I've never really done it.  So a large corner of our bathroom is taken up by the shower, which is just beyond the green corner cabinet.

Okay, let's go back to the vanity for another view from the center of the bathroom.

The vanity was purchased from an unfinished furniture store and I painted it with white oil paint. Rather than having one big wall mirror, I found two oval mirrors, that felt cottage-like to me, to hang over the counter so you could still appreciate the periwinkle walls.   In the reflection of the mirrors, you can see the shower door, part of the toilet and this interesting piece...

I'm not sure if there's a proper term for this kind of wall shelf, but all I know is that I *loved* it when my mom gifted it to me years ago.  It hung over the toilet in our previous house and thankfully fit in this house, too.  The carved wood is beautiful and I love the femininity it brings to the space, especially considering it hangs next to a log wall.  Plus, it's a great way to display odds and ends in the bathroom.

When I took the above photo, there were some pinkish-purple cosmos in the amethyst bottle on the left.  But they were getting a little droopy, so here's a close-up of that side of the shelf with a fresher arrangement of strawflowers and globe amaranth.  Those are my new favorite flowers, by the way.

On the other side of the wood shelf is a little French botantical print of pansies and a silver-plated sugar bowl from Goodwill.

For such a small room, I'm being pretty long-winded, aren't I?!

The last tidbit to share from this room is the window you could see reflected in an above photo of the wood shelf.

Now, my husband still accuses of me of going overboard with the size and number windows we put in the house when it was built.  I'll admit I probably went too far in this room with this window...

But there's a beautiful view of the woods on this side of the house and its keeps the space from being too dark. Plus, how pretty does that bunting made of vintage hankies look draped across the top?  My dear friend, Sara, made it and it just so happened to be the right length to span this window.  Meant to be!

So, that's it for the master bathroom!  Thanks for sticking it out through all the excruciating details--can you tell I used to be a real estate agent? :)  I'll post about another room next week and post weekly thereafter until we've covered all the main rooms of the house.

In the meantime, have you posted photos of your house on your blog? If so, please share the link(s) in the comments section.  I know I'm not alone in enjoying a good browse through house pictures!


Linking to:

Momma Hens Coop

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Music: Florence + The Machine

It's always nice to start the week with some good music...and I have to say I believe the British group Florence + The Machine more than qualifies.

For consumers of pop culture, F+TM has performed at the MTV Music Awards, on Letterman (not to mention at the Nobel Prize Concert), and has had songs featured on such franchises as Glee and Twilight.  The group is Grammy-nominated and is getting ready to release a new album next month. 

But all this lead-up does absolutely no justice to Florence's voice and the instrumentalists behind her.  The proof is in the pudding. Here, have a listen...

The group's new album, Ceremonials, drops in the U.S. on November 1st and considering how good the debut album, Lungs, was, I can't wait to hear it.  Here's the first single from Ceremonials:

I'm completely infatuated with Florence's voice--the strength, power and rawness of it. Pair that with the expansive, emotional music't get enough of it!

And, c'mon, how cool is it that the band uses a standing harp?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Fifi and Mark's Visit

A week ago today, the fabulous Fifi O'Neill and Mark Lohman were at my house, styling and photographing it for Fifi's next book, and possibly a magazine or two.

And it's taken me this long to come down from the adrenaline and creative high of it all!

Meeting them, spending a day together and getting to be a small part of a fantastically beautiful experience was a complete dream-come-true.

It was a day I won't ever, ever forget.

The month leading up to their visit was an unrelenting marathon of sewing, painting and home improvement projects.  So I was naturally very excited for Friday morning to finally arrive because that meant the work was over and the real fun could be had.

And what fun it was!

Because I was busy helping with the shoot, I took only one photo of these two at work and it turned out to be absolutely horrid, so I don't have any Fifi-and-Mark-at-work pics to share with you guys.  But here's one from Fifi's blog, showing her and Mark at another house from a recent shoot.  Pretend there are log walls behind them... :)

Fifi and Mark were both so warm, generous, familiar and easy to talk to.  We chatted and laughed throughout the 9-hour shoot while they worked seamlessly together and I played gofer and otherwise scurried around the house in an attempt to be of some help.  I also tried to absorb as much as I could from this talented duo in regards to lighting, composition, arranging flowers, and more.  As corny as it sounds, those nine hours were a pure delight.  

Mark and Fifi said it was their honor to come into my home, but I still say it was my honor to have them here.   Thank you both!  xoxo

Not my house either! But such a nice photo of them...taken from Fifi's blog


P.S.--Since Fifi and Mark's visit required me to finally finish several long-undone projects around the house and have most rooms photo-ready, I'm going to finally put together a home tour in the next couple of weeks. If you're nosy curious like me to see what other people's houses look like, here's your chance to see my cottage-y cabin. :)