Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One Last (tiny) Outdoor Project (last project for now that is) ~ Respite Pure and Simple

Respite ~ hiatus, rest, recess, intermission, breather, breathing room.

Yes, that is what I wanted, a little breathing room, a little spot I could call my own. We have a tiny deck off the side of our house that is home to our grandson's little picnic table, and his sandbox, and our barbecue grill, and a big outdoor sink. That didn't leave much room for a luxurious, spa-like retreat for myself. But I wasn't asking for much, just a cozy little spot all my own, where I could sit and sip an iced coffee, soak up a little sun, and page through a magazine once in awhile, and a nice little perch to watch the grandkids from as they played outside.

These below were my inspiration pictures: I liked the idea of this rustic lounger where I could put my feet up, with the little table beside me to hold a few books or magazines, my reading glasses, and a drink. But then I thought better of it, because a lounge chair would be too cumbersome in the tight quarters of our little deck.

A chair would serve my needs, and I liked the idea of white wicker.

I found an extremely comfortable outdoor wicker chair in white at Home Depot.

And I also found some outdoor cushions in a blue striped pattern. We had an old small white marble-topped table that fit perfect next to it.

When I really want to indulge myself I add a few of my favorite things to the table:

And for a softer look I draped some material over the wicker chair:

The basket that I keep handy is full of wishful thinking! I'm hoping this summer to tackle the books I've placed within it, but I am constantly interrupted by the pleas of little ones to help with digging in the sandbox, or filling a play pool for them to splash in, or enjoying the peals of laughter from my granddaughter and grandson, and all this happily serves to break my concentration. It's much easier to get through a magazine or a catalog than to try and get immersed in a good book!

I'm really happy with how this little project affords me my respite from the world. I'd ask you to join me, but it's a table for one! (Oh, I'll make room for you, come on, pull up a chair!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Front Porch Project

Here is my inspiration picture:

We had a very small budget to work with, so I knew I had to accept that our awning-covered porch was not going to look anywhere near as elegant as my inspiration picture. There would be no tile on the floor (a slate porch floor would have to do), and there are no majestic columns (there are only rod iron supports), and we have no high
-end furnishings, and I wanted a much softer palette, and of course our tiny front porch was by no means as grand as my inspiration, but I wanted the comfortable 'feel' of the inspiration picture, and I loved the look of the big, heavy seating pieces, so I went to work gathering things here and there, and I was happy with the results. I was lucky to find a heavy teak bench and matching teak chair at Target while doing some online shopping. Then I just accessorized with whatever we already had around the house, and here's the result:

And now it's on to the indoor projects!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Job, Ray!

Ray's outdoor sink project has been featured at Apartment Therapy and if you are interested you can send in your own outdoor projects for featured consideration at this site! They are accepting submissions until the end of June.

Foyer Inspiration

I need to make better use of our tiny foyer space. The area is only about 5'x6', with virtually no usable wall space . As you walk in the front door there is a radiator and a large window to the right. I also have an upholstered storage bench in front of the radiator. The wall to the left is the traffic area, so nothing can block that pathway and that wall is very generic with a small mirror and iron wall grills on either side. The carpet in the foyer has seen better days and is worn and faded.

As it is now, the foyer is a mess of toys and shoes, and it is a catch-all for anything and everything! Bins and boxes bought to hold umbrellas and hiking sticks now also house Jayden's light sabers and pirate swords. And in the winter when we add boots, shovels, and salters to the mix, well, it doesn't make for a very pretty entry. It is just a cluttered mess and I usually walk through it with blinders on!

I need to come up with a budget-friendly, space-expanding idea.

Here are some of my inspiration pictures:

I really like the idea of these small storage cubbies, but instead of knick knacks, I'm picturing them holding my grandson's shoes, hats, scarves, mittens, maybe even small toys.

I would love to have the room for a wall of cubbies just like this vintage one. Heck, I would love to have the things stored in these cubbies, and I would love to have this foyer!

The idea of keeping a storage bench is appealing too, I can hide a multitude of sins there, it's a great place to throw things if a quick clean-up becomes necessary, and it is nice to have a place to sit to pull on and off boots.

I like this rustic/shabby looking bench, and I like the look of the drawers underneath, but I think I would make them false drawer fronts, as a lift-top lid would provide more storage room inside the bench.

I think something along the lines of this last inspiration picture would probably work best, I'm picturing shelves similar to this on either side of the radiator (which sits under the window), with maybe a little storage bench built in front of the radiator. The shelves wouldn't be able to go up as high because of the window, and maybe instead of shelves I could have the little cubbies on either side of the bench, with space left open in back of the storage cubbies for umbrellas and hiking sticks. The cubbies in the front would be low and within easy reach for little hands.

As far as color, the foyer is green now (although very faded out from the sun), so I'd like a change from that. The orange in the above photo is a little too bright for me, and the cream in the top photo is a little too bland, plus I have lots of cream/beige in my home already. The outside of our front door is painted Liberty Blue, so I might just continue a blue or gray theme into the foyer, or I might go with a sunny yellow. The inside of the front door is now painted a burgundy color and I'm not opposed to keeping it that color if I decide to go with yellow or gray in the foyer.

Any and all suggestions are welcome! Especially any storage ideas for small (as in tiny) spaces.

Oh, and, Ray, if you're reading, I hope you know you will be heavily involved in this project, as the idea is in my head, but it is your hands that bring the idea to life! I know we still have painting to do in the living room (only one wall left!), dining room, and hall, but I hope you're not thinking you see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet. You know there's no rest for the weary here in this old house.
Let's just say we're in the planning stage. Maybe you could draw up a design plan for a storage unit, just like you drew up designs for the kitchen and the outdoor sink?
And we'll just tack it onto the 'honeydo' list!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Outdoor Canopy

I wanted a canopy to provide shade over our love seat on our back deck. Any outdoor canopies we found in stores and on-line were too big for our needs.
I once saw an idea years ago on Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic TV Show, Rachel had taken some of her sheets and she used grommets to attach the four corners of the sheets to four poles, then she stood the poles up in buckets of pebbles. This idea was very innovative but I envisioned something more semi-permanent, something that we wouldn't have to take down and put up each time we wanted to make use of it. I wanted something that we could put together and forget about unless I wanted to change the decor, or the canopy needed washing.

This was one of my inspiration pictures:
(Canopy Outdoor Lounger from Top Furniture Brands)

And this was another inspiration picture:
(Siesta Day Bed With Canopy available from Frontgate)

And still another inspiration picture:
(Daybed with canopy from Pottery Barn)

This is more what my husband had in mind when I told him what I wanted:
(Travelers Mosquito Net from Nicamaka)

Once he got on board, this is what we got (a happy medium between what I envisioned and what my dear husband envisioned):

My husband used PVC piping for the frame:
(He wasn't sure how well the PVC frame would stand up to the wind, so he only made the frame the size of a twin mattress, which was fine with me as I only wanted it to cover the love seat. I use a twin size sheet set, the fitted sheet is the canopy cover, the flat sheet I use behind the love seat, and I use sheer fabric shower curtains on the sides and the front.)

He cemented the four posts of the frame into planters:

Then he bought rattan shades, cut them to size, and used a hot glue gun to attach to the four posts:

Then we used river rocks in the planters to hide the ugly cement, and I bought some silk plants and used a hot glue gun to attach them to the bottom of the poles for the planters:

It's definitely not a high-end daybed from Frontgate but it serves it's purpose, and I love it (and most family and friends thought it was store-bought).
And I like this idea because changing the canopy decor is as easy as buying a new set of sheets!

This project is a few years old and the rattan on the poles probably needs to be replaced and the planters could use a coat of paint, but I like things very shabby looking anyway, so I'm just going to leave them as is for awhile.

Are there any do-it-yourself projects that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Beauty Acquired!

This wonderful little piece was created by Lara Harris at A Vintage Touch. It is called Vintage Russian Nesting Doll. I was able to buy this painting at Esty, they are a great site and they sell all things handmade.

Okay, now for the unveiling ~


Isn't she adorable? I've always loved these nesting dolls and I have quite a few. I'm so happy I was able to get this one, I hope she does more!
Lara has a great giveaway going on right now if anyone is interested, she asks that you please become a follower to be eligible. I'm heading over there right now!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Salvaged: to rescue or save especially from wreckage or ruin

I like the word salvaged, it sounds so much better than garbage picking!
Well, here are a few things my husband and I salvaged:

This little table with the marble top is perfect out on our back deck, it sits next to a wicker chair and is ideal for holding an iced tea on a hot summer day, Grandma can sit and sip while she watches the grandkids play in the sandbox.

These next pictures are all things salvaged and put to use in our back room:
This table my husband brought home one day and it is one of my favorites. I love the detail work on it. A few of the vases that I use to hold beach glass were salvaged too.

This marble slab and the cabinet it sits on (another treasure my husband found) were both salvaged and they both are used in our back room too:

These next two finds I use in my kitchen:
An interesting little vase and a handpainted tray ~

And of course my pride and joy, my outdoor sink that was slated for the dump!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Janet Hill Studio

I am so hooked on the Janet Hill Studio blog. I love her work and finally I was able to purchase one of her paintings featured on her blog through Esty. Usually I am too late as her paintings are already sold! This time I got lucky!

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of this lovely piece (Francis Models Her Bathing Cap):

I think she's a great summer find! She exudes confidence, and I love her vintage-looking suit in addition to her bathing cap.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Kitchen Sink

I love vintage. I love old, and worn, and tattered. Anything scratched and marred speaks of history to me. Chipped paint is an asset in my eyes. I love the broken, the bruised, and the battered.
And I love to re-use and re-purpose.
One of my most prized possessions is a big, old sink that was once in the kitchen of a very good friend. This sink was original to her house which was built in the 1930's. I have always coveted this sink, and when she had her kitchen renovated and updated, my husband and I became the proud owners of this beauty!
My husband is a master at do-it-yourself projects, and through trial-and-error his efforts result in my dreams-come-true.
I've always wanted an outdoor sink, and I thought what better sink to use outside than this vintage treasure?

Here are my inspiration pictures for what I envisioned:

This one is from the blog New Orleans Lady:

And this is the result of my husband's efforts:

My husband and his brother built this stand on our back deck to hold the sink. My husband added decorative wood trim pieces, then primed and painted the base.
We use this sink as a potting table, as a plant stand, as a wet bar for barbecues and pool parties, and for quick wash-ups outside.