Saturday, October 31, 2009

Destiny



I bought this landscape oil painting over the summer, unframed, with the intention of matching it with one of my antique frames. But when I brought it home, I realized that it was a really odd size!

So I figured that eventually, I would have to have one of my old frames cut down to fit (which costs about $100). Then yesterday, I was in the city looking through some antique shops when I came across this antique gold frame above. To my utter shock and pure joy, they were a match!

Both frame and painting are very happy to have found each other - I think it was absolute destiny! xo

Details on where I hung it will come later!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween



This was our first snow fall. It happened a couple of weeks ago and I'm happy to say that it hasn't been back - it will be a long enough winter as it is!

If this photo looks familiar, you may have seen it over at Tara Dillard's blog - she's doing our landscape design!! She sent me the beautiful landscape plans a few days ago and it's very exciting...I'll post on that soon!



This is the extent of my Halloween costume. I'll wear it when we carve our pumpkins tonight - and when I toast the fresh yummy pumpkins seeds!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting in the Spirit



I'm a little bit of a party pooper on Halloween. I think my favorite part is toasting fresh pumpkin seeds. In fact, it's probably what motivates me to carve the pumpkin!

I did put out this carved bird on the window sill, which isn't very scary, but it kind of looks like a silhouette against the light.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Clean Slate


I've been enjoying this fantasy that we've just bought our house and everything is just as it is now...crisp, clean and ready to decorate! In this fantasy world, it is as if the era of pea green carpeting and faux wood paneling never existed...

So my fantasy goes like this...Hubby and I pull up to a lovely country house that's in our price range! Wow, huh? We're instantly in love as we can see that the house has been well-taken care of. We walk up to the front door and as I step in, I begin to glide through the each room seeing nothing I don't like.

When I make my way to the living room, my eyes light up and as I turn, Hubby takes me in his arms (suddenly I have my wedding dress on) and we begin to dance, giddy with laughter as we know that we have finally found exactly what we're looking for in our new home. We pause only for a moment, with bright beaming smiles, and say to our realtor without any doubt or hesitation, "we'll take it!"

Nothing in this fantasy had anything to do with what really happened, especially the part about the doubt and hesitation. But I'm enjoying every minute of my fantasy as I stare into this empty room, dreaming of how I'm going to decorate! It feels like such a luxury!

So let me take you through the room...


This is the perspective you get when coming from the kitchen. The french door next to the picture window will eventually take you to a balcony, which we'll build this spring. The original 'deck' was torn down when they put in the new Marvin windows. The door you see through the entryway, goes to the wraparound porch...this is our formal entry into the house.


This is looking towards the fireplace from a corner that no one will ever stand in, but I thought I'd give every perspective. Entry is where the hall tree stands.


If I pan left a bit more, you'll see the coat closet to the left and to the left of that, the hallway where the den, guest bedroom and downstairs bathroom are located.

So this is what I've come up with so far...


...the main layout. The couch will face the fireplace and the two chairs will flank each side of the fireplace. I love the coziness that this layout will offer and I know that there will be many hours spent snuggled in front of the fire.




Here's the new couch we've ordered...accompanied by two of the above chair! We went with a couch with more modern lines to contrast a little with the more traditional lines of the coffee table. The coffee table (you can see here) is an antique pedestal with rounded feet and oval top, which will compliment the round lines in the chair.


Here are the fabrics we chose...the sofa fabric is a beautiful velvet (so luxurious) and the chair fabric, which goes really well with the tarragon velvet, is linen-esque (the photo doesn't really show the chair fabric very well). And due to the furniture store's amazing sale - I made sure that I picked out the highest grade of fabric - of course I did!

I've also been considering a tall narrow table to put behind the couch. I'd put two table lamps on each end to illuminate the room. I was thinking of something a little modern, made of mostly glass so that it doesn't feel too heavy. I think this would be the best option as end tables wouldn't work well with the tuxedo-style (high arms) couch.

Also, we'll order a 9x12 natural fiber rug, perhaps this one from Pottery Barn, to go in front of fireplace. All the furniture fits on the 9x12 size. I'll accent the rest of the room with antique rugs I already have.


I'll put an antique rug in front of the french door. This door will eventually lead to a balcony. There's about a seven foot drop outside the door right now. The balcony will have wide center stairs going down into the yard. It will be big enough to put a couple of rocking chairs or a small table and chairs for an extra place to eat or drink.


Our existing dining cabinet, that I'll be stealing from our dining room (photo below), will be relocated to the above wall. Instead of holding dining odds and ends, it will be transformed into a secretary that will be a place for beloved books, unframed art, special momentos, etc. I'll be stealing this cabinet from the dining room because we've decided to add two more windows on the wall where the cabinet is now. But I'll go into the dining room plans later.


Here's the cabinet we'll be stealing for the living room. Hopefully, someday I'll find a narrower dining cabinet to replace it.


On that small wall to the right of the kitchen entry, I've been considering a temporary bookshelf. Lauren at Pure Style Home inspired me when she put one in her house, on a similar sized wall, and it looks fabulous - like everything else she does. And I say 'temporary' because as you can see in the next photo, I have plans for Hubby (wink, wink Hubby), to build a built-in bookcase (love the look of those - I have a gazillion inspiration photos of them) on that huge wall.


We're waiting to begin this project until after we get rid of that floor furnace. It's the one 'functional' thing in the house we have yet to figure out. But whatever we decide to do, that floor furnace grate will eventually go...and hello bookcase. ; )

So odds and ends still left to find are: some sconces for above the mantle (any suggestions?), a 9x12 natural fiber rug, perhaps a white bookcase, a tall modern table and...

Any other inspiring ideas? I would love your feedback! Just love it!
*Also, I've made another friend over at High Street Market. ..... Kelly has the most amazing Etsy shop with so many beautiful treasures. I was eyeing the pair of marble table lamps, an antique oval mirror and a lovely pewter pitcher...and it's all so reasonably priced! How fun is that!

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Poem


View from our upstairs window.

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand.
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

George Cooper

Have a wonderful fall weekend! And I've made another fabulous friend - go see Jennifer at The Newlywed Diaries!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Fall Walk



First, the lovely Camilla from Camilla at Home has posted on A Country Farmhouse! Isn't that so kind of her! She has a beautiful blog that I love visiting and I know you will too!

The above photo was taken up the road from our house. You can see that big open field from our bathroom window, which I always pause to look out from in case there are any elk or deer passing through.

It's a favorite field of ours as it's down a long dirt road where only horses and a few neighbors like us, travel on. The mountain you see in the background is Mt. Adams, the same mountain we see from our house.

This photo was taken last fall. We went up to the field this past weekend but unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me. We were happy to see that the bees were back, now that their work in the orchards is done. They were buzzing wildly...it's sort of exciting and terrifying all at the same time! But unlike the wasp, the honey bees are more interested in their honey than in you.

And just so you know, those wires around the bee boxes - are live! I know this because I got too close and got zapped!
Fall is such a beautiful time of the year, I only wish it didn't pass by so quickly.

Local Farms


We decided to stop in at a local farm this afternoon to pick up a few pumpkins. This is a farm we drive by quite often but unfortunately never make the time to stop in. Today, we did!


They had a corn maze (mostly for children) that we couldn't resist walking through.


There were some sunflowers sprouting up from the corn stalks. For once, Hubby isn't the tallest one in the bunch.



We also stopped in at their farm stand where they had everything from jams and preserves to fresh produce and apple cider.


...and oh, the pumpkins were great too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Den Revisited



Styling this space had its challenges. First, it's a small room and second, we were on a tight budget.



Let's start with a trip down memory lane...this is what we started with during the first round of the remodel three years ago. Oh look, more paneling!



This is after we tore down the paneling so we could paint - um, I mean, so we could figure out how to get the Jackson Pollock glue marks off the walls, before we could even dream of painting!



This is what became of this room after we dealt with the glue stains and painted the walls. This photo pretty much sums up our first year living in the house.

During our remodel, upgrades to the room included new Marvin replacement windows, new base and quarter round mouldings, and new paint (this was all done three years ago). The primary role for this room had been storage, so we've spent little time in here until now.



And here's our new den!



For the most part, we've furnished the den using items we already had. The armoire, an Ethan Allen piece I purchased at a consignment store several years ago, holds our old TV. And due to the small square footage of the room, subtitles are easy to read!



The writing desk is an old family piece, the wicker chair I stole from another room and the couch...that's right, the couch I swore to oblivion, is the couch that use to be in the living room. If anyone knows of a way to dye a couch slipcover, I would love to hear about it!



The salon wall was more difficult than I had expected! This was due to the plaster walls, which required each nail to be pre-drilled. This made it much more difficult to play around with the layout. All the art I used on this wall were pieces I already had or have recently re-framed.

Our budget for this 'new' room was minimal. In fact, I believe Hubby's budget advice was - don't spend any money! With that in mind, the only new items include...6x9 (a hard size to find) jute rug from The Company Store, an armchair from IKEA and a few throws and pillows from Home Goods.
There's still some finishing touches to add...like a ceiling light! I was thinking of a mini chandelier but have also looked at some modern style fixtures. Also, we need to add some sort of coffee table to put cups of tea and other beverages on. I'm thinking it too will have some modern lines.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Fireplace



From a distance, you may not notice the stains on the brick fireplace. These stains come from the glue that the previous owners used to adhere the faux wood paneling.


Here is our fireplace in its former glory. The incinerator-like wood stove compliments the dark gloomy look and took two grown men (chimney guys), several hours, and several swear words to remove.


Here's Hubby prying off the first bit of the faux paneling. This is literally the first day (maybe even the first hour), after taking ownership of the house.



This is after all of the paneling was removed. We knew that there had been an old leak so that wasn't a surprise, but what we didn't expect was their generous use of glue (glue ended up being a four letter word during the remodel as the former owners used it everywhere).



This is how things look now. We've covered up the bookcases with drywall, added crown and base mouldings and had a cabinetmaker design and install the mantle.



Here's a closer look at the glue stains. We've tried everything to remove them - nothing has erased them completely. Initially, we had intended to paint over it but then kind of liked the brick (from a distance) with the white mantle so ended up leaving it...until now.

With the new furniture on its way, and with an empty room just screaming for a painting project, we're thinking that it might be time to paint it. All along, we thought we'd paint it white, but there have been other suggestions such as black or gray. What do you think?

I'm looking through some old magazines to try and see what different colors would look like. The good thing is that no matter what color we end up painting it, we can always change it later on....

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Bedroom Rug





This is our new bedroom rug. I found this sisal-looking, but 100% jute, rug at The Company Store. Thanks to a great coupon (SAVENOW), I saved enough money that made shipping and handling free. The rug is a 9x12, so the savings was significant.

I also just moved this antique chair up from the den. Hubby doesn't like this chair because I tell him not to sit in it. Why he asks, do we have a chair you cannot sit in? Well, it's pretty for one, fragile for two, and it's been in my family for four generations. So here it is, next to my nightstand.



The vase of roses are from my 'last clippings' post. The first night I put them by my bedside, I was literally delirious with their intoxicating fragrance. I can't stop breathing in their delicate beauty as I know it will be awhile before I smell that heavenly fragrance again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crystal Chandelier



This is our new crystal chandelier. I found it at one of my favorite antique stores and I was happy to see it as it was nearly identical to the chandelier I tore out of a magazine several years ago.

It's truly amazing how inspiring room photographs are. During our remodel, I kept a three-ring binder organized by room with photos such as the above to help guide me (and our contractors) towards our aesthetic intentions (often not easily expressed through words).

I still tear out inspiration photos for my three-ring binder! I just can't help myself. Someday I'll do a post comparing all our rooms with the inspiration photos that I went by!

New Couch and Chairs!


After a long and exhaustive search that included the criteria of fabulous, affordable and well-made, we have finally found a couch for the living room.

The furniture store was having a special sale where all fabrics, no matter what grade you chose, were priced at the lowest grade fabric price! You can imagine how exciting it was to look at fabrics with no regard for cost. This freedom led us to a beautiful neutral velvet called 'Tarragon' and it's very luxurious.

We also found a beautiful chair, which was on sale and included the same special savings on the fabric. So we ordered two of these chairs to flank either side of the fireplace. For these, we chose a linen-esque fabric that is several shades lighter than the velvet.


Due to these purchases, we've started to spruce up the living room before the new furniture arrives (which will be six to eight weeks). The biggest change is that we've decided to relocate the old Karastan rug to the guest house. The following picture shows the room with the Karastan just before we rolled it up.


Below is the room after we rolled it up. It was absolutely amazing to see how much brighter the room became. This room already gets a lot of light due to all the windows but the room truly glows without the heaviness of the dark rug.


The room is pretty empty right now because we stole the couch that was in here for the den (photos soon to follow!). Then after I rolled up the Karastan this past weekend, I thought we'd start with a clean slate and continued to remove all tables, artwork and lamps.

The new couch will face the fireplace. The two new chairs will flank each side of the fireplace. We'll add a new natural fiber rug for floor. The antique mirror (a Great-Great Grandparents piece), will remain but I would like to think of something new and fresh for the mantle.

I'm going to go through some of my magazines to look for some ideas! Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Last of the Roses


I clipped the last of the roses this evening. The nights are getting really cool. I hadn't realized how cool until I drove down to the flower farm this afternoon. On my drive down, I was thinking of what varieties and colors I'd choose this time, where I'd put the biggest bouquet...how much cash I had on me, etc.. But when I got to the farm, I was greeted with a field of completely brown, frost bitten Dahlias. Not one flower left. Big sigh.

I've been really busy this past week! I've felt like one of the gray squirrels I've seen frantically running around here lately. I don't know if it's an instinct to want to fluff the nest before the long winter, or if the cooler weather has given me a burst of energy, but either way, I've been fluffing like crazy!

The biggest whole room redo lately, has been our den. This room is being used for the first time since we bought the house. It has served many purposes throughout the remodel...but mostly, it's been primarily for storage. Boring. Now that we've designated it to be our den (where the TV is), it's like we've added a whole new room to the house. Now we're in there all the time!

I'm nearly done with this new room of ours and will post the 'before' and 'after' pictures soon. The light fixture I asked Hubby to install over the weekend, ended up not working out. So I'm looking for another one, something under $100, and something that offers a bit of sparkle. Any suggestions?

We've also put down a 9 x 12 jute rug in the bedroom. It's a much better fit than the 8x10 wool rug that was in there before. So I'll post on that too!

Also, we've replaced our cheap chandelier (finally) with an antique crystal chandelier that I absolutely love. It's almost identical to the one in a picture I tore out as my ideal dining room several years ago. I'll scan the picture and show you. I'm so excited about this new beautiful addition to our home and I can't believe the transformation. I danced around the room when I saw the first rainbow on the wall. Photos to follow! (Not of me dancing around the room mind you ; )

And, if you can believe it, I've also been working on securing a purchase of a new living room couch and two chairs. This search has been a long one. But we've picked out the couch and the chairs and are now making the last final decisions on the fabric.

This room is finally going to be furnished the way it should be. So far, it's been filled with quirky hand-me-downs and mis-matched styles and colors...I can't wait for it to all come together. Again, it's going to feel like a brand new room!

I was telling Hubby that this new stage we're in of remodeling our remodel is so much fun! Most of the work we've done over the past several years has been foundation work - electrical, plumbing, drywall, molding...it's not nearly as much fun as buying furniture and throw pillows! I will tell you however, that I'm much more enthusiastic about this new stage than Hubby...much more.

So lots to post about! Can't wait to hear what you think. ; )

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chanterelles Are Out!



Chanterelles are out! We had a nice rain over the weekend, prompting Hubby to set off into the woods in search of the beautiful Chanterelle mushroom.



In just two hours of combing the wet fall forest, he collected nearly five pounds of fresh delectable fungi.

The following book is the field guide that Hubby has been using for years. It's a wonderful book with lots of pictures and thorough descriptions that make mushrooming all the more safe and alluring.


The Chanterelles are gorgeous and smell like fresh apricots! Our favorite recipe for the Chanterelles is homemade pizza, which we had for dinner last night (recipe here). Tonight, we'll saute up the rest and add it to red quinoa with sauteed shallots and kale.

Delicious.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Love Affair with Frames


I love antique picture frames. I love their intricate detail and their nicely aged patina. I love that each frame has its own unique character and I love that feeling when you can bring life back to a piece that has been so sadly forgotten.

I bought all of these frames on an antique field trip I took this past summer. The above gold antique frame is one of my favorites. It's in wonderful condition and I plan on having it cut down an inch or so to fit a beautiful landscape oil painting I have. I paid $60 for it.



This gold frame is in fairly rough shape but at $20, it was a steal. I have a 7 x 7 rose oil painting that will go beautifully with the floral detail in the frame. Cutting it down will remove the bad spots you can see on the left. It will also get a good cleaning.



I love the feel of these old rustic frames. It's sometimes hard to find these frames with all of their leaves in tact but when you do, they compliment nature prints beautifully. They can be surprisingly expensive so it's worth being patient. I paid $28 for this one.



I just love this little hand carved round wood frame. It's very old and in very good shape. It's a 3 x 3 so it too will also go on the family photo wall. This sweet little frame was just $12.

Having antique frames cut down requires a special skill. I happened to find a professional restorationist who will cut down a frame for $100. This is a very fair price because even with the cost of what I pay for the frame, it's still much less expensive than having something custom framed, and most importantly, the frame is one of a kind.




The above is an example of recycling beautiful antique frames. I found these identical Victorian frames in pristine condition. I was thrilled when an artist friend of mine (whose work I passionately collect), offered some pieces of hers that would fit the unique dimensions of the frames. I think the gold hues go brilliantly with the blues and greens of the sky and pasture.
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