Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We will be enjoying this year's Thanksgiving holiday with Hubby's family in Wisconsin. But spending the holiday away from home, didn't stop me from enjoying a Thanksgiving table - minus the turkey and all the trimmings!

I got the spray roses at the grocery store. I love the color.

I dusted off my Thanksgiving dessert plates and polished one of my Grandmother's old server knives. Did someone say pumpkin pie? ; )

I got the wreath for the front door but it's been so windy these days that I decided to hang it on the dining cabinet instead.

I love the simple yet intricate detail of the overlapping wheat.

I'm sending you the warmest, most beautiful Thanksgiving wishes...Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Furniture is Here!

It's a week early! I'm both excited and nervous all at the same time! Why you ask is it still covered in plastic? Well, the delivery guys just left for one, and for two, we have an issue with our floor finish that the floor guy has to deal with tomorrow (hopefully) and although no dust will be created, I don't want to unwrap them until he's done.

So pictures are a bit premature but I thought I'd give you a sneek peek as to what we've been up to the past few weeks. We never did break into a waltz like I described in my fantasy BUT we did accomplish something equally as romantic and painted all the windows! I'm kidding, although I do find it very attractive when Hubby is working on the house - why is that? (wink, wink Hubby)

I also painted the fireplace bricks white!

After priming the bricks to cover up the glue stains, I had a panic attack and questioned what I had done. Joan at For the Love of a House (my dear friend) calmed me down (I love her!).

I wish I didn't have to paint them but when I spoke to a local mason, he told me that the blond bricks weren't original to the house. Meaning, that at some point probably in the 60's, the fireplace surround was rebuilt and that's why they didn't match the gray bricks on the exterior chimney...which has made me contemplate painting the bricks gray as I'm not completely sold on the white. Thoughts? Do you like the white?

Once again, Joan came to my rescue (she does that a lot) and sent me some Sherwin Williams colors to try and upon doing so, I discovered this amazing digital tool they offer on their web site where you can upload your personal photo and try different paint colors (I'll post them soon). It's been so helpful in determining what shade of grey may work as I wouldn't want it to look too flat, too dark or like concrete!

My other update is the new mirror over the fireplace. I absolutely love the botanical detail on the frame. I was in an antique shop in Portland, one of my favorites, when I stumbled across it- on sale. Was I looking for a new mirror for over the fireplace, not really, but my Great-Great Grandparent's mirror never looked quite proportionate to the size of the mantle (I've relocated it to the guest room for now).

When I saw the mirror, I put a hold on it and then went to another favorite antique store to see what other similar items were out there. I discovered that compared to other mirrors of similar size and style, the one I had on hold was a really great deal so I went back and bought it. It was $120, normally priced at $195.

I hope that we'll be able to unwrap our furniture by tomorrow - although I'm sure we'll take a few peeks before then! I normally don't get very nervous about new purchases but typically that's because I don't spend as much money and they're also not purchased sight unseen (we didn't get to actually see our chosen fabrics on the pieces).

So again, excited and nervous all at the same time! Hubby is more calm and Lucy just wants to know what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Sauna

When we bought our house, there were several outbuildings scattered throughout the property. There was the old sheep barn that was collapsing in beyond repair, there was an aluminum shed, a quirky wood shed, a pole barn, the barn with the guest quarters, and the sauna (pictured above).

The old sheep barn, the aluminum shed and the quirky wood shed all got hauled away to the rebuild it center. The rest we kept, including the sauna.

I'll give you a quick tour. It's a small two room sauna that reminds me of the old rustic camps I use to visit in Maine.

I can tell you that Hubby was beyond thrilled when he discovered this building on our first tour of the property and imagined sitting in here after a long day of skiing. The above room is the changing room and has lots of old vintage towel racks, old hooks, a little vanity and benches to sit on.

Even Lucy was excited about the sauna. Here she is taking in the ambiance of the old steam room. Aren't the benches classic? And see the old shower faucet hanging from the cross beam?

But Hubby's dream came to a screeching halt when the house inspector warned us that the above water tank was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. In other words, don't use the sauna in its current incarnation - ever.

Hubby had ideas to update the system but when we realized that all of the wood in the steam room had been coated with urethane, we knew we'd have to reside the whole interior as to not get high on toxic fumes. The charred wall was also a deterrent - obviously the barrel stove was a fire hazard.

So it sat.

Until one day a couple of winters ago, we put my old treadmill in the changing area and started using the space as a workout room. And that's when we decided that the building would serve us much better as a home gym than a sauna.

Let me just say that we're not gym people. We know this because we bought gym memberships a year ago this month and pretty much never went. This was mostly due to the inconvenience of driving into town all the time. When we did go, all we used were the treadmill (which I had at home) and the elliptical machine (which we just bought).

So instead of renewing our very costly gym membership, we've decided to use the funds to create a home gym, conveniently located within walking distance from the house. We'll be tearing out the wall in the middle in order to create a large one room space so that both the treadmill and the elliptical machine will fit side by side. These will go where the steam benches are now.

We'll insulate the vaulted ceiling, perhaps add a sink since there's already an existing water line, and paint everything white. We have some extra tongue and groove flooring left over from the porch, which we'll use to cover up the concrete floor. We'll paint the floors historic gray as they already have primer on them. We also plan to replace the plywood door with the old french exterior door we removed from the main house.

So that's the plan but I can't say for sure when the cosmetic stuff will happen! But I'll keep you posted!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Victorian Chair

I love Victorian furniture. I love the ornate lines. I love the rich hue of the dark wood. I love that each piece possesses such intricate carved detail.

I purchased this Victorian chair for just $62. When I look at this chair, I see a work of art no different than a piece of artwork hanging on our wall. It's absolutely beautiful.

The fact that this delicate chair has 'lived' for over a hundred years is just fascinating to me, especially seeing that it's in pristine condition. It must have known some very loving homes along the way.

The needlepoint is in good condition - just a few thin spots, which I think come from moths rather than wear. The preservationist in me says leave it alone. But in my effort to blend my passion for antiques with the modernity of our lives, I thought of perhaps brightening the chair with a nice light velvet, which was also popular during the late 1800's.

Alternatively, for a more contemporary juxtaposition, I thought a nice botanical fabric could also be quite beautiful and honor the Victorian era's love of nature.

I've placed the chair next to my bed, in place of the chair that was already there. It goes just so beautifully next to the Eastlake nightstand, as they share the same intricate carved detail and the same lovely bird's eye maple veneer.

Considering the placement of the chair, I'm leaning towards brightening it with a soft, light velvet as I think it would best match the feel of the bedroom. If I do this, I will preserve the original needlepoint - perhaps by covering over it.

What do you think... leave it alone? Or do you like the bird toile, or the light soft velvet fabric?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Office

A couple of weekends ago, I tore apart my office. It wasn't something I had on my 'to do' list but it had been bothering me for awhile. The issues I had with my office were that I didn't have enough drawer space to organize my odds and ends and it was feeling a bit stagnant and dreary.

You can go here to see the original remodel.

So my goal was to brighten it up while also finding ways to improve organization.

I stole the dresser from the guest house (one of the first antiques I bought when I lived in Maine) because the desk drawers alone weren't enough to hold office supplies, stationary, telephone books, all my inspiration photos from magazines, my various three-ring binders, etc. The extra drawer space has completely transformed the function of the office!

I converted this antique picture frame into a mirror to help brighten up this corner of the room. That little door you see in the reflection of the mirror is a small closet where I keep our old, and very ugly, filing cabinet.

I made two purchases: the sisal rug and another slip covered armchair from IKEA. I like this armchair because it's easy to pick up and move, which makes working on the computer with Hubby a lot easier to do.

I stole the Matisse nude (which doesn't show up very well in this photo) from the salon wall in the den!

I also finally found a place for this little Eastlake wall cubby. I picked this up years ago but never really figured out what to do with it. Now I have it by the door for outgoing mail.

In effort to make this space feel brighter, I gathered up all my marble collections (the lamps and the bird baths), as well as this old alabaster ash tray. I'll use it as a holder for thumb tacts.

So that's what I've done! No big changes really, I mostly just recycled items we already had. Oh, and one of my favorite new changes to my office, is having the horse painting on my desk. It's one of my most beloved paintings and I just love the companionship those four beautiful horses offer.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Orchards

Things feel very quiet in the orchard after the hustle and bustle of the harvest. The trees now stand still, resting perhaps as they shed the last of their summer leaves and begin to settle in for their long winter's nap.

I love walking through the orchards. Each season offers a different experience. Right now, there's a sense of calm and rest and a little bit of sadness as the trees stand bare. This time of year is so different than the twinkling buds of spring or the sheltering green canopy of summer.

If you were to follow this orchard row, trudge up the hill and through the woods (where our property begins), you would eventually come to our back door!

And here's a couple of monkeys (Hubby and Lucy), climbing on a John Deere tractor. This isn't our tractor, although Hubby wishes that it was. And if Lucy could ride shot gun, it would be her wish too.
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