Posts Tagged ‘cottage style’

We can’t have friends to stay and we dont know when that will change. But I dream of having guests: People to cook for and with, friends whose presence justifies that extra drink that now just makes me feel guilty, and someone new with whom to play board games and cards.

This desire, along with a decision not to rent our place this year to vacationers, was ample motivation to spend a few days improving our guest room.

2019 guest room. Someone had to sleep against the wall.

This room – every room in fact – was freshly painted with a matte white when we bought the place in late 2007. So repainting was not an early priority. It has; however, become increasingly desirable over the last few years. And no excuse not to do it right now.

Benjamin Moore has a new, extra durable paint called Scuffex. It’s not outrageously expensive either. I chose a pearl finish as the room is a bit dark and would benefit from a reflective lift. As for colour, as usual I went with my gut, quickly singling out a pale grey white called White Wisp. It isn’t a warm colour, which is what one craves just now, but the cottage is principally a summer spot, so I had to put myself in summer thinking mode.

The paint went on beautifully, and floor, ceiling, 5 panel door and window trim were all given 2 coats of gloss in BM Cloud White.

We replaced a cheap ikea ceiling fixture with a lovely nickel fixture that we wrote out of our sales contract when we sold up in Port Moody. I was so glad to find a perfect place for it. We also replaced the non- functioning dimmer switch.

We reoriented the bed so there is (some) room on both sides, then edited and rehung wall decor. We also painted up some found “free” shelves with trim paint and installed them at about 2 metres from the floor, to add a splash of interest and some high storage to an otherwise bare-by-necessity wall.

A shippy light fixture and some free, high shelves are favourite touches.

I washed the duvet and mattress pad, replaced all the pillows and polished the floor.

As usual, there are a few things holding me back from declaring the job fully complete. We are hoping to refinish an old piece of furniture to double as desk and dresser for this tiny room. And the baseboard heater needs to be replaced.

But in general, I am happy everytime I walk by the room and can’t wait to welcome our first guests of 2021. Whenever that becomes possible.

Meanwhile, we use this as Break Out space for our individual activities: puzzles and crafts for me, and music and gaming sessions via Zoom for my partner.

A more inviting space, just waiting for friends.

There was about a litre of the grey white paint left, so after a few days rest, I washed, taped and painted the small hallway outside the guest room.

I followed on with the trim and other doors off this hallway. Now I can’t stop. My room next, then the livingroom and eventually, a complete redo of the bathroom.

The hallway before it got a fresh coat of paint.
In progress. Lighting is not optimal, but this photo shows the soft grey shade of BM White Wisp as I started to paint the hallway.

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Beach glass pendant in a jiffy

Beach glass pendants in a jiffy

I love to collect beach glass because I am a ‘hurry up’ person and this forces me to slow down and pay attention. It is like a walking form of meditation. And so I have lots. Cups full, in fact.

And though I like being crafty, my talents are not great and my patience (see above) is still less. These pendants require little skill or patience. My first one turned out well, in about 30 minutes.

My first effort and still my favourite

My first effort and still my favourite

What is required is this plier set which I found at Michael’s for 16$. It includes side cutters. Also includes round pliers, which you start with to make the bail.

Just add beach glass

Just add beach glass

The wire is 20 or 22 gauge shiny wire -my spool said “ideal for wire wrapping” so that was helpful.

White glass gives the nicest results. It is harder to make a piece of beer or 7-Up bottle look really nice, but I might use those bits, along with some larger beads, to make wine glass charms.

Here is a link to a free photo tutorial you can download.
(Disclosure – I did not follow this, I just looked at the pictures and gave it a go.)

Looks like a fun project for the next Crumpet club. Maybe I can get the Crumpets to whip up all my Christmas presents for me again?

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Nothing else could account for the mini-dither I embarked upon when I saw it in a local consignment store a little over a week ago.

A second hand chair for the cottage exerts a powerful pull

I wasn’t even looking for a chair at that moment, though somewhere in my subconscious I had come to the conclusion that there was a chair sized space at the cottage that would need filling.

Couldn’t stop thinking about the chair. Then I started negotiating for the chair – which was one of a pair – and the vendor was willing to split them up, offer me a better price, hold it for a few days and take it back if it didn’t suit. Happy Times, right?

Only, all this goodness planted a seed of suspicion and paranoia instead: Maybe the chair was very ugly and I couldn’t see it! Maybe she knew no-one else would ever buy it!

Actually, she was just being really obliging and helpful. This would, I suppose, be a good place to reward her decency and mitigate my paranoia – which however she may not have known about until this moment – with a link to her lovely store: Around My House Consignment in Port Moody, BC.

My obsession continued and I posted a picture of the chair on Facebook and asked my HGTV- addicted friends to offer an opinion. Few cared.

And now the chair is in situ at the cottage and I really do like it. I still cannot explain my affinity except to say that it seems as though my brain has connected it to some otherwise lost memory. I have a karmic connection to a second-hand chair.

Also, it fills the small space quite nicely; offers an elegant-ish counterpoint to the Vilas maple chair beside it; and best of all, the next time we have friends over for an evening, or the Crumpet Club reconvenes, I may not find myself sitting on a folding chair.

And luckily, also fills an awkward space.

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That Cottager is so cool!  Three years ago he picked up this old leaded window at a salvage yard.  This week he installed it in our small-and-a-bit-dim cottage bedroom. Quel Surprise!   Looks great.  Our bed-in-a-closet will never give off that vibe again.  Light on two sides (and good air transfer) makes a big difference.  And the window is beautiful.   Best of all, he did it without telling me, so I didn’t have to have kittens about cutting a big hole in our wall….. 
We did the finishing touches (fill, paint, clean up the mess) together on Sunday, then cooked some tenderloin steaks and opened a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary the next day. 
The light in my life and this story doesn’t come from the window. 
Happy Anniversary Honey!   
What did I get him?  A kitten! 
reputtying old glass panes
Framed in


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This post is likely to attract attention similar to “Tree in Bondage” and, once again, is likely to disappoint.

I was stripping furniture.  This season’s rentals resulted in some water damage on two old pieces of furniture. This cool old side table that doubles as a small bookcase was a pretty easy fix:  Just sanded the table top down with a palm sander –

Then I flooded the table surface with walnut-coloured stain, waited 30 minutes and wiped it off. Applied a second generous amount and left it for 15 minutes. 

And finally, I applied a few coats of Briewax, a mix of beeswax with linseed oil and natural turpentine. I polished the table with a soft cloth after each application of the wax, resulting in a fine – and hopefully protective –  finish.

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This old vanity stool has been hanging around our place for years now – a legacy item from my mother-in-law that didn’t seem to hold much promise. Cottager was able to reach way back in his memory to describe – in detail – the pattern on the fabric that’s under this blue velvet. Yes, this has already been remodeled once. Why not again? 

Could this sad old thing have a place at the cottage?

Finally a vision for where it might go coincided with a few rainy hours to make it happen.  I sanded it down, brushed on a coat of primer and then a second coat using the dregs of a can of Benjamin Moore Tealight Green, used in our closet-to-alcove make-over.  A small remnant of an English floral fabric containing a perfect match for this green completed the update.

Yep, this will be useful.

Since I most often spend just a night or two at the cottage, I generally just live out of an overnight bag left on the floor. From now on, my bag will be up off the floor and much easier to get into when resting on this stool. This re-furbished item can also quickly be moved into the living room to act as a foot rest during winter movie nights.

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After living with our all-white walls and trim for nearly a year now, I think I have a much better idea of how to proceed. When I first called out for advice, I had only photos of empty or near-empty rooms. Every idea I received was exciting to contemplate -especially the really bold suggestions like celery green.

But over the summer, almost every person that walked through the door commented on how expansive and fresh the white was. Some even remarked that they really should take some of their own rooms back to white – that’s how well white suits this little cottage!  

With five large windows and two french doors opening off the main rooms, the white walls pleasantly meld outdoor space with indoors. In bright, warm weather the room is a cool, clean haven and on cold, wet days the warm wood floors, fireplace and some soft lighting are more than enough to make it cozy. I have to conclude that this space is meant to be white. Or more precisely, two whites!

So I went back to thinking about style guru Mary Emmerling’s advice for white on white paint. She talks about mixing – 50/50 – Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White and Linen White to get the perfect white paint. Or she suggests using both; putting the Decorator’s White on the walls and doing the trim with Linen White. Now I am just unimaginative enough to think that this must be a misprint: Surely the darker tone goes on the walls and the trim takes the ultra white?

Next I dug out my BM colour wheels. These make a great gift by the way. They come in a tidy holder with a shoulder strap and have been endlessly useful. Until today, that is, when I found no Linen White at all. There is a Natural Linen and there is a Linen Sand but each of these came down pretty firmly in the beige camp. At my local BM supplier, they typed Linen White into their computer and came up with a pre-2000 colour numbered 912.  Then they dug around in a dusty shoebox and presented me with a chip numbered 912. Ah-ha!  This is a white. Quite a pretty white. A soft, slightly yellowy-white that looks good with Decorator White. Is this what you were talking about Mary?  

Below is a detail of the room as it is today. It is, and will likely always be, a work in progress, but the colour scheme comes down to blue and white.  What do YOU think of Mary’s idea to do the trim – which in this case would include moldings, French doors, lots of multi-light wooden window casements, rough vertical and horizontal support beams, the fireplace and a chimney in the kitchen – in the darker of the two whites?  Am I the only one that finds this a bit counter-intuitive?

Keats View Fireplace

Keats View Fireplace

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p1120016l.jpgmaking-panels.jpgfinished-panels.jpgshelves-opt.jpgshelfandceiling.jpgceiling.jpgFinished - for now

Is any project ever really 100% finished? Not in my little world. Still, I’m going to call this one done.

If you are just tuning in, the goal was to re-purpose a closet in a tiny bedroom to accomodate a queen bed without looking like a bed-in-a closet. So I’ve included an early photo with closet doors and organizers removed.

Phase two was to paint the alcove a soothing green.

Phase three is the custom shelving. If your closet is symetrical and your walls are plumb, this is pretty simple. This was not the case, so some (hours of) tinkering was required.  We also cut a notch in the back corner of some of the shelves to allow for the passage of electrical cords. I still hope to get one more coat of paint on the shelves, but they work. 

For the alcove ceiling, Cottager built a frame out of 1×2 lumber to fit the space, with a two inch divider in the centre and 6 inches extra length. I bought two Artscape faux-stained glass window decals, each measuring 24 x 36, and some 16 mm clear vinyl. After painting the necessary parts of the frame, we affixed the window art to two pieces of vinyl for stability, then carefully stretched and stapled the vinyl across the back side of the frame and trimmed away the excess. Then we strung some led lights up in the top of the closet, and popped the frame up to rest on top of the shelves. 

Bottom line – It looks pretty good. I had originally bought clematis-themed window art, but one of the packages I bought had been opened, used and then unscrupulously returned to the store, where I bought it. This proved to be a lucky turn of events, since I was able to look at the product off its backing, and determine that it would do the job, but the pattern was too busy. So back I went to the Depot, where I exchanged them for . . . wait for it. . . a bamboo pattern!    

The pictures don’t really do it justice, but, lying in bed, it is quite pleasant to look up at. Much nicer than the stuccoed ceiling of the closet anyway. The LED lights are just ok – they don’t show in the photos owing to flash – and we are thinking of buying a couple of low-voltage puck-type lights to install on top of the shelves so we can really illuminate the ceiling, when desired. Eventually, there will be a window in the wall above the headboard, but below the false ceiling. But that is a another project.

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