Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Romantic Photo Shoot at the Lake Cottage

One enchanted lake cottage. 
Our simple rustic lake cottage was treated to a 
romantic style makeover for a photo shoot and the results were simply storybook.
Matthew and Jenny Mead went to the cottage to do a shoot for one of his projects.
I couldn't wait to see the results, as they have created such beauty over the years
on projects for so many magazines and retail companies.
Matthew collects vintage fabrics and has quite a collection of romantic florals.
I loved how they brought the cottage to life.
 You may recall we all sprayed the cottage interior over the 4th of July.
This sweet cottage style was the result of deft styling and a less is more attitude.
Matthew and Jenny added a pretty floral curtain in the kitchen doorway,
a big jug of roses and an old fashioned floral painting to create the storybook look.

Achieve this look with a few yards of pretty fabrics and some rustic
stripped down pine and oak pieces.  Choose your accent pieces sparingly, keeping a country
feel in mind. Looking so romantic and enchanting, this is one chic little lake cottage!
For more images on the romantic lake cottage 
follow Matthew Mead on Instagram @matthewmeadstyle 
and me at @amymaisondecor.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Rustic Lake Cottage: Part 1

Last fall we purchased an antique Fishermans shack by the waters edge in New Hampshire.
This little place was built in 1910, and it looked like it. 
But the lot was so wonderful, situated right next to the water,
and that was all it took for us to want it for our own.
A beautiful view of Northwood Lake could be seen from the windows of the shack.
Summer days spent outside in hammocks, with dips in the lake, burgers on the grill,
and trips on our boat were dancing through our minds.
We bought it without stepping foot inside the place, knowing that one day we would likely
rebuild a sturdier more practical home here, but for now this sweet little camp would do.
 After we passed papers we headed over to the "camp" and checked it out...
I have to say I was a little disappointed. 
Undaunted and determined to make the most out of it however 
so we could use it during the summer months to escape from the city.
To have a place for Mr. Maison Decor's boat and watch our kids water ski.
So I called up Matthew Mead and asked him about spraying it white inside...
 A few days later, Matthew and Jenny Mead came over and we sprayed and sprayed.  
The old barn board soaked up the mildew killing primer
 we applied giving it a white washed effect.
It was coming out almost kind of charming!!
The old windows dropped down inside of Indian shutters and 
revealed full screens that let in the air.
And the view.
It was showing some promise after all.
 Jenny took a break with Piper out on the old dock, which was begging to get put back together.
Mr. Maison Decor worked on setting the sections of dock back in the lake, 
while the rest of us sprayed the cottage interior.
By the end of the day, we had a place to dock our boat, and lay our heads!
Now back to the interior...
 Wait, no, this isn't the finished cottage!! 
This is my inspiration for the Rustic Lake Cottage.
It is a lake cottage in Michigan, owned by designer Suzy Stout.
All the elements I found so appealing...
the vintage accents, the white background with the colorful
palette and floral elements would be my guide to our own Rustic Cottage.
 More inspiration from Suzy Stout.  Wicker, and more wicker!! And I love the green wicker most of all!  She mixed it in with the white wicker.
I love the look of the overall green and white with floral.
 Here is a sunporch of the small living room.  
White painted floors and painted furniture abound.
 Another angle showing the wicker rocker in that delicious green color.
 Loved this scraped pine bench with bark cloth floral pillows, the fun patting, and the pretty sconce.
All the white wood walls and trim look so fresh and perfect for a lake cottage.
 She had a couple of bedrooms with painted pieces and floral fabrics with bright colors.
The green painted bed was so beautiful!
 I loved how Suzy decorated her cottage and she inspired
me to bring the same joie de vivre to our own tiny cottage.
Last fall after we bought the cottage, I stumbled upon a yard sale where the woman
was selling all kinds of old white wicker pieces, including a long day bed, and 
a Bar Harbor loveseat, and more.  We hauled all our yard sale finds up to the cottage
on the 4th of July and set up our little cottage.  A few days later I went hunting in
some of my favorite antique shops and found this glorious green wicker chair!  
And an old painting of hollyhocks, which seemed perfect for my Suzy Stout inspired cottage decor.
There are random bits that came with the cottage like the navy and white durrie rugs.
Not my first choice, but fine for now.  
 This old pine work table from our original Boston Maison Decor store found its home
in front of the triple windows in the center room, which we are calling the porch.
A set of 4 old oak chairs came with the house and have a Scandinavian feel.
Sturdy and rustic and useful.  Maybe one day they will get painted, but for now 
we had a list a mile long, and if it works its fine for now.  This is not a decorators cottage,
but a real life summer cottage that isn't trying to make the cover of a magazine....yet.
The yard sale find wicker love seat came into the porch, and the pine table got
an April Cornell tablecloth in a pretty blue French print. It was fun to just add things
here and there without trying to make it match.  Seemed like the more it didn't match,
the better it looked!  Remember, this is using what you have and throwing it together.
And its soooo much fun to decorate like this.
 The kitchen was the runner up for maybe the grossest room in the cottage.  
It was really dingy and dirty and the owners left behind a harvest gold fridge that didn't work.
As they had yanked out the electricity from the cottage five years prior.  And now the electric 
company wouldn't hook it back up unless it was "to code".  Which it clearly is not.  
There is a shallow enamel sink with a brass spigot that carries water from the lake.  Yes. 
This is a true RUSTIC COTTAGE.  I happily hung up some cup hooks and added colorful coffee cups in a green majolica, and added some other bits to the old wooden shelves.  The most we use 
the kitchen for is putting the cooler on the counter top, which happens to be made of lead.

There was a lovely round sink hidden under one section of counter.
We have been told by many that this is where the fish would be cleaned.
There are four rooms to this cottage.  The main room upon entering,
which was an addition in the 1950s or 60s.  Then you enter the "porch"
where we have our table and couch, and then in the distance is the tiny kitchen 
that was also an addition at some point.  And to the left you can see another room.
That is the bedroom.  We called it the Scary Room.
As a matter of fact, it was so creepy that neither my husband or I wanted to sleep in there.
Until I spotted this old brass bed at Eagle Antiques, the same day I found the green
wicker chair at Rustique, a resale shop with vintage and refurbished pieces.
 I knew this would be the perfect solution for lifting our air mattress off the floor.
And so at only $40, it came home to the rustic cottage.
Over the years I have found many treasures here at reasonable pricing.
Located on Rt 4 in Epsom, NH, its next to the Hannaford supermarket.
Hubs marveled how sturdy the brass bed was....and then he cleverly built a wood
panel to hold the mattress and our weight.  In one night we were sleeping in
our little bedroom....no longer the scary room at all.
It was enchanted sleeping in this old brass bed with a candle, and a mosquito net.
More decorating to come, and one natural disaster....
thats next on Rustic Lake Cottage Part 2.

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

My Delicious Bruschetta Recipe

Delicious Bruschetta! 
Here is an easy and excellent recipe for your summer menus. 
Whip up a batch of this bruschetta for a tasty appetizer or as an accompaniment
 to a grilled steak during these hot summer months.

I pick the fresh basil from my urns outside.  Pop in a few plants
 for yourself to enjoy for making this and yummy caprese salads (mozzarella, tomato and basil)
all summer long. Or keep a supermarket batch of fresh basil in the fridge or on your windowsill in a vase of water.  These are recipes that require  fresh basil and good vine ripened tomatoes.

Amy's Bruschetta Recipe
  • 4 large vine ripe tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with a press
  • 6 leaves of fresh basil, chopped well
  • 4 Tbsp of store bought grated Parmesan cheese
  • Coarse salt and black pepper to taste (I use 1/2 tsp of each approx)
  • 2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • French baguettes (2) or Italian bread

 Assemble all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until blended.
Let it sit while you prepare the bread. Do not refrigerate.
 Two French Baguettes or One large loaf of Italian Bread will be the base
for the tomato mixture.  I use the French baguettes if I am serving it as an appetizer
or the larger Italian bread slices if I am serving as a side salad with dinner.
Slice baguettes 1/2 inch thickness, and Italian bread to 3/4" to 1" thickness.
Brush with olive oil and put under the broiler 
until a light golden brown. You don't want it too crispy. You can skip the part of rubbing
cloves of garlic on the bread, as the recipe has the garlic in the mixture.
Heap spoonfuls of the room temperature topping onto the bread and serve. 
 Its a winner, and your friends and family will love it as much as you do!

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

An antique European country sofa for the living room

 An old Danish trundle bed, imported by Danish Country Antique Furniture in Boston.
 It found its way to the Salvation Army Thrift shop some fifteen years after it was brought over to the USA from a town west of Copenhagen.  How I know this to be true is an interesting part of any antiquing adventure.  But lets start off by saying I wasn't looking for a new old couch....
it just happened that it was looking for me.  I often think that is the way things work 
out around here when it comes to old things like furniture and decorative accessories.  
 After loading up my Jeep with things to donate to the thrift shop, I took an obligatory walk
through the furnishings aisle and this white painted wooden country sofa was sitting there amidst a bunch of 1970s cast offs.  I stopped.  I brushed the arm of the sofa and looked at the back. 
Then the legs...and then I snapped a picture and went home.  Without it.  
I didn't think hubs would be in favor of a less comfortable sofa, even if it was antique, and maybe from his homeland, Sweden and even if it was really cute.  So I shared the photo with a bestie, who texted me back, " Go get it!".  
And so I did.  
On the way there I worried maybe it was gone, off to its forever home with the wrong person.
I called the Salvation Army to inquire if an old white sofa with blue and white stripes was still sitting there?  
Yes it was I was told.  Could I put a hold on it?  No, I could not, I was told. 
Nerves set in, but I told myself, no one else could see the beauty 
in this old country piece like I could.

 When I got there, she was waiting for me.  For me!
I gave her a good look over. She was an old girl for sure.
I had borrowed hubs pickup truck and as I purchased it, I was told by the manager
that no one would be allowed to help me load it, as they were worried about liability.  
What?? I had a little furniture shop, and I loaded furniture into peoples cars all the time.
The manager asked if I wanted to return with helpers to load it.  No, I would wait in the parking lot
until I saw some other shoppers I could ask to help me put it in my truck.
Fine, the manager said, all business like...and thats when he called two guys to bring it out to the parking lot and put it next to my truck. Not to load it. 
And that is when I realized how damn heavy the thing was.  
OMG it weighted a ton!
That is also when I noticed an upside down sticker on the back of the wooden frame
 showing where it came from: Danish Country Antique Furniture, in Boston.  
The guys brought it outside and without further adieu they hoisted it up into the bed of the truck.
Chivalry and common sense was not dead after all!  
It sat in the pickup truck til hubs and one of my sons got home to carry it inside.
Of course I had to rearrange the furniture somewhat, and I couldn't be happier
with how the room looks now.  My old painted tea table seemed to be the perfect companion for it.
I contacted the Danish Antique guy and he remembered the 
old country sofa.  I wondered if it was Swedish, but he said he clearly recalled getting it west of 
Copenhagen.  It was a trundle bed made around 1860, painted white. 
These trundle beds were  made for country houses. It is a charming piece
of European furniture but it could use a bit of better padding on the bench seat, which
I will do at some point soon.  And one day it may get a bigger makeover when it moves to
our country home in the future!! Of course we have a tiny run down lake cottage, and I could
imagine a piece like this in a breakfast room or on a screen porch overlooking the lake.
One more thing...today is my granddaughter Reeve's first birthday.
To mark the occasion she took her first swimming lesson with mommy and daddy.
I put a big pink tissue ball in the silver punch bowl.
One day I can see little Reeve sleeping in the trundle at the lake house.
It makes me wonder how many other little Danish girls and boys slept
in this charming and cozy trundle bed over the last 150 years.
That is what I love about antiques...the story they carry and the secrets they
can tell, if you know how to look and find them.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

How to make a French Trumeau Mirror

The ultimate in French mirrors, is the Trumeau mirror.  
 Trumeaus were made in France in the late 1800s, and were made to go on walls between windows. 
A rectangular mirror with two sections, the lower with a mirror and the upper had a decorative carving or a decorative painted scene that was the focal point of the mirror.
I have long admired these mirrors, but authentic French Trumeaus are very pricey.
This large and gorgeous Louis VI period blue and gilt Trumeau was 
sold on First Dibs at just under a very pricey $15,000.  
So imagine my delight when my blogger friend, Jamie Lundstrum,
( So Much Better with Age blog), penned
a DIY book about all things Vintage French style.
 And inside Jamie's book, was a how-to for making a French Trumeau mirror!
It is among 70 projects for adding Vintage French decor to your home.

It was time for a change in the dining room, I had even been contemplating wallpaper.
After taking everything off the walls, we headed to Home Depot to get supplies. 
I followed along the instructions and got an MDF board along with
some trim pieces for the top and sides.  I decided to use an existing mirror I already had that was
in an ornate carved frame.  In the book, Jamie frames out a cut piece of mirror, 
but I figured by using a framed mirror I already had, it would be less expensive and easier!  
The point is you can do it either way and end up with the mirror of your dreams.
 The top of the mirror can be made two ways, one with a crown molding like the one here and 
the one in Jamie's book.  But I enlisted my husband to do the cutting of the moldings
 on his fancy saw.  One can also use a plain piece of flat backed molding for the top,
 as many of the original Trumeaus were made this way.
Note the lack of moldings on the bottom, and the simple molding on the top.
  The focus is on the mirror and the decorative carving. 
There are so many ways to design your
own mirror, and that is really the fun part! 

The colors and styles are endless, which makes it perfect for personalizing your home.
You could add French wallpaper or fabric instead of a painted scene for your focal point.
 After hubs and I cut the molding and laid it out on the 24" x 48" MDF board, he went to take a nap
and I got out all of my Annie Sloan paints.  I was hoping for a grey, but there was none to be had.  
So I decided to do a turquoise color and then soften it up with some aging techniques.
 A pastoral scene would go in the top decorative part of my Trumeau.  I wanted to add a bit 
of lavender color to the sky scene so it would pull in my purple transfer ware dish collection.
 Next, I painted most of the trim and the entire mirror using
 Matthew Mead's Metallic Gold paint by Fusion.  
The gold was making it look so French and amazing! 
At this point I was getting very excited! 
 The molding was attached using a staple nail gun.  The mirror was attached 
using construction grade glue I applied with a caulking gun.
  All of these instructions are outlined in Jamie's book. 
While not making the exact same mirror Jamie made,
I created my own version using the bones of her instructions.
And I think that is the best thing about creating and decorating~
making it YOUR OWN!
 I stood the mirror up against the wall ( before I glued on the bottom mirror)
and realized I should probably change the entire room! GAH!
Paint the walls and change the curtains!! 
One little change can have that effect you know...
The next day while Reeve napped, I ripped apart my King sized duvet cover from
Ballard designs and turned it into four panels.  On her next nap I painted the wall behind
the mirror and it seemed when she awoke she noticed the changes!!
Look at her cute face during lunch time staring at the mirror!! hahah!
She is my little unwitting decorating apprentice.
 Without further adieu, I show you the completed mirror!  
Layers of white, olive and pale green paint were dry brushed over the turquoise base color.
  A vintage drapery part in the shape of a Fleur de lis was glued to the top area of the 
mirror for an extra flourish.  Personalizing my own Trumeau in this way, 
with the little painted scene and the drapery part finished it off. 
 A pair of old iron candle sconces were embellished with some blue opaline 
macaroni beads and some aquamarine Creative Candle tapers.
 The mirror has added a beautiful focal point to the dining room, 
with the French Vintage style I adore. 
 The pale green buffalo plaid curtains give it the Gustavian look I LOVE.
 To celebrate I broke out my opaline goblets and found the most amazing bottle of wine
at the local liquor store.  It looked just like blue opaline!  If you are interested search for 
Gemma di Luna Pinot Grigio.  It is about $15, and just the bottle is worth that all day long!
 The antique gilded ballroom chairs were put into service around the table after I 
noticed how perfectly they complemented the gold in the mirror.  
 Someone may not be as excited as I am, but I have to say, this has been one of the most
fulfilling day projects I have done in a long time!! 
Yes, it only took me one day!!
Well, maybe the second day I did fine tuned the paint color 
by dry brushing on a bit more paint....
 Get inspired to create when you turn the pages
 of Jamie's French Vintage Decor book.
From Trumeau mirrors to lavender sachets, 
there are simple to medium skill level projects included in this book.  
 due out June 12, 2018!  Happy decorating peeps!!

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