Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Gustavian Inspired Pastoral Painted Secretary

Gustavian style is so pretty!
Gustavian is Swedish with a French influence, which began when
King Gustav III started hanging out in France with King Louis XIV.
Gustav went home and copied Louis but put the Swedish spin on things.
Hence "Gustvian" style was born. 
 I gravitate towards the Gustavian color palette of pale blue, white, grey
and cream and decided to paint some landscape scenes on the panels of the 
small secretary desk, that would capture the essence of Gustavian style.
 Pastoral scenery is so serene and pretty and I have been 
doing a series of pieces with these types of landscapes,
the secretary is the latest in my "Gustavian phase". 
Each drawer has raised borders and I painted landscapes inside
each one, followed by gilding the raised part.
I painted a French Maison on the drop leaf as a nod to 
my Petite French Maison Dollhouse. 
 I used the gold color wax by Jolie Paint, and it highlighted the scenes nicely.
The scenes were painted with many of the colors from Jolie Paint's serenity collection.

This is before gilding.  I was torn about whether or not 
to add the gilding, because this looked more like a simple 
country look which was pretty too.
 It came out beautifully and adds to the room.  
Oh, and did you notice the lilac colored sofa with fringe?  
It is a Scalamandre sofa. I lucked out at an estate sale and I love this thing! 
These sofas run in the thousands, and that is out of my budget, 
so thank heavens for estate sales and other people with great taste! 
It looks pretty with all of my purple transfer ware,
 including the lamps that I have in this room.

Off in the dining room you can see some of the other pieces in the
 Gustavian series that I have created.  And there will be more to come,
because that is how it goes when I get obsessed by something.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

A White Vinyl Arbor for the Roses

Something was missing.  Ever since last winter when a big windstorm
blew apart our old white wooden arbor, the entrance to the 
upper level where the garden shed sits seemed quite bare.
 Looking out our bedroom window you can best see the 
layout of the garden shed and the row of
arborvitaes that flanked the wooden arbor.
After a nasty storm blew it to bits hubs put two of the peacock
chairs at the entryway, one of which was used to prop up the 
climbing rose that was formerly on the arbor.
Anyway as time passed and spring and summer arrived, I felt the 
desire to rebuild or replace the broken arbor.
 After searching online and reading many reviews of vinyl arbors, 
I selected the Vienna Arbor by New England Arbors company. 
Vinyl can look cheesy and this one seemed to get very good reviews and it
looked fairly substantial. 
 This was definitely a two person job, and hubs took the lead in
assembling the thing, while I held onto various parts as he drilled the set screws.
 After about one hour we took the assembled arch and side posts out to the lawn.
 And then I spotted a big hornets nest right in the middle of one of the arborvitaes!!
 There were so many hornets going in and out and crawling all around the paper nest.
I was more than a little nervous we were going to get stung!
We positioned the arbor a bit further out from the hedge, than it originally sat,
so we could avoid disrupting the hornets to get the darn thing in place.
 The arbor comes with heavy duty inserts for each post leg that get buried below the earth.
You can also choose to put 2x4's inside the legs and set in cement, but we just buried them.
 Its quite nice! Not difficult to assemble if you have someone who is handy
with a drill gun. The screws are the self drilling type, which means you must
firmly push the drill without the screw flying off, and hubs was good at that.
And you need two people holding various parts as it all gets put together. 
 After we set it up, I trained the roses to it and stepped back to admire it!
This company has various styles of arbors in different sizes as well as pergolas and 
other outdoor accents.  This is not a sponsored post, just sharing a good product with you all.
Since we plan to move, the cost of doing this was acceptable and I won't shed a tear to leave it 
behind. Can you believe it was less than $200? And it arrived in just a couple of days!
This Vienna Arbor by New England Arbors was purchased on Amazon.
Easy Peasy!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Lake Cottage, Garden and the 4th of July

The middle of the year is upon us! How fast winter turns to summer it seems.
Winter drags on and somehow summer seems to be in a rush, for us in New England.
The fourth of July is always a favorite holiday, centered around relaxing and cookouts
and easy celebrations. Decorating for the 4th is all about the flag, and I was excited to 
find this nostalgic and festive looking fabric that had both flags and roses.  The fabric is called Americana Summer Roses and can be found here at LilyOak's Spoonflower account.
I bought three yards to use as a tablecloth and can see this piece of fabric becoming a family
heirloom in the way that it will grace our tables on the 4th, Labor Day and Memorial Day for
years to come!  
Its so pretty with the rose wreaths and swirling flags, dotted by unexpected yellow roses.
I can even throw it over my wicker daybed in front of the cottage windows
to add holiday flair instead of using it as a tablecloth at the lake cottage.
Last weekend we all went up and did some cleaning and site work at the cottage
that suffered a lot of damage from last year's microburst storm.
Over the winter the critters find their way inside and its deflating to come back
and see the damage and filth that awaits....but I got a lot of work done inside while hubs
and son worked on the outside with the excavator clearing the trees and stumps and 
making the lot more pedestrian friendly.  The big logs are all gone now!
It will be at least one more year before we can build here, so we are preparing
to enjoy it as much as we can for these two short summer months.
Our son got his boat license and its going to be really fun having
 two boat operators at the ready for lake cruises and waterski adventures.
We even hung a flag down by the dock, anchoring it on a tree.
 Back at home our gardens are coming to full bloom, and that is 
another pleasure of our short summer season that I savor.
 Three years ago we installed this white picket fence with both privacy panels
and open pickets and its one of my favorite upgrades we have done to the house.
The inner area contains the dogs when they need to go in and out, and I've always felt
that a gate is an enchanting way to enter a property.
Along the outer fence there are some roses that are 
in their second year, and the star of the show is 
this abundant Fairy Rose.  I also have a few David Austin rose bushes,
but they are high maintenance compared to the hearty Fairy.
The clematis is in its third year and putting on quite a show right now!
Summer has Reeve enjoying the outdoor activities with me, and that includes
teaching her how to pull weeds (haha) and take little breaks in her kiddy pool.
She turned two last month and with that comes a lot more fun with her
being able to be a big girl helping her grammy.
Piper and Sylvia are ever present at our heels as we walk about the yard
doing our watering and weeding and planting. 
Life is the way it should be,
with the simple pleasures of family connections and 
always being mindful of our abundance.

Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th!

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Spraying my Patio Furniture Pink

Think PINK!
Pink Patio Furniture!
 Pink is really "in" right now for home decor.
It turned out to be very charming and whimsical in pink.
This set is a vintage wire furniture set called Peacock style and 
it is from the 1970s.  It was in its original white ( with now rust)
finish when hubs found it for me, and it was time to freshen it up.
 Not the easiest thing to paint, but that didn't stop me.
And hubs helped by scraping the table down, as that was covered in flaking
and peeling paint. 
I used cans of Rustoleum Candy Pink, a new color.
It took about two cans per chair, and at least two cans for the table.
 I laid a plastic drop cloth over the rock wall in the yard and on the ground and 
painted the chairs front and back and upside down. This paint takes a while to dry,
and being impatient, I just grabbed the tacky/wet chairs and turned their position to 
keep on painting and get the job finished. I did one coat the first day, and then the second 
day I painted them again to get any spots I missed and a second coat over most of it,
with pretty good results. 
 However, even though I shook the paint can for the recommended time it would spray
out various shades of pink.  At first I was freaked but then though, hey this is pretty cool!
It has an ombre look overall, in a subtle way that is appealing to me.
A tremendous amount of the paint goes right through all the wire
design and onto the drop cloth. There is no way around that...
 One thing you must do is to buy this handle by Rustoleum.
It attaches to the spray nozzle of the can and then you 
can spray for hours without any hand cramping or finger paralysis. 
 This is pretty much completed....
now on to making pink Sunbrella cushions for 
my Martha Stewart outdoor wicker set.  Yup. You heard me right.
One last thing....while I was at Lowes buying the paint
I saw Country Home magazine on the rack! This is the issue
that features my home, so don't miss it!!

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Curbside Find: A set of Louis XVI French Chairs

 In a bizarre and fortunate twist of fate, there is an update to the story of how I found this
one French chair in front of someone's house waiting for the trash truck. I scooped it up and felt 
very lucky indeed.  Fast forward almost one year to the day, I was driving by the same house
and what astonishing sight to my eyes did appear??
 Four more of the chairs that matched the original curbside treasure I hauled away!
How could this be? It was truly amazing, and even though I was driving my mother in law's 
small Ford Fusion, and not my pickup truck, I lurched to the curb and jumped out.
It was tricky to stuff all four chairs into such a small car, and I was glad I didn't have the baby or any
dogs with me, as they all just barely fit.  Now they are safely ensconced in a storage trailer waiting
to be reupholstered and restored for our lake house (that has not been built yet, haha).
 So the pondering began....what did I want the chairs to look like, and what did I think 
the lake house decor would look like?  The general idea in my mind is to have it be more cottage
style than French style, so the right fabric and finish on the frame would be critical to the look.
For over a year I have been admiring the fabrics designed by Paula Arndt, of LilyOake on Spoonflower.  Paula has created a bunch of designs fit for an updated Swedish cottage look which could work perfectly.
One of my favorites is this small check in a color called faded blueberry.
I brought in a chair and taped the sample to the back. Maybe I will have a coordinating fabric
on the front of the chair with the check on the seat and the back.  Lots to think about,
and it is one of the most pleasant parts of decorating....the pondering.

To give you an idea of how it could look, take a peek at 
Ballard Designs, with a similar French chair in a painted finish
with a gingham or checked fabric.  

But gasp, look at the price!  It would cost $2296 for five chairs
finished in this fabric and finish.  Right now the base chair is on 
sale for $399, still a fortune compared to FREE on the curb and the 
cost of a yard and a half of fabric per chair.

You could pay that for a set of 6 real antique French chairs on first dibs!

These were a few of my very favorite fabrics.  I have learned over the years 
as a window treatment designer and interior decorator that checks and stripes will
always stay in favor with a homeowner over a floral or patterned fabric.
And I plan to have these chairs for a very long time....
Even so I love the Lily of the Valley pattern, as that is a flower I adore, and 
one rarely seen in fabrics and wallpaper.

So the solution is easy....put that darling pattern on a ballroom chair and 
I can have my cake and eat it too!! 

Read about the day I found the first French chair here.

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