Sunday, May 31, 2009

Master Bedroom: First Look

One of the last rooms to be worked on in our house has been the master bedroom. That doesn't mean that the rest of the house is done, not by any means! Just that every other room has had a first go, but I hadn't even scraped the stickers off the switch plate in our bedroom!
Without further ado, BEFORE:
These are from the extreme-before group as in "before we actually owned the house". (a.k.a. taken during the inspection.)

This was the son's room, and since Hubby and I are too tall to safely enter bed on that side of the room, we switched to the other end.


Our clean, calming sanctuary! The paint is actually a can I had leftover from the grey living room wall debacle, called Moondance by Olympic. After using about 7 cans of Olympic in different rooms I've finally figured out that it coats best if you brush it on. Pain in the arse, but hey, if it saves money!
The color itself is sort of like mother-of-pearl. It's a pale grey base with tones of pink and purple and silver underneath that come out in different light. I love it.

Having the bed positioned as it is means it looks right at the built-in bookcase, which has been a challenge to keep visually pleasing. I'm thinking about making a curtain for the bottom shelves to hide the clutter, but for now I just focus on the top shelf:

Which is easy enough to keep clear if I shove everything onto a lower shelf!
The lamp on the nightstand:

Is another inherited item from Mom's move. I've been eying it for years, and finally convinced her to give it to me about 6 hours into day one of three! It's hard to see in the picture, but there's mother-of-pearl inset into the aged brass shade, so it goes PERFECTLY with the new paint job!

The other lamp:

is actually a wind chime that I picked up on the roadside in India that just happened to have a wire sized hole in the top! I am hoping to upgrade to a nicer version of this same thing at some point (it's Capiz shells,) if I find one I'm willing to pay the price for!

And my window treatments:

I am absolutely in LOVE with my window treatments! SO much better than the paper blinds the previous owners left all over the house. They are the definition of simplicity, and really kismet. Let me explain...

I knew I wanted bamboo blinds and white sheer curtains. But have you tried to buy those things lately? Either of them? Bamboo shades have gone from simple inexpensive window coverings to trendy blinds stores everywhere charge $40 apiece for! No way I'm paying almost $200 for window shades!
And sheer curtains- do you know how much people are charging for sheer COTTON curtains, if you can even find cotton? The only true cotton sheers (and sheers really ought to be a natural material because when light filters through a synthetic it reveals those awful wiggly lines all over) I could find at all were at Target for $20-30 a panel. HECK NO.

Anyway, after I'd been searching for about a month, I had an epiphany: The Christmas Tree Shop! I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before, I'm there all the time for unscented candles and other sundries, but there you are.
The punchline: Bamboo and sea grass blinds $16.99 apiece. White cotton sheer curtains 84" long, $3.99 apiece.
YUP, you read right, $3frickin'99 per panel!!!
Ok, so I'm a little over-excited about those curtains.
Maybe a lot over-excited; I bought every single 84" long curtain they had in white. I now have four extra. Which I am SURE I will need soon. Maybe for that bookcase...

I still need to paint the trim a pure white (it's off white now), and redo those floors. Also think I'll white out and antique the dressers (which I didn't show you because they're on the unfinished end of the room!) A bed frame would be a nice thing, if I can find one I like... and I'm going to make a bed-spread inspired by this photo I found on The Beach Cottage's Inspiration Board.

Isn't that divine? Love the monogrammed pillows, too... ok, I love all of it!

But for now even just the paint job and new window covers have made the room feel completely new!
To see some more wonderful transformations, go check out Metamorphosis Monday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!

Friday, May 29, 2009


This year I made my first shopping trip to Brimfield. I had been before as a broke apartment dweller, with neither the means nor intention of actually purchasing anything, which while still entertaining, is not nearly so engaging as going with an eye to buy.

I went with my step mom and aunt on Friday, and the weather turned out BEAUTIFULLY. One field was surrounded by lilacs in full bloom, their fragrance pervading through every tent on the site. Another was continually showered with Dandelion seeds.

We wandered around for about 6 hours, at which time the vendors started packing up and leaving.
My aunt briefly considered purchasing this zebra as a graduation gift for her son's school:

But she eventually decided a kayak or canoe would be a more useful gift.

I, however, did not shy away from a couple oversized and somewhat frivolous purchases. The first was a large four-paneled Japanese painting on silk.

Which I hemmed and hawed over for quite awhile. I wasn't sure whether the background color would work with the house or not, but the pink flowers and highlights throughout gave me hope.
The second piece that caught my eye was the large porcelain elephant in the foreground there. I LOVED him. But he was marked $140, and the painting was marked $85, and I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to spend my entire days budget on my first stop!
BUT when the vendor offered both pieces to me for a total of $160, I couldn't refuse!

So now:

My elephant resides on the sun porch as an end table.
Isn't he wonderful?

How could you not love a face like this?

And the painting is currently in the living room, shimmering and reflecting the light from the big triple window.

Though it darkens the room a bit more than I like in the summer, so I think it will live elsewhere until maybe October and then move back in here.
The lower left corner of the painting seems to be signed:

Can anyone read the script?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Missing Weekend and the Maiden Voyage

This past weekend was a total loss for me. I spent all three days helping my mother pack her house up into a POD for her move out to Arkansas. I knew I had to help, and she's helped with about 5 moves I've made, so that was ok with me. But this being one of the first nice weekends of "summer", Hubby was being a little petulant about working through the whole weekend. So I told him he didn't have to. As long as he put in a few hours at the beginning or the end of the weekend, he could have the rest off.
So Saturday morning he dropped me off at Mom's, about 9:00 that night he picked me up and I came home to find:

A bridge!
After dropping me off he had come home to meet up with a friend/neighbor, and built a bridge across our stream.
Seriously, in one day, completely without me, he built a bridge! (that "without me" part isn't that I thought he would NEED me, but that we'd been talking about doing it for awhile, and it IS my house too...)
It's a very nice bridge...

And built almost exactly like I would have chosen, but (not to sound petulant here), I would have liked to be involved! I love pointing to stuff around our house and saying "Yep, we did that!" All I can say about the bridge is, "I wasn't here." Bah, stupid packing...

Again on Sunday morning he dropped me off at Mom's to continue packing and hauling, and came home. No, he didn't build anything- he took the sailboat out for her maiden voyage!

I have to confess that I actually encouraged him to take one of his buddies instead of me for the first trip out. I have absolutely no experience on this kind of boat (the kind that occasionally dumps you in the water), and preferred to have him figure out how it works (and how tippy it is) with someone else as balust!
Turns out she's as wonderful as he hoped! There was very little wind, and she sailed right along.
And for the tippiness, it's not nearly as bad as I feared! He reports that it never so much as threatened to go over, even when they climbed in and out.
So all is good there!
But, you know, I would have liked to be there to watch... darn packing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Garden Part 2: The Inheritance

Probably the only nice thing about my mother deciding to pick up her life and move across the country is that I got to raid her garden before she sold her house.

The collection started to fill in the gaping open spaces in my garden quite nicely.

Right by the door I planted the day lilies (not sure of the color), Turks Cap lilies, Lemon Bee Balm, and another fuzzy-leaved as-of-yet unidentified plant.

Following the path just in front of that I planted the Stella D'Oro lilies (those have buds now!), and Ladies Mantle which was a little unhappy with that much sun and relocated a few days ago.

And in front of that went something that looks to me like a Geranium, and a miniature Iris.

On the other side I added the chives and a couple more mystery Asiatic lilies, as well as bulbs for Dinner Plate Dahlias and some other cutting annual that I've forgotten the name of...

And some more lilies on the other side of that little penninsula.

Out in front the Silver Mound I transplanted from a pot when we moved in last summer is very happy, as well as the yellow Daisy thing I picked up at Lowe's last summer. On the right is yet another mystery Lilly from Mom, and on the left the Creeping Phlox and Miss Pinky from Home Depot about a month ago. In the back there is a Rose of Sharon trying to decide whether it likes the ground quite as much as it liked the plastic bag it lived in on my window sill for two months.

In front of the Yew are more Lilies, Irises flanking the door, and a little mysterious, rather bug-eaten something by the stepping stones.

The large Iris is in full bloom now and seems perfectly content in its new home.

And finally on the other side of the front door is one final set of Day and Asiatic Lilies. This is also the spot where the Ladies Mantle has ended up.

And the Peonies! Their buds are growing larger, and larger, and LARGER, and not one has bloomed yet. I think I will burst with impatience before they do!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Garden Part 1

Currently the most impressive things in the garden are those that I can take absolutely no credit for:

Everything that's growing in gangbusters has been there for years and years, and I've only been here for months... That pink azalea and MAMMOTH bleeding heart are particularly impressive!

All I did to those was trim the azalea in the fall and manage not to kill them over the winter!
I did, however, successfully transplant that Peony last fall. It was previously back against the house between the cypress trees:

That's what it all looked like during our house inspection last June. Can you see the peony there shoved back between the cypress? No? Well, that's because there's an ENORMOUS phlox right in front of it! The darn thing was in the tail end of its bloom and I almost missed it because it was so hidden!
And then that darn phlox grew taller than me with those wonderful balls of blossoms, which was lovely, except for it's location. You see how it's right next to the path? Well the first time it rained all those enormous stems and flowers flopped right over across our doorstep!
So now:
the peony is up toward the front and center of the little peninsula, and that giant phlox is back keeping the cypress company (you can just see it on the left there.) They all seem to be growing quite happily!
The other major change I've made is to the shrubs. First, the cypress trees were taller than the house and blocking all of the light out of the dining room.

So I experimentally chopped the top third off of one of them:

Old picture, but you can see the height difference best here. It still hasn't quite decided if it's going to grow back in or not,

so I haven't decided what to do with the second one...

And then that short evergreen by the garage didn't survive the winter, so we dug that up.

Which was totally a reaction to it dying, but I think it actually looks much better without it! But then, I also CHOPPED the yews that were taking over the front of the house because I have a serious something against overgrown shrubs. There are so many nicer things to do with a space!
The yews before:

Look at them, they look like they're eating the front door!

And after a few days with me and my clippers:

MWA-HA-HA-HA! Okay, I know they look a little pathetic there, but they are already budding new green bits on their sadly exposed sticks, so they'll look better by the end of the summer! (Assuming I don't attack them again...)

But look at all that wonderful new space for gardening! What on earth will I fill that with? So many possibilities!!

Check back in a few days and I'll tell you what I've done with it!

In the meantime, though, the bulbs we planted around the mailbox have all come up really well!
The crocus:

The hyacinth (which you can see the remains of here) and the tulips:

In another month or so I should have ranunculous blossoming in there!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pink Doors

You may have already noticed up on my springtime banner up there, but I finally found a pink for the doors! It's actually quite a bright pink, but with a little coral-y orange-y undertone that keeps it from looking too bubble-gum.

The color is Cherry Hill by Ace. I think it significantly perks the house up. Here's what it looked like before:
Dark front door, white side door. You can see them a little more clearly in this Christmas shot:

I would have shown that first, but it doesn't seem quite a fair comparison to then say...
And now:
Cheerier, no? Of course the new walkway and amendments to the garden help, too...
But I'll talk more about the garden later!
Here's what the color on the front door used to be:

Which looked nice from the inside, but from the outside just looked DARK.

No danger of that now! And the new color looks good with the grey and pink living room, too. (Even though there still are three different colors of grey on that wall!) Yay!