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countrydesignhome

Country style, country love, country life. Sharing my inspired, vintage, rustic DIY designs and decor on my blog.



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This is a repost from 2014, but just a meaningful today as it was then, so I thought I would share it one more time. Many years ago, in a college psychology class, I participated in a group discussion regarding friendships: how we enter into a friendship, how we maintain it and how friendship fades away, despite the best of intentions. Although much time has passed, an observation that one of my classmates made has remained with me to this day. That there are essentially two types of friends: Friends of the Road and Friends of the Heart. What does that mean, exactly? Friends of the Road are those that we encounter along the way while being busy with life. A childhood neighbor, a classmate, a co-worker, a teammate or dorm-mate, these friendships are formed due to time, place and circumstance. At that moment, the friendship appears to be unstoppable, an unbreakable link formed from a common bond that you promise will last forever. But once you change jobs, move away or graduate from school, the friendship, despite your most ardent efforts to keep in touch, fades into fond memories and Facebook reminders.

Friends of the Heart PM

Ah, but Friends of the Heart. Those people you meet along the way whose paths are forever intertwined with your own. They are not your family, but these are the friends you can turn to in a moment’s notice, in joy and in sorrow, in illness or trouble. They are your people. Your back door friends. The “I-don’t-have-to-clean-up-the-house-because-I-am-having-company” kind of friends. Because they see you, know you and love you just the way you are. I have been so very blessed, in my life, to have found a group of friends of the heart. We started out as neighbors, bonded by our children who shared classrooms and ball fields. The dads coached, the moms cheered on, brought the water and snacks and patched up skinned knees. As we proudly watched our children grow and thrive, we stood side by side on the sidelines, in the bleachers and auditoriums and cheered them on, comforted their sorrows, rejoiced in their victories, agonized over their defeats. And while that business of life was happening, our friendships became those of the heart: strong, unstoppable, unbreakable bonds. And then, once our children were grown and happily on their own, our friendships did not waver, but instead, grew stronger. We traveled around the world together, planned birthday parties and weddings and showers together and spent many an evening over dinner and drinks just enjoying each other’s company.  Two years ago (but it seems like yesterday…), I lost one of my dearest friends of the heart after a much-too-short battle with pancreatic cancer. She was the youngest of our group, so much fun, full of life and eager to see whatever the world had to offer. Now, each passing day brings a fresh reminder of how very fragile and sometimes too short life can be on this earth.  If I could tell her one more time, if I could show her one more way, if I could only have a few more precious moments with her, I would let her know again just how special and truly blessed I was to have her in my life. Now, if you are fortunate enough, like me, to have a friend of the heart, choose today, this Valentine’s Day, to tell them you love them. But, it really doesn’t need to be a holiday or special occasion. You don’t need chocolate or fancy flowers, greeting cards or expensive gifts. Just text them or tweet them or Facebook message them or call them or even send them a copy of this and tell them how much they mean to you. It may be weirdly out-of-character, feel funny or awkward, but do it anyway. Because you never know when it may be your final chance to let them know how you feel.  And so, I would like to say to all of my dearest friends of the heart, I love you. You have enriched my life in immeasurable ways, and life will never be the same without all of you in it.

XOXOXO Susan 

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Remember the time when you were painting something and then got distracted and left the wet paintbrush on the work table and discovered it the next day all dried up and hard as a rock-like they can stand up on their own hard as rocks?

Dried Paintbrush Rescue BeforeNo? Well, I do…because I’ve done it more than once actually too many times to count. Which makes me mad, because good paintbrushes, especially my favorite Shortcuts by Wooster

Wooster ShortCut Paintbrush

…ain’t cheap. I had tried many possible remedies to bring them back to life in the past, but alas, no matter what I tried, the outcome was always the same…trash time. Until now! Recently I spotted a post about this very subject (and of course, I cannot remember if it was on Facebook or Pinterest or Hometalk or Instagram or Twitter…so much social media makes my head spin…which is why I most likely got distracted and forgot the brushes in the first place…). But the solution was simple- just soak the hardened brushes in fabric softener! So, off to the dollar store I dashed where I purchased a bottle of LA’s Totally Awesome Fabric Softener…for a $1!!!

Dried Paintbrush Rescue Totally Awesome Fabric SoftenerLet me tell you…it is totally awesome!! I dropped the rock-hard brushes into the blue drink and left them overnight.

Dried Paintbrush Rescue in Fabric SoftenerThe next morning…with little expectations of a positive outcome…I pulled out the brushes out

Dried Paintbrush Rescue Softener on Brushrinsed them off, and…tada!!! I now have soft, usable brushes again-and they have a clean, fresh scent too!

Dried Painbrush Rescue After(I know what you’re thinking…this brush looks disgusting…why would she want this anyway?! It happens to be my favorite detailing and dry-brushing brush so I just hated to see it go…) So now I keep a jar of the softener on my work bench. When I finish a project, I rinse the brushes off and then drop them into the softening tank, keeping them ready for action. And that’s my DIY PSA for this Friday folks…more to come! Have a great weekend everyone-stay warm in the knowledge that we are inching towards spring…Susan  

Editor’s Note: After I published this, I came across the original article I had read with this great idea! Thanks to Jennifer Allwood from The Magic Brush for the great DIY tip!!

 

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A couple of weeks ago I shared the pantry makeover that we had just completed at my daughter’s condo. In that story, I mentioned a big, black cabinet that she had been previously using to store her kitchen overflow of appliances and food and tupperware (LOTS of tupperware : ). So, this was the cabinet then:

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Before Black

and this is the cabinet now! A beautiful Coastal Cottage Cabinet to that fits perfectly into cozy, beachy study.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Full TMThis piece was originally purchased-by me!- many years ago at HomeGoods-and right from the get-go, Coach never really cared for it-he thought it was too modern for our country farmhouse style. So after a couple of years, we found a new (old) cupboard to replace it, and this one was delivered to my brother’s home, where it became part of their home office. Fast forward a few years, when they were moving and the cabinet needed to go. So off it went to my daughter’s condo for her pantry, where it remained until she decided she needed something narrower in its place, so we built this:

DIY Pantry FinishedSo, we offered for sale on Craigslist (no takers) and then my mom said she thought she could use it in her new study. SOLD! So we loaded up a trailer and transported it to its final destination, (thanks, Chris and Coach!) mom’s house. But the black color was just not going to cut it in her breezy coastal-inspired study. Painting time! Since it is winter here, the transformation took place in her guest bathroom (which is actually larger than both of mine put together…). so some of the photos are a little dark…but, here is the how-I-did-it:

We decided on a creamy white, so Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White was the choice.

Annie Sloan Old White Chalk PaintWe toyed around with colors for the back wall of the cabinet

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Background Blueand I ended up custom mixing a soft coastal blue using some of my Behr paint pots…I have quite a selection if you need any…

Behr Sample PotsFor the doors, I first used a can of Krylon Spray Chalk Paint in Paver Gray...

Krylon Chalky Spray Paint…simply blocking the window panes with paper that I slid under the wood to protect the glass.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Paper MaskingIt worked perfectly! Isn’t this color gorgeous?!?

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Painted DoorBut, alas, it was a little too dark for mom’s taste, so I ended up dry-brushing the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint over it to lighten it up.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Dry Brush Annie Sloan Old WhiteThen sanded the edges to distress it.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Door PanelFinished everything with a coat of Varathane Matte Polyurethane.

Varathane Matte PolyBut, once it slid the completed cabinet into place, it still looked a little blah,

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Lit Aso mom and I both thought that some maps on the bottom half (which are not windows, but actually faux-wood panels) to add some interest. Asked Coach for some maps…he delivered.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet MapsApplied the map squares with two coats of Wunda-Size

Wunda Sizeand smoothed them out to make them wrinkle free. (You can have all the tools in the world, but sometimes the best thing to use is the palm of your hand : )

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Smoothing PaperSo now the base looks like this. I cut the maps with some space in between so it appears as if you are looking through a window.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Map Detail

Added one final coat of poly to the maps and the cabinet was done! Time for mom to fill it with some of her favorite pieces.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Doors Open LogoThe beauty of this cabinet is in the multi-paned windows…which is why I loved it in the first place.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Clay VignetteWhile the entire cabinet is striking… it is the special vignettes…

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Starfish Vignette LOGOthat mom has created in each window that makes it her own.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet One DoorHere it is in the corner by the window…she’s not quite done decorating the rest of the room…so pics to follow once everything is in place. At night, it adds a soft glow, and in the daytime, it reflects the light from the large windows that span the entire wall…so even on the darkest day, there is lots of light in this space. 

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Full TMSo there you have it, an ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan. This poor tired cabinet that had been around the block…more than a few times…now has its forever home. Have a great Friday everyone…even if its snowing in your neck of the woods-as it is here! Susan

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This past Sunday, Coach and I took advantage of this incredible weather in Boston and headed into town to do a bit of vintage shopping.   I mean, guys, this weather, are you kidding me-63 degrees on February 1st!? I had been anxious for quite some time to check out this funky corner shop on Tremont Street called Pioneer Goods Co.

Pioneer Goods Co StoreFrontso we headed to Boston’s South End, enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Justin Power, the owner and shopkeeper,

Justin Pioneer Goods Cois the son of Amy Chalmers from Maison Decor, and upon entering the shop, you can instantly see how the artistic abilities run deep in this very talented family!

Pioneer Goods Co Interior ShotsBut while Maison Decor celebrated French culture and design, Pioneer Goods Co is showcasing Americana at its best:

Pioneer Goods Co Flagfeaturing flags and maps and dry goods for sale, as if you were in a grand general store in the adirondacks.

Pioneer Goods Co Hudson Bay BlanketOpen for less than two years, Pioneer Goods Co. has received many accolades from the  press and social media-his own apartment even being recently featured on Apartment Therapy. The shop is filled with incredible American treasures that Justin has collected

Pioneer Goods Co PTAand are displayed alongside masterfully painted pieces that he has transformed,

Pioneer Goods Painted Dresserusing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (he is a stockist, as well, so you can purchase the paint directly from him). Justin has been a life-long antiquer and collector, thanks in part, to his mom, who just has such an eye for the potential beauty in simple objects. This stunning, oversized steamer trunk greets you upon entering the shop-we’ve all see these around, right? Those drab, dark green and gray hulking pieces-but have you even seen them looking like this?

Pioneer Goods Steamer TrunkPainted creamy white, with the glowing, opalescent hardware…

Pioneer Goods Co Trunk Detail…perfect for a dramatic entry way-with loads of extra storage! With the feeling of a warm and cozy cabin, every staged vignette is striking and could be a feature wall in your own home.

Pioneer Goods Co Frame VignetteJustin mixes new and old,

Pioneer Goods Co Flagssparkling…

Pioneer Goods Co Chandelier and Mapsplus rustic vintage and bold…

Pioneer Goods Co Pigs and Cows…with just a touch of whimsy, to create visual eye candy throughout the store.

Pioneer Goods Co Deer HeadAnd this month, as a special treat, Amy is bringing Maison Decor to Pioneer Goods in an exclusive pop-up shop, adding some pretty to the pioneer…

Pioneer Goods Co Maison Decor Pop Up SHop…through the end of February!

Msison Decor @ Pioneer Goods CoThe address is 764 Tremont Street, Boston (there is street parking all around the shop) They will be open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4 for the winter months (if you can call this winter…),

Pioneer Goods Co Pop Up Shop 2plus you can shop Pioneer Goods Co online, or if you see something you like in the photos (omg-that trunk!) you can email him at justin@pioneergoodsco.com, check it out on Instagram or by calling 857.263.8799. If you are a lover of rustic, rugged New England style, you must…

Pioneer Goods Co Go GLobeto Pioneer Goods Co. it is definitely a “must-see-and-shop”…either online or in person. Enjoy this crazy weather everyone…every day like this is just one day closer to spring! Susan

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Country Design Home Kitchen RemodelWe designed and installed our new kitchen 6, no maybe  7 years ago-wow, that went by fast! And, although I still love it…a lot…one thing has always bothered me…the lack of sparkle on our granite countertops. See how they used to glow in the light??

Country Design Home Kitchen IslandOne of the reasons I chose them was because of the sparkle factor- tiny flakes of gold scattered throughout that caught the light and brought the otherwise dense black surface to life. For awhile, I only used the cleaning products recommended by the installer, but honestly, after the first year, the countertops just didn’t have that youthful glow any longer (join the club). Since then, I have been on the hunt for the perfect granite countertop cleaner- one that cleaned but left no residue, just a shiny, sparkling surface. So many expensive bottles and cans and jars…

Granite Cleaners and Sealers…no luck…the result was always the same. They would look good at first, but after a short time that light, filmy surface would re-surface. Ugh. Recently, I was browsing my favorite home and garden website called Hometalk, HomeTalk Logowhere folks post questions about anything from planting to painting to patching plaster . Other members then respond, some of whom are experts in their field, some are self-taught DIY’ers…like me…providing hopefully helpful answers. I happened to notice that someone else had posted that very question-how to get their granite countertops squeaky clean and remove the hazy glaze-and several people responded with the same technique! Take an empty misting/squirt bottle, add some 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, then fill with water (no one divulged their exact formula, so I just went with a 4 to 1 ratio of water to alcohol). Oh, and make sure you label the bottle! Don’t want to be misting your plants with alcohol…

Country Design Home Home Made Granite CleanerLightly mist the countertop, wait a few seconds, then wipe off with a cloth or paper towels. Guys, can I tell you how excited I was when the sparkle returned…happy dance around the kitchen! This is the reflection of the chandelier on the island after the cleaning : )

Country Design Home Kitchen Granite CleanersNow, one thing to note…for a few seconds, it does have a faint “hospital-like” smell, but that dissipates quickly, and you are left with renewed and re-sparkled countertops! No more spending $$$ on messy cleaners and sprays!! Country Design Home Granite Cleaners and PolishesSo there you have it-my PSA for today. And if anyone out there has a better idea for getting and keeping their granite squeaky and sparkly clean that’s cheaper and works better than a $3 bottle of alcohol…I’d love to hear it! Have a sparkling day, everyone! Susan

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Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style.

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Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style...in the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.
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