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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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It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and since we are enjoying unseasonably balmy weather here in the Boston area today, I thought I would share some snow-covered photos taken just a couple of weeks ago in Jackson, New Hampshire. Jackson is the quintessential New England town with its covered bridges, Jackson Covered Bridge

white steepled church and the quaint town library,

Jackson Library

with the ice-capped Ellis river running through it.

Jackson Riverview

Over the New Year’s weekend, we were so fortunate to spend quality time with some dear friends, eating and drinking, doing puzzles and shopping, generally just relaxing by the roaring fire in their log cabin in the woods (literally!). We ventured out one evening to Nestlenook Farms for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. So fun!!

Jackson Sleigh Ride

 If Jackson is the perfect NE town, then Nestlenook is the picture perfect postcard place.

Jackson Nestlenook @ Day

Gingerbread-style victorian pink cottages and gazebos-even a chapel-

Jackson Nestlenook Chapel

the paddock with horses and burros,

Jackson Horse

and the bed and breakfast inn (presently under renovation), are scattered throughout the perfectly manicured grounds that, at night, transform into a magical winter wonderland.

Jackson Magical Tree

Under thousands of twinkling lights, the horse-drawn sleighs go dashing through the snow (well, not exactly dashing, more like strolling) past the victorian skating pond,

Jackson Skaters at Night

the paddocks and stables

Jackson Horse and Burro

and arbors and gazebos,

Jackson Gazebo

all dressed in their sparkling winter whites- so country pretty!!! Jackson Skating House @ Night

Jackson Archway @ Night

Add a cup of hot chocolate, a group of lifelong friends and a roaring fire, and you have the perfect winter evening! Here’s to our January thaw-enjoy the weather today! Susan

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I know, excited about a vacuum- seriously!?!?! But, it’s arrived!! My brand new sparkling, shiny, super sexy and sleek black Electrolux Jet Maxx Green Canister Vacuum– this week’s High Five For Friday! We immediately got off to a good start when I noticed a little tag line on the box-“thinking of you”-awwww, so nice!

vacuum box

A few weeks ago I published a blog about finding the perfect vacuum cleaner: Living In A Vacuum. From that blog post, I received multiple suggestions regarding styles and brands to try. The one name that kept popping up was Electrolux. Comments like: “my grandmother/mother/aunt had one for years and it sucked up everything in sight -heck it would have sucked up the dog!”  (note that not one person said “my grandfather/dad/uncle- just saying…) made me take a serious look at this brand that has been around since 1918. I did a lot of online reseach, and headed out to my local stores to do some hands-on brand demos from other manufacturers, but this Electrolux Jet Maxx was the clean winner. Where to buy? Online, of course. The MSRP is $499.00, a hefty price for a small appliance! But, on Kohls.com, it was on sale, and then I had the magic 30% off coupon code from Retail Me Not– AND free shipping!!! Plus, I received $60 in Kohls Cash (if you are unaware of this deal, for every $50 you spend you get $10 in Kohls dollars to spend-sweet!) So, with the sale + tax and the coupon and the Kohls Cash, my final price was $274.68- almost half off! (Coach, just ignore that part-OK?)

But nothing is a good deal if it doesn’t work- right? Right off the bat, I was pretty impressed by the overall appearance-looks quite space-aged, kind of Darth Vader-ish, don’t you think?! Very heavy components, and the plastic, which is made from 55% recycled materials, was hefty and strong, unlike some of the other brands’ I had sampled.

vacuum coupling mechanism

Good thing they marked this package in the box. Had I tossed this,  I would have spent most of my vacuuming time on my hands and knees!

vacuum box warning

Love the shape of the handle-looks like a gas pump nozzle! But it contours to your hand, and has the on-board tools that you can switch easily.

Loving the retractable cord feature. You just touch the button with your toe and the cord gets sucked back up inside- brilliant!

Electrolux Retractable Cord

Although gotta be careful- awhile ago I had an old dust buggy with a retractable cord- touched the button with my foot and the cord end-with a plug adapter attached-came flying up and hit me across the bridge of my nose and almost knocked me out! (Still haven’t regained my sense of smell from that trauma) OK, so the true test is in the suction and the Jet Maxx passed with flying colors. My beloved dining room area rug, that hasn’t had a good cleaning in months, took on a new life once the nap was raised with the powerful Jet Maxx suction.

vacuum carpet

With little pushing or pulling effort on my part, the vacuum powers its way across the rugs and, on the low nap ones, it actually took off on me! The canister follows me around like a puppy on a leash, and the floor adapter with a swivel head makes it simple to get around and under the furniture on the hard wood floors. The stairs. The toughest area for any vacuum. Apparently there is a separate rotating brush you can get for the stairs, but it didn’t come with my vacuum. So, I used the crevice tool for the corners and edges, and the power head for the treads. Perfect.

vacuum hall of shame

Lightweight, easy to maneuver, got all of the dog fur and raised the nap so it looks somewhat presentable (part of the Hall of Shame project, it’s threadbare, and oh, it’s maroon! and needs replacing, so not even this vac can save it). So, there you have it- my unbiased, non-sponsored, personal opinion and a well-deserved High Five for this canister vac. I will let you know in six months if this is the vac of my dreams, but for now- this one’s a keeper!! It’s Friday everyone-have fun!! Susan

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Although I adore Pinterest, and have spent many a cold winter afternoon “pinning” photos of amazing interiors,  I find that the best way to design my own cohesive space is with a “mood board” or presentation board.

Mood Board Vintage Parlor

Although photographs and Ipad apps are great for overall visual, nothing comes close to actually feeling the fabric textures and metallic finishes and seeing the colors with your own eyes. A large foam core board is the perfect backdrop for taping and glueing bits of photos, fabrics and trims. Board Mid Century Modern

First, of course, you need measurements and a room layout- this Online Room Planner from Urban Barn is fantastic! You plug in your room dimensions, then add in your pieces of furniture and accessories, lighting, structural points and just like that- you have a printable plan!

Urban Barn The Make Room Plans

If you are starting with a clean slate, then you will need to begin with an inspiration- whether its a paint chip, a fabric swatch or photograph of a piece of furniture. In this case, its a gold antique velvet settee that will become the focal point of a victorian parlor.

Mood Board Velvet Settee

That will become your “jumping off” point from which you can then design the rest of the space. For wall and trim colors, I head to my local bigbox hardware store, where they literally have thousands of paint chips to choose from. As you can see, I have accumulated quite a pile of chips- but I never toss them once a project is done- they could just be the very color I need for my next board!

Mood Board Paint Chips

There I can create a palette that is going to work in the room- and those are free for the taking! One of my favorite tasks is choosing fabrics-walking through my local Joann’s or Zimmans is for most people, I assume, akin to walking into a Godiva chocolatier-yummy!!

Board Zimmans Showroom

I could spend hours (and sometimes I do) wandering the aisles, poking through the clearance section, searching for the perfect look and feel of the fabulous fabrics I will be using to create drapes or bedcoverings or toss pillows. And they will happily provide you with swatches of your chosen fabrics that you can take home and add to your board, prior to purchasing an entire bolt. Once you have your pieces, you literally just start glueing in place, and it will soon become clear if everything will work in harmony,

Mood Board Pretty in Pink

or if you will need to edit, either by addition or subtraction. It’s fun, it’s so functional, and it will help you clearly define your new space before you put it in place! Hope your mood is a good one today-after all, it’s almost the weekend! Susan

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I am sooo excited to share with all of you my guest blog post published today on New England Home Magazine’s Design Blog!

Featuring stunning images from Paul Granese Photography , owner Gallery Wall of Boston Studio Photography, this blog is about using

photos and images to create gallery walls in your home. Hope you enjoy it!!

http://blog.nehomemag.com/2013/01/susan-mathison-worth-a-thousand-words/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NewEnglandHomeMagazineDesignBlog+%28New+England+Home+Magazine+Design+Blog%29

Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!!! Susan

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Changing out a single component in a space can go a long way in a redecorating effort. But sometimes we just need a quick fix-with a much lower price tag-that may not necessarily be a permanent solution. In this case, it was this old formica blue speckled countertop that needed a bit of sprucing up. Not being ready to take the plunge and invest in a new permanent counter surface, but wanting a fresher, more contemporary look, the homeowners found this product at our local Home Depot: Rust-oleum Countertop Coating, this week’s High Five for Friday!  It’s an inexpensive fix for a old laminate surface.   Counter Rustoleum Available in an array of colors (they tint it for you at the paint counter), it gives a shiny hard finish that has the appearance of poured concrete., at the cost of about $20. There is another, more expensive version of this product, but for the time being, we were going for cheap.

Pretty simple actually. You clean and lightly sand the surface, then make sure it is perfectly smooth prior to rolling it on. (If it is not smooth, any little bits will appear as bumps on the dried surface) No need to prime. Tape off and plastic anywhere you do not want the paint to be applied.

Counter taped

Regular painter’s tape works fine. Roll it on with a smooth foam roller brush, making sure you apply a heavy enough coating to cover.

Counter rolling on

Allow to dry- this is the most time consuming part of the process- it takes three days to cure completely! It is dry to the touch within an hour or so, but the finish needs to dry completely to become impervious to water and heavy wear. Oh, and it is pretty smelly stuff- so make sure you have a window you can open. Enjoy your new countertop!!!

Counter finished

Have a great weekend everyone! And remember, sometimes it’s just the little things that can make a big impact. 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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