In This Moment

Last weekend, Coach and I were sitting in a quaint sandwich shop, Bessie’s, in downtown Ogunquit, Maine, enjoying a quick lunch. We needed a break after having spent the morning loading the cars, driving north and then setting up our new shop space inside Hutchin’s Antiques Etc.

Hutchins Antiques Signwhich was around the corner from where we sat. Chatting about our new space and how best to stock and decorate it, I had a moment of…I’m not sure of the word…wonderment perhaps? Thinking about all that had transpired in the past year that brought us to this place in this moment left me a bit overwhelmed. A year ago at this time, our new Maine cottage plan was slowly coming to fruition but still a dream away. At that time, we had no thoughts of setting up shop in Maine…after all, Coach had the Arundel Flea Market that he frequents quite often. Its a great outdoor flea market right near our cottage, BUT, its not so great when there’s a foot of snow and its 20 degrees outside! We had visited Hutchins’ during our frequent Maine visits and loved the quaint vintage vibe of the family-owned Village Blacksmith shop (c.1840) turned antiques co-op. So when Coach noticed a “this space for rent” sign on one of our recent visits, we jumped at the chance to set up shop, once again…hopefully for the last time! Our junking journey began so many years ago at Vintage Thymes in Norwood…

Vintage Thymes Market Shopthen to The Barn at Todd Farm in Rowley (remember that giant rusty bedspring marquee sign? I miss that thing!)

Country Design Home in the Barn At Todd Farmand then on to the Mills at Pulaski Street in Peabody.

Pulaski Street Map WallEach venue has had its own unique charm, and along the way, Coach and I have realized how much we enjoy doing what we do…reuse, restore, refurbish and sell…and we just weren’t ready to throw in the vintage towel quite yet!

Last weekend was the preliminary setup for the new space-ladders, doors, furniture and signs…of course, the signs : )

Hutchins Wall With SignsAnything we could stuff into our two SUVs-items that I had been working on for the past month-now fill the sunlight-splashed space.

Hutchins Setting Up ShopThis weekend we’ll be adding some finishing touches…painted furniture and vintage accessories and lights for the tree…did I mention we have a tree in our space!?!

Hutchins Empty SpaceI’ll be adding more pics as we keep adding to and editing our shop-presently its decorated for the LOVE holiday that is fast approaching.

Hutchins Red CornerIf you have a chance to visit- they’re open every day except Wednesdays during the winter (and they’re having a huge store-wide sale!) we’re in the shop on the right in the second room-just look for the sparkling tree : ) For now, it will be enough to say that I am so grateful for everything that has transpired over the past year to bring us home to Maine. Have a Maine-ly wonderful weekend, everyone! xoxo Susan

Lookin’ Back & Forward

This past year, Coach and I decided to fulfill a long-time dream to purchase a vacation place. Somewhere other than home…to call home. We discovered our dream cottage by happenstance…one of those “I think I saw these online…lets just go take a look” moments that turned into a reality. We packed up a truck and moved into new our digs this past June…

moving day cacpand began implementing a design plan that I had been “Pinning” for months on end. The cottage was a blank slate, painted throughout in a pale gray color called “Reflection”…soft and serene and inspired by the colors of the natural beauty that surrounds us in Maine.

rainbows and hydrangeas cacpOver the past 6 months, I have done my best to transform that blank slate into a warm and welcoming landing spot for family and friends, using the stunning coastline as my color inspiration.

biddeford pool coastlineI recall that when we were in our initial discussions about how to decorate, Coach lamented that we would have to spend $50K to furnish a three bedroom home. But, I am here to tell you that it is simply not the case! Yes, we have purchased a few brand new things, ie: a super comfy sofa…

view from the study cacpprivacy window blinds, the mattresses and all of the bedding (because, yuck : ) and a couple of accent pieces. But the majority of the decorating has been accomplished using cast-offs, inherited treasures…and LOTS of flea market finds that I have reused, repaired and refurbished…for thousands less than if we had gone to a furniture store and purchased everything off of a show room floor! Although it is still a work in progress, we are closed up for the winter now…so its time to reflect back and see what has been accomplished and what is left to be done. I don’t really have a lot of dramatic “before” pics, although this was the living/dining/kitchen area during construction…not much to see here, folks!

cottage kitchenSo I will just show you a few of my favorite “afters”. This vintage cupboard was recently transported north, tethered and roped onto the roof of our SUV…it has been in our dining room at home for many years, rather hidden in the corner. Now it is taking center stage…and decorated for the seasons! The blue buffalo check wool blanket is from LL Bean ,but it was on sale at the outlet in Freeport, so I splurged a bit. That overstuffed chair and ottoman we’ve had for years, more recently re-upholstered in pale blue and used in our family room. The ship pillow was discovered in a mark down bin at Target.

living room hutch cacpThe fireplace wall faces the front door, and welcomes our guests into our home. The electric fireplace, purchased almost a decade ago at the Christmas Tree Shops, was in our living room at home-which is now Coach’s work room. Hidden behind stacks of maps and books, it served no real purpose. But now…decorated with more flea market, thrift store, inherited and hand-crafted finds…(check out this sweet little whale pillow from the workshop of the very talented Jess Wrobel)...it sets the tone for the rest of the open concept space.

fireplace wall cacp

This ROYAL GUEST ROOM…well, every time I catch a glimpse or wander in, it kind of takes my breath away. I can’t explain my affection for buffalo check, but man, it sure does captivate my attention. This royal blue duvet cover was from Amazon. That charming little white wicker chair in the corner? That was my moms- it was in her guest room for years-when she passed, I hung onto it with the intent of possibly selling it at Todd Farm. But when I actually saw someone sitting in it and contemplating buying it at the shop, I grabbed it and put it back in my car! Now its repainted, cushioned and paired with the exact matching Pier One mirror that Coach amazingly found on CL. The blue cabinet was a Wayfair find, the accessories inherited and the artwork from HomeGoods.

downstairs guest room cacpThe LOG CABIN room. Well, what can I say? When Coach and I first started the process of finding our vacation home, my dream was to discover a pretty little log cabin tucked remotely away in the woods on a lake or stream. After looking at said houses, we realized that 1. We really didn’t want to live isolated in the woods 2. We are not lake or stream people, but are drawn to the sounds and sights of waves crashing on the shore.

nubble light house wavesWhich brings me to the LOG ROOM- I figured if I couldn’t have an entire log cabin…at least I could create the feel in one room! The log bed was a CL find, the side tables and log bench were flea market and thrift shop finds, as was the art work and accessories. The buffalo check (hmmm, there is a common thread here) drapery panels were markdowns from the Christmas Tree Shops. American flag pillow from Bed, Bath & Beyond. The Pendleton throw from Home Goods, the bedding from Ikea. I have more touches that I am planning on adding in the spring which should cozy it up, so stay tuned.

log cabin room decorated cacp

The GUEST BATH came together pretty quickly. You know, when you don’t have to tape and putty and paint and repair stuff before you start…decorating is quite a bit simpler. You just put the pieces in place, roll up the towels, hang the pics and you’re done!  The oval mirror had been hanging in my bedroom at home, the little side table next to the vanity was in my front hall. The “family is everything” sign was from HomeGoods, as were the bath accessories and towels, with a few pieces from mom’s collection.

downstairs bath cacp

That’s it for now. The rest of the rooms are a work in progress. Decorating any space is simply about creating interesting layers, and does not have to be hard nor complicated nor prohibitively expensive. You start with bare walls, choose your color palette, using whatever or wherever your imagination takes you…in our case, the sea. But it could just as easily be one special memento, a painting, a treasured heirloom or even a flea market find that is the spark that ignites your personal style. There is something to be said about painting one color on all the walls and trim throughout your space. It unifies everything, and your décor becomes the standout feature of each room rather than the room itself.

cottage crashing waves

Cottage FinishesOnce you decide on your larger furniture pieces, start adding the accents, then dress it up as you go with accessories and artwork. For me, this is a fluid process…nothing stays in one place for too long…that little whale pillow has migrated from couch to chair to bench and back : ) and the fireplace has already graced two different spaces. I imagine I inherited that trait from my mom…coming home from school I would often find her re-painting a wall or a bookcase or single-handedly pushing a baby grand piano across the living room.  What I have discovered on this journey is that no matter how you decorate your space, as long as it brings you…

christmas vignettethen you are on the right track. Have a great Sunday everyone, and GO PATS! xoxo Susan

 

 

 

 

 

A Log On A Blog

I have a dilemma. Once Coach and I decided to go ahead and find the summer home of my dreams…a log cabin in the woods…I started decorating (in my head and on Pinterest ) One thing that I knew for sure…I was going to do a “log cabin” bedroom, complete with birch trees and a log bed. Like this one:

Log Room

So I searched on FB Marketplace and CL until I found the perfect log bed! Not too rustic, sans bark, easy to assemble and not that heavy and clunky like some I had seen.

Log Bed CloseupAnd the price, well, it was sooooo inexpensive! The perfect anchor for my log cabin bedroom. EXCEPT…now that our log cabin is no longer a log cabin but a charming, light -filled condo cottage, well…the idea of a dark, heavy cabin scheme just doesn’t fit the bill. BUT, I still have my log bed and am going to use it…only in a lighter, brighter color scheme. But the one thing about this “au natural” bed- is that is actually kind of yellow. So, my question to you, dear readers, is this: should I paint it, stain it or leave it alone? I attempted a bit of gray stain on one of the frame supports, but it looked so dark that I abandoned that and set up the bed as is.

Log Bed in WindowThe walls are Reflection (a very pale gray) by Sherwin Williams and the bedding is primarily gray with touches of lavender and white. Every time I glance into the doorway of this room, I fall in love with the space all over again.

Log Bed with American Flag

But I’m still not sure about that log color. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! And if you’d like to have a look at my Log Cabin Pinterest Page, click Here. Have a great Wednesday, everyone! Logging off for now…xoxo Susan

Our Awesome Junk Can Be Your Awesome Junk!

Have you seen this cartoon that showed up on my FB feed a few weeks back?

Well, my kids have, and they were not amused, fearing that they will be stuck with so much stuff upon our ultimate demise. So, the time has come to start clearing out the barn, the shed, the porch, the basement and the house. As we have been slowly acquiring furnishings and necessities for our new cottage, and deciding what to bring up from our home, we are feeling a bit overrun and filled to the brim with WAY too much stuff that needs to be purged. The general rule of thumb now: if we can’t use it here, and we don’t want it in the Maine cottage, it goes. So, tomorrow, Saturday, June 15th is your lucky day!! Because all of the awesomeness that we (well, mainly Coach) have collected over the years is now yours for the purchasing. I have a few signs ready to go, and Coach has these great roll-down maps of the US and Alaska. And maps, loads of maps. And books…

Mill Shop Wall

No reasonable offers refused, I promise! Here is the yard sale listing that Coach has posted with lots of pics- but I assure you there is PLENTY more where that came from!! If you need it, we probably have one- or more.

https://www.yardsalesearch.com/yss-garage-sale.jsp?id=192013209

Except for the whale coffee table- he is one of a kind : )

Whale Table Tail CloseupStarts at 8 and goes until…if there’s a customer, Coach will stay!  See you tomorrow, bring lots of $$$ : )

xoxo Susan



 

How Many Whales Can One Cottage Hold?

It all started with this sweet little pillow…

Whale PillowWay back when Coach and first made the decision to purchase our cottage, I started looking around our own home and our shop for inspiration…thinking that we could bring a lot of our present décor to Maine-save some $$$, decorate with the things we love. We tend towards the nautical, as you can see by the photos. But, what else did I see? WHALES. Pods of them scattered throughout the house.

Nantucket Brand Whale PaintingOn our porch, in the family room, in the bathroom, in the shop.

Tin Whales Country Design HomeSome hand-crafted by me, some by local artisans, different styles, shapes and colors.

Hail to the Whale Wall Grouping Logo 1Whale, its a full-on WHALE invasion!

Whale Table Tail CloseupNow, anyone that follows my blog knows that Coach and I love those majestic denizens of the deep blue sea. In taking a quick inventory in our home, I came across this beautiful hand-crafted whale cutting board

Granite Whale Cutting Boardwe recently purchased at the Vintage Bazaar…and this whale rocking toy…

Whale Rocking Toy…and these little guys in our kitchen…

Whale Vignette…and of course, we cannot forget about our patriotic whale coffee table on the porch!

Whale Porch TableOK, so maybe we whale-y have a problem…and this is only in a few rooms in our house!  I recently read an article about the 30 worst decorating trends that hopefully will never return: Over-Done Coastal was listed as decorating no-no…too much of a good thing will drown out your style, apparently. So, how many whales can a little Maine cottage hold? Whale, we’ll have to wait and see : ) So, for now, I am scaling back on the whales and looking to simplify some of the spaces I have designed (all in my head and on Pinterest Country Design Homefor now, thankfully : ). But this guy, hand-crafted by the very talented Jess Wrobel

Whale Pillowwhale, he’s coming with us because he makes me whale-y happy : ) Have a whale of a Wednesday, everyone! xoxoxo Susan

Moving On…

For the past few years, Coach and I have been part of a co-op shop in the Barn at Todd Farm. It’s been a lot of work and loads of fun, but with time comes inevitable change. When we were told last fall that the barn was going to be converted into some type of event venue, we decided that it was a sign to close up our shop and move on-no more early Sunday mornings-yay!

Mill Shop Aqua CupboardBUT, what to do with all of the stuff we still have to sell?!? Well, some of it will be going to our new place in Maine (more on that later : ) but the rest of it came home bit by bit- thanks primarily to Coach- and literally filled our porch, shed, basement and living room. Until now. We are happy to announce that we have moved into our new digs at The Mills at Pulaski Antiques Street in Peabody!

Mill Shop ShelvingThis rustic, turn-of-the century mill building has been converted into multiple co-ops and shops scattered throughout 4 floors of antique architecture-if you love exposed brick, huge windows, old planking and vintage charm- this is your place-well, this is OUR place- but we’d love for you to come visit : )

Mill Shop Blank WallLuckily for us, we are on the first floor in the center! And, the shop will be open from 10-6 from Thursday through Monday weekly. We’re joining the Timely Treasures Co who specialize in home cleanouts and sales,  Serendipity Vintage Goods (also formerly of Todd Farm) and various other antiques and furniture vendors. No matter what your design style or furniture era, you will surely find some treasures here! Coach is bringing in his maps-so many maps- and I will be working on new pieces for sale, like this little antique beauty.

Mill Shop Console TableSo, if you happen to be on the north shore of Boston, come on by and take a peek at our new space. We’ve been working hard to make it pretty and you can’t miss the signs…have a hopefully not too wet Wednesday everyone!!! xoxo SusanMill Shop Wall

It’s A Sign…

Coach and I have been very, very busy- while he’s been cleaning out his stall in the Barn at Todd Farm and finding new homes for his “junque”, (more about that later) I have been working on my block-printed signs.

Holiday Signs Country Design Home

I have shared them on my Facebook Country Design Home and Instagram pages (NOT the actual DIY instructions, because that’s my secret : ) The signs are completely hand-crafted, by me, and are built using the reclaimed wood from antique crates used by a c.1800’s Boston shoe company.

Allen Shoe Co Boston Crate

Coach pulls them apart, then I get to work painting, sanding, cutting and framing each sign. Last week, I even shared my first nail-gun misadventure, which resulted in a slight, but painful puncture wound : 0  I do have a sampling of them at our shop in the Barn at Todd Farm, but if you are interested in one of my signs, just don’t happen to fancy shopping in an unheated barn, I have some great news! My signs are now being offered in three local shops on the North Shore!

The first is a pop-up holiday shop in Ipswich, Ma. The 4 Elm Street Holiday Market opened on November 17th and features local and imported gifts and home décor by Hutton Home Design. It is open now through Christmas.

4 Elm Holiday Market

The second shop is The Brass Monkey in Gloucester, MA. An expansive, beautiful gift shop filled with unique gifts, jewelry, clothing and home décor, both antique and new. And of course, now bursting with Christmas JOY!

The Brass Monkey.jpgFinally, The Tin Bucket in Reading is a warm and cozy shop that offers lots of sweet, unique, one-of-a kind gifts and fresh home décor items. But, they are not just a retail shop-they also offer classes and craft parties for adults and children! They are carrying a selection of Coach’s antique maps as well-a perfect gift for someone special!

The Tin Bucket ReadingSo, if skipping the mall is your thing and you’d like to find the perfect gift for under your Christmas tree (like a rustic, hand-painted sign, perhaps!?!?), take a ride and check out these lovely shops. And tell them that Sue from Country Design Home sent you!! Hope you have a shop-a-rific Saturday everyone!! Susan xoxo

 

What Is This Worth?

For those of you who subscribe to Country Living Magazine (and, I mean, who doesn’t ?!?), you are aware of their monthly feature entitled “What Is It Worth?”. For those of you who do not, this is where folks send photos of interesting old and antique items to find out what they are and how much they might be worth. If you are a picker like Coach, you are always hoping to find that one amazing item that you rescue from a throw-away box for a couple of bucks, only to discover that its worth thousands…or perhaps millions!! Well, that probably never happens, but he has managed to find a few gems along the way…like this thing…Gould & Cook Pencil Sharpener

He had picked it up at a yard sale, and it was hanging around the barn in a box for awhile when I finally asked him what it was-he had no idea, thinking it was an antique portable sander of some sort. So I said “well, we should bring this to the barn, someone will like it.” And so we did. Long story short, a customer informed us of its true origins and usage-and we were astonished-not only at its intended use, but its value! Do you know have an inkling as what to this contraption really is and what it is used for???

Click on our Ebay link below to get the story behind the story.

EbayHere’s hoping you find your one in a million treasure! And for all of you out there in peril’s way, please be safe…you are all in our thoughts and prayers. xoxo Susan

 

 

Lights, Camera, Wayfair.com!

Howdy, everyone- happy almost fall! A few weeks ago I received an email from the good folks at Wayfair.com (yup, that Wayfair.com, the one that has just what you need : ). They had seen my giant bedspring marquee light board that I had built ( the one that ended up on a Times Square billboard)

Rusty Bedspring Marquee Signand were asking permission to use it in an article they were featuring on their website! Well, that’s pretty exciting, but what do you suppose Wayfair would want with my old rusty bedspring light? Turns out that the content director was writing a piece on recycling old used mattresses and thought my rusty bedsprings would be a fun addition to the story- oh, JOY!!

Joy Rusted Bedspring Marquee SignDid you know that mattresses are completely recyclable-well, I had no idea!! According to the Wayfair article, over 20 million mattresses are sent to trash dumps every year, where they will essentially sit and rot for eternity because they are not bio-degradable. Sadly, the reality is that the padding, cotton fabric coverings, metal and wood components are all recyclable materials, if only folks knew how or where to dispose of them. Click on the link below to read the story and get ideas on what to do with your old used mattresses, doing your little part to save our planet : )

Wayfair.com Recycle Mattress

Wayfair.com

Make sure you check out their few other photos of old, re-used bedsprings that you can use as inspiration! Have a great Labor Day, everyone! Susan xoxo

Gone Fishing…

Where have I been, you ask? Long time no hear, you say. Whelp, no excuses! I’ve been trying to relax and have some fun this summer, but basically that means I’ve been incredible busy with furniture sanding and staining and painting and stenciling and lifting and hauling and hammering and oh, yeah, selling it all at the Barn at Todd Farm! The only fishing I have actually done is for some cute whale patterns for my hand-crafted Tin Whale Signs. So much for a summer of R & R…which for me means Re-Cycle & Re-Love.

Today’s DIY post features some super cute whales I’ve created from tin, copper, wood and some paints. Typically, this is what happens: Coach says “I have these boards, can you do something with them?” He paints or stains them a background color while I search for some inspiration- nothing a pile of tin can’t provide! Where this stuff comes from, I do not know or care to ask- it just magically appears in the workshop…or on the porch…or in the yard…or under the work tent. But, somehow it all comes together and we go from this:

Tin Whale Outdoor Panelsto this: Tin Whales Country Design HomeHere’s the how-I-did-it:

Get a piece of wood (we have tons in the barn if you need some…) Have Coach paint or stain the wood with whatever back ground color you’d like to showcase your designs. Get some old tin sheets (good luck with that one) I needed enough tin to create a whale pattern the length of the wood-it did not have to be one large piece because I was planning on slicing it anyway.

Tin Whale SheetsLay down your whale pattern (hey, if you don’t like whales, you can pretty much take your pick of fish or animals or anything else. Then again, who doesn’t like whales?? Trace the pattern onto the tin panels.

Tin Whale Tracing PatternCut the pattern out with scissors. Now, I am not sure where to actually find aged tin this thin-once my stash is gone, I am not sure what I will do! But I am sure Coach will figure it out. Evenly slice the pieces into as many as you would like to create your design.

Tin Whale Pattern StencilI chose two different paint colors to create the stripes. So many colors, so many choices…

Tin Whale Paint ColorsI painted it on…

Tin Whale Painted Tail Before…then sanded it off to expose the tin texture.

Tin Whale Sanded PaintSometimes I don’t paint it at all- just leaving the aged tin…which has the appearance of an old whale (well, at least from what I can see in old photographs…)

Tin Whale Natural SurfaceOnce all the pieces were painted, I laid them back down, evenly spacing them with a ruler. (I used to just eyeball stuff, but I guess these old eyes don’t quite measure like they used to…)

Tin Whale SpacingI glued the pieces to the wood…I’ve tried all sorts of glues, but this one works really well and its clear and doesn’t smell too bad. Painted it on the back of the pieces, then laid it down on the wood panel-once I had them positioned correctly- thenI weighted them down with paint cans until they dried.

Tin Whale Tacky GlueNow, here’s the fun part. Well, I guess you could call it fun if you enjoy individually punching dozens of teeny, tiny copper tacks into tin and wood using jewelry pliers and a small hammer…

Tin Whale Copper Tacks with PliersThese tiny copper tacks are from a company in Ohio- they are specifically made for shaker boxes…but I think they are perfect for my whales!

Tin Whale Copper TacksEach whale is unique in both the finishes and the finishing decorations. Depending on the color choices, sometimes I will use black carpet tacks instead of the copper tacks…those are available at your local hardware store.

Tin Whales 2 by 2As for the whales, well, sometimes I paint them, sometimes I leave them natural (after all, whales are not typically blue striped) Sometimes I use vintage hooks, sometimes I glue jute rope around the edges to finish them off…whatever strikes my artistic fancy while I am in my create mode. So, here are the whales hanging on the wall at the barn, along with many other pieces that I have created.

Tin Whales Barn Vignette Country Design Home.jpgDon’t they look totally at home there?? If I ever have coastal cottage (working on it!) they will be making waves there : ) Have a whale of a Monday, everyone! xoxo Susan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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