Steel & Magnolias

Hi there! I know it’s been awhile since my last blog post, but every spare moment I have has been spent sanding and waxing and polishing and painting and tagging and pricing. Yikes! This is exhausting work getting ready for the Market! But I did manage to sneak away on one of the first beautiful spring days we are finally having to take a walk around the lake and clear my head. What caught my eye as I was taking a stroll? Beautiful trees springing back to life, forsythia and magnolia in full bloom against the bluest of blue skies.

Magnolia Tree

There are so many pretty pinks in this picture, it made me want to rush home and repaint the spare bedroom-so pretty!! So I took a few pics with my iPhone, and used my Ben Moore Color Capture to find the right colors to use for the walls, trim and accents. Nothing trendier than soft and hot pinks with industrial grays right now. Steel and Magnolias. Like Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts. Strength and Beauty. An old tin bucket overflowing with lilacs from Dreamy Whites Blog Spot. Gorgeous.

Dreamy Whites Lilacs

There are so many pinks and grays in the Benjamin Moore collection. Any combination would look great, but I found a few rooms that blew me away on Houzz.com. So I chose the color captures from that beautiful tree that match each of the amazing spaces.Steel & Magnolias PlumsLove the juxtaposition of industrial gray architecture and furnishings with pretty pink accents. Think I have to go with Wrought Iron for the walls in this Mid-City Loft in Atlanta……by Niki Papadopoulos , that highlights the architecture by using the dark grays and pinks with stark white trim. The large industrial graphic is the focal point, but the rounded edges of the pink chairs soften the look. Room by Niki Papadopolous

While this room has an eclectic look-ornate mantel with antiques and pale gray walls, it’s accented with one fabulously modern hot pink egg chair-looks like a giant gum drop!Pink Egg Chair

For this room, I think Mirage White would be perfect for the mantel, while a slightly darker Metallic Silver Gray, would work for the walls to create a soft background for the statement piece-that chair.

Steel & MagnoliasIn this room By Celia James, the hard edges of the crystal and steel wall art and the gothic chair are again softened with the multi pink accents. Would choose the Iced Slate to create a soft, neutral background for these fabulous art pieces.

 Celia James Sitting Room

This platform bed dressed in hot pink poppies pops in an otherwise stark industrial space by Renovation Design Group. The colors for this lofty space? Black Knight-stark and bold. Mulberry for the bed linens. (not quite as bright as the hot pink shown here…)

Steel Renovation Design Group

And finally, this dramatic dining space by Marco Dellatorre. The salmon pink for the distressed walls? Modern Romance. For the grays I am going back to Wrought Iron. Deep and rich. (Most likely like the folks in Italy that own this incredible space.)Marco Dellatorre

So next time you are taking a walk, take a look around you, and look up! There is so much inspiration in nature, especially this time of year when the sun is shining, the grass is growing, the tulips are sprouting and the trees are in full magnificent bloom-now where did I put my Claritin? As far as re-painting the spare room goes, no time for that! It’s back to the work bench for me…Susan

High Five For Boston Magazine

It’s Friday…phew. It’s been a long week, and have lots to do this weekend to prepare for the upcoming Vintage Market. But it’s high time for another High Five for Friday-so here it is:

Boston Magazine Cover

Boston Magazine’s cover from Marathon Monday. WE WILL FINISH THE RACE. No other words can express more eloquently what that cover says. Well done, Boston. Make sure you read the back story on how the cover was conceived and created in three days. All of the sneakers in this photo were worn by the marathon runners, family and friends and co-workers who loaned their shoes for the magazine shoot. The magazine hits the newsstands today. The publisher is in the process of creating posters to sell, with the proceeds going directly to the One Fund Boston. (amazingly, in one week’s time, they have raised over $25 million!!) Hard to imagine that one week ago today, we awoke to the news that there was a manhunt in Watertown that had essentially shut down our beautiful city. Here’s hoping that this weekend is quiet, safe and sunshiny fun. TGIF everyone!! Susan

To Market We Go!!

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this past couple of weeks Coach and I have been driving all around the Boston area. Logged 185 miles in one day last weekend, pickin’ and junkin’ and packing up the CRV!

Market Odometer

Why, you ask!? Well, I have finally decided to put my money where my blog is and join the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market beginning in May-so excited!!! This is my empty booth, waiting for some country design treasures…

Market Space Before

The first time I ventured down to visit the WinSmith Mill Market (remember that whole “snow through the sunroof“, mixing up photos fiasco!?), I was completely impressed by the all of the shops, but my attention was drawn to the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market in particular.

 Vintage Thymes Monthly Market

I loved the feel of the old tannery space, with soaring ceilings and wooden floors, with shoppers everywhere clutching their newly prized possessions, reminiscent of a bustling General Store offering vintage goods and wares. Busy as it was, one of the owners, Nancy Murphy, spent time with me chatting about the Market, the participating vendors and their goals and aspirations. It became clear to me that this is way more than just a job for her, it is a passion, one that is shared by millions of others out there who love to refurbish and recycle and make what was once old, new and beautiful again. And since we have a barn full of “junque”, and Coach is adding to the collection daily, like this gorgeous red Radio Flyer wagon we found over the weekend… Radio Flyer Wagon

…I figured it was high time to join in the fun! So, beginning the weekend of May 10, 11 and 12th, I will be offering a carefully curated collection of  of antiques and vintage goods,

Market Tasco Sign

reflecting the simple casual country style I love to feature in my blog posts. LOVE this old crackled scale…

Market Simmons Scale

Some of the items are untouched and will be offered as they were discovered at estate sales and auctions (minus the dust and cobwebs)

Vintage Aqua Ice Cream Maker

but many pieces have required painting & polishing, (like this pink commode I wrote about in “Coming Unhinged” a couple of weeks ago)

Market Pink Commode

and staining and waxing as well. This is the table I decorated with the wax paper printer transfer technique in “Waxing Nostalgic

 Cacao Telephone Table

To give you an idea of what will be available, I have added a Pinterest Board: Vintage Thymes Monthly Market, that you can visit.

Wooden Footstool with Rubber Treads

This month’s theme is Mom’s Garden, so you can expect to see quite a bit of garden-inspired furniture and accessories. (and, yes, that’s a real anchor- Coach dragged it home last weekend- what the heck am I supposed to do with that!?)

Anchor

Not everything posted there will be available each month, as I only have so much room in my booth!  And once it’s sold, it’s gone, and I will mark it as such on the Pinterest board. Some things will have a “before” pic, and once I complete the refurbishing, I will post the “after” as well. I adore this dreamy mint farmhouse table, but it did need a lot of TLC. Wait til you see the after!!   Market Mint Table

I will be pinning additional items as the date gets closer, so check back often, and if you see something you must have, drop me an email @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will see if I can squeeze it into the CRV! OK, back to work…see you in May! Susan

Boston Strong Logo Help!

Hi readers! I need your help again! Since I published my recent post “Boston, You’re the One”, I have had several requests for information about the beautiful Boston Strong Logo that I used in my blog post, featuring all of the Boston sports teams and the Marathon logo.Boston Strong LogoI do know that the originator of the slogan “Boston Strong” was Red Sox player Will Middlebrooks, so thanks for that. Unfortunately, I had copied this pic from a Facebook posting that also had no information regarding the person or company who designed this logo. I have searched Google and Google images to no avail. If you are out there, or you know the true origin, could you please post here or email me @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com? I would like to give credit where credit is due, and also want to forward the information to the people who are interested in purchasing merchandise with this logo! Thanks, Susan

“Mother Knows Best” Needs You!!

Two weekends ago (it actually seems like eons ago, with all the events of the past week!), I participated in a team Guerilla Staging Competition at Mill 77 Trading Company in Amesbury. What a blast!

Mill 77 Trading Company

I was part of the team “Mother Knows Best“, two moms and daughters who love vintage style and decorating, fun competition and winning $$! Just to refresh, we blindly chose a category, then had 40 minutes to transform an empty room from four blank walls with lots of nails and a couple of white columns and hanging ladders into a gorgeous camera-ready vignette. Choosing “Clothing and Accessories” out of a hat, we raced through the store, collecting draperies (our apologies to the owner of that booth) and wrought iron gates, vintage clothing and jewelry, dressers and chairs to create a vintage vignette worthy of any Parisian Boudoir. This is the before:

Mill 77 Before

Here is the after:

Mill 77 Parisian Boudoir

Here’s the how-to: we suspended the toile drapes from the two columns, creating a focal wall. In front of that we wheeled in the vintage painted dresser, and used the tall wrought iron gate as a clothing rack. The dresser is laden with crystal and jewels, which, unfortunately you cannot see clearly here. On padded hangers we draped satin dresses and slips, scarves and a fox wrap. Sparkling shoes and boots were tucked under the dresser and antique frames served as jewelry hangers. The chic wool coat with mink trim and the chiffon scarf were on an antique dress form. We added the vintage needlepoint rug featuring many of the room’s muted colors and an antique blue ceramic heater. Finally, we created a small seating area with the painted table and chairs and dressed that with crystal and lace.  And then I Instagrammed it to give it a true vintage feel (well, minus the lime green price tags which we couldn’t remove)

Parisian Boudoir Instagram

So now comes the part where you can help! We have one more week to collect enough votes, either on Mill 77’s Website or YouTube links, where you can actually see us in action! The team’s room with the most votes wins $500, the runners-up win gift certificates to Mill 77. Great prizes, plus it was actually a fund-raiser for Our Neighbor’s Table in Amesbury- a win, win all around! So now all we need is your vote! If, after viewing our before and after (and remember, we only had 40 minutes!!) you think our Parisian Boudoir is worthy of your vote, please click here by filling in the info requested, along with our team name: Mother Knows Best or here to “Like” our video. If not, c’est la vie, there’s always next year. Here’s hoping for a great week, and lots of votes!! Stay Strong, everyone. Susan

Boston, You’re The One

So it appears that this long week of terror in our fair city has finally come to an abrupt end. Beginning on Marathon Monday, and culminating in the death of one, and the capture of another suspect in the bombings, this week has been filled with 24-7 news coverage, lockdowns, shootouts and horrific deaths. Nothing short of an epic Hollywood motion picture, only this time it was real…and personal.

Boston Skyline Chris Mathison

It has been difficult to imagine and write about anything other than the events that were unfolding before our eyes, in our hometown. Blogging about design and decor seemed irrelevant while all of this was happening, and now reflecting on that drama brings a few thoughts to mind. Firstly, thanking the law enforcement officials and officers who bravely put their own lives on the line in the pursuit and ultimate capture of these suspects. Secondly, being grateful that our friends and families are safe, and that we are free to resume our normal daily activities, whether it’s shopping, taking in a show or just enjoying a walk outside without fearing for our safety. Lastly, remembering and honoring those who have lost their lives, and those whose lives have been forever changed by this week’s tragic events. To that end, the Governor and Mayor of Boston have set up

The One Fund

The One Fund

From their website: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino today announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, the purpose of which is to raise money to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during Monday’s Boston Marathon.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help. The One Fund Boston will act as a central fund to receive much needed financial support,” Governor Patrick said. “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.””

Donating any amount will assist those most affected by the bombings. You can do that here, knowing that your donations will provide financial assistance to those citizens in greatest need during their, in many cases, long and painful and costly recovery. Stay strong, Boston,

Boston Strong Logo

and have a safe and finally peaceful weekend everyone. Susan  

Boston, You’re My Home…

Boston, You’re My Home…

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, but this week, instead of my usual trip across the pond or from the deck of a cruise ship, I am reposting this blog I wrote one year ago on April 15, 2012, Patriots Day. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those who were impacted by the horrific events that unfolded on Marathon Monday. In the wake of those recent tragedies at this year’s Boston Marathon, I wanted to re-share this blog with all of my readers, and any onlookers watching from afar who are interested in capturing the essence of the amazing, wonderful, joyful city we call Boston.

So here it is:

In honor of Patriots Day, a uniquely Massachusetts holiday, a little Boston history for your reading pleasure. Facts confirmed by Wikipedia, several historical societies and my historian-in-residence, Coach.  Click on the pictures for links to websites and information.

Boston (pronounced baws-tun). The Capital of Massachusetts. The Hub. The City of Champions (see Boston Red Sox, N.E. Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins). Although significantly smaller in population than The Big Apple, what we lack in size we make up for in historic stature. We are the site of the world’s oldest marathon, begun in 1897, the Boston Marathon.We have the oldest MLB ballpark, Fenway Park (c.1912)

the Swan Boats (c.1877) in the Public Garden

and Harvard University, founded in 1636 and the alma mater of 7 US Presidents.

We are Beantown, named for Boston Baked Beans, a dish created by the Colonials, using beans cooked in molasses, a plentiful product due to the slave trade.

Home of the USS Constitution, nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, (C.1787) the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.

Named The Cradle of Liberty, and founded by the Puritans in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Instigators of the American Revolution, and the site of the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Massacre 

and the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (the reason for this holiday!)

Penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860, this poem details Revere’s April 18th journey by horseback from Charlestown to Lexington & Concord to warn the townspeople to take up arms in defense of the oncoming British invasion.

“…He said to his friend, “If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,– One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm.” 

The British, whose ships were in Boston Harbor, were planning a march to Concord, where they were to destroy supplies and munitions stored by the local militia. Revere’s plan was to make his way there ahead of the advancing British troops, alerting the locals along the way of the impending British invasion. On the night of April 18, 1775,  alerted by the two lanterns hanging in the Old North Church, indicating the British would be advancing in boats over the Charles River, Revere began his historic journey on horseback. He travelled from Charlestown to Concord, alerting the local minutemen of the advancing regiments. Captured and released by the British, he made his way to

The Old North Bridge, the site of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

on April 19, 1775, the beginning of the American Revolution. Yes, you do need to know this for the exam. No, you cannot bring your musket to class for show and tell. Whether this is a holiday for you or not, enjoy the day. And whether you are running or watching the Boston Marathon tomorrow, be careful in the heat! Happy Patriots Day! Susan

Waxing Nostalgic

In a recent post, I blogged about transferring French Typography onto wooden furniture using wax paper– this week’s High Five For Friday! Yup-regular old wax paper– the old-fashioned kind we used to wrap our sandwiches in for our tin lunch boxes-is suddenly all the rage again.Sandwich wrapped in wax paperSo I thought I would give the wax paper transfer method currently posted on my D.I.M. Pinterest page a try, since I am working on some new pieces. Coach found this cute little old pine telephone table that I thought would work nicely.

Telephone Table Before

(This one’s from the olden days, folks, when we had those gadgets attached to the wall called telephones, with an attached cord so you had to sit down to talk on them and use loads of paper books with names and addresses and phone numbers in them : )…

Wax Transfer Phone Image

Here are the steps:

1. Cleaned and steel wooled. It hardly had any finish on it so no sanding needed. But I made sure that the inside was clean as well. Nothing worse than opening up some cute, vintage refinished piece only to inhale the strong odor of musty cigarette smoke.

2. Added 2 coats of Annie Sloan French Linen paint. Love the soft color and the flat finish.

Telephone Table Painted

3. Got some wax paper (this pic shows parchment paper which apparently works as well, but I haven’t tried that yet)

Wax papers

4. Find a picture- I got mine from the Graphics Fairy– and print it in your REGULAR INK JET PRINTER!! Not a laser printer, apparently that just melts the wax. Make sure when you go to settings you reverse it for the transfer process prior to printing. Cut the wax paper to the same size as a regular sheet of copy paper. Slowly feed the wax paper into the printer, being careful not to let it wrinkle or crease. Once printed, allow time for it to dry so it won’t smear when you lay it down on your piece.

Wax Paper in Printer

5. Dampen (NOT WET!) the furniture so it will accept the ink. Center the wax paper, print side down, on to your piece of furniture.

Wax paper transfer on table

6. Now just start rubbing all over the design, pressing firmly. I tried two methods of transfer- the credit card- which I found had too sharp of an edge to really press.

Wax paper transfer with credit card

The back of a spoon-perfect! Rub the image until  it is completely transferred.

Wax paper transfer with spoon

The harder and longer you rub, the darker and clearer your image will be. You can carefully pick up the paper and check underneath as you go along, but just make sure you put it back exactly in the same spot- otherwise the image will appear blurry. Allow to dry (about 5 minutes)

7. Finish with a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax.

Wax paper French Typography transfer

8. Since we no longer have giant phones and tons of phone books, I discovered a cute new storage place for my Ipad!

Wax Paper French Typography Transfer

TGIF everyone!! So happy to finally have some nice sunny weather-NOT!!! Susan

Coming Unhinged

Recently I have been working on quite a few pieces of “junk-tiques”, so Coach and I have been frequenting the auction, estate sale and flea market circuit, and have come home with quite a few great country finds.

CDH Junk-Tiques

Of course, most of them need a little, nea, a LOT of TLC, so over the weekend we opened up the HICC (seriously, you don’t know what that is?!?)

HICC

fired up the sander and got to work on the transformation process. When I came across an old commode at an indoor flea market, my intention was to sand it all down and then restain/antique it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to strip away all those years of paint and the beautiful layers of colors, ending with the final soft pink it is today. However, the same did not hold true for the drawer pulls and hinges-years of caked-on paint had obliterated the design and the finishes- who does that?!? Paint Removal with Vinegar I get painting the chest, heck, we all do that. And I understand that painted hardware is “in” right now, but people, if the hardware has beautiful inlaid flowers and a gorgeous pewter patina, leave it alone!!! Paint Removal from Hardware That being said, I needed to find a way to strip all of the old paint off without harming the hardware, my granite countertops and my sinuses. Pinterest to the rescue!! I found several DIY pins with all kinds of methods that did not include harsh chemicals, so I kind of combined a few and came up with my own quick and easy method. Simply: fill an old saucepan with water (enough to cover the hardware completely), add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Any kind of white vinegar will do, but I especially like this one because it says “Nice!”, and nice matters, as a friend of mine recently reminded me : )

Paint Removal with Vinegar

Drop in the hardware.

Removing Paint in Water and Vinegar

Bring the whole concoction to a boil. Paint Removal with Boiling Water Allow to slow boil for 20-30 minutes (keep making sure you have enough water in the pan- don’t want to singe the hinges!). Keep checking the pieces- after 10 minutes or so you will begin to notice stuff floating in the water, and if you pick up a piece, you can see the paint starting to peel away. Paint Removal Boiling Water After 30 minutes, start taking the pieces out one at a time-you need to keep the others submerged until you are ready to clean them, otherwise the paint will reharden and stick. I used a toothpick and a small toothbrush (preferably not one you are using again!) to get into the crevices. Paint Removal with Toothbrush Buff the piece with a terry cloth towel to remove any clinging bits, then rinse in water and wipe dry. Can you believe the beautiful detail I uncovered under those layers of paint!?!? Paint Removal Paint Peel At this point, you can use a little metal polisher-like this awesome stuff use because: 1. It’s from Cape Cod- which we love and 2. It really works!! Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

Individual little cloths already soaked with not-too-smelly cleaner-easy and neat. Polish, buff dry and you are done. Once completed, the drawer pulls were re-attached to the pretty little pink commode, which I finished with a crystal door pull and a touch of Annie Sloan French Linen Chalk Paint and Soft Wax. Annie Sloan French Linen

So now the once simple pink commode with the layers of painted hardware has a new look, not exactly what I had envisioned when I first spotted it at an antiques market, but I think the improvised version is even better…do you agree?

Pink Commode Finished

And it also has a new heart– which I uncovered as I was sanding the layers on the bottom of the chest-so sweet!! Paint Removal Heart Detail Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!  Just remember to do what you love, follow your instincts and don’t come unhinged if it all doesn’t quite go according to plan. Susan

PS: I have joined a new weekend blogging link party sponsored by Serenity Now: Creative Solutions for Staying Sane. It’s a fun read and has loads of great ideas for everything from cooking to awesome DIY projects! Check them out!

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