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

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh…Coffee…

Every morning, no matter what the hour…whether its 2, 6 or 9 AM, I find myself in need of a caffeine fix. So, I stumble down the stairs, hit the Keurig “on” button and wait a moment while it rumbles into action. Then I open up the pantry and reach in to grab one of the many, MANY, pods I have stashed for my morning coffee ritual.

K Cups

I know- this is really bad, right? Every morning when I slide open that pantry drawer, I feel a pang of guilt. Because I know that those little K-cups that help me to function with that morning burst of caffeine end up in a land fill somewhere. Sitting there for years and years, never decomposing…it almost makes me want to give up coffee…well, not really…but it does make me a wee bit sad. I know there is a better way to enjoy my morning brew without compromising nature’s fragile ecosystem quite so callously. Enter DeliBru re-useable single-serve brewing cups!

DeliBru cups

 

You simply fill the cup with your desired brand of coffee- for me its the darkest roast I can find- close the top and place into your Keurig-just as you would one of those disposable K-cups! Once your morning brew is brewed, you remove the K-cup and rinse it out- ready to use over and over again. And the coffee-well its the same deliciousness that I get with the K-Cups, but I have the choice of whichever flavor strikes my fancy that morning- Kona, Breakfast Blend or my favorite, favorite: Santo Domingo Café

Santo Domingo Coffee

( I discovered this one on a trip to the Dominican Republic a few years ago…but I’m almost out- perhaps time for a trip back to pick up a fresh supply?!) You can purchase these DeliBru cups on Amazon.com. The DeliBru cups are BPA free, are useable with any Keurig model and they’re dishwasher safe- so you brew your coffee, then wash and repeat- no more adding to your local land fill! Have a happy and caffeinated Monday, everyone…we are going to need that extra cup on this dark, dreary morning.

Peace & Love, Susan

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Online Buyer Beware

Back in the fall, I found some amazing buffalo plaid curtain panels for a steal at the Christmas Tree Shops.

Christmas Tree Shops Plaid Curtain Panel

The ones I purchased are cream and teal, and I originally paid $16.99 for per pair, which I thought was a steal! When I decided I needed one more pair for our large window, I found the last pair in a markdown bin for $4.99- now that’s a real steal! They are hanging in our master bedroom, and every time I walk in the room, I love them again! But, you know how, when you change one thing, then the old stuff looks really old and needs to be updated? So, that happened. Time to for a spring-time spruce up! I needed to find some new bedding that would complement the curtains and the existing palette in the room. I did a lot of online searching until I finally stumbled upon this perfect set

7-piece-queen-luxury-aqua-blue-navy-and-white-comforter-set-8

on this website: www.extrablanket.com. They had lots of comforters and curtains at great prices! This particular set was marked down from $249.95 to $67.68! I know, right?! Since I had never heard of the company before, I did my due diligence (or so I thought) and checked into the website. They have a PayPal account and loads of listings on EBay and Amazon (although under different names in each case…which I thought was rather strange but I really wanted that comforter set…so I ignored the red flags). So, I ordered the set, paying for it with my credit card…and waited. I did receive a confirmation from extrablanket.com with tracking information. Then the second payment confirmation email came from PayPal, but from a company called Domestic Décors, but the email listed was from GrandLinen@yahoo.com…hmm. Another red flag. So now there are three different names being used. The PayPal payment page stated that the shipment would be within 5-7 days, and there was an order and tracking # so I figured it was all good. Then after the 5-7 days, I checked the tracking # page and it was blank. BLANK. Crap. So, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I waited some more (did I say how much that I REALLY wanted that comforter set?!) At the end of February I sent my first “Hey, I haven’t heard from you” email and waited for a response. Nothing. On March 2, I sent a “Hey, where’s my stuff, I am going to report you, blah, blah, blah” email. Again, NO RESPONSE. There is no phone number on the website, but there was one on my PayPal statement, so I called it. NOTHING. Just a ring and then a non-descript voice-mail message. Finally, reluctantly (because I REALLY wanted that comforter set) I called my credit card fraud division and reported them. The CC rep said it happens all the time-these companies open up websites and “sell” non-existent stuff, and no sooner does someone report them and shut them down, then they re-open under another name and keep on scamming consumers. The CC company refunded my money (initially I told her I didn’t want the money back because I REALLY wanted that comforter set- she laughed and said “well, that’s not gonna happen) and sent me an email stating that they had contacted the company and were waiting for a response. In the meantime, the website is still up and running and their postings on Amazon and EBay remain in place, which baffles me. How does this company remain open under all these different names on reputable websites if they are really not selling anything??? So, I am back on the hunt for another comforter set. If you happen to see anything king-sized that is teal and navy blue with some embroidered flowers, give me a shout out. (unless, of course, you spot it on extrablanket.com). Here’s hoping you’re keeping warm…under your nice, stylish comforter set…because it’s still so chilly here in Boston!! So beware! xoxo Susan

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