We’ve Been Ship-Lapped!

Sigh…Chip and Joanna, you made it look soooo easy. Joanna would say “Chip, I would like this room to be covered in shiplap”, and then the next thing you know, it was done! Ever since I saw the very first episode of Fixer-Upper, shiplap has been on my radar. If only I could find someone to install it…but I don’t have a Chip at the ready to fulfill my shiplap dreams.  So I waited and debated and thought about it a lot, then procrastinated some more, then finally decided that if Chip can do it, then so can I!

Thus began my ship-lapping journey, searching through countless samples and designs from many different companies. Many were too heavy and difficult to install, many were just too darn expensive…so I was beginning to abandon the idea altogether. Until I discovered this shiplap brand at Lowes!

A1E938B7-6E98-4A3A-9810-BA1D297AF00C

Real reclaimed, pre-finished wood planking from GPS Design Innovations, quite light and easy to work with, a fraction of the cost of many self-sticking brands…a no-brainer. What would have normally taken Chip (or any seasoned carpenter, for that matter) a day or two, ended up taking me about 3 weeks to install in my farmhouse family room. Now, this is not a tutorial on how to install shiplap…I will leave that to the pros. This is just my own personal observations about the process and the finished product.

  1. Buy the product that matches your skill level. If you’ve never used power tools (or any tools), stick to the pre-cut planks with the self-sticking tape.
  2. Use a level. CAE80420-4BDB-48E5-A6B2-297198A5A30AThis is important! Visually, shiplap is long lengths of boards attached to the wall in a straight row. Leveling as you go will ensure a clean, unwavy (is that a word??) sight line.
  3. For my particular brand of shiplap, I utilized a miter saw, a jigsaw, a utility knife and my Ryobi Airstrike Brad NailerF0BFCB6C-086D-418D-A03A-4796DDF3D867 (I would not have attempted to do this installation without one.)
  4. Choose the correct glue and use PLENTY of it. I started out trying to use small dabs and ended up with some planks with edges that curled up because I hadn’t glued down them down. Fortunately, this ship-lap, even glued and nailed, is pretty easy to pull off to start over. 0F58323A-224A-49FC-BC68-066D6AB1392EI used Loc-Tite Power Grab adhesive in a tube that required a caulking gun. The planking instructions stated that I could have chosen double-sided mounting tape, but I found that the plank edges tended to curl and warp if they were not glued down.
  5. Figure out the design configuration before you begin. 8780D22A-B590-46C5-B5EE-36FB299919FDThis particular brand of shiplap had an assortment of lengths in each box, so it was important for me to decided which pieces would go in which order for each row. I was working around a fireplace and ceiling and baseboard moldings, so I had to figure those into the equation. It would have been so much easier if I was working on a simple blank wall, but that wasn’t the case. I taped these on to the wall to visualize how it was going to work before I started the actual nailing and gluing.
  6. This shaping contour gauge tool saves a lot of time- C2B93AB7-E058-402C-BD35-5F3BEC203456you push it into an area and it forms into the shape that you need to cut around. C502B4C3-7D8E-413D-851D-2542F87A4140Otherwise you’ll need some paper and tape to create a pattern to cut around. 94872423-F8D8-4968-B1A8-DC266ED187A5
  7. Work stacking up or down in rows but do not try to work sideways and slide pieces into place in between 2 glued and nailed pieces. 7B747A1B-A20C-461D-9B5E-90C4CA64CEBBIt just doesn’t end up well. Fortunately for me, this particular brand is pretty rustic, so a few cracks and holes blends in quite well!
  8. Don’t try to skimp and use leftover pieces. Well, I did, but don’t you do that. BD6F4FCF-DCD9-4176-A4EB-F189BA338355It made it so much more tedious than if I had just kept using the larger pieces instead of trying to save them…for what, I have no idea….but I’ll figure something out.
  9. My ship-lap was already finished with a white wash called Sun Bleached- but I am debating whether to add another coat of white paint to it. What do you think?!?6F42FDB2-6853-4E99-9176-90A0DE95CFA1For now, I am leaving it as is and enjoying the fruits of my labor.
  10. If Coach wanders in and says “how much is this costing?” after you’re already 1/2 way done, just grit your teeth and keep plodding along. For the record, the total cost for this one wall was a little over $300 for the planks and the adhesive (and free sweat equity from moi, don’t forget). Again, a fraction of the cost of some of the pre-stick brands, which can run upwards of $1400 for a 10 x 12 space!
  11. Make sure you have all the materials you need for the entire project. I had to stop twice because I had underestimated the amount of shiplap I would need. 79F41971-A60A-4BA4-938F-4670250A4AA0Each time I returned to the store to purchase more, it had to be seasoned in the house for 36 hours before I could install it. Which meant more messy days in our family room.
  12. When I put the final board into place, I honestly wanted to cry…from sheer exhaustion, but also because it makes me soooo happy to finally have the shiplap feature I have wanted for such a long time. The room isn’t finished or styled yet, but I will share the final pics once its done. BA734292-C559-469A-BAA5-92C5086479D4As an aside, I have a much deeper appreciation and newfound admiration for carpenters and contractors-actually, anyone who labors for a living-especially older folks, like me. The work is fulfilling, but it is not easy-the difference is, I did this for fun, they do it for a living. So my work here is done…for now…and I am shiplapped out… until my next project comes along. Have a terrific Thursday, everyone! And if you decide you need some shiplap in your life, I know the name of a great contractor I can share with you…and its not me : ) xoxo Susan

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

 

 

 

 

 

Hail to the Whale!

Coach and I, well, we just love whales. I am not certain how it all began, but I can say that one of our very first “all day” dates took place in lovely Mystic Connecticut. In Mystic Seaport, it is all things nautical, and I suspect perhaps that day spent touring the Charles W. Morgan (the last wooden whale ship in the world!)

Charles W. Morgan

the Seaport Museum and the Mystic Aquarium, all the while basking in the glow of young love, might have sparked the beginning of a life-long passion for those majestic denizens of the deep. So, I paint a lot of whales…on trunks and planks and tables, pretty much any flat surface.

Whale Porch Table

After all, who can resist a gentle, giant creature with a hint of a smile-especially when decorated with the American flag? Recently, Coach came upon a stack of old cabinet doors (well, it might not have been recently, it’s just what has surfaced in the barn most recently.)

Hail to the Whale Before Cupboard Door

They were simply painted creamy white, or so we thought. Until he started to sand the edges and behold! This amazing teal blue emerged.

Hail to the Whale Black Background

Sometimes you have in your mind what color scheme to use on a piece, sometimes the piece dictates the palette. In this case, there was cream and teal and a country red color…perfect for an American Flag Whale! I went with a black background for greater impact and contrast to the flag whale itself. For the flag colors, I mixed paints until I came up with the exact shades of teals and reds that matched the existing colors on the frame. I have, in my workshop, perhaps 50 or so of those little Behr sample paint pots

Behr Sample Pots

that you get at Home Depot for a couple of bucks…in a multitude of colors. These are my go-to samples when I am mixing paints-economical and plentiful…and if I mix a color I really love, I just use the color match app to have them mix whatever amount I need! Once I painted the background, it was a pretty simple process-I used a whale stencil

 

Whale Stencil

for the overall pattern in cream, then taped off the stripes, and added the red.

Hail to the Whale Taped Stripes

Now, I know there aren’t 13 stripes- he was just too narrow and it looked too tight, so I went with a more interpretive look.

Hail to the Whale Star Field

After that, I added the star field using a stencil I cut out with my Cricut Air machine.

Cricut Gold

Do you have one of these?? If not, you need to hustle over to your favorite craft store and buy one, like now! If you do crafts, or scrapbooking, or make signs or stencils or just about anything where you need to apply graphics, this is your go-to machine. See this little square of stars?

Star Stencil

By hand, that would have taken me hours to cut…and then a few more in the ER getting stitched up from the X-acto knife thumb slice… With the Cricut, it took maybe ten minutes to design and cut the stencil. Simply incredible!

Once the whale had dried, I added the matching stars in the four corners. Upon close inspection, you can see where I allowed the faint outline of the original hardware to remain.

Hail to the Whale Hinge Detail

I think it gives the piece character to leave the blemishes there for everyone to see. After that, it was simply a matter of a topcoat…and I went with my go-to favorite: Flat Out Flat by General Finishes. **As a side-note, when you paint on this topcoat, it initially appears milky white,

Hail to the Whale FOF Wet Finish

which kind of freaked me out the first time I tried it. But, once it dried to a clear, softly glowing finish, I was sold. So, the whale is now finished and ready for his new home.

Hail to the Whale Finished Logo

This is the wall grouping that greets visitors at my back door, but alas, he’s not staying put.

Hail to the Whale Wall Grouping Logo 1

He’s migrating north to the Barn at Todd Farm where he’ll have a whale of a time with some other pieces I have recently completed. Have a “whale-y”great Wednesday, everyone! Susan xoxo

 

Vintage American Heart Sign

Awhile back, I received this large wooden wall-hanging of an elephant painted on some slats.

Vintage Americana Heart BeforeIt was free, and free is good, but the graphic was just a bit too brown and black for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE elephants, but it just seemed a little colorless and blah to me. I have had it hanging around in the workshop for quite some time, literally painting over it a dozen times with all sorts of blues and grays, awaiting some inspiration to hit me.

Vintage Americana Heart Dry Brushed BackgroundGenerally, I find that when all else fails, go with the American Flag with its bold colors and simple but striking graphics. So, stars and stripes it is! But, it was essentially a square, and of course, our flag is a rectangle, so I had to come up with a shape…a star? the map of the US? a rectangle? a heart : ) So I left the background as it was…dry-brushed with multiple shades of grays and blues and added the heart shaped design.

Vintage Americana Heart Red White and BlueThe easiest way to create a symmetrical heart of any size? Take a piece of paper (in this case, a newspaper because of the size I needed), fold it in 1/2, then draw out your shape on one side. Cut along the edge of the folded paper, and then when you open it up, voila!  A perfectly proportioned heart!

Vintage Americana Heart Newspaper PatternOnce I traced the heart shape onto the wood with some chalk, it was simply a matter of taping off the 13 red and white stripes…

Vintage Americana Heart Patternwhich was not as easy as you would have imagined…while leaving one block for the dark blue star field.

Vintage Americana Heart TemplateOnce the stars and stripes were completed, I stenciled in the stars…quite badly as it turns out.

Vintage Americana Heart Stripes and Star FieldBecause of the curves of the heart shape and the spaces between the slats, it was impossible to fit all 50 stars into the field in rows, as they are on the real flag. So I painted over the first go and tried it again.  I taped off the edges and winged it…just stamping them wherever there was an open space…not symmetrical, not perfect by any means.

Vintage Americana Heart StarsThere are a few states hanging off the edge…hello, Alaska and Hawaii! And there are a few states missing representation…then again, aren’t there a few states that are threatening to secede from the union if a certain candidate wins this year’s presidential election? But you get the general idea, right? Then I added the graphics above and below via my reverse chalking method.

Vintage Americana Heart Chalking PatternThat was the easiest part of the entire piece! Once I was reasonably happy with that, I sanded the whole thing down to give it a distressed look,

Vintage Americana Heart Sanding Stars Distressingthen finished with a coating of Krylon spray matte varnish

Krylon Matte Finish

(of course, that was a few days ago, when it was 60 outside, so I could spray it, as opposed to this morning’s temps, which are hovering in the 20’s). This graphic could easily be applied to a wood palette- another great project idea! Vintage Americana Heart LogoHave a totally terrific Tuesday, everyone (even if you’re buried in snow…) Susan

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