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

 

 

 

 

 

The Maine Name Game

For many years, Coach and I have dreamed of purchasing a summer cottage… somewhere we could go with our family and friends and just chill. Somewhere we could sip margaritas while watching the sun set over the horizon,

Sunsetnot too far from home, but far enough to be “away” from our daily hectic lives. But first we had to narrow our geographical location-within driving distance-north or south? We started south-Martha’s Vineyard, truly one of our favorite places on the planet-we vacationed there for many years, and our son was married there in 2016.

Chris and Ashley Lets DanceBut it would have been a logistical nightmare with the traffic and the ferry rides to take on a weekly basis, so we ruled it out. Moving north to Cape Cod, the same held true-between Boston and Cape traffic, the weekend traveling would have been prohibitive. Looking northbound, we finally landed on Maine-the Kennebunk area, to be exact, where our daughter was married in 2015.

IMG_8097 (1)At first we looked inland-our initial plan was to find a log cabin on a lake or river. A fixer-upper, something with character, age and charm…with a water view. So, we started the search last spring, hoping to discover that charming log cabin deep in the woods, right on the water. We viewed cabins and cottages and little old houses-primarily fixer-uppers-like this one in Kennebunk- that was over 200K!!

Cottage Maine Some were on the water…rivers and ponds and lakes. But, as much as I enjoyed the looks of those bodies of water, they just didn’t have the feel of the ocean-is there anything else like the sound of pounding waves crashing the shoreline?

Cottage Crashing Waves

AND, having lived in and worked on an old house-mid 1800’s…

Red Home Ice

for the past three decades-it eventually dawned on me that I no longer had that fixer-upper spirit in me! The thought of tearing down walls and repairing old roofs and replacing leaking plumbing and knocking down giant icicles sent shudders down my spine-what could be less restful and peaceful than that?!  So, shifting gears, we searched nearer to the ocean, but lets just say that with each bedroom you add and each 1/4 mile you move closer to those pounding waves, the price increases $100K! And then finally, we found it by chance…a drive-by of sorts. A charming “Cape Cod” style cottage-brand spankin’ newCottage Exterior in Springnot on the water, but in a nature preserve overlooking towering pines and birch trees…this is the view from our back kitchen door : )

Cottage Back View

This seasonal home is unlike anything else we had seen-it is part of a condo development called the “Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve”

Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve Model Homessituated on close to a hundred acres of pristine Maine forest bordering The Eastern Trail…10 minutes from Dock Square in Kennebunkport, 10 minutes to Goose Rocks Beach, 15 minutes to Wells and Ogunquit and 20 minutes to Portland. Easy enough to enjoy all that coastal Maine has to offer, but tranquil enough to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Maine countryside. Oh, and if you’re in the antiques biz, there’s the Arundel Flea Market just down the road (and you know who is chomping at the bit to get in on the action there!) Since we purchased the unfinished cottage back in January, we have eagerly watched the progression- slowly at first with the never-ending snowfallCottage Exterior in Snow

but now at almost warp speed towards completion. Yesterday, we checked in, only to discover that where there used to be piles of lumber, we now have a kitchen

Cottage Kitchenand bathrooms and floors and the walls have been painted and I didn’t have to do any of it : ) And, most importantly, a matching SHED. What’s the big deal about a shed, you ask?Cottage ShedWell, that’s a story for another day…but for now, I’ve created Pinterest pages for every single space and have been buying “essentials”-

Cottage Beddingthere’s a lot required in outfitting a 3 bedroom cottage!! Thank goodness for HomeGoods and Target! So, over the next few weeks while we await our completion and move-in date, I will be sharing the spaces and hoping to get some ideas from you-we will be using hand-me-downs and refurbished pieces for now until we settle into our new digs. But first up, we need a name for our new summer home-apparently that’s a thing. Something catchy, not too beachy-since we’re not right on the water. We came up with a few on our drive home last night, but we are looking for suggestions (since ours were pretty lame-not much rhymes with Arundel : ). So if you have an idea, send it my way! And if you happen to be in the Kennebunkport area and want to take a look for yourself at these gorgeous new cottages…there are so many styles and sizes to choose from…the address is 1976 Portland Road in Arundel…and if you do, tell them Sue from Country Design Home sent you! Have a memorable Memorial Day Weekend everyone! xoxoxo Susan

 

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