Let's start with the positives...several nice volunteer plants or plants that could be moved.
Black Eyed Susan's, August Lillies, Daffodils, Monkey Grass, Hydrangeas and more to start with! There were a few plants I haven't identified yet. It was nice to have something come up to get started with and try to envision where we were headed.
Here is the jungle of volunteer plants and weeds beside the house:
Two hydrangeas were jammed up against the front of the house. The side yard by the drive way was loaded with mostly weeds, a few volunteer plants and loads of daffodils.
We moved the hydrangea to the side yard where they would still get plenty of shade and have room to grow. I tried to strategically move the volunteer plants and daffodils while removing the weeds in the side yard by the driveway. Once the daffodils come up in the Spring I will take some after pics as this area was still looking rough at the end of the Summer 2019.
However, here is the front of the house with some new Azaleas and the relocated Monkey Grass:
And my husband Keith said he always wanted to put up a flag so here you go!
The lovely Magnolia Tree by the front door was misplaced in a shady spot when planted long ago. It's now rotting at the base and will at some point die. I want to get some new things started before it finally succumbs to a natural death.
On a brighter note...one of the many lovely surprises about this charming cottage was the peach tree in the front yard. Peaches are my favorite fruit! We had no idea the peach tree was there until the day we moved in and I saw it covered in baby peaches!
And finally, in the first week of August, they were ready to harvest!
Some other problem areas we have begun to work on or would like to address (in no particular order here):
1. We took away Blue's stick pile!
2. We have several large stumps to get rid of.
Since taking the below picture, I've added some Leyland Cypress Trees and other evergreen shrubs to give some more privacy to our backyard.
3. And there is this corner of the backyard that needs to be cleaned up with the wood pile neatly stacked nearby.
4. Some day it would be nice to put vinyl siding on the concrete block detached garage. Since the below picture was taken, I've planted a mint and blackberry patch along this side!
5. There is a carport along the back of the house. We will never use it as a carport. Our future idea is to convert it into a screened in porch. It will require a lot of work to get there.
6. The backyard needs to be re-fenced to include a side yard porch (not pictured). Most of the backyard is wood post with chain link. It looks horrible.
We would like to re-fence it all to 5 feet with wood posts, 2x4 inch wire and a nice wood top rail. This would fit our rural looking neighborhood and add rustic charm to our 1920s home. I love the idea of including the side porch in the backyard. The side porch never gets used because of course I want to take my dogs outside with me and currently it's not fenced in.
I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt again and bring more of this property back to life!
We finally were graced with a little blanket of snow in early February 2020.
Well I guess I shouldn't complain!
I'm circling back to our dining room to show you the impact of a little progress!
You can look at my previous dining room post to see what this room looked like when we moved in. Let's just say there was A LOT OF TEAL! This was the second room I painted in our new-to-us home. I used Sherwin Williams Vanillin for an elegant neutral look.
Since my previous post I have finished the trim and fireplace mantel in SW Pure White. The old trim was cream/beige and two tone in places where someone had used a different shade of paint for touch ups. We were surprised by the improvement just painting the trim has made to enhance our beautiful dining room!
To go over the old oil based paint on the trim work and give us a hard finish in two coats, we chose the Emerald line of Sherwin Williams paint. I love the satin finish as it's hard but doesn't carry too much sheen.
As you can see in the pictures below, the dining room is also the sewing room and where I make Our Ginger Cottage pillows found in my Etsy Shop!
I have also finished painting and decorating the adjacent Stairwell. You can read about it in my Stairwell post.
Another new item added to our Dining Room are the sheer curtains pictured below. The material is soft 100% cotton, not shiny so they add a gentle touch to the room. The 99 inch height of the windows was a challenge to fit so I didn't try to make them fit. I purchased a taller 108 inch curtain length to allow the extra fabric to pool on the floor...perfect for this room! I found my beautiful sheer cotton curtains at Bed, Bath and Beyond. They are Wamsutta Cotton Sheer Rod Pocket Panels. The curtains rods were clearance items at Lowes.
This is certainly one of my favorite rooms in our new home!
I'm probably done with the large scale decorating in here...Probably :)
Time to take you on a tour (past and present) of our stairwell!
I had fun decorating this space with:
A handmade denim rag rug
Vintage Paul Sawyier framed prints
And a few family photos.
Here is what the stairwell looked like before:
Yep...mint green walls, dark brown painted steps and dirty cream trim.
The wood on the banister post, which I don't believe is circa 1920 original, was pretty beat up.
These colors did nothing for this space and it looked so tired.
So here to the new look!
New Sherwin Williams paint does wonders!
Trim: Pure White
Steps: Tres Naturale - Love how this color ties in with the beige accent of the rug in the adjacent dining room pictured below.
The new look is so simple, clean and classy. What a transformation!
The Living Room is the first room you see when you open the front door. It's an odd but cozy room that is a bit of a puzzle. For now, I've just decorated it comfortably with things I love.
Here's the living room before we moved in...
Odd, right? Originally this room was much smaller and the ceiling was about 18 inches higher. It was a parlor with a handsome central fireplace! Much of the space to the right of the fireplace where the shelving unit is now was a wrap around porch.
Years ago when living rooms became more desirable than parlors, the wall was bumped out to include the porch that once wrapped around the front of the house. The ceiling was lowered to the height of the porch ceiling.
So now the fireplace is very off centered and is just a few feet away from the doorway to the dining room to the left. And this lovely Amish made shelving unit is bumped up against a century old fireplace...two very different styles. My first thought was, "I'll need to paint that shelving unit to make this room look more cohesive". However, this has fallen to the bottom of the list. Once I put all our stuff on the shelves, it somehow worked for me!
What I love:
Soft blue gray walls
Lots of light streaming in through old windows
And of course the old original fireplace and mantle.
To decorate this room, I just started taking books and things out of boxes and worked with what I had. I love the results! It’s a super cozy living room that fits our vintage cottage look! Everything on the shelves has a history and story.
Here are just a few:
My dad’s old cameras
Great Aunt Effie’s 1920-30s National Geographic Mags
My dad and grandpas Little’s old clocks...the kind you wind and they fold in a case.
Grandpa Mast’s hat
Grandpa Zook’s clock (on the wall)
Old farming and theology books
My collection of horse books
Breyer horse and a painting both Man-o-War
Most of the pillows I made
Denim rugs my mom had made
Also in the room is a loveseat I deconstructed
And an old metal trunk for a coffee table with a glass top and black and white photos of our 4 children under the glass.
I’d like the shelves a little more book thick and am thinking about adding some children’s books which are still in boxes.
I took these pictures with the morning light streaming in...best spot for morning coffee and my Bible! And lots of football and other sports get airtime right here as it’s the TV room too!
We won't significantly change this room for awhile. Again, there are too many other redos needed before we tackle this one. I really love this cozy room like it is but it has more potential down the road.
We might move the bookshelf unit to other areas of the house. This would create more space here. (I might paint the shelves white whether we move them or not.) We might take out the ceiling and elevate at least the part over the fireplace back to its original height and get rid of all the popcorn ceiling. This would make the room feel like it has an entry way that opens and extends into the living room. If we did this, I would for sure change up the lighting! At some point, I will want to update the wall paint but will likely use a similar color. Unfortunately, the windows were painted shut in this room so I would like to get them operable again and repaint all the trim.
Whatever we decide about this room, I know it will be beautiful!
So where do you land your bedroom in the house that does not have the modern conveniences of ample closet space and a master bath? Here's where an old home, which my husband Keith calls a “collection of rooms”, gets interesting.
Actually, as I will soon show you, THIS is the perfect room!
See the closet door below to the left of the big cabinet?
It's a walk through closet that, on the backside, opens another door into a large room in an addition onto the original home. One day this door pictured will be the doorway into our master bathroom and closet. About half of the space in the large room of the addition will be dedicated to our master bath and closet.
We will not have to alter the structure of the original home to do this!...win!
The bedroom itself isn't large but has a lovely high ceiling, original hardwood floor, fireplace (inoperable) and mantle. It also has a small 3 foot wide window.
Honestly, the little window was blah and needed some help.
Solution: Use a window treatment to create the illusion that the window is as wide as our queen size bed.
I used 4 curtain panels and the existing curtain rod which actually expanded to just the right width. The outer 2 panels are a dark taupe. The inner 2 are a sheer white. This covers the walls outside the little window but allows light to stream in through the little window.
So now it looks like a big, spacious window! Daylight filters in casting a lot of shadows. It's the kind of room that’s good to take a nap in but not blackout so a person would sleep and never realize the time.
Some of my favorite things are in this lovely room:
The walls were paneled at some point, likely in the 1960's or 70's, and then painted white. Although way better than dark paneling, I'm not a huge fan of the current all white decor trend.
I’m thinking about painting the walls Sherwin Williams Contented with white trim and mantel. Contented is a soft, light green-gray color. I think this would highlight the beautiful fireplace and mantel better. The other factor with maybe not going with the current white color is that the much of the upstairs will need to be painted white with all its dormers and angles. I can only do so much white.
Still to complete in this room:
1. Refinish the original main door to the room.
2. Find an antique door that will fit the opening into the future bath and closet.
3. Add a master bath and closet in the addition adjacent to this room.
4. Clean up old registers.
5. Decide on a paint color for the master bedroom paneling. The trim will be SW Pure White.
The attic space has so much potential! It's around 700 - 900 square feet depending on how you include the dormers. It is already equipped with heating, cooling and a bathroom. Right now it's my 17 year old girl's dream come true...a gigantic room of her own with it's own bathroom!
It order for this to be a 17 year old girls room instead of a 7 year old girls room, I had to cover the lavender with dark purple accents. I painted everything but the bathroom Sherwin Williams Pure White. (It truly needs a second coat of paint but since so much future demolition is going to take place in this space, I decided to hold off.) I also added these lovely white cafe curtains on all four of the dormer windows. As you can see these windows are just the right height for our little Maggie dog!
My daughter Carolyn has her full size boho decorated bedroom in one of the dormers, a desk area in another, a living room/reading area and a sleepover area with two twin mattresses. It's really a space made for a teenage girl!
Truth is, when our lovely cottage was built in 1920, this was not meant to be livable space. That being the case, the main body of the room does not have desirable floor support. This is a problem. However, when it is resolved it will provide the opportunity to update several things that will make a big impact for the whole house!
Once upon a time, the original owners stored things up here. I imagine some old trunks, suitcases and odds and ends. The storage would have been limited to what would fit up the staircase and through a 27 inch wide doorway. This limit is still imposed today. Thus, the beginning of the current drywall job problem. So many small odd pieces of drywall were tacked up with visible seams joined together by the wrong kind of drywall tape. The carpet is worn and I can feel several holes in the floor boards underneath the carpet.
Our current plan (after our daughter leaves for college) is to:
1. Remove the worn carpet and assess the 100 year old floor boards underneath. (My guess is they are insufficient for floor board use.)
2. Salvage what 100 year old floor wood we can and set it aside to possibly cover the poor drywall job in the four dormers.
3. Improve electrical wiring and first floor ceiling while everything is open and exposed from the top down.
4. Reinforce and/or add support to attic floor.
5. Floor the main room of the attic with plywood sub-floor.
6. Frame this large space to create an open area with a dormer at the top of the stairs and two small bedrooms with dormers in each.
7. Electric, lighting and drywall new rooms. This is where we could add the old wood from the floor back in to the design!
8. Carpet the newly created rooms. (I do not like wall-to-wall carpet but with the old wood in the dormers carpet might be the best looking and most economical flooring.)
9. Update the attic bathroom. (The sink needs to be moved and a stand up shower needs to be added to make this bath more functional. It already has a garden tub.)
I know this sounds like a big job and at times I'm overwhelmed by it. However, this will make a wonderful space for our kids when they are home from college or come to visit. It will be a more functional use of space for the future!
This is going to be a big project to tackle Fall 2020. Wish us all the best!!!
What do you do when your high school senior, football playing, weightlifting son gets the aqua room in your new cottage...you paint it NAVY BLUE! And since he is now off to college and this bedroom is your husband's future study, you get to take your time with the details and styling it.
When we moved in this needed immediate attention because, well, I just couldn't make my son live with it like this too long!
Downside: Aqua walls with dark purple accents complete with child's cute hand prints on the back of the doors.
Upside: Tall ceiling, large windows, original hardwood floors, doors, fireplace (inoperable) with mantle.
I set to work covering the aqua walls with Sherwin Williams (SW) Salty Dog paint. This shade of navy is lighter than the ever popular SW Naval. I love SW Naval but it felt too dark for a bedroom this size even with the tall ceilings.
The inspiration for the colors in this room started with this lovely painting which I purchased at Tuesday Morning some time ago. I've always loved the peaceful blue shades of the sky and water combined with the rich warm tones of the grasses on the shoreline. The little rustic rowboat is waiting for an afternoon of exploration and fishing.
For the furniture in this room I went with my Grandma Little's mid-century modern bedroom suite! Not my favorite style but it reminds me of her and the 1950's bedford stone home my grandpa built for his family on their farm in northwestern Indiana. The light wood, straight lines and casters go nicely with the masculine navy and accent colors in this room. Once we transition this room to my husband Keith's study, the furniture will all change. So I am enjoying these beauties here while I can.
I also included a large beige outdoor rug with navy design. Outdoor rugs are an inexpensive indoor option for high traffic areas with kids and pets! It doesn't matter that they were intended for outdoor use. "Outdoor" just means they will keep up with the wear and tear inside my house! I've received many compliments on this rug and now the truth is out. It's just an outdoor rug I picked out at Home Depot a few years ago.
The bedding I purchased at Target this fall except for the large lumbar blue ticking pillow available in my Etsy Shop and my handmade rag quilt with denim leaves. This rag quilt is one of those that I had in my shop but when no one snatched it up, I couldn't resist keeping it for myself. It's my favorite and when my son comes home from college for a visit, that special quilt goes in a drawer!
I also added my Grandma Little's 1950's sewing desk. It still houses an operable sewing machine. The top of the desk folds back and the machine flips out from underneath. I haven't used it in a while as it does miss some stitches but again, it reminds me of her and her home.
I still need to paint all the trim and the mantle in this room SW Pure White. I will also need to strip the paint off the original doors of closet and bedroom and then stain the wood to match the floor. Won't it look fabulous!
When I first walked through our charming cottage I was in love! But still, in so many of the rooms I thought, "This must go!".
Well, that's exactly how I felt about the light fixture in the Central Hallway.
Here it is close up!:
The two modern looking pendant lamps hung oh so low. The previous owners must have had artwork displayed here and thus the track lighting. This however was not our plan. I really wanted to rewind our little cottage back to a more 1920's look.
And then there was the tired mint colored paint which extended up the stairway. It looked like something I would have painted a little girl's room in once upon a time. In addition to the mint, I could see where the previous owners had color coordinated the hallway with the dark overwhelming teal in the dining room. And as held true through most of the original first floor, there was two toned cream/beige trim. Yep, someone had tried to "touch up" all the trim with a completely different shade of paint.
So after finishing the walls of the dining room, I started on the makeover of this adjacent hallway. The dining room had been recently transformed with Sherwin Williams (SW) Vanillin and a mostly navy rug with some rich color accents. Beyond the dining room is the navy bedroom (future study) I painted SW Salty Dog.
The central hallway also adjoins to our vintage pink bathroom and the still bright baby blue kitchen. I wanted to keep it neutral since the space touches so many areas and at the same time tie this in with an overall color scheme.
So I chose to paint above the chair rail with SW Paperwhite and below the chair rail with SW Salty Dog. Paperwhite is two shades lighter than our dining room color Vanillin. And Salty Dog is the same paint color as the navy bedroom. I also continued with my trim paint choice for the house, SW Pure White, on all the trim and chair rail.
So I hit my target! The color choices remained classy and neutral while tying into an overall color scheme.
Now back to the light fixture!
I would tell you the model number and all that of our new beautiful bronze light fixture but it's out of production now. So sad! This information would be of no use to you. I've seen similar fixtures in stores here and there though so the look wouldn't be hard to replicate.
I love the dark bronze finish and the elegant look of one single pendant light fixture in this hallway!
I'm so please with how our hallway turned out!
In these pictures I still need to finish the SW Pure White trim around the dining room and paint the flat part of my stair steps SW Tres Naturale. I would also love to tone down that bright baby blue in the kitchen with SW Sky High.
More to come!...
We're not quite finished yet but I'm so happy with the transformation thus far that I had to share! The dining room is at a central location in our home and is used daily. Yep, it's practically the hallway. I will also use this space to make
Our Ginger Cottage pillows! And we will eat special meals around this table. This is not the typical modern dining room that never gets used. Quite the contrary! So the space had to be neutral and useful to our family.
More details on how we decorated this space:
I love the new paint color: SW 6371 Vanillin! This color gave the room a warm, soft, classical look. I'm pretty faithful to Sherwin Williams so you'll find that all my paint colors are their products. I love the shade of teal that the room was before...but so.much.teal! Wow! I had to soften things up.
Vanillin hit the spot!
The rug is also new. I needed a 9 ft x 12 ft size which are rarely found in stores. Honestly, I was a little afraid to purchase a large, expensive item online. I'm old school and I like to see and touch the things I buy from a store. I feel blind when I shop online. So to ease my discomfort with a large online purchase, we scoured Lowe's Home Improvement online store.
I found this beautiful rug! It ties in with another adjoining room I just painted a shade of navy blue (more on that later) and also our living room which is a washed out blue gray color. Our Christmas tree will go in this room so I had to choose rug colors that would look good in any season, especially around the winter holidays. You can't go wrong with a traditional rug that brings in some navy, sage, dark red, light blue and beige. Winning colors from Lowe's with Mahal Ghorda Navy/Natural Oriental Area Rug!
We added some of our favorites to this room:
Amish Rocker from Keith's parents
Cane Rocker from Grandpa Zook
Tall Cupboard refinished by my Grandma Zook many years ago
Antique China from my mother
Artwork mostly thrifted
Table and bench Amish made that Keith and I purchased years ago
Antique chairs given to us years ago and I refinished some time ago
We love this room to use all these treasures.
I still need some curtains for those 99 inch high windows. And I need to paint all the trim which is a grand mess of oil based paint and touch up with I'm not sure what. Anyway, it will be fun! Stay tuned!