When we decided to make the cottage a place to sleep in overnight we thought about bed sizes and I perused a lot of Air BnB suggestions on Pinterest. (They are a great resource for how to make a guest home work for guests.) We are a really tall family so that factored into the plans. We considered a Murphy bed but the largest they come in is queen and we thought a king would be our best choice. By the way, if you want a room to have lots of functions and a queen, double or twin work for you, Murphy beds are awesome. We installed one in our back bedroom it was a lot of work but we love that we have a comfortable bed or a work/craft space.
Also, I want to be able to use the cottage for more than just a place to sleep. Just this Saturday there was an impromptu dance recital performance by two of my granddaughters that required things to be moved against the wall so the room would be more open. (They were magnificent by the way!). I can see using the space for baby/wedding showers, birthdays, game nights etc. so I didn’t want a quarter of the space to be taken up all the time.
I discovered searching online that there are bed frames that can be bolted and unbolted together and there is a strap and filler made just for the purpose of making two twins a king. That sealed the deal for us. Two twin xl beds were going to be in our future.
I shopped marketplace and found two mattresses and box springs used to stage a home. The guy that bought them thought they could be returned once the house sold but they got a little scuffed on one end moving them in. They were brand new expensive mattresses. I bet he wished he had hired a stager instead of trying to work the system but his loss, our gain. The still wrapped in plastic box springs were donated to Restore. A friend gave us a king sized bed topper that will make it even better.
We now can configure the room several ways.
Daybeds in the corner (this is how it looks most of the time).
Side by side twin beds
The night stands were once a vanity table that had been left in a garage for years. I love how cutting it in two, removing the peeling veneer, and painting the body made the furniture useful again.
We are ready for company. Flushing potty, hot water, beds, and most importantly air conditioning!
We laid out the quilt and decided to display 9 squares in a 3 x 3 pattern.
Mr. Math designed a quilt hanger using two sections of 1 x 6 painted boards and four bolts to basically hold the quilt in place by squeezing the folded quilt in place.
Slipping the folded quilt in was tricky but the idea worked!
Mr. Math cut off the bolts then we hung the quilt with some small brackets that held up the wood part without touching the quilt.
It looked good the first try but a little too low. I could just see it getting pulled down.
The second try was much better.
I am so glad to have a place for the quilt. The frames next to the quilt hold two framed prints of quilts that we bought in the early 90’s and a piece of tatting my grandmother made. Still working on getting something cohesive for the pillows on the beds when using them as daybeds.
It is so nice to have another project done.
Thanks for following along with us on our journey.
I bought this piece of Ethan Allen cabinetry at a resale shop years ago. It would have been part of an entertainment center. It hung out in storage then had legs added and moved into my principal office as a printer cabinet after it was painted a vivid turquoise. It served me well until I moved to another position where I couldn’t bring my furniture.
It was moved with us and ironically ended up stored in almost the same spot where it now is in the guest house for years.
When we got all the furniture out I thought it would work with the color scheme but the two 1950’s chair cushions were too much for the space.
Of course the solution was to change the color. The only color I could see it as was red. I also wanted some of the turquoise to come through because even though it is bright, I like it. Believe it or not there is a bit of a paint shortage in our area. Apparently it is the time of the year that students paint their parking space and red was hard to find. It took three stores. I would have loved that… back in the day’
I brushed a few areas with paint thinner, painted the cabinet classic red, then sanded over places to let it look a little distressed.
It is amazing how it changed the look. Of the piece.
Not sure the folks at Ethan Allen would approve but we like it. We have installed a television so the cabinet is going to hold dvds etc.
Still plugging along on the exterior but soon there will be paint.
My great grandmother (Katie) was twenty when she had my grandmother (Helen), my grandmother was twenty when she had my mom, and my mom was twenty four when she had me. That means my grandmother was forty four when I was born and my great grandmother was sixty four. Sounds crazy to me but I had really young grandmothers. I am saying this as a sixty year old grandmother of a three and five year old.
All that talk about my linage is because both my grandmother and great grandmother had a huge impact on me. My grandmother was a career woman, a worker bee who made her on destiny and was the bread winner for her family after my grandfather was injured on an oil rig because that was really her only option. My great grandmother lived alone for many years on the homestead of her husband’s family after my great grandfather passed away. It was 17 miles from a paved road. We would turn off the highway onto a gravel road and into the interior of Louisiana to a land grant that had been in the family since the late 1800’s. Katie was a great cook, had a quite strength, and was a hard worker.
There was no indoor bathroom or phone at Katie’s house when I was young. I think a bathroom was installed when I was in elementary school. There was an elevated cistern outside the kitchen that caught rain water so that the kitchen sink had running water. Of course there was no television. I can remember going to my great grandmother’s house when I was in elementary school with my grandmother for a week during the summer. Funny, but I don’t remember being hot. It had to be really hot there but it isn’t one of the things I remember. My grandmother didn’t learn to drive until she was 50 so heading out for a trip to Louisiana was an adventure for both of us. It was like going to pioneer camp or time traveling back 100 years. We would get up in the morning, Katie would make breakfast, milk the cow, find the eggs (free range chickens), throw leftovers to the hogs, and I can even remember churning butter in a glass butter churn. My great grandmother had a treadle sewing machine that had been converted to electric at some point that she sewed on. She loved quilting and during the week she would work on a quilt. She would either work on squares or use her stretcher to do the quilting depending on where she was in the process.
I loved being there. Even when I was so young I knew how special it was to get to spend time with those ladies. I have such happy memories of the homestead that I wanted to make my guest house feel like going to Katie’s house. I picked the colors from a quilt she made. I have no idea when Katie made the quilt, my guess is mid 1950’s because of the colors but my grandmother gave the quilt to me when I got married in 1982 and the quilt looked ancient then. The quilt colors are what I am using as the color scheme in the house.
The kitchen walls at Katie’s house had what I believe was bead board on them. I know it was slats. When I had v groove planks given to us I knew it would work for the kitchenette area. I loved it so much it became a whole wall.
Everything was functional inside and outside of Katie’s house but she managed to insert pretty things where she could. I believe that is why she loved to quilt. Bright colors and fabrics with a function.
I don’t remember a lot of purely decorative items in the house. I plan on not having a lot of purely decorative things in the space but want to have things that serve a purpose and are pretty at the same time. I plan on hanging up my grandmothers’ (both sides of the family) rolling pins. They are packed away right now but will be coming out soon. Glass and wood with many a biscuit and pie crust between them. I am getting an old map of our county framed to hang from before the lake was built. That just feels like something my grandparents would have hung up along with the feed store calendar and pictures of the family.
I was so fortunate that my daughter got to meet her great-great grandmother, Katie. I love this picture of them together.
I can’t wait to show you the progress that has been made. I also have a few funny stories to share.
As we are getting ready to sell our sweet little near the lake house, I think I am getting sentimental.
I dug out our scrap book from the first few years of our journey and was pleasantly surprised at all we have done on the home. I also thought back to all we did not know or have when we bought Star Hill eight years ago.
If you are anything like us, buying a second home is a stretch financially and a little scary. Buying a second home means there is suddenly a new house payment, electrical bill, home owner association dues, water, taxes, upkeep… the list is long.
First of all, buy only what you can afford comfortably, be aware in advance what to expect like how much to plan for utilities. I was such a nervous nelly that I insisted we make “payments” for two months into our savings account before we actually bought the house. That money we deposited was our contingency fund. Hubby was so desperate to convince me that we could afford it he packed his lunch for work.
What we didn’t have a great plan for was furniture. We bought a three bedroom home with very little furniture that would work in the small spaces.
I set a goal of getting the house move in ready for $1000 and we got it done. Move in ready does not mean perfect. It means we could spend the night, have guests, and have the basics.
There were a few things I learned from the experience that I think applies to any time you set up a new home. We followed the same strategy when setting up both of our kids in their first apartment.
1. Walk through your own home to see what can go to the weekend house . We were able to come up with linens, lamps, utensils, a chair, a cedar cabinet, and our first couch. You can see the ugly couch in the trailer packed for our trip to move into the lake house. It looked much better with a slip cover.
2. Let folks know what you need. Tell people what you are looking for. Cast the net and let people know specifically what you have on your list. We ended up getting to borrow a great table and chairs for several years until we built the set we now have. A friend gave me this ginger jar lamp and mom gave us a bedside table. Don’t turn things down because it is the wrong style, shape or color. Paint covers a lot of ugly, changing out parts makes things like lamps look better. Hardware can make something look totally different.
3. Roadside rescue. Look every day you can on Craig’s list free stuff. Ask friends to call with curb alerts. Every home I have furnished has at least a few curbside rescues. Star Hill is chock full of rescues. The biggest- you really won’t believe me, but it is true, is our master bedroom dresser, chest, and a night stand we use in the guest room. We also have this cast iron typewriter table that was left at our city house when the previous owners moved off.
4. Get up early and hit garage sales. Go with a list of items you need. Wooden chairs, storage items, lawn chairs, beach towels, life jackets, and cooking items, and decorative items were picked up at garage sales for pennies on the dollar. Ask when you go to a garage sale if they have specific items. I asked about sewing cabinet at a garage sale a year ago and the man holding the garage sale took me to the back yard to see two old treadle machines. The wooden parts were dry rotted, but the bases are now my master bedroom side tables. I got this chair and bookcase for $2.00 each. Glue, paint and fabric helped them.
5. Go to resale and thrift stores. Yes, they sometimes smell funny. Get past it and check out their furniture. Look for solid wood. Remember paint cures a lot. This coffee table was a Goodwill find. Blue paint updated the look and covered the scratched top.
6. Shop the clearance sections of target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Kirkland’s, and Marshall’s. We picked red, white, and blue for our home colors. When looking for dishes, pillows, accessories I mixed and matched. A lot of our red stuff came from after Christmas sales. I have mixed and matched dishes that are all solid colors.
7. Shop Craig’s List. Be safe and never go alone but we find a lot there. My most recent CL find was this wood stove. This twin over double
8. Auctions are another source to furnish your home. One cold, wet January we got this brand new leather sleeper sofa ( our second sofa in the home) for $150.00. No one was bidding so we snagged it. It is great.
9. If you just can’t find what you need, make it yourself. Check out Pinterest, Ana White’s blog, or just Google what you need instructions to make. I am lucky enough to be married to a woodworker so I can just draw it and get what I want. This buffet, these benches, and this table are all examples of his hard work.
Over the years we have added, replaced, and upgraded. That is the fun of having a place. Because we don’t have tons invested in the furnishings I have given myself permission to experiment.
Ever since I started blogging, I have stopped 25 thousand page views to look over what happened since we started. I just hit 100,000 page views. I had not been paying much attention to the stats so this one was a bit of a surprise. It used to take a long time to reach 25 thousand page views. I mean a really long time. This time took 5 months. I was worried that in the last five months I wouldn’t have much to show you guys. It felt to me like we were sort of stuck and not getting a lot done. The kids moved out of the country, the garage is full of unfinished projects, school got started, life happened.
When I actually looked back over the last five months , I was pleasantly surprised. We got a little more done than I remembered.
My favorites from the last five months are below. If you click on the link below each picture it will take you to that actual blog, complete with DIY and pictures.
Our biggest project was updating our suburban bathroom and figuring out how to get that restoration hardware weathered wood look on a dresser. Board and batten, cool shelf, zinc finished towel rack and chandelier made to look like wood beads.
This year we are going to do something a little different for Christmas. We are taking a cruise. Yep. I was in a funk about two of the kids not being here that I just decided we were going to do something different. We tried a snowy vacation home but couldn’t work it out. Sooo, a four-day cruise to Mexico it is. There will be 10 of us on the trip. I am excited. We have never been on a cruise, so I am sure it will be an adventure.
I did decorate for Christmas… sort of. I mean we got the tree up, the mantle done, the table decorated and we got the yard stuff out. If you don’t see a space it is because there is no decorating going on there.
Welcome to our Christmas home.
My favorite mantle ever. I love the rustic wood, the tarnished silver, the burlap.
Our tree is beautiful. Burlap, deer and cardinals.
The tree is 10 feet tall.
The hidden office has a little deer stuff on top.
The Coke Christmas village is something we collected for several years. It has been a while since we had a spot for it. The newspaper around the village parts was 1998. I think the green hutch is the perfect spot.
The farmhouse table has tree cookies cut from the lake, dishes collected from thrift stores and Target, the lanterns were garage sale finds, the basket normally has our silverware in it on the peninsula.
The porch and backyard are as done as they will be except I do plan on sprucing up the plants. I really like the porch. Just enough. Next year the yard is getting a little more love but this year I traveled two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That knocked out the decorating.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas.
I have been blogging for two years now and my husband and I want to thank you all for joining us on this journey. We are smarter than we were two years ago but we still have a lot to learn.
I know it is December and I should be writing about Christmas, but I just got back from Santa Fe and being the oversharer that I am, I wanted to share Santa Fe with you.
If you haven’t been to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I would suggest you add it to your bucket list. It is a unique and quirky little city with an artsy style like no other. Back in the 1950’s the city decided that what they had was special and enacted laws to preserve the look, size, and feel of this desert mountain oasis.
The buildings are almost all brown and a form of Adobe style. (Only grandfathered buildings are not Adobe and brown.). I stay lost when I am there because there aren’t the usual landmarks. (There are five shades of brown allowed for buildings.) The Santa Fe color comes out in the trim, the textiles, the pottery, and the plants around the homes and businesses.
I realized this week that even though I don’t have Santa Fe style in design I am drawn to Santa Fe colors. I love the turquoise, teal, red, orange, brown, and cream colors. They soothe me and make me feel at home.
Here are a few shots taken on my iPhone. No camera this trip. I was working and a camera bag didn’t make the cut.
Outdoor art is everywhere. I really like this wind park.
Enjoy a few shots from outdoor vendors. You can really see the colors come through here. Once again, sorry about the photo quality.
The colors are vibrant and full of life. My favorite place to shop is the market square. All the vendors are native Americans who hand make the items. Their work is beautiful and the stories are even better.
It seems like
I also like how the rustic wood plays against the bright colors.
Here are a few pieces I have done that have that Santa Fe color scheme:
I love the bright colors on a cold day.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you have a wonderful day,
Two four year old dollar store chairs that were faded by the sun, a newly power washed concrete slab, a small table that folds up and has floated around the house for years, and a tray I found in the boy’s closet when I cleaned it out. (No idea why I put it there…)
Valspar spray paint- Tropical Oasis…what could be more perfect?
A quick spray of the chairs later, this is the result.
Real beauties huh?
Not too bad now. I think we will be out in them in the morning. Want to join us?