Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Masculine Bedroom

Jr. has his own ideas about design; English antiques make his heart sing, paired with industrial edge pieces, and art that shows life in the 1930's.  He has a hat collection; a combination of antique and new, of which he wears all.   His quarters are located upon the second floor of the carriage house; a bedroom, and private bath.  The bedroom space is nice sized, 14' X 16', unfortunately, with several design challenges.  Four doors; exterior, bathroom, cottage, and closet to one of the only closets in the house.  The exterior door has two steps, transitioning to an exterior balcony.  There are also three windows; one with the window unit, one flanking the exterior door and one directly across  from the exterior door.  Between doors and windows there is little wall space and multiple pathways.  There is a lot going on in this room, isn't there?  

Exterior door with steps to the left, center door leads to bath, and door right is the closet.

The bathroom design is difficult to date.  There was a major renovation to the cottage in the past; this bathroom helps us date it approximately 1940's.  The celadon green 4" X 4" tiles, matching fixtures, and darker hunter green border provide clues.  The tile floor was recently covered over with white ceramic 12" X 12" tile. Someday, we plan to remove the tile and see what lies beneath. My ever hopeful self, just knows there celadon green mosaic under there - maybe.   


Most 1940's bathrooms, would have featured a sink set atop chrome legs.  This bathroom has a cabinet, which is somewhat unusual.  However, the bathroom being located atop the carriage house, would indicate it was rental property. Short-term room rental is common upon the island.  Other clues to age include the door style; five rectangular panels grace each door, and also indicate the space was renovated in the 1940's.  This is the only room in the cottage with the rectangular designed doors.

Bldg - 302Photo Credit: Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

Galveston Island was home to Fort Crockett, named after Texas hero Davy Crockett.  During WWII, a portion of the facility became a prisoner of war camp.  The island was "home" to a  large number of military personnel. During the war  it was common place for rooms to be rented to military spouses, or personnel not required to be on premises at Crockett.   A 1940's renovation of the carriage house, creating a short-term rental space, makes sense.  After the war, the fort was turned in to a recreational facility for military.  Unfortunately, the facility was lost after Ike; extensive flooding, and damage resulted in the fort being demolished this past year.  It was a sad loss.

Jr.'s had a list of desires for his bedroom; he wanted his bed to "float" in the center of the room, allowing him to walk about the entire bed, drapes that could be easily pulled closed,  something covering most of the window along the center back wall of his room, a full length mirror, his hat collection displayed for easy access and he wanted his room in all grey with no pattern.   You've seen our solution to the AC hvac window unit.  If not you may read about it here.

We chose to make Jr. a new headboard and footboard; we used plywood, and batting, then affixed grey sheeting, and finally, slip covered each end in grey velvet tying the edges with grosgrain ribbon. There's that French touch, shhh, don't tell Jr.  The result, a soft,padded head, and foot board giving a daybed feel.  The solution for the back window; a pull shade, pulled only 1/3 of the way up, it drapes and obscures most of the view to the back window.  On the island, homes are within close proximity to one another. The back window gives view to the neighbor's home, and backyard. 


The need for a full length mirror prompted me to use a pair of mirrors, previously located in our Austin home's dining room.  The pair reflect light, and balance the wall behind the bed.  Jr. didn't want the mirrors hung, he wanted them leaned, so that he can easily see himself head to feet.  The back wall in this room, is calling to me. 

I believe there may be shiplap behind the sheetrock - I need to muster enough courage to find out.  Wouldn't a shiplap accent wall be beautiful in this room? Unpainted, rough, and masculine - imagine

In keeping with the remainder of our cottage; the walls are painted SW7036, Accessible Beige, the trim is SW7035, Aesthetic White, and the doors are black chalk paint.  I used chalk paint because I wanted the doors to have a very flat, dull finish.

We chose an organic curve to display Jr.'s hat collection.  With the design being organic rather than geometric, we can add hats at will.  I am confident there will be hats added. Jr's been collecting hats since he received his first one at age 2 


I suppose this simple baseball style cap, sparked the collecting and wearing. We spent many moments frantically searching for that hat, it had to be found in order to leave the house. "Mama pweese, not without me hat!" Melt.  

Jr.'s collection ranges from fedora's, to beret.  Hanging the hats so they may be easily accessed, and also maintain their shape was a trick.  We chose stair railing wall brackets.  The brackets are easily mounted to the wall, and have a hook with a 4" flat bar to mount a stair railing upon.  That flat cross bar, holds a hat, perfectly.  These mounts may be found in your local home improvement center, hardware section. 

The exterior entrance is flanked with one window and leads to a balcony.  The height for the exterior balcony is higher than the floor of the bedroom, two steps were used to handle the transition.   Jr. requested drapes that were easy to open and close.  We decided upon floor length drapes; when closed they "pool" upon the steps, if we had cut them to brush the top of the steps they would have looked odd, and too short when open.  I made the drapes to just "kiss" the floor.  The door window combination is 8' wide.  In an effort to match the bedding, and have enough fullness to the drapes, which should be twice the width of the window, we chose to use Queen sized flat sheets, lined with drapery lining.

The top wall space above the windows and door is only 5" tall. The narrow space created quite a drapery hardware dilemma.  We chose a 1/2 copper grounding rod, mounted on 1/2 black metal drapery rod mounts.  We used 1" satin nickel drapery clip rings to attach the drapery to the rod.  The copper rod is  normally used to ground electrical current, and may be found in the electrical department of your local home improvement center.  The combination of the copper rod, black mounts, and nickel clip rings adds a little industrial flare to the space. 


Exterior balcony

Jr.'s version of his bed.  (please forgive photo quality) What is it with guys and pillows?

Jr. and I are currently negotiating his living space above the garage. It's a large open room accented with balcony.   His list of design wishes are similar; grey, no print, etc..,  the most interesting idea is constructing a desk from copper electrical pipe.  That should be fun!  I'll keep you posted.

Wishing you all the best, until next time -

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Window HVAC Shutter Cover

Our cottage is actually three buildings; the main cottage built in 1894, the carriage house presumably built in 1894, and the recently constructed detached garage.  Having three separate buildings poses advantages and disadvantages.  Our largest advantage is privacy for ourselves and Jr., our young adult son. The most evident disadvantage is mechanicals; electrical, plumbing, HVAC.  Each building being separate results in oddities; while the cottage has a central hvac system, the carriage house bedroom and game room above the garage both have window hvac units.  Unfortunately, window hvac units are not at all attractive.  Faced with a dilemma of how to camouflage the necessary units, yet maintain use, and accessibly I considered shutters.

The cottage seller was kind enough to gift us the remaining original shutters to our cottage.  While not structurally sound; the chippy paint, and smoky grey color made my heart sing.  Feeling these treasures needed to be preserved and used in a special place, they inspired a cover for the hvac units. The shutter slats  allow airflow, and light, while obscuring the view of the actual unit.  This project would also be great for windows with unfavorable views. 

The cover was a fairly simple construction project.  We began by measuring our window, a standard 34" wide by 58" tall.  We chose to cover the unsightly cord and outlet for the unit as well, constructing the frame for the shutters just above the baseboard.  We used 2 X 4 pine boards to allow enough depth from the wall to close the shutters over the window unit, which pultrudes past the frame.  Our gifted, vintage shutters; each being 18" wide and 84" tall, determined the size of our frame.  Three of the shutters covered a width of 54".  We cut two boards at 54" for the horizontal cross boards and two boards at 84 for the vertical edges. 

I stained each board using Minwax, oil based "Classic Gray" stain.  I chose a stain to coordinate with the shutters because stain is transparent; the color can be built up and the grain of the wood is visible through the stain.  I felt the stained frame would work well with the chippy shutters. Paint is an option if you want a more solid colored frame.  I stained my boards a top a tarp, and used protective gloves to prevent the stain from staining our floor and my hands.  I allowed the boards to dry over night.

We located the studs in the wall and took down measurements.  We predrilled the holes in the boards based upon the measurements for the studs we located in the wall. We mounted the boards to the wall with the 4" sides perpendicular to the wall using 6" sheetrock screws. The 4" depth was needed in order for the shutters to be able to close flat over the window unit.

We used a pair of 4" heavy door hinges to mount the shutters to the frame, and four smaller 2"  brass hinges to attach the shutters together. We used a set of four hinges due to the height of our shutters.  Follow manufacturers instructions and recommendation on applying the hinges to the surfaces. We predrilled the shutters on each side to attach hinges for hanging. We also predrilled the shutter frame as well.  Predrilling prevents splitting of the wood.  We applied our door hinges to each side of the frame, mounting at 12" from the top and bottom.

We mounted the pair of hinged shutters to the door hinges  already attached to the frame on the right, and the single shutter to the door hinges already attached to the left of the frame. Our gifted shutters were dressed with a vintage hook and eye for latching the shutters together.  A hook and eye can be purchased in the hardware section of any home improvement center, and would need to be mounted upon the center of the shutters where they meet. The hook and eye latch the shutters closed.

The final result as shown above, appears to be vintage shutters latched over a window.  No one would guess that a HVAC window unit is hidden behind the shutters.  I feel the shutters add a bit of architecture to a simple and plain room.  I am especially thrilled we were gifted the original shutters; preserving a bit of our cottage history in an upcycled, repurposed manner.  This particular window is in Jr's bed room, located in the carriage house.  I'll show you the space soon.  Jr's design plan was very specific; he wanted a new bed frame, his bed in the center of the room, grey, his hat collection displayed and accessible, no art, and a full length mirror. He's a fella who knows what he wants -

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you all the best, until next time -

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The dust is beginning to settle

After placing several Craig's List ads, offering furniture and accessories up for adoption, the dust is finally beginning to settle.  Don't you love Craig's List?  Where else can you sell something, to someone with like taste, and make a new friend?  I've met many amazingly talented, and warm people while trading on Craig's List.   Once the urge to purge, left me, we began the task of rearranging, again, and seeking out new treasures for our cottage.

We located this lovely settee by Southern at a small Houston shop.  Down filled, dressed in  solid taupe velvet,  it is as comfy as it is stylish.  At a mere 58" it fits nicely into the "keeping room", off our kitchen.  

For those not "southern" or familiar with the term "keeping room"; the term dates back to Colonial America when families often slept during winter near the kitchen stove for warmth. The keeping room has evolved into a gathering space.  In the south a keeping room is common; often punctuated with a fireplace and windows they serve as a space just off the kitchen to have a coffee, tea, read the newspaper or enjoy a lively conversation with the "chef". 

The cottage has a quirky plan, although renovated, some of the renovations are not working for our family, and the way that we live in our cottage.  Note there is a "pass through window" complete with bar, between the kitchen and our keeping room. I feel the design is a bit 1990's and too modern for an 1894 cottage.  Someday, one of my favorite words, we plan to address that pass through window and bar.  I am debating on complete removal of the wall, or possibly opening either side creating twin  doorways, leaving a bit of wall in the middle, where the sofa could be anchored. What do you think?

Please excuse the crudeness of this mock up.  My concept; create a twin doorway to the right doorway on the left side of the wall, then add open transoms over both the right and left doorways to add height. (We have 12 foot ceilings!) Creating openings on either end,  would leave a narrow width of center wall; the settee could be anchored here. The wall would provide a bit of obscurity to the kitchen from the remainder of our cottage. I realize dividing the house  is an uncommon concept in today's open every wall up design environment. I may chose to follow that open concept trend.   I need to put a sledge hammer in Jr's hands....I wonder if there's shiplap? hmm.

Nestled behind the settee is our sofa table, providing the perfect resting place our antique candle stick lamps.  We happened upon the pair in an antique in Bastrop, more than 20 years ago. Mr. GDC wired the candlesticks, and they've travelled about with us on from home to home.

The previous owner who renovated our cottage, took an original cabinet and installed the return air in the bottom. Our television fit into the cabinet well.  Someday, (there I go again) I want to switch the return air to the backside of this cabinet in a hallway.  I wish for decorative doors, or art to hide the television. Especially, since the television landed in such a prevalent spot.  I believe the previous owner intended this room to be the dining room.  The bar removes much needed space making the room a tight fit for a traditional size table and chairs. With few walls in the cottage, the original built-in was one of two spaces we could place a television.

Our style tends to be traditional; French is a large influence for me, I also adore rustic vintage pieces, and antiques.  Our style tends to get a little formal.  I like to mix a bit of rustic, and contemporary at times in an effort to keep it interesting, and more casual. Mr. GDC and I happened upon a sad pair of Martha Washington chairs waiting in a local downtown Galveston shop.  We adopted the chairs, brought them home, and refinished the frames in a grey wash.  I felt a little edge to our traditional, French style would be fun. I chose to recover the chairs in a velvet and linen fabric; the backing of the fabric is a heavy woven linen with a grey velvet key design atop.  You can find the fabric, "Kirkland Graphite" here.  The contemporary fabric on a traditional frame transformed sad chairs into snappy chairs.

A small footstool is centered in the keeping room.  The room being small I use it as an additional place to sit a glass, hiding spot for the remote, and with the tray removed you can raise your feet and relax.  There is nothing I love more than when someone comes by, and puts their feet up. A simple gesture, makes me feel friends feel welcome, comfortable here, and I'm heart happy.

The cottage is a bit of maze; when you enter the foyer, located right of the photo, you step down into a room in the center of the cottage. The original black pocket doors on the left open to Mr. GDC's home office.  The center room has three major pathways through it; to the foyer door, to the home office and from the front of the cottage to the back where the kitchen is located.  Notice there is but a small single wall section in this space. The room is open on two sides, features a large window to the world, and finally has pocket doors.  I tried all sorts of options here, and settled upon the dining room. We play cards, work jigsaw puzzles and Mr. GDC reads the morning paper at the table.  Locating the dining room in the center of the cottage is working well for us.

This photo was taken standing in front of the pocket doors.  To the left you can see the foyer. The dining room is separated from the keeping room by a pair of cabinets with columns atop.  Past the keeping room is the kitchen.   There's that someday wall staring at me.  With the wall completely gone the interior of our cottage would be an open concept.   The narrow center wall with doorways on either side would create a bit of obscurity to the kitchen preventing it from being in full view.  I'll ponder a while longer, before turning Jr. loose with that sledge hammer!  What are you thoughts on the someday wall?  I would enjoy hearing from you -  

Thank you for stopping by, see you soon -

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4th of July Patriotic Party Décor

We had a lovely party on the 4th, celebrating America's independence. I wanted a festive, patriotic theme with an antique vintage feel; casual yet elegant. In the foyer as guest entered they were greeted with a wine station.

A small American flag hung atop artwork, paired with a few stars sitting atop the console table made the display festive.  

In an effort to introduce the vintage glass, sparkle, and shine theme; I placed a vintage glass piece as a candle holder upon an antique silver tray.  Wine glass stems were tied with ribbon; knotted, bowed, different types and widths were used to allow guest to identify their glass.

Simple metallic stars hung from the ceiling with fishing line to provide a festive vibe.  I used 3M Command, in an effort not to harm the ceiling paint. and to prevent falling stars. The dining table is set in buffet style, with serving stations on all sides of the table; allowing guest to access tasty bits from all four sides.

A friend gifted me her grandmother's tatting, laid upon our table as runners it provided an antique edge to our display. Vintage art glass pieces I create from vintage, and antique glass were used as food servers and centerpieces. Dollar Store glass plates, sitting atop silver toned chargers added more sparkle and shine at both ends of the table.

Our menu included Cheddar cheese biscotti, spicy sausage balls, pigs in a blanket, meatloaf sliders, cheese, veggies and crackers. Finger foods so that people could pick up something and wander about enjoying conversation, or grab a plate and feast. 

Champagne glasses served sauces for the sliders and continued the sparkle glass vintage party theme. I find using sauces in small containers allows the sauces to be replenished and keeps them fresh.  A few accents; American flag picks, and "Happy 4th" napkins further the patriotic theme.

  Vintage glass pieces in red, blue and clear infused the table with the patriotic color scheme. Using various heights to serve adds interest to the tablescape.  Offering the same food in various places allows guest the opportunity to serve themselves freely without bumping in to one another. 

In center of our sitting area; an antique tray displayed upon a stool provides convenient snacks while people enjoy conversation. 

We had a lovely time with friends.  I hope you'll find some of these ideas helpful for your next party. Wishing America a wonderful birthday and upcoming year!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy 4th

The porch is dressed to celebrate the 4th.  I located spirited fabrics at www.fabric.com; a Red and White stripe polyester charmeuse,  and a sheer chiffon Navy and White Stars;  perfect for bunting.  The red and white was a generous 60" wide while the navy and white stars is 58".  I split the fabric in half to create a nice width for bunting. 

Our porch is a bit unbalanced, the stairs are located upon the left side of the porch.  I chose to wrap the right side in the red and white stripe and the left upper section in the navy and white stars; to reflect an American flag.

I like the contrast and think stripes on both sides of the porch would have been a bit too much.  In the background you can see "Old Glory" hanging from our son's balcony.

I used four, 4 X 6 flags to create the garland around the front door.  Two flags gathered around the field of stars create the top, the jabot swags are created by one flag on either side.  

View from the porch.  Alternating the swags makes the interior of the porch pretty too.

Wishing you a happy 4th of July!