Thursday, February 11, 2010

Maine Kitchen Phase 1

We had just moved in last July when I shot this picture of our kitchen and breakfast room.

Our kitchen, breakfast room, and family room run the entire width of the back of the house.

The kitchen is not nearly as dark as these pictures show... it is poor photographer skills.

After pondering how to use limited funds to renovate this area. I came up with the following priorities:

Remove the 37 "wall separating the two rooms and move the slider next to the existing slider

Add a window and baseboard heating to the breakfast area

Replace the 1980's tile and carpet with hardwoods

Remove soffit/furdown above upper cabinets and build a "box" above the cabinets to imitate the lines of the existing cabinets


We also chose to replace the range and microwave. Today our new space is so light and bright that we don't even notice the chipped formica counters, the dinged up lower cabinets, the big hole next to the fridge,mismatched furniture, the walls that need to be decorated.... those will be on the Phase 2 list. (oops when editing I saw old microwave on counter)

Here are some pictures of the new kitchen family room space:

Going to take a break between kitchen phase 1 and phase 2. Moving onto the living room. Any suggestions?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rachel is turning on the lights !

As soon as the new Rachel Ashwell book came out..... I rushed to the bookstore in Portsmouth NH, expecting a huge Ashwell display greeting me as I came thru the front door.

Did not happen.

I went to the desk and asked for the location of the new Rachel Ashwell book....

"Who?" asked the lady at the counter.

I was aghast... but then my husband had just asked me the same question... oh well it was not gonna dampen my spirit...

As I repeated my request, the counterlady began typing on the computer and responded.... "all I see is a book titled Shabby CHICK Interiors and it is back-ordered until October 3. Would you like for us to call you when it comes in?"

I still don't have my copy of the book yet...

but today I received a mass email from Rachel ... letting me know that she is turning on the lights at her 2 original stores. The store in Santa Monica re-opened Sept 12!

here is a link to her blog with the details.

I am a huge fan of Rachel's design and have used her philosophy in making our house a home.
Today I am so happy to hear of her return and wish her success.

Friday, September 04, 2009

hanging onto the last days of summer

Last week I arranged the last of summer hydrangeas into the blue willow ginger jar in our bedroom. It is so late in the season, these flowers can dry in the ginger jar, retaining their muted color well into spring.

As I began writing this post, my eye caught The Wentworth-by-the-sea hotel in the mantel picture. I love the Wentworth and its rich history. The Wentworth was built in 1874 in New Castle NH (Portsmouth) and served as an east coast resort for many years. In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt brought the peace talks between Russia and Japan to the Wentworth. These peace talks resulted in the Portsmouth Treaty and brought the end of the Russo-Japanese War. TR won a nobel peace prize for overseeing these peace talks. Sadly, during the 1980s-1990s the hotel was closed and scheduled for tear down. Yes tear down.. however, the local community founded the "Friends of the Wentworth" which eventually became the catalyst for saving this wonderful piece of history from destruction. Today, the Wentworth-by-the-sea has been totally renovated and operates as a full resort and a wonderful piece of history.

Finding myself still hanging onto the colors of a summer garden.... but knowing that here in Maine the mornings are crisper, the sun sets earlier, and believe it or not Halloween is 47 days away.

Not quite ready for pumpkins yet.... but soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

... a little help from my friends....

This summer my love for reading design blogs has returned with a vengeance. After spending the last 12 months immersed in renovating a little 1930's stone house from top to bottom, I am thirsty for inspiration. The blogosphere never disappoints with the wealth of shared creativity and generosity of bloggers .

Kitchen renovations have been at the top of my viewing list lately... although deficits in attention cause me to linger on ALL posts pertaining to design.

Anyhoo... on a budget with 2 in college and trying to get my mojo going... I was elated when I stumbled upon the Southern Hospitality Blog and sweet Rhoda's post about staining a banister with a polyshade product. As Rhoda says "The beauty of Polyshades is that it’s stain and poly all in one." Well the banisters in my house are fine... but my kitchen table was in serious need of an UP-DO as evidenced in this picture.

Oh wait.... it is so icky.... I kept a tablecloth on it and didn't take a before picture. BUT.. go ahead... use your imagination to picture a honey-colored 1970's era LOVELY piece of furniture.

I used the polyshades black stain... no sanding , no priming, just took the tablecloth off and cleaned off the surface a bit. So with one coat of a $7.00 can of black polyshades stain... this is my result :

I am so happy with the results! Even got an exclamation (positive) from the college princess when she saw it. I also spray painted the chairs white... they were turquoise.

Thank you Rhoda and thanks to all of the design bloggers out there who inspire us with their wonderful posts. Hopefully I can inspire someone with my little project.

This project motivated me so much that I have since painted the kitchen cabinets and the walls... TWICE .... but that is a different post!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It is a new door for us, both literally and figuratively... another new chapter.

The little stone house in Fredericksburg has sold and we have moved our summer belongings back to the seacoast of maine into a 1980's fixer upper. We will slowly renovate this seacoast home while high school princess.. now college princess attends university up here. The eldest princess is seeking employment here as well . Both are determined that I do NOT find another reason to sell . Squatters rights?

Anyhoo... the front needed a quick makeover with some purply blue paint on that green door. it feels more like our home.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

*9 Months Later...

....A dining room is born.

 Here is a picture of our dining room when we viewed the house to buy it... so this is the WAY BEFORE picture.  
* awkward arch in the wall,
*the carpet (that was covering up plywood, and beautiful wood floors that had been mistreated)
*acoustic ceiling tiles (we found plywood underneath those)
*wall papered  thin wall board

The next photo was shot looking into the dining room from the living room and in it you can see the workmen are enclosing the lovely hole that existed between the dining room and kitchen. Also notice the turquoise shelves.... and the lovely arched opening is GONE!

A view from the kitchen into the Dining Room before the opening was enclosed

and the dining room as it looks today... you can see a big influence from my favorite blogger,
Joni, from Cote de Texas who writes a blog I visit daily.  As I told her, I am not a consistent blogger, nor am I a consistent commenter, but I am a consistently huge fan of Joni as well as several other design blogs out there.  

The wall color is Ralph Lauren Putty, trim is Pratt and Lambert Seed Pearl.  The zebra rug was purchased online from, the white slipcovered chairs I picked up from the antique mall for $25 each.... and the McCoy vases I have collected for years.... the fireplace is from Lowes 75% markdown and the mirror was purchased from RED in Fredericksburg Texas.

Here are a few more shots... one  from the living room into the dining room

and from the kitchen into the dining room

It has been a L-O-N-G nine months, but I am so pleased with the results of our labor and the whole house renovation. Thanks to  my mom for taking the pictures and thanks to all you design bloggers out there who filled my head with inspiration! 

More pictures to come!  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Day Remembered

My eldest daughter has the name of my mother.

My youngest daughter has the name of my mother's sister.

This Mother's Day, my two daughters, my mother and I traveled to meet our cousins in the heartland of America.  We gathered in the old family cemetery where my daughters' great-great grandmother and several of her babies are buried.  It was always my aunt's wish that she would return to the farmland of the midwest, to be with her grandmother.  Her wishes were honored on Mother's Day, with 4 generations of her family clutching  umbrellas in the Eel River Church Cemetery.

Afterwards,we all gathered at the only place in  town.... Dairy Queen.   No matter though... the conversation was rich as 4 generations  shared story after story that only a family could love. 

  The old family home built in early 1900s is for sale. We had fun daydreaming about buying it !

                                                   Great great grandmother's farm

                                              House my mom lived in during grade school

 My grandfather built this house. We lurked out front for so long that the owner came out and  invited us in.

                                                         The old movie theatre

                            Sisters of a new generation on the steps of an old family home

                                     We toured Mom's  high school..looks like a movie set.

                                                Does your high School have a natatorium ? 
                                                         I think it is a good SAT word.

 It was a happy- sad- cold- warm Mother's Day we will remember....forever.