Monday, November 4, 2013

Marble coffee table

I have had a love affair with white marble since 1987 when I went to Greece to visit my friend from college.  His mother's apartment had wall-to-wall marble floors in each and every room.  For them, it was the bourgeois flooring choice since Greece has so much marble in that region of the world. But if you were wealthy, you had wood floors.  Obviously it is the opposite in America, where wood floors are the more mundane choice due to its cost and marble is only used selectively in more upscale homes.

Anyway, I was browsing around a new antique mall this weekend in Greencastle, PA, and there was a marble slab for sale.  It was about 18 inches by 3 feet, and ~3/4 inches thick.  The edges were all polished as if it had a past life as a table topper.

I had already given thought to putting a marble slab on my little excuse for a coffee table.  It was a little wood base, and it begged for a more substantial top.  The price was right, and I thought that I may never get this chance again.  It was so heavy that I could barely lift it, and a man who was another customer in the antique mall offered to put it in my car.

I won't even describe the awkwardness of getting the thing in my house, but I did it!  And I think it looks great in its new home.  I was concerned that it might be "too much" coffee table for the size of the room, but sometimes you just gotta go with what you love!

 I rarely sit on a couch without wanting to prop my feet up.  It is such a heavy piece of marble that if I put both feet on one end of the table, nothing budges.  Perfection.

I have a big tray (not shown) that held all of the contents that I was using when my coffee table was just the wood base.  Usually I have a couple of books and my current crochet project in the tray.  This weekend, it was heaven to have more room on each side of the tray to put more stuff on as I was snacking or watching TV.  The size is actually perfect.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tour: Piecing it all together

So these pictures show where some of the rooms come together in my 870 sq. ft. chalet.
The front door gets the afternoon sun, and I usually leave the glass storm door exposed like this during the day so that all of the sun comes in.

To the left of the front door is the bathroom, and to the right is the bedroom.  The double doors along the right wall in the picture shown above is where the washer and dryer are.

Above is a loft.  I don't have a full picture of the loft, but here is my Chihuahua, Princeton, taking a nap on one of the twin beds.  (Duvet cover and sheets from IKEA.  Perfect color, no?)

And shown here are my 3 favorite bear pictures.  The previous owner installed these bright picture lights on the wall, which perfectly illuminate the pictures after it is dark.

Tour: Bedroom

All of the furniture that you see in my first blog post was supposed to convey in the sale of the property.  Well, in the end, it didn’t work out that way. I bought an empty house.  Having it furnished would have been nice, but the owner had to drop his price another 10K at the end because the assessed value was less than the asking price.  Since he had to go down another 10K, he wanted his furniture.  So a week before the settlement date, I purchased a queen sized “adjustable” bed from Sleepys, as well as two twin sized beds for placement in the loft.  The beds were delivered an hour or so after the settlement ended.  That was perfect!  At least I had a place to sit in the empty chalet.  And I also pre-purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond the fluffiest and most comfy sheets, duvet and comforter.  I really wanted the bedroom to be a respite for the rat race world that I lived in Monday – Friday. The Chalet would be my dream escape each weekend.

And isn't the pearl chandelier divine?!

The gorgeous quilt on the wall was made by my birth mother (see her talents at "") for my daughter.  Since the colors were perfect for the chalet, I am "borrowing" my daughter's quilt.  hee hee.

Tour: Custom-made Shelves

So if you have read my previous post on "My Crush on a Country Boy Carpenter", you learned that I had three shelves put in.  There is one each on each side the living/dining room, and then one in my bedroom.

I intend to use them eventually more for books, as I am a bibliophile.  But for now they can display other decorative items.

Tour: Kitchen

The kitchen is in a state of constant flux because I am always redecorating.  For now, this is what the kitchen looks like. The top corner cabinet was awkward to fit items, so I took off the cabinet door and placed my favorite turquoise containers in there.  I don't think that anyone would even realize that the kitchen didn't come that way.  I am struggling with whether or not to get a kitchen island.  If you have any thoughts, let me know!  The kitchen originally had an L shaped counter that was also used as a breakfast bar.  The previous owner took it out so that the space was more open.  I like it this way, and wonder if a small island on wheels would still keep the essence of it being open.

I can't wait to get my hands on some white paint for these dark cabinets so that it will fall more into the Shabby Chic aesthetic.  Maybe my Country Boy (see previous post) can help me with this!

Below is my small measuring spoon collection.  I am always looking for new materials and styles that these come in.  Represented here are pewter, porcelain, stoneware, wood, and the ubiquitous steel ones.

I recently bought some nice cutting boards.  The three shown here are:  turquoise stone inset; an olive wood board from Greece; and an etched wood board (the matching etches are on my wood measuring spoons, and have an adorable hedgehog, squirrel and other woodsy animals).  Other items in the basket are my hand carved wooden spoons from Africa.

Shown here is an antique coal scoop that I painted turquoise.  I found this at a shop called "Then and Now" in Shepardstown, WV.  It is a tad small to be used as a kitchen utility crock, but I cope.

Below is a plate that I have on the wall that sets the tone for my color scheme in the house.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this plate!  And it cost something like $6 at a run down flea market in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Lastly, when I first bought the house, my dear friend Mary insisted that I name my home.  Actually, many other people in this resort have formal signs by their driveways announcement the pet name of their home.  I am not ready for a sign, but I did have napkins made!

Tour: Dining Room

This table is perfect.  I first a found a similar table with 4 cute chairs and custom-made chair cushions.  However, it was $400 and I had to walk away from it.  Then I went on CraigsList and found this for $75!!  It came with 3 chairs, which is all I need for my small place.  It isn’t painted too well since half of the table is painted heavier than the other side, but perhaps that is the “shabby” part of it.  The top is already waxed so I can’t do any touch ups without re-waxing the entire thing.  The interesting thing is that I already had something else in the house painted with this exact color (using the same paint company that the lady used to paint the table). This color is called Destin. What are the chances that I would find a table already painted in white and Destin?  I should have played the lottery that day, too.

I found the plate rack in my favorite store in Hagerstown, MD --  It was already painted white and was perfect, all for $75.  The smaller one I got for $70 at an antique store in Frederick, MD.  Here are close ups:

In the top picture you can see 2 of my antique Limoges dresser table plates.  They are so delicately painted and are in my top 5 favorite things in the chalet. (sorry the close up pics below are a tad blurry.)

I bought my plates are HomeGoods.  Look how perfectly they match the color of my table.  Yes, I am a "matchy-matchy" person!
Although this isn't in the dining room.  Here is the color of the other item painted in Destin.  It is meant to hide my thermostat, which isn't even centered on the wall there.  I'm not only matchy-matchy, but need things to be more symmetrical!

Tour: Living Room

I spent almost 4 months in a cabin with just a bed and dining room table, and no couch to sit on.  Good thing I only spend weekends there!  I really wanted a Pottery Barn cotton, slip covered couch, but it was going to cost $3,000+.  I just couldn’t pay that much after purchasing a new house and paying the initiation fee required by the resort.  So I stalled and stalled, and just ended up purchasing a couch at Wolf’s Furniture in Hagerstown, MD, which delivered right over the state line into West Virginia where I was located.  The material is more of a velour-type material.  It was a little warm to sit on during the summer, and a little fancy for a cabin-in-the-woods.  But … it is what I have and I will embrace it.  The style is relaxed and slouchy, so it is comfy from that perspective.  

I also love the graduated turquoise rug that I found at Pier 1.  The color ranges are not as obvious in the pictures, but the rug starts off with a bolder turquoise on each end, and then gets paler towards the center point.  I removed the coffee table so that you can see the rug a little better.

And check out my view and my huge windows.  Even on a cloudy day it is bright in the chalet!

To the side of the couch is my stone fireplace.  The mantel is a red oak.

Facing the couch is a TV.  I resisted putting a TV in my weekend getaway, but figured the kids would be too bored without it.  I got both the TV stand and the curio cabinet from HomeGoods.  The TV stand cabinet has both sides that open (with shelves inside), the bottom middle opens (with a shelf inside), and the little drawer up top.  I fit tons of stuff in there to keep the clutter contained.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Crush on a Country Boy Carpenter

It is official....I have a crush on a self-proclaimed "country boy".  The first second I saw the carpenter that I hired to build some shelves in my chalet is when it all started.

You never know who is going to walk into your house when you hire someone via phone.  For instance, is it really any surprise when the stereotypical plumber comes to your house and has the pants that are falling below his waist?  You have to look away when he bends over. We've all had those experiences.

But this ol' country boy surprised me.  He had clean, pressed, nice looking clothes. Handsome, might I add. Talkative.  He thought my project ideas were "cool".  I wasn't able to afford all of my cool projects, but did manage to get three really nice wall-to-wall shelves put in for books and decor.

From a customer point of view, I was really impressed with him.  If he was even 5 minutes late, he apologized first thing as he walked through my door.  If he couldn't make a scheduled visit, he would call me ahead of time and explain.  These seemingly insignificant niceties really are not insignificant these days anymore.  Oh, the rudeness of people -- I could do a whole blog on that topic alone.  Consideration -- that is all that I ask of people.

I also needed to hire a handyman, but on a whim, asked my carpenter if he could take on some non-carpentry related work.  I needed a shower nozzle changed (I didn't have the strength or tools to get the old one off), and I had a chandelier that I wanted installed in my bedroom. I was surprised that he said he could do these things, and so happy that I didn't have to make all of the arrangements to have a second person work on the chalet.

He replaced my shower nozzle immediately (and for the record, he needed to get a special wrench to get that old one off).  On his way back into the house after he retrieved this mammoth-sized wrench from the truck, he said, "I happen to have my weed whacker in my truck, so I can trim down that area in your front lawn." [Even though I am in the middle of the woods, these obnoxious 12" blades of grass were poking up everywhere mocking me every time I walked from my car to the front door.]  After all of my "thank you's", he said, "It is a House Warming gift from me."  Aw.  Can you believe this?

I then showed him the chandelier that I wanted put up.  Look -- it is really girly girly.  All of these strings of pearl beads cascading down.  I was kind of embarrassed -- I mean, how many people put a chandelier up in their bedroom?   But he said, "Wow, that is beautiful!"  So if he was going to make any comment at all, I was so glad that he said that one!

My country boy proved trustworthy, as well.  Since I am only at the chalet for 24 hours per week (Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon), I entrusted him with my house key so that he could fit his work during the week.  Never was a thing out of place, no treasures stolen, no sawdust left behind, and no paint splatters to report.  And he always locked the house up tight when he left.

After taking measurements, or going over the cost of the projects, he always slipped in the most interesting comments.  It was an accumulation of these comments --little things-- that really started to hook me on this country boy.  The more he talked, the more his life values and strong character came out.  I realized that we had some of the same morals, views, values, ethics, perspectives, and "issues".

I wanted to spend more time talking to him.  Looking at him.  Swooning over him...

But now he has completed his projects.  I didn't have extra money to throw at more projects because I am saving up for something else now that needs to be dealt with soon -- otherwise, that would have been a good way to get him back in my house.

I knew he was busy one upcoming Saturday night but free the next morning, so I called him and said that I wanted to thank him again for all of the extra work that he did -- and I invited him out to breakfast at the clubhouse.  [The chalet is on a resort.]

It was the most gorgeous and perfect day.  We chose a table outside that looked out on the 18th green and the mountains in the distance.

We spoke for hours.  It was fun.  And of course, my crush on him got stronger.

I've seen him once since that breakfast, and now this coming Saturday night we have plans to go to the clubhouse bar where they have entertainment on Saturday nights.  And it will be cold enough in the WV mountains that they will have a fire burning in the huge stone fireplace.  oooh - romantic!

Note:  The term "country boy" is not meant to be derogatory.  That is just how I will refer to him since I don't want to use his real name.  Likewise, I am "city girl".

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shabby Chic design style

So it has been awhile since my first post.  I have spent the past several months redecorating, and turning the chalet into a shabby chic sanctuary.  

I love collecting, but not to excess.  For instance, I have a filigree silver spice box collection that is maxed out with 7 items.  Words that define my interests and style include: a balanced arrangement, no clutter, containers, vintage kitchen-related items, and using displays in a clever way. 

All furniture and most items brought into my home have a dual purpose.  Due to the small size of the home, things need to have multi-functionality.  So my TV stand is also a cabinet with loads of storage space.  And I like collecting neat containers, where I can also store various necessities inside.  Sure, I have items that are purely decorative, but I have to edit my purchases so that I don't accumulate too much "kitsch".  

Pics will be forthcoming.  I am especially happy with my pearl chandelier above my bed!  I go to the chalet next October 26th, so I'll take pictures then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pictures of my Chalet

Prior to purchasing, these are the pictures that I took. (previous owner's furniture)