Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red chairs redeux

The red chairs are back from the uphosterer! They were ready much earlier than expected. For now, they are sitting in our living room as they wait to be transported down to the lake cabin. One chair will be going in each of the two bedrooms beside the beds. 

If she hadn't been encumbered by a tape measure (for all that measuring she was doing...), I think my daughter would have given the chairs two thumbs up for sure.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Not Lake House related...

This post has nothing to do with the Lake House really, which may happen around here from time to time. I canned some tomatoes and made two jars of green cherry tomato pickles today. The pickle recipe came from Marissa McClellan's new canning book: Food in Jars. We met Marissa last night at a book signing and she was super nice. She even signed our books after a bee stung her on the head. 

On second thought, perhaps I'll save one of these jars of pickles for our Thanksgiving celebration at the maybe this is a relevant post indeed.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Red lamps

Remember the lamp shades from IKEA? Well, here they are finished and installed on the bases. I got the lamps from a Target clearance rack earlier in the summer. When I went to install the shades, however, I realized that some conversion was required because the lamps needed harps and the IKEA shades were built differently. A quick search led to these instructions on how to convert the lamp to take the IKEA shades. My poor husband was conscripted into service. I told my daughter this morning that is is a good idea in life to either A) be an engineer or B) marry one.

Thanks Apartment Therapy for the instructions and thanks hubby for the blood, sweat, and tears!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


My lovely father-in-law is an engineer, and he always draws floorplans of the places we live as gifts, even the rental apartments we had in China and Taiwan. When he was at the cabin this weekend, he took measurements and then sent this floorplan yesterday. It is extremely useful; I used it right away to figure out the living room square footage so I could order the hardwood floors. 

This is the bottom level, with the kitchen, living room, full bath and bedroom (with the Queen bed).

This is the top level, which houses the second bedroom (the loft bedroom with the King bed) and second full bath. The living room apparently has 19 foot ceilings. Who knew? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lamp shades

I found these great lamp shades at IKEA last weekend. I thought they might work in the red and white bedroom atop some lamps I bought at Target. The original color was a little too bland, but I remembered that I had lots of leftover stain from my makeover of the red chair legs

I grabbed a brush and painted the stain on the inside and out of both lamp shades. They still need one more coat, but I am pleased with the difference.The stained lamp shades kind of remind me of these at Pottery Barn, but mine were a lot cheaper!

I'll post a finished picture with the lamp bases once they are all dry. On a completely random note, I shot some pictures of my moonflower vine while I was out in the garden painting. This plant was a real booger to start from seed, but it turned out to be so beautiful that it was well worth the effort.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lakeside view

My in-laws are all at the lake cabin this weekend. They sailed up behind the lake cabin and took this picture from the boat. Our cabin is the one on the right with the brown deck. I am pretty excited to go visit myself. Hubby and I just decided that we will be planning a weekend retreat (sans kids) there sometime early fall. Hopefully the new matresses that I ordered this weekend will have arrived by then!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deck refresh

My sister-in-law is having a little vacation at our lake house this week, She sent photos from her phone of our new deck, which looks awesome! We had the front entrance deck connected to the back deck so that you can just walk straight back to the party when you arrive. 

Ah, white plastic chairs. So classy. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Before: Bedroom #2

I know that brass is supposedly in style at the moment, but I am honestly not feeling it. Really, though, it is nothing that a few spray paint cans cannot fix...

Interesting decor details include: red valance that does not seem to match anything in the room, grey fuse box  which abuts a closet door (hmm how to hide that??), random huge mirror which is screwed into the wall directly. Oh and toddler death trap TV (see below).

Can this dresser be saved with some paint and new knobs? Possibly. On the other hand, the director's chair is destined for donation, along with the sailboat lamp. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Since our Lake Cabin is really a rental condo, there are certain requirements for inventory so that guests can have what they need during their vacation. When I spoke with the key lady in the management office this week, she was very clear on two points. First, the living room couch had to be a sleeper. Second, do not under estimate the rate at which kitchen supplies (e.g., dishes, glasses) get broken. We are required to have at least six of everything for our two bedroom condo, but the recommendation was to double that amount to be ready for mishaps that deplete the stash.

For the glassware, I ordered a bunch of Anchor Hocking's Manchester Tartan glasses: twelve each of the ice tea, juice and scotch glass sizes. We have them at home and they are virtually indestructible. These glasses have a solid, heavy feel that is great for almost all occasions. I was poking around on the internet this week trying to get inspiration for the dishes, but didn't really find anything that I absolutely loved AND was reasonably priced enough so that I would not care when it got broken. Then I hit the jackpot on Craigslist. Just north of me a lady was selling her parents' china. Apparently this couple really liked to entertain back in the day. They passed away in 1971, however, so these dishes have been essentially sitting in a sideboard for forty years. They are marked on the back with "Creative Fine China 1014 Japan." Apparently they were made sometime in the 1930s or 40s, which is consistent with the seller's story. The little starburst pattern is so perfectly art deco that it almost breaks my heart. There seem to be a lot of these dishes for sale on the internets, so it must have been a popular and reasonably priced pattern during the depression era.

The ad said there were seven complete place settings, some serving dishes and single pieces. When I arrived, I offered $100 for the lot. I think the seller did not know just how big the lot was (nor did I when I made the offer). If she had, she might have held out for more. All in all, I walked away with:

14 dinner plates
26 luncheon plates
12 salad plates
26 desert plates
16 bowls
24 teacups and saucers (plus extra saucers)
8 finger bowls (ha!)
15 coasters (who knew that china sets used to come with coasters...)
2 sugar bowls
3 salt and 2 pepper shakers  
1 covered butter dish
1 creamer
1 gravy boat (for all the gravy I'll be making at the lake....)
2 oval serving bowls
1 large round serving bowl
1 oval serving platter

The super cool thing is that these dishes coordinate perfectly with another vintage Japanese China set that I use at home for fancy occasions. That set is a plain white with a triple platinum rim. Since I have so many pieces, I will probably send 12 pieces of each item down to the lake and keep the rest here for mixing in with my home set. And if/when some pieces break, it will be no big deal.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Red Chairs

I found these lovely, lovely mid-century chairs on Craigslist a few weeks back. Between meetings on a Friday in the suburbs (I swear to goodness it just worked out that way), I swung by the seller's house, bought the two of them for $35, and then loaded up our big ol' Ford.  The previous owner bought them at a garage sale and tried to dye one red, as is evident from the picture above. The red looked great, actually, but the 1950s-ish fabric was too prickly and coarse to be saved. I found new red upholstery fabric online and ordered 12 yards to be used by my friendly neighborhood re-upholsterer. I wish I could say that I have the skills (or the time) to do it myself, but I don't. Thanks to a good Yelp recommendation, they are now in the queue for new dresses.

I did refinish the legs, though, with some dark Minwax stain. I used a new (to me) paint stripper product that was sprayable, so it was super easy to apply. Taking the old stain off with a wire brush was another matter, as I kept flicking splashes of stripper on my arms, legs, and face; it burned like Dante's seventh level. Thank God I decided to wear the safety goggles. The last step, i.e., applying the new stain, was a piece of cake after my dance with the caustic stripper rain. The legs aren't perfect, but I am pleased with them. Certainly the darker color is much nicer than the original scratched-up light brown.   

My idea is to put one chair in each of the two bedrooms for a pop of color. If I ever got a bee in my bonnet to put them together, that would work too in a matchy-matchy sort of way. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bedroom inspiration - red, white and brown

While I am leaning toward a clean, modern aesthetic for the lake cabin overall, I think the bedrooms will benefit from being more on the "cottagey" side. In both bedrooms, I want to keep a clean white look as the base palette, but then bring in more color through accents. For one bedroom (not sure which one yet), I am crushing on red and brown accents (with maybe a little blue - not so much as to be reminiscent of an American flag, though). The above photo is from Country Living's July/August 2012 issue. Even though this is technically a living room scene, I can see it translate well to a bedroom. Just imagine a bed with a white coverlet instead of a couch...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Before: Bedroom #1

This is the upstairs bedroom, the loft bedroom. The bedframe is salvageable, I think, but certainly not the bedding, chair and "decor." Perhaps the nightstands can be repainted. You cannot see the window well in this picture, but there are Levlor-style blinds and a floral valance. When we bought this place, I thought there were two Queen beds, but our owner's access portal actually says one King and one Queen. Perhaps this is the King? I need to ask someone to pop by and find out.....

On the agenda: new carpet, new bedding, new drapes. And probably a new mattress.