ABC’s of Decorating for the Design Conscious–and Unconscious

10/08/2015    

We love blogs and magazines about design.  We love Pinterest and Houzz.  We love catalogues even from stores we don’t like because we love to see how they style their products.  We watch HGTV all the time.  But let’s face it there are only so many hours in the day.  At some point the laundry has to get done, a trip to the gym is crucial and nobody is cooking you dinner.
    So in the spirit of Twitter and Instagram we are shortening our blog.  Less talk, more action.  Because we have been in the home furnishing business for almost 30 years we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.  Let’s start with A.

       A is for artwork.  
Every house needs some.  If your budget precludes Picasso don’t despair.  Art is everywhere, but not always where you think.  Large black and white photos, when matted and placed in simple black frames count as artwork and will look fabulous on your walls.  Meanwhile take the 8 x 10 glossy the school photographer took that you have been displaying front and center and send it to your mother-in-law.  The same goes for your wedding pics–rarely are they a great look for over the mantel.  Put some 5x 7’s in silver frames and find a shelf.

Check out these babes with boards, in a large format they make quite an impact.

      If you don’t have a clue about what you are doing one image will be easier to manage than a number of items.  And, often it is a question of scale; one oversized print, a large map, or photograph will command a wall more than a grouping.

 When combining images, select a theme and group them all together for maximum effect.  This isn’t rocket science; it does goes a bit smoother if you use a tape measure before you pop in a nail because alignment is key.  There are some who advise taping templates to the wall but at some point you will have to put hammer to nail and  just go for it.

Night and day views of a lighthouse in Bermuda
America’s Cup Contenders

      
Remember to keep your frames simple.  One of the premier photography galleries in the world uses only white, black, mahogany, silver or chrome frames with white mats.

You get to decide what art is: it doesn’t always have to be a landscape over the mantel.  Maps when framed, and even better if vintage,  not only look great on your walls but also are educational, and happy memory triggers of trips past and future…you might not be going back to London any time soon but you can always enjoy seeing the roads you traveled.

The Browning of British Cottage

For a while, we have felt the 130 Shrewsbury Avenue store has not been living up to its potential.  We don’t know why; we think the furniture and lighting is just as cool as in the British Cottage store (for those not in the loop we have two stores next to each other).  Anyway this being a new year, we thought we would go with a new look.  And as we all know the most effective–and cheapest–way to transform a room is to paint it. 

But what color?  When we first renovated the building we tried a vibrant yellow, which never even made it to opening day.  Our next choice was a calm, pea soupy green which, now three years later, seems a little boring.  We tossed around tons of ideas, got out our Benjamin Moore dueling paint fans, searched all the magazines and then went on line. 

Which was truly amazing.  Google “cool blue rooms” and you come up with hundreds of photographs and comments about colors and paints.  And that is why we felt confident to go with brown.  Not taupe, not tan, not ecru, not mocha, but BM’s Bittersweet Chocolate Brown!
Keith is painting as I type and these are some photos of the work in progress.  Comments anyone?

Mostly before–except for the bit on the left.
See what I mean about pea soup?
Bold is right!

Sears, Shopping 101–or Mother really did know best

Sears, Shopping 101–or Mother really did know best

In the middle of the last century when I was growing up, shopping was not that exciting.  Clothes shopping barely happened; with six siblings we were always awash in hand-me-downs from well-clad cousins and for special occasions, at least for the girls, my Mom would get out the trusty Singer sewing machine and whip us up the best Simplicity had to offer.  

Furniture was, if my father had his way, all Stickley cherry.  Which my mother could not stand so when we moved from a two bedroom cape to a four bedroom, three story seashore colonial she knew she had to act fast.  First stop, an antique store on a sleepy country lane.  I wish she was alive to tell me what she paid for the chunky Victorian oak claw foot table with two leaves for the new dining room (our old house was so small it barely had room for the kitchen table).  The fact that it did not even come close to matching the Stickley cherry hutch my clueless Dad surprised her with one disappointing anniversary was likely her intent.

Our beds, mattresses and all the new appliances were one stop shopping–Sears.  That was 1964.  Fast forward to 2014 and Keith and I become the proud owners of a house on a pond–really it looks like a lake but because it is not five miles long it is called a pond–in Maine. We bought the place because it had three bedrooms and was 20 feet from the water; eagles and loons would be our new neighbors.

But how do you furnish a home 400 miles away, a half mile down a rutted, winding, gravel challenged, pick your season, snowy, icy, muddy, dusty road?  Clearly, as the owners of British Cottage, furniture was not a problem, we would truck in our own antique tables.  But what about new mattresses and appliances?  The answer was surprisingly easy–Sears.  

We popped into the Middletown, NJ store one Sunday afternoon; did the mattress flop test and three weeks later anxiously awaited delivery.  How would they handle a truck on the barely a road to our house?  It turned out to be with aplomb.  Our delivery man and woman muscled the  king size mattress and box spring into the bedroom and then managed to–get this–back the truck all the way back to the main road!  And delivery was free!

I consider myself a really good shopper–I had to make up for all those years when we didn’t–and I can Costco and big box store with the best of them.  But there is something so inherently satisfying about shopping at Sears.  The stores are clean; signage is clear, and the merchandise is nicely displayed. Even better, the departments are well-staffed by actual living, breathing people who are knowledgeable and helpful.  Our salesman for the bed even called us up to ask if all went well with the delivery arrangements!  

Needless to say Sears is where the new refrigerator and stove are coming from when we get ready to tackle the kitchen.  Maybe they don’t seem to have the bells and whistles other national stores do.  And I think they should hire me, or someone, to jazz up their facades.  I’m pretty sure the Middletown store is exactly the same as when we shopped there in 1964; but I have to say this, when it comes to service and reliability–my Mom really did know best–you can’t beat Sears.

After Sandy, Rebuilding, One House at a Time

In retail it is not uncommon to work seven days a week.  Although my son would argue that walking around schmoozing all day is hardly work and mostly I would agree with him; but it is hard to focus on paperwork or blogging if you are always stopping to help someone with something.  That is a long winded way of saying I am now staying home one day a week with the intention of actually finishing a blog and getting to work on less pleasant things like our taxes.  So I met with the accountant this morning and am now at the laptop voila; let’s see how long this lasts.  
    

The store has been very busy this last couple of weeks which is unusual for this time of year. The reason why is that possibly 25% of our customers were physically impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Trees through roofs, sailboats through windows, and water and sand everywhere.  The rebuilding process has been torturous, insurance claims not paid, uncertainty over how or what to build, finding contractors…

Horrible, horrible but we are finally, three months after the storm, seeing some real positive efforts and just yesterday Keith and I visited two completely different style homes in our town of Rumson that are well on their way to looking fabulous.  The first is a coastal cottage/carriage house in our Westpark neighborhood that had several feet of water wash through it.  Open plan to begin with the owners opened it up even more, taking the opportunity when the walls were down to the studs to install a steel support beam so an annoying column separating the dining and cooking area would disappear.  Hopefully they’ll let me take some photos because the house layout is so interesting, especially a beguiling banquette in the center of the house on a raised platform so whoever is sitting at the table has a bird’s eye view of the whole downstairs.   Very cool and proof that you don’t need to have a huge house to live large.

The other house we went to see was also flooded by Sandy.  Much larger, prior to the storm it was a classic suburban faux mini mansion/colonial with an attached garage that was probably the cat’s meow when it was built in the late sixties (I am inferring here) that definitely had seen better days.  With the renovations nearly done, the transformation post Sandy is amazing.  New and larger windows and a few widened walls have created a spacious family room and kitchen and eating area.  But no formal dining room space. Wide planked limed oak floors bounce with light and there is still plenty of room downstairs for a grown up living room and a kid’s playroom.  (Children who grow up by the sea tend not to have basements to play in; nor do the grown ups so a winterized sun porch has been adapted as office space/media room for the adults.)

The walls are white; most of the upholstered furniture is off white linen.  And the wood furniture is of the rustic, weathered antique pine variety (mostly items we sold the owner’s mother over 20 years ago so clearly we are prejudiced) that looks totally au courant in such a sleek, almost modern interior.  One of the former owners was a local antique dealer and the one memory I have of the house is of a stilted, colonial aesthetic–this is anything but. 

Hopefully we’ll get pictures of this one too.  And the owner has a 4′ carved wooden Buddha from a former life that isn’t part of his decorating scheme so if you know anyone who is remodeling their yoga studio give me a call.  No Zen garden here, but still the house has a lovely, tranquil feeling.  Namaste.
    

Post Sandy–Time to make lemonade out of lemons

It’s been so long since my last blog the format has changed. Bear with me on this; it’s also been also been a long couple of months. We live in New Jersey on the Shrewsbury River directly opposite a sand spit of a town called Sea Bright. When in late October we heard a hurricane was coming up the coast on a full moon and a high tide we knew it could be bad.  And it was.   
So shit happens. So now what happens? We move on. So here are my thoughts about what to do when an unexpected chance to remodel is thrust upon you.  Don’t just go out and recreate what you had.  Take the opportunity while you wait for the insurance money, and then for the contracter to show up to rethink your home, your lifestyle and your priorites.  Here’s what I think about decorating in the 21st century.  
 
Less color is clearly more. Go to the Scandanivian blogs. White walls, white interiors, then your furniture pale or not takes center stage.  I love jewel tones–on jewelry.  Use your brights as accents–not center stage.  Particularly when your home is coastal a muted palate can be key.  My walls are the palest grey which reads as white on a sunny day, but more blue when the fog rolls in or the lights go down.
 
Less formality.  One of my flooded neighbors is removing walls from his here-to-fore extremely formal dining room in his traditional shore colonial and making a great room open to the kitchen.  When he and the wife entertain they don’t have their adult friends over for sitdown dinners for 12 but instead frequently host enormous impromtu family gatherings including everyone from infants to grands.  Now they will have the space to accommodate everyone.  The faux Chippendale dining table?  Gone.  Instead they are having a 10′ long farm table with a mixed assortment of chairs and benches; at this table there will always be room for one more.

When we opened British Cottage on the westside of Red Bank a shocking (for us) 27 years ago–we only sold antique English pine–that was the yuppie era and we thought we would clean up selling furniture to 30-somethings.  Which never happened…instead we sold container loads to their parents who couldn’t wait to dump their high maintenance, french polished, darkwood dining room sets on their off-spring and purchase user friendly farmhouse tables and hutches from us.  Now is the chance to go one better and get rid of the dining room entirely.

Or rethink the dining space.  Let’s say you have the kind of house with a large living room, an even larger family room at the back and a pocket size dining room.  Maybe it makes sense to switch the dining room and living rooms around.  Everyone is living in the great room anyway and the new dining space becomes large enough to host a crowd.  (A bonus here is there is often a fireplace that becomes a lovely feature in a dining room.)  Then the former dining room becomes a small office, den, library and/or parlor–  perfect for paying bills, reading a book away from the great room football watching gang, or enjoying an afternoon cup of tea.

But we need to move on. Ok.  Next thing. More hardwood floors.  But not the engineered kind.  The price difference is negligible and actually the real thing wears better–trust me on this–particularly if you have dogs.  Color is up to you.  Dark is dramatic but you will be married to your swifter. 

I’ve been buying the cheapest grade red or white oak flooring from Beaton Brothers in Lakewood for the last 27 years. (Full disclosure my maiden name is Beaton, no relation, but I like to think I am getting the family price.)  It is 2″ or 3″ wide and I never stain it just put on two coats (or more) of high gloss poly and finish up with a matte (always oil base–do not waste your money on water base polys–they do not hold up).

In our house we have put hardwood in kitchens and bathrooms and never been sorry.  It always goes with everything else, feels easy on the feet and never goes out of style.  And it helps that I am one of those people who believes worn in looks better than brand new so wear and tear for me is part of the charm.  The older the floors the better they can look.

My final observation–and this is a big one considering my bread and butter is retail–is that less is more.  Before the flood Keith and I schlepped a large amount of our worldly goods upstairs.  And I have been slow to put them back…I like the way the house looks without so much stuff.  So for those of you who flooded and were forced to part with many of your possessions, now is the chance to not take that load back on. 

What do you really need?  Let’s lose the mentality that is is ok to buy something cheap because the kids will wreck it and you will replace it later.  Ikea, Pottery Barn, that stuff is not cheap and it will not last.  I’ve had customers on the water for years and more times than not they have salvaged British Cottage furniture after it has been flooded.  Why?  It is solid wood.  It can be cleaned and dried and repolished.  However veneer over plywood, which is the hallmark of inexpensive furniture, lifts and shrinks and the plywood becomes a breeding ground for mold.

Look for a couch with a hardwood frame.  Often cheap couches have an interior made of pressed cardboard that does not last.
The couches we sell are made in the United States and the frames come with a lifetime warranty.  Do you throw our couches away when they are worn?  No, you just get a new slipcover and move on to the next decorating project. 

Once I was asked to go to someone’s house to offer suggestions for organizing an 8 year old daughter’s bedroom.  When I saw she had at least 40 pairs of shoes I knew the task was beyond me.  No kid needs so much stuff; she didn’t need a new armoire she needed her mom to stop shopping.   Save your pennies for things that count.  

So hopefully you can take those lemons, the inconvenience, the frustration that comes with a natural disaster, thank your lucky stars that you and your loved ones are okay, make some lemonade and start reading those decorating blogs and think about making your home more user friendly.  If this was a 200 year storm you won’t get another chance for a while.  

 

 

Class of 1972

Trying to get back into work mode after a weekend of festivities–many of them instigated by me–related to my 40th high school reunion.  Probably the last time I had so many friends over my parents were away picking up my brother at college and I watched aghast as the living room floor swayed under the weight of it all.  

Thinking about my old friends it is amazing how much I remember about their interiors.  Our house was kid central; we had 6 and at any time there were at least 6 more in the house.  Money  was tight so we were DIY long before it was fashionable.  Along with our mother we ripped up carpets, sanded and waxed aged oak floors, pealed off wallpaper and painted anything we could find.  Most of my friends were better heeled and I was amazed at what I saw at their homes.  

Perhaps the most dramatically different was M’s.  Her home was contemporary–probably modern would be the better term. There were three different levels, large picture windows with floor to ceiling Venetian blinds and the furniture was–I’m pretty sure although it sounds dreadful–white vinyl…it may have been leather but I don’t think so.  Anything wood was Danish modern.  The floors were all tiled and I swear there was a white shag carpet in the living room.  An only child M. had her own bedroom–never happening at my house in a million years–and the beds and all the furniture were white formica with matching bedspreads made out of the same material as the curtains.  Not a hand-me-down (or much real wood) anywhere.  I loved it! 

Then there was L.  Her Dad was a successful Madman kind of guy and in the late 60’s built a beautiful center hall colonial on a large waterfront lot.  They had the first “family room” I can remember; a room  built expressly for watching television.  Most people just plunked a console unit in the center of the living room or jammed a set into a bookcase in the den.  Not L’s family.  This room had overstuffed upholstered furniture in a variety of fabrics that coordinated with the hunter green and red plaid wall to wall carpet.  I loved it!

I probably ate over there a million times and never once set foot in the formal dining room.  For that matter I’m pretty sure I never went into the living room either.  And even though there were four children in the family she had her own room with curtains that matched the bedspread and wall to wall carpeting.  I loved it!

Then there was A.  Her family lived on Park Ave in the city and summered at the Jersey shore (back when the words Jersey shore had a certain cachet).  Her house was the most like ours, with mismatched furniture in a variety of styles–the only difference was theirs were period antiques and ours were hand-me-downs.  The floors were exposed hardwood layered with heirloom oriental carpets, the walls white, and the couches a dazzling array of bright chintz that matched the curtains that swagged under upholstered valances, all in colors my mother would never have mixed in a million years.  I loved it.

Our house was a seashore colonial built in the early nineteen hundreds as a summer home.  Set twenty feet from the Shrewsbury River it was a child’s paradise from day one.  The living room had a bay window with a stained glass sailing ship set in the center.  There was a massive peanut stone fireplace and back to back bookcases separating the dining and living rooms.  And wrapping around the the house were a series of porches, some closed in and some screened. We were all big readers and everywhere there was always a comfy couch or a chair with a child with a nose in a book. We never had air-conditioning; there was always someplace in that house with a breeze.

When we finally tore up the ancient wool carpeting we discovered fabulous oak floors that after a serious application of elbow grease–actually we used to skate around the rooms with rags on our feet merrily buffing away–were gorgeous.  Then off came the old wallpaper (patterned wallpaper, patterned carpeting it was just bad) and we painted all the walls a light, light green called celery.  Because the house faced the river we didn’t bother with curtains or blinds downstairs.

 The pine trestle table in the kitchen could seat 8 tight.  Any more (which was more often then not) and we ate in the dining room at a table my mother bought in a local antique store.  Victorian, it had a massive round oak pedestal table and two or three misshapen leaves we would jam in for holidays.  There was no way it matched the Stickley cherry hutch, an expensive, unauthorized purchase by my father that my mother never really forgave.  Chairs were a challenge, always breaking, always mismatched until we discovered a local thrift store where vintage pressed oak side chairs could be had for a song. 

To be honest, I didn’t always love it.  I hated sharing a room with my sister, although our bedroom had its own dressing room that led to a huge bathroom and a large tub that I can remember soaking in for hours.  Even though my mother sewed the curtains for our bedroom so they coordinated with our bedspreads I wasn’t that thrilled; not until much later when I learned our spreads were one-of-a-kind twin wedding ring quilts hand-stitched by an ancient aunt.

In the winter the porches were closed off (there was no heat in the television room)  and the TV would migrate upstairs to my parents’ bedroom where you always had to fight to get a seat on their bed.  At some point when we were teenagers with lots of friends over of both sexes my puritan mother capitulated and unhappily allowed the television set into the living room–no hanky panky was going to go on there–not in our busy house!  

But even if we didn’t have a television room, we had a kitchen table.  And it was there you could find my mother, reading the paper, making dinner, always busy but never too busy to talk to a child or a neighboring teen.  This was the heart of our house.  When we were older we’d sit around with friends until late at night drinking beer, playing cards and–I don’t know when it started–carving our names and our thoughts into that scrubbed pine table.  I loved it and so did all my friends, many of whom were here this weekend, forty years later.

     
    

 

And finally Autumn has arrived!

    I’m embarrassed to see I have not managed a post since June. Alas, it was that kind of summer.  Three funerals and no weddings– but we did get a visit from the beloved grandchild. Who, his parents report, at 8 months and change has become a whirling dervish so we feel blesssed to have had him in a less mobile, more snuggle bunny phase.
   I lie awake at night hoping they have been diligent in their baby-proofing and marvel that decorating around children–and pets–is no longer an issue for me.  At one time, besides two children, we had a couple of lizards, something called an erf, gold fish, a lab mix, a sheltie and a pygmy African hedgehog.  The challenge was to keep all those animals healthy and happy without the house looking (and smelling) like a barn.  Now all I have left at home is a husband who is fairly low maintenance; as long as there’s food in the fridge and I toss him a beer or two, he’s happy.

   But our decorating hasn’t changed all that much, in fact, surprisingly, we still have a lot of the same stuff we had when the kids were toddlers.  We’ve never had a formal living room or dining room.  Our couch, bought second hand years ago, is a decidedly dressy camelback style with mahogany trim, but I upholstered it in a tone on tone blue denim so it was instantly more inviting.  I can’t show a photo of it because it is decidedly tatty and I can’t come to grips with the idea that it could–after 20 years–be time to move on and get a more comfy couch that may be a little larger in scale than I would like. Want to vote family? The coffee table is a child friendly, cut down antique pine table with a big drawer for coasters and reading glasses and then there’s a couple of slipcovered wing chairs.  

   I must confess there is another probem couch, a Biedermeier beauty bought in Denmark, not like anything else we own, but it was a good deal so we took it (temptation is a hazard of the trade I’m afraid.) This sits with a pair of bergere chairs, once gilt framed with green and gold upholstery but Keith painted the trim an antiqued white and we reupholstered them in linen so they feel much calmer.  Then there is a Danish secretary in original buttery paint, a long Chinese sideboard, three or four end tables and that’s my living room.

  The dining room is open to the kitchen at one end and the living room at the other and in there we have a big, battle scarred pine hutch stuffed with old blue willow platters, and a farm table.  There is a grandfather clock with peeling paint, (we do have one young visitor who comes once a year who I have to keep an eye on because she likes to peel it a little more), and a glazed cupboard from Spain that holds the spoils from years of buying antiques abroad.  But these treasures are up high and behind locked doors, safe from little paws.

   The beauty of buying antiques is that one more knick or scratch– unless you are of the high gloss, Chippendaled mahogany crowd–generally is not a big deal. Signs of wear are to be expected.  Do I use coasters?  Yes.  Do I go crazy when my family and friends don’t?  No.  A little bit of furniture polish and the marks go away.   Slipcovers are key–easily washed or dry cleaned when mishaps occur.  Just not white slipcovers;  but that is for another blog and another day.  “My experience with shabby chic” to be continued…

It’s Summertime and the Living is Easy…

Finally!  Cold winters & wet springs make summer more worth the wait.  Breezing along in the car with the windows down and the radio cranked–you can do this when your kids are grown up too–life doesn’t get much better.  Unless you are home and looking out the window to see your garden in bloom, or on your deck or patio looking in at your nice clean house because no one wants to be inside long enough to mess things up.  Yes, summer is just about perfect.
I’m actually much fonder of patios than decks, but my deck is so much nicer now that I’ve added two vintage style wicker chairs to the mix.  There was already a table and four chairs, an antique English garden bench and at least three little tables, but it definitely needed something soft. 
But not as soft as this snow.  My camera is acting up so I can’t show you what my deck looks like now but how about this picture taken on December 27th after the Boxing Day blizzard?  When I win the lottery I will make this deck a blue-stone patio with multiple levels stretching all the way to the river, but right now I have to work with what I’ve got.

Road Trip

Keith and I just got back from a sweep around New England.
First stop was Bennington Potters in Bennington, Vermont.  Just a four hour drive north from Red Bank, it was like stepping into another era, with its covered bridges, white clapboarded houses and beautiful gardens.  However we couldn’t linger; there were tables to unload!

 

 

The Bennington Potters store–or actually I should say complex– is a combination of retail store and potters yard on a beautiful four acre site.  You can tour the pottery works where beautiful and functional dishes have been produced daily for the last fifty years or so and then browse through the company store, where now you can purchase a British Cottage signature pine farmhouse table to go with your dishes!

 

We could have stayed in Bennington for a night or two, but the next stop was six hours northeast in Camden, Maine so we had to get cracking.  Half way up the Maine coast, Camden must be one of the most delightful seaside towns in Maine.  Far enough from Boston and the hordes of daytrippers found in southern Maine, people come to Camden to enjoy Maine the way Maine should be.  Coastal views, deepwater harbors, delightful lodgings, great food and fabulous shopping.  We went there to deliver an antique pine table to Amy O’Donnell, proprietor of Sugar Tools, a delightful shop on Bayview Street.  (For those of you unfortunates not in the know, Bayview runs parallel to the harbor on the left when coming into town from the south.)

Amy sells a nicely curated selection of items in her shop: a little bit of garden, some vintage furniture, and the most beautiful handbags and accessories.  Definitely worth a visit!
After visiting with Amy we strolled up the hill to the Hartstone Inn and some much needed R&R.
Owned by Chef Michael Salmon and his wife, this is a must stop if you are beating a culinary path through Maine.
Another not to miss culinary hotspot is the Brunswick Diner, an iconic bit of Americana conveniently located just outside of Brunswick, Maine just before you leave the coastal route to pick up the Maine turnpike.  We especially loved the breakfast menu.
Of course I may be a bit biased because I have known the owner, Jane Douty Davis for probably 40 years.
Jane invited us for a boat ride to Boothbay but sadly it was time to get back to New Jersey and our own store and the gym!

Can you believe it is Memorial Day already?

 Finally the longest, wettest spring ever is over and we are awash in sunshine.  Normally in the light of day I would be fretting about my less than perfect housekeeping skills (it is amazing how fingerprints, dust and grime are magnified in the daylight and only recede at dusk along with an accompanying glass of wine, another blog entirely) but now that I can go outside I put on my blinders and race out the door into the garden–and suddenly what a garden it is.  The grass is green again and my flowers are starting to bloom. 

Normally it doesn’t take much to get my green thumb fired up but this year it is the beautiful gardens at Holly Hill that are inspiring me.  Holly Hill is the site of the latest VNA show house in  Navesink and it is truly amazing.  Perched high above the Navesink River amidst the tallest hollies you ever saw, the house is way cool but the grounds steal the show.  We furnished the little admissions greenhouse with some British Cottage classics: a pine farmhouse table and a painted hutch, a cool chandelier and some unusual
(we think) accessories.   

You can do this at home.  It’s an antique dough bowl I lined with  tin foil and then planted with some white geraniums, fennel and then stuffed a little moss around the edges.  Voila!

 

If you go through the show house, note how cool the antique hay fork looks on the wall in the kitchen.  For $100. it may be the most affordable accessory item available and if it it is sold don’t worry–we have a few more at the store.

Can you see the vintage British sailor’s hat says H.M.S. Nelson?We bought the birdhouse in the background in England; it is made with vintage building material and sleeps 11.  The polka dot jugs are made in Hungary and don’t you love the green bunny lamps on the hutch?  The chandelier is made from recycled wine barrels and adds a certain rustic chic to the mix.