Thursday, May 27, 2010

Renovating My Beach House

"Renovating My Beach House" really should be titled "How I Finally Convinced My Husband To Let Go of the Stained Wood Walls". You see men love wood walls. For seven years, my husband and many of our male friends would actually cringe when I told them I dreamed of painting it all white. "No, No they would say, this room looks like a mountain lodge; it reminds me of hunting and camping!" And, I would argue "WE ARE AT THE BEACH!"

Over time I renovated every other space in the house. Lady luck finally smiled on me when our heating bills got too high. "We really should replace the single pane glass windows," my husband reasoned. Of course the original windows were odd sizes and to save money we needed to buy stock sizes. New cut outs in the wall meant new trim mouldings. The original walls were an orangey stain which I couldn't even begin to match, and all of sudden we HAD to paint! So really this post should be titled " The Magical Transformation with Paint" because that is what it truly turned out to be.

The photo above is the house as I bought it seven years ago. It is our living room and dining area taken from the original real estate listing.

Here is living and dining area before we painted.
A few gallons of primer and some Farrow and Ball Paint in Pointing and even I was amazed at the transformation!
Here is the fireplace. No matter what I tried I could not remove the 40 year old soot stains.
Paint hides everything!
The antique dish cupboard used to just blend into the wall.
And now it is a focal point in the room.
I've been playing around with some shells, dishes and antique pewter and here's what I came up with. I love to change the accessories, but for now I really like this monochromatic look. Oh, and the baskets below hold flip flops - it keeps things more organized in the entry area.
Here is the couch area before - I forgot to put the back cushions on the couch in this photo. Notice the different heights of the window and door mouldings. This used to drive me crazy.
And here is the same space painted. The different moulding heights just fade away - see paint can hide many flaws. Also look closely at the ceiling. You can see a hint of blue. The ceilings are painted in Farrow and Ball's Pale Powder and they look amazing. They are darker than they photograph. The pale blue really picks up the color of the ocean. Isn't the view amazing?

The eating area before. When we originally purchased the house, the half wall was actually a full glass window and a a door. We winterized the porch and opened the area up. It really visually enlarges the space.

The after photo shows how cohesive the space looks with it all painted a uniform color.
Here is a close up of the four season porch before.And the amazing after!
Here are close ups of the Willow Furniture I bought off the back of artisan's truck 10 years ago at a flea market. I have owned the weather vane for 20 years. I bought it at a barn sale in North Carolina. Wisteria is now making an exact reproduction. So now I am not sure that mine is actually old or a 20 year old reproduction, but I love it just the same. You can see I keep moving the accessories around.
We still have a lot unpacking and finishing to do on these rooms. I have some roman shades ordered and a really fabulous fireplace screen on the way. We will get to all that when we move up there for summer in June, but I wanted to share with you the progress to date.
We are so thrilled with how it turned out. My husband turned to me and said "I can't believe this is our house!" A little bit of paint can really transform things- I hope this inspires some of you to paint those wood walls. I'll be posting the outdoor transformations once I finish the gardens, so keep reading!
(all photos Willow Decor)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thank You, Romantic Homes Magazine

A huge Thank You! to Romantic Homes Magazine for featuring Willow Decor in their "Site Seeing" section. Grab a copy and see my Breakfast Room, or read more about it here! If you haven't looked at Romantic Homes lately do pick up a copy - I love their fresh and pretty interiors and helpful tips and ideas!! Thanks so much to Romantic Homes!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Sea Captain's Home Revamped for Today

When the owners of this Maine home purchased it, the house was in a state of disrepair. But they knew the house, built in by sea captain Ambrose Childe between 1855 and 1862, would be the perfect summer retreat for their bustling family.
They hired one of my favorite architects/designers, Linda Banks, to renovate and restore the home they called "Big Pink". Linda drew inspiration from the homes seafaring past. To honor the history of the house and its location, she chose an earthy palette of blues, greens and taupes and accessorized with Audubon prints and nautical items.
The salon above was filled with historic details like the intricately carved frieze over the door, gothic door panel and original mercury glass door knobs. These details were painstakingly preserved. Notice how much texture the jute rug brings into the room.

Through the salon you can see the dining room above. Linda keeps the old home looking fresh with a mix of armillary style chandelier and heirloom antiques like the lovely chest. The palette is neutral with soft wall color and jute rug. The scientific charts on the wall add to the nautical, sea captain feel.

Period features figure prominently in every room, like the original fireplace. It's presence is enhanced by the beautiful antique mirror hanging above.

The home is filled with nautical reminders of the sea captain who lived here before the family. Notice the ship model, water charts and Audubon print above. Again a neutral palette and jute rugs allow the many small rooms to blend together seamlessly.
The library is a soft pink. Chairs are upholstered in a fabric with a coral motif and sea inspired rug create a pretty oasis for reading and relaxing.
The completely renovated kitchen is wonderful mix of white cabinetry and soft blue/green island. The counters are honed absolute black granite. Large windows over the sink and a glass door from the foyer flood the space with light.
One of the smaller bedrooms is done in a soothing blue and white palette. Notice the wonderful moulding around the floor to ceiling window which Linda does not hide, but highlights with soft sheer curtains.
Two new bathrooms were created from one of the bedrooms. White beadboard wainscotting and Clarence House wallpaper in La Mere Beige add to the playfulness of this sea captain's home.
A small bathroom was moved to make room for a landing library with views of the ocean. Notice the book shelves built above the windows to increase storage space.
Special thanks to Linda Banks for a peek into another gorgeous ocean home which captures both the history of it's past with the updated features needed for a family of today.
To read more about this home in Maine Home and Digest click here. To see more of Linda Banks' exceptional work read previous posts here and to tour her personal home click here and here. To visit Linda Banks' website click here and finally to visit Linda Banks' store Simply Home click here.
(all photos property of Linda Banks and not to be copied with out permission)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Meyer & Meyer's English Rose Estate

Boston is wonderful place if you are interested in architecture. There are so many glorious historical buildings. America's gilded age brought architecture with unparalleled opulence to Boston. Some of these buildings still remain untouched. Such is the case with the beautiful English Rose Estate, built in 1929. The house was built for Quincy Adams Shaw, a wealthy copper mining investor. The house is a three story, symmetrical red brick Georgian Revival almost 18,000 square feet.
When the homeowners purchased this elegant estate it was in dire need of renovation. They looked toward the talented architectural talents of Meyer & Meyer . Both John Meyer and Laura Brooks Meyer became instrumental parts of the elite design team to restore the home to its original grandeur. The scope of the work included the complete interior rebuilding of two-thirds of the house to create a new master suite, third floor bedroom suite, new entry and reception halls, and construction of a new main stairway.
With Meyer & Meyer directing the efforts no detail was overlooked. A new limestone portico was also added on the west elevation of the house with a balustrade railing at the second floor terrace. Now let's have a look inside.
Here is the original stairway when Meyer & Meyer began their renovation process. The goal was to not only return the home to its original beauty, but also to enhance it.
John Meyer is also an artist. He creates expressive, hand-drawn perspective images of his designs. Meyer feels his drawings provide a “virtual window” where architectural and interior design issues unfold before the owners eyes and allow every detail to be studied. As he designed this home, these hand renderings gave his clients an clear picture of his vision and feel for the space. Often times his clients frame these spectacular works and they become treasured and sentimental parts of their art collections. Above is Meyer's hand rendering of the entry staircase. Isn't it spectacular?!
Here is the final result. You can see that the style of the interiors evolved over time because the homeowner, who travels extensively in Europe, was enamoured with the chateaus outside of Paris. The interior result decidedly became more French than American with the use of French rococo style, pastel colors and detailing. Notice the addition of the window behind the staircase, this small window adds an incredible amount of natural light to the space. Also notice the new hand forged bronze railing - a true work of art. Meyer did an amazing job of capturing all the details and creating a space of reminiscent of a bygone era.
Here is the before picture of the Grand Reception Hall.
And here is the hand drawn rendering that Meyer carefully and thoughtfully prepared for homeowners.
Finally here is the end result that was guided by both John and Laura Meyer. How could you not be awestruck?! Notice the moulding details, as well as the hand painted ceilings. These spectacular ceilings were painted by John Canning, the conservation specialist that also was responsible for restoring the sky mural on the ceiling of New York's Grand Central Station. Every craftsman on this project was dedicated to maintaining the highest level of quality and integrity. An amazing result!
Here is yet another view of this gorgeous home. The detailing is outstanding.
The Grand Reception hall from another angle - notice the ceiling detail, crystal chandelier and fireplace.
The master bath, bedroom and dressing room were also part of this renovation. The panels of master bedroom were also painted by Canning. Each of the four panels depicts a woman enjoying each of the four seasons.
A peek into the dressing room. Notice the cove lighting, moulding detail and hardware. No detail was overlooked.

It is wonderful to see these old buildings being carefully restored and returned to their original grandeur. The English Rose Estate is a reminder to us all the value of preserving and enhancing historical properties. To read the article from New England Home and to see more gorgeous photos and details about this house click here . For more information about the beautiful work being done by Meyer & Meyer click here. Thank you again to Meyer & Meyer for sharing this spectacular, lovingly restored architectural gem with us.
(all photos property of Meyer & Meyer, Inc Architecture and Interiors - do not copy with out permission)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't Miss the Kitchen Tour

In my free time, when I am not blogging, working or being a Mom; I am member of the The Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club. One of my favorite events that the Club does to raise money is hosting the Wellesley Kitchen Tour in Wellesley, Massachusetts. This year's event is Saturday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Celebrating its 11th year, this hugely popular fundraiser offers an excursion into six of Wellesley’s most stunning kitchens. The tour, though focused on kitchens, also gives visitors a peek into the entire first floor of some of Wellesley's most gorgeous homes. The kitchens are enviable and a great source of inspiration if you are building, remodeling or just want to see some beautiful homes. A favorite of mine is the home of Peter and Laura Holland constructed by Holland's company, River Stone Partners, LLC. Built as a labor of love for his own family, Holland, carefully planned some of the best "green" technology available today, as well as incorporating features which make it feel like a true luxury residence. One of my favorite features of this home is a the hidden spice rack in the corbels of the custom hood. What a clever idea!! The other five homes have just as many surprises and be prepared to ooh and ahh!

For more information on tickets and the tour click here and to read a more comprehensive article which shows some of the other kitchens click here. Hope to see you Saturday, as I will be volunteering at the home above, so if you stop by please say hello!

(photos Kate Flock/Wellesley Townsman & B. Harrington)

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Favorite Shopping Spots!!

The famous Brimfield Fair starts this week in the sleepy town of Brimfield, MA. It comes to life three times a year and Tuesday, May 11 - Sunday, May 16; kicks off the 2010 season. I hardly ever miss it and this year I wanted to pass along a few favorite shopping spots of mine. I have listed the field they are located in parenthesis.
First stop -Industrial Age Antiques -(The Meadows) A great place for Mercury glass bottles and industrial carts made into tables, assorted lab ware and machine and industrial antiques. I never know what they are going to bring, but it's always interesting!
My next never miss stop is my friend, Wendy Lewis' Textile Trunk - (New England Motel - under the tent) Wendy has an incredible collection of antique french ticking, grain sacks and antique linens - If you are searching for it she either has it or can find it for you.
I never want to miss Marvin Gardens - (Quaker Acres) It is always so gorgeous- real eye candy and an inspiration of how your garden could look - Though not all antiques, they have interesting and beautiful fountains and garden urns.
I also never miss Capitol Salvage (New England Motel) Actually I usually go here first to make sure I get the best selection of all their great treasures. They are masters at finding architectural pediments, corbels and old windows. They also take old columns and make them into tables. Great spot!
My favorite spot for finding awesome accessories for my clients with summer homes is Traditional Marine Outfitters - (The Meadows) They come down from Nova Scotia with fabulous antique nautical items like buoys ,oars, floats, etc.
This year I have to miss Brimfield, but if you find any treasures please email me photos so I can see the great new finds that will undoubtedly be there!! Fields open on different days so check out their specific times here. Have fun!!