Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Embracing the Green Chair

This is the week leading up to Valentine's Day and Dennis' and my sixth wedding anniversary. 

The theme of our wedding was JOY. 

Joy in the Lord.

Joy in each other.

Joy in every day we're given.

I think that's why this photo from our wedding is my favorite. When I look at the two of us dancing I relive the pure joy of beginning life as a couple.

February 14, 2010 - Fawnbrook Inn, Allenspark, Colorado

There have been days when that joy has been threatened. Remarrying at our age comes with a whole different set of challenges than did the marriages of our youth. 

I've found that there is great benefit to having history as a couple. Thirty-six years of marriage made for a lot of history with my late husband, which translated into greater understanding 

of him

of me

of us.

Six years into my marriage to Dennis I'm still learning how to appreciate our differences, to accept them as an opportunity to grow as a person; to become more of the woman God designed me to be. 

Embracing the green chair has been part of my education.

What in the world is she talking about?

That's probably what you're thinking right now, so let me explain.

Last summer, just before we moved into our new cottage, we spent a day in Pendleton, Oregon browsing through antique and vintage shops. Dennis discovered a green wing back chair without a price tag and asked the shopkeeper about it. She had just received it on consignment and planned to list it for sale once it was "cleaned up". However, if we were interested, she'd make us a deal.  Dennis sat in the chair and immediately decided he wanted it if the price was right. It was. The shopkeeper offered to sell it "as is" for $35, and we bought the chair.

It was a great buy; a very good quality chair, made in North Carolina and sold in high-end retail shops. A professional woman in Portland (a friend of the shopkeeper) had owned the chair and it was in exceptional condition.

I wasn't crazy about the outdated upholstery, but reasoned I could always have it reupholstered, or use a slipcover.

Except that's not what happened. Dennis liked the upholstery. He liked the emerald green color. He liked the variegated gold trellis pattern. And he wasn't at all anxious to change it. He never told me I couldn't change it, but a wife knows when her husband really isn't onboard. It's part of that history thing.

One day my friend Mary stopped by for coffee. I showed her the chair and shared my feelings about the upholstery.

She smiled sweetly and said, "I think you should embrace the chair. It's pretty and you can work it into your decor."

And so I did.

This photo was taken in the fall.

I'm thinking about making some changes for spring. New fabrics for the stool, sofa cushion and pillow covers. Something softer. Pastels maybe.

Whatever I choose I'll make it work with the emerald green chair and its variegated gold trellis. Because that's my husband's chair and he's happy with it. And because I love my husband I'm embracing the green chair.

Honestly, it's grown on me. The chair is now part of our history as a couple. It represents to me the acceptance and appreciation of the differences between my husband and myself. It represents honoring my husband, showing him respect and feathering our nest in a way that pleases both of us. . .

not just me.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not
easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Love never fails. . ." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (Read at our marriage ceremony by a dear friend.)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Living Large In Small Spaces - Lake Cottage, The Rest of the Story

Welcome to the sixty-eighth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of featuring Lake Cottage, the vacation home of Erin, author of the blog Just Grand, and her husband. Today Erin is my guest at A Joyful Cottage. I invited her to come and share the story behind her charming cottage with all of you, my wonderful readers. It's a glorious tale of a cottage rebirth. Please  join me in welcoming Erin to today's edition of Living Large in Small Spaces.


Hello, Joyful Cottage Readers!
My name is Erin and I write a blog called Just*Grand. 
It's a blog about ideas, designs, crafts, renovations, recipes 
and anything else that I think is - Just Grand!

I was thrilled when Nancy at a A Joyful Cottage 
asked me to share the story of our Little Cottage by the Lake.
I am always happy to talk about our little cottage.  
It's been a true labor of love!

Lets start at the very beginning.
I have always, always wanted a cottage by a lake.
A little cottage.  By a big lake.  Like Lake Michigan.
I wanted big sky and sunsets and sandy beaches and crystal clear water.
I wanted to be able to see weather fronts approaching.
I am awed by the wind and the clouds and the power of the lake.

We found one such cottage on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, 
only an hour and a half drive from our home.
It was a sad little cottage, shabby and much neglected-
Which was perfect for me.  
I love a good project and this one promised to be huge! 
We took a leap and have never looked back.

Ours is the second one in from the left.
These cottages were built about 80 years ago, as housekeeping cottages 
where families came to enjoy the cool breezes by the lake.

We share the lawn with the other cottages
and we play games and host parties and one family even had a wedding there.
Here's a view from across the lawn.

Our cottage actually looks charming, from a distance!

This picture below shows what truly awful condition it was in.

But the setting was great and the bones were good. 

We had to replace virtually everything, inside and out.
Here's how it looks after our renovations.
This will make your eyes feel better....

New roof, siding, windows, doors, deck, landscaping 

We had the power lines that were attached to the front of the cottage buried
and what a difference that made!

Here's how the back of the cottage looked when we bought it.

So shabby!

Here's how it looks after the renovations.

We added an outdoor shower that is just heavenly.

And last summer, we added this little railing by the back steps...

Those before pictures hurt my eyes.
Look at this instead.

That's better. 
That's why we're here!
The Lake.
Remember this, because there are more ugly Before pictures coming.

On the inside, we replaced everything too.
All new electric, plumbing, hardwood floors, drywall, molding, 
vaulted ceilings, skylights, a loft, 
a new kitchen and a new bathroom.

Here's a picture from the main living room, Before.

And that same view now...

Believe it or not, the burnt orange fireplace was salvaged by a friend of the builder!
And I do not miss it. 

Here's the front porch room, before.

And here's how it looks now.
And a link to a post I wrote about it.

This is another photo by Gridley and Graves. 
They made it look so dreamy.

Let's look at the kitchen.
Warning- Not pretty.

The hot water heater was taking up precious space in the kitchen.
We moved it to the attic. 
And saved that one cute little window.
My husband spent an entire weekend stripping and refinishing it 
and then decided we needed all new windows.

I was able to find someone who wanted to salvage the old windows.  
They were really cute, but very dilapidated and not insulated.  
and what they do with salvaged wood.

Here's how the kitchen looks now.

Another view

On to the bathroom.  
Keeping the pictures small because they are so ugly.

Here's the bathroom now...

The tub was scooped up by a neighbor who longed for a vintage claw foot tub. 
We were happy to help!

Here's a detail of the tile in the shower.

And the watery blue floor


We made some changes in the master bedroom, too.
Here's a picture of the room before it was redone.

This photo by Gridley and Graves shows how the same bedroom wall looks now.

We tore out the closet in the corner 
and added two small closets on the opposite wall, on either side of the window, below.

We also removed the plywood ceiling and paneling from the walls 
and had the ceiling in the room vaulted. 

We put the little salvaged window from the kitchen 
up into the new gable wall 

and had a skylight installed over the bed.  
It's lovely to lay in bed and see the stars or watch it snow.

Here's a peek into the tiny second bedroom. 
My son calls it the closet with some shelves you can sleep on!

It's tiny but it works!

The colors I used in the cottage were inspired by the colors at the beach
and by the beach glass that constantly washes up in the sand.

So, I got my wish...

Big sky, sandy beach, clear blue water...
You can see the weather coming when it's hours (or minutes away)!

And the sunsets!

It's all Just*Grand!


Thank you so much, Erin, for sharing your inspiring story with us. What a fabulous restoration!

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours and small living ideas in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.