Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cottage Life - My Hutch Makeover, Fall Decor and More

Hello Cottage Friends,

I have some things to share with you today, but first I want to thank all of you who commented on my last post. You are kind, thoughtful souls and I appreciate all of you very much. 

This past week I received an email from a new reader named Ruth. She told me she had discovered my blog via a Pinterest pin, and that this spring her husband and she will be moving into a smaller home. She writes:

     My husband and I raised eight children in two different  four-bedroom homes. Now that my husband has retired, living in our current home is not financially feasible. This spring we will be moving into the house where I grew up. There are sad memories connected with this house, so I first had to work through those. Having done that, I have been thinking of the house as a cottage. I do love cottages. Before finding your blog I searched websites and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Now that I have found your blog, I am re-inspired! 

Ruth attached a photo of their new home, which they painted blue "as a first step toward re-imagining it as a cottage." 

Isn't her cottage adorable? It just thrills me to think that my little blog could bring encouragement to another person such as Ruth (a total stranger), and that she would take the time to write me and share her life. Wow! Thank you so much Ruth for the email, and for letting me share a bit of your story here, along with the photo. You are an inspiration.

Okay, so in my last post I mentioned that I would be making over this hutch.

I found this on Craigslist a while ago, and it's been sitting in our kitchen waiting for a redo ever since. When we designed our cottage I wanted room for a free-standing piece of furniture in the kitchen, rather than another new built-in cabinet. I felt it would add charm to the cottage. I had in mind to use a hutch, but it took some searching to find one that would fit the space, give adequate storage, and still allow for some shelves to display some of my pretty dishes.This piece is solid wood, probably from the 60's, with a maple veneer and has all the elements I was looking for. But, I'm not a fan of 60's Early American maple furniture, and since the hutch had been abused over the years, I felt no guilt in painting it.

Here you can see the damage that had been done by the previous owners; however, since both Dennis and I see open areas at the bottom of furniture as places to collect dust and spiders, we planned to enclose it anyway, and that helped solve the problem of what to do about the missing veneer.

Here's the after photo.

Isn't it cute? Dennis created and installed a simple molding for the bottom, which eliminated a home for dust bunnies under the hutch, covered the damaged area, and I think makes the piece look like it came from an old cottage.

I painted the hutch with three coats of Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Serenity Blue. Usually I make my own chalk paint to save money, but while shopping at Ace Hardware I saw this product and decided at $19.88 I'd give it a try. I'm very happy with the results, though it did take three coats to cover the wood. Still, I used less than one 30 oz. can so I feel it was money well spent. I've found that homemade chalk paint consistency can vary depending on the brand of latex paint used, and I didn't feel like messing around with a piece this large. Plus, I love this color. It's exactly the shade of blue I wanted.

It just so happened that I had some unused hardware in my stash that I thought would work well with this piece.

Now I have a place to display my mother's harp cake plate and pink depression glass, along with some pretty things I've collected along the way. 

This proves I'm not a total minimalist. However, I only keep things that I really love.

You'll notice I left the buffet's wood top natural. All I did was treat it with Howard's Restor-A-Finish and Wood Polish and Conditioner. I think the little pits and mars in the wood give it character and the feeling that it really is an old piece. The orange pumpkin is a print from an original watercolor Dennis painted 5 years ago and sold to the owner of a pumpkin farm. I bring the print out every autumn. 

I also changed out a few of the wall paintings to fall scenes. I've mentioned in past posts that I change the artwork with the seasons. (Having a an artist husband  has its advantages.)

The only other fall decor in the cottage is a handmade pumpkin I recently found at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and a wooden bowl with rag balls in fall colors. The pumpkin cost me a whopping $1.69 and the rag balls were made from my fabric stash. I think I paid $1 for the bowl last year at a yard sale. The pansies were brought in from the porch this week. I'm amazed they've survived this long, as there have been some nights that dipped down to the teens, but they have made it and I'm now enjoying their cheerful faces indoors.

This simple, understated approach to seasonal decorating works for me. Besides, the real beauty of fall can be seen right outside the window in the garden. One can't improve on God's creation.

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."
Psalm 118:23

There's more I could share, but this post is really too long as it is. I'll be back.

Make it a great week everyone!