Monday, February 8, 2016

Living Large in Small Spaces

Funny story.
Recently, I was honored to be asked to write a blog post 
about our little cottage on the lake 
for the blog A Joyful Cottage.
Nancy, the Joyful Cottage blogger, had seen some photos on Houzz 
of our cottage that were taken by Gridley and Graves 
for a feature in Cottage Style Magazine.

for a series on her blog called Living Large in Small Spaces.
My sweet blogger friend Lynne from Irish Garden House 
saw the pictures, recognized our cottage and sent me a link.
And then Nancy contacted me and asked me to tell the rest of the story.
It seemed like a good idea
and it forced me to organize all of my posts
about the cottage into one easy to read place.

So, here's the Joyful Cottage post!

A Joyful Cottage

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 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!

Let's 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 at least 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's!
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.

That's the hot water heater under the little window 
and it was taking up precious space in the kitchen.
We moved it up to the attic. 
And we 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!

Thanks, Nancy!

Linking to: 
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Inspire Me Monday at Sand and Sisal
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

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Monday, January 18, 2016

The Mother of all Cutting Boards

Maybe you have noticed- 
wooden cutting boards of all shapes and sizes are in.
They come in the shape of animals and states and paddles and circles.

And I am not immune to their charms.
When we remodeled our kitchen last year, 
I had visions of layering the walls with warm wooden cutting boards like these 
at Patina Farm

And then, in a shop in Michigan, I saw this one...

The Mother of all cutting boards.

It was Expensive.
I didn't buy it.
I regretted that.
I agonized. 
I went back to buy it 
and it was GONE.
It was a one of a kind and there were no more to be had.

I bemoaned the loss loudly to whoever would listen 
and might possibly be in need of gifts ideas for me.

I mentioned that someone could probably make one. 
Or have one made.

A year later, I was still obsessed with this cutting board.
I could envision it on my new island, 
groaning under the weight of fruit and cheese at a party, 
surrounded by friends who insist on standing around the new island.
It would be perfect.

So I went to a store that specializes in hardwoods 
and I found the perfect piece of teak.
It was 13' wide by 42" long.  
Here it is in it's raw state.

I took it to my friend Ed Dolan 
and beseeched him to make it into a cutting board.
Ed agreed to take the challenge.
He's a talented guy.

We plotted out the shape and Ed got to work.

Today, he delivered.

It's awesome.

Here it is, before any finish is applied.

It fits perfectly across the island.

I put some special food grade cutting board oil on it 
and it's even prettier now!

Warm and rich looking.  Really gorgeous.

And when it's not in use, I'm going to hang it on the side of my oven cabinet.
I've been itching to put something there.
Here it is, leaning there, to show you how big this thing is!

It looks nice with this over sized wicker serving tray 
that I scooped up at the flea market last year.

Between the two of them, the island is ready for a party!
Me, too.

Linking to:
The Scoop at Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Wow us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Beaded Ball Jewelry

Beaded Ball Earrings

Seems like every winter, when the temperature drops and the snow flies, 
I start to hole up in my cozy craft/laundry room 
and make a little jewelry.

One year, I made bracelets out of vintage earrings

You can read about them here.

Then there was this icy collection.
I love using crystal pearls and liquid silver beads.  
They are inexpensive and so shiny!

And who could forget this festive bracelet???

Lots of fun to make and wear.

This year's project was to learn how to make beaded balls.  
My sweet friend Alice had given me this amethyst beaded ball pendant for my birthday 

and I wanted to try my hand at making one.

I took my Darling Daughter's advice 
and searched for directions for making beaded ball earrings on YouTube, 
and low and behold, there was everything I ever needed to know about making them. 
 And more, of course.
Let's forget about going down that rabbit hole that is YouTube...

Here's a closer look at the pendant Alice gave me.

It's basically a woven ball of beads.  
You can see the star shaped clusters woven together here in the first one I tried making.

You can just slide your favorite chain necklace right through the openings and you have a pendant.
I used bi-cone beads here instead of round, to show the star shape more clearly.

Then I made this one, using some aqua rondelle shaped beads 

And then I tried my hand at making a smaller version, for earrings.
I love these sparkly blue ones.  
They can dress up denim or play up some one's beautiful blue eyes.

These are an iridescent green and blue mix, my favorite color combo.

Then, for New Year's Eve, or any event requiring a bit of silvery sparkle, 
I made these earrings.

And this pendant to coordinate.

It's been fun learning how to weave with beads.  
This YouTube video was essential. 
The directions and supplies you'll need are described at the beginning. 
The steps are not at all hard, 
but they have to be done in the right order. 

Aren't they Just*Grand?

Linking to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
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