Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grand *Beach Cottage Kitchen* Before and After!

Went to the beach in Michigan this weekend with Mr. Grand 
while darling daughter was away on a school trip. 
I have written about our little cottage there in previous posts - 
you can read about it here and here and here.
Today I thought I would share the Before and After pictures of the kitchen.
The weather was actually pretty darn nice for February in Michigan!  
I wish it had been a little sunnier, because then my pictures would have been a little better, 
but again, February.  Michigan.  
Happy to get there at all.

Here's a picture of the renovated kitchen.  It is very, very small, 
so it's hard to get far enough away to take decent pictures...

This is a Before picture of the kitchen.
Tiny space but still a big job.

We loved the charming little window and wanted to save it
but it had to move, to make way for a closet
for desperately needed storage.

 Here is the same wall, after.  

 Mr. Grand stripped and refinished the little window and we relocated it to our bedroom.
It is the only original window we were able to keep.  
 It's here now, up in the eave of our bedroom:

 All of the original window were casement style, with the most charming little screen doors- 
totally charming and completely impractical. 
The screens opened in and the casements opened out.  
So that meant no furniture could be placed in front of the windows inside, 
and the casements, when open outside, took up too much space on the deck. 
Not insulated either.  
Initially, our intention was to refinish and reuse them 
but after Mr. Grand spent an entire weekend stripping and refinishing just this one little window, 
we knew we had to spring for new windows.

I really didn't want the old windows to end up in the dumpster, 
so I headed to the Kane County Flea Market and searched until I found 
a wonderfully talented couple who buy up old barn wood and windows and other things 
for salvage and then they make fabulous furniture using the salvaged wood. 
They came and took all of the old windows, reserving one for me for some future project. 
We have several pieces of furniture in our cottage that they made for us, 
using salvaged barn wood.  That's a great topic for another day...

Here is another Before picture of the old kitchen.  
I loved the old arched entry to the kitchen, 
but it was another casualty of the redo.
Mr. Grand has promised to recreate an arch for me just outside of the kitchen.
It's on the "some day" list.

Another Before picture- just plain nasty.

I love the new cabinets, below... They were made for me by the one and only Ed Dolan.
Faithful readers will recognize Ed from earlier projects, here and here and here.
Ed made each of these cabinets by hand 
and we brought them up to the cottage, one at a time and set them in place,
 just waiting for the day when Ed would come and install them.
This center cabinet over the sink is my absolute favorite.  
I had torn a picture out of an English Home Magazine many years ago
 of a kitchen with scalloppy cabinets like this 
and I knew just what I wanted to do when it came time to design this little kitchen.

This kitchen may be short on space, but it's packed with plenty of the little details that I love-
 scallops and pegs and bead board.  What could be better in a cottage?
And working with Ed made it all sing.  Good Karma kitchen!

Love the apron style farm sink, from IKEA! 
Very reasonable, and I really enjoy having one great big sink.
The wine glasses are kept handy for a reason...
Same for the coffee mugs!

There is a nice big open top shelf-  
a great place for display since I can't reach it anyway!

I couldn't resist this little Beach sign, in my cottage colors...

More scalloppy trim and a little shelf for display, right above what my brother Paul calls
the Easy Bake Oven - it's so tiny, but it works!
We roasted a 14 pound turkey in this oven and it turned out very well.

This sweet little print hung in my mother's kitchen for years...
The light in the photo is bad, but the colors really all do work together- please believe me.
I must come by my love for all things cottage from her... 
I've given it a place of honor.


These little creamers are just the right size to fill the space on this shelf over the stove.  
I suppose real cooks might put spices there, but I had more fun hunting for these than cooking...

Here you can see the vintage chandelier that I bought years ago- 
 I had no idea where it would go at the time (Mr. Grand just loves it when I do that...) 
but it was a bargain and I loved it.
I'm going to toot my own horn here (Toot!) 
and brag about how I was ahead of the lantern style chandelier trend 
way before there was a lantern style chandelier trend.
I am rarely ahead of any trends, so I 'm just going to be a little smug here.
All it needed was a little dusting (and rewiring) and it was ready to hang.

It seemed like a grand idea to have a chandelier in a cottage kitchen...

Oh, and one more thing-
this was the sunset on Saturday night... 
Absolutely Glorious.

Hope you enjoyed this *Before and After* tour...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

*Flowers* For You

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Today I thought I'd share some of my flowers with you. 
 I am just a little bit obsessed with flowers 
and have amassed thousands of digital photographs that I play with in Photoshop. 

I'll take you on a little tour of pink flowers 
from other seasons, warmer places and brighter, longer days....

This was taken at the edge of the lake at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, in the late spring.

 This gorgeous, glowing-from-within Dahlia was taken at Ball Gardens on a sunny, July day.
Can't you just feel the warmth? 

Deep red Quickfire hydrangeas from our garden in Michigan.

These Purple Coneflowers used to grow at the edge of Lake Ellyn.
Zealous mowing did them in, but I managed to get this shot on a muggy, overcast summer day. 
Remember muggy?

 Time now for a reality check - here is what Lake Ellyn looks like in February- it's cold and snowy.
Those coneflowers, above, grew right here at the edge of the lake.
Seasonal changes are so miraculous in the garden.

This was a container garden at a home in Hinsdale, Illinois on a House Walk.
The Pussy Willows and Pansies with the Ranunculus were ever so sweet together.

Bleeding Hearts - so romantic, at Lilacia Park in Lombard, Illinois.
Every spring, this little park is absolutely glorious with acres of lilacs, tulips and perennials.

 Here's a pink lilac from Lilacia Park...  
They grow old fashioned lilacs there and their fragrances are heavenly.

 These perfect pink hydrangeas were taken in my garden here in Northern Illinois.  
Amazing because between the harsh winters here and the deep shade in our yard, 
I am thrilled when anything blooms!

This trio of gorgeous crab trees, bursting with flowers, 
was taken in spring at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.

 Hope you enjoyed this little tour of pink flowers.... 
 I'm soooo looking forward to spring. 
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

*In the Pink* for Valentines Day

Valentines Day is just around the corner and I am thinking Pink...  
I love the cranberry reds and pinks for Valentines Day.  
I love how soft and romantic they are, subtle and old fashioned.  
Today, I would like to show off share with you my
pink transfer ware and a few other Valentine-y collectibles.  
I can thank my sister in law, Joan, for getting me started on the pink/red transfer ware search.  
She has a great eye and a wonderful collection and I started out looking for pieces for her 
and sadly, sorry Joan, I started keeping them for myself...
I was already collecting cranberry glass and, well, 
the pink transfer ware just went so nicely with that... 
You collectors will understand.  I hope Joan does!

Let's set the stage-
the table is set for a Valentines Day luncheon with a few girlfriends. 
The idea for this little luncheon came when I dropped some items off at our local resale shop, 
and of course, I had to look around as long as I was there... 
I spotted the pink opalescent champagne glasses and I knew I had to rescue them.  
I always say I like to collect things that I can actually use, so there you go.  
Time for a little pink party.

See the sweet little champagne glasses?  
And cranberry salt and pepper shakers, pink depression glass candle holders 
and the pink transfer ware in the background?
 I  mixed my Grandma Evie's Rose Chintz china with the champagne glasses 
and I love how it all works together.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

*Grand * Lake Cottage Porch - Before and After

I need a little lake house fix.  I haven't been able to get up to our little cottage lately and I need some sunshine and some billowage, and I need it soon.  Billowage, dear readers, is a word I made up to describe one of my favorite things.  Billowage is what happens on a breezy day when the wind softly lifts the curtains up in the air - they billow up and down, over and over and it is like breathing.  
The house is breathing, I am breathing. 

It looks like this:

and this:

Even my sweet dog, Burly, likes billowage....  She knows just how to enjoy a billowy day.

These pictures are from our little sun porch.... it's a very tiny room with nothing but windows. 
Lots of billowage goes on in this room. 

Here's a nice Before picture:

The photo below shows the same wall, after.
The floor, the ceiling, the walls and the windows are all new.

These little chairs would make a great "Before and After" post, but, sadly, I never took any before pictures.  The chairs were given to me by my friend Diana, who was moving into the city and going with a much sleeker, chic-er, more modern vibe in her new house.  
That's the subject of a whole other post...
Anyway, Diana had stored these chairs in her garage for years 
and was kind enough to give them to me.  The ottoman was mine from way back when. 
I had it reupholstered to coordinate with the chairs, and then I made the little pillow.

The chairs have been re-upholstered in my inspiration fabric - 
an aqua paisley, indoor/outdoor fabric.  
I love the colors and I pulled the color palette for the whole cottage from this one fabric. 
I've also used it for these window treatments.

Kids plopping down in wet bathing suits are no problem for these chairs! 
I didn't want to worry about the "stuff" in this house.  
I wanted it to be carefree and relaxing, in lake inspired colors, and much more casual than at home.

Here's a close up of the Mariposa aluminum fish platter above that Mr. Grand scored at a garage sale one Saturday morning in Michigan.  Now before you go and get all jealous that Mr. Grand goes to garage sales with me, you should know that it is the only garage sale he has gone to in years!  I think he actually went along to discourage me from bringing more things home...

Reminds me of my brother Murf, who named his boat "Bait and Switch"  because as legend has it,  before he and his wife were married, he pretended to like the symphony or ballet or something 
and she pretended she liked to fish!  
Years later, once the honeymoon was over, so to speak, not so much for either of them... 
I tell you this because Mr. Grand and I have the same sort of issue.  
Fortunately, he still enjoys working on a good project and this little cottage has kept him busy!
 Here is another Before picture of the sun porch:

And here is how it looks now:

Here's the Moravian star chandelier that Mr. Grand installed, 
right after he hung all the bead board on the ceiling!  (Ok, now you can be jealous of me!) 
I like bead board a lot, almost as much as I like V-groove paneling.

 The chandelier makes the prettiest patterns on the ceiling at night.

 Careful observers may recognize this little Scallopy shelf below, from another post.

The sun room is just on the other side of the shelf...

Billowage usually happens on windy days, and windy days are also wavy days, 
and wavy days are another one of my favorite things. 

I love waves.  

I love looking at waves, listening to waves, and most especially, JUMPING the waves...


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