A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

A Dream Retreat: Cabin-Turned-Victorian Cottage

Have you ever dreamed of a retreat, a respite far in the woods where you can {in perfect luxury} get away from it all? On many occasions I’ve imagined my little cottage in the middle of the forest where I could write, read, drink hot tea on the porch and look over the hills completely undisturbed. Ahhhh, heaven.

But it exists! Sandra Foster turned a Catskills hunting cabin into the romantic Victorian cottage she had always dreamed of. Every detail of the studio is as intricate and beautiful as the next – Sandra used thrift store, vintage and even Target finds to remodel the 9-by-10-foot room on a strict budget. Photos and story by NY Times.

The shabby-chic cottage doesn’t have a bathroom or a kitchen, but it is a dream of Victoriana: stacks of Limoges china with tiny rosebud patterns; refashioned cabinets piled high with hard-cover books; chandeliers covered in crystal; billows of tissue-paper garlands. Many of the furnishings, like the $15 chandelier hanging over the sitting area, were flea market finds.

What began as a brown and green backwoods cabin slowly turned into a luxuriously soft and feminine cottage. Sandra gutted, repainted and replaced most every feature – including doors, shelves, windows and even the willow tree trunk supports at the front of the house for which she completed all of the carpentry work herself.

Sandra lives with her husband, Todd on 14 acres of property in the New York Catskills Mountains. She calls a 1971 trailer home and has built more than one retreat site on their extensive land. One includes a modified shed that houses a big screen TV, boxes full of videotapes and cooking equipment.

A river bed separates the Victorian cabin from the rest of the property and any furniture or tools had to be lightweight enough to traverse the land and stream.

Above, Sandra makes flower-like garland for the cottage out of tissue paper.

The chandelier over the bed is from Target, as is the bedding from Rachel Ashwell’s Simply Shabby Chic line. Cabinets were built from reclaimed French doors and now house Sandra’s beautiful collection of Limoges china, a set she’s been adding to for years. Yard sale mirrors and furniture received fresh coats of paint to match the all-white cottage.

Sandra calls the cottage her ‘refuge’ and spends much time in knee-high pink rainboots adding white petunias to her window boxes or relaxing on her refurbished porch (which she framed out herself). She grew up in Long Island and after losing her home as a child had always dreamed of building this perfect cottage – I’m deeply impressed with the couple’s story AND their fabulous new getaway!

PS I just received this link from Sandy’s husband – check out her cute blog!

{Summer Inspiration} for a Red & Teal Dinner Party

Kevin and I love to host impromptu dinner parties every couple of weeks at the house. We might find ribs perfect for smoking on sale at the grocery store that morning or perhaps Kev just carbonated another round of his favorite home brew (we always have a batch going…) but by 7 that night we love nothing more than good friends and good food crowded around the outdoor fireplace.

So while we keep it mellow… I couldn’t help but recently be inspired by a fancier version of an outdoor dinner party. SMP recently featured this red & teal San Francisco-themed spread (and all of the gorgeous details) by photographer Edyta Szyszylo.

I love love the printed tablecloth (so easy to make yourself with a fabric remnant and a bit of hem tape or spray glue) and the brilliant green viburnum (hydrangea’s little sister) centerpiece made out of a thrift store two-tiered planter.

Details: “Brocade and broach napkin rings, vintage demitasse cups as favors and place card holders, as well as the wrought iron lounge furniture were all added for Victorian appeal. The gold-rimmed dinnerware, gold flatware, gold dining chairs and gold-rimmed wine glasses added some glamour and elegance to our outdoor setting.”

To keep the photo gallery going… follow the jump for a many more delicious pictures! Continue reading

DIY Fabric Night Light

This is one of the beautiful fabric remnants that I recently received from Calico Corners for the San Diego Design Expo. I wanted to find a fun use for it and came up with this basic night light fashioned from a Target fabric lantern.

The inner sleeve of the lantern slides easily out to reveal the light bulb inside, by simply recovering the sleeve you have a brand new look.

To create: cut fabric to size of lantern + 2″ in length and height, flip fabric over and use spray glue to create a 1″ hem around entire remnant (a ruler is a helpful tool to flatten out edges). You could also use the spray glue to adhere the fabric to your new lantern shade, but I used a simple pin to hold it in place so that I could easily change it out in the future!

It’s easy to update with new fabrics as rooms and tastes change.

This would make a great addition to a kid’s room or guest room – with the fabric’s intricate pattern the new lantern creates a soft, muted glow that I love. I even tried it with a red light bulb and it created a fun effect!

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