Archive | February, 2011

D.I.Y. A.D.D.

28 Feb

I spent most of my weekend at Tilly’s Cottage working on stripping paint.  My goal was to work on the banister but I was all over the place working on a project here and a project there.  I decided I have the DIY-er’s version of A.D.D. I just couldn’t stay focused and wanted to get it all done.  I’m even fantasizing my next day off work in March for Paddy’s Day to work on the house.  I’m completely addicted.  My progress won’t look like much to anyone who hasn’t seen the house in person but I did, in fact, make some significant progress.  I got the banister back to the bare wood which looks like it’s cherry and it’s in great condition.

I cleared all the coal from the old coal storage under the stairs. I also cleaned out a bit of the fireplace muck and also got the top layer of paint of the top of the fireplace (I don’t need to worry about the full chimney breast because the mantle will go in the mid-section and above, it will be re-plastered). Not a word a lie – there were at least 6 coats of paint on the banister and I made it through of all them.  I’m through about 3 coats on the fireplace. 

For those looking to do the same, a heat gun and a scraper work wonders — you’ll also need some paint stripper and steel wool for the crevices and I found a palm sander is good for the finish.

ABC Carpets NYC

27 Feb

I’m so jealous because my friend, Lindsay, is going to New York this week for a long weekend.  She hasn’t been before so I was going through a list of some of my favorite stops in the big apple.  One of my most favorite is ABC Carpets & Home.  It’s been a good few years now since I’ve been there but I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I’m at ABC. 

So, just a little decorating eye candy for today courtesy of ABC.

Pippi Longstocking’s House

26 Feb

Don’t ask me what reminded me of this but I was thinking the other day about the Pippi Longstocking movies and how I used to love them.  I wasn’t thrilled about the fact that her voice didn’t match up with her lips (somehow, I think as a kid that I just thought the film was out of sync — not dubbed).  Anyway, I looked up a few photos of the house and I can see the early influence of my love for cottages and Victorian “painted ladies”.

I once read that part of the success of the Harry Potter series is in the formula that he is free of parental oppression and I think Pippi really pioneered that angle. I would have loved having a polka-dotted horse and a house with no rules when I was Pippi’s age.

You can actually visit the house, called Villa Villekulla in Vimmerby, the hometown of Astrid Lindgren, the author, which is in Småland,

Small bedrooms

25 Feb

The bedrooms in Tilly’s Cottage are teensy eensy. Sorry all you fellow yankee doodle dandies but we have no idea what small space is.  It cracks me up when I read our American decorating magazines on solutions for small spaces — they’re huge in comparison to what you find here in Ireland. But I don’t mind teeny eensy — I’ve grown to love it. 




I’ve met both of my neighbors on either side of the cottage and they are both ladies in their 70s who grew up in these artisan cottages — and in both cases, with huge families!  Josie came from a family of 11 and Lela came from a family of 10.  So, imagine having 10-11 people sleeping in one of two rooms — the largest of which is less than 100 square feet.  Cozy!  Oh, and did I mention only an outhouse, no shower and just a small sink and a bucket for bathing? Josie tells me they washed once a week and they would “scrub up, then down, wash the bits and move on to the next child”. But not to worry, it sounds like they both had modern plumbing standards by the time they were teenagers. So, today’s post is in honor of Josie and Lela.

If I were 10, the simple solution would be bunk beds.  And I love the idea of the desk platform in the pink teenage loft. Neither of these are as practical for me but some nice designs for a small bedroom space all the same.


How long ’til Spring again?

24 Feb

Christiana pulled this article for me a couple of years ago and I’ve been holding on to it ever since in the hopes that one day, I’d have a garden and would be able to do it up like this.  So, the garden won’t be a reality but I’d love to try a similar attempt in the courtyard.


I absolutely adore the ribbon and greenery canopy.  Love it.

Displaying children’s artwork

23 Feb

When it comes to displaying the artwork of your kids, banners with pegs abound and there are lots of great images of this across the web — I’m not knocking it at all — I think it’s a brilliant solution.  But I thought I would include one banner example and a couple of others that I thought were clev-uh (that’s my attempt at a Boston accent — I could have also said “wicked smaaaht”).

From the Fiskers website, I like the idea of making the art banner an actual banner with proper flag bunting. Cute. 


And how smart to take photos of your kids’ artwork and incorporate it into a thumbnail collage? Seems like it not only archives it forever but also prevents children’s art from taking over your entire house.


A kitchen cottage makeover

22 Feb

Probably no surprise that I love this kitchen makeover featured in the Irish decor mag, House & Home.  So sweet and inviting. Love the colors – very feminine and I love all the cottage-y features. For more photos and details, see makeovers on: or the owner’s blog

Bathroom design ideas

21 Feb

I don’t know what it is but the one room in the house that I don’t get very excited about designing is the bathroom.  I’m just not that motivated to think about it. So, I did a trawl and tried to “collect” the images that had the most visceral appeal — without really over-thinking it — just going for my first-blush reaction.  Here’s what I think are the recurring elements in the ones I picked:  I like bathroom “furniture” rather than that built-in look.  I seem to like a simple color palette.  I like a more vintage / timeless  look rather than modern (and I know the photo with the glass shower below is a contradiction to that but I selected it because I like the simplicity of the shower design and the wall inset for shampoos, etc.).

Because I’m having a hard time mustering up enthusiasm for this room, please send me a pic or a link of your favorite bathroom for more inspiration!

Rachel Ashwell and Shabby Chic Design

20 Feb

If you’re into design, you’re probably well aware of Rachel Ashwell who, in essence, created the shabby chic design approach.  I haven’t visited her website in a while now but I decided to take a look at some of the photos to see how things have evolved since my last peek.  She’s still very monotone in approach would wouldn’t be as much my thing but I do love that her taste has a level of sophistication even with the approach being so rustic.

Love the open kitchen shelves below and I love those chunky and not-perfectly-pressed curtains in the bedroom.

Just a little bit of shabby chic eye candy for you today.

A tucked away home office

19 Feb

I’ve been thinking about a home office space.  At the moment, there’s a space that’s been designated as a  study  if planning permission goes through but  it will double as a guest room so I might need to find a corner to keep a laptop for some lazy browsing now and again.  When you’re talking about 855 square feet, there aren’t a lot of nooks to spare but these are three great examples of small space homes offices.

The second example, which is an office tucked away in a closet, is very like Molly’s hidden home office in Brookline.  She’s taken advantage of all the extra room in the eaves of her upstairs (which is the former attic of the house) to create little nooks and crannies of usable space.