Mirror Mirror!

I came across a really fun find that I couldn’t resist as soon as I saw it!

An upcycled magazine mirror that was beautifully and meticulously handmade.  (I wish I made it myself but I admit that I probably don’t have the patience for it!)

The layering of the colorful magazine pages give the frame a sculptural quality.

The pages (sometimes folded and sometimes rolled) were artfully applied to form a spiral frame around the mirror.

Now this vibrant and playful “color wheel” has found a perfect home in my workshop.  It is fitting in quite nicely too!

10th Annual Bristol Holiday Preview!

Please save the date for the 10th Annual Bristol Holiday Preview!  Friday, November 18th, 2011 from 5pm to 9pm.  We will be having an Open House at Sea Rose Cottage with many fun happenings around town.  More details to follow!


Me and My Drum (Table)

I was lucky enough to come by this mahogany table at an estate sale.

It was scratched up a bit in a few places but other than that was in good condition.

All the table needed was a quick cleaning and then I got right down to painting.

Hmmmm….but wait a minute…what color?   I decided to mix some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I mixed Graphite and Old White as the basecoat and put in a little Primer Red for good measure.

I painted the draw pull black and decided to do a dry brush technique on the table base and apron.

My color of choice?  Cream.

I wanted a solid color on the table top so I decided to paint it Graphite and used clear and dark wax on the table top (and two clear coats of wax on the rest).

Shortly after I finished this piece, my friend and neighbor came by with a yard sale find for my next project.  A trumpet table!

My first guest post!

I am so thrilled to be featured on Kelly Bernier’s Fabulous Blog Restyling Home By Kelly!  Check out my guest post here.

Restyling Home by Kelly

Sharing decorating advice, design inspiration, color
selection help and hints & tips I’ve learned along the way.

Kelly is a talented designer who helps to make homes happy with color selection and room makeovers in a day using existing furnishings.  What a great and inexpensive way to update your home for the holidays!

I am always in the restyling mode and love to use her blog as a resource.  I especially love all her insights with color and how she generously shares her restyling tips and tricks.  Check out her post on the 60-30-10 color rule–it is one of my favorites!

 Jim Howard



This Old Kitchen

While owning an old house and restoring it is a rewarding undertaking, let’s just say it is easy to get into a rut and to grow so accustomed to what you see everyday that it doesn’t bother you anymore.  Unfortunately, everyone around you isn’t equally compromised in terms of perception.

Several years ago, a local designer was generous enough to do a free walk-through and give us advice on prioritizing the mind boggling amount of work we needed to do on the house.  He summed it all up when he unceremoniously said “NOBODY wants this kitchen!”  I couldn’t have agreed with him more.

It was official–we were roused from our state of inertia to finally come to grips that even the beautiful Pottery Barn Fishing lights we installed were not going to deceive anyone, including ourselves, about the sorry state of our kitchen.

Before: Kitchen and wall adjoining back hallway

The dishwasher is under the island next to the sink.  Pretty close quarters for the appliances and even cozier for the person navigating the space.  While we had no kitchen cabinets, we did make good use of the pantry.

Before: Kitchen with view of pantry

The popcorn ceiling was stained from our leaky roof and then patched.   I don’t even want to count the number of door openings!

Before: View of side kitchen entrance from back hallway


Finally,  after 7 years of living with the status quo—we mustered the courage to attempt a kitchen remodel.  While we had a general idea of the layout we wanted, we weren’t sure it would work with  the space we had available.  We had the original footprint of the kitchen to work with, a back hallway and a long and narrow bathroom.

First, we consulted with an Interior Designer and a Kitchen Planner to see if what we had in mind was possible–opening up the entire space to make room for a functional kitchen, eat-in banquette area, and a possible pantry/mudroom combination.  It looked liked the plan would work in the space, but it would require some good planning and the help of an architect and general contractor to make it happen.

After months of planning and the actual work itself, we were finally rewarded with the end result–a wonderful and functional kitchen that we enjoy every day.

View of kitchen, former side entrance & pantry eliminated


New double doors open view and let in light–let’s grill!
New banquette and mudroom!

A closer look

Finally found the perfect sized hutch!

Now how about that bathroom remodel?