Friday, October 31, 2014

National design magazine photo-shoot of The Marsh Cottage - behind the scenes

I met Sunday Hendrickson, style editor extraordinaire, during the photo-shoot of another home I re-modeled - "The Pink House" - for This Old House in 2012.  The magazine flew her in from Los Angeles to style my house;  We've been great friends ever since. I think this photograph below captures her personality perfectly. 

After I re-modeled The Marsh Cottage, Sunday submitted photos to another national magazine and they signed off on a photo-shoot.  In April, Sunday arrived on Saint Simons Island to coordinate & stage for the photo-shoot.  The photographers,  Richard Leo Johnson & Russ Powell, drove down from Savannah. I have become Sunday's unofficial style scout so I'd lined up another darling cottage for a photo-shoot as well so it was a working vacation of sorts for all of us.

This was my third photo-shoot for a national design magazine so I've learned the ropes and how to make a very long day more fun. Here are some of my photos from behind the scenes.  I cannot share the professional photos yet but can say they will be in Vintage Style Magazine sometime in the Spring of 2015.
The day begins with the arrival of the talent, Richard & Russ (the VW is their car). I had to move my cars and had my rugs airing out over the front railing. The weather did not cooperate at all.  Within 30 minutes after this photo was taken it began raining and it did not let up all day. Aside from the lighting, the first concern were the grass steps.  

The day before, the steps looked like this.  After the torrential downpour, the grass was so compacted we could not get it to stand up.  Let me introduce you to the tricks of the trade...

I walked around my neighborhood with an umbrella cutting tall grass from various neighbors yards. We stuffed it here and there and then added some moss I had to cover the other areas and it worked!

You'd never know, would you...?
  Since one of the special design elements of this cottage were the grass steps, we were high fiving ourselves on this "save." 

You enter through the screen doors to a fabulous porch I designed.  This is a beautiful overall shot of the porch after staging.  By this time, it was pouring. If you look to the right near the plan tree you can see it.

This is the porch before staging. Notice the windows on the left. We had to cover them for both effect and to assist with the photography.  We hauled a set of heavy shutters from one of the bedrooms out to cover the window. 

That's Richard to the left & Russ holding the shutters back initially with a piece of wood and then later with a broom in order to get Russ out of the shot. 

My broken twig chandelier almost hid the upper part of the window seen in this photo.  That can be taken out via Photoshop. 

Styling is all about adding color, texture & proportion.  It really is an art. We needed more color on the table using the yellow theme so I offered this yellow bowl I had.  Sunday asked if I had anything like cheese sticks but I didn't (gluten-free....) but I did have rawhide dog chews covered with dried chicken!  That's what is in the bowl...

My three dogs - Kenyon (Lab), Scout (Lab mix) & Beau (Border Collie mix) - were excellent throughout the day. Sunday, Richard & Russ are all dog lovers as well. There were many of these photos throughout the day as one of them snuck into a photo. 
That is Beau under the table. 

Part of Sunday's job is to bring in that color and texture.  She travels with an extra large suitcase filled with props -  fruits & vegetables, breads, throws, kitchen towels, pillow covers... - so whatever theme the magazine wants she delivers.  The day before a shoot she shops for props - flowers, plants, and anything extra to tie the theme together.  Often the homeowner gets to keep these things if they are the last photo shoot or it cannot travel in Sunday's suitcase.  

This is Sunday & I enroute to her next photo-shoot in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  We drove up in my MINI and stopped along the way for more flowers.  She knows exactly what she wants and sometimes cannot find it at the first store.  By the time we reached the hotel we had to take the top of the MINI down to accommodate everything. 

The cute bell services boys helped us get the flowers to the room. 
Once in the room we have to put them in water in the bathtub. 
Now, back to my porch...

Sunday & Russ hard at work staging and getting the right picture.

For the record, the inside of my porch armoire was not this neat the day before and I almost never have my leopard print towel casually draped outside an open drawer (wink). 

It's hard to photograph leather well.  It shines and can dominate the entire photo.  

We added a lot of pillows borrowed from Seaside Home on Saint Simons Island in exchange for a mention in the magazine article and then Richard did his magic with photography with an assist from Russ with lighting and this vignette became a spectacular shot. 

I use an old lobster trap for a side table.  I am some what color-adverse but I ended up liking the aqua pillows so much that I bought several of them after the photo-shoot.

Kitchen photo-shoot prep. This was Sunday's third photo-shoot on Saint Simons in four days and the same flowers were used for each one. We shot the kitchen at the end of the day so the tulips were on their third day & photo-shoot.  Initially they just perfectly drooped in the way tulips do and then began to drop their petals so we just let them stay on the floor. 

Here's the finished product with the additions of flowers, fruit, plants & herbs, kitchen towels. Compare it to my "every day" kitchen below.
( - every day kitchen - )

Master bedroom with the addition of lilac accessories. 

Guest bedroom with the addition of pumpkin accessories.

 Master bathroom entry.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Coastal Farmhouse Chic: The re-model of the Marsh Cottage


July 2012.
The original cottage was moved from the King and Prince Hotel property when the hotel expanded and brought to East Beach, Saint Simons Island, Georgia.
East Beach is only three blocks wide and is surrounded by either the tidal marsh or the Atlantic Ocean as they flow into one another.
When I purchased this cottage, everything was in it's original state. I choose not to expand the original footprint and instead hired an architect to assist in creating a new roofline to support a large, front porch.  I wanted a porch that is actually an outdoor living room big enough to enjoy what is most lovely about East Beach - the stunning view of the tidal marsh and the energy of this special neighborhood.
This cottage is located on a quiet block with respectful neighbors. Given the popularity of this neighborhood, many owners of homes here rent them out. Living next door or within close proximity of such a house can spoil living here.  I met and interviewed my neighbors before buying to avoid just such problems.


Follow the re-model....

Creating a new roof-line is expensive and essential when adding a porch.  Poor add-ons become problems with water leakage that then cause roof damage and eventually internal structure damage. 
The photographs below show the complexity of this construction.

12 inch by 12 inch cedar beams were chosen to visually support the new roof-line.
The room on the right I use as my bedroom.  There are 3-4 months of the year here where the doors and windows can be thrown open before it is too warm or cold.  I love those months. These windows were removed and replaced with french doors as were the windows on the left.
This choice reconfigured the wall space in the front room (on the left) and required moving the front entrance door to the left and replacing that original front door with a window. 
This allowed for the best flow on the porch itself and  in the front room.
There is much more to re-modeling than many realize....

Because the front entrance to the cottage was changed so must also the entrance to the porch.
I knew I wanted grass-framed front steps and these were the perfect choice anyway given the root structure of the oak tree in the front yard.  I would not have done anything to damage the tree which pouring concrete footers would have done. 

Framing of steps for entrance.

Finished framed grass steps.  
Since the entrance was moved to the left of the cottage I designed the steps wider on the sides to allow for stepping up to the front door from the side. 
Other than rosemary hedges along the front porch the rest of the landscaping is organic - pine straw combined with leaves.  
A single sprinkler head was set into each step.

 Notice now the two french doors added where windows once were and a single window added where the front door once was.
Red cedar singles and siding were the obvious choice. 
Although drawn to maintaining the cedar in it's natural state the cottage then took on more of a mountain cabin look.  
The natural cedar was maintained in the arched roofline and the rest of the house was stained or painted gray (Gauntlet Gray - Sherwin Williams).  I originally wanted a more driftwood color but red cedar when stained with a lighter gray only blues so I had to go a bit darker. In the end, you hardly notice the color inside the porch.

The roofline is corrugated metal and will last for 60 years...  

The standard for a beach cottage is a wide-seamed metal roof but I wanted to combine my love for the farmhouse with my respect for beach cottage hence galvanized metal on the roof and galvanized horse fencing for the railings creating Coastal Farmhouse Chic.  


Rotted back porch.  

 Small screened porch. 

No landscaping or sprinkler system.

 The rotted porch was removed as was the damaged screen porch.
French doors were then installed.

This is the outside of the master bathroom.
I replaced the window with this door for easy access to an outdoor shower which will sit to the right of the door.

Cascading back decking was added across the entire length of the cottage for a simple, clean look but also to allow for more casual seating.
The rotted back fence-line was replaced by a ten-foot privacy fence. The best of the weathered pieces of the old fencing were used to wrap the range hood in the kitchen, to make a pot rack, and as horizontal wainscotting in the bathroom.

My time in Italy will always require I have striped umbrellas and fountains in my yard.
Beach cruiser bikes (mine and Guest) are a must on Saint Simons Island.

Japanese boxwood wrap the back deck and flank the fountain.
Rows of rosemary hedges run along the entire back fencing.
A single variegated Eureka lemon tree stands like art along the side fencing.

 The lemons themselves are attractive as are the variegated leaves boasting various patterns of yellow and green.

Front porch.

The front porch is a combination of sleeping porch...

main dining area....,
(seats 6-8)

...and additional room outside of master bedroom.
My gorgeous armoire did not fit inside the house but did fit perfectly at the end of the porch.  I added the Sunbrella fabric drapes behind it to protect it and then around the cedar beams to extend that look.
That's Beau watching the world go by.
I have two dogs doors in the cottage - one inside to the backyard and another to the front porch.

 Front porch details.

  Front porch details.

 Tidal marsh (Postell Creek) directly across the street.


Kitchen & Living Room.


The area of the kitchen/living room wall with the pass-through opening was removed to open the kitchen. 

The original kitchen floor was laminate so I had to have the original red oak flooring re-produced.

The cabinets are stained gray, then "aged"and washed with more gray. 

 The range hood is wrapped in the old weathered fencing from the back yard. 
White subway tile (here with oatmeal grout) never, ever goes out of style and is traditionally European.

Countertops are limestone which are easily cleaned with a combination of Baking Soda and vinegar stirred together into a paste and left overnight.
The storage unit on the left was custom built for the space and allows for storage in the both the drawers and open shelving. 

Note the old milk crate repurposed for wine.

Rohl brass faucet aging naturally.

Tumbled brick in French Gray is added to the end of the kitchen and into the living room.

Eating area at the end of the kitchen. 
The pot rack was fashioned out of a panel from fencing in the backyard.
A french enamel address sign and market basket, the additional "zebra" rug & hickory chairs with tufted burlap cushions create a space defined by many textures and a combination of style.

 Because this cottage has 9-foot ceilings the desire we have for open beams can be honored by wrapping a header between rooms; this wood is Ash (cost:  $125.00) 
Against the tumbled brick and washed pine wide planked ceiling, the wrapped beam looks as if it's been there all the time. 

You walk by the tumbled brick wall at the end of the kitchen to exit the french doors to the back yard.
The combination of masculine and feminine textures define this cottage.


Master bath.


 Original entry through second bedroom.  
Notice the small door and electrical panel...

New entrance.
Barn trolley track is added and antique door hung after door entry was widened.

Tumbled marble subway tile is laid in a herringbone pattern in both bathrooms.

I created a ledge behind the vanity to allow for both extra storage and to mount a wall faucet.
Cost to frame out a ledge is $150.00.
The same tumbled marble subway tile is then installed on this one wall only.
Vanity is Restoration Hardware (on annual Bed and Bath Sale).  I had the marble countertop cut locally. No need to pay shipping on such a heavy object.
Brass wall faucet if from Cifial.

Bathroom vanity finished.
Medicine cabinet is from Restoration Hardware.

I hid the stackable washer & dryer in the bathroom in a closet.

 I then took the area that was used to house a smaller stackable washer & dryer unit and had thick pieces of cedar cut and mounted so as to be left open.

Cedar and baskets close-up.

 Herringbone flooring in bathrooms.


Master bedroom.

Original bedroom.

Linen sheets and custom linen gray coverlet to the floor - no dust ruffles with dogs. Window was replaced by french doors that open to the porch. 

Corner near french doors.
Aged door and antlers aside burlap curtains and a chaise lounge.

Lighting off the painted ceiling.

Combinations of organic textures...
Sheepskin rug & pure linen coverlet and sheets.

Enlarged photo of my beloved Lab, Paws, on her last day.
I took her to the beach that day, grateful for 14 beautiful years with her.


Second Bedroom & Bathroom

Original bathroom. 

Simple pedestal sink and linen shower curtain.
Old, weathered and then washed fencing from my back yard used as "wainscoting" with ledge added for storage.

Small chandelier was added for a little bling alongside the rustic.
(- hard to get good photos without natural light -)

Lighting made from old galvanized chicken feeder.

Original second bedroom.

I hauled all these doors back from Architectural Salvage in Sarasota, FL and hung the 48 inch half paned window (at the back) on trolley tracks as the entry to the bathroom in this bedroom.  Here's the photo again. 

Second bedroom without art on the walls.
Restoration Hardware linen duvet cover and throw.
Headboards are repurposed store displays.
Linen fluer di lis slipcover over recycled ottoman.

 Manzanita branch hung over bed.

 Bedroom details:  cotton ticking linens & sweater Euro shams
Kinfolk Magazine
Rustic elements of antlers, crosses, & finials


Restoration Hardware Ash on walls, Stone or Graphite on doors.

Restoration Hardware Original White on all trim and ceilings.