Saturday, September 10, 2011

Elegant Island Living photo-shoot

Elegant Island Living Magazine
Saint Simons Island, Georgia

This is where it all started. 

"The Pink House"...

as it was so fondly referred to, became something altogether different.  I bought in late last year, re-modeled over the next five months and moved in in April of this year. The original structure sat empty for the better part of eight years and in this heat developed quite the mold problem which I had professionally removed.  Don't want to flirt with mold.  Everything was "As Is" and "original" when I purchased it which is just the way I like it.  I hired Scott Beveridge of Beveridge Construction and we created a budget which we both honored.  Can you imagine a contractor that not only keeps you on budget but creates a monthly spreadsheet outlining all expenditures and where we were over and where we were under cost. Simply lovely.
The goal for the yard was Zero-scape.  I had visions of a low maintenance, organic yard, with raised organic beds in the front surrounded by shredded cedar, river pebble walkways, and cord grass - the grass that grows in our beautiful marshes here.  Little did I know about DollarWeed, an invasive weed that can only be naturally destroyed by pulling it by hand. I hate DollarWeed.

Elegant Island Living (EIL) Magazine is a local publication that promotes, well, elegant island living.  Because The Pink House was such a Landmark, it's transformation makes for an interesting story so last month EIL photographer, Todd Baker, came over and and took most of the photos below.  I added the Before shots because you have to appreciate the transformation to get the full effect.  For more detail on the re-model, see photos before the MINI Cooper and Vespa posts.
Did I mention the house was "As Is?"
In order to accommodate my seven foot farm table between rooms, we removed the right side wall and both walls on either side of the original entrance then added three feet along the back.
I chose to arch this area for effect and then added a industrial pulley lamp over the farm table.
I found the cabinets at a local shop for half their original price.  I painted them a grey-brown and "aged" them by sanding, scraping, adding worm holes (using a nail), and then rubbing paint into those areas until I got the look I wanted.  I then washed the entire area with more paint and glaze.  I finished with a couple layers of Briwax.  The floors are tumbled travertine marble from Home Depot - $1.89 a square foot.  I found the appliances at an estate sale, also for half their original price.
When we took down the false ceiling I almost turned a cartwheel when I saw that the beautiful vaulted ceiling extended into the kitchen.  We were not sure. I was even more pleased when I saw that the original wood was not painted. I would have loved to have taken the paint off the rest of the ceiling but it was cost prohibitive so I decided to keep the kitchen ceiling naturale.
The alcove behind the range idea I swiped from a magazine and recreated it here.  The street address sign I had made the last time I was in Italy and it depicts the address of my genitori italiani (parents), Alfonso e Carla Tomasi, 24 Via Monti, Sesto Fiorentino, Italia.
I had exactly 30 inches between the cabinet and the farm table and I wanted another piece of furniture there.  I am not one for matching things so I was open to lots of solutions. This butcher block was a local find and when the measurements worked I decided on it.  Again, I was open to color or natural wood and thought about painting the light blue but decided to let it sit for a couple months and then decide.  Blue it is.
The house is actually made of cinder block with bricks mortared to it and as such, raw brick is beneath each wall.  When we expanded the kitchen I wanted to open up the back wall to showcase the brick. The counter tops are Live Oak and were purchased from the Saint Simons Mill. Hondo, master carpenter and personal friend, made them for me.  We used the edges for the back splash and then finished it all with layers of tung oil. 
Live Oak being cut.
The farm sink is copper and was an eBay steal for $300.00.  Initially, I did not like the seashells as my style is anything but coastal but for the price I decided to take a chance and it worked perfectly.  Because I got the cabinets for a steal we had to re-configure a bathroom vanity for the farm sink.  The doors had to come off to accommodate the deep sink so I simply whipped up a burlap skirt sink and decided it all worked perfectly.    
My great and talented friend, Tamerie Shriver, made these burlap roman shades.  
Because the farm table serves as my dining area, I made what would have logically been the dining area into my office. I've never liked going into a separate room to work anyway.  The dog door to the right leads to the screened porch but I use the french doors.
Another view of the original kitchen and dining room spaces mid-construction.
Here is an example of the beauty of a wide angel lens.  My couch, coveted by many, was a Restoration Hardware purchase I have never regretted.  If you have dogs, leather is the only way to go and because I like the wear and tear that defines rustica their sojourn on that couch only enhances the patina.
And here is my "found" boy, Beauregard or Beau, Bo-Bo, Bodacious, Bozo, and Bodelicious resting comfortably on my bed.  I kept him behind for the photo-shoot because I am still trying to find him a home and hope to match him with someone locally so I can still doggie-sit and have play dates. For more on Beau's story see Beau's story.  Until then, he stays with us.
Here is a close-up of several crosses on the wall to the right of the bed.
One of the things I miss most about Southern California is being able to have your doors and windows open ten months out of the year.  Not so here. A screened in porch is a "must have" if you have any hope of enjoying the outside away from the ravages of bugs. I am told you get used to them but I have yet to be convinced. I had the porch built 12 feet wide rather than the standard 10 feet so it really feels like a room. We I moved in I had the twin bed left there temporarily but it's staying put for afternoon naps, especially lovely when it's raining on that metal roof above.
I hope my "boy peeing" fountain does not offend anyone around here but I needed a fountain that would fit in a corner and it had to have a little European flair so like many things in this house, I set out without a complete vision and allowed for divine inspiration.  The first time I tipped him to adjust the pump he fell forward and broke his neck clean off so I simply fixed the pump, propped him back up, and put his head back on.  I love practical women. 
The architectural urn is home to a magnolia topiary and wandering rosmarino.  With this combination I honor both my Southern address and my love per Italia.
More magnolia topiaries, wandering rosmarino, thyme and my Labbies greet you at the front steps.
E finalmente, le melenzane (eggplant) nello mio giardino.


  1. Hello Kim,

    OMGosh...Kim, everything is so lovely!!!!

    What a fabulous job you have done in transforming your little 'as-is' cottage into a stylish and cozy home for you and your friends to enjoy.

    I adore you kitchen the most...what a restyle!

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Janet xox

  2. It has all come together beautifully!! Love every bit of it!

  3. It has all come together beautifully!! Love every bit of it!

  4. Ok...I had to come back to see the whole reveal...just fabulous!!! I can't believe the deal you got on that copper sink...well done!

    Love the bed on the porch. Did you make that twig chandy??

    Talk about increasing the value of a did that in spades!

    Thanks for the 2nd tour

    janet xox

  5. Your style is authentic to the core! What a project you've taken on and made your own! It is truly stunning!! Thanks so much for linking up the Authentic Style linky party at WhisperWood Cottage. I am your new biggest fan!! Is it okay if I feature you?

  6. Everything is amazing!! I love the vespa in your header.
    I am taking ideas from your kitchen...hope you don't mind. I just love your cabinets and will try and use your techniques.
    Oh and the copper sink!! Love it!!

  7. Hi Kim, Your transformation of your home is amazing. Just gorgeous. I love the ceilings. Your raised gardens are beautiful.

    I remember seeing that write up on you in BHG awhile back. I loved your creativity. And your love for Italy!

  8. Hey

    Snatched a few of the shots for my post. ;-)

    Hugs from your 'other' island!

  9. You never seize to amaze me~!! You are an amazing person!!!! so much talent!! i love ya kim!!! :)

  10. The transformation is amazing! You did a fantastic job!


  11. Hi KimI am your new follower, I first saw your beautufil home over at Bella Inspiration (Laurie)
    I fell madly in love with it, I so love the front yard planting beds, you make me now brave enough to do one of my own fashioned from what you inspire over here.

    I was sighing with a big SIGH! over your kitchen and the villa like feel it has with a south of France feel to it.

    Kim I could go one and on, but I will save it for my next visit.

    You my new friend have a Home to Love...Let it love you right back! :)


  12. What a lovely....wonderful job!....smiles.

  13. Beautiful job with the home... great vision.

  14. Wonderful transformation. The kitchen, especially, is gorgeous! You were indeed fortunate to have that beautiful peaked ceiling and the brick walls, and you've really done wonders with the raw materials.

  15. p.s. forgot to mention, I recall seeing a fountain like yours in Brussels, I think its kind of famous there...

  16. Lovely transformation.... your kitchen is so warm and inviting. Thanks for sharing.

  17. This was absolutely delightful. I was totally enjoying your site. I found you by way of another site that I got from Curious Boys. Everything I have read and seen has been mesmorizing. Thank you so for sharing.