Sunday, December 2, 2012

The "Bella" Marsh Cottage re-model - half done

Here she is - very simple in both look and feel when I bought her ...
Indeed, I did not notice this house - on the market for sale for years - despite the fact I lived two doors down when I first moved here in 2009.
Then, one day, I "saw" her...
I first called on this house in November 2011.
I then watched this house for almost a year and for many reasons was unsure of this purchase even after negotiations began. 

The challenge.
Many properties on Saint Simons Island, Georgia, require flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) requires new construction must build 13 feet from the ground to meet current flood regulations.  Re-models of original homes, like this one, which do not meet the flood requirements are only allowed to be improved 50% of the cost of the value of the structure itself - not the land value - if they are not going to build "up".  Makes sense.  An insurance company is not going to cover a home in a flood zone that is significantly improved upon. 

So, I had to choose - expand the kitchen and the internal foot print of the cottage (1000 square feet) or spend my money on outdoor living space.

I chose the porch, hands down.
When complete, this will be a 200 square foot screened porch with access inside via two sets of french doors (oh, and one dog door).
The front entry here has become a window and the double windows on the left and the right of the original front door have become french doors. 

The 12 by 12 inch cedar posts smell incredible. 

My contractor, Scott Beveridge, and his team, Jimmy and James, are also musicians.  Apparently on Friday afternoons, they bring out their guitars and have a jam session on the porch. 
I showed up the day before Thanksgiving with pizza and beer and along with a few friends & enjoyed their additional talents. Fun afternoon. 

Since they were prepping the roof that afternoon they saved the beer. 

Two weeks later, the cottage got a cedar facelift.

The paint from the original house color, a now faded blue-gray, remains on the sides and back of the cottage.
I will stain the cedar a transparent natural gray much like the inspiration photo below and likely paint around the window and doors frames but will stain them first with a solid stain.  We can paint over it afterwards. Allowing the cedar to remain natural creates a look for a mountain cabin not a coastal cottage but I am going to keep as much as I can because there is an element of "rustic farmhouse" I am also trying to create here.
Notice dog door through the ladder.
The tea pot sitting on the ledge was in the original cottage so my contractor team has placed it there for a little "zen" element. Every time I move it, they move it back. 
Please forward any additional suggestions or photographs...

Inspirational urban farmhouse.

 Notice the change in rooflines - very tricky.
This was the most complex issue for this re-model - how to extend the original roofline to accommodate such a large porch.  In the end, we had to "pitch" it as seen above.  
The cedar shingles were installed this week and will likely stay natural. 

The entry to the house will be to the left via steps such as these - framed grass steps.
I was committed to protecting the tree roots and these steps will not impact them at all. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Old House October 2012 article and out-takes

October 2012 edition

Make no mistake about it, a photo-shoot for a major magazine is pure manual labor.  You'll work for 8-10 hours straight, with lunch brought in, moving furniture, and swapping wall art then taking the photograph, reviewing it, and then making another change to get it right. 
Each magazine will have their own look and it may not match your style so colors and accessories will also be swapped whether you like it or not.
TOH wanted the color orange and then red (October edition) to you'll see an orange hand towel and various peppers on the countertop.

The photographer (from Atlanta) and the Stylist (from Los Angeles), the FABULOUS Sunday Hendrickson, arrived at 8 a.m. with coffee and a great attitude.  I'd met the photographers the day before when they came by to drop off their equipment.
I knew it would be fun time when I offered to have my three dogs kept elsewhere during the photo-shoot and was met with a responding "No, we love dogs!".  In the end, I arranged a "play date" for the first part of the day. As you can imagine one dog would jump on the couch or bed or wander into a shot at just the wrong moment so I brought them back after lunch.

The orange throw over the couch and the orange oranges on the table were brought or bought.  
Sunday actually travels with a suitcase of various linens in the "decided" color.
My couch was also moved. I've included photos below from another photo-shoot so you can see where it normally sits.

I was asked to walk in through the front door as though I had just "come from The Market".
For those who know me, I don't wear pink but I am here! I wanted to wear my favorite white linen shirt but who cares what I want...

This is where my couch is normally placed. 

Here's how it works: The editor for a magazine, in this case she's in New York, provides the stylist with a "Shoot List" so she knows what the magazine wants as much as what they don't want. 

 I'll let you compare the photo above with the photo below which is how my house is normally, to see the editor wanted lots of changes - no "zebra" rug, lamp on the table, or tree in the corner.

Sunday arrived a couple days before the actual photo-shoot.  She needed to see the house and then spends the better part of a day buying items to get the look they want.  For example, as soon as Sunday walked into my house for the first time, she went over to the computer area and said that the faux, wool "zebra" rug had to go.  I was asked if I had another rug so I walked her into a bedroom and offered up the bear skin rug before I realized exactly why the faux "zebra" was a resounding "No".  It's not because it's "been done" but because it's not politically correct.
So that was that for the bear skin rug too. Same fate for the wall of crosses on either side of my bed.  See photos below.

There's that orange hand towel again...

This is actually what my bedroom looks like. I had to swap the linens as my preferred dark colors is not what TOH wanted.  As mentioned above, the crosses had to come down on either on side of my bed (see photo below) 
along with a rosary hanging from the headboard.

They made the photo more narrow and added sunflowers for color on the left side and a set of oars and bundles of wheat on the right side. 

 By the end of the day, I was asked to come out onto the back porch and see if we could get some shots with the dogs.  It was a challenge as you can imagine but fun.  I was happy when one of the photos made it into the magazine.
 You know how people make silly noises for dogs and babies to get their attention for a photograph.
At this point, at the end of a long, hot day, we got silly. Invariably, when Sunday and the photographers got very silly the dogs picked up on the infectious laughter and kept leaving the porch and going to the where they were, very confused then, as to why I would then yell, "No. Come (back)".

After a few minutes of that, they are all looking like, "Whatever!"

 The yellow flowers were a great find at Lowes - a dollar a bucket - so we bought 15 of them and spread them around.  You'll see these in the foreground of the photos of the front of the house. When Sunday and I started out that day to run a few errands for props I was not thinking it through so we took the Mini Cooper. 
I snapped a few photos of how we looked by the end of our running around - ala The Beverley Hillbillies - but someone stole my camera from that very car....
We had to take the top down in the MINI to allow for both the rug (from Target) that ended up in the computer shot and 15 buckets of yellow flowers.

Love Beau's goofy ears!

Sans me and dogs...

Notice how the dog door (located under the three photos to the right of the french doors) was Photoshopped out. Scroll back up to the other photos to see.

I drew the line at my gun...
You cannot see it very well in this photograph but I keep my father's military dog tags on my key chain along with a handcuff key. He died when I was 19.  
(That's the camera that was stolen)

None of these photos made the final cut but I loved them.
The combined texture of wood, copper, exposed brick and galvanized metal is so very BellaRustica.

 If you are looking for any easy rack for wine or water use a milk crate.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In praise of very smart and elegant women - Room 808

Click below....
Room 808

                                                     is the only beauty that never fades

Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The "next" Bella Cottage - across from the marsh

Plans were submitted yesterday for The Marsh Cottage. 
After a year of living on Saint Simons Island (south-coastal Georgia), I fell in love with Georgia/Carolina Low Country referred to as such because it is near or at sea-level.
This is the marsh and creek located directly across the street from my soon-to-be new home.
I put my paddle board into this very creek and I paddle out to the Atlantic Ocean...

 past Sea Island (see photo on the far right of my blog header for another view)...

and I end here at Ghould's Inlet seen on the right.

In between I am privileged to keep company with a variety of sea and marsh birds - even a bald eagle

and it is not unusual to see these stunning creatures where the creek feeds into the Ocean.
Two weekends in a row last Summer, two dolphins joined for the entire paddle in the creek.
It was simply priceless.

The Marsh Cottage will have grass steps like these for entrance into an extra deep screened front porch.

A wooden "platform" outside similarly styled porch doors will be flanked by two extra large wooden planters filled with boxwood similar to this design from Restoration Hardware.

Although coastal, this cottage will be home to at least one wooden pergola.
I've already purchased the wisteria vine that will call the pergola home.
Although I prefer more rustic than "bling", I do like un po ('a little" in Italian) and usually in the form of a crystal chandelier.

The backyard will become a private sanctuary (home to a large pergola) much like this photo depicts but with wooden fencing instead of stucco walls and a patio of aged brick. 

This photo of the typical screened porch has inspired me to bring the planting of coastal seas grasses right to the porch. 

I am crazy for a courtyard.....

These are inspirational photos to follow...
The original wooden floors will remain, touched only by wax or paint.  

The ticking (originally used for upholstery only) combined with french grain sacks is the juxtaposition that will define this cottage.

Natural woods, bringing outdoors in, a large and defining object or furniture here or there, will create the statement of this home..

The master bedroom - filled with natural light - will "french door" onto a screened porch which over looks the marsh. 

The header over the bathtub inspired by this photograph is already in the works for the master bath whose floor-plan - coincidentally - is similar to this photograph ...
See The Elegance of Rustic series - The Bathroom for another photograph of this idea along with innovative sink vanity ideas.

Galvanized olive buckets are all the rage these days but they are a a statement to the beauty of my time in Italy.
The roof of this cottage will be made of this metal.  

I have purchased two of these and may re-purpose them as lighting as seen here.
This light retails for 225 dollars. The buckets themselves cost about 65 dollars.  With a 15 dollar light kit, a metal drill bit, and a little electrical savvy, that's quite a savings.

Many, many evenings will pass with delicious and fresh food being prepared and served on my farm table that has made a home in six different house through the years.

Here she is, in all her non-descript glory.
Her bones are sweet.
Her story simple but neglected.
Please check back as she transforms....

Here are a couple pieces - doors and a unique round window - that will become part of the interior.
The doors I will hang on barn trolley tracks both as functional doors and as interesting additions on either side of windows and as a room divider.
See The Elegance of Rustic Series - Barn Trolley Doors to see what I am describing. 
I am undecided as to where the window will go but I'll know it when I see it.
The window was one of those "must haves"...

Set of narrow, painted doors purchased at Architectural Salvage, Sarasota, Florida.
These may flank a very tall window in the guest room either on a trolley track or hung using operable hardware.

Extra wide weathered wood & glass door purchased at Architectural Salvage, Sarasota, Florida.
This extra wide door (44 inches compared to the average 30 inch door) will more than cover the entry to the bathroom described above.
On it's own, it will provide very impactful architectural detail to the room.

Narrow weathered wood & glass door purchased at Architectural Salvage, Sarasota, Florida.
As this door is narrow and the house very small, this door will serve no functional purpose beyond design.  Because it is mostly glass it will not effect natural light. The weathered and natural wood will add interest between the living and dining room.
It, too, will be hung on a trolley track so it can be moved, if needed.

Purchased at Island Seas Designs, Brunswick, Georgia
from my friends Hondo and Francis.
Window or mirror.....?