Exciting times for our little corner of Prince Edward Island. Mr. A and I are hatching plans for a screened porch addition onto the back of the cottage. Very simple. Like a semi-exterior room. All the good breezes but none of the mosquitoes. Those blasted wee beasties can really hamper your exterior living on the island. I'm obsessing on Pinterest looking for inspiration. The structure itself will be dead simple: walls up to chair height and then panels of screen. Probably a lean-to roof. The inside will be the real design challenge. I want the space to fulfill a million functions: lounge, dining, game-playing and sleeping. Furnishing it wil be a challenge. The structure will go up soon and then in May it's full steam ahead to get it ready for 2014 entertaining! Here are some of my inspiration images:
The structure will likely be something like this (but smaller), but the lower portion of walls will be closed in - prob with beadboard. Interior will be painted white, floor likely grey, exactly as the main cottage.
The structure is about right but daybeds look a tad austere, no?
The ceiling height here is to die for, but sadly out of the question for us. I love vintage wicker furniture and will be keeping my eyes peeled for some mismatched pieces. I soooo loathe that brown plastic woven faux wicker shiz. It will be banned.
These DIY sleeping porch beds are from the folks at Martha. I'd love to be able to cook something up like this that could do double duty -- L-shaped sofa and twin beds as needed.
This is my fave porch design of all time, as you may know: a Tom Scheerer room with a smattering of my favourite Peter Dunham Figs fabric. As much as I love that fabric I don't feel it's quite right for my PEI space. Stripes will be my go-to more likely.
So, speaking of knock-offs (which I was in my previous post), here's the story of the "artwork" in our PEI cottage. I call it an "homage" but essentially it is a work of an ilk that actually irks me -- DIY knock-off abstracts. So here I am, the pot who calls the kettle black. I'm fessing up (but don't worry, I'm not opening an Etsy store anytime soon.)
Here was the situation. Our little cottage already had a wall full of coastal-referencing bits and bobs -- ships, water, birds, shells. As seen here:
Whatever was going above the sofa needed to be different. A bit of relief. I wanted to hang a mirror. It's true what we say in the decorating mags - mirrors are quite amazing at expanding tiny spaces and this space is super teeny. I held a mirror in place and only then noticed that once hung it would reflect the kitchen -specifically the side view of open shelves and the side the the fridge. UGH. Never hang a mirror if it isn't going to reflect something pretty. And hence Plan B came into effect. I taped off the trapezoid shape on a piece of bristol board and painted it using leftover paint from the entryway. Boom. Done. It's shameful, I know. But grant me this: I chose this particular form because it's inspired by an Ellsworth Kelly piece called "For Leo". My Dad's name is Leo. He is was born and raised on Prince Edward Island. I call mine "For Dad".
Here's some real deal Ellsworth Kelly:
This one is called "Purple", a limited edition lithograph that sold at auction in Dec. 2012 for $4,688.
This one is called Colored Paper Image XIV (Yellow Curve), 1976. It's available at the Susan Sheehan Gallery in NYC for $30,000. I spied it on 1stdibs this morning.
I am moved by this stuff. I can't explain it. Art is like that I guess.
Here he is in his Spencertown, NY studio. Photo by Annie Leibovitz (!) for this piece in Vanity Fair. Would that we could all be so cool at 89. PS. I'd give my eye teeth for that paint-splattered chair in the foreground!
Meet the Paulistano chair. It was born in 1957 in Brazil, but only made available in North America in 2006. I spotted it on the Interwebs a while back and marvelled at it's simplicity. I love simple design. Just enough. Not too much. Design that looks like utility. And then, just a few weeks ago I spied it on the floor at the Design Within Reach showroom just a few doors down from the office. I dared to sit in it. Oh my. It is so unbelieveable comfortable. It is also astronomically expensive. What you see above is a 17ft long piece of steel bent into shape and welded in one spot. The sling style seat is made of canvas. The price as shown:
OK, take a breath. Now, I've been at this game a while. I've learned what goes into great design and quality materials and construction. I've seen cheap knock-offs and the real deal up close and personal. I get that not everyone can afford originals (I am mostly one of those people). But I gotta say, I just do not get the price of this thing. It's a chunk of canvas and a metal bar. I recognize it as an architectural wonder, but still isn't the cost associated with that mostly tied to prototyping. I mean, once you've figured out the angles (which they did in 1957!), how complicated can it be to make? More. Than. A. Grand???
And just FYI, it comes in two different metal finishes - black or white, and in several different fabrics: 10 different colour/finish combos for an outdoors version, 4 combos of the indoor version and 4 versions in leather (the leather ones ring in at $1,317+).
Safe to say I will never own a Paulistano.
Meet the Locksta easy chair. It is a newborn, just in at your local IKEA (of course). It has a steel frame, which comes in several pieces and requires assembly using screws. The fabric is polyester. It comes in these other two colours:
Locksta price as shown:
So, I'm thinking it's time for an IKEA hack: spray paint the steel frame white, have a new white fabric seat made (frig, I could even make it myself using the provided one as the pattern). Conservatively that hack would bring the investment to $80.
I see new chairs for the PEI cottage in my future because (confession) the white faux bamboo ones we have are murderously uncomfortable and must go.
Flights are booked for the long weekend in May - YTZ to Halifax and then road trippin' it to the Island. So 'cited.
Well, my lovelies, this has been a long time coming. I mentioned in an earlier post the fact that I was not yet able to share images of our finished Whale Cottage on Prince Edward Island. You see, a magazine held the rights to the images taken last summer by the super talented Michael Graydon. It was my understanding that the magazine story would be published some time this summer. In good faith I did not reveal the finished space, expecting to see it in print. Mr. A was interviewed. Sources were submitted. Follow up questions were answered. But the feature did not run. Summer is drawing to a close. But I, for one, have not stopped thinking about peaceful sandy beaches, seafood feasts, bike rides and bonfires..and our little getaway on the East Coast. So...(gee, wish I knew how to find and upload a drumroll gif. I don't, so ellipses will have to do)....here, my friends, are the before photos, followed by a link to the Big Reveal.
Entry vestibule before: red painted wood floors, white trim, tan walls, nasty polyester lace curtains. All ugly but the very existence of this space was a bonus - so great for rain gear, sports equipment and beach stuff.
Living area before: loved the wood floors, tongue and groove wainscotting, beamed ceiling. Disliked the combo of paint colours and the missing door to the utility room, leaving the water heater in full view. Also, the space is teeny so I knew it would be a challenge to furnish.
Kitchen, north wall: loved the sink, faucet and wood counter. Cabinets - a bit makeshift, but I knew a coat of paint would make a world of difference. Also noted: no dishwasher...
...and a gander to the other side of the "kitchen" reveals in fact no appliances at all. Bummer.
The utility area - I won't call it a room since it had no door - featured beige walls and a fetching shade of purple on the trim. That's right, purple trim. Oh yes, and knotty pine floors and no door (did I mention that?) and an exposed water heater. Nice.
The bathroom, wedged under the stairs and off the utility area was just large enough to hold tub, toilet and this sink. No window. Some rust and mildew. A broken sink cabinet. No room to turn around. Eeeww. P.S. there's an eyeful of that purple trim.
At the top of the stairs, the snug: loved the west light flooding this space when we saw it first in late afternoon. Yellow floors, no. Blue-grey wall colour, yes. The twin bed frame and table: scooped from the curb almost as fast as we put them there.
The main bedroom: loved the angled ceiling, the beadboard on the ceiling, the gentle cross breeze between this window and the one in the snug across the way. This double bed frame fit in the Snug so we upsized to a fancy pillow top queen for this room to make it feel like a resort. Carpet: ick, gone. Vanity: to the curb. Space heater: in storage awaiting our first cold-weather visit.
And now, enfin, the finished project (click the image to watch the vid):