Tucked away on a quiet, woodsy road near the Coast of Maine, I came upon a small abandoned cottage at the edge of a meadow. I purchased the house in June 2012 and immediately began renovating the home and nine acres of land. On April Fools' Day 2013, however, everything changed! Not only has my home been reconstructed almost overnight, I have as well! I invite you to join this experience with me as I journal about the miracles along the way.
A few weeks ago I visited our local Habitat For Humanity Restore and not only did I find my new bathroom lights (which I'll share about next week), but I also found some wooden rosettes which I just couldn't pass up! Initially I had no intention of adding rosettes to the trim but after paying only ten cents a piece for them, why wouldn't I? After removing and then reusing the existing trim, I felt the rosettes would dress up the trim around all the windows and doors.
First I primed each rosette....
And then after pulling all the nails from the trim, I sanded and primed each piece.
This is how each window looks with the rosettes and the reused trim. Michael made each sill from new poplar wood.
Here is a close-up. Now I just have to fill the holes and paint it all!
Remember a few weeks ago when Michael cut the heart out in the bedroom wall sheetrock? It was a sweet gesture but it certainly wasn't meant to stay that way. When we tore out the original two bedrooms and created the master bedroom with a cathedral ceiling, I decided to create a large attic space as well. Michael offered to build a quaint, little attic door and quickly designed one using some old barn boards he had salvaged from a previous job.
He cut the barn boards and built the door using clamps and a plywood backing.
Then he cut the boards to make the trim, and nailed them around the doorway.
After that, Michael installed the door reusing old hinges on the inside of the door.
Michael offered a bunch of antique pieces he found in an old basement. He thought he could use them on the door.
There was a copper window panel that probably came off a lantern, some iron strap hinges and a brass door pull.
He attached them all to the door.
Ooh, it looks like a little gnome is about to open the door and pop his head out. I love, love, love it!
Michael is such a creative carpenter.
This is how the door looks from across the room. What do you think?
By the way, all those holes you see in the beams will be filled with hand-carved pegs. If I don't lose power tomorrow, I'll write about the window and door trim!
I do hope you will be safe throughout the storm.
The October weather has been so unpredictable this year. One day it's cold and windy, the next day brings a monsoon rain and the next is as warm as an August day. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at Catch Meadow Cottage yesterday to see it SNOWING in the meadow...
At least that's what I thought when I first saw it, then I realized that it was just a milkweed snow.
The air was completely filled with puffy white milkweed feathers that eventually floated down
and covered the ground like a soft, downy blanket.
Milkweed is truly a beautiful plant from spring to autumn. I am discovering so many uses for it.
Even the bluebirds took a moment to enjoy watching the snow fly.
They stopped at their house yesterday just to bid farewell as they head down South for the winter.
Today is October 22nd and it is my Mom's birthday. She would be 78 years old today, but, five years ago she quietly passed away from pancreatic cancer. I have missed her every day since she has been gone.
Teresa She was a beautiful woman, a wonderful mother and a loving wife.
My mother grew up in Warsaw, Poland, but during World War II, her family escaped from a concentration camp and fled to Brazil. As a fourteen year-old girl attending a French Catholic School, located in Rio de Janiero, she became very interested in art.
At twenty-two years old, she moved to Washington D.C. and met my Dad. They soon married and later moved to Connecticut. My mother saved all of her early art work but hid the drawings in an old trunk in the attic. When I was old enough to secretly climb the rickety stairs, I discovered these drawings tucked away in the trunk. For some reason, a charcoal drawing of a cozy little cottage captured my attention. I remember sitting in that dusty attic just staring at that drawing and imagining how it might have looked inside the cottage. How was it decorated and who lived there? Years later, I confessed to my Mom that I had found her drawings, and surprisingly, she let me keep them because she realized how much I loved them. Of all the drawings, however, the cottage has always been my favorite. I will find the perfect spot for it in my new home.
Perhaps this was my inspiration for Catch Meadow Cottage.
This is another drawing my mother did at the age of fourteen.
This is a Portuguese fisherman.
This is a drawing she made as a gift for her father, to encourage him not to drink too much.
I get dizzy just looking at it. Clearly, she had quite a sense of humor at such a young age.
Here are some drawings of fruit and flowers she created around the same time.
Here is my Mom in the place she loved the most......her garden.
Happy Sunday! We have been painting all week but with the rain coming down so heavily, it has made it too dark to take photos inside that would really depict the actual color on the walls. The sun is finally peeking out today so perhaps I can get some photos taken to show you. For the time being, I have put together, a collage of some shots I took recently. Enjoy!
The last few days have been spent staining the beams and priming the walls. Originally we were thinking that we were going to white-wash the beams, but now that the stain has dried, we are reconsidering that idea. We really like the warmth of the brown against the white.
Michael spent time sanding each beam while I took a knife and hacked away pieces to make them look weathered and time worn.
Here is what the beams in the bedroom looked like when I first started staining.
And here is what they look like after. Notice the wall is also primed one coat. The ceiling has been primed as well.
Here is the kitchen in the middle of being stained. As you can see, I hopped off the ladder just before
I finished staining the end of the first beam.
Here it is completed. Can you tell how much lighter the beams are after they have dried?
The walls in the kitchen have also been primed. The ceiling is next.
Lastly, I stained the beams in the living and dining room. The two holes you see in the forefront of the beam will be filled with wooden plugs, hopefully resembling the old-time way of joining beams.The stone fireplace will go between the two windows. We've been collecting flat stones each week to have enough stone to fill in this area.
The beams and stone remind me of the cottage in the movie, The Holiday.
I just loved the interior of that cottage.
Have I shown you my newest find yet? This wonderful old chair will fit in beautifully once it's been cleaned up and reupholstered. I love the carved embellishments around the upholstery. It's so sturdy and comfortable too. I can just picture myself cuddled up in it with a book and a cup of tea, by the fire on a cold winter's night.
Look at the lovely scroll work on the top. Hand carved? It looks it. For $40.00 I think I got a very good deal!
Walking through the meadow today, I couldn't help but look back at the cottage and admire how quaint it looked surrounded by the glory of autumn.
On Wednesday Michael installed the kitchen sink and some of the base cupboards. I really wanted a farm sink because I love the depth and the old-fashioned look. These types of sinks are quite pricey
but after a good bit of research, I was able to find a great deal, which knocked several hundred dollars off the regular price. The sink we purchased, is a Pegasus product and is made out of a very thick and sturdy fire-clay. It is covered with a resilient, white porcelain finish. The weight is quite substantial so
Michael had to build a custom cabinet to support it. How nice it will be to stand in front of this sink and look out at the beautiful meadow.
We decided to use as many of the cupboards that were originally in the house, as well as purchase similar ones from our local Habitat For Humanity Restore and big-box hardware store. We have been sanding them and painting the insides with primer and soon we will paint the exteriors with a durable white marine paint.
Here are a few close-ups of the farm sink.
I just had to include a few photos I took within the last two days. This is a little pond that sits just at the bottom of our road. It takes about five minutes to walk to it from the cottage. It's a wonderful place to kayak, canoe, swim and fish. In the winter, Michael and the boys ice fish here.
While we wait for the sheetrock mud to dry so we can begin sanding, we have been doing other things to get the house ready. I have been painting all the insides of the kitchen cupboards while Michael is getting the area ready to install them.
This is where the base cupboards will go in the kitchen.
The on-demand, gas hot-water heater, was installed yesterday by our wonderful plumber and friend, Paul Pierce.
To get away from the paint fumes and dust, I sneak outside a few times a day just to enjoy the lovely autumn flowers that are still blooming in the cottage gardens.
This is a flower called Toad Lily. It looks as though I splattered paint on it's petals. I believe it is named after a "toad" because the spots are very similar to those found on the little amphibians. It is such an exotic looking flower and usually grows in shady gardens.
Another flower which blooms in the fall is Turtlehead. It too likes shady spots and is such a delight to find quietly blooming among the falling leaves.
Because I had never seen this flower before, I had to do some research to find out what it was. All summer long it had the most beautiful magenta foliage and was perfect to use as a background in flower arrangements. This past week, however, these small white clusters burst open and a stunning array of blooms appeared. After leafing through all my books and then searching online, I am fairly confident that this is Japanese Honeywort otherwise known as Japanese Parsley. I did not find much information on it at all so it must be rather rare. I imagine it would make a very nice dried flower. I will give it a try and let you know.
The Bittersweet is in it's glory now. Although it consumes anything it climbs, thus suffocating its host, it is nonetheless, a breathtaking display of golden yellow in autumn. I suppose, because of this,
it is very aptly named.
Yesterday, when I returned home to my loft apartment and sat down to read, I heard a terrible thunk against the window. I knew instantly that a bird had flown into it and must be laying outside on the balcony somewhere. There in the chilly air, a Wood Warbler lay motionless far below. Thinking he was dead after such a hard hit and a long fall, I said a little prayer for him and ran down to pick him up.
I was so surprised when he moved in my hand.
I quickly brought him in, and placed him in one of the nests I had collected from the woods. He was in shock, but alive. I put him under the light to keep him warm and after an hour or so, he began to shuffle and squirm.
I put the nest and the bird in a clay pot and carried it outside. A few minutes later, the little Wood Warbler looked up at me as if to say thank you, and then flew off. What a wonderful way to end my day!