Google+ House Revivals: February 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't Fence Me In!

Fences are some of my favorite things.  They can be beautiful, they can be functional, and they can "set the stage" for what's inside.  They can reinforce a community aesthetic.  They are often used to keep chickens, children, pets, and strangers in or out.  They protect gardens and provide privacy.  

Most fences are pretty ordinary, ranging
from chain link to cedar pickets to concrete block, but every now and then you come come across a really fabulous example of someone's desire  
not to be fenced in!  

Sometimes the "unconventional" fence is actually an old-fashioned hand-crafted fence, such as this wattle fence found in a Mother Earth News article.

 Wattle fences are traditionally woven from fresh willow or hazel branches, but other fresh branches can also work.  This article discusses how to recycle green waste into beautiful, functional fencing.

Another handcrafted fence we don't see a lot of anymore is stacked stone.
Typically, in areas where these fences were once common, stones were "harvested" from farmers' fields each spring, as freeze/ thaw cycles brought new stones to the surface.  The stones were taken to the outside edges of the field and used to build mortarless stone walls.  Held together by gravity, a dry-stacked wall can last for centuries with proper maintenance.

Occasionally, you see a fence that just makes you smile... this fence made from old skis in a Colorado mountain town.

You have to admire the resourcefulness of the person who used old bed frames to build this fence.

And this fence made from re-purposed pressed and corrugated tin is a work of art!

This privacy fence was created using driftwood.

You don't necessarily have to use re-purposed material to create a fence that won't fence you in!  An article in This Old House explains how to restore salvaged wrought iron fencing to create, well, fencing!

There are lots of ways to build a good fence.  Maybe you will feel inspired by these ideas to think "outside the fence" when you are ready to plan your own project.  You might think about incorporating unexpected, salvaged, or re-purposed materials to create a truly one-of-a-kind work of art!

This post is being linked to Alphabe-Thursday, over at Jenny Matlock's blog.

*photo of wrought iron fencing: Erik Johnson; first wattle fence photo: Lynn Karlin; Bed frame fence: Erik Rasmussen; driftwood fence: Nikolas Koenig

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enchanting Designers

I'm a believer in doing for others.  I believe we are to encourage one another, and give people a hand up if they need it.  We all have different gifts, and we can use those gives to serve.  That's why I admire the women behind Enchanted Makeovers so much.  From the founder, Terry Grahl, to her wonderfully supportive entourage of speakers, motivators, and workers, this organization is making a difference.

For Terry, it all started when her interior design business was asked to give a space in a women's shelter a makeover.  She had a personal epiphany while preparing for that project-- realizing the importance of transforming environments to help women transform their lives.

"The mission of Enchanted Makeovers is to transform shelters for women and children into heartwarming havens, it's the catalyst to help everyone’s dream come true."

Ultimately, Terry realized she had found her life's vocation.  She took a leap of faith and closed her client-based design studio.  She then founded Enchanted Makeovers, a non-profit company dedicated to serving homeless women and children by providing beautiful, comforting, and inspiring environments.

Learn more about this wonderful organization, and how you can help, here.

This post is being linked to Alphabe-Thursday at Jenny Matlock's blog.

*All photos courtesy of Enchanted Makeovers.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

doors and drawers revisited

Well, it's time for another confession.  I absolutely love vintage doors and drawers.  I like them used for their original purpose, but I also like when someone "shakes things up" a little.  One of my favorite adaptations is this one....

... it's pretty cool how the designer adapted these drawers from, well, drawers!  I love the mix of styles and colors, and the juxtaposition of clean modern lines with traditional drawer styles.

Here's another example from the same source (
It's great how the designer left the original character of the drawers intact.

Staples Cabinet Makers are masters of adaptive reuse, as we see here, with this repurposed locker door.

And with this file drawer chest repurposed as a coffee table.

It's especially nice how the artisans at Staples Cabinet Makers respect the history of a piece, allowing it to tell the story of it's previous life...

... as shown by this scarred up outbuilding door re-purposed as a cabinet door.

You just can't fake this kind of distressing!

This sign from Casual Cottage Chic, made from a kitchen cabinet door, has a built in frame!

And how about a folding table made from an old door?  Schools and offices are constantly throwing folding table frames away, as the contact paper like surface peels away, leaving the particle board exposed to damage.  This article explains how to transform cast-offs into this cool table.
 What a great way to up-cycle!

And, of course, we can't forget the old stand-by, the door headboard!  Here is an example from Country Living Magazine.

And here is an example from Sunset Magazine.
I love how the designer used a pair of doors oriented vertically.  The crown molding and the sweet little sconces give a nice finishing touch.

It's amazing how a little creativity can save a piece from the landfill, and bring beauty, function, and history into our lives!

This post is being linked to Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingie Thursday, and Jennie Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. Link over and join the party!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cottage Love

Okay, I admit it.  I have cottage love.  It's a condition I've suffered from for most of my life. I can't help it.  I love cottages.  But lately I've been trying to define what makes a cottage a cottage? Does it need to be small? Full of old-fashioned detail? A second home?  Relaxed and casual?  Pretty and sweet?  Warm and cozy?

Most people would agree that this Talladega Tudor Revival cottage is a... cottage.  It's small.  It's pretty.  It has charming detail.  It's not too stuffy. It's kind of old-fashioned.  But it was most likely always a year round residence.  Maybe we should strike second home as a requirement...?

This Cotswold Cottage is definitely warm and inviting.  It's also fairly casual and relaxed, but it's not exactly small.  Hmmmmm, maybe it's okay to consider a medium-sized home a cottage!  Because, I have to say, this house definitely feels like a cottage.

But what about Newport, Rhode Island "cottages", such as the Vanderbilt Mansion?
The original families who summered in those lovely mansions referred to them as cottages.  Those families used their cottages as a way to escape city life and it's demands.  They dressed differently, entertained differently, and lived differently than they did in the city.  They were more relaxed in their summer cottages.  Maybe "cottage" has nothing to do with scale?

Surely, it's all about detail, then....
 This Gothic Revival, like the Newport mansions, does not lack for detail, and I don't think anyone would argue that it's a cottage!  That's it, then.  Detail.

And maybe some old-fashioned styling....
But what about those streamlined and modern cottages?  I'm sure their owners would disagree about detail being a cottage requirement.

For that matter, the detailing on this Nantucket Cottage is somewhat restrained,
but there's no question that it is a cottage.

It is sweet and inviting... and pretty...
... kind like this darling Beverly Hills Hansel and Gretel Cottage.  Maybe that's it!  Sweet and inviting!  Not sure I think of those Newport mansions as "sweet", though.  And some of the modernistas might take offense to their stream-lined abodes being called "sweet"-- or "pretty."

This tar paper cottage is certainly charming, but probably not what we would consider pretty.
But it was welcoming, and was most likely considered beautiful to the family that called it home. So, what's the answer?  What makes a cottage a cottage?  Maybe, like beauty, a cottage is in the eye of the beholder?  Or, like some types of "literature", you "know it when you see it"?  I'm not really sure.

Maybe it's really all about how the home or space makes you feel?  Or act?  Maybe, after all, cottage "style" is really about "lifestyle".  A cottage is a place that welcomes and comforts.
A place where you can relax and enjoy being alone, or spending time with family and friends.  Maybe, it's not about the building, at all..., maybe it's really all about the people who live within it's walls.

This post is being linked to the Alphabe-Thursday link party at Jenny Matlock's blog.