Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The House in Florida

I don't usually get very personal with things - certainly not on the internet, but I can't help myself with this one!

My dad, Dennis, passed away two and a half years ago.  My mom, Maggie has been living in their house in Florida ever since then and the house hasn't changed a bit.  There are little pieces of my dad everywhere - tiny sparks of memories, like angel dust sprinkled on every surface.  My mom mentioned the last time we were there, "We need to change this place up or I need to move." 

I wasn't about to let her move.  When I sit in his chair in the living room, I can still smell him there.  When I'm outside in the lanae, I can still hear him sliding past the glass doors, heavy barefeet slapping against the cement.  While I lay in bed there, I can still hear, early in the cool mornings, the sound of the newspaper pages ruffling in the breeze and the snort he made when he blew his nose.  There is no way she can leave this place.  My heart belongs here.  This is HOME.   

My mom so desperately wants to move on.  She doesn't want to forget about him, but she wants her life to be hers, not just a remnant of the life she and my Dad lived. I understand this. Thus, a change.

My mom and I have very similar styles.  We like cottage and we like coastal.  We like the calmness of sea blues and foamy greens.  We like the crispness of white.  So who would be more perfect to help my mom design her house in a way that said, "Maggie" instead of "Maggie and Den."

The renovations start on July 18th, with a trek down to Florida, just me and my little sweet peep on a plane for 7 hours, followed by an hour of driving in an unknown car. Mr. Sweet Peep is afraid I'm going to get lost driving back to my mom's house.    And seriously, I could get lost going around a circle.  Of course, the rest of the crew will be following me on the Sunday after, to help with the all the "heavy lifting", aka, board and batten, wallpaper, electric work etc. 

But here's the plan, in pictures...I'm so excited!

We're starting with a sea foam green on the upper parts of the walls and a board and batten treatment in white on the bottom 3/4 of the walls.  To ground all the light and airy colours, we're using a moody dark blue/navy to accent.

For as long as I can remember, my Mom has always had a thing for plantation shutters.  Who can blame her?  The perfect blend of coastal cottage and practicality. 

No coastal cottage is finished without a ton of white - think white euroshams, crisp white sheets, white slipcovers, flowy white pottery barn curtains and tons of milk glass. 

We don't want the room to be too feminine and romantic, so a touch of masculinity adds itself in the form of a metal desk light or two.

It wouldn't be a Sweet Peep room without at least one piece of vintage furniture.  Have you ever Craigslisted in Florida?  Think French Provincial for a fraction of the price!  I'm hope to find some luck in the furniture department while I'm down there!

Pottery Barn is the go to for awesome duvet covers and sheet sets.  So many options...I gave my Mom full reign and I'll be surprised when we get down there with her choice!

Pillows...pillows and more pillows!  The other great thing about Florida are stores like Joann's and Hobby Lobby.  Why?  Because their fabric selection is intense and CHEAP.  None of this $22.00 a metre for fabric!  The great thing with pillows is the ability to add colour and texture for cheap and without having to really commit.  The cable knit ones are from Pottery Barn.

Finally, fantastic white frames, from Ikea no less!  So you know we're getting a deal.  And the botanicals?  Ikea, as well.  We'll be searching flea markets and antique stores for vintage ones, but in a pinch these will work wonders!

This is just the beginning!  We also have a bathroom to do and an office nook to finish.

The Sweet Peep and I will be back with an update this weekend! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Story of the Bergen

The Bergen
Every piece of furniture has a story: no matter how old or young it may be. 

The Bergen came from a widow who lives down the street from us.  She really has no one else in the world except for her very elderly and very deaf bassett hound named Barkley. 

Now, I'm a dog person.  A sort of animal whisperer really - I like animals more than people most of the time and most of the time, animals like me more than most people.  Same goes for Mr. Sweet Peep.  Animals love him too.  As in, we'll be hiking and a bird will land on his shoulder and sing him a tune.  Really, he's just like Snow White.  But Barkley, the elderly and deaf bassett hound glared at both of us and growled this deep, gutteral, evil little growl.  It was enough for both of us to stand straight and keep an eye for the door.  But our 1.5 year old, jaunts right in, leans out, butt in the air, lips puckered and gave that old graying dog a kiss square on the lips.  And he, in return, licked her from forehead to chin.  We apparently have another animal whisperer on our hands.  And this was some sort of invitation to hear the elderly widow's life story. 

I'll save you the trouble of hearing it.  But keep in mind, Mr. Sweet Peep moved that hutch from the basement and out to the truck while me and the widow talked about life and love and children and old antique furniture pieces.  The Bergen came from Campbell River, BC more than a decade ago and has been with her for as long as she and her husband had been together.  It was an anniversary gift from many years passed. A magical piece she had cherished.  She had a sparkle in her eye as she talked about it and a faint whimper in her voice when she told me she just couldn't bring it with her anymore.  That it was time to let go. 

The Bergen is named for her and aptly so. Straight and tall and strong, but with a feminine curve and line you only find in old women who have lived every single day of their life to the greatest.  As of now, the Bergen is my favourite piece.  And I'm sad I'll only have it for a short while and won't be able to put my own story and history into it.  But I'm sure she will go to a good owner.  Perhaps as an anniversary gift and perhaps it'll finish it's story just like the beginning chapters finished - full of love, life and memories and a bit of sparkle and magic.