Thursday, July 30, 2015

Favorite Things -- Summer Scents

Ever since I began my recent beach house adventure (and creating this blog to chronicle the story of Sea Glass Cottage), I've discovered a whole new world of bloggers who are truly dedicated and passionate about home decor, lifestyles, creative living, DIY, and so much more that goes into making our homes a special place for our families.

I decided that I would post a "favorite things" about beach living, and each post will be a different topic regarding beach living. It might be a great beach read I discovered, a super simple recipe, a new piece of home decor.....whatever I'm inspired to share.

This week I kicking things off with my favorite summer scents.

Here in the south, we have extremely hot and humid temperatures well into September and October, and the last thing you want to do is wear a heavy or cloying perfume. This summer, I am enjoying two light and crystal clear fragrances.......Pure Grace by Philosophy and Bobbi Brown's Beach.

Pure Grace is my favorite and I find it to have great staying power without being heavy or overpowering. It is a clean and crisp "soap and water" scent like ivory soap. I like to layer the scent with the shower gel and body lotion. On the hottest of days, I don't even wear perfume. The body products are all that I need.

My newest summer fragrance is Bobbi Brown's Beach. It's a bit pricey, but the scent is very reminiscent of Coppertone suntan lotion. If you have nostalgic memories of sun, sand, and Coppertone, you may enjoy this fragrance. I also have the bath gel and body lotion, but I find the Philosophy is more long lasting and less expensive.

If you're a "no fragrance at all" kind of person but still like to have some fun with summer scents, Philosophy shower gels are a great alternative. Every season, I look forward to their limited edition scents and I've never been disappointed. They are also great for travel as they can be used as shampoo and body wash. This summer, I'm enjoying Senorita Margarita and Melon Daiquiri. Both are fresh and fruity in the shower without a long lasting scent.

Here's to keeping fresh and clean during the dog days of summer!

(Note: These products are my personal products, purchased by me. I have not received products or compensation, and these are only my opinions.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Boy's Bedroom Makeover - Vintage Nautical Style Part 2

For the before and after of my son's bedroom makeover Part 1, please click here.

Decorating a beach cottage opens up a whole world of possibilities, from soft whites and pastels to the bolder, more colorful nautical tones.

The bedroom and en-suite bath  that were to become my son's room were already painted and decorated in a nautical theme, so I continued with the theme with changes from a child's room to a more masculine room. I wanted to keep to a vintage style with old nautical figures, ship paintings, and rustic nautical decor.

Let's take a tour around the room and see close-up some of the vintage nautical decor.

What's a nautical room without a boat and captain? This vignette is on a shelf near a closet.

Another vignette on top of a chest of drawers. A pair of crusty old sailors, ready to tackle the next storm at sea.....

A wood border was placed along the wall at ceiling level with knobs for hanging items. A few wood buoys were added.

Using the Tommy Bahama pillows as the room inspiration, I chose red, navy, and a tea stained fabric for the bedding, keeping the look vintage nautical.

A comfy chair for reading or watching tv.

The en-suite bath is designed with white beadboard with red painted walls above.

And a nice view out the window to ponder buried treasure hunts or the next adventure at sea........

Ahoy, mate!

 Thanks for stopping by Sea Glass Cottage!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beach Cottage Kitchen

Ahhhhhhh, white. How I love white! Especially in a beach kitchen.

The kitchen in my beach cottage went through a major remodel a few years ago by a previous decorator/owner. She has phenomenal taste and chose beautiful, classic materials for an all-white kitchen.

But it wasn't always like that......

One day, I was playing around on my computer doing a search of my cottage address and couldn't believe what popped up --it's amazing what you can find on the internet! I found pictures of what my house originally looked like back in the 1990's went it was first built.

Here's what the kitchen looked like BEFORE the major renovation by another owner:

Yes, I know what you are thinking! I thought the same thing when I found this photo (most likely an old real estate listing photo circa 1990's). I think I would have run from the house if it looked like this today, never to return. Builder grade cabinets, white tile countertops....and the floor tiles -- what color are they anyway? Green Pink?! (*shudders*)

Thank goodness I did not have to tackle the remodeling of the kitchen. If I had to hand pick materials for the kitchen, I would have picked exactly what is currently here. I love everything about it, from the white subway tiles, the marble countertops, the hardwood floor, the glass cabinets, the farmhouse sink, beadboard island, and the stainless steel appliances. Perfection!

Here is my kitchen today as I am settling in and adding my own touches......partially decluttered of previous owners' decor and kitchen items. (I still have to tackle the glass cabinets, purge, and make them pretty and organized. The cabinets are packed with things that are outdated or not needed, so that is a project that needs my immediate attention.

And you can't beat the view from the kitchen sink window! I can wash dishes and enjoy the water view at the same time. I love my kitchen!

Thank you for visiting Sea Glass Cottage --

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Decorating with.....Simple Touches of the Sea

One of the most exciting things about owning a beach house is discovering new ways to decorate a home with coastal and cottage styles and decor.

Our home outside of New Orleans is a Greek Revival style home which is decorated in a traditional, Old World style in earthy tones. Switching gears at the beach, choosing colors, textures, fabrics, and decor for Sea Glass Cottage is a whole new world of light, bright, airy styles. I've turned to inspiration from the beauty of the beach and sea.

I wanted to keep my cottage simple, comfortable, and uncluttered.  When family and friends visit, I want them to feel completely at home and at ease when they sit down on sofas and chairs or gather around the table.

There is so much to be inspired by in nature......sea shells, sea glass, starfish, sand dollars, sand, and all the beautiful hues and textures. Without going overboard and making the decor too "kitschy" like a souvenier shop, I'm keeping to just a few simple touches.

My everyday tablescape (which can change for special occasions and parties) is simple and just a burlap tablerunner, a jute lantern, and two burlap wrapped candle holders. All are stamped with beautiful white shells. I love the textures and the colors remind me of the sand and beach.

My inspiration photo: The texture of the sand, the tan tones, and the simplicity of a starfish.

My tablescape based on this inspiration from the sea:

My inspiration photo: I love the beautiful blues of the water and the ombre effect -- from the deeper blues to the crystal aqua -- and the white, puffy clouds of the sky.

My translation based on this inspiration photo:

A wooden crate from Michael's craft store already painted and distressed with an ombre effect in chalk paint with the blues of the sea, paired with a hurricane glass filled with sand from our beach, a few shells and sea glass, and a candle with those same ombre blue hues makes a pretty vignette on my coffee table. The blue and white hydrangeas mimic the blues and white of the sky.

Another find from Michael's craft store, this lantern with a touch of blue is filled with sea treasures instead of candles. One of the most beautiful things to come from the sea is a sea fan; I don't use real sea fans as it is bad for the environment to remove (or purchase) authentic fans. I found faux sea fans in the floral section of the craft store, cut them to size, and placed them in lanterns and urns. I also use faux sea coral, and these are very easy to find in craft stores.

My cottage would not be complete without seaglass! Here is my inspirational photo:

My translation based on this inspirational photo:

Beautiful bowls of sparkling sea glass in colors of the sea.

Decorating and creating a welcoming home beach home is all in the details of the sand and sea.....and it's the little details that are so much fun creating. I hope you will come back for more of Sea Glass Cottage!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Boy's Bedroom Makeover - Vintage Nautical Style Part 1

One of my favorite design styles in our beach cottage was this children's bedroom to the right of the entrance hall.

It was furnished with darling toddler bunk beds decorated in a nautical theme which continued into the en-suite bathroom.

Unfortunately, the toddler beds would never work for my still-growing teenage son (over six feet tall) and adult guests. The sellers agreed to take the bunk beds when they moved, so I'm pleased that they will continue to be used.


Keeping with the nautical theme, here is my son's room after the makeover (which can also be used as a guest room in a pinch).


The main color inspiration for the room were the Tommy Bahama pillows. (I literally found these awesome Tommy Bahama pillows in a hall closet in the cottage. Such treasures are found all throughout the house packed away!) I pulled these colors from the existing pillows to add accents and fabrics to the bedroom.

I chose a tea-stained color for the bedding and accented the room with navy curtains and red striped accent pillows. A comfy red chair is perfect for reading and watching tv.

I loved that I was able to keep the nautical look while updating the room to make it comfortable for adults -- and my son can actually FIT in the bed!  ;)

My next post will highlight all the vintage nautical details around the bedroom and bathroom.

I hope you enjoyed this before and after boy's bedroom makeover! You can read Part 2 (decor details) here.

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Beach House Hunting

I thought it might be fun to share the selection process of beach house hunting.

Once I decided to go forward, I searched online and looked at hundreds of listings from Destin, Florida all the way to Gulf Shores, Alabama. My criteria was a minimum of three bedrooms and absolutely must be located directly on the beach. I didn't want a fixer upper, but I didn't mind purchasing something that needed a little TLC or redecorating. After all, that's the fun of making a home your own -- putting your own personality into the design.

Ray and I had our agent line up appointments with a few strong contenders, all in the Gulf Shores area.

House #1

This house was a very strong contender. It was located in a gated community off Beach Blvd. in Orange Beach, Alabama. It was a very spacious four bedroom home set back at an angle from the beach. Unfortunately, it was very close to the busy main road and the traffic noise could be heard in the house. I was not a fan of the kitchen, but it was not a deal breaker -- the noisy highway was. The tennis courts and pools were also in front of the house, so in peak season, it would be a busy area.

House #2

I was very curious to see this house. It was located in Fort Morgan, Alabama very near the historic
Fort Morgan site and the Dauphin Island ferry. It was huge (too big, in all honesty) and was better suited to big group renting. It had a fantastic third floor sun deck that had uninterrupted gulf views for miles. It was also a raised home and just steps from the water -- and that frightens me. Too close to flooding for comfort.

The best thing this house had going for it was the fabulous roof-top sun deck. Ray is surveying his kingdom.

House #3

This cute yellow house (right) was also located in Fort Morgan. Nice beach views, but again, raised and in a flood zone. That's a no-go for me.

House #4

This house was located in Gulf Shores in a gated golfing community. The prime lots face the beach with the golf course in the back. This house has a prime view of both the beautiful beach dunes, gulf, and the golf course. It had the "beach cottage" vibe that I was looking for.

And the house we chose was..............House #4!!

By the way, if you're a fan of HGTV and have been watching Beach Flip, the houses on the show are also in Gulf Shores.


Master Bedroom - A Work in Progress

Welcome to my master bedroom retreat!

I wanted my master bedroom to feel very light and airy. It is located on the third floor of Sea Glass Cottage and has a beautiful view of the gulf beach through the double french doors.

When I first purchased the house, the owner's bedroom was decorated in very dark, earthy tones and turquoise. It was completely the opposite of my all-white, open and airy vision.

 The the basic furniture pieces (canopy bed, chairs, end tables, and secretary) were gorgeous white, and the walls were painted in a very soft sky blue. I spent most of my redecorating time changing out fabrics such as bedding, curtains, rugs, and pillows.

Here is the BEFORE picture of the master bedroom when I first purchased the house:

Here are the AFTER photos after changing out fabrics:

I added fresh white storage benches; sheer white curtains to blow in the breeze around the bed, and mercury glass lamps replaced the heavy original wood lamps. 

There are two slipcovered chairs and a slipcovered ottoman at the foot of the bed. I added a white glass mason jar with cream and dusty blue flowers, a few starfish, and of course, coastal-themed magazines. Baskets in the tv stand hold other books and magazines.

I added a pretty blue area rug for a pop of blue, as well as blue and white sea themed pillows.
My next master bedroom project is to change out the dark framed pictures over the bed for a lighter, fresher look.  

A beautiful bowl of sea glass on my nightstand.

A secretary filled with mercury glass items and beach treasures.

Shabby chic table to hold my cup of tea when I'm curled up in the chair reading or watching tv.

More great storage in this cozy window seat.  I'd like to get a soft seat cushion for this spot to complete it.

Please come back to see more home tours of Sea Glass Cottage!

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