Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer's End

It's getting to be that time......summer's end.  It's a melancholy feeling as the long, lazy days of summer are coming to a close.

Time to put away the suntan lotion, the bathing suits and beach towels as we get ready to usher in beautiful autumn.

For our family, fall means football games, spending time in the country, and hunting for the men. For our kids, it's back to their respective colleges. For me, it's curling up with good books and taking in all the beauty of my very favorite season.

 It's back to school time, Halloween, Thanksgiving, building fires, drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and the glorious feeling of what we call "sweater weather." It's an event to celebrate when in the deep south we wake up to low humidity and a cool breeze!

As I look back over the past few months, it's been a whirlwind ~ from actively searching for a beach house to making the decision to purchase Sea Glass Cottage. It's been such an adventure flexing a new set of decorating "muscles" as I go room by room in the house adding personal touches and coastal decor.

It's been wonderful introducing my family and friends to our home away from home, and I hope everyone who visited so far has great memories. The last time we were here, my son and his sweetheart asked me to walk with them on the beach after dinner, and I captured these photos that I will forever hold in my heart.

The perfect summer's end.

Thanks for visiting Sea Glass Cottage today......hope your fall is filled with wonderful things!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Personalizing Your Home

Does your home have a name?

Or is there a motif (design or decorative element) or personal style that is uniquely your own that is represented in your home?

Here in New Orleans, for instance, the fleur de lis is an often-used motif in decorating, fashion, and jewelry.

For my beach house in Gulf Shores, I have chosen beautiful sea glass to be not only the name, but our motif. Throughout our cottage, I have tried to incorporate the colors and textures of sea glass to personalize the beach house.

I am so happy that our family members and friends like our home's name so much, that they automatically associate sea glass with us. We have been fortunate to receive very thoughtful housewarming gifts from friends to help us celebrate this new chapter in our lives, and naturally many of them involve sea glass or the name Sea Glass Cottage.

One of the first gifts we received for Sea Glass was this cute home plaque from our real estate agent.  I have it in the entrance hall to welcome guests when they first enter.

A group of dear friends surprised me with these personalized items for the kitchen -- pretty kitchen towels and tumblers imprinted with Sea Glass Cottage.

Another friend gifted us with these beautiful personalized bath towels!

All of the homes in my beach community have names and often have a plaque outside to show their name. I worked with an artist in Alabama (who has an etsy shop) to design a metal plaque for Sea Glass Cottage that could withstand the harsh salt water and sun damage. She came up with this design to place near our address on the front porch.

And last, but not least, who knew that there was actually Sea Glass wine? I sure was surprised when I received several bottles of Sea Glass wine!

It's fun incorporating my house name and sea glass motif into my home decor.

Do you have an element or design motif in your home that is uniquely you?

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beautiful Baskets

I don't think I've ever seen a basket that I didn't like.

I love decorating with baskets for their color and textures, and the fact that they are so useful in keeping things organized is an added bonus. I use them in just about every room in the house to organize bath towels and accessories, books and magazines, pillows and throws, and seasonal florals.

This basket shown here is one of my recent finds at my local At Home store, and I keep it right next to my favorite spot on the sofa with a cozy throw, a few pillows, and my favorite magazines.

This next beautiful basket is a new favorite from Birch Lane -- in the shape of a shell!

I just grabbed a handful of silk flowers I had displayed on the coffee table and stuffed them in the shell basket. It looks so pretty, and I will soon replace these flowers for something a bit more autumnal.

I can't wait to play around with this shell basket -- I'm sure it's going to find it's way into every room in the house eventually.

I have a Pinterest board specifically for inspiration and ideas for decorating with baskets (all home styles). Be sure to check those out!

Do you use baskets in your home decor? What is your favorite way to use baskets in decorating or organizing?

I'd love to hear from you -- Thanks so much for stopping by Sea Glass Cottage today!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Outdoor Furniture - To Paint or Not to Paint?

"To paint or not to paint......that is the question!"

When I purchased our beach house, I purchased it fully furnished (inside and outside).

The second floor balcony has terrific teak furniture which includes a dining table and chairs and a full outdoor seating set. I know how expensive solid teak furniture is, so I'm delighted to have this furniture. The problem is -- it looks terrible! It has been left untreated and unprotected to the harsh elements of the salt water of the gulf and the intense heat of the sun. Aged teak turns from a honey brown (which is nice at first), but left untreated turns to an ash gray as it ages. Even worse, the backyard dining set has turned ash gray with mold.

I freshened the porch set up with ivory cushions and bought some pretty outdoor pillows so I can use the porch, but it's really just putting lipstick on the pig.  The wood is in terrible condition.

From what I've been able to learn, most wood experts and purists say NO to painting teak furniture as it is an oily wood that doesn't take well to paint. (I'm not at all opposed to it looking chippy or distressed -- I would most likely paint it with a coat of KILZ first, then paint and distress it before adding a clear coat sealer).

I could clean, sand, and stain it.

Or just clean, sand, and treat it with teak oil that will change the appearance, but not much. And the teak oil needs to be reapplied (at least once a year or more, depending on the elements).

What do y'all think? I know there are many of you that are quite experienced with painting or restoring outdoor furniture. Any advice or suggestions? 

I realize this is a huge undertaking, and I'm sure whatever I decide to do I will need to call in for help from a professional to get the entire job done. I counted -- it's 25 pieces of furniture that weighs a ton!

I will need to let this project simmer for a while as I do more research and try to figure out the best course of action. I might just take the small end table and do a few experiments on the underside, but I'd love to hear some feed back on your experiences with painting or staining outdoor furniture.

Thanks for visiting Sea Glass Cottage today......hoping to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Favorite Things #2 - Jute Tote Bags & Home Decor

There was a time, long ago, when I couldn't get through summer without a few new bathing suits.

After two children, I was all about the beach cover-up!

Now, I don't even want to think about beach fashion! I'm all about cute and fashionable beach totes and accessories.

Mudpie has a great collection of coastal and nautical fashion, accessories, jewelry, and home decor. Currently,  I am loving anything that is a burlap/jute combination with white stamping. I personally own the sea fan cosmetic clutch (bottom left) and the sea fan tote (bottom right) for my beach bag. Amazon has a good selection of Mudpie products.

Besides beach totes, I also found a Mudpie table runner with the same jute/stamped white combination that I am loving, and I am using this simple, neutral table setting as my everyday centerpiece.

Jute seems to be really popular right now in coastal decor -- I've added jute pillows to my collection, rugs, candle holders, mirrors, picture frames, and lanterns -- just to name a few.  Oh, and that great beach bag!

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beach Cottage Style @ Sea Glass Cottage

One of my favorite websites that I visit for styling and decorating tips is Coastal Living.

A recent video article featured a list of ten beach house essentials for creating the look and feel of a coastal home (whether or not your home is on the beach). You certainly don't have to live by the water to have a home with a coastal style.

There are many unique features of this house that appealed to me when I was beach house hunting -- it's not a cookie-cutter modern home, and owners throughout the years have added vintage touches that I think add to the charm of the house. Here are ten of my favorite features of Sea Glass.

l. A capiz shell chandelier in the entrance hall~

2.  A claw foot tub in one of the bathrooms for a vintage vibe~

3.  Vintage stained glass windows for sun catching accents~

4. A white on white kitchen with cool retro bar stools~

5. Slipcovered furniture in crisp white throughout the house~

6.  Built-in storage in the first floor hall for beach essentials ~ grab and go.

7. Beautiful wood stairs ~ Three flights!

8. Balcony off the master bedroom~

9. Lots of white furniture ~


10.  Beadboard, beadboard, and more beadboard! 

I love this vintage medicine cabinet in the powder room.

Thank you for visiting Sea Glass Cottage and taking a mini tour around the cottage ~ please come back as there will be more home tours to come!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Creative uses for Coastal Decor

If you have a coastal style home or beach house, chances are you have many types of sea-inspired containers and decor.

I have many urns, large seashell bowls, and containers that are filled with the usual things you would expect -- potpourri, plants and succulents, and a candle.

But what are some unique ways we can get double-duty out of our decor -- they can look pretty but be functional, too.

Here are a few ways I've incorporated these pretty containers in my beach house:

In my master bath, this urn holds some towels, loofah sponges, and soap next to my bath and adds an elegant touch to my beach house bathroom.

On my vanity, this small ceramic conch shell holds my travel sized perfume and lotions.

This beautiful porcelain shell in the wet bar is filled with ice and used to chill -- what else, Sea Glass wine!

In the entrance hall, this huge urn is filled with sea treasures from all over -- people are free to just throw whatever they find on the beach into the pile!

Thanks for stopping by Sea Glass Cottage! I think I'll go have a glass of that wine that's been chilling....

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Mixing & Matching Pillows - Tropical Style

Today I'm going to spotlight one of our favorite rooms in Sea Glass Cottage.....the family den.

I love this room as it seems to be the gathering place for the whole family to spread out, watch movies, make puzzles, read, or just take a nap. It is located at the back of the house and overlooks the golf course.

Since I have an all white master bedroom, a white on white kitchen, a neutral toned dining area, and a white sitting room, I've got my love of white covered!

This is the one room where I'm going to branch out and have fun experimenting with brighter coastal colors and textures.

Here's my basic seating arrangement without any pillows -- it is a Pottery Barn slipcovered sectional sofa with a chaise lounge. I love it as I can mix and match and play with all the colors and textures in my rapidly growing pillow collection.

Now let me tell you, this sofa is very loved.  People curl up and put their feet on the sofa, the dog jumps up before I have time to put down a throw, and spills have happened. It's real life, imperfect, and that's just fine with me. Slipcovers can be washed and pillows can hide imperfections.

Let's have some fun playing with pillow combinations:

I have found that my favorite pillow combination is "Texture + Print + Solid." 

A few pillows need some texture such as burlap, jute, buttons, or trim. Next, I throw in one or two coordinating or complimentary prints, and finish off the grouping with a few neutrals or solids that pull colors from the prints.

l. Neutrals

I adore neutrals, creams, and textured pillows and am very happy with a bunch of neutrals thrown on the sofa.

As long as there is a solid + print + texture, I have a great combination that is very pleasing to my eye.

I can easily enhance this neutral tone by adding in a few pillows with color:

2. The colors of sea glass and sea 

This next pillow palette is a sea glass inspiration (of course!).  Soft blues and greens blended with the neutrals of the sand and sea oats is a beautiful and soothing combination.

Solid + texture + print for the win!

This palette is very soft and soothing, but it's missing the pop I like that texture and an added print would bring.

Much better!

I can keep the palette very soft with just the soothing blues, greens, and greys, or pull out a bolder color with an accent pillow:

3. Tropical colors

The next pillow palette is very fun and inspired by the colors of these gorgeous tropical Hawaiian lilies. Bold greens and oranges are softened with whites and creams.

4. And just for fun.........It's five o'clock somewhere!

Think lemons, limes, oranges,  berries, pineapples, and a little rum.

I hope you enjoyed playing along with me as I mixed and matched pillows -- now it's time to go out and have some beach time!

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