Decorating like a Maine Airbnb

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photo by Lynn Miller

Every summer we take our kids to Maine to visit my parents who spend their summers there.  They live in the quintessential Maine town with a general store, a post office, a library, and not a single traffic light.  Within 10 minutes you can see a Civil War era coastal defense fort, at least one lighthouse, and a Maine State Park beach.  My parents live on one of the small dirt driveways off the main road that are marked “Private Drive” in a house designed by my step-brother.  It is just the right size for two so we always spend our nights somewhere else.  There are cabins nearby, in the forest or on the beachfront, a great campground on a private island, and even a few well-known chain hotels in the larger town of Bath about 15 minutes north.  We have gone the way of cabins and campgrounds in prior years but this time wanted a little more home-comfort.

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Emily, a co-worker at ReHouse, suggested Airbnb, a website and app that allows homeowners to rent out space to travelers.  This can range from a room with a bed to an entire home, and she has found their prices to be very reasonable.  I gave it a try and found just the right place for our family, Historic Greek Revival with a Kick, at the south end of Bath.  I knew the space would be great by the number of fantastic reviews and Alice’s Superhost status, but I was unprepared for the actual decor and atmosphere of the place.  It reminded me of all the projects that ReHouse customers dream of.  That is why I am telling you about it.  I know you will love it as much as I do.

Visitors stay in the front half of the house, and Alice’s family lives in the back half.  You enter into a long narrow room with stone floors, unique hooks to hang your hats and coats, a bench covered in animal hide, and the first signs of architectural salvage.  A small antique crystal and silver chandelier hangs from the bead-board ceiling, and I wonder if it is original, a reproduction, or whether Alice has made it from a silver candy dish and loose crystals found at a flea market.  A salvaged door header painted white tops a frameless mirror which hangs over a small table that could be made from a single kitchen cabinet with a marble counter and found furniture legs.  On this sits a simple display of glass bottles in a short wooden crate, perhaps once used for local blueberries.

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An antique secretary’s desk is a perfect hiding place for outdoor essentials or to set your keys on as you walk in the door.  The interior door still has its original bell which the visitor would “Turn and Release” as instructed on the front.

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The small kitchen has everything you need tucked behind a narrow island built of weathered natural barn wood.  This is reflected in the grey washed wood accent wall nearby.  This wall sports a few wood shelves held by cast iron brackets.  Below is a sturdy wood crate painted cream attached to the wall by its base.  This creates 2 more shelves to hold your coffee maker and all your coffee making essentials.  It feels beachy and transitions perfectly from the browns of the entryway to the greys of the dining room beyond.

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The dining room is bright and light.  The table seats 4-5 with 2 chairs painted cream and built in benches with storage underneath.  The tops of the benches are dark stained wood which is simple but effective.  On the left wall storage is created with 4 base cabinets that match the bench bases and topped with grey washed wood.  This antique half-circle window is the feature accent with an elegant arrangement of candle holders and glass balls with the look of antique silvered mirrors sitting in a cream ceramic bowl.

 

How clever is this little display at the bottom of the stairs?  It is a narrow piece of weathered wood on some simple brackets.  On the shelf is an antique dresser mirror in its original harp.  I never thought of putting one of these on anything but a dresser!

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At the top of the stairs there is an inviting little space with a leather loveseat and crystal table lamp.  The bead board on the walls mirrors the planks on the “barn doors” at the other end of the hall.  I started thinking about making over my own ugly sliding closet doors like this.  That shouldn’t be too hard.  Should it?  Alice also incorporated two divided lite windows, one to hide a pipe and the other as a display case for some old area newspaper clippings.  The unexpected piece that I just love here is the baby or doll cradle with a cozy blanket and small throw pillow.

 

Here is an example of the simple yet sophisticated lighting found throughout the house.  This ceiling is small and not overpowering.  When turned on it sparkles and sends light dancing around the room just like the one in the above photo.

 

One of the best parts about Alice’s house for us was that is has 3 bedrooms.  That means my kids didn’t have to share a room let alone a bed.  You can’t go anywhere and get 3 bedrooms for such a great price.  You can see photos of the whole rooms on the Airbnb site, but I want to feature some of the vignettes that we could easily make using items in the store.  One little side table has an arrangement of bottles and candles on it but check out the dresser scarf; it’s a vintage money bag from a bank.  I bet you could use one of these flour sacks for the same type of eclectic feel.

 

In another bedroom there is another one of Alice’s signature narrow shelves.  This one has a doll tricycle and an antique certificate from the Board of Examiners in Optometry.  Again, so simple but intriguing.  If you can’t find a certificate like this one we have one from Calvin Coolidge confirming a man to the position of Postmaster in Pittsford.

 

Another lovely arrangement with bead board behind it mixes the new with the old.  Tall candle holders, an accent lamp and a small cabinet create an appealing trio.  On closer inspection the cabinet it is a lot like the vintage wood medicine cabinets that we often have in the store.

 

How about this for wall art?  This is a piece of antique tin ceiling with its original chipping paint and rough edges.  Mounted in front is a small wrought iron display shelf holding dirty old terracotta pots.  Can you believe I just used the words chipping, rough, dirty, and old to describe such fantastic decor?

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These pieces really made me think about how difficult it must be to fill space when you aren’t using personal photographs or mementos which most of us do in our own homes.  The decor we love in magazines and on vacation doesn’t usually have these things.  I wonder if it is harder to decorate with those things or without them.  What do you think?

Whatever your thoughts, you can decorate like Alice too.  Here is your shopping list for you next trip to ReHouse if you want to try her style.  These specific items are in stock as of 8.15.18, but we may have similar items at any time.  See you soon, and don’t be afraid of old and chipping for your next decorating project.

 

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Fun Find: Umbrella Stands

Occasionally ReHouse will acquire several of one type of item.  Maybe this is because someone gave up a collection or cleaned out the house of a hoarder.  Whatever the reason, last week we received about a dozen umbrella stands.  Not the ornate ones from the entryway of a Victorian mansion.  The kind that lives on the patio and is heavy as you-know-what.  The kind that hides under the outdoor dining table and holds the shade umbrella steady during summer meals.

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Maybe you are like me.  I have one of these under my small patio table.  It has been there since we moved in 5 years ago.  It once held a  green and white striped canvas umbrella.  Sadly, the umbrella broke 4 years ago, but the stand is holding firm.  The arrival of these in the store made me think.  Does everyone’s umbrella break?  What are we going to do with all these stands?  If the umbrellas break, doesn’t everyone already have extra stands and instead need new umbrellas?

Can these heavy and decorative stands be used for something else?  Hmmm… Pinterest, here I come!  Here is what my search turned up for you.

  1. DIY Umbrella Stand into an Easy Patio Table from Victoria at Dazzle While Frazzeled  This is a well detailed DIY post with easy to follow instructions and great pictures.  Nice work, Victoria!DIY-Umbrella-Stand-Patio-Side-Table-collage-7
  2. Vintage Bike Planter.  I do not believe this is a real bike but it could certainly be the inspiration for something similar.  Found on Pinterest. Photo from flickr user Carmen Moreno. 55ff9426f2841b992f3056b68aa12040
  3. Repurposed Bird Feeder made from various pans and metal dishes with umbrella stand as the base.  (There was no link to an original post with this one.) www.pinterest.com
  4. Garden Fountain.  This is a store bought example from Loluxe on Shopify.  With a little help from This Old House and some spare parts you can certainly make your own.  89529a999d6a1ee3ed322a23209dac17.jpg
  5. Umbrella Stand.  Obvious perhaps, but maybe you have a less-than-pleasing umbrella without a stand.  Don’t throw it out just yet.  Penny at Penny’s Vintage Home shows you how to refashion your old, ugly umbrella to make it fit in your shabby chic outdoor living space.  PicMonkey Collage

Have you been inspired?  I know I have.  I am partial to the shabby chic umbrella.  I am also considering the small patio table but with a chess board.  Let me know what you plan to do.  You can always post your reuse projects on Instagram with #reusewithrehouse and we will feature your project on our feed too!  Here are some more pics of the stands we have available.  Get’em before they’re gone.

 

Wedding Trends Made Rent-able

Wedding season is approaching for 2017, and according to the top wedding trend sites (the knot, Bridal Guide, Glamour), couples this year are envisioning weddings styled with “vintage glamour” and situated in creative natural spaces.  Even with the popular themes of elaborate food pairings and bountiful blooms, a return to live bands, and portrait painters alongside photographers, today’s couples are also focused on going green in more ways than one.

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Current popular venues are no longer limited church basements, conference centers, or banquet halls.  While these are excellent and often economical choices where you can be sure practice has made perfect, couples are branching out[doors].  Whether actually indoors or out, more weddings are featuring natural elements.  Free flowing bouquets offer the ambiance of an English Garden.  Potted dwarf trees bring the garden indoors.  Wood and stone elements complete the enchanted forest effect.

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The ultimate example of bringing the outdoors in…the avenue of trees at the royal wedding in 2011.  – photo by Murray Sanders for dailymail.co.uk

Going green is not only a desirable decor style.  Couples today are taking on an environmental responsibility to go green as they plan their special days.  Invitations are being printed on recycled paper with soy based inks.  Flowers are being donated after the ceremony for others to enjoy.  Vintage china, silver, glassware, and linens are all being rented to eliminate waste even for casual receptions.  Couples are being more aware of the lasting impressions left by their weddings.  William and Kate may have started this trend when they went green by planting the English Field Maples that adorned Westminster after the royal wedding.

These 3 doors have been in the racks for years…should they be trashed?

At ReHouse we make decisions daily about what we let go to waste and what we are able to save for reuse.  We strive to encourage others to do the same when planning a remodel, restoration, or deconstruction of homes and buildings.  What if we could do the same for weddings?

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or should they be transformed with some paint and hinges?

We have always offered a rental option for items being used in theatrical productions or other short term events.  This option allows the renter to use the item as a prop for a predetermined period of time and then return it in like condition.  An item could be saved from the landfill when we salvage it from a house and then again when it is returned as a rental rather than purchased for a one-time use and thrown out For 50% of the retail price, if it’s in stock, you can rent it.

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What do we rent out most?  Doors.  In fact doors are so popular as wedding rentals we have decided to create some easy-up wedding backdrops and props using some of our 1000+ in stock doors.  These special event creations are available for one day rentals for the price listed.  Since we are closed on Sundays, Saturday to Monday rentals are considered “one day.”  We loved making them, and we hope that you will love using them for your next event.

PW0007Pale Green, 2 Door Backdrop – features matching solid wood oversized 6 panel doors with upper lites. Painted with durable indoor/outdoor paint in pale green.  Hardware detailing is also handpainted.  Triangle stands on each door and removable top trim support this elegant piece.  Add your own matching floral accents and tulle trim. $225

16938855_10154435757656588_2048778553315398483_nFarmhouse Chic Extra Large Arbor – built from locally salvaged barn wood horse stalls. Rear panel handcrafted to match.  Pergola style top asks to be draped with flowers, fabric, or candles that coordinate with your event’s decor. Designed and built for quick and easy assembly and tear down. $225

16904859_10154435754886588_4085692690442794175_oWhite Bridal Walk-Through Arbor – created with 2 doors slightly different in design painted fresh white to match any color scheme.  Feet on bottom and slats on top provide support for this pergola style arbor.  Perfect for a photo prop, ceremony backdrop, or to frame the bride’s entrance down the aisle, this piece places you right in the garden.  $195

Barn Wood Walls with Sliding Door (part 1)

We are always doing little projects around the store to give customers inspiration as well as an interesting shopping experience.  Our newest project has gotten so many comments that I knew I had to post more details.

This odd little corner has “needed something” since before I started here 2 years ago.  The bi-fold door is broken and does not slide.  The size and shape of the space is odd and awkward.  Customers either think that the whole corner is off limits, or they try to shop in the storage room.  In fact, this corner is so uninteresting that there are NO photos of it at all in the vast archive of ReHouse photos.  We had to do something!

 

Enter barn wood.  (find out where the barn wood came from HERE)  The decision was made to cover part of the walls with barn wood from our stock.  Don’t worry, there is still more here for your project.  Barn wood comes in many colors and textures.  Colors range from traditional “barn red” and “white wash” to varying shades of brown, grey, greyish brown, even brownish and mossy.  The texture of barn wood can be described as rustic, distressed, holey, rough, chewed on, pitted, worn, even old.  Fortunately, these are all adjectives that add to the appeal of barn wood.

 

How much wood to buy.  Begin by measuring the area of the walls you plan to cover.  In our corner we had 2 walls that would be mostly covered.  As you know, Length times Height will equal area in this case.  This is your required square footage.  Bring this number with you when purchasing your barn wood.  Always buy a little extra.  If you don’t need it for you wall you can use it elsewhere to tie things together.  Although each piece of wood will be unique, try to choose boards with a similar thickness.  This will ensure that your wall isn’t bumpy when done.  Things just don’t hang well on bumpy walls!

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Where to start. We started by trimming around the door with narrow boards.  After that was in place, we started at the top of the wall section.  There was a piece of trim on the wall there dividing the upper section from the pegboard mid section.  We butted the top piece of wood against the trim. Each board was attached through the studs with a nail gun.  Then continued to add wood in the same manner making sure each new board was still level.  There may be small gaps between boards in order to keep things straight.  As you can see below, it all works out.

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You’re done!  You didn’t know it would be that easy, did you?  How do you like it?  We love ours but decided to go a bit farther.  Here is a preview of the now white washed barn wood walls along with the proud builder.  Thanks for your hard work, David.

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This story continues in part 2 HERE.

Cast Iron Radiator Restoration

One category of salvaged items that weighs us down with questions are cast iron radiators.  Yes, we do carry them. No, we do not restore them.  Some, we are able to test and others we are not.  That being said, we salvage and re-house hundreds.  People who use them say the heat they generate is significantly better than newer methods.

 

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Our customer, Michelle, shared these photos with us of her adventures in radiator restoration.  Michelle is not a professional but a DIYer with energy and imagination and a well-stocked Project Pantry.  Her radiators were purchased at ReHouse recently, and as you can see they were partially painted in the past.  These 2 were marked down because they were non-working having been tested by a customer.  Michelle and her family took on the challenge, and here is the process through her photos.

Before: Paint and Rust

Ammonia Bath, Pressure Wash, Wire Brush

Post-Cleaning

Prime and Paint

Installed

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If you are interested in taking on a similar job, please do thorough research before starting.  Speak with someone who has working knowledge of the process, and remember that this restoration is not a one day project.  Here is a sample budget for this type of project.

Michelle’s Radiator Restoration Budget

2 non-working radiators at ReHouse, $30

replacement bushings and fittings at Debbie Supply, $50

2 cans spray paint, $16

Gallon of ammonia, $3

Castalloy and flux  to fix leaks, $80

Total  Cost:    $180

Heat in the living room: priceless!

 

Thanks Michelle.  Great job!