Saturday, November 24, 2012

Local Goodness - Grace Sales Co

So, today Christmas shopping begins for me.  Small Business Saturday is so much more my pace than the craziness of Black Friday…and I get to support my local communities businesses as a bonus.

I have decided that this year I am going to do my best to do at least 80% of my gift buying from small businesses (Etsy & Ebay count as small businesses since the transactions are from individual sellersJ).  Wouldn’t it be great for all of our communities if you all could join me in this mission?

So in honor of Small Business Saturday I thought I would share this post that I wrote a few months ago and never actually got it posted. Grace Sales Co has such wonderful quirky things I often wander in when I am in the neighborhood and today this will be my first stop.

Grace Sales Co
185 Pleasant St., Marblehead MA

Sometimes in the place & time you least expect it, you meet the nicest people.  This was the case when after a lovely day of meandering through Marblehead with a wonderful friend I decided on one more stop before heading home. 

My wonderful friend Leslie had mentioned she had missed out on a fab bookcase from Harvard University that was for sale at a fun little antique shop called Grace Sales Co just down the street.  She contemplated just a little too long and someone scooped it up just before her….I call that “just not meant to be”.

Love, love, love these orange wood stools!  They look like something
my friend Leslie would also love.
I have been to Grace Sales Co several times and this is another one of those places where I always see something unusual that I (or one of my friends) just have to have. 

Isn't this blue tufted sofa from Grace Sales window just fab?
Looks very Doris Day in Pillow Talk.
photo source

When I first moved to Marblehead this shop was an interior design shop that had just the most fabulous windows.  I had never visited the shop when the decorator had it but did make regular drive-by’s just to see the windows – they were always so colorful with lots of classic pattern fabrics and chic furniture pieces displayed.  Loved them!

This was one of a pair...wouldn't these just be magnificent in grey?
I’m not exactly sure when the decorator vacated and Grace Sales Co. moved in but I do know Grace hadn’t been open very long the first time I went in.  She has such great things that I have returned many times and usually with friends and we’ve all purchased something.  

photo source

I find this isn’t a shop where I just can’t live without everything in it but there are always a few really cool things I lust over.  And really isn’t that all it takes?

photo source

So on this particular Saturday I stopped in with very little on my list of wants/needs but was in need of seeing what new items were in the shop. 

What a great way to bring a pop of color to a room

While browsing in the back room I happened to strike up a conversation with a woman who was in the middle of checking out a vanity that her teenage daughter was admiring.  Her daughter really, really wanted it but she couldn’t figure out exactly how she wanted to update it.  I suggested Annie Sloan chalk paint and perhaps doing an accent color on some of the edges to make it pop as well as some new hardware (or painting the existing in a fun color).

Some teenage girl in Marblehead has fab taste...this is now a part
of her bedroom.  She loved the lines.

We ended up having so much fun imagining what this piece could be she bought it and was heading out to get some paint to start her project.

Sure hope it looks as fabulous in pink as it does in this original form.

I purchased these a bit ago and love everything about them!

This will soon be hung in my dining room.  I love both transfer ware
and commemorative plates so this just had to come home with me!

So today, I head back to Grace Sales Co to see what interesting finds she has for Small Business Saturday.  Wish me luck on my quest to find all of the goodies my family & friends desire at all of the lovely shops locally owned & operated.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A "Re-framing" Weekend

This weekend was just the perfect weekend, good friends, lots of laughs and a project or two.  What could be more fun than that?

We had been trying to get together for a bit so when we all finally had the time we decided to just make it low key and hang at my house & catch up.

We also had a project that we wanted to experiment with.  When I was in Austin a while back I had seen a fabulous picture frame in one of the lovely little shops I visited.  My first though was how great is this frame?  My second and more important thought (after I saw the $80+ price) was I could so make this…so I took a picture for inspiration for a future day.

After getting back home I emailed the picture to two of my closest pals and we started planning our day of “reframing” together.  Well, that was last spring and we’ve all had so many other things going on since then that we just haven’t gotten to it.

So when we were planning our weekend get together this weekend I pulled out the inspiration picture and we all sat down and got to work.

I had picked up these basic frames for $2 each at a salvage/odd lots store

My habit of saving broken jewelry (missing stones, worn finish, singular earrings, etc) as well as clipping off any shoe adornments or buttons before trashing well worn (ok, over worn) shoes/clothes really helped.  Really anything that blings gets dissected before it hits the trash curb.

My box of jewels ready for a repurpose
Yes, I even took these off FLIP FLOPS!  And they ended up looking
fab on Pam's frame!
A little paint and glue and there you have a fun filled afternoon.

My pals & I have been close friends for over 20 years and we all have much in common but this project really shows how different the three of us see things.  It’s funny how we all started out with exactly the same supplies and the same inspiration picture and how different our finished products look.

Pam's is on the left, mine center and Kate's is right

We all had so much fun we have now decided to start a new craft club….sort of like a book club with the wine and socializing but an afternoon of creativity instead of intellectual discussion (because that’s what all book clubs are right?).

I’m already looking forward to our next “meeting”.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Drizzly Day at Pete's Place

On a rainy (well, really more drizzly than downpour) fall day in New England can you think of anything better to do than visit an architectural salvage site?

No, well neither could my BFF and I when a couple of weeks ago we decided that it was finally time to head to Pete’s Place (aka Truck Stop Antiques) on Route 202 in Hollis ME, a former “junk yard” that she had spotted and was dying to check out.  Actually, there were a ton of more ideal rainy day options but we just couldn't wait any longer to find out just what Pete’s was about.

What could be better than a HUGE yellow polka dot bear???

The majority of Pete’s goodies were stored in trailers in a large field…very accessible but a little difficult to navigate in “challenging” weather (and cute shoes) and boy were we putting our IPhone flashlight app’s to good use but as the postal service says…”neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night”…

Pete has a large inventory of library catalogs & industrial storage solutions
all of it so great...I just need to get that workshop reno going now.

Lots of both metal and wooden crates

There is a shop on the property but it wasn't entirely open yet on the Sunday morning when we visited so we stuck to the yard and with the ok of Pete (who happened to be onsite doing maintenance work) explored at our leisure.

And lots and lots of sinks of every shape, color, style

Now, Pete’s Place is vastly different than Mason Brothers (check my visit to MB out here) or The Old House Parts Company (and my visit to OHPC here) in that it was a little more Sanford & Sons than Restoration Hardware but wow he has some great stuff!

Aren't these just magnificent windows?

Love all of the colors, shapes & sizes

The inventory at Pete’s is huge…if he doesn’t have what anyone is looking for I would be shocked.
It ended up being a really fun idea inspiring visit and after a good long look we left over stimulated, a bit hungry and more than a bit chilled.


and Pulleys

So what better to solve all three than a quick lunch at the Maine Diner in Wells ME…now if you have never been or heard of the Maine Diner let me tell you you’re missing out...their lobster pie is divine!

Phenominal Lobster Quiche
Photo courtesy of Kate Nolan-Denham of
Scissors, Spatulas and Sneakers

On this particular day soup and a sandwich seemed more in order to warm the bones…except of course we swapped the sandwich for some lobster quiche…yes I said lobster quiche.  Oh my…highly recommended!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Summer Project Update - Finished!!!

So it’s been months (and months…and months) in the works but finally my summer project is FINISHED!  If I knew then what I know now….yeah, not sure I would have taken this project on. 

Side view - this was taken on inspection day

Side view - this was taken today
Back Steps..sad
Back  Long term plan is to move this door to the back of
the house and put a window here instead

It wasn’t hard….really.  But it definitely took more time than I had anticipated…that darn trim work…

Garage before...bonus room on the side is a future project

Garage now...what you can't see is the addition of a garage door opener...
very important for New England winters

There are several more exterior projects that just didn't get done this year but this was a huge step forward.

Front Door...before

Front door now...still needs a major reno (i.e. new door,
new steps & portico) but a little paint will make do till

With all of the challenges (like me getting on the roof to paint the dormers?) and the frustration of it taking far longer than I wanted, it was so worth it.  I am very pleased with how it came out and definitely house proud these days. 

Front view before

Front view after - was going to paint the brown shutters but after taking them
down I decided it was a better plan just to replace them

Next up….guestroom redo.  Here’s the before:

This is the photo from the listing when Mrs Johnson still owned (and
decorated) the house.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Other Side of Fenway

I can’t believe how fast this last weekend went…I feel like I say that every Monday but its true every Monday.  There are always so many things to do this time of year in New England.

One of my favorites is Fenway Studio’s Open House… this year it seemed like it was a little earlier than normal being held this weekend.

Fenway Studio's
30 Ipswich St., Boston MA
photo source

I would have totally missed it without my good friend Maureen’s sharp eye catching it and texting me the “hey we have gotta go”.  We first discovered the Fenway Studio’s Open House a couple of years ago when they were hosting a open house/wine tasting.  No wine this year but it’s still such a cool event.

Some Art....loved this Artist's stuff!
Some more art...

A little something about Fenway Studio’s (from their website):
It came to be built because early in the 1900s, many of Boston's best-known artists lost their studios and life's works in a disastrous fire at the Harcourt Studios on Irvington Street in Boston, and many barely escaped with their lives. 
Fenway Studios was designed so that every one of the 46 studios would have north-facing windows, 12 feet high. The interior plan, with 14-foot high ceilings, was inspired by the 19th century atelier studios in Paris, where many of the original artists had studied. The building, of classic Arts & Crafts design with clinker brick exterior, is located on Ipswich Street in the Back Bay. 
Fenway Studios is a National Historic Landmark building. It is the oldest continuously functioning building in the country constructed for and dedicated solely to artists' space. The Studios are also the first in the country to pioneer a not-for-profit limited-equity form of ownership. In order to maintain rents at an affordable level, artists are not permitted to profit from the sale of their units, save an adjustment for inflation.
The really cool thing about this open house is that not only is there a ton of great art work to look at but the studios are all individually owned and thus individually decorated (or not decorated in some cases…).

The windows are magnificent...perfect for an artist
A fairly utilitarian (ie underdecorated) studio...
it's still so appealing isn't it?

Some are just downright cozy.

They had a little coffee clatch going in this inviting!
The "living" area of another studio..many studios put up a wall or curtains
to separate the space 

Upon entering each studio there is generally a small storage area and stairs that lead down to a main “room” where the art happens.  There is also some form of very small bedroom (like just barely big enough for a bed and that’s about it) and tiny kitchenette.  Many have fireplaces.  Kind of like a real mini studio apartment – but it doesn’t look like these are primary residences for anyone.

This was my favorite studio as far as decor goes...loved that it has
some color and the space is so well organized/used. 
The kitchenette of this studio..more color....and a happy color
at that
The view from the entrance (i.e. top of stairs).
And the other side of the room...with Maureen making friends
with the artist's rescue dog.  He was a sweetie.
The artists who choose to participate in the open house (not all do maybe 25 or so do) open their studios and welcome the public and are present to discuss their works and sell them. There are all price points from $5 greeting cards made from original prints to several thousand dollar larger original pieces and everything in between.

Definitely a Sunday well spent!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Back In Circa

A couple of weeks ago I shared my visit to The Pine Cone Hill Outlet (you can see my visit here) in the Berkshires but if you read my blog at any regularity you know by now I’m not driving 3 hours each way and not doing a little more exploring when I’m there.

And it was such a beautiful day fall for wandering…

My other great find that day was Circa….when I spotted a parking spot out front just waiting for me I knew it was fate.

Located right next to a wonderful coffee shop Circa is the end unit

Old brick building with high ceilings and filled with mid-century goodness, what more could anyone want?

The woman working there was the owner’s mother and she was super friendly…no question she loved her daughter and the store she had opened…small business customer service at its best!

Don't you just adore the color of these?

And how much fun are these?  Did you know orange was
Frank Sinatra's favorite color?  Yep, it was.

This lounger was about 3 feet wide and was upholstered in kind of a
beigey shaggy 1970's Elvis
Now, my style isn’t necessarily mid-century modern but I am a firm believer in buying what you really love regardless of style and it will somehow come together.  Can you say eclectic?  I don’t think my style is necessarily eclectic in the true sense but I definitely am not married to one style, I buy what I really love and it somehow comes together.

I did end up finding 2 fun things….

My old clock that I bought ages ago at Ballard Design had stopped keeping time.  Probably just needs a new clock mechanism but I just haven’t seemed to get around to fixing it.  I still love it but maybe it’s time to try on a new look for a bit.

Old Clock...10 years old
New Clock...maybe 50 or 60 years old
I found this inspiration photo on Pinterest a while back and have been looking ever since for the perfect ladder for my laundry room.  

I love this idea...I am so stealing it!
photo source
Isn't this great?  So many possibilities!
I love the patina on this vintage ladder....but it would
be so fab in a fun color
Now I just have to decide…paint or not to paint?

Any thoughts on which way I should go with this?  It has such great patina but there are so many fun colors out there if I go the painting route.