For the last several months I've been slowly getting our farm cottage together after three years of living in a doublewide. It was the homeplace of Ida Dye where she lived until her passing in January 2010 (see "Keeping Vigil" from my In the Pantry blog). For logistical reasons––more bathrooms and closets, for one––we will continue to live in the doublewide across from the farm buildings, for now. We will use the cottage for special occasions, guests, and family meals when we're working at the farm across the street––even holidays. We celebrated Easter there this year and it was wonderful.
Chickabiddy Cottage, or "Ida's house," has also transformed into my personal oasis, and three guest rooms, a larger working kitchen with new pantry space, and future office (my next project: unpacking it). We have only really invested the cost of paint in most areas of the house, leaving two rooms wallpapered. Paint is always the cheapest way to redecorate.
|A watercolor of Ida's cottage before modernization.|
|Vintage monogrammed guest towels on an old bathroom towel rack. I purchased the large c. 1930s |
hooked area rug at a yard sale twenty years ago––for $5! It just needed a really good cleaning.
The second floor is unheated and no central air, at present, and it would be a big expense to update it (we did repaint it and put in new flooring). So the upstairs bedrooms are perfect for spring, fall and winter (when hopefully the heat will rise as it does in the summer!). Thankfully the downstairs keeps cool from the central air, its partially-shaded location and also wonderful air flow down the knob.
|This Block Island cottage was painted by my father-in-law in the 1970s. |
I'm still not sure where I want it, so it is propped on the dresser for now.
The glass flowers were a gift from our daughter and sit in a cut glass vase,
a wedding present from a dear friend, Dot Grim, who lived in a sweet little cottage
across from us on Hancock's Main Street (whom I often wrote about on my In The Pantry blog).
The bedrooms and some other areas still don't have framed art or prints on the wall yet. That is the last thing I usually place in a room: art work. It takes me some thought and it's a great thing that my husband is expert at hanging stuff because I am not. He is precise and doesn't mind the extra time to be so.
|The guest room is painted in Benjamin Moore, "Opal Essence." A light blue green, almost a sea foam, |
it is evocative of the interior paint my grandparents had in their 1923 era house in Akron, Ohio––
where this furniture set comes from (and they never updated the interior color, to my knowledge).
Aside from fresh paint in most rooms––I like a pastel palette and rich creams––and the new pantry that I designed, with open shelves and spaces (more on the pantry and other paint colors and rooms over time), it is the same house that Ida had. There are good vibes here. One day I dream of a wrap-around porch, new siding and larger 2/2 farmhouse windows, but in time. The guest room, and my adjacent office, face north so the light is constant.
|The knob view from the guest room window to the north.|
|A Victorian "what not" shelf with my|
English porcelain flower collection.
|An old linen bureau scarf is pressed|
beneath a bureau top glass, cut to fit.
|Our daughter's favorite childhood dolls and her old bedspreads accent the room.|
|This framed image was taken of our daughter in 1989 |
in my first article for the original Victoria Magazine
(on the Gibson House Museum in Boston).
© Gross + Daley, original photograph
|Make sure you have a chair or two for sitting––bedrooms of the past were often living areas, too.|
|A nightstand is essential, complete with books and magazines. The Wallace Nutting print |
from the 1910s depicts our former home: titled 'A New Hampshire Brick-Ender'
A guest room kept ready for company or visiting family is such a warm and welcome luxury. It's even a great place for a quiet afternoon nap, conveniently located across from my soon-to-be office. But, most of all, I admit, it is a little shrine to the past––to family members framed within, to the house we left behind, to rooms that I remember. Above all, it is our daughter's room for whenever she can be here.
You come back when you're ready!
Better yet, come visit!