House Tour: A Restored 1800s French-Creole Cottage

Mar 16, 2011 by

House Tour: A Restored 1800s French-Creole Cottage

On the edge of Lake Martin in Louisiana exists a French-Creole cottage that takes you back in time, when the sounds you hear are water lapping and crickets chirping, without a note of urban hum. Maison Madeleine is a true work of restored art, a 1800s cottage that was moved and lovingly restored in its current place. Let’s allow the photos to tell the story, shall we?

Against the beautiful earthen walls, which were originally made of mud and Spanish moss, the entire porch exudes a gorgeous patina. If any home had a patina, it would be this one!

While the dining room may look original, it is a new add-on with impeccable attention paid to nostalgic detail, including a baking oven, a potager, and a cookpot over the fireplace.

In the original kitchen hearth, a French masonry stove utilizes charcoal to simmer. Le Creuset anyone?

The slightly exposed brick gives the wall such a warm, vibrant feel.

Inside this 18th-century-inspired outbuilding made of salvaged wood is the well pump. Who would have known?

The best part is that Maison Madeline can be yours – for a few nights – as it is currently being operated as a bed and breakfast!

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Love is in the Sand and Sea

Feb 13, 2011 by

Valentine’s Day completely transforms with a little one to love, wherein romantic love blossoms into an exponential, cosmic love.  When we spent yesterday at a beach on the North Shore, we serendipitously found three heart-shaped broken coral pieces, almost a present from Mother Nature for Valentine’s Day!  I arranged our symbolic family on our son’s nature table (the result is a bit wabi sabi, I think) … and who would have known that three found coral pieces could be such an inspirational replacement for traditional red roses?

My son, who has been practicing pushing buttons for a few days, also took his very first picture, as seen above!  I think it captured the closeness and intimacy of love much more than my photos did — not bad for a boy who just turned one!

May your Valentine’s Day be filled with inspiration and love, from the people and earth around you!

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From the Farm to Your Home: Repurposed Farm Machinery Furniture

Feb 10, 2011 by

Farm machinery may not come to mind when you first think about home furnishings, but repurposed farm machinery makes the most interesting pieces of furniture!

Kate and Ben Gatski took their appreciation for pieces of vintage farm equipment to a whole new level of upcyclying and repurposing. Their vision and “green philosophy” has compelled them to take parts from old 1970’s tractors and create beautiful tables, from the superior steel that was used to manufacture large tractors back in the 20th Century.  The above “straw walker side table” is a lovely example of seeing the potential in the most unsuspecting of places!

In this barn beam console table, a certain ruggedness and yet a timeless and balanced lightness come together fabulously.  This console table would be at home in any décor. The wooden beam used in this latest creation comes from an old barn that Ben’s brother-in-law tore down recently.

Imagine a single tea light holder or grouping of these beautiful and sculptural candle holders, and the lovely, whimsical flickering light they will create in your cozy eclectic or industrial style home.

Here is a charming Hay Baler Needle Side Table. You could put just about anything from candles, a clock, picture frames, or a tablescape with either pottery, or perhaps a piece of sculpture on this one-of-a-kind beautiful and functioning table.

Ben and Kate live in rural Pennsylvania. Having grown up on farms, both of these craftsmen have a passion for the origins of scraps which they repurpose. These handmade treasures are the embodiment of their love for “the people, soil and culture” of farm life.

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New York City Trash Repurposed into Industrial Chicness

Feb 6, 2011 by

Carlo Sampietro is an environmentally concerned artisan who repurposes what he literally finds in the street into industrial chic furniture.  A plastic traffic barrel, for instance, becomes a Cloche Chair (with a light-up base) when Carlo Sampietro reinvents “thrown away stuff” from New York City Streets and conjures up his “street is in the house” line of furniture and accessories.  He also incorporates old Police barriers, mailboxes, and even used newspaper and magazine holders into vintage chic tables, aquariums, and even dishwashers!

A 1960s taxi cab topper is ingeniously repurposed into mood lighting.

Who would have known that an emergency barrier can be repurposed into the most stylish workhorse table?

Here’s another great take on the emergency barrier repurposed table idea, and I’m loving the patriotic feel.  What a way to spark dinner conversation!

Yes, that is indeed a dishwasher upcycled from an old magazine rack!

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Turning Vintage Industrial Salvage into Repurposed Furniture

Feb 6, 2011 by

Repurposing vintage furniture in order to go “green” has been, until recently, something that was done by artists, environmentalists and DIYers who are advocates for using sustainable materials and recyclables to reduce waste and preserve pieces from our history and culture for future use.

Now, furniture designers who want to create one-of-a-kind pieces are embracing the Repurposing Movement too. Keith Merry, furniture designer and owner of Garden Park Antiques in Nashville, is a master at his craft.

This beautiful coffee table is made from a 19th Century Pulley Wheel, which was part of a mechanism that brought power to an piece of industrial machinery. Keith had the vision, added vintage “feet” and repurposed glass for a table top — and look at the magnificent result!

Look what can be done with a vintage wooden Pattern Mold from a Foundry! Now its an exquisite mirror, which will reflect light and beautiful images in someone’s wonderful space for an infinite number of years to come


Keith took vintage film reel canisters and creatively repurposed them into chic industrial stools (with the help of your friendly local welder).  If only I had not sold my collection of antique Hollywood film reels before I moved to Hawaii, I would have such great seating in my home now!


The pallet trend is here to stay (but be sure to read my post about testing for toxic pallets before you bring one into your home!), but Keith takes it to a new level by repurposing vintage pallets into storied coffee tables that have a great patina and sense of time.

Keith found this 1920’s old growth pine industrial assembly table from a factory and knew it still had generations of use to offer. Adding the glass top upcycles the piece to fit in any decor, from a loft to your farmhouse kitchen – and even to your den office space or man-cave!

As we embrace this new decade, Keith feels that more and more furniture designers will be adding repurposed pieces that they re-design or upcycle for modern purposes, but with a unique gift included. The gift is that each repurposed creation offers its owner the opportunity to own a piece of history.

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