Decoration Day

Within the ephemera collection at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge we have two patriotic postcards honoring American soldiers which have lost their lives to battle.

One uses the original name of what we now celebrate as Memorial Day, which was previously called Decoration Day. This day of tribute began as a way of honoring fallen soldiers that had lost their lives in The Civil War; predominately women went to the grave sites of soldiers and decorated them.

The post date on this Decoration Day postcard is dated 1909 and has a U.S. Postage Stamp of one cent. The poem which is depicted on the front reads;

Though more than forty years ago,

In Freedom’s cause he fell,

While facing furious, Gallant foe,

He is remembered well.

The second postcard uses the more current and familiar term of Memorial Day also has a U.S. postage stamp of one cent and is postmarked from  San Francisco, California—May 30, 1911. The hand written inscription from the sender is perhaps as poignant as the occasion and the beautiful artistry. The inscription reads;

Dear Lena,

Will you see that my grave is kept green.


The Vintage Postcard Collection at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is small, we have only eleven in our collection! The world of ephemera is extensive and rich with history as well as gorgeous artwork. Our attraction is to both aspects, however the artistry of the pieces always become the most important element for the selections we have made.

We keep The Vintage Postcards within reach and are openly displayed on a postcard rack encouraging the study of them. We find a profound connection when holding one of these hand selected, hand written and hand stamped relics and now, some one hundred years later, once again are being held and read. Most of the postcards are embossed and the image has a three-dimensional quality. Often, the most collectible pieces are ones which have not been written on, addressed or stamped.

At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge we prefer those which have been held, and with thought written upon and sent on a journey to another person. It is the communication from person to person; and the attempt to experience a connectedness, when doing so was not as simple or immediate as dialing a cell phone. That fact that art was a vital element in the process of speaking to another person resonates to the very depths our souls at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge!

Art Lives!

Vintage Pine Sideboard—RePurposed!

The Cottage at Rooster Ridge loves the original form of recycling—which we refer to as RePurposing! This concept is easily adapted when something is used in a new venue, a completely new purpose or an adaptation of the original use is put in place. In the case of The Vintage Pine Sideboard we took this piece of furniture and cut it (literally) into 2 pieces and, in twist of fate and good fortune sent the new use further back in history! Say what????

The original Vintage Pine Sideboard, for the most part, was a display piece, and indeed this wonderful Vintage Sideboard did so beautifully. These are photos of the Vintage Pine Sideboard back in the day (not the original day—these photographs are a mere twenty-five years old.) Back in the day—as in before the Sideboard became four RePurposed creations.

During the renovation of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge one of our primary goals was to try our best to avoid placing any cabinetry in the kitchen area. The plan was to utilize furniture in places where cabinetry usually serves an important function. The kitchen sink obviously is one of the mandatory items in the world of kitchen needs.

The Vintage Sideboard had sadly lost its home with the new space configurations which were occurring. While studying the sink-space that was available in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge and studying the Sideboard—I began to make a quick sketch. I imagined using the lower portion of the sideboard as a place to house the farm sink we had planned to purchase. Measuring ensued. Would the sink be at the right height? There was a window in this wall, would the Sideboard fit under it? Was the length of the Sideboard able to fit on the wall?

Yes, yes and yes. (Enter good fortune.)

The Pine Sideboard had two marble inlays; removing one created the beginning of the space required to hold the sink enabling a visual inspection! Removing one of the three drawers created a hollow opening. The rest, as they say, was up to the saw! Maybe they don’t say that—but you get what I mean!

What to do with the top portion? The thought of discarding this wonderful Vintage Pine (not) a Sideboard was never a discussion as this Sideboard had been loved (wax on, wax off) for many, many years. The two black iron cup racks were removed creating more of an open shelf appearance. The top of the Sideboard was affixed to the wall, placing the top snugly against the ceiling which brought about a feeling of crown molding. That sounded so easy—right? Okay, there was sweating involved. (Not by your author.)

There remained two last pieces of the Vintage Pine Sideboard—thinking cap time (my version of sweating)—how could the last two items be RePurposed?

I know! First, addressing the section of marble that had been removed to allow for the sink to be installed, we realized the marble could be transformed into a little counter-space between the stove and the refrigerator. How to hold the marble in place became the next quandary, underside support brackets seemed so, well, boring. A newel post! As it turned out (enter fate) the original mahogany newel post from The House at Rooster Ridge had been resting in the attic for more than twenty-five years, now at long last this newel post was able to be back in service! Note to self; always keep solid mahogany newel posts.

And, in case you are counting, what was the fourth RePurposed item of the Vintage Sideboard? The fourth piece requiring RePurposing is the drawer that was removed to create the space for the farm sink. (Thinking cap was still on.) The drawer—lined with heavy plastic and with holes drilled into the bottom to allow for drainage—a charming outdoor planting box was created, knob and all!

One beloved Vintage Pine Sideboard when embraced with love and allowing ourselves the freedom to have a vision— “ta-dah!” transformation occurs! We hope to inspire you—to think outside the box, or Sideboard—please continue to join us at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge—where we find joy in sharing artistic thoughts, designs and dreams!

We have found in RePurposing—the original artistry and craftsmanship continues—to live!

Art Lives!

The Love of Color—GREEN!

The color green is used in the design of The Cottage and The House at Rooster Ridge as an organic and grounding accent color. There is an intrinsic relationship between all that grows and lives in the wonderment of nature. We find introducing green into the interior creates a cohesiveness between our exterior world and our inner sanctuary.

This post began as a pictorial study—entitled “Outside—In.” The venture seemed interesting and clever enough to warrant a read or more directly in this case, a view.

As the post was coming together frustration settled in, this was not due to the lack of beautiful green subject matter in the interior—the issue became, everything, and I mean everything paled in comparison to the green presentation outdoors. To that end, and with the utmost honor, respect and gratitude, our pictorial tribute to green remains outdoors where the most perfect design is available—nature.

Just as the leaves of the fern gently unfurl, our intention at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is to gently inspire. To present design—and the thoughts which created them—to encourage others to follow their own inspirations, interpretations, visions and tributes to what brings them joy.

We have found, during the times when inspiration is lacking, all we need to do is quiet ourselves and allow the spectacular design that rests before us in nature to move us forward.

Art Lives!

Re-Purpose—Vintage Industrial Work Table!

The Cottage at Rooster Ridge has a small kitchen area and our intent was to create a working kitchen without the use of any built-in cabinetry—as used in current day. The dish wear is stored in a Pine American Folk Art Cabinet and the retro white farm sink was placed into an existing Re-Purposed English Pine Sideboard—more about those another time!

And, the center island was fashioned from a Vintage Industrial Work Table.

The original industrial green which was only minimally visible along the edge of the steel top was left intact as an excellent and unusual accent color to our plan of painting the legs a distilled barn red.

The cast iron top was covered with an overwhelming and bewildering array of paint, rust, bolts, holes, grease and dirt! The good news—we could see the beauty hidden beneath it all!

Enter elbow grease and stubborn tenacity (Steven) and an equally stubborn vision. (Jeri)

After what seemed like— f o r e v e r —the sanding, grinding and bashing ceased and we were left with a raw cast iron table, just waiting to—RUST!

Quickly the base legs were painted as the imminent danger of RUST hovered nearby! The quandary we discovered ourselves in was what to do with the top surface. We wanted this Vintage Industrial Work Table  to become a functional addition to the kitchen as well as a style statement. Research led us (Steven) to a two-part epoxy resin as the solution. The epoxy resin would seal the steel top—preventing the metal from rusting. Equally as important, this resin top would provide a sanitary, washable surface to work on.

With the freedom to feel comfortable drilling into this used table—as it already had plenty of hammer marks and holes—we affixed our first Vintage Paper Cutter.

The Vintage Paper Cutters have become a household go-to for a multitude of uses and tasks! If you haven’t yet read about the them—here are the links for Part One and Part Two!

The addition of baskets on the two “shelves” which are created with the cast iron cross-bars furthered the usefulness of this industrial piece for storage of small kitchen items.

Re-Purposing is the ultimate in recycling and we are proud to join the ranks of many whose efforts at being green is a priority.

Through this Re-Purposing a solution to a small space—which required a functioning piece was obtained. After all what is more functional than an industrial work table! The richness of the history which came with all of the nicks, bashes and scratches was a bonus—and the industrial style is of course, Stylin’!

Art Lives!

Post Script; If you are seeing the dried Hydrangea arrangement on the Vintage Industrial Work Table for the first time—here is the link to that post! Enjoy!

The Art of The Collection—Victorian Indian Clubs

The Art of The Collection continues—as we share the collection of Victorian Indian Clubs from Rooster Ridge! Most often we are asked if we are fans of bowling—an inquiry born from the curiosity of why we display wooden pins on the landing of the staircase.

Just for fun—this photograph was taken of ten of the Victorian Indian Clubs in the official-bowling-pin-positions. Yet, we must report these pins are not awaiting the arrival of a large ball that is rolling towards them!

If your assumption is that these are bowling-pins, well—we simply say, “Strike!”

A clue for you—

The Victorian Indian Club is a piece of  exercise equipment.

From Wikipedia; Indian Clubs were exceptionally popular during the health craze of the Victorian Era used by military cadets and well-heeled ladies alike, and even appeared as a gymnastic event in the 1904 and 1932 Olympics. Gymnasiums were built just to cater to club exercise groups. The popularity of the Indian Club waned in the 1920s and 1930s as organized sports became more popular. Regimented exercise routines, like those requiring Indian clubs, were relegated to professional athletes and the military, who had access to more effective and modern strength training equipment.

Although strength training is a healthy and worthy endeavor our appreciation of The Indian Club rests in the art of these pins. We love many aspects of these Victorian Indian Clubs—the beautiful wood that was used to create these pins is just one of them.

We enjoy the rich patina that has been created from the lifting, dropping, swinging and tossing that these clubs have endured. One can imagine the resonating echos of the multitudes of hands which have held them—for over a century.

The simplicity of this sculptured form—the graceful lines growing into the bulbous lower portion and the seemingly whimsical top button—captivate our attention.

We recently discovered a first for our collection—a mechanical Indian Club—Patented March 2, 1897.

This new design (of the day) has a steel rod inserted into the center of the pin, which can be released with the set-screw.

By extending the rod  to various lengths the leverage drastically changes—increasing the resistance and subsequently the difficulty to lift, swing and rotate the club. The rod is adjustable creating multiple successions of difficulty!

At Rooster Ridge we love the artistic display of these Vintage Victorian Indian Clubs, the tribute to history and the subsequent walk with the past—adding an additional healthy aspect to strength training!

Art Lives!

The Love of Color! WHITE

At Rooster Ridge there are many signature design genres—the Re-Purposing of Vintage pieces, the (attempt) to achieve meticulous attention to detail—and The Love of Color!

Of all of the design elements available in the bounty of gorgeousness—pattern, scale and texture—and all of the inspirational surfaces— wood, tile, metal and stone—if forced to choose just one (design purgatory) COLOR would be our selection!

Color has the ability to transform, to alter, to enlighten, and to create emotion. Color resonates life and beauty.

Painting walls, trim and furniture in—vibrant, soft, interesting, poignant, peaceful or dramatic colors is a worthy investment of time and resources!

As I approached the concept of writing about The Love of Color I soon discovered the possibilities were as endless and astonishing as color itself!

Rooster Ridge is rich with color, currently the dining room in The House at Rooster Ridge is painted deep eggplant. The various wall colors in The House and Cottage are vibrant with; vintage-red, historic-green and warm-yellow.

In the Cottage at Rooster Ridge there is a single pumpkin-orange wall  which is enhanced with mahogany french doors! We believe the white trim that separates the pumpkin-orange and brown-red mahogany is the key ingredient!

The thought to address The Love of Color in “color specific segments” was intriguing! “Where to begin?” became the question.

WHITE became an ironic and interesting place to begin—the seemingly colorless white!

White is far from colorless—as there is a literal rainbow of whites in the color spectrum!

What we appreciate most about the simplicity of white is the kind of partner it becomes.

We view white as having the ability to assist colors in remaining authentic. “White helps colors hold their value.” (quoting myself!)

Every color is impacted by what surrounds it—light, as well as the color of light—has one of the most profound effects. Another significant outcome of color use is the impression created by the colors resting nearby. The coupling of colors creates a reverberation of the tone of color.

Our tribute to WHITE is also apparent in the design element this pure entity can provide—geometric shapes, the clean lines of trim, mill work, moldings and patterns presented in white are spectacular!

White, in its seemingly simple purity, creates a juxtaposed aspect to design—developing contrast and a basis for comparison.

When designing your cottage—we encourage you to delight in the wonder of white!

Art Lives!

Update—Vintage Tin—A Celebration of Color!

Our previous entry of “Vintage Tin—Re-Colored Beautifully” spoke of the plan (aka the hope & wish!) to have Re-Colored Vintage Tin panels traveling down the wall of the staircase in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge.

Since that writing the design concept has come to fruition. (Yay!) We are thrilled with the visual feast of color and pattern that now delights the eye—and soul!

We forgot about design rules— the placement of each tin panel was not choreographed or planned. The concept of having precise separations of spacing between the various panels was—abandoned!

This presentation became about the freedom of exploring and enjoying the art of design and expression!

We relished the various shades of reds—the deep burnt burgundy

and the contrasting, effervescent and emotional pink!

The addition of two different shades of green in this pink, purple and red explosion of color created an organic balance. The greens became the stocks and leaves of this burst of flowery color.

In this experience of artistic expression the Vintage Tins became our palette!

Although our legs may be tired as we prepare to climb this quaintly steep—yet charming staircase—the soul is rejuvenated with the expression of emotion and color!

Art Lives!

Once Upon a Spindle—Chapter 2

We would be remiss if we did not share the original tale of Once Upon a Spindle and the first Vintage Spindles which were brought to Rooster Ridge with love and with the intention of Re-Purposing. The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is a 100 year old building, which means the requirement to have a handrail was not in place when this “not-to-code” steep and narrow staircase was built! One of the many joys of grandfathering! The charming staircase is made of beautifully aged wood. When viewing an individual step at eye level, you are able to see the dips on the left and the right of each stair, which have been created by footfalls through the years—resonating history! This staircase was one of the first discoveries that was made during the renovation of the cottage—we removed the carpeting which was on the staircase and the subsequent layer after layer of thick aged paint.

After the renovation was complete the staircase began getting more and more use and it became apparent that a handrail would come in handy. The Art and Writing Studio is upstairs in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge, often canvases and art supplies are being carried up and down, a place to pause on this steep stairway with a solid grip-hold would come in handy!

l found it a difficult to imagine an ordinary handrail in this little artistic building and not very creative! With the freedom granted from grandfathering, the question became, “Why does a handrail have to be a single piece of…anything? Why couldn’t it be several things?”

This became the first new use and Re-Purposing of the Vintage Spindles we had fallen in love with! It seemed logical— as the spindles had once served a purpose in a staircase in a vertical position—why not turn them on their sides and enable them to be Re-Purposed into a horizontal staircase-handrail!

This became a perfect solution for this narrow staircase with it’s “non-code” angles and turns as well as being creative, artistic and unique!

These are the steps (pun intended) we took—the spindles were sanded, stained and the ends were rounded to remove the square ends. The idea to use different styles of  spindles furthered the unique appearance and interest! As they were also made of different woods the color varied as well as the patterns.

We found Vintage handrail supports to attach the spindle-handrails. The finishing touch was a decorative end-piece—which in actuality is a stationery accessory which we had on hand!

Re-Purposing. Thinking as artistically and creatively as possible is our goal and motto at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. Removing the limits of what something once was and allowing the freedom for it to become.

Art Lives!

Once Upon a Spindle—

Once upon a time these spindles were the miniature support beams of staircase banisters. I imagine, a time in the past, little children wearing pajamas had placed their cheeks against some of these spindles—as they held on with pudgy toddler fingers—peeking between the spindles—hoping to remain undetected to those below.

The staircase they belonged to—was perhaps, once the centerpiece of a home—whether that staircase swept gracefully upstairs in a formal entry foyer or was hidden behind the kitchen as a creaky, steep back-staircase, which was climbed laboriously after a long day of work. Or—were some of these—the spindles which stood like soldiers standing guard in a row upon a porch? Having once served such worthy purposes in the past, these spindles were now only dusty relics. I suppose, some believe, there is only value in these spindles if the goal is to create a new (vintage) staircase. This was not what I saw—or felt—when I discovered them!

It was a little unnerving—I found them on a “second floor” which had been created by the suspension of steel grates from—somewhere!  I was uncertain if the room was being supported from below—or hanging from the ceiling? The certainties were, that in this created second floor of this cold and damp warehouse, the conditions were dusty and dark. The grate floor was transparent between the mesh openings which added suspense to the encounter, as a sense of falling occurred as I looked down to the floor below. There were hundreds and hundreds of spindles stacked upon—more stacks— and the abundant overflow had been vertically piled into buckets. Sharp, bent and rusty nails protruded in haphazard patterns—each spindle needed to be handled with respect to avoid injury.

As I pulled the first wooden spindle out of the heavy stack— there was the thrill of discovery—in my mind’s eye—within each spindle I saw a unique wooden sculpture.

Carved pieces of art—with history—each one with turnings, soft curves, or small consecutive rolls which created a pinstripe appearance—there were angles and geometric shapes. I wondered what the intent had been of each design what had been the inspiration behind them? This treasure trove was rich with a variety of aged woods; pine, elm, oak and mahogany. Some of the spindles had been painted at various periods of their lives—now the paint was chipped, sun-baked or peeling. The classic-porch-white had now turned to vanilla with age, rich barn red, classic greens and both merry and mellow yellows lay on top of one another. A rainbow of spindles.

Our selection was made—we chose varied shapes, heights and colors. I had a vision, an idea—and now it was time for our expert at Rooster Ridge to magically make it happen! (Magic translates into painstaking hard work, patience and a never-give-up attitude!) I am grateful that creative ideas are often my genre—however, most often, the execution of the idea is not done by me. Okay—fine, rarely done by me. The designs and creations at Rooster Ridge are brought to fruition with the patience and tenacity of Steven. We’re a good team.

First the spindles were sanded, not completely cleanly, as the remnants of the paint and bruises of the wear are what we believe creates the interesting surface patina. Steven hung them in The Barn at Rooster Ridge for a clear coat—it made for an interesting display, as they were suspended from beams on hot-pink nylon cord. A table saw came next as a base was created from a vintage board—a new piece of wood would lack the coordination of character so vintage was obtained! Structurally, the base needed to be heavy enough to be able to support the tall spindles to prevent them from toppling over. The next step was to make wooden pegs and affix them to the bottom of each spindle—while coordinating holes were drilled into the bases. The fun part of the idea was to have the spindles be removable and interchangeable—enabling the ability to make different arrangements.

We made three sizes of bases; a 5-spindle, a 3-spindle and a single-spindle base!

There are so many ways of using these custom vintage spindle-candelabras—the ideas and thoughts are dizzying! We are looking forward to lining them up on a buffet table, down the center of a dining table or placed on an end table or coffee table. The mantle also serves as a lovely home!

At Rooster Ridge we love design, vintage style and unique ways of creating and Re-Purposing—always attempting to bring art into our lives!

Art Lives!

Comforting Copper

There is something comforting about copper—especially Vintage Copper.

There are many precious metals which have survived the wear and tear of a life lived—each holding a unique history within each mar, dent and scratch. At Rooster Ridge we feel, copper, more-so than other metals, exudes comfort.

The warm signature colors of the varied shades of peaches and oranges that depict copper are so comforting—and perhaps that is the reason so many soothing amenities of warmth have been offered in the solace of copper.

At Rooster Ridge we display Vintage Copper pieces as well as utilize them in our every day life. The placement of Vintage Copper containers—teapots, pots, kettles and carriage warmers mirror the warmth of homeyness in each of their metallic reflections.

In addition to placed pieces, we have also incorporated copper into the lighting as well as other utilitarian objects…more on those at a later date!

The utilitarian effectiveness of copper allows for functional use indoors as well as outdoors! The exterior of Rooster Ridge additionally heralds copper as the signature metal in skylights, gutters, light fixtures, flashing and weather vanes!

At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge spring is near! Soon we will be moving outdoors to share with you our outdoor copper!

We hope we have inspired you to invite the cozy warmth of copper into your cottage!

Art Lives!