The Small & Precious Space—Beneath the Stairs

Several years ago, the opportunity arrived to purchase the little house and grounds which intersected the L-shaped property of what is now known as, The House at Rooster Ridge. After the purchase we eagerly began to discover what would lead us to the renovation of this over-100-year-old building. Our first indication of the potential for this little structure was hidden behind a tiny door. Under the carpeted and narrow staircase which led to the second floor was a sheet rock wall and in it a small painted door, approximately 18″ tall by 15″ wide. As we peered behind the door, we found the first clue to the depth of the possibility of how amazingly quaint this little structure could become!

When the little door was opened we found a small space which had previously been used as a storage area for a vacuum cleaner. With flashlights in our hands the initial discovery was made—and the rest, as they say, is history! The floor of this tiny space was dusty and dingy—and constructed of very worn wide plank flooring. Peering inside and now with the assistance of light fully illuminating the floor we realized, what we were seeing between the several small separations between the planks, which lay side-by-side, was the stone-walled basement. This meant only one thing to us—as self-proclaimed-forensic-building-historians—that we were looking at the original flooring of this building!

The first action we took (excitedly, hurriedly) was to rip out the door and sheet rock wall which had been built to create this storage space. As the sheet rock was removed we also made our second wonderful discovery—the staircase was solid old wood. As we continued our inspection and through the enthusiastic discussions which followed, we came to understand that this wide plank floor ran beneath the existing and relatively new strip-oak flooring. This was the moment when we fully realized the little treasure we had found! And to think this precious gem was sitting right next door for—oh, over a hundred years!

One of the design themes at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is the intention to create vignettes, small illustrated stories which are told in a visual language. The small and precious space, beneath the stairs in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge, is one of those tales.

Due to the small stature of this space the inspiration for this design-story unfolded as I pondered who would comfortably fill this space. I allowed my thoughts to meander, to carry me loftily to a lovely vision and as I did so, I imagined a young child sitting in this little room beneath the stairs. I watched an imagined tea-party with a brown furry bear and later, a quiet and special space to look upon a picture book.

And so it became, The Small & Precious Space—Beneath the Stairs. A table was added and upon it was placed a charming rooster lamp—complete with an amusing fabric shade depicting roosters and farm scenes and finished with a cheerful red pom-pom trim. The underside of the stairs were exposed by removing the angled wall—adding interesting geometric shapes and dimension then painted a warm vintage barn red.

A shelf followed—the top could hold little books and the shelf was adorned with wooden pegs to hang a little sweater or bag. During a recent antique excursion a French Iron Painters’ Chair was found and brought to The Cottage at Rooster Ridge adding the finishing touch. On the shelf hangs a Vintage Wreath Form, which was used to create fresh wreaths of greens and flowers, now the form awaits—to be filled at a moments notice should an announcement of a tea-party occur!

The Small & Precious Space—Beneath the Stairs came to be—as structured thoughts were invited to float away—leaving a small and precious space—within our thoughts, for a day-dream vision to arrive. We offer to you the same invitation, let go of what it is you actually see and welcome the ability to dream and design in your cottage!

Symbolism Abounds!


Vintage Tin—Re-Colored—Beautifully!

This is Vintage Tin Art! These magnificent patterns have been enhanced with the application of new paint and colors!

At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge we are fans! The options are endless—the mixing of patterns, colors, sizes—and the multitude of choices of how to display—independently or with the creation of interesting groupings are endless!

Texture, Pattern, Color and Varied Sizes–Vintage Tin Art has it all!

The texture is vibrant with the combination of the dimensional pressed patterns of the tin and the surface texture created by peeling and cracking of the original paint. The aging of each tin creates an original work, as no two are alike!

The possibilities are endless—using the same pattern in various colors, intermixing patters of the same color—we get dizzy just thinking of all the ways these pieces can be used.

The plan at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is to have the Vintage Tin art go down the entire stairway of The Cottage! Time to discover more!

We are considering making one-of-a-kind sets available for purchase—any interest? We have many ideas and color combinations in mind! Contact us!

Vintage Tin—in the original historic form or Vintage Tin Art—which has been recently enhanced—is nothing short of artwork!

Art Lives!


Vintage Tin—Re-Purposed—Beautifully!

Some Vintage Tin comes complete with a story, a history—shared and cherished from seller to buyer. While other pieces of Vintage Tin may arrive at your door anonymously, with only your imagination to fill in the blanks—see tomorrow’s post. Whatever the pedigree—Vintage Tin always brings—beauty!

This Vintage Tin has a story—or so we were told—we discovered this Vintage Tin in Northwest Arkansas. The seller had traveled to Texas for the dismantling of a theater and the subsequent purchase of the tin paneled ceiling. The varied history is evident of having lived, if nothing else, a colorful life. The layered story can be read in the rich original patina of greys; charcoal, heather and graphite. In addition to the greys, there are pinks and greens creating a multi-colored visual feast! One cannot help but wonder—had the green paint been applied over the dull grey after the war in the 1940’s? And, had the pink paint then been layered on top of the green in the 1950’s? Or—so we were told—one can only imagine!

We purchased four panels measuring 24″ x 48″, one a 24″ square center medallion and 28 linear feet of crown molding with absolutely no idea what would become of it! Since the purchase in 2008—we have dragged it out a few times, arranging the puzzle pieces onto the floor in various locations in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge as well as the House at Rooster Ridge, only to re-pack it all and lug it back into the attic for storage—the inconvenient old-house attic which is accessed only by pulling down a trap-door-staircase. Maybe this purchase wasn’t the best choice—were the friends and family who asked with confused looks on their faces, “But…you don’t know where it will fit and you bought it anyway?”

Our answer, “Nope.”

That is until we began the recent renovation of The House at Rooster Ridge. With all of our creative design mojo in full swing we were now able to revisit the Vintage Tin with fresh eyes—allowing for the expansion of thought.  Previously our consideration for the Re-Purpose of the tin panels had been stuck in the purpose the various pieces had served in the past. Letting go of that—our horizontal thoughts (ceiling) were transformed into vertical design opportunities! The “grouping” of tin panels were ultimately installed in three different locations—no longer belabored by viewing them as a single entity but rather— individual elements of design.

This new approach enabled the Vintage Tin to become transformed into architectural details for multiple applications. Using two of the panels as an accent feature on the surround of the built-in kitchen desk created a unique space—differentiating the area from the back splash of the kitchen counter-top areas. The kitchen back splash is also tin—a faux finished new copper tin—more about that in another post!

The second highlighted area was also in the kitchen—we had a wood panel built around the tin to creating a frame for the tin accent panel! The colors of the greens and greys work beautifully with the green wall ovens and black stove top.

The crown molding was installed in the downstairs powder bath located next to the kitchen allowing what I refer to as memory design  coordination (okay, I made that up—but still!)  Our mind remembers and holds onto aspects of design features, details or color-ways and as you travel to the next room there is an unconscious connection of the two—creating a harmony from room to room. That’s what I call—memory design coordination! Let’s see if it trends! LOL!

The center medallion was placed in the center of the painted white ceiling and trimmed in mahogany as was the crown molding. The contrast of the white ceiling with the two Vintage Tin treatments creates a dynamic impact.

The purchase of the the Vintage Tin—from Texas via Arkansas—in 2008 has now come full circle becoming one of the prominent vintage features of the renovation of The House at Rooster Ridge.

Following your heart—what speaks to you—telling you a story or a whisper of history enriches our lives! Free yourself from knowing the when, where or how!

If you love the art of something—have faith—a place within your cottage will become, home!

Art Lives!


Architectural Salvage: Part One—Discovery

On Sunday it seemed as though there was a hint of Spring in the air—after all, the outdoor thermometer boasted a balmy 46 degrees! With the sun shining what followed next was (almost) predictable…the official Spring is in the air chant;

“Road Trip! Road Trip! Road Trip!”

Favorite type…Architectural Salvage!

“One man gathers what another man spills.”

                                                                         Lyrics by Robert Hunter

What may appear to be a vast wasteland of broken-down pieces haphazardly strewn in an iron yard—can become the seedlings of creativity, the birth of Re-Purposing and Recycling! What is more Spring-like than that?! (Okay, we admit it snowed while we were there…)

The Discovery—

One of the discoveries made on this Sunday; an intact and complete four-part capital.

From Wikipedia:

In architecture the capital (from the Latin caput, ‘head’) forms the topmost member of a column (or pilaster). It mediates between the column and the load thrusting down upon it, broadening the area of the column’s supporting surface

This is an example of what can become of a single section of a rusted and discarded capital.

This piece was sand-blasted and painted with metallic pewter, gold and copper paint. For this application, we chose not to treat the paint with an acid to create a patina. The options are endless—the possibilities for color, aging and the creation of a patina are limited only by your thoughts.

This singular section of an iron capital hangs as a piece of art in The House at Rooster Ridge. The beauty of the design creates a textural and dimensional masterpiece!

What will become of the four-part capital newly discovered—as well as the numerous items piled into the back of the car on the way back from—

“Road Trip! Road Trip! Road Trip!”

Stay tuned!

Art Lives!


Sometimes…it’s about the drama!

This is one of those times I absolutely wish I had an incredibly talented and professional photographer available to me—bringing with them their artistry, knowledge, experience—and, all of those great lights and cool lenses… to fully demonstrate—sometimes…it’s about the drama!

Exposing the peaked roof on the second floor of The House at Rooster Ridge created an architecturally dramatic essence from the naturally stunning angles, pitch and height of the space. The drama, in this case, was a good thing and we did what we could to embrace it, enhance it and build upon it.

The first item to be addressed were the two support beams which ran across the pitched ceiling. We relied upon the artistry of our wood craftsman who created panel insets on the beams and finished them with classic crown molding. The talented craftsmanship was further elaborated with the richness of Mahogany, our favorite wood.

To intensify the impact of the height of the ceiling, lighting was added along the top (inside) of the beams creating a glowing illumination.

In the same finishing style we built a mahogany triangle base, to suspend the majestic Americana Fan. We discovered this from one of our favorite resources, Barn Light Electric. As luck would have it, the blades were available in mahogany and we selected an Antique Brass finish. The impressive scale of this fan usually results in a sigh, as the span is an impressive six feet!

Another one of the beautifully dramatic elements is the 1930’s Antique Art Deco glass lamp which is gracefully suspended from the ceiling on long brass chains. The soft lavender—blue glass emits a sultry lilac light while simultaneously displaying a lovely contrast created from the etched white flowers when illuminated.

The acquisition of what we consider to be a piece of art is the pre-1900’s stained glass window. The glass brings continuous joy as we observe the variances of colors—depending on the light from outside.

Sometimes, it’s best not to “Save the drama for your Mama” and relish the drama created in the magnificence of design, color and varying elements!

Art Lives!


Illuminate with a Unique Pairing!

The farm table in The House at Rooster Ridge is richly illuminated with a trio of lights—creating a visually interesting balance to this long rectangular room! The two lights placed on the outside end of the trio are composed of a unique pairing—designed at Rooster Ridge!

We began with two vintage brass and copper ship lights. Commonly referred to as a “fox lights” these lights were positioned several feet above the working deck area and were only used during loading and unloading operations. The beauty of the beehive design, the rich color and sheen of the copper and brass is wonderful! The lights have a latched glass lens which once protected the internal electrical components from salt and sea creating an industrial feel.

Rather than hanging the “fox lights” directly to the ceiling by suspending them from a chain or a using a pole extension an unusual pairing was made with a Vintage Iron Pulley. A theme was loosely interpreted by connecting the two with heavy rope, a standard in the world of ships and remaining authentic to the original use of a pulley! A natural fit for a unique pairing!

With our ever present desire to remain vigilant to the attention to details two additional nuances were addressed. With a cheeky irony, the hooks attached to the ceiling to hold the lights are mermaid hooks! The other detail is the wire we used, we researched vintage style wiring and selected a gold cloth-covered braided wire. We agree with the adage; the whole is the sum of the parts, we believe it is the attention to the smallest of details that creates an overwhelming design.

At Rooster Ridge we make every attempt to illuminate life—shining the brightest light that we possibly can—on creativity and…

Art Lives!


The Sign Says…

We love signs, all kinds of signs…homemade, neon, vintage and new retro signs. Signs can say so much, evoke a mood, make a statement, add humor and in doing so add to the personality of a home or a place of business.

At a casual party or a get-together with friends, quick and easy signs create a theme and serve a function.

Often when the host and/or hostess are busy tending to guests a well placed sign can answer a simple question regarding what is being served or the kind of ingredients used, in that way, always tending to their guests.

“How do you like your coffee?” signs.

This vintage Kendall Motor Oil sign hangs in the kitchen of the House at Rooster Ridge.

The new retro Washroom sign points guests to the right direction when required!

We love the sentiment of the Gather sign (Sundance Catalog) while the subtle color-on-color positioning of the Eat subliminally makes a suggestion to those who enter the kitchen. (Wall color: Benjamin Moore-Raisin Torte)

This antique glass Exit sign was spotted lying on a shelf in a NYC store, purchased years ago—finally our vision of having it lit and installed has come to fruition with the renovation. A brass ring was forged to hold the glass to enable mounting to the wall. A small light fixture was in-wall mounted to create an authentic exit sign! Perhaps this should be illuminated as a cue for guests to depart…it’s late and so many dishes to do…

Guests in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge are greeted by a welcoming sign— Hotel.

The “boys” bathroom in The House at Rooster Ridge has an appropriate race theme in honor of our resident race car driver!

The pendant which serves as general lighting to the bathroom has a wonderful vintage look! (Magnolia Pendant in Historic Nickel – Barn Light Electric)

When in doubt at Rooster Ridge, we encourage you to Read the Signs! Add some signage to your own cottage and let the reading begin!