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!

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!

The Art of Dining—Baby Edition!

Swoon & Gush

The days of having young children and babies as residents at Rooster Ridge are—well, let’s just say—Vintage!

However, this does not mean one should not be prepared—to welcome little ones with the same charming style afforded to our adult guests! Enter—the Dining-in-Style high chair! Swoon & Gush!

Without the appropriate babies immediately on hand, we could not completely justify the purchase of this beautiful solid wood Vintage high chair, however—my “antique mentor” aka Steven, has taught me many lessons with regard to making selections.

As a young grasshopper, I have willingly absorbed the lessons and moved past my days of the need to legitimize each purchase. Some of our most compelling additions have been obtained without a clue as to what would become of them! This is part of the adventure and the creative spirit which comes from Vintage Re-Purposing!

What we find to be more important than the precise historical information (unless you are planning a museum) is the pervasive and effervescent attitude of encouraging the following of ones heart! The most prominent lesson that I cherish is; “When you see it, buy it. There is no such thing as over-paying for something Vintage or an Antique—never too much, only too soon.”

The beauty of this high chair with its artistically curved graceful lines and the traditional cane seat and back was undeniable. As a bonus, the design included incredible industrial gearing and wheels—babies or not, this high chair was coming to Rooster Ridge!

In addition to beauty, the high chair has a wonderful mechanical function! By pulling the knob on the back, the legs begin their movement. The second position is a lower version of the high chair. This allows for various feeding heights with or without the tray, turning the high chair into an elevated small dining chair for a toddler.

You are not going to believe what this inventive design of yesteryear does next!

With the next pull of the knob the legs swing outward and ta-da a rocking chair!

Swoon & Gush! We did!

Since the purchase of this wonderful high chair we have in joyously hosted the marvelous Madeleine for luncheons and dinners! As good students—we are quite pleased that we followed our Vintage and Antique purchasing lessons!

If you love something, bring it to a place of love—your cottage!

Joy Surrounds!

A Newel Romance—Marry Me!

The renovation of The House at Rooster Ridge involved the replacement of the Newel Post, Handrail and Spindles of the curved Mahogany staircase in the entry foyer. The existing newel post hand been installed during the first renovation in the 1980’s, at the time the design de jour was contemporary. Gray (grey) was the new black and I embarrassingly remember the (at the time) the decidedly delicious accent color (colour) was—wait for it—marvelous mauuuuvve…eek!

C’mon admit it (quietly to yourself) we all followed the trend!

Due to the influence of the day, the scale of the existing Newel Post was meek, meager, sleek—contemporary—as possible as that is—in a Victorian Revival Farmhouse—

Sidebar; why do we attach proper names to design? To me, what’s in a name?—is the representation of limits, boundaries, rules…design prison!

We urge you—jailbreak!

Looking for Love in all of the Right Places—Architectural Salvage!

A Newel Romance—Seeking an impressive, grand and stately Newel Post. Prefer Mahogany with elegant turnings.

Nothing is perfect! The almost perfect Newel Post was a handsome catch—turned from a single piece of mahogany.

With an impressive and grand scale this Newel Post would serve as a wonderful salute to those entering the House at Rooster Ridge!

Unfortunately time had taken a toll on the top finial of the post.

Seeking a harmonious blend of style and character to become a lasting partner.

The solution? Marry Me! A second Newel Post was selected with the emphasis placed on the top finial.

A Newel Romance—Marry Me!

A perfect coupling!

The top finial of the second Newel Post was married to the base of the first Newel Post creating a marriage made in heaven!

In the world of design the possibilities are boundless when you take an artistic approach! The experience is enriched by refusing to be limited by what is only readily available and taking risks to follow your own vision!

By utilizing vintage pieces, the process of recycling and re-purposing naturally becomes the new black and is always—green!

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!

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!

Vintage Paper Cutters: Re-Purposed for Many Purposes! Part Three

Welcome to The Studio in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge!

The renovation of the 100 year old cottage was directed with the intention of creating this studio. We wanted to create a space where I could feel comfortable, inspired and safe to write, paint and create. The result was more powerful than we could have imagined—The Cottage at Rooster Ridge became more than just a space—the result became a way of creating, designing and being! The goal was met with success…within the comfort and safety of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge I was able to complete writing my first self-published book, Lessons from the Trumpet Vine as well as finish the twelve oil paintings which serve as the illustrations.

The Vintage Paper Cutter in the studio, brings us to our third and final (for now) paper cutter. This Vintage Paper Cutter is equipped with a 24″ roll of heavier weight recycled craft paper which is perfect for use in the art studio. The Vintage Paper Cutter has been bolted to the restaurant grade stainless steel work table for ease of use. In this venue the paper is used to cover work surfaces (tables, floors and walls at times!) The paper is also used for quick sketches of inspiration and to wrap, secure and transfer pieces of art.

As the paper is much heavier in weight we additionally have used the craft paper as a tablecloth on buffet tables and casual dining tables. On one event we purposely crunched the paper, then smoothed it back out. The result was a creative texture which added a visual interest!

The Vintage Paper Cutters at Rooster Ridge are a perfect example of the fun and functionality of renewing vintage pieces and incorporating them into everyday life. We find these relics of the past bring charm, history, function and inspiration to our lives!

Art Lives!

Vintage Paper Cutters: Re-Purposed for Many Purposes! Part Two

We discovered this fabulous double Vintage Paper Cutter which holds a 12″ and 24″ roll of paper. We elected to use traditional white butcher paper and our favorite look of natural recycled craft paper. We built a custom shelf with supportive legs to create a paper-roll station in The House at Rooster Ridge!

We love the charm of these wooden spools of velvet ribbon.

While on the continuous search for incredible Vintage pieces to restore to use this vintage cage-style string holder is gorgeous. The details are simply wonderful with lion paw feet, intricate leaf pattern design and is cast in iron. There are four places to enable the holder to be attached to the surface of a work space for additional ease of use!

We have placed a ball of yarn rather than the traditional ball of string; this yarn is made from recycled silk threads from Sari’s. The magnificent colors and rich texture exude creativity!

Recycled silk yarn is the by-product of colorful Saris that women wear in South Asia. It is the loose ends of Saris collected from industrial mills in India that is hand spun into yarn in Nepal. The vibrant colors and unique texture of these silk fibers and silk yarn are inspirational to designers, knitters, and artisans. The popularity of recycled silk yarn has extended beyond Nepal and India and has created an empowering cottage industry primarily benefiting women. This yarn is made of completely recycled Sari material from recycled clothing in Nepal. It is as green a fiber as you can get, awesome!.

In addition to using the paper for place mats, wrapping cookies to go, flowers and herbs from the garden as discussed in Vintage Paper Cutters Part One, we also use the paper rolls to create our signature wrapping paper! Gifts seen under the tree or placed upon the gift table are automatically identified as being a gift from Rooster Ridge.

Ribbon, string, yarn and twine are kept nearby for spontaneous creative gift wrapping. With the colored pencils which are kept on the table close by, gift tags are created on packages by hand! We also keep a Mason Jar filled with simple tags for a last minute rush!

It is always a wonderful experience to give a gift—with the additional experience of creating a one of a kind presentation the joy is expanded!

Part Three of Vintage Paper Cutters will bring you into The Studio in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge!

Art Lives!

Vintage Paper Cutters: Re-Purposed for Many Purposes! Part One

At Rooster Ridge when an item serves a useful purpose we often continue to discover more and more uses—and at times, one doesn’t seem to be enough! We have three, yes three, Vintage Paper Cutters which have been re-purposed and lovingly brought back to a functioning and valued aspect of life at Rooster Ridge! We have discovered many uses for the vintage work horse of yesterday! We can’t imagine being without one of them…or all three! The paper cutters have become a signature piece at Rooster Ridge.

The first of the trio is mounted onto an industrial steel work table which serves as the center island in the kitchen of  The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. The paper roll is easily attainable and comes in various weights, colors and dimensions. We always place a ball of twine, spools of ribbon and string in an easily accessible location as the paper is often used to quickly wrap cookies to go or to wrap herbs or flowers which have been freshly picked from the garden. A string dispenser is charming and has a string-cutter built in for convenience.

Our favorite utilization is the quick and easy place mats we create with a simple pull and tear! These disposable paper mats are quick and fun! Colored pencils are kept as a permanent fixture on the table and therefore  encourages scribbles, illustrations and impromptu “place- seating designs and assignments.” Often children who are our guests are given the honor of decorating the mats and creating seat assignments!

It is commonplace to hear an appreciative sigh when anyone, at any age—sits down to find their name hand written on their place mat.

This is one of three of the Vintage Paper Cutters at Rooster Ridge. Stay tuned for Part Two and Three!

Art Lives!