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!

http://bit.ly/xy8VhK

http://bit.ly/xhcgqq

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!

http://bit.ly/HDI6I2


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!


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!


Everyday Chores—Add Beauty & Charm—Conserve & Recycle!

Wash the dishes…feed the dog, make dinner, put the water on the table…don’t forget to wash your hands!

We all have them—the everyday chores which require repetitive maintenance. At Rooster Ridge we make every effort to bring beauty and joy to everything we possibly can—even the dullest of activities are enriched by a little creative and artistic thought.

With the use of inexpensive cotton towels and a handy “used towel basket” at the ready, hand-washing has become a less arduous chore. The small amount of laundry created by using these cotton towels is worth the time and effort! By skipping the usage of disposable paper hand towels an element of conservation is achieved—while still offering each “hand-washer” their own towel.

This interesting bottle was discovered by literally being unearthed during the pond renovation at Rooster Ridge. Once the patina (aka dirt) had been scrubbed away we were left with a charming porcelain-stopper bottle. By adding a bartender spout, available at grocery and kitchen stores we then filled the bottle with dish washing liquid and ta-da a daily chore became more of an experience. The solid smooth glass feels comfortable in your hand while the reflection of light off the glass and the color of the soap adds visual  interest.

Our favorite brand of flavored lemonade comes in a glass bottle with a porcelain stopper and wire hinge. The beautiful colors and charming packaging always adds cheer to a festive event. Once the bottles have been deliciously emptied a quick, warm, sudsy wash removes the labels leaving a wonderful recycled water bottle. Due to our love of this product we have acquired a collection—and often place one at each place-setting next to a tall frosted glass. Guests seem to enjoy the fun of popping open their own bottle and being free to refill whenever they wish. Our fridge is always stocked and ready—grab one and enjoy a glass of H2O while sitting in the garden or on the back porch…or at your desk writing!

Preparing daily meals often becomes a chore rather than a creative expression of culinary skill! We have discovered working with beautiful utensils, even for the simplest of tasks, serves to enrich the experience— and often assists in inspiring the chef! The vintage bottles and stately silver stand is filled with olive oil, flavored olive oil and vinegar. This beautiful silver cruet set was hidden behind closed doors—of a china cabinet. Now liberated, the cruets are used daily and enjoyed by the chef—and those who come to the kitchen to be fed!

Look inside your china cabinet and enjoy the beauty daily! What are you waiting for?

We purchased two of these fabulous red tin steamers and have utilized them for years in many varied purposes! It seemed a shame to place them once again in the cupboard for the next time they would be needed for a party or dinner event. Refusing to hide them away—one of them has found a permanent home on the cook top island. Lucas always comes running the moment he hears the familiar sound of the tin top being removed. Inside is a measuring cup waiting to serve a nice helping of his kibble. Within the retro red steamer pot, dog food is now creatively disguised and ready for convenient feeding time!

We hope you are inspired to use a little creative and artistic thought in your cottage to add beauty and joy to your life–even in the simplest of chores!

Art Lives!