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!


515 Madison Avenue

We were in hour five of six—cold and damp—muddy and rusty—hours of scouting the iron yard at our favorite location for Architectural Salvage. The confusion swirled amidst the chipped and bent iron rails as we attempted to reconstruct an image that existed only in our minds—creating a new puzzle, with no straight edges to start with. Frustration set in. We were on a mission to find 50 feet of Vintage Iron Fencing that could be adapted to recreate a banister on the upper balconies of The House at Rooster Ridge. We succeeded, but this not about that—

This little story is about what you might miss—the tale of reminding us to keep our eyes and our mind open—to all of the possibilities—yes, even when you are frustrated and freezing.

There is one heated room in the expansive warehouse of our go-to Architectural Salvage spot. Fortunately, you need to pass through it in order to use the facilities. Ahhhhhh…a break from the wind, the wet, the rusty, heavy, dirt encrusted, paint chipping, bent and crooked iron—adventure of it all!

As I walked through the (gloriously warm) building I became mindful—to stay open to the soft whispering of the heart aspect of the decorating style at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. For me, the process is a soulful experience. I try to quiet my mind, stop thinking—figuring out—measuring—planning. And the method worked beautifully—as it usually does when I get out-of-the-way.

This is what I saw—a little corner peeking out—the last item in a mass of confusion leaning against a wall. Hidden from view and obscured by a depth of four feet of iron gates and window frames some with shards of broken glass snarling; “Keep Away!”

Refusing to be deterred—like a kid in a toy store—I raised my chapped, red, frozen hand (note to self; remember to bring gloves next time) and pointed at the little glimmer of brass and asked, “What’s that?” As my inquiry was “off-point” the question was met with, well, let’s just say, it was unenthusiastic.

And, yes, I really did want to find three guys to start moving the contraption which had been amassed by the myriad of debris (in my mind) that was blocking me from what I yearned to see. What I needed to see!

The Discovery! What is it? It says something!

Hidden behind the jumble of iron and glass we found a solid brass transom that once regally pronounced the address of 515 Madison Avenue in New York!

No longer attached to a building and without the traditional installed glass—it was simply put, a brass frame. It had all of the requirements; four sides, relatively flat with an opening in the middle…sounds like a frame to me!

The statement/question followed, “It’s gorgeous, but what would you do with it?”

Anything! My answer didn’t seem to be assisting me at arriving at the conclusion I was hoping for—time to think quickly—as sometimes partners need concrete answers. I’d put a gorgeous mirror in it with a 1′ inch bevel and hang it in the dining room!

At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge we attempt to allow ourselves—the privilege to forget what something is, or has been—and focus on the possibility of what it could be!

With heart, Art Lives!


The Art of the Collection: Vintage Soda Bottles

The American Heritage College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, defines collection as: 1. The act or process of collecting. 2. A group of objects or works to be seen or kept together. You can stop laughing—yes, I have my daughter’s college dictionary, a physical relic of the past, nonetheless, I choose to perceive utilizing this book as an organic experience of seeking words and definitions. Mind you, I do have spell-check! It’s about balance, yes?!

There are few things more striking than a display of similar objects placed together for viewing. Something about a mass of something, of anything—that calls for, even demands—our attention. Perhaps it’s the representation of the idea of togetherness or the comfort of orderly categories that resonates with both the viewer and the collector. Or possibly, depending on certain circumstances, the oddity or obscurity of the collection!

The attraction to collecting and collections might be found in the common questions a collector often hears; “Why do you collect those/that/them?” “How long has it taken?” Are you still collecting or have are completed your collection?”

We have found that the answers are as varied as the people and the collections! All the more reason to inquire! Please note, it is rare to hear a collector consider their collection “completed.”

History or memories, wishes—even dreams—can play a part in the joy and artistry of collecting. Often, it is more than the just the form or design that attracts a person to a collection. Not all collections are vintage or antique, many collections take place in current day form.

At Rooster Ridge we love The Art of the Collection. Our collections do serve to fulfill an aspect of the need we have to feel comforted by what surrounds us. Interesting items, beautiful colors, textures, design and history all resonating the emotions that bring richness, beauty and joy to our lives.

Art Lives!


A Fallen Tree Becomes Repurposed

It was a first…at least for me—a white Halloween! Rather than listening to the crunching and crackling of the dried leaves being stomped upon as enthusiastic trick-or-treaters ran from door to door, a quiet hush embodied the early evening of this years’ hallowed eve. We experienced an early snowfall, one that coated stark white flakes upon the brilliant hues of yellows, reds and oranges of the traditional fall showing. From an artistic point of view, the clean white frosting offset the rich fall colors, like the perfect white paint on window trim enhances the richness of wall color.

However, it’s not always only about art, although, I wish it were. The weight of the snow on the leaf covered trees brought with it a tremendously weighty burden. Branches snapped. Trees were fallen. The cry of a storm often can be heard days later in the voices of the buzz of saws and the grimacing grinding of stumps. Although I would not commit to being certified as an official-card-carrying member of the tree hugging society—I admit, I am always saddened by a tree fall. The space the tree once occupied seems overly empty to me.

After the Halloween snowfall I scurried to the yard to halt the saws and to make a request.

“May I please have some slices made?” (Asking nicely should help?…)

The response was a look of confusion bordered upon annoyance, which is not particularly uncommon for me and my requests. I continued with my request;

“Yes. Slices. Slices of tree, please. About this thick (as I held up two fingers with a 2″ space between them.) Circles. Yes, I want flat circles. Five should do, I like odd numbers (for design).”

Then came the reply I hoped to hear, “You heard her…make tree slices!?”

I knew what the next question would be,

“And what are you going to do with your tree slices? Never mind, just tell me what you want me to do.”

Ahhhhh, asked and answered. Good man.

“Clear coat. Lots of coats. Waterproof them.”

To date, the tree slices have been platforms for displays, platters for appetizers and one tree slice serves as a cutting board. With the addition of felt slides on the underside of the wood, the are easily slid onto tables and counter tops without the fear of scratching.

We’d like to thank Pottery Barn for the candlesticks, a gift from my sister (shout out!) Williams Sonoma for the rooster embroidered hotel napkins, a gift from my Mom (shout-out!) I guess it’s not that bad having a Christmas-time birthday. The tin back-splash was purchased from American Tin and we’ll have more on that at a later writing!

Additionally, we are pleased to share with you The Rooster Ridge Collection of Antique Mashers and our Arts and Crafts Antique Wooden Rooster.

And so it goes. Life at Rooster Ridge—where we recycle, repurpose and (hopefully) redefine design and the appreciation of all things artistic! Art Lives!