screened porch

Exciting times for our little corner of Prince Edward Island. Mr. A and I are hatching plans for a screened porch addition onto the back of the cottage. Very simple. Like a semi-exterior room. All the good breezes but none of the mosquitoes. Those blasted wee beasties can really hamper your exterior living on the island. I'm obsessing on Pinterest looking for inspiration. The structure itself will be dead simple: walls up to chair height and then panels of screen. Probably a lean-to roof. The inside will be the real design challenge. I want the space to fulfill a million functions: lounge, dining, game-playing and sleeping. Furnishing it wil be a challenge. The structure will go up soon and then in May it's full steam ahead to get it ready for 2014 entertaining! Here are some of my inspiration images:

The structure will likely be something like this (but smaller), but the lower portion of walls will be closed in - prob with beadboard. Interior will be painted white, floor likely grey, exactly as the main cottage.

The structure is about right but daybeds look a tad austere, no?

The ceiling height here is to die for, but sadly out of the question for us. I love vintage wicker furniture and will be keeping my eyes peeled for some mismatched pieces. I soooo loathe that brown plastic woven faux wicker shiz. It will be banned.

These DIY sleeping porch beds are from the folks at Martha. I'd love to be able to cook something up like this that could do double duty -- L-shaped sofa and twin beds as needed.

This is my fave porch design of all time, as you may know: a Tom Scheerer room with a smattering of my favourite Peter Dunham Figs fabric. As much as I love that fabric I don't feel it's quite right for my PEI space. Stripes will be my go-to more likely.

sources: 1: Courtney Bishop Design. 2:Kay Douglass  3: Allison Ramsey Architect 4: Lisa Hubbard Photography. 5: Tom Scheerer.

the grove cottages uk

The good people at The Grove Cottages UK began following me on Twitter recently, so I decided to have a click over to their web site for a look-see. And then I nearly fainted. What appeared before my eyes were a couple dozen of the most charming historic holiday properties in Suffolk and Essex. Aged wood beams, wood burning stoves, deep squishy sofas, four-posters, picket fences -- places made for writing a novel, drinking copious amounts of tea and wearing giant cashmere cardies and thick slipper socks. My favourite is Bromans Barn on Mersea Island.

I'm crazy for a barn conversion. This one has all the primitive charm of a barn but the intimate scale of a cottage - best of both worlds.

Utterly lovely kitchen. I think I'd be inspired to make sticky toffee pudding here. Perfect breakfast table for two. Sticky toffee pud and tea for breakfast! Oh, and the place has it's own organic veggie and herb gardens, so lots of healthy stuff at hand too, if you run out of pudding.

Just what's needed for a quiet evening, and not a spec more. Toile draperies, j'adore.

True romance. No fuss.

The Mersea Island coast. Reminds me of Prince Edward Island - no wonder I love it. They even have oysters.

I am currently imagining what I'd pack, what music I'd listen to, which poetry books I'd bring...

ps. while my Lulu would never be able to make the trip over, I appreciate any hospitality operation with a pet-friendly policy -- kindred spirits.

links: The Grove Cottages. Bromans Barn.


PEI - our beach

I'm just back from the epic 2-week decorating adventures at our little PEI place. I'm totally exhausted and exhilarated. Here is just a taste of why we wanted a little slice of the Island. Here, below is the beach, our beach, just a 5-min drive from our place. North Shore, midsummer's sunny day. The only person in sight is my husband Kevin. Bliss

whale cottage, PEI

Today was the day. After nearly a year of negotiations, inspections, red tape and three closing dates, today was the day we finally took possession of our tiny little slice of cottage heaven on Prince Edward Island. Some people think we are crazy. "When will you go?" "That's so far away, why would you buy there?" Well, most of those people have never been to Prince Edward Island. If you've been here, you know why. We know why and we couldn't be happier. Here she is:

As I write this I am nestled in a makeshift bed - camp cots made up as if we are camping in an African safari - just under that upstairs window. It is dark and silent and divine. We are minutes from the ocean. You can feel it in the air. Tomorrow the fun begins. A holiday of decorating and mini renovating with many seafood feasts and beach adventures to celebrate each day's accomplishments. I will have much to tell you and show you about the progress here and over at the STYLE AT HOME blog. The full reveal is planned for the pages of STYLE AT HOME next summer. For now I can tell you the plan, in the words of the great Elsie de Wolfe: "plenty of optimism and white paint."