I guess I must have worked around model homes for too many years because I always enjoy taking ideas and converting or outright stealing them to incorporate them into my own homes. To me, there is nothing more boring or uncreative than everything purchased right from the nearest stores and plunked down into one’s space. And I’ll admit it also bugged me a bit that here we are in the deepest of the American Southwest and everyone seems to accordingly have one of three decors: Santé Fe, Desert Southwest Pastel, or what I call Contemporary Desert/Kachina/Mexican style. This is not to say I dislike these styles; only that I wanted something a tad different. So, being the skin-flint that I am when it comes to spending decorating dollars, I worked to tone down our Beach House into something that might now possibly look just “rustic SW, with a touch of Mediterranean”. Huh? you say.
First off was the problem of cheaply covering the Styrofoam that we placed in all eight clerestory windows which when uncovered were already serving to bake us in Yuma’s sun. Ordering these windows on the park model were a Godsend for the gloomy coast; here, not so good! Eventually when I’m rich and famous I want plantation shutters, but until then, new burlap curtains enhanced by some turquoise marbles hung on a spring rod served to adequately cover our new “shade enhancers”. Total cost for this was about $9 for the burlap which I got half price off, and $45 for the rods.
I added a new pillow I made to the couch and liked the (remnant) material so much that I made a table runner with the leftover. Another $9. That topped the new burlap (also leftover material) tablecloth I also made without even sewing anything—just ringing it with hot-glued sisal rope. I had bought the rope ($3) to ring the candle holder for a new look; which was originally a filled scented candle purchased for $4 from WalMart.
I kept the white curtains with their tiny sea star accents at all major windows (they also have their original roller shades), which were never really meant to close but with the windows opened to Yuma’s wind kept moving across their rods without permission. Yes, those are all the rods I originally made and stained and varnished out of large dowels I cut to size to save a boatload over normal window rods. Ah, the rope worked wonders here as well—tie those up and they add a touch of western décor!
Further adding the lovely Pendleton blanket I received as a gift back in 1996 and have never been able to use for fear of having it covered in cat hair, I extended the western feel. That now drapes my architectural salvage find of an old blue window ($25) and half of the vintage shutter pair (bought in Redmond for $35/pair) which sit above my line of kitchen cabinetry. Behind this shutter sits our RO water tank cleverly disguised! From the tank, Marc ran the water line into the washer area right below so the main filtration system is now hung on the back wall of that closet. Another self-made curtain now hides his handiwork (not pictured).
I ordered and added new art work over the door entitled “Shady Patio”, evocative of a lovely day somewhere on the Med, which replaced my hand-made shell wreath I gave to my daughter since she had always coveted it. The poster cost $5 and the frame was clearance priced for $14. My largest expenditure, because I fell in love with the nubby look and different textures, was a new area rug from Pottery Barn made of the softest creamy colored wool and jute; thus rustically tying in again with the rope and burlap. That was on sale for $249.
So, Beach House tamed: into what I haven’t yet quite decided! What do you think?
Meanwhile outside, Marc worked to get the sewer connected and I bought and we planted two unusual oleanders (they look like old fashioned roses) in front of the privacy wall hoping they will serve to soon grow tall enough to help ensure our privacy and also screen all the “Ah-hem…sheds”. Needless to say, the first one was looking a little peaked in our 98 degree heat yesterday!