Another place I wouldn't mind stepping into my computer screen and getting lost is Sarah's blog, A Beach Cottage. I mean, wow. Every picture is so perfect, all the items in her home are beautiful. She lives in a charming old cottage in Australia, swoon! You can follow Sarah at flickr and twitter!
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hello everyone, or I should say G'day! I am so honoured to be here as Danni's guest today...my name is Sarah and I blog at abeachcottage.com chronicling our move from London to Australia and a new life, in an old cottage, by the sea....Danni thought you might like me to take you on a tour of my place...abeachcottage...
So a little bit more about our story - a few years ago we took on a huge life change and moved all the way to the other side of the world...from a small village in the depths of Kent in England in the countryside surrounding London to the beaches of Sydney, Australia. We were looking for a fabulous outdoor lifestyle for our family and a new life by the sea. After a couple of years of being Down Under we bought an old beach cottage...in a total mess but in a good location and with good bones and a few vintage features we'd been searching for...like wood floors and old sash windows. We had to completely renovate the cottage on a tight budget. The look we were after was laid-back, relaxed and inviting and we wanted cool neutrals to provide a calming retreat from the striking colours of nature and the Australian sun all around us..and we aimed for a look that encapsulated the whole ethos of our life change - the ambiance of those old beach huts from days gone by with mismatched battered furniture, floors stipped bare and whitewashed walls.
So come take a look around...
Hallway: Like most old cottages in Sydney of this era, our hallway is tiny. So to open it up a little we ripped out some built-in cupboards, boarded up an old doorway, added lots of hooks and use baskets to keep all our things together. We stripped the floors and whitewashed the walls to give a light airy feel on entering. The chair was a roadside find, it was in a bad way and needing some attention but it was just the right size to slot into the corner to throw bags on at the end of the day.
Oar: The coat hook was inspired by one I had seen in a shop and not being in my budget I made my own. I used an old wooden oar found in a garage sale for a few bucks, whitewashed it and added the hooks. It's great for holding jackets and sunhats, it hints of that nautical vibe I love.
Sitting Room: Our sitting room is the room we get comfy in at the end of the day when all the kiddos are in bed...a lot of tea drinking goes on in here! The decor is plain and simple white so that I can easily interchange things I might find that take my fancy...walls are just whitewashed, floors stripped and varnished...we added a jute rug and furniture that is not precious to work well with our lifestyle ...I collected the vintage mirrors from various op-shops and flea-markets, they bounce around the beautiful light that floods into this room . I love displaying things I find in here on the coffee table and often come back from walks on the beach with pockets bulging...it all goes on this old table...and every week a simple bunch of flowers are stuffed in mason jars or old vintage bottles to add a bit of colour.
Family Room: The family room is at the back of the cottage...here we stripped the floors, added the leather sofas so they could be easily wiped clean and I found an old table that had been left out in the rain so was weathered and just what I was after...I madeover the rest of it with white paint and now it serves as an easy piece that the kiddos can do whatever they like to!
The old trunk I picked up in an estate sale for a song. After a little bit of delving into the history of it, I found out that it had been used by a couple of Hungarian refugees fleeing Europe just after the war. They shipped their whole life in this one trunk and arrived in Australia without speaking the language - farway from home with this one piece to their name. The trunk had been kept in pristine condition since unloading from that ship and if I hadn't of saved it I was told it was going to the crusher! It is a lovely lovely old piece and I feel now like it's part of the family. It's filled with our old keepsakes, tiny baby shoes, photos and children's drawings.
Kitchen/Breakfast Room: Sadly we had to rip out the original kitchen...so here I wanted a relaxed feel and a modern clean look with a vintage twist - we use the wooden butcher's block for kitchen prep and though it is a tiny kitchen we love it - we spend much family time in here and with a few old stools propped around when friends come over we end up chatting in this tiny kitchen. The open shelving works really well and the whole thing goes with the laid-back vibe of the cottage...the butcher's block on wheels moves constantly between breakfast room and kitchen and serves as extra storage space.
Inspired by vintage bus blinds way out of my price bracket I made the bus-blind myself....I wanted a tribute to my favourite beaches and the places around here in my new life that I have come to love.
The chalkboard door was found on the side-of-the-road - one day my hubby called on his way to the city to say that he'd seen an old vintage door he thought I would love with a sign on it saying 'free'. We picked it up later and made it over using chalkboard paint and now, surprisingly, it has become an integral part of our cottage, the kiddos use it all the time...it's often filled with sweet little notes or as in these pictures as a motivator for getting some house chores completed!
Deck: We made the best of the old deck out of the back of the cottage by painting it in a neutral putty and adding an old table I painted white and collected a mis-match of vintage chairs on my treasure-hunting travels. We sit out here most of the year and it's lovely to have friends over out here in the evening with a bundle of candles and hurricane lamps... overlooking the garden and benefitting from the cool coastal breeze.
Bedroom: We went for the same look in the bedroom....I wanted a haven from life...with the main focus being calm.... On a tight budget I bought a budget white iron bed, filled it with layers of white linen and vintage quilts... rescued furniture and painted it white, added double layer white and natural linen curtains from IKEA and collapse here at the end of a busy day.