Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cottage Next Door and My Great Idea

This post turned out kind of long if you want to skip down to my idea that's OK.

Whenever you move you always worry a little about what your neighbors are going to be like. It's especially true in the country where you find nice houses next to not so nice houses next to rundown trailer/meth labs.
This is the little house that was next door, very very close, to our house. We never saw the owner when we looked at our house, but it was always neat and tidy so we weren't worried. Boy, were we wrong.

This was Joe's house. Joe was in his mid sixties but he looked like he was 80. He didn't work, he just sat on the porch and drank and smoked and coughed that deep smoker's cough all day. He called emergency services regularly when he was drunk and after the first couple of times we didn't even look out the window when we heard the sirens. All the drinking and smoking had given him a low raspy voice and Joe was a talker. The same stories over and over. We started sneaking in the back door to avoid him. He never really caused us any trouble he was just annoying and always there. Drinking and smoking and talking.

Joe drove an old Caddy, the kind with fins. The tag was three years old and he always took the back roads when he drove to avoid the sheriff. One day his drinking caught up with him, he had an accident, someone died, and he went to jail. So he was gone from our lives but some innocent person had to pay.
Joe was renting the house and after he was gone the owner sold it to us for a song. We donned coveralls and masks and rubber gloves and set about cleaning it out. We ripped up orange shag carpet, tore down cheap fruitwood paneling and pulled down the suspended ceiling. We threw everything away, including the stove and refridgerator (we recycled everything we could). The smell was awful. But underneath were the old board walls with their original paint, that gorgeous blue-green color you see on many things from the turn of the century. I fell in love with the board walls and with this tiny hundred year old house. I painted the walls and floor to bring in some light but I left the ceiling; you can see a tiny corner of it in the photo above.
This is just a spot I set up so I could get a photo of this group of pictures I'm selling on Etsy. They're 1896 Louis Prang. But let's have a little honesty here; the room really looks like this.
At first we had a little antique shop here and it was really cute but I wasn't blogging five years ago and I never thought to take any pictures. That lasted about a year. Having your own shop is not nearly as much fun as having a booth in a mall. Then I wanted to have my studio here but the light is only good for a few hours in the morning. Now we use it for storage and a place to paint things.

My Great Idea
I've taken a long time to get to how this little house inspired one of the best ideas I've ever had. As I said, I loved the way the board walls looked in this little house. It came to me that we could take down the paneling in our house, saw it into 6" strips and nail it up crosswise, back side out, and it would look like boards. (You need access to a table saw for this.)
Hubby was skeptical but we tried it and it worked! We didn't fill any nail holes; they just make it look more authentic. So the material was free and it was easy to put up. Especially if you have a nail gun. We ran short of paneling so we bought 4 x 8 sheets of luan plywood at $10 each and sawed them into boards to make up the difference. Still cheap, and we love this look.
The first time I took the picture you could see dust on the shelf so I dusted the furniture and took another picture but I forgot to dust under it. So my floor is dusty. I'm not doing it again.

Oh, and I always liked this photo JD took of the back and photoshopped to look like a painting.

Linking to -
Very Merry Vintage Style Share the Love Wednesday
No Minimalist Here Open House
My Romantic Home Show and Tell Friday



great idea.. it looks terrific

Patsy said...

Thank you Lauren! I like it very much. And it was free!

Karen said...

Very, very impressive. You had a piece of hidden advice in your posting... "Having your own shop is not nearly as much fun as having a booth in a mall." I was just beginning to wonder if it would be fun to have my own shop. I'm listening to ya! I do have a booth in an antiques mall. Work, but I really like it.
Great post!
Ladybug Creek

ShantyGirl said...

wow, what a neighbor.........I am saddened that he took a life. I am happy that you got the cottage and are in no danger of another joe. Your pictures are lovely thanks for sharing your story and your cottage!!

very merry vintage style said...

Love what you've done to the place! Those pictures are amazing--Thanks for linking this great post up to Share the Love Wednesday!

Olive Cooper said...

Just from that very well crafted and apt first paragraph I am following you. Also love the title of your blog...I adore titles that show thought. If only you could see the inside of our old house {I seldom show it on the blog}. I usually only show our pretty little yellow house. My Joe says "only the pretty for the blog" picking on me. Your old house is adorable and the walls are wonderful. And there will always be dust...mine is 150 years old! hugs♥olive

Patsy said...

Thank you so much for the comments everyone. And Olive, I think my house is extra dusty because the beadboard ceiling lets dust sift down from the attic. Or maybe it's because I don't think about dusting until you can write your name in it. Thanks for visiting.

Wanda @ Just Vintage said...

What a great idea! It looks wonderful and totally authentic! As I was reading the story I was hoping you were able to buy the house for yourself. So glad you did, but so sorry for the reason. And you're so right. Owning a shop is SO not what we think it will be.

michele at hellolovelyinc said...

i love what you've done. and that whole story (i read every word) about the history of the house next door would be a dream for me! we're doing the whole horizontal wood plank thing in our big basement re-do which is in progress. come visit anytime, and this just reinforces for me why it was important to have that feature in our project: so much character, age, and architectural interest.


Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

The wood planks look wonderful and I loved the story of the house next door. I agree that owning a store is no where near the fun of having space in an antique mall. I like being able to bring new antiques in and someone else handles the sales. Thanks for joining my party.

Pam @ Our Adventures in Home Improvement said...

I'm so glad you ended up with the little house. I had to laugh about you sneaking in so he wouldn't see you. :)

Great job on the walls! I love the boards on there.

I'm visiting from My Romantic Home's party and am looking forward to following your blog.

Have a great day.

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