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This was a great getaway cottage, spacious enough to handle the onslaught of weekend visitors who all want to relax and play by the lake. However, the décor was anything but welcoming. There was the trademark cheap wood paneling on the walls, old wall-to-wall carpeting stretched out everywhere, and of course, too many ducks. There was also an open staircase, which was now a safety hazard, as Karen was having a baby.
When Karen's best friends, Antonia and Monika, first saw our plans for this Facelift, they were not thrilled, in fact, they hated it. Flipping from dated cottage to contemporary flash was a dramatic change, but the elements of the design were thought out carefully, taking into account Karen's lifestyle and new baby, and we went with practical as well as modern and colorful. This is when a brave and adventurous spirit really pays off.
The new color palette of red and white with metallic silver accents is a breath of fresh air in this country setting. Although you can paint over paneling, we decided to start fresh and ripped out all the walls. Drywall was treated to different finishes including the focal red wall with its witty white geometry, the stainless steel tiles that surround the fireplace, and a faux brick wall constructed from medium density fiberboard, grooved and covered in textured paint.
To keep the space open and flowing, the wall-to-wall carpet was replaced by Marmoleum, a practical, durable floor covering that's warm underfoot. Its flecked pattern with red overtones is lively and guaranteed hassle-free upkeep for the new mom.
The kitchen was made more accessible by moving the island over to a side wall. Tiled counters were replaced by wood, and new stainless steel appliances add pizzazz.
Comfortable, slip-covered sofas and shag rugs in the living room, and a large, oval table surrounded by red painted wood chairs in the dining room are inviting features that emphasize the lively, no-fuss mood. A mesmerizing water feature called a bubble wall marks the division between these two living areas.
This modern and exuberant combination of colors and materials may not be your normal country living fare, but Karen agrees that it's the perfect home away from home, for her and her new son, and also her wonderful friends and family.
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Bicycle Spoke Mirror
Every cottage requires one or two crafty objects, perhaps made over a rainy weekend, so we constructed a funky mirror that hangs in the entranceway. We used circles of MDF, one to frame the mirror and the other as a backing that holds the bicycle spokes. Holes were drilled in a random pattern into the outer rim of the back circle. Cut the metal spokes to various lengths and decorate each with tiny round and oval mirrors attached with a dab of hot glue. Put a dab of white glue onto the end of each spoke and insert into the pre-drilled holes. The frame is painted metallic silver.
To paint your own mural wall, begin by applying a primer and then a base coat, which will be the color of the lines (we used Milky White, see resources). To create a pattern of rectangles and squares, use a chalk line and level to mark off a starting grid. This will give you a base, like working on a piece of graph paper. Using these lines to keep your figures straight, mask off a series of different size boxes with low-tack tape, some overlapping each other. Roll two coats of red over the surface (dark colors may require a third coat.) Remove the tape and touch up any leaks with an artist's brush.
Color In Motion
This is an exciting space, young, fun and fresh. Hot red and cool white play off each other everywhere, from the bold mural wall to the slip-covered sofas, huge oval dining table and painted red chairs. A slightly subdued, red patterned Marmoleum floor keeps it all in balance.
Faux Brick Wall
4' x 8' sheets of MDF were transformed to look like white country bricks, but the pattern is linear rather than staggered. To make this effect, ask your lumber store to cut grooves in the fiberboard--our grid is 8" by 2 1/2". Paint each panel lying flat and then install. Prime the grooved board. For the base coat, we mixed a little sand into Para Paint's Summer Storm, a pale gray (see resources), and rolled it on, using an artist's brush to get into all the grooves. The creamy white top coat was mixed with a bit of drywall compound and rolled on to add more texture. To speckle the bricks, we spattered light beige paint.
The existing center island was better placed against the side wall, the cabinets remained untouched, but we replaced the old tile countertops with wood. A skim coat of cement was applied over the old kitchen floor tiles to create a smooth and level surface for the Marmoleum. Stainless steel appliances connect with a row of metal shelves, as well as the steel tiled fireplace wall in this open concept space.
To continue in the modern mode and as a safety precaution, we built framed metal panels to enclose the open stairway. We used 4' x 8' sheets, 1/8" thick, with round perforations. The 2" x 2" wood frame has been grooved to hold the metal in place.
Water Feature and Fireplace
There are many focal points in this funky cottage, such as a fireplace surrounded by stainless steel tiles and a bubble wall from Solar Aquatic Systems (see resources) that divides the living and dining areas. Both water and shiny surfaces reflect light beautifully, producing a magical ambiance in the cottage.