simple fall decorating at the little glass house

I loved autumn when I lived in New England…the crisp air, colorful leaves swirling about, hot mulled cider, and the scent and sounds of a crackling fire in the hearth.  What I never really enjoyed was fall decorating (or the winter months that followed). Even in Connecticut, I was not a fan of the reds, oranges, and russet tones that spelled out FALL. And don’t even get me started on Halloween decorations!  I guess you could say I’m a bit of a Halloween/autumn Scrooge.

Now that I’m living in Santa Barbara, I’m still not really into fall decor. It could be because I live in the land of endless summer or the fact that September and October are our warmest months here in SoCal.  As I’m typing this, it is well into the 80’s although most days are in the 70’s and the nights are cool.

So here is my ode to fall decorating and it begins with white pumpkins. I remember when finding them was a scavenger hunt with hours spent going from nursery to garden center in search of those elusive ghost pumpkins.  Now I’m able to find them at my local grocery store, but better stock up early because I have been know to clean out a store in record time!

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Simple fall table
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A plethora of mini white pumpkins…

I like to keep my fall decor minimal, light, and organic.  I put away my sea glass centerpiece and adorn our table with a piece of rustic Belgian linen from Terrain, my Malta lanterns from Pottery Barn, and lots of those adorable white mini pumpkins.  Simple, fresh, and it will last me until Thanksgiving!

While it is much too warm for a fire in the fireplace, I can still get that cozy feeling with a driftwood candelabra from Viva Terra that I was lucky enough to snag on sale several years ago.

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Fireplace vignette

A white pumpkin, earthy basket with plant, and a favorite piece of driftwood I found in Big Sur is all that is needed to create an autumnal vibe.

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Another view

When a new Instagram friend brings you a gorgeous bouquet complete with a tiny white pumpkin, it gets a special spot on top of our elephant table. Tara (SonomaCottage) knows me so well! (Candle and table are from Mate Gallery , chairs are from Porch, and the pillows are from Beth Dana Design)

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Gorgeous white and green fall bouquet

The kitchen gets nothing more than a couple of mini pumpkins and a small succulent on a cake stand. So simple! I’m also obsessed with my cement pears from porch .

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Kitchen vignette

Something new to me that I really enjoy using is eucalyptus.  I buy mine at Trader Joe’s and it’s a lovely scent. While its blue green color may not be your typical fall decor, I love it! I added some to the dining table in lovely vintage bottles from Dreamy Whites .

Eucalyptus adds another organic touch to the table

And when my bouquet at last faded, a fun vase from Target filled with eucalyptus sprigs, fills in quite nicely.

I’m slightly obsessed with eucalyptus …

And that, my dear readers, is about the extent of my fall decorating…but just wait until Christmas!😉

Little White Beach Bungalow: second story

In last week’s blog post I finished the tour of the downstairs of our beach bungalow. The upstairs consists of 3 bedrooms and a full bath.  Although having just one bathroom isn’t ideal, there are usually only one or two of us there at any given time. And the bathroom had been nicely renovated with a skylight to bring in lots of natural light. Continue reading

little white beach bungalow: part deux

Welcome to another peek of our Connecticut beach bungalow.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, the previous owners of our home had done extensive renovations, nowhere more apparent than in the kitchen. Would I have done a few things differently?  Perhaps…

Before:  The kitchen on the day of the Open House…
Moving day…

But nothing that I can’t live with for now or maybe for a very long time.  They really did a beautiful job!  While the island provides much needed storage, I would have liked a stand alone piece, perhaps something vintage. I also would have done a different floor. The gray modern tile strikes me as cold and not in keeping with the rest of this charming vintage home.  Wood would have been my first choice but may have been impossible to match with the dining room and living room floors.  I think I would have painted it!  Anywho, other than that, the kitchen is pretty and functional and I have my first farmhouse sink!  I also changed out the window treatments and added woven shades to bring in some texture and warmth.

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New shades, rug, and a few accessories and the kitchen was done.
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I always have a chalkboard in our kitchens. Looking through to the living room and the front entry…

Just off the kitchen is a small butler’s pantry and powder room. The powder room is too small for a decent photo, however it’s simple, clean and new.  The previous owners stored their dog’s crate behind the fabric curtain as seen in the first photo.   I added a vintage stool from Green Peak Elements and a cool metal crate from Terrain to store extra wine bottles.  This now doubles as both a single breakfast seat overlooking the soon to be renovated backyard, and a bar to store glasses and liquor bottles.

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A peek at our Butler’s Pantry/bar with metal crate from Terrain

When I was in Vermont visiting my parents, I went to one of our favorite antique malls located in Chester, Stone House Antique Center .  My mom and I never fail to find furniture and accessories there.  I had coveted a folk art whale on my last visit, and when I saw it was still there, I took it as a sign that it should come home with me.  I hung it above my painting of the Nantucket Whaler…how perfect!

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Folk art whale and step stool from Stone House Antique Center…

Just off the living room and the kitchen is the dining room with sliding glass doors to the backyard and a lot of natural light from the large windows.  Before, it was a perfectly nice room and painted a soothing blue.  Everyone, including my husband was horrified that I wanted to paint it white. In fact, I painted the entire first floor my go to White Dove by Benjamin Moore!   This is a small house and with every room painted a different color (all pretty colors by the way), it just didn’t flow. I wanted it to be fresh, bright and with a casual coastal vibe…a bit less traditional.  Apparently a bit of my California design sense followed me back to the East Coast!

Before: The dining room was pretty, but a bit traditional for my taste

I was also determined to improve or tear out the long window seat everyone loved but me.  I appreciated the extra storage in the cabinets, but found a long “church pew” like seat next to the dining room table a bit odd.

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Before:  The church pew…

Mind you, I have nothing against church pews, I just didn’t want one in our dining room.  I would have rather had a long buffet or something more useful.  My husband won that battle.  But, I had the church pew like “arms” cut down, removed the cushion, and now use it to display some pretty vintage items, like my antique chest that holds all my candles.

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There was also a built-in corner cupboard that seemed overly ornate for this bungalow. I just didn’t like it.  I think part of it was the dark color of the interior which just made it stand out too much…and not in a good way.

Before: The dark cupboard

After I found the perfect blue to paint our porch ceiling (Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue), I loved it so much, I had the interior of the cabinet painted the same and lo and behold, with some simple accessories it’s now one of my favorite things in the dining room!

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After:  A lighter paint color and simple accessories completely transform the corner cupboard

Our long French farm table fit perfectly with it’s six metal chairs.  I added a Pottery Barn jute rug   for a more casual beachy feel. Last, but certainly not least, I turned my attention to the lighting.  I knew with our long narrow table, that I wanted to do two pendant lights instead of one central chandelier.  Again, I turned to Brad Andres at Green Peak Elements who was so helpful in determining the size of the vintage fixtures and how much chain for our low ceiling.

Before: Figuring our placement of the pendant lights with painter’s tape and paper plates…
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Pendant lights from Green Peak Elements

Two simple sconces from School House Electric, some Belgian linen drapes (which still need to be hemmed) from RH and hardware from West Elm and this little dining room is a laid back gathering place to share food and conversation with friends and family.

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After: Our casual dining room
First floor floorplan

In next week’s post, we will head upstairs!

Our new Connecticut home

Moving is hard…physically and mentally. When I was first married, we moved from my husband’s NYC apartment that we shared for two years to a charming 1915 stone and stucco cottage in Westport, CT.  We didn’t move again for 20 years! You accumulate a lot of stuff in attics, basement, and garages. Continue reading