Monday, March 23, 2009

Salvage Chic: Decorating for Almost Nothing

The ongoing transformation of our mobile home from trailer trashy to cottage cozy is one of the most difficult, but incredibly fun and satisfying tasks I have ever undertaken. And doing it on the tightest of budgets has only made the challenge even more fun. When we made the move here, I made an important decorating decision - I will try not to use anything new/store-bought/off-the-shelf for decorating - only things salvaged from garage sales and thrift stores, or repurposed discount store or Craigslist finds, or junk plucked from the roadside, or things I've crafted/painted/handmade or that others have crafted/painted/handmade. So far, this has yielded a much cozier, relaxed, lived-in, "me" look, which is just what I had hoped for.
The following photos are from the kitchen where my old Ethan Allen junk store china hutch takes center stage. The first photo is a before shot of the wall where the hutch stands now, and the following photos are of the hutch filled with vintage and vintage-style goodies...everything here was something I already had...just rearranged cottage-style...

On top of the hutch I used the plywood "watermelon" sign I painted for our country hoedown of a wedding. This provided the basic palette of green and shades of red/pink that inspired the whole kitchen.

I bought the chippy set of Franciscan "Ivy" china ages ago at a City Wide Garage Sale in Austin, TX, and I still love them. I have them paired with a set of pink rose dishes that I got from my grandmother...

Love the little birdie salt and pepper shakers - bought for a dollar at some junk store somewhere. The mosaic birdhouse is a piece I "grandfathered" in to my nothing new decorating rule...I already bought that a couple of years ago at Marshall's and it's too perfect to not use...

The sweet yellow chintz teapot was a birthday gift years ago from my brother and's a long-time favorite...

I have always cherished the pink depression glass collection my Mom gave me - they were her Aunt's...

Some cookbooks thrown in for texture and interest...heaven knows I rarely use them for anything else :o) I just realized I need some Easter M&M's or chocolate eggs in my little bunny serving bowl...

My typical decorating approach in the past (because I couldn't stand plain walls and I was very impatient), was to buy nice framed art from Hobby Lobby or Bed, Bath & Beyond and hang it in all the major rooms as focal points. I always told myself that I would eventually replace them with art I painted myself, but I never did. So although framed art is lovely, I never really had anything on the walls that was a real reflection of me, as an artist/craftsperson. So, with the new decorating approach, I hope to create a colorful cozy atmosphere that is just that... It has been a real journey of discovery so far...and I am loving every minute of it! (PS - I have the most wonderful sweet hubby who is genuinely happy to let me do whatever I want decorating-wise...I'm a very blessed girl!)
I hope you'll stay tuned as I am almost ready to post the before and after photos from the master bedroom - it is turning out so cute!!
Oh, and you won't want to miss the super budget friendly no-sew projects I am going to make for the living room with this $19.00 discount store king sized quilt...

...that is if I can wrestle it away from Miss Maddie...

Another PS - I will be re-launching "Way Back When-sday" tomorrow - the theme will be "Birthdays" as mine is this week. Many thanks to Lallee at Lallee's Cottage who has been keeping the When-sday tradition alive as I have been swamped under with moving and remodeling. We hope to have many more of you participate with us weekly for a bit of fun reminiscing...see you tomorrow!!


  1. Anonymous11:20 AM

    Hi Becky, Oh I have missed you so and I can see why. You have been so busy transforming your home with your talent and creative genuis!!
    The hutch display is beautiful and each piece so very special. All your dishes are perfect for your transformation. Darling watermelon plaque above the hutch too.

    I know you are having so much fun with your endevour of love. Can't wait to see the no sew project. Your sweet pooch looks so comfy.

    Thank you for stopping by today. I always love to see you.
    Take care my friend and blessings to you and your sweet hubby.
    Love, Celestina Marie

  2. You bet I'm going to stay tuned and see the rest! It is all looking so wonderful. I love all the beautiful treasures in your china cabinet. I don't see the ivy Fransican very often. I think it is my favorite of their patterns. It blends so nicely with the soft roses and pinks. Just wonderful.

  3. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Very inventive and creative, excellent.

  4. I love how you have your hutch decorated. It looks so nice. It is very similar to mine. Did you remove the doors on the side? I have mine all took apart right now. no drawers or doors and hopefully it will get painted today. Mine will be on my screen in porch so I probably won't get to put in alot of dises and such, but who knows.

    I also have a white bedroom hutch almost excately like yours. Same little drawers and I think my top might be different, your looks prettier than mine. I'm too lazy to go upstairs and look right now. I have a picture of my porch hutch on the blog today, all striped down and looking pretty sad at the moment. I enjoyed looking throughj your blog and I will be a reuglar here. If you know of any other blogs like your, coulkd you please please recommend some peole you think I may like. I need some new blog material to read and have really went off the deep end of cottage decorating, Thats where my heart is. Thanks in advance.


I am deeply appreciative of the time you've taken to leave a comment - thank you!