Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Party Hat?

We stopped in to visit with Cindy at haley's cottage last week...
and oh, my , folks, you really should get in there and see how lovely the shoppe is! Her post-Holiday / winter-into-spring decor & displays will just perk you right up and inspire you to freshen up your homes.

We loved seeing one of our unique lampshades 'worn' by a mannequin - was this a New Years' Eve party hat, perhaps?!  It's whimsical and imaginative touches like this that add to the wonderful atmosphere of Cindy's shoppe. So easy to do this in your homes, as well... even the smallest changes can bring a big impact and a smile to your face every day. That's what decorating is supposed to be all about - making you happy in your rooms.

We are so blessed that Cindy has found our products to be complimentary to her style! {And while we were there, 'a little birdie' told us about some exciting news coming soon from haley's cottage, so stay tuned here for an update when it breaks!}

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patio Furniture - What Are the Best Patio Furniture Materials For You?

Choosing patio furniture can be a little overwhelming because there are several material types and hundreds or possibly thousands of styles made from those materials. The type of materials that you choose should depend on your personal preference but also on the climate where you live, whether your patio is covered or uncovered, your budget and several other factors.

By keeping in mind your priorities and carefully thinking things through, selecting the right patio furniture be straightforward and easy. When you are choosing new patio furniture the first thing that you need to do is pick a type of material. The most common materials are wood, wicker and rattan, metal, and plastic.


Wooden patio furniture is very popular and lasting. In general, wooden patio furniture can stand up to the elements like very hot sun or summer storms pretty well. However, if you decide to use wooden patio furniture you should treat it with a water resistant coating to protect it from drying out in the sun or becoming damaged from being out in the rain. Wooden patio furniture is a good choice if you do a lot of entertaining because it's very strong and rigid, thus can accommodate people of all different sizes. It's also simple to change the look of wooden patio furniture with just a new coat of paint in the color of your choice. Good quality wooden patio furniture can be expensive but if you carry out regular maintenance of painting or protective coating on the wood every few years, the furniture will inevitably last for a long time.

Wicker and Rattan

If you like to change the decor of your patio frequently and don't want to have to buy new patio furniture every time then wicker & rattan patio furniture would be a good and decent choice for you. Wicker and rattan is the second most popular type of patio furniture that is made from natural materials. Both wicker and rattan furniture is durable, light weight and to a certain extent - flexible, making it great for patio furniture that needs to be brought indoors or moved frequently. Wicker is actually not a material by itself. Wicker is the end result of weaving rattan with other materials, usually bamboo slats, to make furniture.

Rattan (originated from a Malay word - Rotan) is technically a tree, although it grows like a vine along the ground. They are usually found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia. The rattan vines are cut and peeled, then steamed to make them pliable, and then they are used as rattan weaving materials. Rattan furniture can be made of stripes of Rattan that are woven together when the wood is wet. It can also be strips of Bamboo or other materials woven around straight rattan slats. Rattan easily accepts paints and stains like many other kinds of wood, so it is available in many colors and it can be worked into many styles.

Both rattan and wicker furniture is a less expensive alternative to hardwood, if you want to have patio furniture that is made from natural sources. These types of patio furniture don't require a lot of maintenance and can be used in or outdoors all year long. It's also possible to change the outlook of Wicker or Rattan furniture by giving the furniture a new coat of color. So, if you're inclined to change the decor of your patio frequently without buying new patio furniture every time, then wicker or rattan furniture would be the best choice for you.


Metal patio furniture is often a more economical choice compared to hard wood type especially for people who want the stability of wood but wouldn't want to spend too much. Metal furniture is also great for people that want furniture that has low maintenance costs because most metal patio furniture doesn't require the kind of maintenance that wooden furniture does. There are three main types of metal patio furniture that you can purchase. They are wrought iron, aluminum and tubular metal.

Wrought iron is probably one of the most expensive types in the range. Wrought iron furniture is incredibly popular because it's stylish and adds a very classic feel to a patio but it's also popular because of its durability. Wrought iron furniture is heavy and requires little upkeep. For instance, just a simple new coat of paint every year or so will keep wrought iron furniture looking beautiful for years. Furthermore, wrought iron patio furniture is sturdy so that it can be comfortable and safe for people of all sizes. It is also heavy which is good in that it won't be blown away in strong winds but not to a point that it is too difficult to move.

Aluminium is often used commercially because it's so easy to maintain, light-weight and tough. Hotels, public pools, restaurants, resorts, and other types of businesses that deal with the public often use aluminium patio furniture for their outdoor patios. Aluminium is a very much lighter metal than wrought iron so if you will frequently need to move your furniture, aluminium may be a better choice. Most if not all outdoor bars and bistros will quite definitely choose aluminium furniture because of its weight & maintenance cost. Aluminium furniture can be a bit pricey for some people but the cost is negligible over time as aluminium patio furniture will last for a long time.

Tubular metal patio furniture is the least expensive type and easily found at discount stores. It has some of the durability that other types of metal patio furniture have although it is not as strong as aluminum or wrought iron. Tubular metal doesn't require a lot of maintenance and can lasts for a long time. It can though become bent and damaged and can never quite be bent back into its original shape. It is also light enough to easily be blown away in strong winds.

Plastic or PVC Patio Furniture

Plastic or PVC patio furniture is the cheapest option when it comes to patio furniture and can be easily found at discount/bargain stores. Stackable Plastic or PVC patio furniture can be found at any discount store, sometimes even at the grocery store. Plastic patio furniture is easy to maintain because all you need to do for cleaning is simply to wipe the dirt off. It stands up well to any natural elements except strong winds and usually will only last for one season.

They are not very sturdy and can break easily. There is a high possibility it becomes a safety issue if you have little children using it frequently because it tends to tip over or break. They also tends to crack and splinter very easily, which is dangerous even to adults. If you are looking for some cheap, quick patio furniture then plastic is the best choice but don't expect them to last.

Monday, January 11, 2010

An English Tudor Adds a Conservatory Kitchen

I adore English Tudors. I wanted so badly to live in one when I moved this last time (our ninth move!). But, we had a short window of time and none were for sale that would work with our family. We ended up buying a lovely 1930's Royal Barry Wills Center Hall Colonial. Beautiful and historic, but my heart still belongs to the Tudors.
A common complaint is that they are dark. Yes, the smaller windows, sloping ceilings and dark wood can make them feel dark, but I find with the right decor and some modifications they can be sunny, beautiful, and very cozy.
Still, I hold fast to my dream that some day I may own an English Tudor. I follow the MLS listings and am always on the watch for ideas and inspiration. So imagine my delight when I saw this new Conservatory Kitchen Addition on this wonderful 1920's Tudor by Barnes Vanze Architects. The owner, a professional chef, wanted to add light to the home and have a "summer style" kitchen. They wanted the addition to have a true garden feel. The result is a beautiful space which incorporates all the conveniences needed for a professional chef and a tremendous amount of natural light which floods into adjoining rooms.
The center island is large and great for food prep, as well as entertaining, while the host prepares the meal. It is made of antique, reclaimed chestnut and has refrigeration drawers built into it. Additionally the owners wanted a dining table in the space and a banquette seating/lounge area. Notice the professional stove and striking hood with copper accents. I also like how they used furniture with the cabinetry. Notice how some of the furniture has strong colors so it doesn't disappear in such a large space.
The iron and glass shelves were custom designed and forged especially for their space. There are no over head cabinets. Notice the detail around the window and the ceiling - spectacular! I also love the soapstone sink and gray/green cabinet color.
The actual building lot dropped off in the back so the owners were able to create a room beneath the Conservatory. The new space houses a wine cellar, bath and media room. It also allowed the owners to create a new patio/entertaining area.
This is excellent example of how the right addition on an older home can completely transform it. Read more about the architects and the fabulous renovation here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lawn and Garden Furniture - The History of the Adirondack Garden Chair

Lawn and garden furniture is often considered to be modern. Let's face it, there's not a lot to a chair, right? Not so the Adirondack garden chair.

The Adirondack garden chair has a bit of a murky history and it goes to show that even amongst friends, if a good idea is worth stealing, nothing gets in the way!

Back in 1903, a certain Thomas Lee used to spend his summers in Westport, New York with his large family of 22! The house was short on outdoor furniture and so in his spare time, as a bit of a hobby, Thomas began knocking together pieces of wood to make extra garden furniture that would give his family the extra seating they needed.

After much experimenting, he finally hit upon a design using 11 pieces of wood from one plank which made an extremely comfortable chair with wide armrests where the upright back and seat slant to afford better seating. This accommodated the steep slopes that abound in the region of the Adirondack Mountains in North-East New York State, giving the garden furniture a more luxurious feel.

One of his friends, Harry Bunnell was a carpenter down in Westport, so Thomas showed him his designs. Harry thought that there was tremendous potential for them amongst the summer visitors to the town and in 1904 applied for a patent for the chair, to be known as a Westport Garden Chair.

Unbeknown to Thomas Lee, in 1905 Harry Bunnell secured the patent he needed. For over twenty years he manufactured the now famous slope-backed chairs in either a rusty-brown or green wood-stain, stamping the garden furniture with his signature.

Today, these original chairs can fetch as much as $3000 in antique shops, which goes to show the enduring appeal of these attractive chairs.

As more and more manufacturers copied the design, the chairs became known as Adirondack chairs - the name being taken from the region, rather than the town of manufacture and the design comes in a wide selection of benches, rockers and chairs being built to the original plan.

Today, using Polywood recycled plastic, this design for garden furniture comes into it's own in the Poly-Wood Adirondack chair. Eco-friendly due to the recycling of plastic milk bottles and the like, they are virtually maintenance-free and retain their good looks for a lifetime of pleasure.

Some people like to add cushions to their garden furniture, but with the Poly-Wood Adirondack, as Thomas Lee originally intended with his design, cushions are not required. A good Adirondack design should be comfortable without the addition of cushions.

The Poly-Wood Adirondack lawn and garden furniture comes in a range of colours including sunset red, pacific blue, lemon, lime, tangerine and Aruba, thus giving your garden a splash of colour and a uniqueness I am sure that Thomas Lee would have been proud of.

PORCH Magazine

We finally remembered to order PORCH magazine's Fall 09 issue, and it arrived in the dark of night on Friday. (It was delivered to our neighbors by mistake, and they brought it to our door at about 8 PM) You'll find three photos of some of our Retreat small products on the top half of page 71, as part of a section with other photos of vendors at the FJS show. We share the page with some beautiful work by artist Michelle-Renee.

Again, many thanks to Miss Kimberly at Kimberly Taylor Images (and the charming Mimi Charmante blog) for sharing the lovely shots she took in our booth last October with the PORCH editors, and for adding our name to each photo {hugs}. Our appreciation also goes out to the editors of the magazine for deeming us worthy of inclusion.

We are so amazed by all of the incredible products, settings, shops, and shows in this issue - there is a LOT of talent out there in Junk Land! We are so honored to be included... thank you, PORCH!

Privacy Policy for Home Interior Design

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

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Friday, January 8, 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Choosing Garden Furniture

A trip to the local garden centre for garden furniture can be a confusing experience - what do I need ? what the best style for me ? What will suit my way of living ? and then Do I want, wood, metal, wicker or what ? Here we try to cover the basics of what's available and some pointers to help you choose.

Metal can really set the tone

Metal Garden furniture will if anything look great with just about any style of garden..
Another classical piece of metal garden furniture is the single ornate iron bench, which can really set off a Victorian style garden. The options range from modern lightweight aluminium to the more traditional iron and it should be possible to obtain the perfect piece of metal garden furniture for your garden.
Top Tip:
Regularly check metal furniture for rust. It is wise if it is kept outside to move it into the garage when the weather gets colder for protection.

Teak – the old favourite

Since teak is the most durable of all hardwoods, most customers prefer garden furniture made from teak wood. You can never go wrong with teak garden furniture, because it is classic, inherently elegant, and most importantly, can last for decades and decades. Indonesian teak garden furniture is a great place to start for your outdoor improvement project.

When you begin shopping around for your teak outdoor furniture, in addition to the quality of the wood, you also want to consider other things such as the construction of the furniture. When investing in your outdoor patio or garden, or decorating the verranda, and even for indoor decorating, teak wood outdoor patio furniture is simply a wise choice for many people.

A wide range of high-quality teak furniture, including teak outdoor furniture, teak patio furniture, and teak lawn furniture are available to grace your outdoor space & includes such items as Benches, tables, chairs, lamps, planters and other ornaments for the garden, poolside, backyard, deck, and park decoration are counted among teak outdoor furniture.

Top Tip:

Keep it looking good for longer !

If your garden furniture is made of wood, make it a habit to regularly check for splintered wood or cracks. With dozens and dozens teak wood bench styles to choose from, create an outdoor focal point for your yard or garden.

Teak furniture is generally low-maintenance, but there are some simple things you can do to make sure they last a lifetime still looking fresh. but washing it with warm soapy water to remove any dirt or dust is a good idea, especially prior to you applying an teak wood oil (remember to let the wood dry before applying).
Plastic Garden furniture

while some people may scoff at the thought of plastic garden furniture, the convenience provided by the material has persuaded many people to go for it.

Plastic rattan is set to be one of the biggest contemporary garden furniture products of this season, available in many different colours and designs.

Wicker Furniture

Outdoor wicker furniture is available in different styles, designs, frames and fabric colors. Wicker patio furniture is among the most beautiful and comfortable outdoor furniture available.
Rattan and wicker furniture add class to any deck.
Top Tips:

Tip 1 -Many do not realize that the beautiful layout they see in the ads for wicker furniture often does not include the padding or cushions.

Tip 2 -Maintaining rattan and wicker deck furniture is relatively easy.

Tip 3 - Wicker furniture is available in natural, stained or painted surfaces. Wicker dining furniture lends subtle and natural charm to the dining space. Most outdoor organic wicker furniture is painted at the factory, using a multiple dipping process to maintain its depth of colour.

Tip 4 - Synthetic woven furniture usually has aluminium frames for increased strength and durability. Wicker furniture has already stood the test of time and will probably be around a long time. Wicker sun room furniture can be divided into outdoor & porch furniture, semi-outdoor furniture, and indoor furniture

Tip 5 - Today’s wicker is made of a number of materials. There are people who prefer wicker furniture, especially when they are considering how to accentuate their patio, or simply add a “country feel” to their home.

Tip 6 - As with many types of outdoor furniture. Genuine wicker can be used and can be an attractive material for chairs in particular., but remember it is damaged by exposure to moisture & excessive sunlight.

Synthetic Wicker can work well

There are however materials with the look and appeal of wicker., but are actually synthetic wicker, which may be more appropriate for constant outside use. . Synthetic wicker is often used on aluminium to provide sturdiness yet a wicker appearance.

Don’t forget to budget for covers for your new furniture. Wicker should be kept dry, so if wicker is placed in an uncovered area, it should be brought inside when it rains or completely covered.

Molded PVC Furniture

Molded PVC furniture is a popular choice, in colors that harmonize with the natural surroundings. There is plenty of choice available to buy and can be found in several styles and designs that are priced to suit any budget.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


There's a room full of sweetness waiting and a party goin' on at Poppyseeds!

In celebration of a new year, Valentine's Day, and spring, we have filled our room at the shop with lots of white & pink delicacies. You'll find vintage products and handmade items created from vintage & reclaimed components. It's really over the top cute, and we feel it's only fair to warn you that this room could cause cavities.;0) I was inspired by my eighth birthday party, all the way down to the kitchen setting and the pink crepe paper streamers.... my mom will be shocked that I remember it, I'm sure, but it was a little girls' dream!

Now for the bittersweet part...
Retreat will be leaving Poppyseeds at the end of January. We adore owners MaryBeth & Julie, and have really loved being part of our local community by having this space in their shop, but it's time to move forward with other parts of our business plan. (this gives them more room for their fabulous furnishings & decor, too!)

Retreat's last day at Poppyseeds will be Wednesday, January 28th, 
so you only have 22 days to get our sweet stuff there! This is the last colorful, themed display you'll see from us, as well... Retreat's palette and style will be much more refined and relaxing for the coming year. Poppyseeds is such a colorful, cute shop, we had to do one last blast before leaving!

Poppyseeds is located on Hwy. 532 West in Stanwood, WA. just 20 minutes North of Everett (60 minutes North of Seattle). The shop is open M -W -Th - Fri - Sat from 10:30 to 5:00 PM, and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 PM. Closed Tuesdays.  Call 360.629.SEED (7333) for more info. Visit

Decorating Kids Room Ideas

When it comes to kids room decorating ideas the possibilities are endless. Some

ideas for kids room decorating ideas include using colors, prints, and themes. Keep
in mind that there are seven major areas to interior decorating and the kids room is
no exception. These seven areas include floors, walls, lighting, accessories,
furniture, plants, and fabrics or textiles. By working in all of these seven areas, you
are sure to have a successful experience when you decorate your kids room. If you
need inspiration, you can always browse the Internet, books, or magazines, for
photos that will trigger your creativity and help set the decorating wheels in motion.

You can use photos to help you get started, however, using the seven main
decorating areas, you may not need those photos after all. Starting with the floor,
decide what type of floor covering you will use in the room. This can include throw
rugs, or even the great rugs with game boards perfect for kids rooms. Walls can
include pictures, photos, wall hangings, and your choice of paint. For lighting tips
you will need to choose from ceiling fixtures to stand up lights. Furniture will be a
big highlight to the room’s décor. You can choose from a variety of kid’s style
furniture, from plain beds to extravagant theme beds. Plants for a kids room may
consist of borders, wall stick ons, or fake flower trellises climbing on a bed post in a
little girl’s room. Your choice of fabrics and textiles will include bed covers, pillow
fabrics, curtains, etc. Accessories consist of the little items that you use to pull the
theme of the room together.

One of the best tips that anyone who is decorating a kids room can receive, is to let
the kids be involved. It is their room, and in the long run, they will be the ones who
will spend the most amount of time there. Use the seven keys to decorating, but let
the kids pick out the theme they want for their room. If they need ideas, help them
by letting them browse through photos, and then you can draw up a decorating plan

When decorating the child’s room, don’t overlook the power of kids bedding and
curtains. By choosing great kids bedding and curtains you can complete the room
and pull all of the accessories together. You may even decide to pick out bedding
and curtains for kids first, and then decorate the room based upon these themes.
When a child has a room that he or she loves, not only are they happy, but also you
will find that their room will stay well organized, and even bed time will become
easier. A child will gladly go to bed in a room that they love.

The colors you choose for kids bedding and curtains will play an important feature
in the whole “feel” of the room. You may decide to go with bright and vivid colors
(as there are many options available when choosing bedding and curtains for kids,
or you may want to keep everything in a calm pastel tones, that will help encourage
bed time. No matter which colors you choose, make sure that your child is part of
the decision making process. This will help ward off any future battles with your
child when the room is complete.

You may also decide to choose kids bedding and curtains that have a theme rather
than a solid color. Choose a pattern that will help reinforce bedtime, and not keep
the kids up all night. There are plenty of options to choose from, you can find
bedding and curtains for kids in nearly every print imaginable. Try choosing a
theme that compliments the rest of the room’s décor and also your child’s
personality and hobbies. As long as your child participates, you will find that you
can create the perfect room for your child, and have a wonderful and positive time
redecorating with your child.

An 1826 Cambridge Workman's Cottage

Cambridge is a famous historical area of Boston. Today it is the home of Harvard and MIT, with trendy shops in Harvard Square. A beautiful area along the famous Charles River. But in 1826 Cambridge was famous for glassmaking. It was one of only three areas in the US that was producing glass, competing with England, which was the prominent glass producer of the time. Glass Workers in those days were apprenticed and generally in need of housing. When my friend Leonard, mentioned the history of his house I was immediately excited to visit. Leonard's house is one of six attached Row houses, or Workman's Cottages. They are on Cambridge's Historic Preservation Registry but are not as heavily bound by the restrictions as other designated historic areas. As such, Leonard has been able to move walls and renovate in way that truly brings out the flavor of this interesting old building. In anyone else's hands this building could have been ruined, but with Leonard's thoughtful eye and talent the results are fabulous. Let's have a look!
As you walk in the front door you enter the Great Room. Walls of exposed brick run along on one side of the room. Notice the incredible original ceiling beams.
Here is a closer look at the kitchen. The windows look out to a wonderful large courtyard and brick patio which I will show below. I was brought in to help Leonard decide once and for all if we should pop out the counters and put in soapstone. We are working right now to find the perfect stone for his kitchen. It will be a fabulous improvement. Notice his lack of upper cabinets, this clever design adds to the open feel and airiness of the space.
The original fireplace and brick oven on the right are in working order. Can you begin to imagine how many meals have been cooked by this fire over the past 180 years? I love the artwork that a friend of Leonard's painted. (he promised me he would lower it on the wall)
Leonard's mix of old antiques, industrial and painted pieces lend just the right feeling to this already fabulous space. He has done a great job of finding antiques with enough character to stand up to the wonderfully strong character of the home, without over powering it. Leonard has a gifted eye for antiquing. I have been lucky to spend time shopping at Brimfield with him. Notice the wide floor planks. This first floor area is Leonard's entry, kitchen and dining area.
Walking up to the second floor we see the results of his recent renovation. Leonard moved a wall and added full walk up stairs to the attic. By doing this, Leonard was able to create a Family room from one of the two bedrooms on the second floor.
Again the exposed brick walls add a special charm to the space. The old window in the the right corner turns into a wonderful art piece at night with addition of a small light in the back to illuminate the hand blown glass. This is a creative way that anyone can add architectural interest to dark corner of a room. Great idea, Leonard!
Renovating the attic and adding a dormer allowed Leonard to add a master bedroom suite to his home. You can see the dormer windows above which now houses Leonard's office nook. I love the antique tin moulding made into a shelf and the antique apothecary bottles which are sitting on top.
The natural contours and design of the original brick lend itself to be a perfect headboard. Notice the grainsack pillows - the gold stripe is rare and hard to find.
Using every bit of available space Leonard even created a small closet under the eaves.
His new master bathroom is to die for! Here is a shot of the back of the house. You can clearly see where the dormer was added to increase the size of the master bedroom and make the office nook.
Finally a closer look at the brick courtyard off the kitchen. This amount of property in Cambridge is unusual and Leonard has done a wonderful job of making it a wonderful outdoor entertaining space.
Thank you, Leonard for letting us tour your beautiful home - we will be back in month or so to see the new soapstone in the kitchen!