Lake Bedroom

You may start to notice a pattern about our paint colors at the lake...blue, blue and more blue. Specifically turquoise. That's the color of our master bedroom and it was painted with a linen technique.

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The armoire and bed came from a Bassett Furniture Direct store that Al and I used to own. I replaced the hum-drum knobs on the armoire with some yellow, pink & green swirly knobs that I just couldn't pass up at a store in Roanoke that has since gone out of business.


That's another Greg Osterhaus painting hanging on the wall; this time it's a cow. I love his cows as much or better than his landscapes. They always have a friendly look on their faces and cute ears that make you want to get a few for your own backyard. I don't have to go that far...we already sort of have some in our backyard (on the other side of a fence) and they've gotten loose a few times and pranced around our yard. The same thing happened at the house I grew up in...maybe that's why I started collecting these cow paintings!


Chaise lounges seem to be a favorite in my family. My mom and granny together have had no fewer than 5, one of which we sold at a yard sale for something like $20. We soon regretted our decision to make a quick buck when we learned the new owner had it covered in an adorable leopard print. We're still wishing we could get that one back.


The chaise lounge here belonged to the former owners and was covered in a rather questionable white, pink and green floral pattern. I had it covered in two different fabrics-one for the seat cushion in a royal blue velvet, and another for the skirt and back in a green and blue checked taffeta. The cushion is trimmed in a blue and green fringe.


This summer I'll have a chance to add to the lake pictures from each room. Until then I'll have to rely on the few photos I have while I head out to milk the cows.

Supper at the Lake

I love to set a memorable table even when we're at the lake. All of our colors there are bright so I like to keep the place settings fun. I'm a huge fan of bandanas. There are just so many uses for them...for example, dinner napkins. They are much prettier than paper napkins. I know, some of you will say, "but I have to wash them!" Bandanas are easy to wash, they don't need to be ironed and the colors don't bleed. Plus, after washing they are super-soft. On a practical note they actually work better than paper napkins. Your table will look much more stylish AND you will be doing the environment a favor while saving money too! For the same reason, I'm not a big user of paper plates (don't get me wrong, I love all of the cute patterns of paper plates and napkins...but that is a story for another posting).

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For the lake I bought yellow, lime green, turquoise, pink and hot pink bandanas (at home I have red, black and navy). Wal-Mart usually has a good selection for less than $2 each. If you don't see the colors you like there, try a craft store like Michael's or search online.

The napkin rings have different colors of silk flowers (I picked these up at Pier One a few years back). Each place setting has a different color plate in vintage Fiesta Ware, which I have collected from various antique stores. If you purchase plates like these at an antique store or flea market, be sure not to buy any with chips or cracks, especially if you plan to serve food on them.

For drinks I used handpainted wine glasses (no two are alike) that I either painted myself or purchased for my collection (more on that later). I think it's fun to use these even if you are just serving water in them, and a great alternative to the wine glass tags that are so popular these days. Of course some merlot can be poured as well!

Lake Living

Tranquil. Peaceful. Quiet. Gray. That's what our lake house may look like on the outside but on the inside it's anything but. I just couldn't help but decorate with the vibrant colors of the lake, sky, sun, grass and almost every other color you can think of! You have to pull out all the stops when it comes to color at a lake or beach house.

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The walls of our family room are painted a turquoisy blue. The ceiling is painted a few shades lighter. All of the outlets and even the speakers in the ceiling were painted the same color so they just disappear from view. The yellow sofa provides a nice contrasting pop of color. On the coffee table I put some silk tulips in a pretty blue wine bottle from a local winery, Chateau Morrisette. Fake, I know, but they serve the purpose of tying in the color! In season they can be replaced with the real thing.

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Over the fireplace hangs a painting by local artist Greg Osterhaus that we purchased at The Little Gallery at Smith Mountain Lake. We love his work, depicting barns and landscapes around southwest Virginia, and the gallery is our favorite place to shop. The owners are kind enough to allow me to sell my jewelry in their store. In another post I'll show you our coffee table, which was made out of reclaimed ceiling tins. On the side table there's a glass bottle that I found on the beach in Bermuda in 1982 and filled with the pinkish white sand that defines the tropical island. I've had it ever since and it's a great conversation piece!


Just around the corner from the family room is a BLUE leopard powder room! I have a picture frame with this pattern so I asked our faux painter (Nene Roe from Roanoke) to copy it. The result is wild, crazy and totally unexpected. The finish was done only on the wall of the sink so that it wouldn't be so over-powering. The other walls were done in a coordinating soft blue wash.

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Now our kids have a reason to be animals when they go to the potty.

Roses Are Red, Hydrangeas Are Purple

These hydrangeas are right outside our front door at the lake. When we first looked at the house the stars must have been aligned for the seller because the flowers were in full bloom. Who could resist a house with these beauties staring you in the face? They remind me of Nantucket, one of my favorite summer (or fall, winter, spring!) places to visit.

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Over the years, the flowers have bloomed in different colors, ranging from light blue to dark purple. The colors depend on the acidity of the soil at the time. I've been told that you can control the color by putting pennies in the soil but some brief research on the internet would lead one to believe it's just an old wives' tale. I'll have to try it and find out...after all, the whole project would cost less than a dollar!

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In the photo above the blooms had gotten so plentiful and heavy that they drooped down over the porch. Many times there is just a sliver of walkway remaining to get to the front door. Some well-meaning friends have questioned why I don't cut them back to make more room. I don't believe in cutting back! They are too pretty to sacrifice for a pathway.

Of course, I will, on occasion, cut some blooms for our dinner table. But you'll have to walk around the rest if you want to eat.

Summertime's Callin' Me

One of my very favorite places in the world is Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. It truly is a little mountainous slice of heaven. Nothing fancy, no dressing up. Not. a lot. to do. But that's why we love it! (although What About Bob was filmed there, so there are some Hollywood connections, however tenuous). We've had a home there for about 10 years now. If I have any say in the matter, our kids will be water skiing, wake boarding and swimming in the lake all summer, every summer from here on out.

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There's nothing better than grabbing a book and a beach towel and heading for the little red gazebo, where you can read, nap and sip chardonnay while gazing at the breathtaking lake and mountains.

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I plan to post much more about this, my ideal vacation spot, along with all of my bright, quirky decorating ideas from our lake house. In the meantime, kick back with a beach read and dream of summer.

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