photo Whaling-City-Cottage-8-2015_zpsoygeotsf.jpg

{kitchen renovation} two-tone plotting

Look at this sexy beast.  Orange oak cabinets, beige laminate, no storage, waste of space upper cabinets.  Me-ow.



It’s not the worst kitchen ever but….we need to break up.  It’s not me.  It’s you.

(Full disclosure: these pics were taken a couple years ago….we’ve since painted, got a new stove and added an Ikea groland island)

After 8 years of this craptastic kitchen, we’re finally plotting a renovation this year.  I cook more than ever and the space is not functioning well for our busy and hungry family.

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foyer reveal

The foyer is finally done!  February was long and brutal for many reasons but it didn’t help that our entry was in disarray due to the knob-and-tube removal and work on the stencil.  Now it’s functioning again….and looking pretty snazzy too.  Since this blog is super new, I thought I’d share this project with the Best of the Nest link party.  And speaking of foyer makeoevers, THIS transformation by Simple Details is killer!

Here is the BEFORE:

foyer before

And the AFTER:

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vintage maritime iPhone cases

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is a treasured part of our fair city.   A beautiful, world-class institution loaded with history…and it’s family friendly  (Full post on it soon).

The museum store also has some great finds, including these smartphone cases in old-school nautical designs (HERE).  Preppy anchors they are not.  We’re talking scrimshaw, tryworks, climbing up the topsail.  I think the frigate is my favorite.

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DIY tree stencil

tree stencil header

As I mentioned in the last post about the foyer, I bought this Lena Corwin book a few years ago because of the cool tree stencil.  At the time, I was pregnant and envisioned doing the stencil in June’s room, which didn’t end up happening.  (We did do this however).  So when we contemplated a foyer makeover after ripping out the old knob-and-tube, this stencil came to mind.

I’ve never stenciled before but love the depth and character that pretty wallpaper or a repeating pattern stencil brings to a space.  However all the wallpaper I love is out of our budget, and good stencils are not cheap either, so we decided to try the tree.  I already had the book and only had to buy the Mylar, paint, spray adhesive and stencil brush….how hard could it be?  Bold words for an impatient girl, especially one descended from a long line of expertly-foul-mouthed Chicago plumbers.  Read More


Awesome Antiques in New Bedford

We have incredible (and HUGE) antique malls in the Whaling City.  After living here for 8 years, I kinda take that awesomeness for granted, in the same way I’m now accustomed to sweet, delicious, still-twitching sea scallops.  (*Homer Simpson drool*)

The city is peppered with old brick textile mills from New Bedford’s industrial heyday.  While some are still in slasher film condition, many have been converted to new offices, businesses, art studios, condos…..and blocks and blocks of antiques.

“Antiques” is a broad term.  In the case of New Bedford’s gems, they have thousands of vendors, are moderately priced and have a good mix of hidden treasures and pricier items.  So it satisfies the scavengers urge for undiscovered booty.  I’m always leery of places (*cough* Brooklyn Flea) that give you the creepy feeling they raided an old lady’s china hutch.  Or they recently loaded up in a place like New Bedford and are now hocking marked-up inventory to hipsters.  I’ll do my own hunting, thank you.

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the foyer is getting a facelift

We recently had the last bits of knob-and-tube wiring removed from our 123 year old house.  Besides being unsafe and not up to code, we needed it gone in order to qualitfy for the insulation rebate with the MassSave program.  Yep….our old plaster walls are not insulated.  I mean, maybe there’s corncobs or seaweed stuffed in there, but it ain’t helping.

Thankfully the old wiring that remained was only in the interior walls and ceilings, so it wasn’t a whole house rip-out.  But still…it made a huge mess and the plaster in the foyer took the biggest hit.  While patching up the damage, it dawned on us how scuffed and chipped the foyer, stairwell and upstairs hallway were.  They take a lot of abuse.  Laundry baskets, flung sippy cups, flung toys, bags, boots, etc.  We need a refresh.

The old color is Benjamin Moore’s Bronzed Beige which looks different in different light.

foyer before 2

A wallpaper-like stencil was the first thing that came to mind.  I love the layered backdrop that wallpaper or a stencil give to a space, especially in a foyer or powder room because you can go bold on a small scale.  I bought Lena Corwin’s Printing by Hand years ago based on my love of this tree stencil and figured I’d give it a whirl in our new foyer.


A full post on that whole process to come…

Here’s a look at the Before Foyer.   Clearly, it’s not awful but we wanted to update the yellow (Benjamin Moore Bronzed Beige) and the Rast needed to be re-done because the polycrylic finish had yellowed!  Not so crystal clear, after all.

foyer before

Here’s the mood board for the new foyer.  Whadya think?


Mood board sources:

Rug: Dash and Albert indoor/outdoor rug in Kitchen Sink

Wall color: BM Manchester Tan

Stencil color: BM Brandon Beige

Rast paint color: Rustoleum Night Tide

Knobs: cheap-o ones spray painted Rustoleum Metallic Gold

Audubon print: Anne’s Accumulations on Etsy



Whaling City Cottage is live!

Hi!  My name is Erin and welcome to my blog!  I’m a Midwestern girl-turned-marine biologist who is obsessed with all things HOME.  The real estate in my brain should be occupied by more bio-statistics and population ecology, but fabric, furniture and paint have really pointy elbows.  And besides…they so pretty (*stroking their heads*)

My style is: Classic Quirky.  Victorian naturalist.  Farmhouse nautical.  That’s a niche, right?

I live with my husband and two beautiful, lunatic children in an old house in the Whaling City (New Bedford, Mass).  Join me in the mayhem of renovating our 1891 house and share in my love of interior design, crafts, DIY, thrifting, food, New England…..and some ocean shiz thrown in there too.