I am so excited to have my dear friend, Fifi, as a guest blogger at Dear Daisy Cottage!
As readers and friends of mine, you know how much Fifi means to me. I've blogged about her so many times and for good reason. I love her to pieces. She is the real deal. You all know her as a writer, stylist, and editor of Romantic Country magazine. And YES, she IS one talented woman in so many ways but she is also one of the most humble, down-to-earth, GIVING souls that I have ever known. She sparkles, she charms, and she is refreshingly FUNNY. But most of all - she is an encourager and an inspiration simply by being herself. She gives and gives and gives and expects nothing in return. To know her is to love her.
If you haven't met Fifi yet, you can get to know her at her blog, Chez Fifi.
But before you knock on her cottage door, please let me introduce you to my mentor and cherished friend.
Some people have a knack for making you feel special. Kim is one of them. Since the first time we met--3 years ago she has always managed to make me feel that way. Our initial meeting was for the shoot of her darling cottage. Kim and her husband Kevin treated the photographer (Dan Mayers) and I like "stars" when, truth be told, Dan and I were the grateful ones. Styling (I didn't have to do much as Kim is so good at it herself) and shooting the sweet cottage was a treat. Besides, Kim was (and is) as genuine as it gets. What you see (and what you read on her delightful blog) is what you get. Long story short, we became friends instantly. Though we only live 2 hours away from each other we never get to spend anytime together (mea culpa)! So, the next time we met was when I went back to shoot her home again for another magazine. Then, several months later, Kevin and Kim drove to my house for a garage sale I had. Of course, Kim couldn't possibly arrive empty handed! No, she came with a tray loaded with homemade cookies, pumpkin-spice flavored coffee, a cool mug, and dainty napkins held with a cherub napkin ring. Imagine that! Somebody taking the time to bring such a thoughtful array of goodies to a friend's garage sale! Well, that's my friend Kim in a nutshell. We may only see each other once a year but Kim is someone I consider a lifelong friend. The kind that's ALWAYS there for you, come rain or shine, and especially down here, hurricanes! So, when she asked me if I would be a Guest Blogger, how could I resist? Besides, I already know she is going to make me feel and look good............you see, that's just the way she is!
When Kim asked me to send her some photos representative of who I am the first thing that came to my mind was that I am a do-it-yourself kind of girl. There is nothing I enjoy more than creating soothing and personal interiors. Yes, I know, when they first meet me, most people don't see me as the Tom-boy I really am (could it possibly be because of my girlie-girl way of dressing)? The truth is that I love to work with power tools and paint. Don't mind a bit getting sawdust in my bra and paint in my hair. After all we are all "wash and wear"! So, with that in mind, last year, I finally decided to undertake the "extreme makeover" of the termite-eaten-rot-clad-leaky-roof-dilapidated 450 sq. ft garage that I used for storage since I bought my house 10 years ago. WHEW!!! It really was falling apart and I knew that if I didn't make up my mind it would soon collapse. It would have been a shame because it had open rafters and a good foundation. So, I did bite the bullet, which meant spending the money but trying to minimize the financial trauma by doing as much of the work myself. That meant everything but rebuilding the 4 outside walls, putting a new tin roof, and plumbing and electricity, though I did work side by side with the carpenter, plumber and electrician (I learned a lot!) But from redesigning the interior (there was no bathroom or kitchen, and I moved the wall from the disgusting "laundry area" 2 feet in to what is now the living room), sanding the drywall, priming, painting and so on...I did it all myself.
It all began the weekend before last Thanksgiving. Have been working on it only on weekends (and not every weekends due to work/photo shoots schedule) and it's just about finished. Still have to install the fireplace. It's just a mantel but I am going to build it in as if it was a real one so I can pile wood in it, just for looks! Curtains and shutters still need to be hung and, but of course, all the right accessories/decorating touches that will make this little guest house special will also be added. I already love it. The hardest part is to refrain from going to work in it and stick with writing and editing. Oh well, soon I will be able to move my office in it. Just can't wait. Here is a little preview of the almost completed project.
First the original tin roof had to come down, as did most of the wood frame and all 4 walls......................
The walls were removed and new ones built...............
Though I didn't put any photos the inside walls they are now insulated, dry-walled and painted...............These windows came from Habitat for Humanity (only $15 each)!
The photo with the little bench and the window with shutters is of the bathroom side, the Moorish-style window is over the kitchen sink.
This is what the "laundry area" looked like before. I build the new bathroom in that space and the washer and dryer are now concealed behind the white curtains.
I must confess that I splurged on the cast iron claw foot tub...but the dresser was only $30................
The bathroom is accessed through a pair of little French doors (they need curtains!!!) I found in a salvage place. I had the 2 armoires but repainted them. I took the top front panels off the one on the right, replaced them with chicken wire and fabric. I saved the wood panels to make little shutters for the small window over the bed. They are done but still need to go up.
The French doors are new and open into what will soon be a private little courtyard. The blackboards are stick-ons and can be removed and placed in other location without hurting the wall paint. The floor is plywood, which I painted to look like old planks.
The sofa (a $25 reject) is awaiting new upholstery....
The "bookcase" was free but needed refinishing. As you can see by the box under the chair (that chair was also found on the curb; I just repainted it and recovered the cushion with old French mattress ticking) I am still finding places for everything. I finally got the track light up. By the way, I repainted the ceiling too. Had to put a step stool on top of the armoire in order to reach the peak of the ceiling (about 12 ft high).
This is how the kitchen was built. I am adding a cook top and a counter top convection oven. It will be fully functional.
I bought a lot of burlap at Jo-Anne's to do the curtains, including those for the kitchen cupboards. I got the cream-color one and used a pearl gray die from Die-Rite. As you can clearly see they need to be hemmed but if there is one thing I don't do it's sewing! So, I am waiting for a friend who will be making those for me next month.
This was a short tour but as soon as everything is fully completed I will post photos on my blog. I have so many more photos but enough is enough already. Sorting through all these pictures has been good for me. I forgot how much time I invested in this project but when I look at the end results I feel all "warm and fuzzy"! It has been a labor of love, a learning experience and a most rewarding journey. Thank you so much for allowing me to share it with you. Oh, by the way, any tip/suggestions are very welcome.
Thank you SO much Fifi for being a Guest Blogger and for ALL that you shared with us! What an amazing transformation!
If you would like to see my photos of Fifi's cottage, please click here. I wish I could have captured how enchanting her home truly is but I think you will get the idea!
Fifi is having a fabulous contest and you can get all of the details here!
I plan on entering and I hope that YOU do too! Lovely prizes and fantastic before & afters will be shared. Don't miss out on the fun!
Speaking of FUN - don't miss Fifi-TV!!
You can watch her delightful new video by clicking here - but I warn you, you will come away very hungry! ;-)
*AND after you watch the video, you can share YOUR thoughts about it by leaving a comment on Fifi's blog. Just click here and it will take you there. She would love to know what you think, so please do so if you can. Thank you VERY much!
Now, do you remember when I shared about my special heart from Fifi?
Well Fifi is generously giving a heart away to one of YOU!
This heart is handmade by Fifi out of metal. She aged it, painted it, inscribed it and then glazed it. And you can have the chance to win this one-of-a-kind heart when you leave a comment on this post!
I will pick the winner on Sunday @ noon - Eastern time.
Until then, thank you ALL so much for spending time with me and with Fifi.
You are THE BEST and it brings me great joy to share the things AND the people that I love with YOU.
Now, let's go redo something, shall we?