Sunday, September 21, 2014

Antiquing in Temecula, Ca

The calendar says that fall is here, although having just experienced the fiercest (and most humid) heatwave of the year, it's hard to believe it.  It's right about now, when it still feels like summer outside, that I realize that I should start putting out a few fall things around my house here in California.  This almost always results in a quick shopping spree in some of the local antique and vintage collectible stores.

Here is some of the loot I picked up  the other day.  While some of it will ultimately end up in our cabin in Utah, once it's finished, I plan on giving most of these goodies a test run now as I decorate my house for fall in the next few weeks.  




Most of the things shown in this post are from Granny's Attic Antique Mall, which is located across the creek from  Old Town Temecula. Granny's Attic is a  30,000 square foot antique mall with over 200 vendors.  They have every sort of collectible you can think of, as well as a wide range of furniture and decor styles including country, French country, shabby chic, farmhouse chic, re-purposed junque, vintage, industrial, mid-century modern, architectural salvage.... you name it, they probably have it.  As with all 'antique' stores, some of the things here are genuine antiques, some are just old (or not so old, I swear I've spotted some used Target items from time to time). 




Other places for antique, vintage, and collectible shopping in Old Town Temecula include: 
  • Serendipity Antiques-  small shop with antique furniture, architectural salvage, and outside garden area with plants, metal garden decor and accessories.
  • Fourth Street Antiques- many vendors with antique and vintage items
  • Old Town Antique Faire- lots of small, collectible items, including old books, as well as antique and vintage furniture and accessories
  • The Farmer's Wife- great place if you like the farmhouse look; lots of fun farm-themed, rustic accessories, serving ware, storage items, cookware, as well as clothing (which is not farm-themed). The photos at the link included here don't do the shop justice unfortunately (couldn't find the website).
  • Vintage Begonia- small shop with a nice selection of vintage-style decor and re-invigorated vintage furniture, most of which has been painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint, which the store carries. 


All of these stores are within walking distance of one another on or near Front Street, which runs the length of Old Town Temecula. 






I love this little butter dish.........



...which can also do double-duty as a small cloche.



One find I'm especially pleased with is this old, wonky, tarnished silver fruit bowl with it's graceful swan feet.



The mark underneath says Derby Silver Company, Quadruple Plate.  The Derby Silver Company was founded in 1872 in Derby, Connecticut and made anything that could be plated with silver, including flatware, serving ware, toilet articles, and so on. According to what I've been able to research online, this fruit bowl is likely from the 1920s.  



You can see the Art Deco elements in the detail around the rim, the handle, the little swan feet....



I'm also pretty thrilled with the crate (see first photo above) and planter below made of old yardsticks. I think it's a planter-- it looks like a lantern, but you couldn't put a candle in it, it's made of wood.  I'll try a flame-less candle and see how that looks, although it won't quite have the same ambiance and effect of a candle..... 






When it comes to fall decorating, I tend to focus on Halloween when it comes to holiday-specific stuff, and don't buy too many Thanksgiving-themed things.  But I liked the way this turkey looked-- loved the texture and color.  It's not wood, but it has that 'wood' look to it.




Time to start thinking about Halloween!  This little owl will soon be joined by all my other little Halloween friends, who live most of the year in boxes under the stairs (along with all my Christmas stuff).



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Traveling with dogs




We usually take our dogs with us when we go on road trips, especially if we are camping or if we are paying a visit to our future cabin site.   Our dogs are a joy to travel with since they both behave well in hotel rooms and in the car--although once they both started to bark hysterically at a group of bikers that passed us on the freeway-- very funny at the time, since the bikers roared past us completely oblivious to our savage beasts rampaging at them on the other side of the window.  




Here is a list of necessary items to pack when vacationing with your dog.


  • brush to remove hair and dirt (minimizes dirt in the car, hotel room, or tent)
  • chew toys
  • a dog bed
  • six foot leash
  • a longer line if you are camping
  • metal bowls for water and food (they won't break) 
  • dog food
  • water (for dogs and people)
  • treats (a reward for being a good traveler)
  • treats for you (because you are on vacation)
  • old towels and paper towels to wipe paws and clean up messes
  • Nature's Miracle, 24 oz. size bottle to clean up messes (it really does eliminate stains and odors, I buy it by the gallon)
  • small sacks and a pooper-scooper for more clean up 
  • a crate or harness if you feel your dog should be restrained in the car

Of course, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations before you leave. Tags with contact information and microchips increase the chances that you will be reunited with your dog if he or she gets lost while you are traveling  (I watch my dogs like a hawk all the time when vacationing with them, since that is my worst nightmare).

You can search for pet-friendly hotels using online travel directories such as BringFido, Official Pet Hotels, Pet Friendly Hotels, and Pets Welcome, to name a few.  Note that some hotels have size/weight limits and have limits on the number of doggy guests. Some hotels will charge a fee per dog.  You are expected to clean up after your dog in hotel rooms (see towels and Nature's Miracle above). 




It's a good idea to walk your dog before you start your trip to wear off any extra energy (so that you have a quiet, sleeping dog in the car) and limit water to minimize the number of times you need to stop for potty breaks.




Take a look at Cesar Millan's website for other useful tips for traveling with your dog.  Other useful websites include the American Kennel Club, the ASPCA, or the Humane Society.  You are limited to paved sidewalks and roads in national parks (unfortunately you can't take them hiking on trails and in the back country).  Most state parks are more lenient-- but check before you leave.  There are no restrictions on where dogs may go in national forests, although again, you should check specific national forest regulations before you leave.




Bon voyage!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Designing for Tranquility

Several years ago when we first started down the build-a-cabin road, when my husband was trying to talk me into buying property in another state, he mentioned something about a 'log cabin'.  At the time I thought "hmmn.... but I don't really like the log cabin look, I like Country French, I like English country, I like traditional-European-eclectic with a some re-furbished vintage thrown in for good measure. Maybe I can take all that and mix it up with a little miner's cabin and mountain lodge and come up with something really special."




Multiple trips to look for property in the Torrey-Capitol Reef area and poring over countless magazines and books devoted to every sort of cottage and cabin style imaginable turbo-charged my imagination and soon I was sketching dozens of floor plans; cutting out photographs from magazines; bookmarking web pages; looking at tiles, fixtures, siding, flooring at Lowe's and Home Depot...... 

Some of the earlier draft plans below.  We finally decided that 14 by 20 was just too tiny.







Visiting our land inspired me further. Not long after we finally purchased our property, we stood in our little meadow one early evening and watched that day's rainstorm sail away to the east, and I imagined myself drinking my morning tea and eating my oatmeal while gazing out our cabin window towards Thousand Lake mountain and preparing to spend my day doing nothing in particular-- heaven. 




It's that happy feeling of escape that I want to capture in the design of the cabin.  




The process of bringing together all of our ideas for an idyllic cabin-get away in a way that reflects the spirit of this beautiful place has taken about two years, and has incorporated quite a bit of research into cabin design, floor-plan layout, and methods of maximizing small spaces, as well the many images in magazines and online that I have scrutinized almost obsessively. Whenever I was out and about, I'd get photographs of houses and buildings that I liked and that had some of the elements we were looking for. 




Here is the main lounge at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley- a favorite place that embodies that mountain-lodge feeling that I'm after.  Some of the things that make it such a special place include huge windows that allow one to take in the incredible natural beauty of the valley from almost every room, soaring ceilings, massive stone fireplaces, and details, finishes and furnishing that reflect a blend of Native American, Art Deco, and Arts & Crafts elements.  In fact, the overall design of the building strongly reflects the Arts & Crafts movement of the 1920s, an architectural style that I kept in mind as I worked on the cabin design.  Of course, we can't build on this scale (nowhere near), but it's still a great source of inspiration.




This is the restaurant at the Sundance Mountain Resort. Lots of the things that we are interested in here: salvaged wood; metal roofing; large picture windows; natural landscaping that relies on local, native plants; and a relaxed, casual ambience.




We're thinking of using corrugated metal in the bathroom somehow-- a bit like one of those outdoor shower/bathrooms you find at some older, more rustic camps and lodges (think the showers at Tuolomne Meadows Lodge), but much nicer and warmer.   Below, corrugated metal siding and more barn lights at a Salt Lake City restaurant. Brick is a popular building material in Utah. 





We were careful to orient the cabin to maximize the fabulous views and include lots of generous windows in the design so that we could enjoy them from inside. 



Other things I considered when finalizing the design: cathedral ceilings; modest storage (it will, after all, be a vacation cabin at first, and then some day a guest cabin); a small 'kitchenette'; and enough room in the living area for a king-sized bed, small sitting area, and a small table and chairs for eating.  We'll have a deck on the 'Thousand Lake' mountain side.  Still deciding on whether we want to include a sleeping loft over the kitchen and bath --would be nice to put the bed up there since that gives us more room on the main floor.  




After traipsing around numerous properties for hours on end in the Torrey-Teasdale area during our initial property search, not to mention several camping excursions in Capitol Reef National Park, my brain had permanently recorded the colors and textures found in the meadows, woodlands, and canyons, and I was able to pick out sample colors for the exterior siding from memory without the benefit of a photograph to guide me.  Look at how gorgeously all these subtle greens and grays contrast with the dramatic black of the rock.  The larger pieces below are from a 12-foot Hardie board (fiber cement) plank cut into sections. The smaller red and green accent pieces are paint stir-sticks.  If you are considering using fiber cement ship-lap siding (or wood lap siding), this is a great way of testing colors. You can purchase a single primed plank from a home improvement store (I got mine at Home Depot) and have them cut it up into roughly 15-inch sections for a generous sample size for testing paint colors.





Most of our property consists of an ancient lava field that slopes away to the east.  The volcanic rock that litters most of our site is covered with the most amazing lichens.  I spent a couple hours when we were there last July snapping more photographs, getting more inspiration, collecting deadwood, rocks, pine cones.....





....some of which ended up on my 'idea board' for the cabin exterior.....



.... which is illustrated here......