Vintage Furniture meets Beach Cottage Hessian Decorating Ideas

Thu 28th, May, 2009

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G’day beach living lovers.

When I started this blog nearly a year ago now I had not long moved into the Beach Cottage. There was a lot of work to do. But there was lots of potential. I knew that my unique combination of love of vintage furniture, the shabby old pieces that no-one else seemed to have a love for and the simple coastal decorating palette of white and neutrals would mean that I could have a quite nice, but still a bit tatty round the edges cottage, fairly near to the sea, on a budget.

I set about scouring the beachside suburbs to add to my already collected shabby old furniture, my mounds of vintage linen and tablecloths, my lovely old faded floral sheets and battered old suitcases, a lot of which I had brought with us from England.

I’ve always loved to search for old things and fixing up this old place on a budget was nothing more than a pleasure for me, inspiring me to find new ways to get the vintage beach look, the joy of hunting for time worn things that money certainly cannot just buy and a calculated move away from the incessant consumerism that can easily swallow us up.

Which leads me to this old table. A true trash to treasure story for sure.

I found her on the way for a paddle, my boys in the back of the car, Mr BC driving happily along, radio on. Get the picture? When suddenly I spy this old coffee table out on the road.

Me: Stop, I’m want that.
Boys: Muuuuuum!
Me: Look at the top it’s been naturally weathered by errrm weather and time.
Boys: Don’t we have enough shabby old furniture?
Me: Yeah but not that size, with those faded old planks to the top
Boys: The kayak is on top of the car.
Mr BC: I can get it on top
Me: It’s sooooo perfect, I am soooo excited
Boys: not again purrrleeeaaase!
Mr BC: boys you need to learn a lesson about keeping women happy

So we strapped that baby on, Mr Teenage Beach Cottage, Mr BC and I struggled to get it on next to the kayak, the little one standing below just waiting for a paddle…

I painted the legs white and haven’t yet gotten around to shabbying them up with a sandpaper attack but I am loving how it looks with my wish-I-hadn’t-bought leather sofas, this room is certainly a work in progress, I wish a lot of things about it were different, the big old numero uno being those hideous patio doors, whoever invented them should be shot…and I’d love a bit of errrm character in here, my plan is to tongue and groove it, sometime very soon….here are the doors from the outside before, you can see what I was working with, hmm…


Today I added these hessian/burlap covered votive holders to add a bit of natural texture against the wood and to contrast with the white leather and walls and of course so that I could play along with Rhodas, burlap partay and Susan’s Tablescape Event, make sure you go over and start clicking on the linkies.

Whaddya think?  Ya like?





And just in case you might be needing a few more ideas for what to do with a burlap sack, hmmm, I think I can give you a few starters, being the hessian-queen lately *wink

there was the cushion cover, the lanterns, and then of course the tablescape which proved to be a tad popular on my blog that day..


and then there was the bucket bag<, I made to hold mytiny collection of magazines and home books...and if you like the look of it I did a tutorial for it, too easy and too addictive, just click here


So that’s it, I’m thinking my hessian phase may be over but yeah I said that last week …oh I just added a heap of new inpspirational pics to the beach decorating portal at Beachcottageinspiration.com, – no adverts, horrid little pop ups or anything just loaded with ideas tumbling out at ya – come surf on over with a pina colada!

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63 Responses to “Vintage Furniture meets Beach Cottage Hessian Decorating Ideas”

  1. Kennesha says:

    You are seriously the BURLAP QUEEN…always inspired by you. Always expect something new and exciting! Thanks so much for allowing us to go on this journey with you…I am enjoying it SO much!


  2. Roeshel says:

    Cute votives! The entire room and all of your “burlap” inspiration is gorgeous! :)

  3. Amanda says:

    I am in love with your coffee table it looks fantastic! and am loving the burlap as well it looks great.

  4. Amanda says:

    Just wanted to add that I love your leather lounges they look fab. I love the look of a bit of old mixed with new, also loving the oar on the wall, I have been thinking of doing that in my loungeroom and you may have just given me the inspiration to do it!

  5. Grabbing my Pina now and headinh over!

  6. Robin says:

    That coffee table is beyond gorgeous! It looks like one I would see in an expensive store, with a hefty price tag to match. I cannot believe someone set that out to give away, with all that great wood on top. They must set out giveaway furniture in Australia much more frequently than they do here in Texas. Great score.

  7. bj says:

    Lovin’ every bit of it…you know i love how you just seem to “pick” up fabulous, old furniture..we just don’t find furniture on the side of the street like ya’ll do. Love that coffee table !!
    xo bj

  8. sandy says:

    I always feel like I’m right there visiting with you, when I come to visit your blog. It feels so homey and I love your beachy decorating!

  9. I adore everything you do. You just have a way……

    Thanks for allowing me into your home everyday.

  10. Well, I for one looooove the newly acquired coffee table. You can’t beat that natural weathered look.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

  11. Jill says:

    LOVE that table! My goodness, the things you find by the side of the road!

  12. andrea frost says:

    another awesome BLOG…Isnt hessian such a versatile fabric???
    it looks classy..yet is cheap…can be easily printed on..made to look ragged as well…

    frames easily (re kids handprints some 100 yrs ago in my case!)…

    Love the fact that your house is a work in progress…very interesting..& exciting..

    xx andrea

  13. Nada says:

    Why the big push on every post to view your inspirational pics?

    Most of those pics have been done to death on every1 else`s blogs. Come up with a new refreshing concept but to just snag other peoples pics that have been around the block is, frankly my dear, old and boring.

    You should also familarise yourself with copyright/intellectual property laws and ask permission of the intellectual owner of each of those pictures before you use them, private use is a different matter but your inspirational website is not private, and to just acknowledge the source is hardly sufficient.

  14. Lisa-Marie says:

    That table is gorgeous, I saw something similar (but not so nicely weathered) for $400 when we were looking for a new coffee table. We got one on Gumtree for £35 in the end, and it is a beast!

  15. Lori says:

    As usual, your room is a breath of fresh air and makes me want to throw away all of my stuff. Lovely!

  16. cherrie says:

    Council pick up week is my favourite shopping time. I just love stumbling on to treasures but if you think my home is overcrowded you are wrong. because many of the things I pick up I give away to friends who are so, so happy to receive them. Where do you get your hessian from please?

  17. Alison Gibbs says:

    Sarah great post and sensational photos. Thanks

  18. Jen says:

    Oh Sarah – I love love love your house! The leather sofas look fine by the way :) Your photos are really inspiring to me as I’m on a tight budget too, and just need the kick up the backside to cover everything in white paint which I’ve been meaning to do for only FOUR YEARS now!! Keep showing us more of the same pretty please :)

  19. Your house is so gorgeous. Who needs decor mags when we can just come here? That table is seriously fabulous. I wouldn’t have been able to drive by either! Nice nab!

  20. That coffee table is nothing short of deeeeevine!
    love everything.
    All Things Heart and Home

  21. natalie says:

    Love your new little votives..how chic!

    You are always such an inspiration to us all…thanks for all you do!

  22. Once again, you have scored big on the perfect treasure for the beach cottage!

    And that is one smart man you are married to. His message to your sons…”Boys you need to learn a lesson about keeping women happy”…was priceless! Hmmmm…I guess that’s why my husband doesn’t say anything about all the pink and florals at my house! LOL.

  23. Gina says:

    I love everything. It’s gorgeous…especially the burlap votive covers. Very creative!!!!

  24. Sue says:

    OMG I love that table! I agree with what others have said, no-one leaves good stuff like that out near me.
    Your site is an inspiration to me and as I am doing my house over on a budget, every visit is a joy, thank you so much.

  25. Cindy S. says:

    Beautiful!! I love your style and I think your leather sofas fit in perfectly with your decorating. You have inspired me to decorate my back porch in painted white furniture with beige and blue. I have been yard saleing and have picked up some incredibly cheap (err, inexpensive) vintage arm-chairs. It is sooo much fun!! Love your ideas of ways to use burlap. I may have to copy them for my porch! Hugs, ~cindy s~

  26. Fifi Flowers says:

    Your boys sound like mine… NOT AGAIN MOM! LOL… finding FREE stuff is DIVINE… ENJOY!

  27. Yeah, Sarah! I think you ARE the burlap queen. Love your coffee table & the way you relay your stories are so much fun. thanks for playing today! I adore ALL your projects and pics.

  28. gina says:

    I love the planks on that table- they are perfect!

  29. Melissa says:

    I’m so jealous of your vision! You are incredibly gifted and I look forward to each and every post you do because your site serves as a constant source of inspiration for me!

    Many Blessings,

  30. DesignTies says:

    I like the table very much :-) I really admire how you always come up with great ways to make old, unwanted pieces look pretty and loved :-)

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  31. Marie Walter says:

    Sarah – love what you’ve done with the burlap votives! They almost have an animal print feel. So cool. And, I’m so glad you rescued that table! It’s a perfect addition to all your shabby white lovelies. Your story sounds like mine that I posted today – please stop by and read it, I could use a little trash to treasure shabby help.

  32. Pam says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Your home looks so peaceful and relaxing it makes me want to vacation in Australia.

  33. Floss says:

    Looking good! I saw some burlap salt bags (Mediterranean salt) at a Vide Greniers the other day, and was forcibly reminded of you! I thought about buying some and having a go at some of your projects, but chickened out that time. Maybe next time… Thanks for your kind comments on my blog. I’ve just finished another bowl of cherries…

  34. Traci says:

    I love the table. So glad you stopped on the roadside to get it! I love all the creative ways you use the burlap. You’ve given me some great ideas. Thanks!

  35. It looks fabulous! I just love how you make such wonderful somethings out of what other people call nothings.

  36. Rachel~a*little*bit*vintage says:

    I’m in love with your “new” coffee table! It’s SO incredibly perfect! Fabulous find!


  37. Tanya says:

    The coffee table is amazing. Perfectly weathered. Big bucks in a retail store for what nature can do! The curtains look so wonderful. Although I can’t see the no smoking sign anymore and it makes me sad. ha ha just kidding. :)

  38. Martha says:

    I think that you must be the queen of burlap! Amazing things you’ve done.

  39. Pearl Maple says:

    You do have a way with hessian! Could have passed off those photos as clippings from beach cottage vouge. Guess we all have those vintage sliding doors to deal with but with a bit of creative inspiration like yours all kinds of things are possible.

  40. Puna says:

    Lovely and beautiful!

  41. bj says:

    don’t worry a second about getting the burlap to West Texas…I am in NO hurry..i am just thankful that you will share..I so appreciate it. Be sure to put your return address on so that I can send you a nice card…ok?
    Been wondering if the Beach Cottage kids have white rooms, too!!?
    hugs, bj

  42. Goodness Sarah the process Tony goes through to make his timber look like the top of your coffee table – and here you are finding it on the side of the road!! – mind you I bet most would have driven past and not had the “vision” you did.

    You’ve done a fantastic job, love the way it all flows together, not too overdone, not too sparse and clinical looking – just Perfect!

    I keep telling ya – you’ve got it!

  43. Hello again Sarah!
    I loved your inspiration board
    In your first photo – the skirt over the kitchen cupboard doors, I’ve seen it done with soft hessian (burlap) I’m probably not telling you anything new as I bet you’ve seen it done before too. Isn’t it interesting the different textures of hessian – I’ve seen a few wonderful real life creations, shall try and sneak my camera in and take some pics to send you

    Have a lovely beachy weekend!

  44. Cindy says:

    Well, what can I say than what I always say: Awesome!!!!!!

  45. Federica says:

    Oh wow! Stunning photos!
    Greetings from Italy,

  46. sealaura says:

    I am moving today to my new villa and let me tell you your blog is a constant source for inspiration. I also love your inspiration board. thanks for all that you share with us.

  47. Sarah,
    I just wanted to stop by to say that I have not been able to stop thinking about the person who bashed you for your inspiration page.

    I love going there to see new ideas! Thanks for putting them in a place where they are easy to find and collected so tastefully.


  48. Brenda Kula says:

    It is so pretty, Sarah. And I really like the view behind your couch too. That’s pretty good, you realize. When you can make the back look just as good as the front!

  49. Susie says:

    Oh my dear!!! I love that table and you have just done it justice. Imagine your room without it now…It really beaches things up. I just love coming by to visit you. I always leave feeling rested with a smile on my face…thank you~

  50. laurie says:

    I just want to put my name at the top of your inspiration photo blog, and move it over to my space. I love everything in your inspiration folder (almost as much as I love evrything in your cottage). laurie

  51. miss bliss says:

    love love love this room! :)

  52. miss bliss says:

    oh and loovved the “keep women happy” lesson!!! love your inspiration board effort!!!

  53. Helenna says:

    Hello from Driftwood & Chandelier! I have just stumbled across your blog and love all your very white pictures. So beautiful. I’m adding you to my favourites.


  54. Jen says:

    As always, it’s ALL gorgeous! I particularly LOVE the “No Smoking” sticker! LOL!!!!!

  55. Lisa says:

    He’s a smart one, your husband. :)

  56. Jojo says:

    I love it all! You have me so inspired to do some curbside antiquing. We always say that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and somehow you turn everything into something beautiful.

  57. Toni says:

    LOVIN’ the “free” table. Simply gorgeous!!! You are so talented and your home is soooooo beautiful!! Everytime I visit, I just daydream about having a beautiful cottage to decorate (sigh). You mentioned your patio doors, I have the same ones and I agree, who ever invented them should be shot. I want to put in french doors opening to my patio.

  58. Love it! The room looks divine and the burlap was a true inspiration.

  59. Sorry,I posted with my website instead of my blog!

  60. Jojo says:

    Can I borrow the picture of your burlap table runner to put on my post?

    You have to read it…you are a bad no good influence!!!

  61. Sarah @ thriftydecorchick says:

    Your home is gorgeous!

  62. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard…


    Of course I love it ALL! You are a trash to treasure (and burlap) roack star.