Vintage Lake House Decorating with My Sweet Savannah ~ A Beach Cottage Interview

Wed 14th, Jul, 2010

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G’day my beauties.  Thank you all so much for the comments for Miss Beach Cottage’s post yesterday, I appreciate that a whole lot…you know what I learnt a lesson there from you guys…about encouragement and sharing….yeah, that is why I keep coming back to this place…

Anyway back to today and a little Beach Cottage decorating exclusive…

I am so very happy to tell you all that my friend Melaine from MySweetSavannah is here today for a little chat.


I love Melaine’s blog and I often stop by over there with a coffee in the morning…her home is divine and just the sort of place I’d like to live if I didn’t live here…on the side of the lake, all rustic and vintage and cream and gorgeous.

So when I asked could I be a tad more nosy, could I learn a little bit more, she said of course…so settle down ladies for a gossip, ‘cos this is one seriously good before/after eye candy and absolutely choc full of inspiration…Melanie shows us how it can be done…

this I tell you is classic real-girl decorating with vintage & creams & white in a real home by a girl like us with kids, a dog, a budget and a busy life….just as we like it…cool real life vintage living & decorating….this girl rocks my socks.


Hi Melaine!  Thanks so much for stopping by with the Beach Cottagers, we are so glad to have you!

I love the story of you finding your house when you were young newlyweds through an old friend.   Can you explain a bit more about the lake, your lifestyle because of it and the community?

Hey Sarah, G’day!  I’m so glad to be over here today with you guys :-)
Crystal Lake is a small private community on the King / Snohomish County line in Western Washington. Crystal Lake was established in 1929 as the  Seattle Rod and Gun Club. Our community has so much history. I could talk for days about it really. As I said before it all started in 1929 as the Seattle Rod and Gun club.  This was a place primarily for vacation homes for the upper class folks. The goveroner would frequent Crystal Lake as a vacation spot. And then the Depression hit and the few homes that were here were sold and some people were forced to make it their permanent residence. Going into th 1950′s more houses were being built and more permanent residents were moving in. In 1986 our clubhouse/lodge {which was featured in the movie “black widow”} burned to the ground in an electrical fire. We re built in 1988 using trees off the property. We also have a 250 acre working tree farm. It helps subsidize the cmmunity overhead. Currently there are approx. 66 members of Crystal Lake. We get together frequently at the lodge for holiday parties and potlucks. It’s a very tight knit community.
You said on your blog that everything was dark and grim at your place before you worked your magic on it, can you explain that a bit further?   What was the worst room in the house?
Every room was horrible. I’d say it was a toss up between the master bath and the kitchen. If I had to choose, I’d say the kitchen. You could stick your hand through the ceiling due to a leaky roof at one point. The floor was uneven and it had an unsightly wood stove in an awkward spot. It had to stay for a while because it was the only heat source for the house! The cabinets were all mix and match garage sale and were mounted about 9 feet up on the walls making it nearly impossible to get into without hauling a stool out. The walls were a mix and match of bad materials.
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Can you explain how you got over some of those things initially and like us it seems you were on a budget, how did you get around that side of it?
When we bought our home we had next to no money. I was working at a latte stand and we would use my husbands paycheck and my tips to remodel the kitchen, week by week. It was our first project, it was a necessary one! We used inexpensive items like 12×12 granite tiles and inexpensive white appliances. Over the years we have upgraded those items to slab granite, stainless steel appliances, etc.
here is a before of the kitchen skylight
(Sarah: we are thinking of doing this in our cottage in the breakfast room…so inspired!)
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What has been your biggest investment in your home and how did it change it.
The biggest investment was probably all the stuff you don’t see. The plumbing, the electrical, all that fun stuff. Our home was built in 1942 so all of that had to be completely redone.
This picture below gives you an idea of the state of the before…
 The same little alcove now…

I love how you say ‘there’s no place like home’ but like me you’ve said nothing has happened overnight.  So what did you do first and what made the biggest difference…?
The biggest difference for me would have to be the exterior. I put shingles and rockery on our house and I think it was a huge improvement from what was initially there. We also cleared a bunch of trees to make a bigger yard, etc.

The roof is stunning, I would kill for that…I love how you left it natural…was this a conscious decision or was it because it would be tricky to paint….
Our roof is cheap composition, nothing fancy at all! :)

I love how you pair the creamy white with the leather and the beadboarding…did you go all out for that look or has it evovled?  
I have to give credit to my friend Jill on that one! {http://forevercottage.blogspot.com/} I met her through blogging and she gave me the advice to pair the leather with the slipcvered sofa, creating a happy medium for both my husband and I. It was also her idea to leave the ceiling natural in ou living/dining room. I am so glad I listened to her because I love how it turned out!  The cushions are from here and there, the burlap one is from the Barn Boys in Oregon Wa.  The other smaller burlap one is from a local girl, her etsy shop ishere.

What is the paint colour on the walls by the sofa?
It is called Oatmeal by Ralph Lauren. Although they are no longer making paint, you can ask for it by name at Home Depot.
Can you talk us through how the cream fits in your family life (a question I get asked a lot!)?
Well, our home wasn’t always this white. It’s a look that I fell in love with sometime in the last couple years and I think it is timeless. Everyone always freaks out when their kids com over to play seeing how we have a off white sofa. Honestly though, it is even easier to keep clean than the leather one we had before. I just throw the cushion covers in the wash and hang them to dry! The kids eat hot dogs on them and the dog lays on them. I am happy to say that I love my Ikea couch!
Aside from the sofa, the cream works for me because it is very relaxing. It has a cozy put your feet up kind of feel. Not stuffy at all, and it has just the right amount of lightness to make even the darkest days here in Seattle seem a little brighter!

I absolutely love the black wall feature…is it chalkboard paint?  Was it easy to do?  I am inspired!
SO EASY!!! The kids love it too!  I am obsessed  with chalkbard paint! You can do it anywhere and in any color! For the wall in my kitchen I used a quart size I got at Home Depot. For the door in my kitchen I actually used a spray paint verzion of it. Just depends on the area you are doing I suppose.
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I love how your home looks so cosy and friendly but still very chic can you explain how you’ve achieved that mix? 
Why thank you! Yes, it’s very simple really. I read lots and lots of magazines and look at lots and lots of blogs for inspiration! I like to “shop from my own home” and rearrange things all the time~like weekly, it’s a sickness really!

Where do you shop to find things for your house…what is your favourite store? 
Lately I haven’t been buying anything much unless it is vintage. The authenticity of vintage pieces are just so appealing to me. So, I shop at local antique stores, garage sales, thrift stores, and of course I still love discount stores like TJ Maxx. I rarely pay full price for anything.

Your house has so much character with vintage pieces …what are your best tips for finding vintagey specials?
Shop, shop, and shop some more! I have favorite flea markets I “stalk” and I go to thrift stores at least once a week.
When you go to flea markets, etc. don’t be afraid to ask the dealers, “is this your best price?” chances are you will get at least $5 knocked off.
Thanks Melaine so much for swinging by this old Beach Cottage for a chat, I’ve totally enjoyed it, and more I will be stealing your ideas and looking for more from your blog, with of course full credit to you….things I’ve added to my Beach Cottage To Do List….chalkboard wall, quotes on the wall, towel rail and of course I don’t really need to tell you that as one with more white vintage plates than anyone on the planet I am SO doing that thing with the vintage plates lol ;-)
Isn’t the internet just great for sharing, inspiration and friendship?
I think so.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it all together…what has Melaine inspired you to pick up the paintbrush and do?? :-)
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41 Responses to “Vintage Lake House Decorating with My Sweet Savannah ~ A Beach Cottage Interview”

  1. bj says:

    OMGosh….this house is so awesome, I don’t know what to do.
    How did she get the recipe wall ? Is it decals…Gotta go over and ck out her blog.
    Thanks so much, Sarah….
    xo bj

    • Gaela says:

      She did it freehand! :) I’ve been following Melaine since her Rate My Space days and she is fantabulous! Love her look!

  2. cityfarmer says:

    I adore the “sweetie” savannah … she is truly an inspiration … also one day I was d.e.l.i.g.h.t.e.d. to see my blog on her sidebar

    thank you for this morning perk …cream goes good with coffee … hehe

  3. HRH Sarah says:

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing, both of you. I’m at the beginning of a “beach cottage” style makeover in my home, and I need all the help I can get! These pics and little tips are quite inspirational.

  4. Kerry says:

    That was great thanks Sarah. I think I’m going to paint the pantry cupboard door with blackboard paint and hope that people write what they use up when they use it up!!

  5. melissa says:

    love the quotes on the wall- that is a definate!!

    she seems sooo lovely…what a place to live!

    melissa x

  6. Tina Lawver says:

    Thanks so much for this review. I enjoyed it very much and it really inspired me. I love all the words and writing and how it’s weaved into the decor.

  7. Stacey says:

    Hi Sarah, I found Melanie’s blog not that long ago and fell in love with her home instantly! Between the two of you…my head is spinning. Thanks for all your inspiration! Stacey

  8. Sarah,

    Thanks for featuring a lovely home in your interview!

    Happy Wednesday,

  9. Ldom says:

    I’m new to this whole blog community and I have to say that I feel so inspired by you all. I drift from one blog to another and after reading each one, I then add something else to my ‘To do’ list. I too live in a old holiday cottage with uneven floors, ceilings that you can push your hand up into etc. So it’s very encouraging to read all these blogs where you have come through the other side! I’m just waiting for the day when we can sit back and take beautiful pictures!

  10. Oh my gosh I love her blog. I read it every day! This is my favorite post of her’s, ever: http://mysweetsavannah.blogspot.com/2010/04/vintage-table-settings.html

    Isn’t it inspired?! I wish I had an eye for something like that – and the time to spend in antique stores and flea markets! I love her aesthetic. Thanks for posting this interview!

  11. Hello Sarah and Melaine,
    Oh Melaine is one talented girl. She is also the sweetest.
    This is such a nice feature and loved reading the interview!
    My sister has painted a chalk board wall in her kitchen, inspired by Melaine.
    I want to have a chalk board wall in my son’s room, which of course would be inspired by Melaine.
    Melaine’s blog is a constant source of inspiration!!!
    Sarah you know how much I love you too!!
    Love ya both!

  12. My Sweet Savannah inspired my love for all things vintage and chippy white… and even my love for blogging. I love her house and want to decorate my new home to look just like it! :)

  13. vosgesparis says:

    what a great story to read ;) I love the way she changed the dark place in a cosy family home!
    For the chalkboard , you go for it Sarah !
    hugs desiree

  14. Whitney says:

    I just LOOOVE the words in the kitchen!!! Also am definitely keeping that pain in mind; Oatmeal, by Ralph Lauren… I just love the look of the different shades of browns, tans, creams and whites all mixed together, truly it’s lovely! =)

  15. Glenda says:

    So much cozy lovliness!

    I love love love the cooking words printed on the ceiling of the kitchen! Can I steal that idea in my next home?


  16. Tammi N says:

    Sarah I thoroughly enjoyed that feature and will be popping over myself for a looksie…..yep I’m also drawn to the handwritten quotes and chalkboard walls…..the downside to renting is not being able to do anything permanent but the ‘take on any challenge’ in me will think of a way around that :)
    Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Karen says:

    Cream does indeed go with coffee! This house is beautiful and practically in my backyard (I live in Edmonds). Having grown up in the area I never new about Crystal Lake.

    Right now my condo is all about color; red kitchen, olive dining room, mocha living room, blue bedroom etc. All the hues go together at least. Once I get color out of my system I really want to try a more monochromatic scheme and this fits the bill and is so inspiring! I love leather and think that your combination of leather and creamy couches will work great and my husband will like it. Absolutely love your skylight in the kitchen.


  18. Glenda says:

    Hi Sarah,
    The post I mentioned before, (askihng your permission to post a picture from your site), is scheduled to be posted on July 21. I also put a link to your lovely blog.


  19. Sue says:

    OMGoodness..so much inspiration!!!
    I LOVE the chalkboard wall..and actually have a panel in a door planned for my house…going to check out what she says about it being available in any colour? Thats interesting..would love a .red chalkboard accent!!
    The words on the skylight..and the menu on the wall….adore those!!! Especially the menu..that’s so beautiful!!!
    Thanks for the inspiration..off to peruse her blog now :-)

  20. Anne-Marie says:

    Thanks girls, a great post and most enjoyable. I will for sure check out My Sweet Savannah.

  21. Alison Gibbs says:

    Sarah thatnks so much for having Melaine as your guest today. Such fun to hear how she has created her beautiful home. I so need to have my husband read the bit about the white sofas from Ikea. I have been at him to get these for over 12 months now and he says that the grandkids (who are here a few days each week) would make them dirty. Love to hear how easy it is to just wash/dry them.

  22. Awesome interview! So great seeing what others are inspired to do in their home.

  23. simpledaisy says:

    Oh my gosh….your home is SOOOOO beautiful!!! Just perfect!!!

  24. Melanie J says:

    Oh…..Im so glad you did this interview with Melaine! I just recently discovered her blog and Im soooooo addicted to her style. Her home is everything I want my next home to be. Im currently leasing a home by the water, but I cant make drastic changes. Im planning to move to the Carolinas and will use this style there! I love your blog tooo by the way….I also found you through Melaine the other night and will be following your both regularly. – Melanie

  25. Dianna says:

    Thanks for that interview I enjoying looking and reading it. Its been one of my favourite 5 blogs that I read most days.

  26. Sarah! How fun to see Melaine on your blog today! I’ve been following her for a while now, and love her to pieces. Talk about sweet inspiration! Love her easy, family-friendly style. Thanks for interviewing her so that we could all get to know her a little better. :)

    xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

  27. Rachael says:

    A beautiful, beautiful home! Rachaelxo

  28. Pearl Maple says:

    Fabulous post,
    really enjoy reading real stories of folks who learnt along the way what works for them in the process of making a comfy home.

  29. daph-a-dills says:

    Oh i havent been in for ages…this was truely lovely to read and dribble over…I have to now get a towel for mt laptop lol…What am I inspired to do now…get my sunroom moving…started….stupid council take FOREVER!

  30. susan says:

    GORGEOUS. What a great house.
    Susan :):)

  31. Great interview! I love the wide, vintage, chippy photo frames and how she has an oar hanging underneath (I have two old, blue, chippy oars at the moment- inspired by your hallway makeover!) I love painting things Dulux clotted cream, but just this week bought Antique White USA- to try!

  32. Taylor says:

    Can you tell me where you got your Cream slip cover for the L shaped sofa? I’ve been looking for something like that for a while! Your decor is gorgeous….great inspiration my house on the lake!

  33. So beautiful,,,,, just my style….. I just started my own blog…..www.vintageonadime.blogspot.com…..please stop by. ,,!!!!!! Debbie

  34. Hi there i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i
    read this paragraph i thought i could also create comment due to this sensible article.

  35. Erin says:

    I’d love to learn more about the slipcover. Did you make it, buy it, custom order, etc? We have a 2pc sectional that we’d really like to get a cozy cottage slipcover for; economically.

  36. mcm visetos says: