February 15, 2013
At the Casa del Campo Guest House, we are always on the lookout for potential treasure “hidden in plain sight.”
Oftentimes, a non descript item will pop out as a candidate for re-purposing, either born of an immediate need or as a makeover just waiting to happen.
During the many years we have been working on the Casa, we have been able to recycle a lot of pieces moldering in a garage — ours or someone else’s —into relevant, fun and functional decor, generally in some simple practical steps, sprinkled with a bit of imagination and a measure of faith.
Let’s take a look at a few projects from one of our vacation rental offerings, La Casita Fresca, a furnished and functional country studio.
The Casita Fresca occupies a walkout basement space, cool and cozy, which opens onto a sunny, brick patio. Our first need was to draw natural light indoors.
One method very successful at the Casa has been using mirrors, in various forms and in some unusual locations. It so happened that we had three or four mirrors in storage, large, with beveled edges and unframed. They were cumbersome and always, somehow, in the way. My wife, Catherine, drawing on long experience with light and color, was inspired to visualize a mirror mosaic — with the result being a mural — hewn with a hammer.
Catherine began by doodling ideas, and then developed a layout that conveys energy and movement, and sketched it on cement backer board.
Literally donning safety glasses, gloves and earmuffs, she hammered out her materials, creating a wide variety of shapes.
The glass was sharp but Catherine was sharper, using construction adhesive to form the flowing creation into an inviting, warming and brightening backdrop for the queen-sized bed in the Casita.
A sanded, bone-white grout creates contrast and can span the large gaps in the work.
Speaking of beds, we wanted a second sleeping option in the Casita, and at the same time needed a small couch.
As fortune would have it, we had squirreled away an old set of wooden twin bed frames, cute but dated, found at a yard sale for around $70.
Although they were attractive, they were useless as-is, I mulled it over and suggested we combine the two footboards to form the frame of a day bed, lightly sanding and then painting the pieces with the same paint I was using on the trim of the studio.
A coat of water-based polyurethane gives the bed a nice shine.
We added a new twin mattress (locally purchased) and Catherine designed and fabricated the slipcover and all of the accessory pillows, re-purposing old pillow forms and recycling fabrics in a variety of textures from her design studio.
What then to do with the headboards? Combined, they were far too wide to serve the queen bed, until I took a saw to them, cutting a portion of a side of each and fastening them together across the back.
I painted the new piece with a base coat of our same trim color, then, using a fairly dry paintbrush and our chartreuse accent color, distressed the headboard into an attractive and unusual piece.
A successful rejuvenation of some great old furniture.
The paint scheme in the Casita features a splash of vibrant greens — from glossy chartreuse to fresh lime, accented with a touch of purple.
While during the day, sunlight plays whimsically around the space, at night, a variety of lighting, including some nifty re-purposed lamps, does the job.
Here we have a simple table lamp, brass finished, with an unassuming fabric shade. Catherine used a printed-paper gift bag and a solution of diluted white glue to decoupage the base and arms of the lamp.
She trimmed the shade with some braided craft rope and a band of baubles, and the base with a length of knotted cotton string, securing the materials to the lamp with a heavier version of white glue.
All of the trim materials were found, on sale, at a local craft store.
The Casa del Campo is truly a gallery of inventive decor items, ranging from textiles to wall finishes to concrete accent pieces.
With commitment, enthusiasm and a can-do spirit, we have created — and continue to create — a whimsical, peaceful and inspiring retreat for visiting guests to the Gold Country.
For more information or to arrange a tour, contact Peter Perkins or Catherine Ione-Perkins at 530-273-5067, or email email@example.com.
The couple will give a feature demonstration at The Union’s Home & Garden Show April 27 and 28.