Finding rusty old junk is fun! Nevertheless, I have found that no matter how much "stuff" I find and collect, only God can fully satisfy my heart. Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Creating Cottage Romance

Did that title get your attention? Sorry, no ideas for steamy Valentine's dates here! Nevertheless, I have decided to do a post dedicated to romancing the home for Valentine's Day. Today we will be spending a lot of time in my bedroom, which some of you may recognize from my Romantic Cottage Bedroom Reveal post. What better time to talk about creating cottage romance than Valentine's Day week?
As the numbers of my Pinterest boards continue to grow and my interests in decorating, design, and crafting broaden, I have been pondering my style.  I have many different loves and elements of Shabby Chic, Farmhouse, Primitive, Romantic Prairie, French Country, Traditional English, Nordic, Modern Country, Industrial and Victorian, and many of my beloved treasures, furniture pieces and vignettes fall somewhere in between. I call my style "Junky Chic," due to my love of junk and creating chic looks for less. However, my unifying element is overall vintage, and as I was thinking of my home and looking around, I realized I simply have a love of all things beautiful- I am a romantic at heart.
Regardless of styles and trends, I can never say goodbye to my lovlies and creating that romantic, ethereal feeling is as important as the cozy cottage homespun feeling I also love. I have often dreamily perused  the pages of Romantic Homes Magazine for inspiration. I recognize so many kindred spirits there.
                                                                So much beauty...sigh...

 I am sure many of you feel the same about mixing elements to create a home that is a reflection of things you love most. To me, finding new ways to display items of the past and loving them, thinking about the people who may have used them before, and dreaming of all these things is what being a romantic is all about.

I created a Pinterest board called "Blancophilia," due to my obsession with fondness for of all things vintage and white, and I am so lucky to have the bedroom of my dreams. We built our bedroom out of an unfinished attic, so we were able to create the quaint cottage look we wanted with bead board, board and batten, and painted white pine floors. All of the furniture and accessories for our bedroom were second hand finds. I really love this room! It's so easy to create cottage romance when using whites. I like to keep my husband's likes and the family's needs in mind when decorating the whole house, so I reserve most of the really romantic looks for the bedroom which he doesn't seem to mind too much either.

The sun was shining today, the first time in several weeks of snow, rain and ice, and it created a wonderful ambience just barely slipping in through the blinds.

I have always felt that layering lots of vintage textiles creates a romantic, vintage cottage feeling. I use two antique chenille blankets on my bed and cover a long bench at the foot of the bed with a vintage matelasse bedspread. My husband created the headboard from an old flea market door. It's one of my favorite things.

Layering beautiful clothing items like lacy prairie gowns, knitted scarves, shawls, leather gloves with delicate pearl beads and linens also creates a romantic cottage feeling.

In my last post I showed you my recent table makeovers, where once again I was reminded to never underestimate the power of paint, but when it comes to creating cottage romance, never underestimate the power of lighting either! I use little Christmas lights and primitive light sets all over the house year round. They always create the softest ambient lighting and cast lovely shadows. I wanted so badly to have a fireplace when we built the new attic bedroom but there was no way to do it. Because it is an attic room, space was limited, so I settled for this vintage stove painted white and filled with white lights. I love the reflection on the wall, almost lace-like in appearance.

I do have a tip when it comes to using light sets--- Never use LED lights if you want to create a soft, vintage glow. The lights are too bright, almost blue.

And of course, there are always candles burning. Always, always always.
And momentos from travels, like these shells and sand from one of our favorite beach vacations.

To me, romance isn't always about the love between two people. Sometimes its the dream, the dream of beautiful things, places, people, and maybe the hope of a romance for someone waiting to find that special someone.  I dream of France, and the flea markets there, where romantic treasures call my name!

Anything French always seems to add cottage romance.

When I think of a romantic cottage, trunks, travel cases and stacked luggages come to mind. They evoke that same nostalgic feeling of romance, of travel to exotic and beautiful places, of a special rendevous...

Dress forms and mannequins decked in vintage clothing, wedding dresses and jewelry and baubles reminds one of a more beautiful, romantic era in fashion.

 I display the top of my wedding suit in our bedroom instead of packing it way in storage. I love displaying pearls all around the cottage, but especially on this mannequin. I don't obsess over having them lay just perfect. I prefer some things to look perfectly imperfect, as real life is never perfect, but beautiful nonetheless.

More layers of jewlery, junk, lace, vintage yarn, chippy mirrors...vintage romance.

Everything here is dear to my heart. Many items were handmade by me using vintage treasures from my grandmother's attic. Some items are gifts, some are special junkin' finds. Using sentimental items creates cottage romance.

The use of vintage sheet music, silver jewelry boxes, perfume in beautiful bottles, vintage cameos, pearls, hankies and rhinestones can always create a romantic vignette.

Silver plate and vintage bling...let me count the ways how I love thee...
I look for romance in the smallest details, especially when selecting vintage jewelry, such as the ones shown here: a brooch depicting a scene of courting lovers, a lovely rose, a fair lady in a beautiful hat, interspersed  with pearls, rhinestones, and vintage stones of all kinds. Tiny dried carnations from a sentimental gift bouquet add more romance. Of course, no romantic cottage is complete without flowers, whether fresh, dried or pressed, silk or handmade. Back in the fall I showed you how I used an old salvaged architectural porch piece as a ladder for displaying dried flowers:Architectural Salvage Ladder

I used to be completely opposed to silks, but with a little creativity they can be beautiful too.
I created this bouquet using vintage brooches, hankies, lace and pearls from the flea market and estate sales.
I think it is very romantic! I wish brooch bouquets would have been "the thing" 13 years ago when we got married.

I have a thing for vintage toiletries and containers featuring beautiful old floral graphics too. 

 A mirrored vanity tray full of vintage jewelry, perfume decanters, vintage compacts, and embellished bottles is a quintessential romantic look.

                Roses are a must, whether fresh in a vase, in pictures, on teacups or jewelry. Roses are cottage, and roses are simply romantic!

And of course, you can never have too much vintage lace in a romantic cottage.

Forgo a traditional window treatment and drape vintage romantic laces and pearls over a shabby rod instead.

Well friends, I hate to come to an abrupt halt, but I just realized this post is getting long and I could probably do a whole series on creating romantic vignettes! I have mainly focused on our bedroom tonight and there's lots more to show. Maybe I will do a follow up or two focusing on other rooms in the cottage.

Sweet winter night dreams of cottage romance to you!


  1. Be YOU ti FULL, Amber! Know what caught my eye the most? Your marriage certificate, framed. <3

  2. So many beautiful things--lovely post :)

  3. I am a blancophile too! I love white, especially when you have charming slopes in a room, nooks and crannies. And then you can fill it up with all those lovely trinkets! Would love for you to share at Fridays Unfolded!


  4. I love your bedroom retreat. You have created a very special place. My first house had an upstairs roughly finished attic bedroom. I made it into my own retreat. I still have a fondness for these kinds of rooms, like yours.

  5. I love love love this room. It is all things romantic and vintage. I don't think I could ever create this look, but I do love it. I might have to get out my vintage pearls and just pile them on a white mirrored tray I have so I can enjoy them. Love the framed marriage sweet. Thanks for sharing at TTF!

  6. Oh, I swoon!!!!! Love this entire post. Can I just move in????
    So lovely, you should publish your own book, I'll buy the first copy!
    Big hugs,

  7. Cottage romance going on here! Love each and every little thing! I love old toiletries. Have been trying to start a collection, but not having a great deal of luck. Your room is so cozy! We have a bonus room with a ceiling like that. It's where the grands play. I so want to bead board the ceiling some day! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  8. Beautiful! I love the soft colour scheme and all of your eclectic treasures! What a stunning room!

  9. Beautiful room! So many lovely things to look at. I love your old stove!!~~Angela

  10. Your bedroom is lovely. I love all the white in it: it makes a very peaceful room.


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