Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cottage Crazy: A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!

Cottage Crazy: A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!: "When we told Jane and Diane that we wanted to be a pet friendly Cottage they both asked the same question. What kind of dog do you have? We ..."

Cottage Crazy: A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!

Cottage Crazy: A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!: "When we told Jane and Diane that we wanted to be a pet friendly Cottage they both asked the same question. What kind of dog do you have? We ..."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cottage Crazy: A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!

Cottage Crazy: A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!: "When we told Jane and Diane that we wanted to be a pet friendly Cottage they both asked the same question. What kind of dog do you have? We ..."

A Pet Friendly Cottage needs a Dog!

When we told Jane and Diane that we wanted to be a pet friendly Cottage they both asked the same question. What kind of dog do you have? We laughed and said we were actually pet less! We have friends and family who prefer to travel with their pets and they have a hard time finding nice accommodations. So we thought allowing pets might help us rent the cottage. That may be changing tomorrow! I have always wanted a Standard Chocolate Poodle. We have had smaller poodles in the past and they were wonderful dogs and incredibly smart. Mr. French a.k.a. Frenchie was so well behaved. When he needed to go out he would just go and sit by the door and stare at it until you let him out. If he got his paws wet or dirty...he would wait by the door for his paws to be dried off. He loved his weekly baths and would hop up on the table when we got out the clippers. It broke our hearts when he went over the Rainbow Bridge. I really didn't want to go through losing another pet. I have resisted getting another dog. The usual excuses. We are too busy. We work long hours. We don't want to be tied down, etc. All perfectly good excuses. I have frequently checked the pet ads in the paper...just to see if there were any Standard Chocolate Poodles. I have rarely seen any listed. So I was off the hook...no decision to make. Then a business associate and friend showed up at the bank with her adorable dog Max. Max was a cute ball of white fluff with black eyes and a black nose. He sat quietly while we discussed business for nearly two hours...and never made a false move. Plus... he let me pet him the whole time and he licked my hand. So I am NOT responsible for what happened next...really. It is Debbie's fault and you know who you are... Ms. GenGold! I found a very small ad in the Sunday paper. It read as follows...Standard Chocolate Poodle, 7 years old, male, needs a good home. Well now that I am CottageCrazy I seemed to be on a roll...so I called and we will be picking up...Hershey...for the weekend. If he likes us and we like him...he may soon be on his way to Tybee Island to stay at Paws and Paddles Cottage. And thanks to Jane...his bed is already waiting for him.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cottage Crazy: The Design starts to come together...

Cottage Crazy: The Design starts to come together...: "The design started to jell when Jane completed the front bedroom...Tybee Turquoise furniture...amazing bedding...tons of pillows and euros....."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cottage Crazy: The Design starts to come together...

Cottage Crazy: The Design starts to come together...: "The design started to jell when Jane completed the front bedroom...Tybee Turquoise furniture...amazing bedding...tons of pillows and euros....."

The Design starts to come together...

The design started to jell when Jane completed the front bedroom...Tybee Turquoise furniture...amazing bedding...tons of pillows and euros...and be still my heart a Bellamy Murphy painting over the
bed that just pulled the entire room together...amazing. The sunlight comes in the front bedroom and just creates little splashes of light that is just so perfect and peaceful...that
as much as I love the outdoors and the beach I can be content just standing in the middle of the room. This isn't the master... but it IS my favorite of the three bedrooms.
Jane had some new fabric to show us for the sofa and chair in the sitting area. The fabric for the chair was extremely colorful with all of the Jane colors on a darker navy background
the sofa fabric reminded me of and old timey cream and blue stripe mattress ticking...seems like I remember Granny Hogan calling it ticking. Jane surprised us and created a doggie
bed out of the chair fabric...and a little sign in the shape of a bone over the doggie bed...it's a Ruff Life! So cute and great for guests with pets. somewhere around this point we
decided that since we loved pets and wanted the Cottage to be pet friendly and we loved kayaking...the name for the Cottage would be Paws and Paddles!

Jane created a stunning dining area by painting our cherry table Tybee Turquoise and then surprised us ( my favorite colors are green and red) by pairing the Turquoise
Table with bright red wood chairs...two with red and white fabric seats! My little red tea pot and vintage red and white napkins created a one of a kind look! We were still struggling
with the sun porch...those peach walls were NOT any better after Eric painted the waincoting white...somehow that only made it worse...so we reached way way down in our checkbook and
asked Eric to give us an estimate on painting the rest of the huge sunroom white...it hurt but I knew it would open up a world of color choices for the fabrics for the porch. We
met up with Jane to let her know we loved what she was doing so far. Even the small things...her use of the white sea stars on a white window...and yes we changed our mind
and agreed with Jane we needed and loved the white simple simple window treatments with big nickel colored grommets on the same color rods...just made a much bigger
difference that we imagined. We don't have window coverings on our Mountain home since it is so private with lots of trees but I am betting it would also look better with
the addition of some window coverings of some type...another day. Jane and I nearly broke out dancing over the good news that the peach paint was going to bite the dust just
as soon as Eric could make it happen...then we got to talking about the small back deck...I wondered it we shouldn't consider...while we were at it...this is how one goes over budget...
an Outdoor Shower. Mikie didn't really think much of that idea...no one would likely use it...Eric happened by while we were talking and he suggested a second stair case down
to a ground level deck for grilling and sitting and there would then be the PERFECT place for an outdoor shower. Perfectly private, Perfectly cute, Perfectly practical since you could walk
out the french doors off the sun porch and your sweet little tootsies would never have to touch the ground! Plus we always came in the back since we keep our bikes, chairs, and other
gear in the back...so you and your dog could be sweaty and sandy and just take a hot or cold shower in complete bliss with a ceiling of palm trees and live oaks! Jane mentioned
outdoor showers were very popular and they did indeed keep some of the sand and doggy dirt outside! Poor Mike...Eric, Jane, and crazy Connie were off and running...Eric needed to
get us another estimate. Then with a straight face he asked which project first shower of porch painting...Jane and I both practically shouted PORCH!

Eric had his work cut out for him...and now Jane could work on fun fabrics for my comfy chaise and pillows and such for the new day bed. I showed Jane some of our duck decoys...
not for Tybee she said...but I mentioned how much we enjoyed birding and that I planned on making sure we had a space for our bird book and binoculars...she said why
didn't you tell me sooner! She was excited because this opened up a whole world of bird fabrics...now that the dreaded peach paint was going south.

We headed home to wait for the estimates but knew at this point we were pretty far gone on the new deck and shower idea...We would head back next weekend to see
what wonders Eric had worked with white paint and find out what those bird fabrics might look like...

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cottage Crazy: Jane's Ideas for our Cottage...

Cottage Crazy: Jane's Ideas for our Cottage...: "This was our virgin experience working with a designer/decorator and a Tybee icon to boot. We had an open mind and were ready to listen. It ..."

Jane's Ideas for our Cottage...

This was our virgin experience working with a designer/decorator and a Tybee icon to boot. We had an open mind and were ready to listen. It was interesting working with Jane she also listens to determine what YOU like and I think that is the key to her success. We had already painted all the walls white and I think she might have gone a different direction but she knew we liked that fresh clean look and that we were ready for lots of color in furnishings and art work. At some point Jane realized that I like red...and green...no wonder Christmas is my favorite time of the year! She noodled around a while with fabrics that had red...and we almost went with a crab fabric that she shows us online...but when we actually saw the fabric the background was more beige green than off white...and we all agreed to pass.  We did decide on an amazing Tybee Turquoise for the front light filled bedroom...it is actually my favorite of the three bedrooms.  She had already nailed down the bathroom colors more Tybee Turquoise and lime green! Amazing with the white walls and sand colored ceramic floor tile. We still had lots to decide but we were off to a good start. Eric was making amazing headway and was almost finished with the repairs that had come up from the home inspection. The only room we did not paint white was the brand new sun porch that was just completed prior to our purchasing the cottage. It was a peachy color...nice...but the more I looked at it the less I liked it...Jane mentioned the color was really limiting the choices we could use on the porch...I could tell she really disliked the color...but she was trying to be mindful of our limited budget...and it was a huge room open to the rafters so painiting it would be costly and time consuming.  I decided to compromise and just paint the bead board white below the chair rail...so we got Eric to price that out and he agreed to work on that next. It really was starting to look like we were never going to let Eric go...we laughed with him and he remembered the Eldon character from the old Muphy Brown TV show...Murphy kept finding things for him to do and he was there for like 4 years!  I told Eric that I thought she eventually just married him! We had to head back home and take care of some family matters. We were closing out my Mom's apartment since she was now in a nursing home so it would be a while before we could get back. Jane was working on the rest of the rooms and would be sending us some more fabric to look at in a few days.  I already loved the turquoise bedroom and it just made me happy to go in there and just stand and look at the window. I had several pieces of wood furniture that I was going to paint with Jane's blessing and she suggested painting the chest for that room the Tybee turquoise...that was on my list of things to do when I got home. We would bring it back on our next trip down. .

Cottage Crazy: Paws & Paddles Cottage's First Paying Guest Review...

Cottage Crazy: Paws & Paddles Cottage's First Paying Guest Review...: "Our beautiful Live Oak that shades the sun porch and back deck! We received our very first Review on the Mermaid Cottages.com site this ..."

Cottage Crazy: Paws & Paddles Cottage's First Paying Guest Review...

Cottage Crazy: Paws & Paddles Cottage's First Paying Guest Review...: "Our beautiful Live Oak that shades the sun porch and back deck! We received our very first Review on the Mermaid Cottages.com site this ..."

Paws & Paddles Cottage's First Paying Guest Review!

Our beautiful Live Oak that shades the sun porch and back deck!

We received our very first Review on the Mermaid Cottages.com site this week....We were pleased to see the positve rating and comments.  *****...count em five stars and the brief but oh so nice to hear comment...Just Perfection! Made our day. It is important to us that our guests enjoy the Cottage as much as we do...we have tried hard to anticipate the needs of our guests. We have a full set of china, silverwear, new cookware, plastic bowls, cups, plates for outdoors or when you don't want to fuss. A LLBean sunshelter for the beach with a water proof ground cover, stamps, paws and paddles special note cards, a mini office in a box with everything I could think of. All this in addition to the comfy furnishings and plushie beds and bedding. So we were happy that our first review was excellent.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cottage Crazy: Back to Tybee to meet up with Jane Coslick...

Cottage Crazy: Back to Tybee to meet up with Jane Coslick...: "We decided to at least give Jane a call to explore the possibility of getting her help in renovating and decorating our Cottage. We called a..."

Back to Tybee to meet up with Jane Coslick...

We decided to at least give Jane a call to explore the possibility of getting her help in renovating and decorating our Cottage. We called and she agreed to meet the next weekend...so off we went. It felt great to be able to get away for the weekend and actually have our own place to stay. About all we had was a bed and a couple of chairs but compared to some of our tent camping trips we were in " high cotton " has Granny Hogan used to say! We were already discussing Cottage names and hadn't settled on anything. I wanted some feedback from Diane at Mermaid Cottages and from Jane before we decided on a name. All of the Cottages on Tybee have names. My favorite was 99 Steps...that one belonged to Jane and the cottage is only 99 steps to the Beach. Others we liked....Breeze Inn, Fish Camp, and of course Fiddler on the Creek. Breeze Inn is owned by Mary Kay Andrews...yes the best selling author! I had recently read one of her books and it was set in the Savannah and Tybee area...thinking now that she may have planted a seed deep in my brain that just now sprouted! Ummm....another coincidence.

We were excited and nervous about meeting with Jane. We had never worked with a designer/decorator before...heck we usually did all of our own painting, cleaning, rehabbing etc...so we as the SuperWonderfulGrandBoy says...didn't have a Clue! Jane called and said she was running a little late but was looking forward to meeting us at the Cottage. She arrived an hour or so later. She pulled up and jumped down out of a sharp looking White pickup truck. It looked huge next to Jane. I am 5 foot 2 or used to be on a really tall day...probably a bit less now. Jane was about the same...so we had that in common. She had on jeans and a white blouse and flip flops and was carrying a huge tape measure and notebook. She made us feel comfortable immediately...she is warm, funny, and clearly loves what she does. We walked around the Cottage both inside and out so that she could see what we had to work with. Jane suggested that we purchase all new high quality beds. The most important thing about a Cottage according to Jane...everything HAS to be comfortable...so comfortable that you don't want to leave. She thought we needed a king for the Master suite and queens for each of the other two bedrooms. We had been planning on twin beds for one room but Jane pointed out that if we put in twin beds there would not be a wall left for a dresser...duh...she was already ahead of us! She wanted us to get the feel of a real Tybee Cottage so we agreed to follow her back to her 99 Steps Cottage. Well it was pretty amazing and I wasn't the only one that thought so. It had been photographed for Coastal Living Magazine! I keep lots of the back issues...and I was pretty sure it was sitting in the stack back on the mountain. I wanted to work with Jane by the time she got out of the truck...I think Mike was hooked after seeing her Cottage. We chatted about time lines and budgets and she wanted to spend some time thinking and would catch up with us soon. We were hoping to get decorated and ready to rent by Memorial Day or perhaps a bit sooner.

We enjoyed the rest of the weekend and caught up with our kayak friend John and we were able to go out to dinner at A.J.s on the Creek for some awesome shrimp and grits. A nice evening. Sunday dawned and we enjoyed watching the sunrise from a swing on the North Beach near the lighthouse. We spent some time with Eric and discussed some of the renovations he was helping with and then we had to hit the road...work tomorrow...but we were already looking forward to our next trip back. We were wondering what ideas Jane had for the Cottage...we had told her we wanted it to be pet friendly and that we wanted to keep the large boardwalk type ramp...I have some issues with steps and lots of other folks do to...we also mentioned we loved biking and kayaking. So we were rolling all of that around in our heads with thoughts of the decor and a name for the Cottage. What would Jane come up with...?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cottage Crazy: Heading back to Tybee to meet a real life MerMaid!...

Cottage Crazy: Heading back to Tybee to meet a real life MerMaid!...: "We were on the road again and anxious to see how Eric was doing with the interior painting. We had made plans to also hook up with Diane Kau..."

Heading back to Tybee to meet a real life MerMaid!

We were on the road again and anxious to see how Eric was doing with the interior painting. We had made plans to also hook up with Diane Kaufman the owner of MerMaid Cottages. We were coming down on the yes...side of renting the cottage. We knew we would not be able to be there much of the time and we really preferred the beach in the fall, winter, and spring. Tybee Island is a Memorial Day to Labor Day beach destination so renting the cottage during the busy summer months seemed like the perfect plan. We arrived and were pleasantly surprised at how much work Eric had gotten done. The white walls and trim was doing a great job on highlighting the wood floors. The cottage was almost ready inside for some serious decorating. I have stacks of Coastal Living, Southern Living and Cottage Living magazines all filled with great decor ideas. So the idea of decorating the cottage was both exciting and a bit daunting. We would want to find a style that would appeal to us And renters. We would need fabrics and furniture that were comfortable first and easy to maintain second. I was hoping that Diane would be able to give us some suggestions on how to create the perfect Tybee Island Cottage! Diane did not disappoint. She is as nice as can be but she is very focused and knows exactly what she wants and can communicate her vision amazing well. I felt like I could finish her sentences after only spending a few minutes with her. A kindred spirit. She offered to show us her Cottage and her rental Cottage next door. We quickly took her up on the offer. I love looking at houses! Her cottage had actually been moved and relocated to her lot. The decor was cottage perfect and very Tybee Island. She mentioned that Jane Coslick had done the decorating for her in addition to saving and restoring and decorating 30+ other cottages on Tybee Island. I had noticed that some of the articles I had been saving from Coastal Living, Southern Living and Cottage Living had articles and pictures featuring Jane's work. I was actually standing in a cottage that had been featured in one of those articles. An alarming thought was working it's way into my head as we talked further about renting our cottage. Diane did not require that all of her rentals be pet friendly but many were...I thought we needed to be pet friendly for a couple of reasons. One I have good friends and family members who would not dream of leaving their Giget, Jezabell, Bear, or Midas at home. Two...we were blessed with a floor plan all on one level and we had a wide boardwalk type structure leading to the front door...so no steps for those of us with issues getting up and down lots of steps...me included! Three...I thought we needed to have something extra since we are not right on the beach. We are on the quiet North lighthouse end of the island with a nice slice of a marsh view so we can watch the tides ebb and flow as well as the shore birds...from our three season porch on the private back side of the cottage. Dianne agreed that the pet angle would be wise and she quickly sketched out what we would need in the way of furnishings, etc. New beds and the master had to be a King and probably two queens for the other bedrooms. High quality mattresses were a must...don't I know it! We have had our share of delightful vacation accommodations that were fabulous right up until you tried to sleep on a lumpy, bumpy, worn out mattress! No problem there...we got it. Lots of quality towels and linens...she recommended Home Goods...more about them later...She also gave us the name of a lady who could get us quality beds for a good value...turned out to be the same lady that Sandy had mentioned. Apparently Bonnie is the go to woman for Mattresses! We did a quick run down on the details...no contract...a gentlewoman's agreement and we worked together as long as it worked well for both of us. Even though we had just met I was fine with that...I can usually size someone up pretty quickly and Diane was the real deal. I mentioned that it was probably impossible for us to be able to utilize someone like Jane Coslick. Diane said well she might be able to just give us some limited design advice. If we were to have her decorate our Cottage that would be a huge marketing plus...since Jane's work is so well known. That alarming thought just kept coming back into my head...we really NEED Jane Coslick to turn this into the perfect Tybee Cottage for us and it would have the added and somewhat sensible benefit of helping market the Cottage and increase the likelihood of significant rentals! Before I could screw up enough courage to say anything. Diane just scribbled down a cell phone number and said why don't you give Jane a call and see if you can meet the next time you are down! Oh...my... first we lose our minds buying the Cottage remember we are just your average working joe and jane...now we are thinking about calling a decorator who has been in National magazines...I am seriously drifting away from my usual conservative mindset. I kept Jane's number...and we headed home to mull over the possibilities.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cottage Crazy: Back in Tybee to see how the painting is going...

Cottage Crazy: Back in Tybee to see how the painting is going...: "Eric was a man after my heart not only an excellent painter but he cleaned up after himself and neatly stowed all of his materials and equip..."

Back in Tybee to see how the painting is going...

Eric was a man after my heart not only an excellent painter but he cleaned up after himself and neatly stowed all of his materials and equipment each day! The painting was well underway and the white paint was a vast improvement. The cottage looked and smelled so fresh and even appeared larger with the rooms flowing smoothly from one to the next. We managed to sneak in a quick lunch at Sundae Cafe. Then we met up with Eric to discuss estimates for finishing up several items left over from the almost but not quite completed three season porch on the rear of the cottage. He promised to get us an estimate on the additional jobs and we settled up with him on the work he had already completed. He had finished the bathroom ceiling and part of the painting for us even before we closed on the cottage. We had never even met him or given him a cent! He knew Sandy so he just trusted we would take care of him even if the sale fell through. What a guy. Eric played a huge role in the renovation and also some additions to the cottage. One project has a way of inspiring you to think about adding one more thing. We laughed and said our relationship reminded us of the old Murphy Brown TV show. She had a handyman named Eldon that was working on her house for the entire series! It was beginning to look like we would never let Eric finish...we kept finding one more thing. We made arrangements on our next trip to meet Diane Kaufman of Mermaid Cottages. We wanted to discuss the possibility of renting our cottage. The weekend ended before we were ready and we were headed back to our house on Windy Gap Mountain in Virginia. We were already looking forward to coming back the next weekend and meeting Diane.