An Ode to Board and Batten…

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in Craftsman, Home Design, Wood Work

I love board and batten! Our home would feel so nice with it running up the stairs and wrapping each room. I have wanted to install some fancy woodwork in our home, but I always thought you have to be a master craftsman to undertake such a huge project.

I have been really inspired with all the amazing work out there in blogland. So I have decided I want to give our little home a some character because it really wants to be a cottage, not a suburban cookie cutter.

The timeline for this project is not immediate… Hopefully sooner than later.

Here is an Ode to Beautiful Woodwork:



Refinishing Details

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in DIY, FAQs, Furniture, Wood Work

I have had several people ask me about refinishing techniques… I will begin with a preface that I am just beginning this hobby so my technique may not be the best, and may change over time. However, I have been really pleased with the results.

Some of the frequently asked questions:

1. Where do you find your furniture?

Thus far I have been able to find some really nice stuff at our local thrift store (D. I.), through craigslist and our local newspaper’s online classified ads. Because my primary goal is to develop a hobby, I plan to resell most of the furniture after I refinish it. And because I do not want a houseful of desks… I try to find items that are inexpensive, sturdy and have a more classic design style.

2. Do you sand your furniture first?

I sand the furniture first if it has a major dents or scratches, or if their is a heavy varnish/polyurethane finish on top. For the varnish I just do a quick sanding with a 120 grit sandpaper on an electric sander to rough it up a little bit. For scratches I typically use a 80 or 60 grit sandpaper to create an even surface and then 120 grit to smooth the top layer.

3. Do you prime your furniture?

Yes, I use KILZ latex primer… it is really nice and thick and will evenly cover most light scratches or dings.

4. What paint do you use?
I love Behr brand paint… I have used in several of my home over the years and have been very pleased. For my furniture, I just buy the mistinted or damaged paints in a neutral, latex base. I typically buy the premium plus because it is usually the least expensive. I do finish my furniture with a polyurethane so I do not worry about the gloss-style.

5. What sand paper do you use to distress?

Either a 120 or 220 grit sand paper depending on what I have convenient and how distressed I want to make it. For distressing I try to mimic natural use patterns… where ever hands and feet commonly touch I distress (i.e. the ends of arm rest, top of chair back, near the “foot rests” at the bottom). Also, I lightly distress all the edges and corners. I have found that I really like to show the original and primed colors underneath so I with distress with varied pressure to bring out different colors.

6. Do you finish with a polyurethane?

Yes, I use a clear (not color or tint added) water-based Varathane polyurethane for interior wood. I choose water-based for ease in cleaning up.

7. Do you use spray paint, an air compressor, paint-brush or roller-brush?

I usually paint with a hand brush… although I have heard really great things about using an air compressor… Maybe someday.

I have used spray paint on some of my picture frames and smaller pieces… but I didn’t like the finish as well… probably I just applied it too heavily.

Finely Crafted Bungalow…

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in Bathroom Design, Craftsman, Fireplace, Home Design, Kitchen Design, Stonework, Wood Work

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the classic bungalow. Typically, they are full of excellent craftsmanship, well thought details and feel “like home”. This newly constructed bungalow from Black Star Construction Group has all these elements… it is a beautiful home.

Welcoming curb appeal with the deep front porch and flagstone pathway.

Contemporary Arts & Crafts, Santa Barbara, CACasing Detail.

Fine craftsmanship is shown in the details.

I love this fireplace!

This kitchen has great cabinetry. I love the way the formica countertops turned out, the metal trim edging is perfect, and the glass back splash really gives it a trendy feel. The fir flooring keeps the entire feel very comfortable.

I love the dark trim with the light painting. I think the molding adds a very nice touch.

I am always a huge fan of a well designed tile shower. I think that it is a classic feature…

Contemporary Arts & Crafts, Santa Barbara, CA Contemporary Arts & Crafts, Santa Barbara, CA

A more modern take on a classic arts and craft design element.

Full master bathroom remodel. Full master bathroom remodel.

This bathroom is amazing. The combination of the tile with black edging, the diamond motif and the brilliant green work flawlessly together.

(Images may be found at

Shaker Style…

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in Home Design, Shakers, Staircase, Wood Work

The Shakers immigrated to the United States in the late 18th century to avoid religious persecution. When they arrived in America they began developing a society that emphasized a belief in a personal relationship with God, simplicity, equality, industry and a striving for perfection. This emphasis created a legacy of perfectly, yet simply crafted pieces. The enduring beauty of Shaker furniture is a result of their attention to details, the utility of their furniture and a fine elegance in all the created.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, KY - Photo by Joy Ribisi

Influential Elements in Shaker Design

  • Simplicity – In direct contrast to many of the pieces found during the same period, which were influence by the Federal and Sheraton styles, the Shakers would remove all elaborations creating pure and highly functional pieces. Shaker decoration is integrated in the overall form of a piece, they would use the basic elements of design (scale, proportion, repetition/variation and symmetry/asymmetry) to create visual appeal.
  • Open and uncluttered spaces.
  • A limited color palette of earth-based neutrals, warm yellows, reds, blues and greens.
  • Handcrafted furniture in cherry, chestnut, maple and pine.
  • Handmade quilts, toys, dolls and other accessories.
  • Establish a Place of Order – The Shakers believed that every object should have a designated place, which necessitated large quantities of storage. Cupboards and drawers would often line an entire wall. Oval boxes and woven baskets were used to organize small objects. Pegs on chair rails were available to hang clothing and furniture to keep the floor clean and bare.
  • Symmetry and repetition – They relied heavily on patterns involving the repetitive use of similar shapes, forms or space to create unity and order within each design.

  • Natural Elements – Fabrics included cotton, silk and wool. Hardwood plank floors finished with a clear varnish.
  • Lighting included beeswax candles and sconces.
  • Cleanliness was considered essential in the Shaker society and as such homes, furnishings and farms were meticulously maintained.
  • Other elements commonly found in Shaker design include the “Hand within a Heart” motif (to represent our heart belongs to God and our hands were meant to labor), the Tree of Life, doves and bird, and clocks (signifying mortality).
Picket Fence Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, Maine - 2007 Shaker Workshops Photography Competition Winner - Joy Ribisi

Images may be found at–