Friday, December 21, 2012

Blue (and White) Christmas

I hope all my friends here in the northern hemisphere are safe and warm on this winter solstice.  It is very dark, very windy, and very rainy on the coast of Maine tonight.  The wind is so strong that it's pushing the smoke right back down our chimney, but we are warm and dry inside, and I could not ask for more.  The Christmas tree is twinkling and the candles are flickering on the mantle.  I've made a huge batch of needhams, that very special Maine Christmas candy treat made with potatoes, coconut, and dark chocolate.  I promise to share the recipe later in the weekend, but for tonight I thought I'd finally share a few shots of our bedroom.

We decided to decorate it for Christmas with a lovely branch that had been blown down from one of our trees during a storm.  The branch strung with a few lights was all we needed to bring a little sparkle to this dark time of year.  I had planned to hang crystal icicles from the branches, but once the lights were on, I loved it as it was.

The bed we bought locally at The Furniture Market in South Portland, where the fabulous Mimi helped us decide on this rich navy blue color.  We ordered a model with drawers underneath, and I am so, so glad that we did!  Between those drawers and that big old chest next to the bed (bought cheap from friends who were moving), we have tons of storage.  The bolster on the bed is an old French grain sack that I found at Montsweag Flea Market this past summer.  I made the smaller pillow from a very sweet tea towel.  That wonderful ladder leaning against the chimney in the first shot was a gift from my sister, who bought it a couple of years ago at the Bath Antiques Show (formerly owned and operated by my mum, now run by her friend Paul Fuller).

The walls and ceiling of the bedroom were never really finished off, as this was once the attic of the cottage, so we simply painted over the knots in the pine with sealer and then whitewashed everything.  We wanted it to feel rustic, but also bright and clean.

On another painting note, I wanted to mention the white paint on the chimney.  The chimney was not painted when we moved in.  If you've ever considered painting brick but were unsure about how it would work, have no fear.  As long as you prime it correctly and use the proper masonry paint, you will have no problems at all!  Benjamin Moore has everything you need to to the job beautifully.

Our bedroom is really more of a sleeping loft, with our two studies just off to one side.  One end of the loft has this wonderful, beat-up old dresser that we bought from some friends, plus our now infamous boot collection, and our old suitcases full of CDs.  

The floor is hardwood, but it was in terrible shape when we moved in, so we decided to paint it a very soft grey, which we couldn't love more.  I found the blue and ivory shades for next to nothing at Christmas Tree Shop a few years ago.  We hung them in our last apartment, then brought them along with us to the house.  I'm so glad we did, as they fit this room perfectly!

Above is a detail of the old trunk beside the bed.  That mirror is a lovely vintage one I found in a junk shop in Bloomington, Indiana, about a hundred years ago.  The ironstone pitcher is one from my collection.  I love tucking eucalyptus into my ironstone pitchers this time of year and just letting it dry around the house. 

If you look closely, you'll notice that the trunk has pencil and marker lines on it.  These were scribbled by our friends' daughters before they sold us the trunk.  I don't have the heart to paint over them.  Somehow they add to the trunk's charm for me.   

Ah, and then there are the lockers.  Mr. Magpie and I bought these three years ago at a great antiques shop in Hallowell.  If you like antiques and plan to visit Maine anytime soon, Hallowell is a must.  I've written about it before, because I love that little town, plus you can always grab lunch at Slates.  Yum.

I should mention that the lockers were bright orange when we bought them, but they cost almost nothing, and I just spray painted them white.  Easy peasy.

The doctor's bag I bought at a flea market--probably Montsweag--and the old French house number I found in London at Spitalfield's Market.  Is it obvious by now that I am a flea market kind of magpie?  The shot below should seal the deal.  I love sparkle, and so you can always find bits of vintage sparkle around our bedroom, as well as the rest of the house.  Here it's hanging from an old metal hook in the wall.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into the sleeping loft.  I have a few more Christmasy photos to share later in the weekend, plus that Needham recipe, which probably sounds just awful, but I promise is delightful!  

Until then, sending a sleighful of Christmas cheer to you and yours.  xo Gigi


  1. Lovely, beautiful sleeping loft. I love the blue and white, and the branch with the little lights is perfect!

    Needhams are divine, you are correct about that. I grew up in Pittsfield, ME.. and when i 'grew up', moved to Portland to find work. :) It's where i met my husband. We now live in the other Portland, (OR) and love it here, but miss Maine a lot. Thank you so much for this glimpse into your life. And i look forward to that Needham recipe. Every year, when i was growing up, my Mum made them as gifts for neighbors...

    1. I met my husband in Portland, too, Mary, and we moved away for 20 years, but now we're back and happy to be here, although I dream about visiting your Portland someday soon!

      Needhams are simply sublime, and they do make a perfect gift. I'll be sharing them with friends and family over the next several days . . . if I can stop my husband from eating them all! :)

  2. What a cozy space you've created. I especially love your shoe shelf. Looks so cool.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. Thanks, Karen! Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

  3. Gigi, this is really cool. I couldn't be happier for you. Before I started reading what you've written, I was looking at the pictures, thinking how pretty this room looks and wondering who the creator of this cozy vignette might be. I got excited once I started reading, seeing the creator is YOU in your lovely home! How wonderful.

    Enjoy your pre-holiday weekend!


  4. Thank you so much, Keri! It's definitely a work in progress, but we are taking our time with it, adding things slowly. We'll eventually hang a few favorite pieces of art, but never very many, as we want this room to feel open and simple, never cluttered.

    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! Happy Holidays! xo

  5. Your room is so peaceful Gigi. I love the winter branch adorned with tiny lights. The 2nd photo made me think of angel you were being watched over in the night.
    The boots!!! The way you have them lined up on the shelf is as much art as function.
    Your beautiful space bathed in white...much like your beautiful life bathed in grace.
    Love to you sweet friend and Merriest of Merries :) xo

    1. Oh, Robin, it does feel like that at night! We love the branch, and I think it will remain up for a while after the holidays . . . just because. :) Sending the Merriest of Christmas wishes right back your way. xo

  6. Oh Gigi,
    Your home is looking must just love doing it up and then seeing the results. I even go outside at night to see what it looks like when we have been decorating !!
    Wishing you and your family and friends a wonderful Christmas and thank you for yet another year of blogging friendship. Enjoy every minute of the Christmas holidays. Much love. XXXX

  7. Hey Gigi, thanks for sharing such wonderful images from your new home ... it is always a joy when things come together this beautifully. I bet you're having so much fun finding just the right spot for the beloved shiny bling! I am in love with the branch & tiny lights over the bed, how brilliant is that?
    Wishing you and all your family a truly blessed Christmas and a calm & peaceful New Year.

  8. Such a beautiful home; such wonderful photographs!!
    love you!

  9. Your bedroom is just lovely. I love the stories behind the finds. Many things in my home also has a story. The lockers, boot collection, painted floor, suitcases, it is all just fun to see and so soothing in the colors chosen.

  10. At first glance I thought these were photos from magazines! How beautiful and cozy your home is Gigi:) I love it all!


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