Recently I read on a decorating blog that people are paying more attention to light fixtures than ever before.   It used to be that people wanted a nice fixture over the dining room and perhaps a nice one in the hallway but were satisfied with the typical builder’s fixtures throughout the house.   Now, people put chandeliers in bedrooms and bathrooms and look for interesting light fixtures that express their personality.  This is certainly true for me!

In planning the new house, I have spent a lot of time picking out antique and new fixtures for each room.  The downstairs and upstairs hall and the downstairs bathroom have a marine theme.


I fell in love with this converted ship’s lantern from Culver’s Antiques in Berlin Maryland.  It will go in the downstairs hallway.

Three of these brass Visual Comfort lights are going in the upstairs hall.

brass flush mount

Marine flush mountThis is the downstairs bathroom light in polished nickel.  It is also from Visual Comfort.   There are matching sconces for each side of the vanity mirror.

marine wall light

I selected an antique chandelier for the family room, also from Culver’s.


white chandelier

Back to Visual Comfort for the library where I selected a brass chandelier and matching wall sconce.

Visual Comfort brass chandelier


kitchen lightdining room chandelier

And above are the kitchen light and the dining room light.   Nickle on right side of the downstairs, brass on the left!

We have two fan lights for the two guest rooms upstairs.  We had gotten them for the porch at our rental house but the ceiling is so low that they couldn’t be used.   That leaves us with a new purple Crystorama light for the master bedroom and another lovely antique blue chandelier from Culver’s.


purple chandelierblue chandelier

So hopefully, this won’t be too many different fixtures but rather ones that each complements its room or area. .


Catching Up

It has been over a year since I posted.   I have been frustrated by the slow progress on the Cleveland Street house but things seem to be moving now and I want to show what has been happening.   Early in 2014, Breeze Construction rebuilt the front porch and redid all the windows except for in the addition.



It took awhile to find a Class A contractor who could square off the back of the house but we went with Drew Jorgensen this summer and could not be happier.

French doorsThe new back of the house.  The French doors are solid cherry.

Steve used an architecture program to design the new rooms.    The part of the house which contained the kitchen and the only bathroom (back right) was redesigned as a larger kitchen.  The kitchen is partially open to the dining room. The hall was extended into a 6 by 12 bathroom.   A family room was added on the back next to the living room to the left of the bathroom.  Upstairs we extended the hall another three feet so that the third bedroom could have it own entrance.   Previously it could only be entered from the adjoining bedroom.  We put closets between the two bedrooms.   Beyond the hall we added a 6 by 9 bathroom.   To the left of the bathroom we added a new bedroom and put closets between it and the adjoining bedroom.   To sum up, we now have a four bedroom, two bathroom house with a family room.    We went from a 1472 square foot house to a 2048 square foot house, not counting the porch.

Around Christmas, we were finally ready for the septic system to be installed and now that is done.  The HVAC system and the electrical work are nearly done.   Then we can get the house inspected and start on the inside walls, ceilings and floors.

kitchen electrical workElectrical work in the kitchen

I wanted a beach color for the siding.  I looked and look for a pale turquoise color with a hint of green and finally found it in CertainTeed’s new Bermuda Blue.   The color is too blue on my screen. Imagine it just a little closer to sea foam.  The siding should be finished soon.

 Bermuda blue


Renovation Progress


The house has been lifted and the foundation will be finished on Monday.  The house will come down and rest on the foundation in the picture.  The transom and side windows around the front door are original to the house and I was hoping they would not crack.  So far so good!

Harry White and his crew have been busy repairing the wood on the sides of the house   Here is a close up view of the termite damage on the front left cover of the house.


This interior pictures shows the repair work that has had to be done.   Rotted and/or termite eaten posts were cut off, replacement ends made, and new posts were placed along side as reinforcement.  Boards were replaced with plywood.



A lot of internal scaffolding had to be put into place to reinforce the house.


We have decided to square off the back of the house and add more space.    That will give us a larger kitchen downstairs, a bigger bathroom, and a sunroom.   Maybe we can squeeze in a mudroom.   We can put in a bathroom upstairs, another bedroom and some closet space.   Old Chincoteague houses seldom have any closets.   There are three bedrooms now but one can only be entered through another bedroom.  Extending the upstairs hall will change that.  Not sure what to do with the roof line.   We could slope it down or maybe twin peaks would look better?

The house has only a two bedroom septic system and has since before the implementation of a new septic code.   Once a bedroom is added or if work on the house of any kind adds up to half the value of the house, you must come into compliance.   This means a new septic system which we have contracted for and paid a down payment.   The costs of this project are clearly going to exceed all the budgeting I did.

The Beauty of Chincoteague

Night Heronblack crowned night heron. 

All pictures taken by Steve Ireland

I have loved Chincoteague, Virginia for forty years now.  When we decided to buy a house here, everyone I talked to advised against it.  “You’ll get tired of it but since you put out all that money you’ll feel obliged to keep going.  If you don’t you’ll feel guilty.   And this will cut way down on travel.  Why have a house in one place when you can use the money to go to many places instead?”   It’s sensible advice but I am glad we decided to ignore it.  After two and a half years, we are still not tired of Chincoteague and we weren’t going to be traveling anyway.   Steve and I are sticks in the mud and he never seems to get any time off of work.   (He took a whole day off for our wedding!).  We got internet service and he can telecommute.

We live in ‘town’ – just one block from Main Street – but we see wildlife in our backyard all the time.   Deer, raccoons, white and black ibis, Canada geese, and cattle egrets plus the ubiquitous mallards who walk all over town stopping traffic and hoping someone has crackers.   We can walk to the grocery store, the downtown shops, and the water park.

glossy black ibisglossy black ibis

The town is connected by bridge to the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague National Seashore.  We love to go nature watching.   Every year, a pair of eagles raises two eaglets.   The endangered Delmarva fox squirrel abounds here.   Water birds are everywhere, herons, egrets, terns, sea gulls, and sandpipers.  And of course, the Chincoteague ponies.

little blue heronlittle blue heron


I can’t imagine that we will ever get tired of Chincoteague.

Renovating our Chincoteague Home, part two

Willow Street house

And more renovations!  Our master bedroom was done in a dark combination of hunter green and red.  The walls were a thin paneling overlaid with wallpaper.   The paneling was so thin we couldn’t even hang up a picture.  The ceiling was made up of tiles.

master bedroom

We had our contractor, It’s a Breeze Construction, pull out all the paneling and ceiling tiles and replace them with drywall.  They pulled up the carpeting and replaced it with Brazilian cherry flooring.   I choose a beautiful periwinkle color for the walls.   I looked for the right color for two years and found it with Valspar Promise.  One nice feature that we kept are the back steps.   Many of the Chincoteague homes were build with back steps and ours is no exception.  The stairs go from the family room up unto the master bedroom.  I was tempted to get rid of them and gain wall and floor space but contractor Glenn Wargo reminded me that I bought the house for its charm.  He was right.

master bedroom renovate

The family room was even more unattractive.  The ceilings are low in this house as is often the case for the older Chincoteague homes.   The floor joists were exposed as was the floor above.  The boards that made up the floor above were rough cut and partially white washed and it looked awful.  The bottom half of the wall was beadboard which had cracked and been clumsily repaired many times over the years.  The rest of the wall was plaster.  It was crumbling and held together with pansy wallpaper.  The pine floor was in good shape except that it had been badly repaired in one place where a structure had been removed and we would need to replace some of the wood after we removed a large vent that was no longer needed.   So we again went with the Brailian cherry floor.  The wall was torn out and replaced with drywall painted Valspar bistro white.  We left the floor joists but put in some beadboard painted white in between the joists.

dining or family roomwhen we bought the house

family room update1after renovating

The furniture in the family room came from Johnny Janosik in Laurel, Delaware.  It was the only furniture store I could find that sold furniture that I wanted.  I seem to be out of step these days.  Everything seems to be in shades of beige and grey and black.   I like jewel tones and beach colors!  The sofa is from LaZBoy.  Both ends recline and the back of the middle seat pulls down.  The pillows  match the chair in another corner of the room. The braided rug came from Avalon Flooring in Wilmington, Delaware.  It has all the colors of the room, dark blue, light blue, beige, and white.  The blue lamps are handpainted with shells and are made by Wildwood.   I waited a year for them but it was worth it!  I don’t care for most lamps that are being produced these days but I love Wildwood’s.

Wildwood Blue Sea Shells Lamp

There are some very special things in this picture.  The beautiful seagull on the table and the wonderful duck on the end table were hand carved by my late father in law Pat Ireland.  I never got to meet him but my mother-in-law tells me that my husband Steve is very like him, both in appearance and personality so I feel like I know him.  The coffee table was my mothers and I think it is perfect for this room.  She never got to see this house but there are things she loved here.

family room update2another corner of the family room

In this corner of the family room is the shell chair I fell in love with.   As you can see, I forgot to remove the tag before taking the picture.  I’ve been collecting shell pictures by artist Christopher Thornock and this seemed like a perfect place for them.  The curtains came from Country Curtains.   I was thrilled to find curtains which combined white, beige, and blue.

family room update3

This is the first piece of furniture we bought at Johnny Janosik’s.  How can you not love a chair and ottoman with water birds on it?   The whale was hand carved by Ed Kuhn. The back stairs to the master bedroom are to the right.

Renovations on the Chincoteague Home we Live in

I started off this blog by telling you about the first house we bought in Chincoteague, the one we live in about 40 percent of the time.  We are still working on it but we’ve made a lot of progress. Here is another room renovation.

downstairs bedroom

This is the downstairs guestroom when we bought the house.  Again you can see the  fake fireplace which surrounds the drywalled over brick column associated with the old coal stove used to heat the room back in the 1920s.  Very few of the old Chincoteague style homes have had these columns removed.   Most people chose the fake fireplace as a solution.  The walls were plaster, covered with wallpaper, covered with a paint textured to look like stucco.   It was peeling badly.

downstairs bedroom during reno

After we peeled off the wallpaper, we found that the plaster had deteriorated to a chalklike consistency so we had it removed.  We then noticed the knob and tube wiring.  Our electrician, Dale Holston, rewired the room.  Our contractor, Glenn Wargo of It’s a Breeze Construction, drywalled the room and put in a new Brazilian cherry floor.  We painted the walls and ceiling and Breeze Construction painted the woodwork.

guest room at Willow StMy stepdaughter Nichole picked out the rug.  It’s not something I would have thought of using (I used braided rugs in the rest of the house) but it was a great choice.   It’s a fake fur which feels great on your feet when you step out of bed.  The color is a perfect match.

You can’t see the curtains in this picture but they are one of the things I most love about the room.   They are lace with a pattern of seashells all over them.  The valances have glass beads and real shells.  I got them at Country Curtains (picture courtesy of Country Curtains).

seashell curtains

And the Renovation Begins

Cleveland work4

Work has begun on the Cleveland Street home.  First some good news!  Our wonderful new neighbor Judy has adopted the cat so we don’t have to worry about whether she is getting enough to eat when we are not on the island.  The bad news is that the whole process of preparing the house to be lifted and then lifting it and putting in a new foundation will cost much more than I budgeted.   Apparently the contract I signed covers just lifting the house, not all the work involved in preparing to do so which I failed to understand.  And redoing the interior will almost certainly cost more than I planned.  I am going to treat this as a learning experience though and hopefully I won’t have to put more into the house than it will be worth when finished!

Cleveland gutted

The house is gutted on the first floor and will need to be on the second.

cleveland work1

Lifting will take place this week.  In preparation steel bars are being inserted into holes cut in the side of the house.

Cleveland work2

The kitchen, bathroom, and a small hallway are gone which has given us some ideas about how to remodel the downstairs.  We are hoping to get a permit to square off the back of the house  (see the above picture) but it will have to go to the town of Chincoteague and the Board of Health because of concerns about the capacity of the septic system.  If we can get the permit, we can have a larger kitchen and bathroom plus a laundry room downstairs and a bathroom and a large closet upstairs.