I just shared the pair of gray and white ticking stripe slipcovered swivel chairs that arrived at my parents’ bay house.  And guess what arrived today?!  My mom just sent me a picture text of the finished sofa and slipcover, freshly delivered by the upholsterer!

the new slipcover

Doesn’t it look fabulous?!  The seamstress did an excellent job creating a form-fitting slipcover – the piping is perfect and the skirt matches the swivel chairs so well.

Want a reminder of what’s underneath?

what's under that new slipcover

It’s definitely an improvement – the navy floral was fine for their old living room in the Midwest, but wasn’t cutting it for a waterfront home!

I’m using my imagination to see how the sofa looks with the new chairs:

gray sofa + gray/white swivel chairs - now we need color!

I can’t wait to help her start pulling the rest of it together.  Next is a rug (I’m voting for one of Dash & Albert‘s great indoor/outdoor rugs), and of course pillows.  And a great chandelier to hang over the dining table (I’m thinking a red pagoda lantern, hmmmm).

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About a year ago, my parents very generously gave us the sectional couch in the living room of the Bay House so we could put it in our newly finished basement media room.  (Let me tell you – it is a PERFECT FIT!  I really ought to do a house tour…)  They had had it for a number of years but its yellow twill fabric wasn’t hiding the stains of constant visitors well, and the pieces of the sectional were constantly sliding apart on the hardwoods.  Around the same time as when they gave us the sectional, they also moved the last of their things back to Virginia, and ended up bringing whatever furniture didn’t fit there to the Bay House.

Hence why the living space at the Bay House now looks like it does right now: dark, heavy colors and fabrics totally not fitting in a summer house…and basically nothing to sit on!

view from entry (kitchen on right)

view from entry (kitchen behind and on right, den through the doors)

The whole back wall is covered in almost floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, fully taking in the view of the Bay and letting in tons of sunlight.  It’s kind of an awkward space to arrange furniture, it being a large open space with a million doors on all the walls, a big fireplace, and the kitchen opposite the wall of windows.

view from exit to porch

view from the exit to the porch (kitchen on right, den straight ahead)

So, for the past year, my mom has been trying to figure out what furniture to get and how in the world to arrange the space.  She wants to keep the wall color the same, start afresh with stuff hung on the walls, re-upholster or slipcover the existing sofa, and find comfortable and plentiful seating in a good arrangement.

view from den (kitchen on left, master straight ahead)

view from den (kitchen on left, master straight ahead)

Even though she was working with a shop in Kilmarnock (called The Pedestal – really cute store, pop in if you’re ever passing through!), she still couldn’t make up her mind.  So…decision-making daughter to the rescue!

The end of August, Husband and I went down to the Bay House for a sort of birthday weekend and to enjoy one of the last weekends of the summer.  Mom had been to The Pedestal recently and the gal she was working gave her stacks and stacks of suggested fabric books to go through.  It was time to be brutally efficient and just pick something out!!!

Wanna see what we came up with???

what i think we settled on!

do i hear oohs and ahhs?!

Now I am no fabric picker-outer expert by any means (please pipe up if you have opinions!), and the ones she came home with from the fabric shop were great, but look what we put together!

SOFA

The existing sofa was made by Hickory Chair and is still in fantastic shape – and really comfy.  Mom either wants to slipcover it or re-upholster it; the navy floral has got to go.  We’re both really into the yellow and gray combo seen everywhere these days, and since the walls are yellow and the counter tops and floor tile in the kitchen open to the living room are a dark gray, gray the sofa shall be!

Whereas the current sofa’s skirt is about 5 or 6 inches, we’ll give it a 10 inch pleated skirt.  Mmmmm.  We were looking for a fabulous gray linen/cotton blend with just a hint of brown…and we may have found just that in Duralee’s 31922 360 Ebony:

a gray linen-y fabric with a smidge of brown

a gray linen-y fabric with a smidge of brown

As far as arrangement goes, the sofa will stay basically where it currently sits.

SWIVEL CHAIRS

Seating!  We desperately need seating!!!  Opposite and facing the sofa, we want to put a pair of comfy swivel chairs, like these from Lee Industries (but NOT in this fabric):

a pair of chairs something like this

a pair of chairs something like this

Between it I put the Braiden Side Table from Crate & Barrel, pulling the blacks in the room but still keeping it airy.

And what fabric will these lovely chairs be covered in?  How about this dandy of a linen blend by Thibaut called Mizoram in Aqua, with a creamy white background a pretty blue floral print:

thibaut mizoram in pool

thibaut mizoram in aqua

here's a bigger view of the print

here's a bigger view of the print

Why aqua?!  Well, remember when she painted the entryway a spunky BM Bahamanian Blue?  This would go OH-so-nicely.

SETTEE + BENCH

Remember the wooden bench in the current pics?  Mom wants to keep it in the room, but it’s not very comfy.  So, we’ll get a cushy down-filled cushion to put on the seat (maybe some pretty ties tying it down?) made out of this fabulous pale linen blend by Robert Allen called Nick Nack in Biscotti:

wheaty linen for settee

wheaty linen for settee

The bench would stay in its current position, perpendicular to the sofa.  Across the seating area and facing the bench, I propose a little settee like the Olivia Settee from Pottery Barn, also covered in the same Robert Allen linen:

can you envision it upholstered in the pretty linen?

can you envision it upholstered in the pretty linen?

There is also a great Nate Berkus settee over at HSN for a steal of a price and in a pretty Pool or Twill color that might fit the bill:

a very possible option!

a very possible option!

PILLOWS + MORE

Pillows for this space will pull it all together, I think.  🙂  Remember that fantastic, glorious fabric I posted about a few weeks ago?  Well, it’ll take center stage in this design: Robert Allen’s Eleria print in Biscotti.  The neutral background coordinates perfectly with the fabric for the settee and bench cushion; the leaves go so well with the leaves in this print; the yellow of the flowers really pop with the yellow on the walls; and the pops of aqua are perfect with the print on the swivel chairs.

the piece de resistance

the piece de resistance

And the birds – the birds! – I just love them.  Such a touch of whimsy, but really adding more aqua to the mix.  And although she didn’t want oranges (she was open to red moreso), the coral-y orange really pulls in accent colors from existing artwork in the room, not to mention the crab pot buoys (usually bright orange and yellow) that they frequently find washed up on the shore!

eleria, i love you!

isn't this fantastic?!

I would also love Mom to use this fabric as a pleated cafe curtain in the kitchen.  LOVE IT!

Mom also has a big yellow, tonal striped, floral fabric remnant of some unknown maker, seen in the background here, which would also make some fun pillows:

bringing in that yellow!

bringing in that yellow!

Other pillows will be covered in this sweet stripe by Thibaut called Popeil in Marine – I just love the little embroidered nubs on it (actually the pic above shows a better representation of the actual color of this fabric):

stools/bench in front of fireplace?

every room needs a stripe!

She also wants some low-profile pieces in front of the fireplace, since it’s a traffic zone but could use some seating.  This fabric could then also be used for a pair (or three?) of upholstered stools in front of the fireplace, maybe ones like these X stools from Pottery Barn:

a perfect perch by the fire in winter

a perfect perch by the fire in winter

The gal at The Pedastal also suggested a couple of upholstered cubes or small benches, but the jury’s still out on whether to go for it.  Maybe she’ll just wait for some “found” item…like with washed up driftwood for a base?  We shall see!

RUG

I haven’t quite made up my mind on this one, but I kind of love this 8.5′ x 11’pale aqua diamond indoor/outdoor rug by Dash & Albert:

a little geometric flair!

a little geometric flair!

I’m not sure it will be big enough for the space, but I love that it is a sort of neutral coordinating blue in a geometric pattern.  And the fact that it’s an indoor/outdoor rug makes it a bazillion times more appealing for this oft-traveled space.

COFFEE TABLE

Did you think I could just leave it at fabrics?!  🙂  I’d looooooove to see this modern and airy lucite coffee table from CB2 centered right in front of the sofa.  I think it would be perfect for this space, not letting your eyes rest on a heavy piece of furniture, but outside to the view!  This beaut is a clear winner (har har har)!

ooh la la!

ooh la la!

So what do you think?  Are we on the way to a good combo of fabrics for this waterside retreat???  Let me remind you of how it’ll all look together:

methinks i like it!

methinks i like it!

Mom was super grateful for a second set of eyes to help pick out fabrics to get a looks she wants!  Well and for me too, since we spend so much time there in the summers!

I’d love any feedback or suggestions!

We’re celebrating the long 4th of July weekend at my parents’ place on the Chesapeake Bay – lots of steamed crabs, sunning, sailing, and lounging is on the agenda!  We try to get down here every chance we get during the summer; summer just doesn’t seem right to me when it’s not spent on the water.

After a day covered in sunscreen and salt water, what better way to freshen up than by taking a shower, right?!  But why go inside and miss the views when you can use an outdoor shower?!  Rarely will you hear one of the showers going inside the Bay House during the summer when you can suds up outside in this:

showering au natural

showering au natural

The shower, installed when my parents did a complete gut renovation on the house, was a #1 must-have feature, its function and “oh my gosh am I really showering outside like this?!” remembered from many a summer shower spent in Outer Banks beach house outdoor showers.

Not to mention that the shower blends in so well with the rest of the house, showcasing the same silver tin roof and detailed trim work.  No detail was overlooked – see that towel hook made from a tree branch or the special decoration of a shell (found all over the shoreline) adorning the door?

fun detailing

fun detailing

(In the background is the screenhouse, which I’ll post about later at some point…!)

another shot of the shower

another shot of the shower

Who could blame you for wanting to shower outside if this was the view?

how's that for a view?!

how's that for a view?!

How was your Memorial Day weekend?  I am so grateful to have had such a RELAXING weekend at my parents’ place on the Chesapeake Bay…  We go there every chance we get, and long weekends are especially nice.  Husband slept for 12 hours each of the first two nights (he seriously needed it) and I got some good sleep in myself.

Saturday was CHILL.  All we did was lounge, read books and magazines (me, my perpetual stack of decorating magazines, Husband the Atlantic or the Economist) on the porch and dock, and eat too much.  It’s pretty easy to relax when this is the view from the rocking chair:

sittin' by the dock of the bay...watchin' the time roll away...

sittin' by the dock of the bay...watchin' the tide roll away...

Sunday we crewed for my dad as he sailed his boat back to the house after a long-distance race the day before – I think we were on the sailboat for something like 8 hours.  Let’s be honest, I love me some sailing, but I read the whole time and didn’t help much!  Monday we were up early, and I did an 18-mile bike ride with my dad before packing up to leave…then braved traffic on I-95 (one word: gross).  All in all, it was a weekend the doctor ordered.

On Saturday between reading on the porch and reading on the dock, I did one of my more favorite things down there: hunt for shells.  My parents’ place is technically on a river that feeds into the Chesapeake (and not actually ON the Chesapeake), and there are TONS of ancient shells covering the beach area.  Most people wouldn’t put “shells” and “river” in the same sentence, but apparently the whole area used to be covered in ocean, so there’s lots of really old sea life to be found!

those are SHELLS, people!

those are all SHELLS, people!

One of the cliffs to the side of the property is slowly eroding…a bummer since the owners of the cliff will eventually “roll the bank” – meaning it will be gently sloped from 30-40 back from the water’s edge and wrapped in rip-rap (rock) to prevent further erosion, as will the profusion of new shells on the bech.  The good part about the cliff eroding is that new (to us) shells are constantly being unearthed from the base of the cliff.

shells seeing the light of day for the first time in about a million years

shells seeing the light of day for the first time in about a million (or five) years

Back in college, my geologist friend (or rock nerd, right Matt?) informed me that the shell most commonly seen on the beach area here is called the Chesapecten Jeffersonius, Virginia’s state fossil and named after the Chesapeake Bay and Thomas Jefferson.  Supposedly it’s like 4-5 million years old.  Hoo-wee!

there's the TJ shell

there's the TJ shell

TJ's close-up

TJ's close-up

In addition to the TJ shells (which we find in all sizes – from a big grapefruit to a thumbnail), we find hunks of coral, clam shells (including those funny tube clams that look like cigarettes), oyster shells, and the occasional sea sponge.

sponges and mini TJ shells

sponge and mini TJ shells

all sorts of shell finds

all sorts of shell finds

We find so many of the TJ shells that my parents give every house guest one at the end of their stay to remind them of their relaxing time at the bay.  I still think it’s crazy that I find more shells here than I do on real beaches at Virginia Beach…!

I have a fun project in mind that I’ll hopefully have time to work on this summer using some of my latest shell finds, and which I will of course share whenever it’s done!