Empty Nest Downsizing – Double-Duty Furniture

In my other life I would have been an organizer.  It’s my OCD thing, and I have tricked out our little 962sf flat of ours to be as comfortable and functional, even though less capacity, as our just-moved from 5500sf family home.  Challenging? Yes. Exhausting? Yes.  But, oh so freeing!  The most difficult part of downsizing is going through years of accumulation (we are a military family used to moving every 1-3 years, so this home got quite comfortable in 12 years).  Then, deciding WHAT you need and want that will FIT in the smaller home and still feel like you have a life and options.  This process was somewhat easier for us because we put the rest of what didn’t come to the apartment into storage since we will still need it to go into our Tennessee home we have yet to buy.  So, this downsize wasn’t the end state, but a transition into a smaller apartment and a second home. The process would be a lot more entailed and involved if permanently moving into one and smaller home.  However, this flat is our full-time home now, and will be lived in more than our TN home for quite a while so has to be set up for full-time living.  This move has altered our Tennessee home search in that we realize smaller is better in so many ways, so a BIG home is off our grid.  Ideally, larger than our current flat for future family gatherings, of course.  Right now, we can fit perhaps 6-8 people for cocktails, and dinner is off the table (pun intended) unless for four or perhaps buffet style.  So, since we are fresh off the downsize, I decided to share pros and cons and advice to help any other future “empty nester downsizers” out there.  Topics I’ll cover are organization, apartment selection, storage, furniture selection, accessories and decor, and a few others perhaps.  Most pros/designers would agree, I think, on several elements, but I contest a few popular rules of thought since in the end, YOU have to enjoy and love your space…and if dark is your preference over the much-touted light, go for it!  So, let’s start with the BIG one.  Furniture.

Furniture selection is, arguably, the biggest aspect of downsizing.  Organization could potentially rival this but I have tied that in with furniture in so many ways that I consider furnishings to be the most important consideration when bringing or purchasing to the new, smaller space.  Ideally, most of the furniture should perform double-duty.  Storage and function, beauty and use, visual and physical spacing, and so on need to be high on the list.  We were fortunate that we did not need to purchase any furnishings except the dreaded over the toilet cabinet (I’ll touch on that in another segment) and a chair that pulls out to a twin bed, but that means I had to carefully work out spacing and dimensions, in addition to usage and design.  We quickly decided on an English vibe accented with vintage Turkish decor, so those furnishings were the ones we “blended” from several rooms in our sold home and are pieces we’ve acquired from years of travel (and some inherited pieces as well).  I’ll touch on other elements later, but for now let’s focus with the double-duty pieces and in the main living space for this post.

Flat Topped Chest as a Coffee Table – great storage and function.

COFFEE TABLE:  Although many designers choose open coffee tables (visually non-blocking) like lucite or glass and open bases, I have often prefer ones with storage (that word again).  The space was too small for my preferred map-chest coffee table so we chose the flat-top chest that was in our family room.  It’s lighter in wood to break up the dark browns, and has great storage!  It currently houses our balcony blankets with room for items we need to keep out of sight with minimal needed access.  I placed a tray on top along with accessories like a lantern, and it can also double as a “seat” if needed when we scoot the table out from the window to accommodate more seats.

Round Table to soften the lines

TABLE:  This vintage Italian table was the first element I knew I wanted to bring to the flat.  There is a “bar” in the kitchen which serves as a pass through as well, so there is no designated dining room.  We used this table as a card/game and cocktails table in the past, and set it up as that currently with quick and easy access as dining for two by the window  .  Visually, the round shape softens all the hard-lines of the square and rectangle furniture in the room, and the open base allows the eye to visually continue to the window making the space feel more open and larger.  It’s also easy to move the table away from the window to fit four for dining.  We have an extra “desk” chair to bring out for this if needed.  I haven’t figured out what to do with the lamp yet when we do have to move for four…I may end up getting another chandelier, but for this rare occasion, it’s not a priority.  We can have our coffee and drinks here looking at the views of the ponds, eat dinner, play games, and use it for another important task, especially during COVID work-from-home, as an alternate workspace should one of us need the study/office for phone meetings, etc.  The location isn’t the intended dining area, which is nearer the kitchen, but this layout is a much better flow and the table opens up the window space.

Double Duty Dresser – Bar, Buffet and Storage

DRESSER/BAR/BUFFET:  This dresser is an antique French piece that was earlier used as our TV base and we never used the drawers for storage…we didn’t need them in the big house.  But, now it’s our bar since the TV is over the fireplace mantle (another thing I don’t prefer, but for the space and art, and physical layout of TV watching capability, over the mantle it went).  The dresser could also be a buffet (that we don’t need since we have the “bar/pass through”).  The drawers provide ample storage for our table linens, wine accoutrement, large platters, trays and games.  And we still have room since we chose carefully about what to bring here.  Who needs 48 napkins and placemats in a flat for two?  Pretty art (another topic) and blingy lighting make it a destination and much-used piece.  Or would that be the booze? ;o)

Small Dresser as end table with storage


END TABLE/DRESSER:  This little French piece I purchased years ago from a French woman in DC who was moving back to Paris and selling all her French things and keeping her American ones!  Gasp!  It provides the needed end table for lighting and pretty things, and houses our candles, games, books/magazines.  Similar style to the other dresser to keep the aesthetic pulled-together.  It anchors the sofa and is a great bridge between the chair and sofa, also defining the “living” space.  I have pillows on the floor behind that chair for color and decor that emphasizes the Turkish and cozy vibe.  Textiles are some of the best ways to tie in themes and color, and to provide a soft edge to all the hard lines.  And, they are functional since these are the big floor pillows, so great for those extra guests or lounging on the floor.  Although, kilim pillows aren’t exactly the softest on the skin…but they are sturdy.

Narrow Foyer Cabinet as focal point and dish storage

TALL AND NARROW CABINET:  The vintage Korean cabinet was used to store all our rice china in our previous dining room.  That china (amongst a LOT of dishes….oh that is so another topic) is in storage, but it was almost not a keeper for this space until I realized I needed a cabinet to put our everyday and much used dishes and silverware.  There was not enough cabinet space in the kitchen (is there ever?) and those cabinets were heavily competed for to store bulkier kitchen items and appliances.  I had a plan for the glasses, instant pot, blender, tupperware bowls, pots and pans, mixing bowls and platters, bakeware…again, I will touch on those in another post.  But, for now this sweet little THIN and TALL cabinet fit oh so perfectly at the end of the foyer as a great focal point, didn’t block any access to the living space or the study, and visually draws the eye in.  It conveniently stores the everyday dishes we use, which is right around the corner from the kitchen.  Quick and easy to grab from the kitchen or to the table and frees up much needed kitchen cabinet space for every day items that I use frequently and within easy reach of the stove and cooking areas.

I hope this helps those who are anticipating a downsize move in the future or who are struggling with the decision process!  If this process seems daunting or you have no time, come talk to me about how I can help!  Future posts of the “downsize” process and suggestions will hopefully help as well!

Until then, smile and make life fun. The “move” is only a blip of hard work and hard decisions, but the end is oh so worth it.  B


Customer Appreciation Ladies Night

We at the Rust and Refind Artisan Market love our customers.  We know that, without you, there would be no market.  And, without you, we wouldn’t enjoy what we do half as much.  We could each have our own business at our home, sell online, and probably have much less stress in our lives.  But, we would have messier homes if our “studio” was there, we wouldn’t have the “get away” place that we all strive for to turn off work and, most importantly, we would not have the chance to meet you.  To chat and get to know you.  To interact.  And I, personally, enjoy the physical interaction and the physical vignette and setting up shop and seeing things displayed much more than the buying and selling. 

During COVID, small business and customers have had to deal with more than their fair share of angst and struggle.  We want to show you how much we appreciate you…your continuing to work with our adjustments to deal with COVID guidelines and how much you hang in there with us as we try new things and say good-bye to others.  We are ready to fall forward full speed…with weather, with decor, and hopefully with less restrictions and much more normal.  On that note, we are putting a twist on our September artisan market.  As last year, we will still have a mini-September outdoor market on Saturday and/or Sunday for local food, beverage and artisan product vendors (please contact us if you want to set up a space), BUT we will only be open on FRIDAY from 4-7pm for a special Ladies Night autumn preview for our email customers only.  (Please get on our email list if you are not already).  Come Sip$Shop …enjoy some down time while browsing before heading off to family and/or friend events, dinners etc.  We would love to see you.  Follow our  September Artisan Market Facebook Event  for updates.  Consider giving each artisan a follow and like on Facebook and Instagram…you will get sneak peaks at new products and what we are up to!  We open Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 12-5!  Let’s hope the weather is a perfect fall day to enjoy wine country, a hike, or just getting out and spending the day outside.

Until then, smile and make life fun.  B

Forever & Always Vintage

Morga Studio

Allison Shortmeyer Interiors

Vintage Revival Design Co.

Katie Did Designs


Private Shopping by Appointment, Square Gift Cards and Customer DIY Show and Tell

Dang, is this COVID-19 thing over yet?  If there is one positive thing about this crisis (and I do believe there are a few) it’s that many of us, myself included, are using the time to learn to do new things, or in better ways.  I’m still working the online shop (an alternative to my Etsy shop), but I’ve patted myself on the back a few times this past week with finished projects including making it easier for our customers to shop the #rustandrefindartisanmarket during the COVID government restrictions.  Not only am I accessible every Wednesday and Saturday 11-2 for walk-in and regular curbside and contactless pickups of items we post throughout the week, but you can always make an appointment based on mutual availability by calling or messaging me AND now you can book online HERE.


SHOP DIGITALLY – BUY A GIFT CARD NOW. And, understandably, customer hesitation to shop due to the mandates, health concerns and financial uncertainty during these last couple of months means small business loss of income, sales, lack of customer interaction and product turnover.  We’ve made it easier and safer for you to shop from home, or in store.   We are now offering digital gift cards for both gift giving and buy now/shop later…even better?  Click BUY A DIGITAL GIFT CARD now through 30 April and get a special discount.

CUSTOMER HIGHLIGHT/SHOW AND TELL. Our customers are DIY-ing their way through quarantine using many of our products available at the shop.  Two of them wanted to update their tile floors by painting, so we’re sharing Tina’s bathroom floor update this week, and will show Tracy’s sunroom floor in the next blog.  The biggest recommendation is to have patience, to properly prep/clean, and more patience (and maybe some wine).  Painting a tile or vinyl floor can be a much less invasive and costly endeavor and is a DIY-able project for any homeowner.  We offer a variety of paint, stencil, topcoat products to get the job done…and professional, recommendations.  But, we are highlighting TINA’s step by step process and her oops in what and how she painted her bathroom tile floor so that our customers can relate with another customer trying this the first time. Here’s here step by step process:

  1.  Cleaned floor with vacuum and then mopped with TSP.  Tried to avoid bringing cat hair back into the room (we can relate Tina)
  2. Two coats of primer (XIM UMA) **this product available at Rust and Refind**.  That was day one (cutting in took the longest).  Waited three hours between coats.
  3. Day Two: THREE coats of Paint Couture Arctic White **Rust and Refind is a Paint Couture Retailer** (I probably only needed two coats but it’s an old floor so I felt better with three).  Waited four hours between coats. **We recommend 2 coats on floors, but more is an option**
  4. Day Three:  Began Stamp (IOD stamps available at Vintage Revival Design Co.) Made a few mistakes and decided to paint over the errors.  I took advantage of the error and decided to add a “field of gray” (mix of Paint Couture Arctic White and British Grey).  I taped off the area that would have the design.  LET THAT SIT OVERNIGHT.  I thought the gray was too dark so I did a white wash over it.
  5. Day Four: Stamp round two.  Realized I had the brayer to transfer the paint from the IOD stamp to the floor.  The stamp design was painted in Paint Couture Midnight Blue.  It took about four stamps in to get the hang of the stamping–it was easier for me to stand to place the stamp so I had a better view.
  6. Once the stamp paint was dry, I pulled up the tape and painted a midnight blue line around the edge to give it a finished area rug look.
  7. FINAL DAY: 3 coats of topcoat ***This product available at both Rust and Refind and Vintage Revival Design Co.  and we do recommend three coats for floors)***.  The topcoat used for this project was Wise Owl One-Hour Enamel Satin Finish.

It took her many days – each day was really only a little over an hour (except stamping day – that was a little longer).  Tina chose to do an area rug style as she didn’t want to deal with the partial stamps or work around the commode.  The vanity was also painted in Paint Couture Midnight Blue.  She admits to a small mistake on one stencil but decided to leave it.  Her take-aways:  take your time, time to let coats dry, time to line up the stamps, and don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  Tools used:  3/8 nap 4 1/2″ roller for the floor paint and to apply to the stamp.  She used a foam roller for the top coat.  Used a Swiffer to clean the floor just prior to applying the topcoat, and in between coats (darned that cat) and recommends doing that after the paint coats dry and before applying other coats (something tells us that cat shed a LOT).  ;o).  I think her hard work paid off…her bathroom looks fantastic, don’t you think?

Work in Progress and an OOPS!






That’s it for now friends!  It was a busy project week and lots to catch up on.  Let us help you DIY your way to a beautiful home and add another chapter to your story!  Your Home, Your Story.  I hope to see you soon…miss everyone!

Until then, Smile and Make Life Fun.


Easter Tablescape, ONLINE and IN STORE Shopping with Curbside Pick Up & Delivery, Plus DIY Wood Tray

EASTER/SPRING TABLESCAPE. How was your COVID Easter?  It’s sad that it has a depressing name associated with it, but I am grateful for my daughter and her boyfriend being here with Mr. Rust and Refind and I to celebrate and be thankful for the health that both my daughters, my family, and those closest to us currently have.  Having dinner for four when many were alone was a blessing indeed.  I maximized the occasion by (1) taking a break from all the cooking and supporting a local restaurant that just opened, The Black Sheep Restaurant by ordering our Easter Dinner from them.  It was fabulous…they delivered (contactless) and the spread was bountiful and delicious, (2) finally went out briefly to buy some perennials to fill my front burm and supported another local business, Merrifield Garden Center, Fairfax.  Please don’t yell at me about social distancing.  We have minimized our ventures out and practiced good Social Distancing and Stay At Home,  had gloves and masks, and were in and out! and (3) I used the fresh florals as my Easter table centerpiece BEFORE I plant them this week.  I simply tucked them in a vintage dough bowl, layered a couple faux greenery garlands (also purchased at Merrifield) over a linen and burlap runner, and added a wooden Easter Bunny that was a gift to my daughters from their grandparents when our girls were little.  I took out floral china I haven’t used in years, and used twig placemats that signified the Crown of Thorns, and green Italian charger plates for signifying new life.

Easter Tablescape

Prime Rib from The Black Sheep Restaurant

Easter Dinner from The Black Sheep Restaurant

Easy, Simple and quick for any one to do, and has such a splash that is worthy of celebrating this holy day or any occasion without letting the events surrounding us weigh too heavily.  I felt so happy being able to do this, and I know my family was very appreciative of the efforts. We watched Easter services on TV and Andrea Bocelli’s concert at the Duomo in Milano was breathtaking.  It was a semblance of normality.


With the festivities over, it’s back to business…well, as much as business currently allows us.  I will remind everyone that we will continue with COVID-19 mandates and hope to resume normal and full operation soon.  We are posting our products daily where you can purchase in a myriad of ways, and we provide contactless curbside pickup, local delivery and shipping.  Curbside pickups are Wednesday and Saturday 11-2, and we also accept appointments to view and pick up.  We wear masks and gloves, and continue to sanitize the shop.  We offer DIY Kits to mail out to your home as well.  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.


As we continue to steer through the current events, we are all stepping up our online shops (Etsy and Website), and how-to videos, too!  Check out our feature artisan this week, Cathy of Forever and Always Vintage as she shows you how she transforms a cabinet door into a tray.


She is our resident UPCYCLER and does magic with everyday objects and transforms them into new uses like a TV into a wine bar (SOLD), or a cabinet door into a tray using IOD transfers and handles.  Want to learn how to do your own?  Check out how to Upcycle your own wood tray here.

The Rust and Refind Artisan Market hosts 6 artisans, interior designers and fine artists and we continue to strive to be your local go-to home interiors, design, gift, and DIY shop.  We offer vintage, European, antique, upcycled, painted, and custom work and are retailers of Paint Couture, Saltwash, General Finishes, Howard Products, Wise Owl and IOD products.  All these can be purchased in store, curbside, online, and shipped.  We hope to help you make your home beautiful, and continue to tell your story through things you collect along the way.  We miss seeing you, but hope to see you all again soon.

Until then, smile and make life fun.  B



COVID-19 Stay at Home Activities and Things to Do

The artisans at the #rustandrefindartisanmarket are hunkering down and getting creative with ways to bring our product, tutorials and project kits to you…either by curbside pickup, local delivery and/or shipping.  We, like the rest of the world, are pivoting. And, we are mastering our own stay at home activities, too.

Michele Of Vintage Revival Design Co.

Michele of Vintage Revival Design Co.


Vintage Revival Design Co Stair Painting

Stair Painting

Michele of Vintage Revival Design Co.has been painting her front door and stairs using Wise Owl Paint Products.  She is the Wise Owl and IOD retailer at the market, and has been working on adding workshops and tutorials to her repetoire.  So, not only is she using her time wisely by updating her home, she is combining that effort with a tutorial for you.  Want to try at home?  Follow her  Vintage Revival Design Co Facebook page for updates and to see the video on how to paint your stairs, check out her tutorial here How To Stamp and Paint Stair Risers.

Katie of Katie Did Designs

Katie at home painting.

Katie, Katie Did Designs has enjoyed “the blessings of #stayathome” by having time to do things she normally wouldn’t…like taking an oil painting class online from Miss Mustard Seed and she got to enjoy that time with her daughters.  Learning and Enjoying family time…another two-fer!  I’m sure you’ll see some of her new talents in the shop, soon, too!

Art a la Katie Did and Family

Cathy in action behind the scenes

More catchup on the behind-the-scenes for Cathy, Forever and Always Vintage who is enjoying painting and upcycling and taking the time to stage and take photos.  Let me tell you, all these extra steps in bringing our product to you take so. much. time.  And, alas, hate it or love it, the time at home and mandatory restrictions are allowing some serious hunkering down project catch ups.

Maria Morga Art

Maria of Morga Studio Is in her home in DC …painting.  Well, that is her “job”…she’s our resident Fine Artist and has been spending time in her studio painting.  She’s also getting to enjoy a bit more time to ride her bicycle…at a safe social distance, of course. Check her  Painting in Action



Seaglass Workshop

How to create a Seaglass effect on Glass

And, yours truly?  I have enjoyed time off with my daughter and her boyfriend, who are both seniors at the University of Tennessee, but here taking their online courses. My husband is “hunkering” in his basement office and I see him only slightly more than normal since he seems to be (and probably is) working harder than at his away office.  I am cooking more.  Probably having a little more cocktails.  And, working on my online website shop, catching up on painting project pieces, social media-ing more for our customers to bring pictures of our product to you since you can’t come to us, and have been working on how-to videos like this second Saltwash Seaglass workshop. I am a Paint Couture PaintSaltwashGeneral Finishes , and Howard Products retailer.

Check it out here. Saltwash Seaglass How-To

We hope this finds everyone as well as can be expected.  Safe, healthy and adjusting to quarantine.  We small businesses are getting quite creative in bringing you craft/workshop kits, paint and DIY supplies to help with your catch up projects, and antique, vintage and home/seasonal decor to update your homes that you’re spending so much time in!  Just get in touch with us…we will do what we can to help you.  Follow us on social media….we are updating daily.  Our Etsy/website shops, Facebook and Instagram, and email.  We ship, deliver locally (some free, some we use a very reliable local delivery company), and curbside pick ups are available, in addition to by appointment viewings.  We are allowed up to ten, but have kept it to 2-3 max in our shop for the safety of the artisans and our customers.  We appreciate and thank you for shopping small and local. And, we’d love to know what you’re doing to keep busy, your projects, and what you’d like from us to help you!

Until the next time, smile and make the quarantine life as much fun as you can.  And, prayers for your health and prosperity.  B

Paint a Wood Frame with Saltwash and Paint Couture

Like everyone else in the world today, life has thrown me a bucket of worms…or should I say a bucket of COVID-19 set-backs.  And, like everyone else, we are forced to pivot, adjust and hope we see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.  But, I have seen a lot of goodness out of all this darkness, and one is that with those pivots, I am forcing myself to catch up on a back log of projects (aren’t we all?) and now that I have a little more time (or so it seems, but really I am spending more time adjusting and catching up, but I digress), I am trying to learn how to do behind the scenes stuff…like website updating and emails, inventory, paperwork,  how to videos and so on.  One such video on my list, was this How to Saltwash® and Paint Couture a wood frame, which I got to play producer, director, editor, actor (well my hands acted…didn’t they perform well???) and special effects crew.  It’s very “J.V” as my husband likes to say when something or someone isn’t completely up to par.  But, I think it turned out pretty well considering this over-50, non-techie capabilities (or lack thereof).

One of other pivots that a lot of us small businesses are doing (especially for us in this retail world) is being more creative and making products more available to our customers in a variety of ways, from curbside pickups, online shopping, Facebook lives, and offering virtual workshops or DIY kits.  Two of the products I carry at Rust and Refind are Saltwash®, which is a sodium additive that you add to any paint, and Paint Couture Paint.  So, I decided that since I am offering the kits, why not offer a how-to video?  Saltwash Frame How-To Saltwash and Paint Couture Wood Frame KitFor this video,  Saltwash® and Paint Couture paint is being used, and it’s the paint included in the Saltwash® Frame kit available for sale on my website via Etsy shop and at my shop.  It can be shipped, delivered locally, in addition to being available for curbside pick up.  Super fun and easy project to do, and makes for great beach or cottage home decor.  We offer in store workshops, as well, AND can work with you virtually at this time if you need any guidance and person-to-person extra tutorials.  The frames will have added wood appliques (not seen in this video), and you will get a choice of two Paint Couture colors.  The base coat color will be your Saltwash® coat that you will mix according to directions (1:1 ratio usually, a little less powder if using chalk paint) that gets troweled/dabbed on full coverage, and the second color of paint is the paint that goes on after the Saltwash® coat is dry.  The fun begins when both coats are dry and you can scrape off, sand off with sandpaper, sand block, or a sander.  I prefer a scraper since I like my projects to be chippy and I usually apply the Saltwash® coat thickly and chunky.  This creates a chippy, beachy, weathered look on any craft or home decor project.  The kit includes sandpaper and/or blocks but the scrapers and spray topcoat can be purchased online or any of your local hardware stores like Home Depot.  Paint Couture also offers brush on topcoats, too (available separately).  These frames have a backboard mat that can be painted, pictures added to, decoupaged, or chalkboard painted to create a mini-chalkboard (as seen in this video).  There are amazing Saltwash® video tutorials available on line, too… Check them out at Ilovesaltwash.

I hope you enjoy this project!  Until next time, smile and make life fun.



How to Create a Dramatic and Personalized Powder Room

The “Throne Room” aka powder room.  It’s that one small space in everyone’s home that can be completely neglected or over the top!  You have a captivated audience for a brief time so why not captivate them?  Big and dramatic design can happen in small spaces.  My own powder room is Venetian plaster in a dark milk-chocolate brown, gold metallic ceilings, chandelier (of course), Italian art, and a small mirror collection (see why below).

Before the added mirror collection. My small mirror wall, inspired by Mimi.

Recently, I added  several more mirrors to complete what I had always wanted to do but somehow never did until now, since we’ve inherited my husband’s mother’s estate.  My husband and I have been dealing with this the last few weeks, and I’ve gone through her home and taken pictures when I could because I always admired and loved her home and design style and I wanted to have photos to remember.  Even though she had a bit more flair for the dramatic and formal, two of her powder rooms were my all time favorites.  The powder room on the main floor has walls lined with pink FABRIC and decorated with over 30 gold framed mirrors of all shapes and sizes, which was my inspiration for my own powder room (aka guest bathroom) here at home, and to which I’ve now added her mirror collection.

Mimi’s Wall of Mirrors

I’ve replicated the layout as much as possible, even though she had the mirrors on three walls, I’ve only added them on ONE (the initial mirror collection I personally had is on another small wall near the sink).  Sadly, I didn’t take many pictures of that room…we had limited time to clear out the estate and there are a lot of emotions happening…lt’s difficult disassembling a home, especially what was your parent’s home for 30 years.


The complete look!  Homage to Mimi.

I did, however, manage to take pics for THIS powder room on her lower level.  This is my favorite room and we’ve called it the Turkish Throne Room for years.  I am going to completely replicate it here at my home in another bathroom.  Yep…another post on that.

The Turkish Throne

Family Collections and Inherited Pieces Add to Your Home’s Story!

I wanted to share this because I obviously love a well-decorated bathroom and because I hope it helps someone dealing with their parents’ estate.  Although we’ve had just under two years since my MIL’s passing, and over 15 for my FIL, we never felt the complete “closure” because their estate remained in tact with my MIL’s husband, who lived in the home until now.  We felt somewhat disconnected, I think. But, in bringing treasured memorabilia, photos, some decor that remind us of “all things Mimi and Pasham”, and in setting up small vignettes of those treasures here in our own home, we feel that Mimi and Pasham are back home with us.  My husband is happy and when we see these things every day, it brings a smile to our face and we think of them more.  I don’t think one needs to turn their home into a museum for their loved ones, but it’s just another way to personalize your space with family collections and meaningful ways for your home to tell it’s story!  So go ahead, be brave and brilliant in that one small space….and strategically place those mirrors.  :o)


Until Next Time…Smile and Make Life Fun!  B




Setting Up a New Home, First Home, or a Blank Space

Mama Daughter along the Pacific Coast Highway

I’m back from my two week “work vacation” in California!  It was a wonderful time with my daughter and I call it a work vacation because she needed me out there to help her set up her first home (which meant a lot of grunt work taking out cabinets, painting furniture, and so on), but also so we could spend some mama-daughter time touring where she will now call home for the next few years.   I posted pics of our adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

From Bare Bones to Foundation.

That was my goal in helping my daughter, Ashley, by going from a bare bones space to a good working foundation to help her continue forward. The initial enthusiasm and instinct is to try to buy as much as possible and fill the space as much as budget (or credit cards…be careful here) will allow.  But, with only a couple weeks of my visit (and that split with travel), we had to be expeditious and budget-conscious with our set up and purchasing.  We were able to obtain a few basic foundational pieces that would be the start. The rest will come over time…she has a great aesthetic and idea of what she wants.  My biggest guidance to her and anyone is:Read More

Color, Texture, Balance

Design buzz words that help bring a space to completion and in creating a boho vignette usually means baskets, fabrics, rugs, leather, wood, greenery, and a multiple mix of bright colors.  Interpretation of BOHO varies, of course, from the college dorm use of tapestries, furs, dream catchers, salt rock lamps and so on, to a very sophisticated Ralph Lauren or Genevieve Gorder  approach with high end or mid-century leather, international accessories, brass or brushed gold elements, vintage rugs, and much more.  My daughters love Boho and I’ve been itching to get out of my norm of neutral and subtle colors and styles, and so my vision of Boho started with the vintage Kantha throws and the Kantha scarves and Oohlong jewelry.  I then added rugs, painted the dresser as the base of the vignette, and incorporated a few other elements.  The vintage Kantha throws, the Kantha scarves, the vintage Turkish rugs by https://www.facebook.com/districtloom  and the IOD Transfers by https://www.facebook.com/vintagerevivaldesignco on the dresser all bring in color and texture to the space by offsetting the solid, base colors of the https://www.facebook.com/TheCoutureCollection/  antique dresser.  The wood urn lamp and baskets are a calming, neutral and natural textural contrast while the chandelier, jewelry, gold Italian wood tray, and the gold gilding on the dresser add the bling and glitz.  Loving the new boho corner at Rust and Refind!   The only thing missing is the greenery (usually an essential element in boho design) but with no natural light in this corner of the shop, they don’t do very well (and maybe, JUST MAYBE, I’m not a very good plant caregiver) ;o) #bohochic #bohovibes . Come in and see us this April 5-7 weekend for our artisan market, open Friday 10am until 5 through Sunday 12-5!

Top Five Antique and Vintage Shopping Spots in the DC Area

Call it the Macy’s vs Gimbel effect (hopefully you all get that analogy) or just mere goodwill and sharing, but I am a huge supporter of other artisans, small business and yes, even my “competitors”…and I use that term loosely because I honestly don’t view them as such; we are all so different but yet the same if that makes sense?

The reason I’m sharing is not because I think I am an influencer, nor to get any “points” but because in this age of social media and online shopping, I am still amazed at how many of our customers have not heard of some of these, and, I hope to help urge you to shop local, small, and Brick and Mortar (B&M). There are several small businesses I and many of us support as well that sell online and out of their homes, but few have the overhead or offer the social/shopping experience that a lot of us in this industry work tremendously hard at providing for our customers. (Please no disparaging comments about this…as I said, I do support them, but this is about supporting the B&M) I won’t digress on that…sounds like another blog post for another rainy day.

So, with that being said, here are my faves. They are and have been on my list because

  1. I shopped there since I’ve lived here and before I even thought of having a creative business and they’ve rarely disappointed
  2. they are great sources of inspiration
  3. the people are great and promoters of others via word of mouth, social media support and/or are hubs for creatives and other small businesses that are too small for stand-alone B&M or prefer the market circuit
  4. the product is great and
  5. close proximity.
The Old Lucketts Store

1. The Old Lucketts Store – Lucketts VA

The Biggest and arguably the grand-mama of vintage hip (yes, that’s their tag line) of our area is The Old Lucketts Store. I remember my first visit here with a friend and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And, to add to that, my first Spring Market? Oh my word…with over 200 vendors for three days? Seriously, a market on steroids. They’ve added a Design house that customers wait in line to get into, have 35+ dealers/vendors, and they host several smaller fleas, their Groundhog Day Sale, and two larger events (the Spring Market in May and the Christmas November Market) where outside vendors are invited to participate and sell their wares.

But the Spring Market is the biggun…and for three years now they no longer host at their location, but at the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Berryville, Virginia. It will be my third time vending at the Spring Market (plus a few other markets there), and I and the other artisans of the Rust and Refind Artisan Market are happy to be vendors at this event for the first time together. Open Daily and for other special events.

Gypsy Faire Vintage Marketplace

2. GypsyFaire Vintage Marketplace – Lothian MD

GypsyFaire has a special place in my heart. These special group of ladies helped inspire me to open my own shop….they have a business model that I wanted for the Rust and Refind Artisan Market, they work together beautifully, have quite a following and a line waiting for entrance, and their energy and aesthetic is so charmingly refreshing.

Open once a month (the first non-holiday Saturday and Sunday of each month), they offer primarily painted pieces they recycle/repurpose, accessories, industrial, architectural salvage, retro jewelry and clothing, and more with a definite boho-gypsy vibe.

Rust and Feathers (Picture found via Yelp)

3. Rust and Feathers – Leesburg, VA

What can I say? They have RUST in their name. :o) . I discovered Rust and Feathers several years ago while doing my “vintage circuit” when the building was just a building but something NEW was going in. I anxiously awaited their opening and was in love instantly. They have changed some of the dealers since the beginning, but there’s always good vendors and good stuff!

You may recognize one of their largest, Ekster. I have teased them on social media that we need to have some kind of RUST expo (go ahead and research all the creative businesses with RUST in the name. Seriously, it’s a THING). They are open daily except Tuesday and are a multi-dealer and consignor shop.

Chartreuse & Co.

4. Chartreuse & Co., Frederick MD

I have a soft spot for Chartreuse & Co. Owner Virginia and husband Chip moved in to her grandparents home and converted the barns on the property to host monthly barn sales with a couple outdoor vendor events a year (their Spring and Fall markets that host outside vendors in addition to their regular dealers). I absolutely love love love the location, the product, the feel and vibe.

I have a few special vendors that are my faves here as well and whom are good people. When I visit, their spaces are the ones I tend to gravitate to and almost always buy something. I was happy to be a vendor at one of their Fall markets and felt that they spent special care in attending to the guest vendors. Watch out for their special tag sales where you can get great things for even greater prices, and they also sell several products on their online shop.

Sweet Clover Barn

5. Sweet Clover Barn, Frederick MD

I discovered Sweet Clover Barn quite by accident before Facebook was really a thing in this business and not a lot of people I knew had heard of them yet. I quickly added Sweet Clover to my Lucketts and Chartreuse circuit when shopping and always liked the charm and varied product at this artisan market. Make sure to visit their “Cottage” in the outside back of this converted 1900s barn, which changes designer themes monthly. Open once a month and over 30 vendors.

Rust and Refind Artisan Market

+1 = Rust and Refind Artisan Market, Aldie VA

How can I not include our very own Artisan Market? Years of looking for the right building, the right timing and the right group of talented artisans finally produced this Rust and Refind Artisan Market in July 2018. I am hoping you add us to YOUR list of favorites. Nestled in a little corner on the outskirts of Aldie, VA and located near our favorite BBQ, Hammerdown BBQ, we have been working hard at creating a one-stop artisan market that includes interior designers, fine artists, sign-makers, furniture painters, and antique, vintage and home decor and gifts.

We offer Paint Couture the Collection and Wise Owl paint products, Saltwash products, custom painted furniture and services, DIY group and private workshops and much more. We open monthly (first full and non-holiday Friday, Saturday and Sunday weekend), Wednesdays for paint sales and consults, and by appointment. We also invite guest artisans and sponsor several outdoor markets. Please consider supporting us by both visiting us at market and liking/following our social media.

You can find us at:

So, there you have it. My top five antique and vintage places to shop in the DC area to find good deals, get inspiration and that are located in charming towns, near wineries and can be destination “drives” in the country. There are so many more …perhaps another blog, or feel free to comment and add your own. Please help the small and local businesses by sharing, word of mouth, and shopping at their locations or their online shops (many of us do have that capability as well). *I am not affiliated with nor compensated for the top-five picks .

Until next time, Smile and make life fun! Brenda