October 21, 2017

Art in the Heart

        Art is a wonderfully subjective thing. I have visited many world renowned museums.  I pondered the Mona Lisa, wished to twirl after a Lautrec,
and spotted a Seurat, { no pun intended}.. But art really is about the heart. It does not have to go in a portfolio, and it does not have to impress the guest. It does not even necessarily need a frame. It just needs to go where you can see it, feel it, and love it, and let it well, make you happy.
 We have a treasured painting from a dear friend of our rescue dog Cooper. Let me start out by saying our friend is quite talented, but she knows us, she knows our dog, and she transferred the two elements into a fabulous portrait that is absolutely, one of our treasures. Another local artist we have highlighted , has taken her vibrant personality, intelligence, and love of the outdoors, and painted that onto her canvas.  I just want to put the joy I see in her art, and all her wonderful color under my pillow, and let it soak in…
Paintings can fill up a wall, or they can fill up your soul. You do not have to stand on a marble floor in a long gallery to fall in love. Find a local artist , it might even be a friend, and share their passion. Encourage them and make them share their gift with you. Proudly put their work on your wall or under your pillow.. and when you look at it and know it was from them, it will guaranteed, touch your heart.
Laine Neese is an avid golfer, philanthropist, and artist in Burlington ,NC. More of her paintings can be viewed at her website, http://lainefranis.blogspot.com/2011/07/pet-portraints.html.
Bett Huggins is a nurse anesthetist, and  artist . Her work can be seen at Ellen Taylor Gallery at The Vista, in Columbia, SC.
Andi Bartruff writer/contributing editor

Finding the Joy in the Journey.

When life suddenly scaled things down with the subtlety of an F5, I had to regroup on most things. Gone were the days of chartered boating, upscale resorts, and divine city dining. This lifestyle change may have adjusted my itinerary, but it has not changed my wanderlust, and curiosity for what may be around the next bend. Therefore, In my travels, I have reached out, and made incredible journeys into my own.

Locally, I have discovered an ethereal coastal compound for wild horses, that have inhabited this extraordinary island for hundreds of years. I happened on a bird sanctuary, that rehabilitates birds of prey, and fosters and guards its local eco system. I have toured  historic buildings to better understand my local history. I have happened on locally grown treats at state highway roadside markets, that make it more than worth the diversion. I have found characters in small, rural towns, that have turned their passions into content for national documentaries.  I have enjoyed views from day hikes that can be postcard perfect, and sunset kayak excursions on local rivers, that would be worth a much longer trip.

I am grateful for the five star resorts, and the first class seats, and all the luxury of a different time. But for now, I am tuned into a fresher, deeper, and more mature adventure. I am enjoying rich and simple discoveries in my own backyard. “The Joy of the Journey”

Andi Bartruff

Contributing Writer/Southern Smarts

 

Southern

 

 

 

 

 

From a Sows Ear to a Silk Purse. Oak Island Beach Cottage.

In 2004, I was on the hunt for a beach cottage. I did not want something that someone else had already renovated I wanted to put our own spin on it. The deals are out there, especially now with the real estate market being what it is today. Having a sweet summer, weekend, or retirement getaway is quite affordable if you are willing to put that old “sweat equity” into play. That’s exactly what we did. When I was looking there was not much on the market that I would term affordable. One weekend I was invited to a friend’s home on a quiet and quaint barrier island off the NC coast, Oak Island. My friends had purchased property there and really wanted us to do the same. While we were searching we came across this horrible little “shack” on a double lot on the beach side of the island. It came complete with a junkyard on one side of the lot and the house, well it looked like it was a tear down.It had to be one of the worst properties I had ever considered. Rotten siding, decrepit porch, built out of cinderblock, and the interior was a mess! When we say a mess, one cannot imagine that the smell of cat urine and the fleas jumping on our legs were the only stimulation that we got as we toured the place with our Realtor.

Through vision and flea bites we could see the good bones. The home had vaulted beamed wooden ceilings and a fireplace. The kitchen, which appeared to be an addition, was large in comparison to the rest of the cottage. There was a partially built side addition with a large window in the front. It had a large backyard full of the islands name sakes, live oaks.

As you view the before and after photos you will be able to get the drift on how bad this little place was. The cottage is built predominantly with cinder block which is good from a possible hurricane perspective, but aesthetics on the interior with cinderblock walls was not going to work. To counteract this problem I decided to stucco all the interior walls. this was a daunting task, with potential for serious “carpel tunnel”.  I can tolerate  a little pain for fashion.

As budget was minimal we were going to do all the work ourselves, and had 90 days to bring it to completion. With this being a “fun house” I decided to let my imagination run wild where color was concerned. I selected a wonderful light green named ‘Independent Gold” with Sherwin Williams paint for the living, dining and small den. For the kitchen, I decided on a bright purple,  a periwinkle blue for the Master bedroom, and a bright gold for the guest room. With cement floors and a limited time frame, we decided on a glue down wood parquet for the floors as carpet was a non option with kids, sand etc. The small den had wood planks for flooring, and I painted them a bright white high gloss. For the exterior we were going to go with bright coral for the body of the house, purple for the peaks, and “Atlantic Green” for the shutters. We would  trim the house in white. We also added a deck on the right side and front, and built a covered front porch with decorative molding. The house felt dark, so we resolved this problem by using full French doors on the front and side entrances.  This enabled bright sunshine to enter the house, plus gave the house a real beach bungalow feel. For the interior, to keep the space feeling as open as possible, I opted to use full french doors for the bedrooms as well. For privacy I installed shades on the back of the doors so they may be closed for guest and family. This kept the interior bright and open.

Once all the construction work was complete, it was time to address furnishing the place. Now I am a flea market tag sale kind of guy. I knew I had some great old things in the basement, that with a  little updating and paint, would be fun, economical, and downright interesting. I wanted the place to have personality, be chic, welcoming and comfortable.

Upon arriving back in the city, I started my quest to get the house ready for my first week at the beach. I stopped by my local shops and found some very interesting fabric remnants.  I painted lamps and table,s and made three upholstered headboard which I covered with a plain off white canvas purchased at my local home improvement store. All I have to say is thank goodness for electric staple guns. They sure make the job a lot faster and with greater ease.

The end result is a great stylish little beach retreat that brings me more joy and relaxation than I could have ever imagined, and it cost a fraction of what I thought.  As a matter of fact. my beach neighbors loved what we had done so much, they asked us to consult as they prepared to redo their little cottage. We will be posting a story on that renovation in an upcoming article.

Remember style and comfort do not have to cost an arm and a leg. It just takes a little imagination. And if you find yourself cruising down Oak Island Blvd, feel free to stop by “Not The Hamptons ” and say hello. The iced tea with a hint of mint is always chilled. 🙂

Chabby 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great use for an Old Dresser.

Upon the transisition of moving and downsizing, I found myself with a great old dresser that I really

had no place for. I had moved a small butlers tray I was using for a bar, and decided it would be put to

better use in my smaller place in the city. I’m sure you have gathered by now storage is a problem

with both places.

The Dresser has become my new bar at the Beach! This works just great, as it has deep drawers for storage of glasses

mixers, small juice containers, etc. Plus, has a large surface to accomodate a Ice Bucket and a variety of liquor bottles.

Once again, friends have commented on what a great idea this was, so I thought I would share it with you.

Have Fun and let those creative juices flow!

Steve