The one that got away…and beach house musings

My friend Sue is a very bad influence. She read my blog about the jadeite green sink and helpfully sent me a link to an ebay auction for a jadeite green glass towel bar. Of course, I had to bid, and keep bidding, even though I didn’t even KNOW I wanted a glass towel bar until she tempted me. Apparently, somebody else wanted the towel bar more than me, because I didn’t win the auction. So that’s the one that got away. I’d almost forgotten that I have, in my junk sst tash, a very cool glass towel bar and glass bathroom shelf. I got these years and years ago from an estate sale in my neighborhood. I had them in the bathroom in Raleigh, and when we moved, they came with me. Now, all I have to do is remember where I’ve hidden them.

In other news, Mr. MK and I are down at the beach doing beach house-type things. The big news is that we officially have a building permit! You have no idea how exciting this is. Now the subs, who have finished ripping out the old plywood partitions and skanky kitchen and bath fixtures, can actually start re-building. We have piles of lumber all over the inside and outside, and stacked neatly to one side is the wonderful old solid wood panelling we’ve removed from the stairhall. This will be reinstalled once the stairway is moved. We spent yesterday musing about flooring options. The downstairs of our circa-’43 house is concrete slab, with old linoleum over it. That linoleum, which I blythely assumed I could just heat-gun and scrape up, is a big fly in our ointment. The town’s building inspector dropped by last month, and when he saw the chipped and aged linoleum had himself a big ol’ hissy fit–proclaiming that he was positive it contained the dreaded A-word. Yes. Asbestos. Which, if true, would mean a certified asbestos removal team, certified asbestos disposal, certified asbestos pain in the arse! So ixnay on the scraping. We will have to have new flooring. Carpet is out. Yuck. Tile is out. I think it looks too contemporary, too normal. Wood is good. But there are all these options. We’d considered bamboo, but it’s not cheap, and again, I just think, for this house, it looks kinda Ikea-ish. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ikea. I love me some Ikea. We looked at the pre-finished stuff. Didn’t love it. I was really lusting after re-claimed heart-pine flooring. My friends Polly and Steve just put it down in their beach house, and it looks great. But it’s pretty expensive. And as I keep saying….this is a concrete block house. Putting a lot of expensive stuff in it is like putting a tutu on a pig. So I think we’re down to good old-fashioned oak. Old school–the nail-down kind.
While we’re down here, we’re staying at another great little Mermaid Cottage. This one is called Fiddler on the Creek. It’s tiny, but it has heart-pine floors, and pecky cypress panelling, and a giant stuffed marlin over the sofa, and a little dock on the creek out back. Mr. MK went fishing today, and he caught a flounder and a trout, so we’ve baited the crabtrap with the fishheads, and we’ll see what we see. In the meantime, we’ve been talking about what we want our beach cottage to have. We’ve been renting beach houses for 30 years, and we’ve stayed in everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. So here’s what’s important to us: big, squishy sofas you can stretch out and nap on–or watch a ballgame, or cuddle. A table by every chair–to give you a place for your book or your adult beverage. Lamps on both sides of the beds–what’s worse than having to get up to turn off the light when you’ve been reading in bed? Good mattresses. Excellent bed linens. My friend Diane, who runs Mermaid Cottages, always stresses the importance of high thread count, all cotton sheets. Me, my idea of heaven is bleachy-smelling white sheets. I stayed in a tiny little cottage in Florida last month, and the sheets were laughably horrid–pilled-up, threadbare leopard print. I’ve been buying sheets on clearance, at outlets, for all the beds. Now, here’s my rant–WHO THE HELL DECIDED YOU SHOULD ONLY BUY SHEETS IN SETS??? Marshalls, TJMaxx, two of my favorite shopping spots, have almost no separate packages of flat and fitted sheets. They sell them in “sets” now. I don’t want sets. I want my separate flat and fitted sheets. Guess I’ll just have to continue looking at estate sales, which are my favorite source of wonderfulness anyway. I’ve rarely been to an estate sale that didn’t have a linen closet piled high with good quality percale sheets and pillowcases. Many times there are sheets still in store packaging. Other times, the linens have been professionally starched and laundered. My all-time favorite sale was the one where I grabbed up armloads of vintage linens, all of them washed, ironed and folded–and bound up in pink satin “garters” that snapped together with satin bows. Talk about gracious living. I still have tons of those garters in my dining room sideboard, where they bind together sets of my estate sale damask dinner napkins. Okay, back to our regular programming. Good beach house living=shelves full of tempting books. I love to peruse rental house bookshelves. Fiddler on the Creek has lots of books about sailing and boating, plus some good cookbooks in the kitchen. About the kitchen. Our beach house, we have decided, will have a foodie kitchen. When we’re at the beach, we almost always cook, and it’s so frustrating to discover you don’t have a grater, or a colander, or even a wooden spoon. Okay, it’s almost time for Olympic swimming, so I’ll continue this post tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “The one that got away…and beach house musings”

  1. I stumbled upon your comment about reclaimed Heart Pine floors and that is what we do. Have a look at our site,

    I will be glad to help you if I can and I will assure you our prices will be less than you might think as we can provide 3″ and 5″ for about $3.50 a foot before shipping. My contact info is listed on the site.

  2. Katiebug, are you signed up for I wandered upon this site a couple of years ago. I live in the L.A. area and you talk about some great linens. Oh MY! The best though was at an estate sale in Brentwood. Some lovely old linen and lace napkins in a gold color with…a matching table cloth. Oh but wait, I’m not done… Tiger Eye China whole set. What did I pay for this terrific find? Well let’s just say it was less than a tank of gas for my SUV.

  3. MK, take a look at the Lumber Liquidators website. They have heart pine flooring (not reclaimed) for 2.79/sf. That’s what we’re using in our Tybee remodel.


  4. As the Head Mermaid of Mermaid Cottages I can’t WAIT for the chance to be able to offer this incredibly wonderful beach house to our mermaid guests! Can’t you all just picture how incredible the Mary Kay Andrews Manor is going to be??? We do love our 100% cotton sheets…. And thank you for enjoying your stay at Fiddler on the Creek Cottage. a Very special little cottage if i do say so myself!

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