The Ladies Room

Inspiring baths....

via Hashai.
(Tile work based on a New York subway map). Via Charles and Hudson.
(1930 Gordon-Van Tine bathroom plan, from house kit) via Retro Renovation.
(1959 American Standard bathroom) via Retro Renovation.
(1946 Briggs Beautyware bathroom) via Retro Renovation.
How many of you want to hang plants in galvanized pots from your ceiling? I know I do!


Down and Out Chic Giveaway!

I'm so excited about this giveaway, because it is from one of my favorite bloggers and Etsy sellers: Down and Out Chic! The lovely Christina is giving one lucky gal her hot color combo for this season - purple and grey. The winner will receive: Light Conversation...A (Purple) Hairpin Duo
...AND... a pair of Grey Mini Mum earrings!
Nice, eh? You have up to 3 opportunities to win. How to enter:

1. Visit the shop and tell me your favorite item(s) in the comments below.
2. If you follow my blog, enter a second (separate) comment that says "Love the Cheese", because I am in constant need of reaffirmation. Heh. New followers are also welcome to do this!
3. Tweet or Blog about this giveaway and enter the link in a third (separate) comment.

The winner will be randomly chosen on Monday evening, October 5 and will be announced the following day. And how generous is this: Christina is also offering 15% off to any of my readers who make a purchase for the duration of the giveaway. During checkout, please enter 'cottagecheese' in your note to seller, and you will receive the discount via a Paypal refund.

Thanks so much Christina! Good luck everyone, in addition to visiting the Down and Out Chic shop, don't forget to visit the Down and Out Chic blog too!


Mid-Century State Park Goodness

As much as I love my state parks today (see my prior post for recent pics), they were even lovelier in the 30's, 40's and 50's. These images of Cumberland Mountain State Park make me long for a different time. All of the images have some great details - be sure to enlarge so you can soak it all in. The big stone house next to the dam was built by the CCC, and I believe that this picture was taken during park construction in the late 1930's. Its original purpose was to serve as a mill for the New Deal "Homestead" community in which the park is located. It was never used as a mill, but the name "Mill House" stuck. I've only stayed in the Mill House once. The building really needs some work, but is still for rent, and sleeps 16. Such a cool old building, and other than a 1970's kitchen remodel, it is fairly original.
Picnicking on the peninsula. The structure of these tables is made from pipe, and although the tops have been replaced, the bases are original and are still in the same spots.
Lounging on the terrace, overlooking the swim beach on Byrd Lake. The beach is no longer there (Some bureaucrat decided a pool was better than a beach. Rubbish.) The backs of the metal patio chairs have hearts on them. Hearts! I think that pretty much sums up my entire feeling about this scene.
The old bath house. This now-dilapidated structure was pictured in my prior post. There are holes in the roof, broken windows, trees growing inches from the walls. The building is all boarded up. Very sad.
One of the most awesome pictures ever. Check out the olympic calibur springboard diver in mid-air. Beach babes, beach balls, and lifeguards in boats!
The old restaurant, since torn down (or possibly burned down) and rebuilt. A round dining room with wood ceiling and orb lights. Dreamy. Just wait, it gets better...
'Coon Hollow stands all by itself at the end of a long road, 1/2 mile up from the other cabins. This was originally a Homestead house that at some point was donated to the park. I love staying in this place, with its wood paneled walls, floors, and ceilings.
An original "rustic" 1 bedroom cabin, built in the late 1930's.
The 1 bedroom "rustics" still have screened porches and have maintained the original floor plans.
Interior shot of a 1 bedroom "rustic". The ceilings are now sheetrocked, the light fixtures were updated with wagon wheel fixtures in the 50's, and the bedspreads and drapes are now unattractive aztec-patterned fabric. The cabins still have the wood paneling and floors, and use the same bed and the little bench at the foot of the bed.
There is now a door between the tiny bedroom and large living room, and the bathrooms were completely remodeled in the early 80's for function vs. aesthetics. Think plastic shower stalls and dark wood vanities.
The kitchens have also been remodeled and now have sheet vinyl floors and early 80's cabinets. (upper is still an open cabinet)
Several more cabins were built in the 1950's, and while the exteriors are not a charming as the original "rustics", the interiors were mid-century fabulous. The screened porches on the backs of the cabins are now second bedrooms. The renovations were done well, and the layout doesn't look like it was altered when you're inside the cabin.
I promised you mid-century interior goodness, and here it begins! The living room is still arranged like this. Unfortunately, the black and white linoleum floors were replaced with similar high quality neutral colored linoleum squares. We rented this cabin (and I do believe it was the one pictured here) several years ago during a severe record-breaking cold snap. About 6 inches of snow fell, the temp dropped to -11 degrees F, and even with a fire, central heat and air, and all of the old wall heaters going, we couldn't get the temp in the cabin above 60 degrees F. The bedrooms were too cold, so we pushed the twin beds together in front of the fireplace and bundled up with tons of blankets. The cabin was built on a slab, and of course the pipes, being in the ceiling, froze. We went for a long drive and several hikes around the Cumberland Plateau, and while the rangers had the big heaters going to thaw out the pipes, they managed to flood the cabin with an inch of water. The weekend was quite an adventure, and still one of my favorite weekends in my entire life.
One of three "Timberlodges". The exteriors of these look a bit more like log cabins, and the logs are stained bright red. They are sited on the hill just up from the lake, and each has a deck that runs the length of the back of the cabin.
Although we've stayed at this park about a dozen times, we have never been able to snag a timberlodge. They stay booked constantly. The interiors cannot possibly be as cool as this now...
That lamp, that floor, those drapes...
Love the beds, the table, the lamp...
The beach at night.
I wish I had been able to experience the Cumberland Mountain State Park in all of her 50's grandeur. Happy, yet slightly sad sigh...
Photos courtesy of State of Tennessee Archives.

Weekend at the Cabin

Our backpacking trip was rained out again, but we were really craving some time in the woods. For us, "the cabin" is more a state of mind than a specific place. It can be any cabin in the woods, although most often, as it was this weekend, we stay at Cumberland Mountain. We have our routine when we visit the area, which usually includes a trip to the cheese shop, Vintage Inc., and the Stonehaus Winery. We go for a hike or two, visit the Homestead Museum, sometimes play Scrabble, and my husband always sleeps too late while I enjoy some quiet time on the screened porch, drinking my coffee and reading. This weekend also included a frenzied though unfruitful search for Polaroid film, visiting lots of thrift and antique shops, and fried pies from the Homestead Apple Festival.

Sunday was a glorious perfect-weather day. This is the dam at Byrd Lake (the largest masonry structure ever built by the CCC, who completed the park construction in 1940). You drive across the dam to enter the cabin and recreation areas of the park.
Back side of the dam, viewing a huge volume of water rushing into Byrd Creek due to the heavy rain we've had.
A crazy Fu Manchu looking caterpillar.
Raised terrace adjacent to the restaurant. The terrace dates to the 1930's, although the original lodge and restaurant that once stood here were torn down (due to a fire perhaps?) and a new restaurant was built in the 70's.
Red berries and huge & unusual fungi (also attributed to the immense volume of rain lately). The decaying structure is the old bath house. I'm not sure what the park's plans are for this building, but aside from the stonework, all else is surely lost to the years of neglect.
Striking wildflower bloom. Too lazy to search my Tennessee Wildflowers book for this right now.
Byrd Lake. There used to be a beach to the right, but in the 70's or 80's the park built a giant swimming pool, so now lake swimming isn't allowed. At least the pool is hidden away in a corner.
Upturned mushroom cap holding a pool of water.
Rounded wall of the terrace, blue skies on Sunday (after 3 inches of rain on Saturday), a "rustic" 1930's cabin, Canadian Geese.
Sunday morning I enjoyed a bagel topped off with unbelievably fresh and decadent cream cheese, and far too many cups of coffee. I'm certain it is just because this is the dinnerware at the state parks cabins I visit, but I have such an affection for this Buffalo China pattern.

This afternoon I will be posting a bunch of pictures of the cabins in the 1940's and 1950's. Prepare yourself for some mind-blowing mid-century interiors.


Maine. The magazine.

Maine. The magazine. And the first issue even includes a story about Belfast, where I once considered moving. Via katy elliott.


Vintage Inc.

Although I live in a mid-sized city with lots of antique malls and stores, there isn't one mid-century vintage shop. To my delight, a fantastic vintage store named Vintage Inc opened a little over a year ago near my home-away-from-home small town: Crossville, Tennessee (just a mile or two away from my beloved Cumberland Mountain State Park). Do not judge the store by their sad little website. The prices are really reasonable, and the store always has a huge variety of furniture, lamps, decor, fabric, handbags, clothing, clocks, art, dinnerware, and more. I spoke with the owner last year when I first visited the store, curious how she picked this location for a shop. She said that she and her husband were considering a move from their home state of Florida, and they fell in love with the Cumberland Plateau and bought acreage there. First up: rattan sofa, apostrophe side tables, and lamp set in excellent condition (of course, these were gone the next time I visited the shop). To my recollection, the entire set was $600.

Televisions, art by Shag, books, magazine, ashtrays, rugs, side tables, barkcloth drapes, magazine racks...
A Sputnik fixture...
Lots and lots of Heywood Wakefield including side tables, dining tables and chairs.
Retro TV sitting atop one of a pair of speakers...
Gorgeous Heywood Wakefield desk and chair. The lower drawers are actually file drawers that just appear to be two separate drawers. $400 for the set.

The exterior is understated, so you really have to be on the lookout for this place. A GPS is helpful.
So if you're within a few hours drive, I highly recommend a trip to Crossville to visit Vintage Inc. Perhaps a visit during next year's Highway 127 Corridor Sale?