Sea you later, New England.
I’m feeling punny today. Not even a week back in Austin after our two-week vacation to visit friends and family back East and I’m already homesick for New England — or more precisely, the ocean. I’m a beach girl and I married a lake guy. So what’s a woman to do? Finish decorating the nautical-themed guest bathroom that all started with a single shower curtain two years ago when she moved to a landlocked state, of course. Somehow, I’ve managed to corral most of my coastal knick-knacks, art, and vintage awesomeness into a 6-foot-square room, and it doesn’t look (that) cluttered.
Love to hear what you think!
Shortly after acquiring the nautical toile-printed shower curtain (IKEA via eBay), two separate friends gifted me these beautifully coordinating items: a vintage sailing print all about how friendship is like a little watercraft (via Uncommon Objects in Austin), whose well-worn frame I freshened up with a quick coat of gold acrylic paint; and a trio of mounted jars into which I rotate either a bud vase or my favorite small shells and sea glass from my time living on Martha’s Vineyard in the center. The top of the medicine cabinet now serves as the ideal place to show off my collection of lighthouse insulator caps (from the beach in Aquinnah, the Cambridge Antiques Market, and Crompton Collective in Worcester, Mass.).
The next thing to get added to the bathroom decor was this vintage Somerville-made cream cheese box (via Loblolly Cove in Rockport, Mass. on Etsy), to corral all sorts of guest bath necessities, and a handmade sea glass lobster gifted to me for Christmas, who I think is going to find a permanent home hanging from the block glass wall in the shower itself. The sailing-striped bath towels (Nate Berkus for Target, on deep clearance) were an emergency purchase/gift from our dear friends Tyler & Morgan, when they came to visit the week we moved into our new home and were still in boxes and couldn’t find beach towels en route to Barton Springs…
But my absolute favorite feature of this new nautical-themed bathroom is my gallery wall anchored by three vintage brass hooks I scored from The Distillery. The hooks were a source of many an unfinished to-do list (and a few arguments about how to properly hang them), but once they were up they really made the bathroom. And never will our house guests have to ask where to hang their towels again!
The vintage map of Martha’s Vineyard was a wedding present from my sister, and the three small woodcut prints (in IKEA frames) are postcards from Don Gorvett, a favorite Boston printmaking artist (whom I can’t afford) acquired for free at the AD 20/21 print show in Boston — a fantastic, favorite tip from my consummate interior design guru and dear girlfriend, Kara.
The middle postcard is of the Wentworth by the Sea, an historic hotel in Newcastle, New Hampshire, next to Portsmouth, where I lived and worked at the daily paper in my first year out of journalism school, and where the other two postcard scenes are set. I used to rollerblade (go ahead and laugh, I was a figure skater and it was the late 90s) on the harborside road that ran past the hotel all during its massive restoration project in 1999/2000, and many a walk or a dinner was had in view of the ships and tugboats on the Piscataqua and all the historic 1600s homes that lined the Strawberry Banke during my years on the New Hampshire seacoast.
After never living more than 10 miles from the ocean my entire life, it hardly seems real that I’ve spent fewer than 10 days near the shore in the last two years. It’s absolutely true what they say: Absence does make the heart grow fonder. And it will make you hoard things that remind you of what you miss, too. I have at least three more nautical items to frame and hang and a DIY project for a nautical themed bath rug to complete, too! More missives from the heart of this New England home, very very soon.
Photos by Chelsea Laine Francis.
(Except the last two, which are sub-par phonetography by moi)