Where there's a will, there's a way. Just ask Lee, a young woman who lived in a small downtown Houston apartment and wanted a Galveston beach cottage for weekend play time. Thanks to help from family and friends, Lee managed to transform a shabby 19th century worker’s cottage into this charming island getaway without breaking the bank.
She and her dad made the balastrade contained by the front porch railing. She went to an architectural salvage yard, selected a baluster she liked, then asked "Dad" to use it to cut a pattern. Voila.
Iwish I had a Before picture, but I don't. Suffice it to say, it didn't look like this. Lee dived into this renovation with a plan. And in the end, it only cost her $35,000.
Lee added the dormers, shutters, white picket fence, redid the porch, hung a new front door, landscaped....
Lee's family and friends joined her in tearing down walls, removing the old kitchen flooring and replacing it with new Linoleum tiles, installing stainless steel IKEA cabinetry and landscaping the front and side yards. Before doing anything, she had hired a structural engineer to come look at the property. Then, she hired contractors to do the roof so that it would accommodate a pair of dormers on this side of the house to ensure symmetry (the other side already had dormers), to construct the screened porch and a small kitchen pantry. The contract work constituted her real costs.
Up on her revived porch. It's an old Southern tradition to paint the porch ceiling sky blue to prevent birds or bees from nesting.
Lee says she grew up knowing that "you don’t just go out and buy an old window. You need the right weights and sash ropes. You can’t just go out and find everything you need at Home Depot. Sometimes you need to hit garage sales or (architectural) salvage yards."
The wood floors are original to her house. This is what you see when stepping inside. The old bus stop poster in back came from her dad who had stashed it away years ago. The doorway goes into the kitchen. Most of the furnishings here came from Pier I or IKEA. The ship was a housewarming gift from a friend.
Her decorating budget? Somewhere between $500 and $800, she says. Her mattress and bed frame cost the most. Her favorite haunts for best buys: Pier 1, Target and IKEA. So youthful and beachy, don't you think?
A casual dining space. Her uncle made the little table over in the corner.
I forgot to tell you how Lee got this house. She wanted a house that had fallen in disrepair and possibly one that hadn’t been architecturally altered. Every weekend when she went to visit her parents, who live on the island, she pedaled her bike through select neighborhoods looking for the “right” property. Whenever she spotted a possible redo during her bike rides, she jotted down the addresses of those houses that charmed her. Then, she looked up the owner’s information on the county appraisal district rolls. She phoned owners, wrote them letters … asking if she could talk to them about buying their property. At last, one said yes.
A friend of the family (an architect) had gutted a house but saved the sink and countertops. He gave them to Lee. (Shouldn't we all have friends like this?!) Her shelving is from IKEA. And her backsplash are 19th century glazed clay roof tiles -- an idea she actually got from me when our house was on the Galveston Historic Foundation home tour the year before. I didn't know this until I visited. How funny -- and flattering....
She and friends put down the new light blue and white Linoleum. She added the doorway (and transom) leading into her family room.
Her family room. Used furniture.
She hung old doors at the doorway for added historic interest.
The doorway originally opened up to nothing. She added the screened porch, old doors and shutters.
Another view of her screened porch.
Back to her living room. This collection of old bottles belonged to her grandmother who enjoyed going out to the beach and digging them up. Guess they came in from the sea where sand soon buried them.
The whole adventure –from finding the right redo (circa 1860) to finishing it– took almost three years. What do you think of her place? I liked its inspirational, fun and casual spirit. Plus, she saved a house from further ruin.
I haven't met a recipe that I didn't want to change -- even a little bit. This one is no exception. My aim is to make it healthier, using less sugar, for example . . . . So, to begin, let me tell you how I altered the recipe below with good results.
First off, I used fat-free organic milk. I also opted to go a bit lighter by using 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg -- not the 4 whole eggs, as dictated in the recipe below. Additionally, I used 1/2 cup real organic maple syrup rather than 3/4. I didn't have the crystallized ginger, so I chopped up some pecans and added a small dollop of yogurt. I love this dessert.
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whipped cream
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Line a roasting pan with a folded kitchen towel.
2. Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan until barely steaming but not boiling.
3. Whisk eggs and syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Gently whisk in the warm milk (a little bit at a time so the eggs don't cook). Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until blended.
4. Divide the mixture among six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) custard cups. Skim foam from the surface. Place custard cups in the prepared roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until custards are just set but still quiver in the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer custards to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled.
5. To serve, top each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crystallized ginger. (Again, since I didn't have the cystallized ginger, I topped it with chopped pecans -- that I did have. Plus a little yogurt.)
HERE'S ANOTHER RECIPE -- WITH MY HEALTHIER TIP! It's a Scarlet Quinoa Salad. YUM!
This quinoa (keen-wah) salad is a favorite! Everytime I prepare it, someone asks for the recipe. If you're interested in reading about the nutritional benefits of this grain-like crop, go here.
I plan to share all the ingredients of this recipe, which I found on a bag of Eden Red Quinoa. However, *instead of the plum vinegar, I use apple-cider vinegar. Why? Well, the plum vinegar has a whopping 1,050 grams of sodium per teaspoon!! (yikes.) The apple-cider vinegar contains zero (0)!
Ingredients: 1 medium beet, peeled and diced (2 small)** 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp. plum vinegar (*I use apple-cider vinegar) 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 6 red radishes (optional) 2 tbsp. finely minced red onion 1/4 cup chopped scallions or chives (optional) 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cranraisins) 1 cup red quinoa
Preparation: Rinse quinoa in cold water. Add 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cup boiling water. Add chopped beet(s).Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff. When cool, toss with remaining ingredients and serve. Or place in fridge, as it works as a cold salad. Serves 4.
**Cut off the beet leaves, rinse to add to a green salad or in cut up into small pieces for a pasta salad.
The Scarlet Quinoa Salad, is a pretty red dish, as you might imagine. Think holidays? or anytime, like I do . . . .
Water ensures skin health and weight management/loss.
So, drink up. Consider adding to your daily diet the veggies above and the following foods that contain at least 75 percent water by weight: apples, limes, lemons, cantaloupes, watermelons, strawberries, plums, pears, kiwis and grapes.
Foods that Keep Your Skin Healthy and Young.
Click the bowl of tomatoes for the article and recommendations.
Newly Posted Interior Design, and Homes & Gardens: Click photo below:
Home in San Miguel de Allende
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