Our beautiful, sun-bum Beach House days!
What you'll find in The Romantic Mom.com
Our Florida Beach Saga
And saga it was! We were washed up and taken for gonners for shore! OK, I'll stop! But through those topsy-turvy events we were given the unique shack and shambles opportunity to reinvent our version of cute-cottage-fun-in-the-sun! I don't have the before and after videos ready for the computer yet. I'm working on it as fast as I can, I promise! I can't wait for you to see our beach apartment transformation that we managed to concoct in only 4 weeks!
Let me also say that it wasn't just the location that made this such a special chapter in our lives. It was the friends that we made, some life lessons that we learned, and the extraordinary opportunity we had to experience ocean life up-close and personal every single day. This had always been a dream of mine (being from land-locked north Texas) to actually LIVE next to the ocean. We had only planned to be in FL for about 3 weeks and it turned into 6 months. My hubby and I had never done a complete re-do together and that turned out to be a blast! I've also, being the romantic and all, loved the notion of taking other's cast-offs and bringing them to life again. I finally got the full lemons-to-lemonade treatment!
Below are photos of our beach we spent 6 months splashing and exploring. For more about our beachy-bungalow just keep a-scrollin'--more photos at bottom of page...
The Romantic Life, The Romantic Mom--Thinking Creatively
Use it up, wear it out;
Make it do, or do without.
New England Proverb
You should see what we were able to accomplish with a wreck of a beach apartment just ravaged by a hurricane five weeks before we stumbled upon it. As I mentioned in a previous chapter, we were stranded in Florida with hardly a penny to our name and managed to turn the place into a beautiful beachy bungalow in just 4 weeks and we only spent $300 to boot. Believe me, at the time, I was highly skeptical, highly depressed, and highly desperate. This proved to be the winning formula for “highly motivated” and “highly innovative” which translated into a “highly incredible” outcome. This place happened to be just 30 feet from one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida and we ended up wintering there for 6 months—something we had never anticipated. We cleaned out water soaked furniture, scrubbed floors, replaced broken windows, painted walls, cabinets, furniture, lamps, frames, anything that could take a paint roller or brush, and scavenged everything that had potential. The prior tenants had abandoned the place leaving much of their stuff behind them. In addition, we rescued all sorts of useful things put out on the curbs from condos to mansions. When we were finished, our place looked like a delightfully colorful seashore cottage. On Christmas eve we spied a dumpster piled high with nothing but unsold Christmas trees, so without another thought, my husband unceremoniously pulled out a 10 foot tree for ourselves still sporting its $95 price tag!
Weeks later, we had visitors come over who, upon seeing the transformation of our place, wanted to submit our re-do to a magazine. Although I felt that was a bit of a stretch, I, nonetheless, utterly adored that beach hideaway. I relished every nook and corner. I savored all the artistic improbability that bounced back at me everywhere I turned—from the red painted cabinets and lavender cupboards against the sky blue walls in the kitchen, the chipped pale rose dotted china plates and wooden sailboats scattered about to the strands of seashells and white filmy curtains billowing in the fresh salt air. We had no air conditioning and no dishwasher (other than myself and my always willing little girls), but what I did have was sunrise, sunset, and moonlit walks, ballet dancing, seashell searches and endless play along the beach. I had a great tan in February and non-stop homeschool lessons on all sorts of wonderful sea life. We took full advantage of all that brief episode in our family’s life had to offer and took absolutely nothing for granted. I found that I could stumble and fall right in to my Lord’s arms and He was not about to let me completely fall on my face. He built my faith, He taught both my husband and me some invaluable lessons, and He dug way down inside my heart and resurrected some buried treasure deep within my being. Just as Anne Morrow Lindbergh found her “gifts from the sea,” through this uncertain path He patiently led me through, I was able to discover a few of my own.
Alexandra Stoddard gives this advice in her book, Creating a Beautiful Home:
Examine your own life. Often the wellspring for creative breakthroughs is simply inside you, waiting for you to seize it and bring it to life. Think back and reflect on where you’ve been—examine your far past as well as your near past, the influences that shaped you and define you still. Look for the connections, the things that repeat themselves. They may be as primal as your earliest childhood memories (for me, it is the memory of happy afternoons playing in my mother’s garden, which instilled in me the passion for flowers and natural beauty that has become the signature of my professional design aesthetic); summers spent at the lake or in the mountains, or doing the things you love doing now. Your own history can give you suggestions about themes and subjects that will add individuality to your decorating.
I daresay these themes, dreams, and histories will add more than just to our decorating—they will add to our entire life in so many interesting and exciting ways and to the lives within our family—and ultimately to others throughout our extended community and the world at large. But first lets look at some early influences in the context of our homes and then see where this may lead us.
Excerpt form The Romantic Life, The Romantic Mom by Debbie Gallagher
Below is my mom with our youngest (then 1yo) in her new pink boots G'mom found and couldn't pass up! The other, opposite, is all of us in the LR of our beach house. Notice the hot pink lamp and hot pink table? See how much fun I had? I had a hot pink chair, too, by golly!
Oh, and my very soft and fuzzy pink slippers 'cause there was a permanent layer of sand on the floors! (Looking at my lily-white legs right now I can't believe we were this tan in March!)