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Greek Blue Furniture Makeover and the Cottage that started it all

I know I have mentioned the fact that my parents live down the street from us…

as do my brother and sister in law…

and you know another 50 or 60 (give or take a few kids) of my other relatives do too… 

I lose count, but I think we may be up to 13 or 14 other houses on the lake that are all occupied by my relatives. The fact that I lost count probably tells you it’s a lot right there :)  But this was the cottage that started it all.

Now that you are thinking we live on some crazy compound and are a bunch of nuts hoarding canned food in our basements let me tell you how it all started…

Greek Blue Chalk Painted DresserMy great grandpa (on my mothers side) owned a bunch of property on this lake in Michigan. He came over from the Netherlands and started a garbage company in Chicago. They had a small cottage on the lake where they would come in the summers. Eventually all that land began to get parceled off to their various kids.

 The cottage (who’s master bedroom I’m featuring today) was built by my grandparents the year my mom was born…we won’t say what year that is…ahem, so my mom doesn’t kill me – but let’s just say it’s  been around much longer than you would think because my mother looks so fabulous (there, that was a pretty safe way to put it right?)! 

My mom spent all her summers here growing up with her 3 troublemaking brothers (who liked to tell her she was adopted on a regular basis) and my grandfather would join them from Chicago on the weekends. I still have no idea how my grandma managed this every summer – she was amazing!

This cottage is the first of 5 houses in a row that are all owned by my extended family. They kind of have their own little bay of the lake.

Annie Sloan Chalk Painted furniture and room redo

Once my grandparents retired they lived out here all summer long and we would visit almost every Saturday for the day and we got to stay one week every summer (although somehow my brother and I seemed to weasel in on my cousins week too!). As you can imagine having that many houses in a row all our family, there was always a small tribe of kids running around, swimming, tubing, skiing and causing a ruckus.

We would play king on the raft – basically an every man for yourself wrestling contest on a floating platform in the lake – (except everyone knew to just gently grab my life jacket and place me in the water so I didn’t lose my glasses, or get water in my ears since I had tubes, or drown me since I weighed about 12 lbs. I was sort of a hot mess as a kid, someday I’ll share a photo of me with my permed hair and orthopedic shoes…I also had brainy Smurf glasses and my nickname was Birdie…now that you have the correct mental image going…) play kick the can and endless card games when it rained. My uncle and my dad shared this old sparkly gold speed boat and they would pull us around the lake flying on inner tubes. They had it perfectly timed to make us fall off right in the weedy part of the lake. It was heaven for a kid!

I have so many great memories growing up here and feel so blessed that my kids have will have that too!

Annie Sloan Chalk Painted furniture and room redo

Eventually my parents bought a cottage across the lake from the family bay (when I was about 13) and I got to spend all my summers there just like my mom. My parents built a year round home here the minute (and I mean the minute, like I was packing up my room the week after school ended and moving into my own apartment) I graduated from High School and was out of the house, and have been here ever since.

My brother moved here about 5 years ago when a house came up for sale, and my dad had the foresight to snap up an empty lot on the same street “just in case” we ever moved back to Michigan and would want to live here too. I thought this was crazy as we were living in Iowa at the time with no change in sight but God totally had this one planned out (funny how He knows what He is doing like that).

And the rest they say is history…

Here is the one before photo I remembered to quick snap (headless photobomb by my Uncle and don’t judge my hot outfit, those are my painting clothes people)

Before furniture makeover

My grandparents passed a few years ago and my Aunt and Uncle now spend their summers here at the cottage. This place is still full of antiques and vintage goodies and I had the best time taking a trip down memory lane giving my Aunt some decorating advice. There are so many good pieces of furniture in this house that just need a little love…and paint.

We wanted to add a little color to the master bedroom. This room is all white paneling so I thought if we painted the furniture with a fun pop of blue it would brighten things up!

Annie Sloan Chalk Painted furniture and room redo

Mission accomplished – the room is instantly so cheery! We used Annie Sloan Greek Blue with a little dark wax over top for an aged look. For more info on how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint check out this post here.

Well, that was fun reliving all those memories – I feel like I should make my daughter walk home from school uphill in the snow with no jacket, or something just for funsies or at least go throw her in the weeds :) 

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  1. I stumbled onto you sight due to searching for chalk paint ideas and fell in love with your story.
    Beautiful memories. You are truly blessed!

  2. Wow, THAT was an amazing story. And the transformation….Priceless. Thank you Heather from At The Picket Fence for sharing this! Who needs Netflix when we have such awesome blogs to read!!!!!

  3. Kelly,
    I’m sure I’ve heard every word of this while out on the pontoon, but since alcohol was involved, only remember about half! Thanks for sharing! Miss the ‘Schafers and the lake!

  4. Lot of memories that’s for sure! Love this post Kel, and the nice compliment! The blue looks so fresh and cottagey! Great job! Love you. – mom

  5. As a child, I envied my cousins from big families (it was just my sister and me) because there was always something going on.

    It is funny how things work out. Our daughter told us for years that she had no desire to move back home, but she and our son said they would always keep the beach house for vacations. Well, last month my daughter got a job offer from a major company headquartered in town and she moves back next week. And the best part is that she will be living 4 houses away from us. Both my husband and I are over the top happy.

    1. It’s just my brother and me too, that’s why the cousins were always so fun! Congrats on your daughter moving back – you all will love it :)

  6. I love this story so much. What wonderful memories and such a blessing that your kiddos will have the same experiences. And the dresser is beautiful – I love that color.

  7. I gave away a dressed much like this about a year ago. I just could not how to spruce it up. Hmmm, I am wondering if the gal still has it and if she is willing to give it back. :) I need a t.v. stand and that would work perfect…hind sight is always 20/20…

  8. So jealous of you – in a totally non-aggressive way :) I have all the same summer lake memories and was always with my aunts and cousins but now we’re scattered between Florida and Massachusetts and just about everywhere in between. So it goes… But your family “compound” sounds so charmed and happy and wonderful. Love the story behind it :)

  9. Such a neat story! Thanks for sharing but now I’m kind of jealous:) Michigan (and Wisconsin) are especially beautiful in the summer and fall! Do you ice skate in the winter on the lake?
    Christine from Wisconsin

    1. Hey Christine, we do ice skate! Although last year was so weird weather wise it never totally froze. Crossing my fingers for some colder weather this year – kinda…

  10. I can’t stop laughing at your expense!! Lol I can relate though as the scrawny odd girl. Thank goodness we get to grow up and out of that! And thank God for contact lenses!! Lol Love the new dresser, so pretty, it resembles the color of our entry dresser so I just love the pop of pretty it brings! Also, I’m totally jealous of your fun summers and the bay filled with family. Sounds perfect. Xo

  11. Beautiful story… beautiful life! I adore the thought of a hoard of kids all related having wild and wonderful fun all summer long. I ‘[m sure you know how blessed you are!!!.
    Blue and white is my favorite color combo. You really breathed new life into your heirloom dresser!
    Happy day! Sharing this on FB!

    1. Definitely feel blessed, it’s the best feeling watching my daughter run around with a bunch of kids in the summer, remembering how much fun we had. Thanks Yvonne :)

  12. I still haven’t seen it in person, but it looks great! My mom is so happy with how it turned out!

      1. I haven’t painted the furniture for Leah yet; it is on my list of projects for the spring! I will definitely let you know if I need help. Thanks for the offer!

  13. Wow, it sounds like you guys have such a great set up right on the lake with family nearby. (Although I will admit, right at the beginning I was starting to wonder if this was a weird commune thing). The dressers looks great. That beautiful color really brings the room to life.

  14. What a great story – thanks for sharing. Love the fact that you and your rellies all live so close, a real dream for me! Also, love the colour you painted the dresser – so cute :-) Pictures in the bedroom are nice too!

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