ART IMITATES LIFE

An artist’s beach-cot­tage style is as sunny and col­or­ful as her paint­ings.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY MERYL SCHOENBAUM

This artist home­owner’s beach-cot­tage style is as bright and col­or­ful as her paint­ings.

BEACH-COT­TAGE BEAUTY. The liv­ing room is “the epit­ome of ev­ery­thing that I love,” Erin says. The dif­fer­ent white tex­tures of the room are an­chored by wood fin­ishes.

“I love things that are well-worn, rusty,

im­per­fect and hand­made to off­set the more clas­sic el­e­ments.”

Us­ing art­work to in­spire your dé­cor is a great dec­o­rat­ing trick.

But when you are an artist, your rooms be­come your blank can­vas on which to cre­ate. Step­ping into artist Erin Houghton’s home feels like walk­ing into one of her paint­ings. The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween her dé­cor and her art­work are strik­ing, seam­less and even a bit sur­real.

When you ar­rive at the beach cot­tage’s front door you see the same bright shade of red as ap­pears on a bi­cy­cle in one of her paint­ings. And the yel­low ging­ham cur­tains on the kitchen win­dows match the sun­flow­ers that pop up in her art­work as well as in her gar­den. Erin’s at­trac­tion to vi­brant colors is the ba­sis for her aes­thetic ap­proach to her life and her work.

PRI­MARY COLORS

How does her abil­ity to mix and match paint in­flu­ence her dé­cor? “My artist’s eye cre­ates har­mony in dec­o­rat­ing by re­peat­ing a sin­gle pri­mary color through­out the gar­den and home,” Erin ex­plains.

“My fa­vorite colors are ocean and sky blues ac­cented with whites, reds and yel­lows,” Erin says. “My style is a mix of clas­sic and whimsy, as I use tra­di­tional beach-cot­tage blue and white el­e­ments, mix­ing them with vin­tage finds and col­lec­tions, and then lay­er­ing pil­lows and ac­ces­sories in flo­rals, checks and stripes. I love to add a flag pil­low to the mix for fun and tie it to­gether with a few pri­mary colors and touches of blue to cre­ate a sense of har­mony.”

CLEAN KITCHEN. Erin re­freshed the kitchen with resur­faced doors and bead­board. The mir­ror, chairs and ta­ble were dis­tressed with craft paint. Erin re­pur­posed an old herb dry­ing rack as a place to hang bas­kets. She put new hard­ware on the draw­ers in brushed nickel to make them look more high end. There was an old tele­phone jack she couldn’t get rid of, so she painted roost­ers on can­vases to cover the hole.

“I grew up with and adore books. I have them stacked up ev­ery­where and use them to add height to ta­bles with lamps

as well as to add touches of color.”

|OP­PO­SITE| MIR­ROR IMAGE. This side of the liv­ing room faces the fire­place. The lamps on ei­ther side have books un­der­neath. Erin added a dis­tressed paint fin­ish to the mir­ror from Bal­lard De­signs to make it look more like an ar­chi­tec­tural piece.

|ABOVE LEFT| VIN­TAGE VI­GNETTE. In an­other part of the guest room, a vin­tage-style vi­gnette in­cludes a wicker chair with grain-sack pil­lows. The small paint­ing is from Erin’s se­ries called “Beach Girls.”

|ABOVE RIGHT| Erin likes to “tie in a lit­tle blue ev­ery­where” as one of her sig­na­ture state­ments, along with sun­flow­ers in blue vases, so here she used blue pil­lows as an ac­cent.

|RIGHT| CLAS­SIC COM­FORT. This bed­room fea­tures a high ceil­ing and a built-in book­case, orig­i­nal to the cot­tage, that goes all the way to the top, with blue-and-white china lin­ing the shelves.

““I love things that are well-worn, rusty, im­per­fect and hand­made to off­set the more

clas­sic el­e­ments,”

|OP­PO­SITE| CRE­AT­ING CUR­TAINS. Erin made the ta­ble cur­tain un­der her work­table out of an old shower cur­tain. She found the huge cup­board on the left in some­one’s trash, and the old shut­ters be­hind the ta­ble hide her ex­er­cise bike. The garage doors have win­dows for light. Peo­ple can’t be­lieve it’s the garage. “I’m very good at hid­ing stuff,” Erin says.

VIN­TAGE DEC­O­RAT­ING

To add whimsy and tex­ture to her beach cot­tage, Erin dec­o­rates with what she calls “vin­tage im­per­fect el­e­ments” and col­lec­tions such as pic­nic bas­kets, which she uses to store books, boxes, metal clam bas­kets and seashells.

“I love things that are well-worn, rusty, im­per­fect and hand­made to off­set the more clas­sic el­e­ments,” Erin says. “I col­lect vin­tage bird­houses in all sizes, shapes and colors, and signs, gal­va­nized buck­ets and wa­ter­ing cans for the gar­den. The wa­ter­ing cans, when not in use, are filled with flow­ers or greens from the gar­den, and the buck­ets are used for charm­ing planters.”

But with all her vin­tage finds, Erin’s home and gar­den never look clut­tered or busy. She ap­proaches the spa­ces as she does her paint­ings. “I like to use white as a back­ground and achieve this with the use of white walls and slip­cov­ers in my home and white fur­ni­ture in the gar­den. I add char­ac­ter and in­ter­est by us­ing dis­tressed blue-painted fur­ni­ture and prim­i­tive wood an­tiques as an­chors to the white.

“I am an avid flea-mar­ket, garage-sale and Good­will junkie and have been known to pick up dis­carded road­side finds. I am |ABOVE| GARAGE ART GALLERY. Erin’s garage is her art stu­dio by day, car garage by night. With high loft-like ceil­ings and plenty of built-in cab­i­nets to con­ceal stor­age, it’s big enough to have meet­ings with 12 peo­ple. Erin painted the flag­stone de­sign on the floor. for­tu­nate to have an amaz­ing handyman who can fix any­thing that I drag home,” she says. “I grew up with and adore books. I have them stacked up ev­ery­where and use them to add height to ta­bles with lamps as well as to add touches of color.”

Even af­ter decades of col­lect­ing sec­ond­hand items, Erin has no plans to mod­ern­ize her liv­ing spa­ces. “I would buy vin­tage over new any day,” she says. “Each piece has his­tory and adds tremen­dously to the warmth of the house. Ev­ery room in the house has some­thing old. If it has a chip or crack, it just gives it a lit­tle per­son­al­ity. Most things I buy are vin­tage and will show up in a paint­ing later on; my vin­tage blue bi­cy­cle has been in many of my paint­ings.”

Erin be­lieves her three-bed­room Cape Cod cot­tage, lo­cated 1.5 miles from the beach, is the perfect place to in­spire her cre­ativ­ity and give her joy and seren­ity.

“It’s my happy place,” Erin says. “And any­body who comes here to re­lax, it’s their happy place too.”

|OP­PO­SITE| HOME AWAY FROM HOME.

Erin’s of­fice has a daybed perfect for loung­ing,

with its am­ple pil­lows in clas­sic cot­tage prints like buf­falo check, stripes and burlap. The charm­ing bench cof­fee ta­ble is from Scot­land. An old Shaker rock­ing chair livens up the cor­ner. Gar­den hats are hung near the high ceil­ing. Erin likes to in­clude hats in her dé­cor for their tex­ture. “With all the light walls and fur­ni­ture, I needed to add

some tex­ture,” she says.

BLUE-PLATE SPE­CIAL. Blue­and-white plates and tea sets dot the din­ing room. The small­est room

in the house, it has low ceil­ings,

so Erin placed mir­rors on each

end to make it look big­ger and brought in an old an­tique ta­ble and had a glass top made for it so it doesn’t ap­pear to

take up much room.

“I would buy vin­tage over new any day. Each piece has his­tory and adds tremen­dously to the

warmth of the house.”

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