Fresh Modern Cotton for a Southern Gal’s Home

My mother grew up in coastal Virginia, the northern-most point of cotton production on the eastern seaboard. Growing up right on Virginia Beach and raised by a single mom, they didn’t have much money. “We fished for dinner,” she says, “I spent a lot of time with my toes in the water.”

Her mother worked multiple jobs as a waitress and model, and since money was tight, it was hard for her mom to keep up the home. “From an early age, I was always cleaning,” she says, “I wanted to create order out of chaos. I wanted a beautiful home like in the magazines.”

Pictured above, my mother Marie (far right) with her siblings and mother, circa 1972.

Home Cotton

Sure enough, forty years later, my mother’s home is fresh and pristine.  It’s a touch of Americana  with coastal accents that give a seaside cottage vibe. It’s always sunny and bright, blending traditional with modern.

“I love love love cotton,” she says, “It’s so clean looking. And it reminds me of the south. When I lived up in Cleveland, my house was really dark at the time. I was into dark-grain wood and deep colors. I have since moved away from that into a brighter, fresher decor style, and I actually feel happier on a daily basis, I think because my home is bright and airy.”

Marie lives in historic Groveport, Ohio, on a street lined with oak trees and front porches. She’s a block away from brick-lined streets, grassy parks, and  historic gas lights. Her home was a lucky find: a 1940’s Cape Cod with lots of natural light.

Get the look: Cotton Wreath, 17″

“I like figuring out different uses for things,” she says, “Maybe it’s how I grew up — we always had to make the best with what we had, so I’m good at finding multiple uses for things.”

Her front door was a natural place to start. A large, 17″ Cotton Wreath is warm and welcoming to visitors, so she had no problem choosing the front door for the statement wreath.

She loved the smaller, 12″ Cotton Wreath, but wasn’t sure at first where she wanted to display it. There were so many potential spots where it would look fantastic. I followed my mother around her house as she tried it out in different places, and we had fun with all the possibilities that a simple cotton wreath brought to each space. (She exclaimed in excitement at each spot: “That looks AWESOME there! Oh WOW!” My mom has never been one to hide her emotions.) 😀

Get the look: Cotton Wreath, 12″

This rack in her dining room (above) used to hold mugs. “For a dining room, it was starting to look too cluttered,” she says, “I really like the simplicity this adds. It looks really good here.” An addition of bottles gives a coastal sea-glass look. “These bottles are special to me, these were the ones from your wedding,” she says, turning one over in her hand, “So it’s perfect, I have a blend of memories here. My southern heritage and my daughter’s wedding. Two things I will always remember,” she says with a smile.

Get the look: Cotton Wreath, 12″

No place for cotton like a bed. “This bed frame is really beach-cottage style, and the addition of cotton  gives it the perfect southern coastal feel,” she says. In a room of cream-colors and soft blues, adding some fabric textures really brought it around to a feel of completion.

Get the look: Cotton Wreath, 12″

Another seaside cottage piece, this armoire is completed with a 12″ Cotton Wreath, once again blending coastal with earthy southern.

Finally, we moved on from the little cotton wreath. “I’ll try it out in different places and see where I like it best,” she decided.

We still weren’t done with the armoire. After placing the little wreath on the front of it, we wanted to finish it. The top was bare, with nothing on it. “I think I took the whole minimalism thing a bit too far,” she joked, “It needs a lantern and some cotton. It needs some warmth.” Coming from experience, if there’s anything my mother does well, it’s infusing warmth into a home.

Get the look: Cotton Ball Garland, Cotton Ball Pick, Aqua Glass Vase

“I love details,” my mother says, “I love seeing the beauty of something close up.” In order to complete her armoire, she added some old American elements like the lantern and the horse. The Aqua Glass Vase pulled the coastal feel together with her vintage Americana decor and it’s old southern elements. “The cotton garland pulled this whole thing together,” she says, “Without it, these objects would feel disconnected. The garland makes it whole.”

Get the look: Cotton Ball Pick, Aqua Glass Vase

It’s a special place to be … the marriage of old southern life and fresh, summery coastal. The addition of cotton brings a clean-laundry feel, a homey, comforting touch with it’s uplifting texture. We all have memories of cotton, of how it made us feel, of how it welcomed us home.

A warm and hearty thank you to Marie Kujawski for allowing us into her beautiful home.

Thanks, Mom! 🙂

 

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Author: Rebecca McCusker

Rebecca is the Creative Coordinator for Craft House Designs. Her interests include writing, playing piano, guitar, songwriting, and playing in her all-female rock band Linden Hollow. She enjoys gardening, hiking, teaching piano, reading, and painting animal portraits. She lives in the Ohio countryside with her husband, cats, and Australian Shepherds.

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