Friday, January 29, 2016

Oyster Haven: The Norman Rockwell Room

I have always been a fan of Norman Rockwell's artwork.  I can't look at any of his endearing illustrations that depict patriotic, family-oriented, small town life in America without smiling and being filled with the warmest of fuzzies. 

So when my husband's younger sister, who has experience owning a VRBO house, said that it might be fun to have theme guest rooms--complete with signs on the doors--at Oyster Haven, I knew right away that one of the bedrooms was going to be called "the Norman Rockwell Room."

A quick aside: If you haven't been here before, Oyster Haven is the name we've given to the updated circa 1830 Colonial on the lake in upstate NY that we bought last fall, hoping to be able to list it on VRBO for a spring 2016 opening.  My hubby and I have made many trips to NY from our home in NH and stayed at the house (so we can attest that the first floor master bedroom is mighty comfortable!  Really, it is!).  We've been working our fingers to the bone--deep cleaning, painting walls, overseeing repairs, hanging curtains, refinishing furniture, clearing brush down by the beach, and completing a host of other projects.

Okay, then, back to the Norman Rockwell Room!

The biggest of the three upstairs bedrooms in the house had lots of potential, but was painted a rather hideous bright yellow (actually, it just might be the same shade I chose for my boys' nursery back in the early 80's).  It didn't look too bad in the real estate listing photos we saw online, but in person, the color was a bit garish and the walls weren't in the best shape.  However, the room itself was charming, with wood floors and lots of natural light flooding in through four windows.
It's amazing what a coat of paint will do for a room.  I found a shade of light gray called "Lunar Surface" that totally transformed the space.  Then I added some framed Norman Rockwell prints.  (One is a wedding gift from a childhood friend that I've used in my own house since I was a newlywed, and the others are glossy pages ripped out of an oversized Norman Rockwell coffee table book that my baby sister and her husband found at a thrift shop not too long ago and passed on to me.)  There was already a white wooden shelf on the wall, left by the previous owners, so I filled it with some little Norman Rockwell figurines and a Norman Rockwell collector's plate.  I'd had these knickknacks for years, and they really did need a new home anyway.

We went minimalist for the furnishings: new metal platform beds with new mattresses, and pristine all-white bedding, except for "pops of color" (as they say on HGTV) from the bed scarves and throw pillows.  Lucky for us, the previous owners left the curtain rods, along with simple sheer white curtain panels that suit this room perfectly.  The rug is one that had been in our basement at home but wasn't needed there anymore.  The bedside tables were bought for a song at a secondhand shop here in NH.  (This house came together with hand-me-downs galore, I tell you!)  And we splurged on nice luggage racks for our guests.

So, are you ready for the big reveal?  I give you the Norman Rockwell Room!  Ta da!
I made the bed scarf with fabric from my mother-in-law's attic.  I wish you
could see how pretty it is--the photo doesn't do it justice.  It's  velvety black
corduroy with a golden, green, and brown paisley pattern on it.
As you can see, it's a big room!
This room sleeps four comfortably.  It's got a queen and two twins in it.
We could have added a third twin bed without even crowding the room,
but decided against it.
I wanted a Norman Rockwell pillow.  So I went to my favorite online site:
Etsy! There I found this tapestry panel, perfect for pillow-making, with the iconic
NR image on it.No matter what you're looking for, you can always count on Etsy!
Once we had all of the bedrooms named, I decide to have small brass plaques engraved to put on the doors.  I went to a place in the mall and put in my order, and I was appalled to learn that to have four plaques made, it was going to cost me close to $100.  (Whaaat?!  For four tiny pieces of brass with a few letters on them?!)  I almost cancelled my order...but then I thought that it just might be worth it after all.  A scene formed in my mind, and it went something like this: a family gets to the house to begin their lakeside vacation, and their kids scamper excitedly upstairs and go running up and down the hall; then someone calls, "I get the Norman Rockwell Room!"
I'm hoping that, like the cat door (remember that story?), this will be one of the endearing quirks about Oyster Haven that will keep people coming back, year after year.  And if so, I will consider those brass plaques to be money well spent.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour!  There's more where this came from, so stay tuned.


  1. Replies
    1. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that! I realized when I went to write this post that all my "after" pictures of this room had been taken at night, and probably would have looked nicer in natural daylight.

      The house has such great bones, and the main rooms are in such terrific condition. The bedrooms just needed a wee bit of elbow grease and TLC. It's been fun working on this project! And I love having positive feedback on this room. I'll share the others down the road--they are very sweet, too.

  2. So pretty!! And I love that color!! Great choice and great job!

    1. Thanks, Beth. This has been a lot of fun.

      My only problem is...I've gotten so attached that I don't really want anyone else to stay there. I just want to keep it all set up for when my kids and grandkids can join us there. But we can't afford that--so hopefully the VRBO thing will work out for us!

  3. I love it, too! I also loved that you placed two twin beds in there. My family and I recently went to a cabin and although there were plenty of beds, we had trouble fitting the couples (parents) + little kids that needed to be in the same room, IN the same room. There were a ton of rooms, but only one bed or two twin beds per room. Lol! Any who, some parents will appreciate that, I am sure! :-)

    1. I'm glad to hear you say that, Gabriela! Because we were going to put a third twin bed in this room. But that left the master downstairs with only one queen in it, and tons of room for another bed. So we put the spare twin in the master suite. We thought some people might think that was strange, having an extra bed in there; but others might appreciate that it was better set up for a family. You've made me feel like we made the right choice. :)

  4. It looks even better that it did the last time I saw it! I love your house on the lake!!

    1. Like I said in an earlier comment, my only problem is that I'm feeling too attached and just want it for US! Ha ha!

  5. How lovely! I would stay there for certain. It's simple but beautiful. I love that the room is so big, perfect for a family or a bunch of girlfriends!

    1. Our three oldest granddaughters stayed in it over Thanksgiving, and it was perfect. Actually more room than they needed.

      I love the idea of using this house for a girlfriends getaway! All of the rooms have more than one bed--even the smallest bedroom has a full and a twin--so you could stay up all night talking to your "roommates."

  6. I'm normally one to count every penny but I do think the splurge on the plaques was a worthwhile investment

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