Sunday, August 21, 2011

La Petite Maison

In the far corner of my backyard I built, some years ago, a tiny garden shed.   Only about eight feet square, my newly-constructed shed incorporated some vintage elements into its design: the door (with its antique copper-finished knob & escutcheon) and windows came from a salvage yard; the old tin ceiling inside came from an antiques shop.  Even the flooring was re-purposed; brought home after being used in one of my window vignettes  from the Department Store where I work in Display.

My friend Kari, who has a perfectly magnificent garden she put in mostly all by herself, once had a visitor from France, who spent the greater part of a Summer at her house.  He created a make-shift office for himself in Kari's backyard shed, and referred to it as la petite maison, which sounds so much nicer than just plain old 'shed,' don't you think?  Oh, those French...

After Kari told me that story, my own La Petite Maison got its name and has never been called anything else, ever since.

From out-house to La Petite Maison: what a difference a century makes!

I think that La Petite Maison is built on the original site of my homes backyard out-house!  Yes, out-house.  My house, The Lilacs, was constructed in 1908 and lots of homes did not have indoor plumbing at that time.  La Petite Maison is probably not that much larger than the original privy it replaced.

The garage (to the left in the photo, above) was built in the 1980's and the siding already needs replacing.  (Actually, it needed replacing when the house was purchased in 1993.  "I just haven't gotten around to that, yet," as the Bouvier ladies say amidst the crumbling decay of Grey Gardens.  I plan on doing the job myself (eventually)! and am going to give it a 'board & baton' treatment as I did with La Petite Maison.  There's perfectly no reason why I couldn't do the job tomorrow, if only I had the money to do it!

Let's have a peek inside, shall we?

  The vintage copper-finished door knob and  escutcheon match the window box.

One of a pair of frogs on painted, wooden sconces flank the door.

Someday, I am going to redecorate the interior of La Petite Maison.  I say this absolutely every year and absolutely every year goes by without a change.  This year, the key to La Petite Maison was lost, with my bike locked inside from last Winter!  I just found a copy of the key a week ago!  You couldn't see a thing for the cobwebs...

La Petite Maison is enchanting, lit at night by candlelight.  At the right corner of the room you can see evidence of a near catastrophe! Oops!
The built-in bench is upholstered and is long enough to stretch out on and read the Sunday paper (or have a snooze)!  The decor is a little (OK a lot) tired, but it's hard having champagne taste on a beer budget...

I suppose if I wait long enough, this decor will someday come back into fashion, lol!

The antique, framed botanical prints are from a set of twelve I picked up when the Lingerie Department dressing rooms were remodeled at the Department Store where I work.

A zinc nut-cracker from Sur la Table guards a book.
 Grab a book and plop down on the bench.  Would you like an iced tea, or anything?

The perfect book to keep inside a little house!
Lot's of great  doll house inspiration in this book!

My cousin, Timothy, gave me this book & it's one of my favorites.
Sometimes when you're relaxing in La Petite Maison, Edie the Sheltie or her brother, Blackjack, will pop their head in for a visit.
My brother has his own special nick-name for La Petite Maison.  He refers to it as Martha Stewart's Jail Cell! But rest assured there are no bars on the windows!
Looking out the window from La Petite Maison to the so-called, 'big' house, 'The Lilacs.'  
La Petite Maison is not strictly a catch-all for all my throw-away tchotchkes.  On the contrary, it is also a working garden shed. And here is the evidence:

'Acorn Brackets' from Restoration Hardware hold garden implements.

Hope you enjoyed your visit to La Petite Maison!  It's not all that much larger than a doll house, so why not build one for yourself in your own backyard?

 You can just barely make out the verdigris-copper weather vane at the roof's apex against its backdrop of  black-walnut leaves.


Jeri Elsner said...[Reply]

I've always loved "La Petite Maison"! It's a lovely focal point in your very beautiful backyard. I'm glad it finally made it to your blog :)

cassandra ludwig-malone toth said...[Reply]

I think the decor is perfect! Good taste is TIMELESS, it never goes "out of fashion". You have good taste.

I too have that pointy-topped dollhouse book and just love it.

John said...[Reply]

I know, Cassandra --that book is awesome! I go back to it for inspiration again and again. (thanks, Cousin Timothy)!

Pedrete said...[Reply]

Un rinconcito realmente encantador!!

Lucille said...[Reply]

La Petite Maison is adorable and your back yard is like a little corner of heaven! I also have that pointy dollhouse book. My son bought it for me. You are such a talented decorator.