Happiness at the Happy Place

We’ve been coming to The Happy Place for many years now.

While living in two different states and on two different continents.

That’s just how much we love it.

And so last year, when we finished our first year as Expats, having sold the house up in the Northeast, we took a long-term rental at The Happy Place for a month and a half.

And as we imagined, many weeks at The Happy Place were better than one.  {That’s my kind of math!}  So somewhere in there, we called a realtor to just look at our options to possibly buy a little place.

And so I did.  On one very rainy morning, in between other renters, I quickly looked at what was available, snapped some pictures, made a prioritized list and tucked the information away to discuss with the husband when we were back in the same country together and we could figure out exactly what our plans were for the next few years.

And then this past Winter we bit the bullet and bought my favorite place from over in Japan, without having anything more to show my husband than these kind of pictures ~




And yet he trusted me that the major pieces in this furnished place were still good and that with a little paint and a little work we could make it much more “us” and up to date.

And I promised I would keep in mind that we would be renting it out when we weren’t there AND that we would also be living in it all summer.  And I could strike some kind of balancing in decorating to make it all work so that we’d be happy, but not purchase expensive things we’d be disappointed if they were accidentally broken by renters.

And I totally kept my promise.  And did the whole thing on a shoestring budget.

So here’s what I’ve really been up to while The Cuties are at camp!

It’s a little hard to tell in the original dark and terrible photos, but the walls were beige.  And the sisal carpet is beige.  And the big sofa is beige.  And the kitchen tile is beige. So I lived in fear of sitting down and turning beige like a chameleon.  We needed a little contrast and texture!

I had the main living space painted in Sherwin Williams Upward, and removed all the many palmetto pillows and art (I counted 27 in the place!).  The new pillows all come from Pier One, Target and Garden Ridge, so it won’t be a tragedy if a renter spills something on one.  I took down the awkward vertical mirror and added an abstract painting that nicely brings in all the greens from the view outside of the lagoon.


I de-cluttered the side table and added a faux mercury glass lamp for a little shine.  I also added a few books of interest and a Guest Book for our renters {all from the bargain area at Barnes & Noble + my member discount!}.


When I took down the palmetto prints, I replaced them with these fun prints from Seaside Prints on Etsy.  I love the details in them as well as the quality.


I did reuse that massive mirror in a place where it seemed to fit better {and doesn’t it work best vertically?}.  Around that corner is our front door, so it’s nice to have a “quick check” spot.  I also replaced the palmetto plates on the side of the kitchen cabinets with some pretty taupe ones {not my first design choice, but they are masking the massive holes put there}.

full view

There had been three or four small containers of shells around the place when we moved in, and so I found this pretty bowl and consolidated them all in one spot.  And while I know it’s not an authentic glass fishing float, I was happy to find this little guy in a local shop, as he makes me think of Japan.


The TV built-in was an easy fix once we took out a lot of dusty fake greenery.


I spent all Spring believing this chair had to be replaced because it was too big for the room, but when we lifted up the ottoman to take it out we realized that was the root of the problem and the chair was perfectly fine on it’s own; problem solved!  And the elephant table was possibly my favorite find of the summer ~ I think he looks like something from Jonathan Adler, but would you believe he was only $50!


Here’s all that pretty lagoon greenery I was mentioning.  It’s been like Wild Kingdom this week, and I’ve had visits from our alligator, some ridiculously huge turtles and lots of baby deer just outside!


And finally, this is what we now see when we walk in the door.   Pretty much sums it up.


On a different note ~ thank you for all your lovely comments regarding the Lilly Pulitzer Giveaway.  Congratulations to Kellie Failla!  Please email me at FeltSoCute@gmail.com with your contact information so I can send the watch set to you.

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11 Responses to Happiness at the Happy Place

  1. Kay Brown says:

    It does look happy. Congrats on the house. I know many, many memories will be made there. If I ever need to rent a place in Kiawah I know who to call.

  2. Super fun! I am so glad that you found a “happy place”!

  3. Steph says:

    Really pretty, easy and relaxed. That bowl for the shells is adorbs. Where did you get it?

  4. feltsocute says:

    Thanks. Either TJ Maxx or Marshalls! Came in a few shapes and colors.

  5. Alyson says:

    Love it!

  6. lisa bach says:

    How fabulous! I love what you’ve done…impressive. Looks like a wonderful place to spend time…

  7. Tokyo Jinja says:

    Your changes have been absolutely transformative and the apartment looks wonderful! I am so happy for you! Have a wonderful rest of the summer and I’ll talk to you soon – once we each get settled back on the other side!

  8. Ashley says:

    Looks beautiful! Love the new paint color! Will it be hard to find renters for the year that will leave for the Summer season?

  9. feltsocute says:

    Most people at The Happy Place rent for a week or so at a time, so no issues! 🙂

  10. george says:

    Wow – neat transformation! My eyeballs popped out on stalks at image #5 … of course! Love those etsy prints too! Well Done! Well Done! Here’s to many happy times in your new Happy Place!

  11. feltsocute says:

    But of course! You can now add Kiawah Island to the many fabulous places Paper Glue Bamboo products are loved and admired!!!

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