Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Albany House (and the stair step project)

Before and after my trip to CHA in Chicago I visited with family in Wisconsin.  My sister and brother-in-law are the owners and innkeepers at Albany House Bed and Breakfast in Albany, Wisconsin.  Albany is a small town about 30 miles south of Madison.  Their website can be found at http://www.albanyhouse.com/  You can get all of the details about the B & B and take a virtual tour on the site.

As you have seen from my photos over the past week - there is something intriguing to look at wherever you go in the B & B or on the grounds.  This is the "bottle garden" in the back of the property where they grow flowers and gourds to decorate the house.  Beyond the gardens are corn fields.

Here is just one example of a creative table arrangement with the garden flowers.  This sort of centerpiece makes it easy to see and get to know your fellow guests over breakfast at the large table in the dining room.  The food is fabulous - both Margie and Ken are excellent cooks.

The main house was built over 100 years ago - you can read the history of the property at this LINK.  The style is influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement with lots of oak woodwork and interesting period details.

The floor in the foyer is made of imported French tiles in this hexagonal pattern and they used this geometric motif for the lawn sign and website.

An old corncrib on the property was moved and renovated into this charming summer house - it is a great place to relax and chat on a hot summer day.

There is a large barn on the property with parking for bicycles (many people come to the B & B and use it as a home base for bicycle touring in the countryside).

Last year they started offering artist workshops which run from Tuesdays to Thursdays once a month in the summer months.  The instruction is by Deborah Meyer, a very talented artist,and there is a limit of 9 artists per session for personalized teaching.  You can see some of Deborah's work on her website HERE.  The workshop classes are held in a section of the barn that has been renovated but still has rustic charm.

Everything I know about collecting I learned from my sister - she has a fabulous "eye" and can spot finds and arrange objects in very pleasing displays.  Aren't these old metal wall pockets in the barn interesting?

Margie has collected pottery for years and there are colorful displays all over the house and even in the barn.  These are great for still life classes.

There are two more workshops this summer.  August 17-19 is called "Explore!" and is aimed at expanding your art horizons with different materials and techniques.  September 14-16 the workshop is "Cards and Gift Items" for a head start on the holidays.  For more details about the workshops you can contact Deborah by email  momwow51 (at) hotmail (dot) com (typed the usual way - I am just trying to prevent spam pickups).

There are also quilting and knitting groups that hold retreats at Albany House and it would be a great place for a cropping getaway as well.

About a year or so ago their neighbor was ready to move into a retirement apartment and they purchased her cottage which is directly across the street and provides river access to the Sugar River for canoeing and kayaking.

They made extensive renovations to turn the cottage into a great vacation rental property.  The second floor was just an attic but now has this lovely bedroom suite with a fireplace and sitting area.

The room is at the top of this steep and narrow set of steps.  Ever since the renovations began, we have been planning on adding a saying to the steps - a little surprise when you open the door to go up to the bedroom.  It was hard to think of the right phrase but the carpenter working with them on the house had a great suggestion. "The rise to the top takes many small steps" is both literally and figuratively true.

I cut the words in Cricut vinyl using the Plantin Schoolbook font before I left on my trip.  I "kiss cut" the vinyl using the medium pressure, medium speed and #4 blade depth.  This will cut the vinyl cleanly but leave the backing intact which makes it much easier to work with the vinyl.  I used the beige Cricut Vinyl in the 12 x 24 size.

I cut the words at three inches and the carpenter's name at 2 1/2 inches.  First we "weeded" the vinyl - in other words we removed all of the background vinyl leaving only the actual letters on the backing sheet.  I had decided not to weld the words because I wanted the look of the separated letters. The Cricut vinyl is very thin and sticky and with this many cutouts I could not salvage the offcuts for another project.

I cut small sections of transfer tape to use on the individual words so I could space them properly on the stair risers.

Then I placed the words on the stair risers trying to get the spacing even but not "too perfect," using the empty vinyl box as a spacer to keep the words level on each riser.  Once we stepped back and were satisfied with the arrangement, I burnished each word on to the risers and peeled off the transfer tape.

It was difficult to get a clear photo in the stairwell but here you can see the final result.  Kelvin is the carpenter who came up with the saying so we attributed the quote to him on the bottom step.  It is in the same shade of vinyl but looks brighter since it is closer to the light.

So that was my "crafty project" at Albany House.  It was fun to do and now we are looking for more places to add words and sayings in vinyl.

If you are interested in staying at Albany House sometime check out the website HERE and tell Margie that "Capadia sent me!"  It is a great place for a getaway and only two hours north of Chicago if you need a break from the city.

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  1. Albany House looks like a wonderful place to visit. Love the quote you put on the stairs. Thanks for sharing pics from your trip!

  2. WOW! What a beautiful B&B your sister has! Wish I could go. Sounds like she is busy with everything they have to offer guests. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the tour - what a beautiful property!
    Love your vinyl project! TFS!

  4. I have been loving all these pictures. Your site is wonderful!

  5. OMG! What a beautiful place to go for relaxation! Love, love,love your project on the stairs! It is wonderful! TFS!

  6. I love Craftsman architecture, so your sister's B&B really speaks to me. Throw in kayaking, and now I want to head to Wisconsin! Just fabulous. Perfect vinyl addition--looks great. TFS

  7. Beautiful job on the words and what a wonderful sayting for those steps. Your sisters property is wonderful. I love both MN and WI having grown up in Northern MN and having grandparents living in WI. What beautiful countryside to enjoy and afternoon ride. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Fun post...The stair quote is cool. TFS.

  9. Hi Diane,
    I don't even own DS or a Gypsy, and yet I check your blog every day. You are so creative and artistic, and I love the projects that you make! And now, after seeing the website for your sister's and brother-in-law's B&B, it's clear that some seriously artistic genes run in your family!

  10. Such a beatiful B & B. I'd love to stay there. Your vinyl steps turned out perfect and so is the saying Kevin came up with.

  11. Wow your sister and brother in law certainly run a beautiful and fun house, so many possibilities. Love the decoration, I can see the creative flare is in the family. The wording is perfect for the narrow staircase and it alsmost finishes it off, not that it needed finishing lol.
    Kim xXx

  12. What a beautiful B&B. The steps project is just wonderful. The perfect addition.

  13. What a great project. The B & B looks amazing! I haven't cut vinyl yet but when my reno's are all done that is one thing that I want to do.

  14. How fun to look at your pics of Albany House! Love what you did on the stairs. The saying he came up with is perfect! TFS

  15. Thank you for this post. I just had a request to cut vinyl. Your post answered my questions.
    The stairs to the former attic is just like my stairs to the attic. My I borrow your words? They would look good on my attic stairs.
    Thank you. smg


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