Reinventing the Cottage

“I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them.”- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

When my father passed away a few years ago, my Mom had a very hard time living in her large house. In fact, she starting only using a few rooms of her house and never went upstairs. We finally convinced her to sell the place and buy the cottage of her dreams in the historic area of our quaint little town of Summerville. It’s not cheap to live in any historic area, so we wanted to keep the cost of any renovations and interior decorating to a minimum. So far, we have stayed drastically below budget and have almost finished the entire house. I decided to take a few pictures of two rooms to give you a little sneak peek at what we’ve been up to!

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My Mom wanted a front porch where she could sit and rock and watch the birds. She has so many hummingbirds, it’s crazy!

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Inside, she wanted a blue and white color scheme. When we found the house, it had very dark furniture and lots of red- very Victorian Era. But, it had yellow paint, which was in great shape, so I convinced her to keep it and do a blue and yellow color scheme. I’m so glad we did because it’s such a warm, inviting house now.

We still have a few things to hang up, but it’s looking really beautiful. Don’t you love that little antique sled in the corner painted blue? I bought it like that (I wouldn’t have had the guts to paint that). It reminds my Mom of her childhood in the Catskills of New York where she went sledding in the winter time.

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This blue and yellow striped couch is from Pier 1 Imports. The pillows are so cute. If you look through the doorway, you can barely see the bedroom I will show you later.

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What really inspired these room are all my Mother’s blue dishes from Norway. She also has a little banjo on her mantle that I brought back to her from Moscow, but that is the extent of my offerings of world travel. She has visited almost every country in the world and has little treasures all over the house from all over.

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One of the things I insisted we change immediately was an ugly, old brown fan that was centered in this lovely living room. It took so much from the look. I found this French chandelier with antiquing on it and put a dimmer on it. It makes the room.

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I love all the shutters on the windows. We decided that they needed to be as bare as possible to let light in and to not overwhelm the small rooms. So, in lieu of drapes, we put small wreathes on each of the windows, hung by a silk ribbon.

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Every hallway and corridor in the house has a door. I loved putting eucalyptus wreaths on each (I cried a little when we struck the first small nail to hang them).  The bells on the door knob are actually from an old sleigh from my mother’s home town. I love all the water color paintings she has in the house. Either a family member painted each or it was done by a mysterious painter. We only know she painted in the Catskills of New York and that she was a woman. Apparently, there was an artist’s colony near her home town. All the paintings in the house are originals.




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My Mom has a blue recliner we joke is a lot like the one on Fraiser. It’s comfy, though, so we just stuck a cute pillow in it.

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One thing I knew I wanted to do in the house was to create a really pretty entrance to the dining room- with curtains. Remember, I couldn’t really use them on the windows, so I had to put them somewhere! I love drapes so much… I still may change these because I want them longer and possibly in a yellow gingham.

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This is the lovely view from the dining room. As you can say, draping the curtains at the entrance really gave it a romantic touch. Mom’s ready for her tea.

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This is the guest room in a grayish bluish green (it changes color with the time of day). We chose shabby chic linens and bed crown from Target. Mom got a wee side table for a few dollars at an antique store and I found the lantern house at HomeGoods and gave it to her for Valentine’s Day. The lantern is an old one of hers, but it’s perfect in here. My Mom’s brother, Uncle Bill, said he felt like he was sleeping on a princess bed. I’m not sure that was a compliment…

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I love all the glass doorknobs in the house. They told us the house was built in the 40s, but we have found 3 cooking fireplaces covered up over time but visible in the attic! It must have been the 1800s!

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Our sweet little Callie says, “Welcome to the Cottage!””

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  1. Cathy says:

    Who gorgeous, what a good job decorating. Love the colors. Can’t wait to see the additional rooms, kitchen etc…. Enjoy your blog very much.

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