Thirtieth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces"
Welcome Cottage Friends.
I'm so glad you're here for another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.
Several weeks ago I discovered a blog with two of my favorite words in its title: Petite and Cottage. After visiting her blog, I contacted Ana author of A Petite Cottage with an invitation to share her sweet San Diego home and the story behind it with us. I'm so happy to welcome Ana today as my guest. I love her design style and contagious joy. I'm sure you will too.
Hi everyone, my name is Ana and I am from A Petite Cottage. Before I begin I want to take this opportunity to thank Nancy for giving me the opportunity to share our home with you. It is an honor to be a part of her "Living Large In Small Spaces" series.
TRANSFORMATIONS: the story of A Petite Cottage
It was late in the evening and my husband and I were both very tired. We had been looking for a house for what seemed like ages. I was 7 months pregnant and time was running out, but our budget was simply not allowing us to find the kind of house we had always dreamed of. We wanted a small cottage style home, but what our real estate agent had been showing us for the past few months were what I call "cookie cutter" homes, structures with all the required rooms, but lacking any sort of personality.
We were at our real estate agent's office one evening. As we were getting ready to leave, he stopped us and said, "This just came through the fax. I'm not supposed to show it to you because the listing doesn't become official until tomorrow, but why don't you drive by on your way home and let me know what you think."
As we pulled up to the house, the first thing we noticed was the red barn in front of it. The second was that it had a beautiful view. Its curb appeal left a lot to be desired but we had seen much worse those past few months. The house had potential, so we hurried home to call our agent. An appointment was made for us to walk the house the next day.
As we walked up to the 1950's ranch style house, the neighbor next door greeted us... friendly neighbors, I thought, definitely a plus. The red barn we had noticed the night before turned out to be the garage. As we stepped into the house, my heart began to beat faster. The house was not in the best shape. The people currently living there had five boys, and you could certainly tell that by the disarray we found inside. One of the four bedrooms had been converted into a gym, and it smelled like it, the one next to it had carpet remnants on the floor that were flea infested. And the remaining two were so small, I was surprised they could even call them bedrooms. But none of that mattered, because after our walk, my husband turned to me and said, " I love it, this is it." I was relieved to find out that my husband had just seen the same thing I had.
Buried in all the mess and clutter, I noticed a house with vaulted ceiling and exposed wooden beams. I saw old wooden floors and a brick fireplace. And the view we had noticed the night before was even more breathtaking in daylight. The next few weeks were filled with anxiety. Our first bid was declined, but after everything was said and done, our agent was able to secure a price only a few thousand dollars over our budget.
We've had our little cottage now for over twenty years and it has gone through many transformations. Welcome to our petite cottage...
As you walk up to the front of the house a small garden welcomes our guest.
As much as we liked the original barn red color of the home, we decided we liked this Promenade green even more. The porch was originally very plain. We added the tile and a wooden vintage style screen door to liven it up and make it more welcoming.
As you walk in you are greeted by our living room. We removed the large and clunky aluminum blinds that the original owners used to block the sun out. We felt the view the home provides deserved to be enjoyed at all times and not having the blinds provided an unrestricted view of Downtown San Diego, as well as a brightly lit living area.
We also replaced the single glass pane windows with more energy efficient dual pane argon filled windows which lowered the temperature of the home and provided the same function as the original blinds.
This was one of the things that originally made us fall in love with the house... the floor to ceiling brick fireplace. Adding the mantel made it the perfect fireplace for us and it gives me an ideal area that I can use to decorate and redecorate throughout the year.
The kitchen was the one room that saw the most dramatic transformation. We completely gutted it and removed all the dark wood cabinets and lime green 60's laminate floor. We hired a floor specialist to refinish the wooden floors throughout the house and also extend it into the kitchen. He did such a great job that you can't even tell where the old floor ends and the new one begins.
This is one of the transformed bedrooms found adjacent to the kitchen.
So we simply removed the door located in the hallway, and added an opening on the opposite wall for easy access to the kitchen.
The second bedroom is our daughter's. Not much has been done to this room other than the addition of our daughter's decorative touch.
Our master bedroom is what the previous owners used to call the gym. When we moved in, this room was composed of a bare cement floor and four white walls. This made it the ideal blank canvas.
Because we felt the room was a bit dungeony we added a french sliding door that allowed us easy access to the back yard and brought in plenty of light. The room was transformed from a dungeon to the perfect cottage bedroom with additions like a vintage chandelier and french style furniture.
A french door deserves a romantic patio space, so the area immediately outside our bedroom was transformed with the addition of brick flooring, white washed wooden patio furniture and a canvas drop clothe canopy that provides plenty of shade. This was one of the projects that my husband and I took on personally and I am thrilled with the end results.
This is one of the areas that we have worked on recently. It is a small walk way that leads from the front of the house to the back yard. Although still a work in progress, we livened this area up with vintage metal patio chairs and some plants. We also had a good friend build us a cottage style wooden gate to separate the side patio from the back yard and provide a more intimate space. Eventually we would like to incorporate the tile flooring found in the front porch into this area.
I think subconsciously I find joy in knowing that there will always be something to do. Our home is currently in need of some backyard landscaping, and our roof will need to be replaced soon. But those are not necessarily bad things. They are all opportunities to bring our home one step closer to my original cottage style vision. I have to admit it would be a sad day for me if I were to ever consider this home finally finished. I have enjoyed the many transformations it has gone through over the past twenty years. And as I sit here reliving those memories, I hope you have enjoyed them as well.
Hugs and Kisses,
Thank you, Ana, for the tour of your charming petite cottage and for sharing your twenty year story of large living in a small space.
You can see more of Ana's cottage and her many DIY projects at her blog: A Petite Cottage.
Ana also as an Etsy shop here.
Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series
Living Large in Small Spaces
See more home tours in the
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.
From the comments I've received, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives shared here.
If you live in a small space I'd
love to feature your story, too.
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for my email address.)