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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Nostalgic Summerhouse

This week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature is a summerhouse in Denmark.







Welcome to the ninety-fourth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".



From the inviting, vine-covered front porch to the steps of the back door, this little cottage is a quaint and unassuming haven.





The front door opens into one room that encompasses living, dining and kitchen. Thanks to white walls and ceiling, as well as plenty of windows, the small space is bright and airy.






Shelves tucked close to the open beam ceiling hold books and collectibles, saving valuable floor space. The unpretentious furnishings give the impression that this cottage has been here for generations, and that each piece has been lovingly collected over time.




An antique stove heats the cottage. 




The hanging punched tin candelabra embellished with handmade flowers and crystal drops adds a whimsical touch.




Interior walls were removed to open up the space and allow room for a dining area. I love the wood floor.






Color is subtly introduced to the cottage in the form of textiles and artwork, as well as pottery and books. And, of course, those beautiful fresh flowers! 





The overall feel of the cottage is serene, and seems to invite napping and reading. Perfect for a summer respite.





An alcove serves as additional sleeping space. (Don't ask me how one gets to the top bunk or keeps from rolling over the edge.)





A simple white cutwork tablecloth and flowers dress the little table.





The back door has so much character.





Outdoor "rooms" encourage relaxed living.






I imagine lazy summer days spent here. 

Source:Isabellas


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.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cottage Life - The Decluttering Continues

A few weeks ago I took my first step toward seriously decluttering our cottage. I wrote about the closet purging and living intentionally here, and shared Mandi Ehman's quote:

"Living intentionally means defining your values 
and making choices that reflect those values."



The wardrobe purge inspired me to get rid of more stuff, and that's when I ordered Marie Kondo's book from the library. (I wrote about that here.)



I've now finished the book, and I have to say there are some things she advocates that make sense to me. There are also some things that just seem plain silly, such as her insistence that we fold our clothes a certain way so that they will be happy (as if cotton and wool have feelings), and thanking them outloud for meeting our needs (which builds up their self-esteem). She repeats herself frequently, which made me want to chastise her editor. And at times I felt a serious case of OCD was the impetus for her career. (Actually, as I think about it, OCD is probably a plus for a consultant that helps people organize their homes and offices.) There's more, but let's get to what I found helpful.

1. Tidy by category and not  by location. 
      Don't tidy by room, tidy by categories:
         Clothes first, then books, papers, miscellany, and lastly
         mementos. 
       This means gathering all items from a category from all the rooms and closets into one spot before deciding what to keep and what to discard. Using this method nothing gets overlooked and it's a do-it-once and it's done approach.

She leaves mementos for last because by the time you plow through all the other more practical categories, your decision-making skills will have been perfected and it'll be easier to make decisions about sentimental items.

2. Take each item in your hand and ask yourself "Does this spark joy?" If it does, keep it. If it doesn't, dispose of it.

At first I thought her claim that one must actually touch the item and not simply look at it and decide its fate seemed odd. But then I tried it with my books. I was sure I could tell just by looking at my bookcase which books I wanted to keep, and that's what I did a couple of months ago. But yesterday when I actually took one of my remaining books off the shelf and held it (not read it! She is sure to say not to do that!), I realized I could let it go because it didn't "spark joy". After doing this with all my other books I ended up with 3 additional boxes of books to give away. 


If I find later I want to read a particular title again, I can get it from the library or discount bookseller. In the meantime, I've cleared off three shelves, and that makes me feel really good.

3. What to do when you can't throw something away.
    Think carefully about its true purpose in your life and ask if  it has fulfilled its role. Kondo believes there are only two reasons why we can't let something go: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future (desire for stability in the 
future).
    
"To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose." -- Marie Kondo

I'm still in the decluttering stage. Next is magazines and then miscellany and so on. When I get through the final category of mementos, then I'll start the organization process.

I won't bore you with more details from the book. (There are some good reviews of the book on Goodreads here.) You can go to Youtube and do a "marie kondo declutter" search and find lots of information about her technique. If you're interested in reading the book, I suggest borrowing it from the library.

Before I go I want to relate a funny conversation I had with my hair stylist last week:

Lisa: So what have you been up to?

Me: Oh, I've been decluttering. I'm on a mission to get rid of stuff.

Lisa: No! No! Nancy, you already live like a minimalist. You've downsized to that darling little house. Stop! Just stop! You don't need to get rid of anything else.

Me: (Laughing) Lisa, it's okay. I just want to simplify and keep only those things that really bring me joy.

Lisa: But. . .but. . .I'm just worried about you.

Me: Don't worry. Really. It'll be fine.

I don't think she bought it. That's not going to stop me, though. 

Stay tuned for more.







Saturday, February 18, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Cozy Live-Work Studio in Sydney

A studio rental that doubles as a work space is this week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature.


Bellevue Hill Studio
Photo by Sushiiphoto - Search shabby-chic style home design design ideas



Welcome to the ninety-third post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".


Located in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Bellevue Hill, this charming live-work space is private and hidden behind the main house on the property.

Bellevue Hill Studio




The 538 sq ft studio, rented by interior designer Jane Brown, is serene and inviting. A beautiful wooden door (which leads to the bathroom) adds interest and warmth to the space.


Bellevue Hill Studio





I've mentioned before how the placement of mirrors in a small area can make a room look bigger than it is. Throughout the studio Brown has artfully done this.


Bellevue Hill Studio


Huge sliding doors bring the outdoors in, making it feel as if the living space is one with the garden. The terracotta floor tiles enhance this notion. 


Bellevue Hill Studio





Bellevue Hill Studio



A comfy chair placed near the window provides a lovely place to read.


Bellevue Hill Studio




The gallery wall helps to define the living "room". 


Bellevue Hill Studio



An avid reader, Brown created a bookshelf by arranging books by height and stacking them with a glass panel between each layer. The dining table doubles as a reading desk.


Bellevue Hill Studio





Bellevue Hill Studio


Brown combined three individual furniture pieces to create a hutch that gives her additional storage space and acts as a wall, separating the living area from the kitchen. She's made good use of the space under the hutch for books.


Bellevue Hill Studio



Although this is a minimal space, it's anything but sterile. 



Bellevue Hill Studio



Cherished personal items bring accent color into the all white space.


Bellevue Hill Studio



The laundry is part of the bathroom. Vertical stacking optimizes storage.


Bellevue Hill Studio



Bellevue Hill Studio







Bellevue Hill Studio



Instead of completely blocking the view from the backyard, a semiopaque screen allows the tree outside to cast its shadow, creating a natural artwork on the walls. 



Bellevue Hill Studio



Brown made this shelf, hanging on the back of the bathroom door, by using a second hand mantelpiece. This is where she puts on her makeup.


Bellevue Hill Studio



This spot outside the kitchen is used for outdoor dining, as well as client meetings.


Bellevue Hill Studio




Brown shares the pretty backyard with the owners of the house in front of her studio.


Bellevue Hill Studio


Cozy, tranquil and thoughtfully furnished. This is truly a small space that lives large.


Source: Houzz
Photograher: Sushiiphoto


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.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cottage Life - Blooms and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Every fall I bring my geraniums in the cottage to over-winter, and they reward me with pretty blooms. This is one of them in my kitchen garden window.




I didn't think my Christmas Cactus was going to bloom this year, but suddenly I see buds. Not exactly blooming at Christmas, but I'll take it nevertheless.





Last week I wrote about my closet purge. I enjoyed reading your comments, and learned that there are many of us on the path to a simpler, more uncluttered (and dare I say, minimal) lifestyle. 

It's amazing how just that one step of eliminating excess items from my wardrobe has motivated me to go further with my purging. I ordered a book through our library system titled the life-changing magic of tidying up - the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't already heard of this 3 year-old book and the KonMari method. 




Let's face it, there are a bazillion books, pamphlets, articles and blogs devoted to home organization, decluttering, downsizing, yada yada. . .and I've gotten some help from each one I've read over the last 30 years. Marie's book -- and specifically her KonMari method --  intrigued me because she deals with more than just organizing your stuff. In fact, she doesn't even address organization until first the clutter is eliminated.  

I've only just begun reading her book, but I've got a good feeling about this. I'm taking notes as I go and will share what I learn, but something that resonated with me last night is this:

"Before you start, visualize your destination. . .Think in concrete terms so you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space."

As a creative type, I get the visualization part. I have to envision the end product before I begin the creative process. Having a clear vision of what that looks like is what drives me,  and gives my work purpose. 

Thanks for joining me on the journey. I'm excited about where I'm going.





Saturday, February 11, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Madeline Island Cottage

A Wisconsin cottage constructed in 2013 is this week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature.



Madeline Island


Welcome to the ninety-second post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

When I first discovered this lovely cottage located on a Lake Superior island, the description placed it at 1,100 sq ft. Later I saw another article that noted it is 1,500 sq ft, which is larger than the homes I typically share. Whatever its measurements, this is still a modest retreat not only in size and budget, but also in interior decor compared to many others being built today. And yet, its beauty has not been diminished in the least. This, I believe, warrants it being included in this series. I think you'll enjoy touring it. 

The owner is a semi-retired physician who spent her childhood summers at a rustic Maine cottage. Those were happy times for her, and she wanted to create a vacation home that encapsulated those memories. 

In keeping with her desire for a rustic interior, rigid foam insulation was applied to the exterior of the house -- a very energy efficient method --  allowing interior studs to be exposed.

Madeline Island


Floors on the main level are reclaimed elm. No drywall was used inside; exposed studs can be used for storage or artistic display. The furniture is mostly pieces the owner already had.


Madeline Island


A large portion of the home's floor space is dedicated to communal living. The raised slab hearth allows for storage underneath the fireplace.

Madeline Island


The combination of oak cabinets and metal-front units from Ikea set a casual tone in the kitchen. Counters around the perimeter are plastic laminate. The vintage range from the owner's garage and shelves across the windows add particular charm to the kitchen. Blue ceilings are a New England tradition.


Madeline Island

T
A translucent white stain was applied to wall studs and sheathing to keep the interior from looking too yellow.

Madeline Island

The cottage has one bathroom, located on the main floor. To the left of the commode is a walk-in shower.




Although the loft is small, it doesn't seem cramped. No doubt the white surfaces, natural light, and the fact that the railing leaves it open to the main floor contributes to the feeling of spaciousness.

Madeline Island


The floor surrounding the carpet is painted plywood. A delightful window seat doubles as a bed.



The second bedroom sits under the roof dormer, and is furnished with a brass bed inherited from the owner's grandmother.


Madeline Island


Note the shingled wall, which makes the porch look like an addition to the house. A successful effort at making the cottage seem like it has existed for generations.

Madeline Island


The home and outbuildings are situated on 9 acres. Construction of the barn preceded the residence, allowing for a staging area and a secure place for tool storage as the cottage was being built. A solar array on the roof (which can be seen in the lead photo) provides enough electricity to power the house.

Madeline Island



Standing-seam Galvalume covers the low-pitched porch roof to aid in the shedding of snow in winter. 

Madeline Island


This unpretentious cottage is inviting and homey. I love it!

Madeline Island


You can see more of this home, including floor plans in the Houzz article 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.