Saturday, August 19, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - The Old Blacksmith's Cottage

An 1888 renovated cottage in Tamborine Mountain, Queensland, Australia is this week's featured small space.

Welcome to the 115th post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

The two bedroom, two bath cottage we're exploring today is the home of a single mother and her young daughter. Purchased after it was passed up at auction, the cottage -- known to locals as "the Blacksmith's cottage" -- was severely run-down and required a major overhaul to transform it into the charming home it is today.

Originally, the home was a one-bedroom worker’s cottage surrounded by avocado groves. At the time of its purchase the cottage was hidden from the street by overgrown vegetation, but with the help of a late friend the landscape was cleaned up and transformed into a beautiful extension of the cottage.

Although the cottage was sitting on top of a water tank and sloped badly, the new owner wasn't deterred. She'd had experience renovating five previous homes and saw the potential of the property. The good news was that the foundation had been partially redone and it had a new roof. She hired a good carpenter, and the first thing they did was raise the house off the water tank using steel supports, then leveled out all of the windows and doors to make them functional again.

The entry door opens directly from the small, quaint front porch into the main living area.

The space is light and airy. When renovating the cottage, the owner maintained much of its original character, such as the windows, flooring and the window seat. 

She purchased fabric for less than $5/yard and had the window seat cushions made for $150. 

While the decor leans toward a minimal style, the rooms are anything but stark. "Country cottage chic" is how the owner describes her style. I can't see one thing I'd change about this room. It's altogether lovely.

Although the sandstone pieces behind the fireplace were a bargain at $20 total, installation was not so cheap, as it took 10 days for the tile contractor to piece them in the final pattern.

A third bedroom was turned into a media room. Previous owners said this room was originally the main living area of the old worker’s cottage. 

To the left of the fireplace is the door to the kitchen. 

All the stained glass in the cottage is original to the home.

Thirty cabinets were used in the professional remodel of the kitchen. To keep to her budget the owner chose plain white laminate for the countertops. She's happy with her decision, stating that the laminate is "clean, functional and easy care."

The owner enjoys cooking and spends most of her time in the kitchen. She added the TV and considers this her main living space.

The vintage canisters were purchased years ago from an auction house.

Pressed tin was used for the stunning backsplash. Originally the owner was going to paint the tin white, but once she saw it installed she decided to leave it silver.

This before picture shows the extent of the remodeling done to create the gorgeous kitchen. It's not hard to believe it consumed the lion's share of the renovation budget, which included removal of a wall. 

The space now features a built-in buffet and breakfast bar for kitchen dining. The pretty door leads to the daughter's bedroom and bathroom.

The child's bedroom was originally a sleeping porch that led to the main bedroom at the front of the home. Rather than install a closet which would infringe on the small space, tall free-standing pieces were used for wardrobes and storage. 

The Master Bedroom is at the front of the cottage, just off the living room.

The elegant wall mirror was a gift from the owner's mother and the vintage trunk was found at an antique store. 

A 25 year-old bedspread completes the understated elegance of the bedroom.

Behind the original frosted glass panel doors is the master bath. I wish there were more photos of it.

The stunning stained glass windows are original to the cottage.

A back deck runs the width of the home and is accessible from the kitchen and the media room. 

I'm sure this delightful space gets a lot of use.

Jessica the family dog exits 
a shed located next to the small courtyard at the front of the property.

The owner had just sold her previous home when she bought the cottage and moved in with her daughter, and they lived in the cottage during the entire renovation. Originally she had planned to renovate the cottage, sell it and move on to another project. However, her plans changed when the construction was complete and she discovered that what she had created was the perfect mountain home for herself and her daughter.

An excellent decision I'd say.

You can read more about the cottage, the owner and her daughter in the article by Tamara Armstrong, who also took all the photos, on Houzz 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.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cottage Life - Mid-August Musings

Hello Cottage Friends,

As I compose this post in front of an open window at 1:00 in the afternoon a gentle breeze ruffles the flowers outside while a hummingbird entertains me with his aerobic antics at the feeder on the porch. This may seem a ho-hum moment to you, but to me it's monumental. The unbelievable heat wave that lasted weeks and weeks and the later accompanying smoke from wildfires to the north have receded -- at least for now -- and I relish the cooler temperature and clean air. Yesterday and Monday I was so energized I did some much-needed deep cleaning of the cottage. 

Earlier in the season I planted four o'clock seed at the corner of the porch, and though it seemed to take forever for blooms to appear, it was well worth the wait. The multi-colored flowers are so pretty.

I'm a little stumped, though, that they don't seem to have a scent. The seed packet suggested planting them where their "heady fragrance" could be enjoyed. Hmm.

On the other hand, the fragrance from my garden phlox is intoxicating. Just walking nearby I can smell their perfume.

As you can see from the photo, the coneflower is fading. It did put on a grand display this year.

This morning I took flowers in a mason jar to a friend whose husband passed away in June. We sat at her table. She talked. I listened. She likes to talk to me because I've been where she is now. I get it. I know the pain of letting go of a life she loved and the search for a new normal. I know the triumph of two steps forward only to endure the sudden wave of grief that crashes into you, pulls you down and leaves you gasping for air. It comes out of nowhere. And all you can do is cry out to Jesus and surrender. He comes up under you like a giant life preserver and floats you to still water. Peace returns. You keep breathing. You keep living. And God gives you a reason to smile. But you have to open your eyes to it.

Look at this old truck loaded with flowers. 

It's on the main street coming into our town. In the fall the owners decorate it with pumpkins. They had to post the No Trespassing sign to keep tourists from getting inside the truck for photo ops. I suppose there's some liability not to mention privacy issues. Dennis did a watercolor rendition of this truck. There's an antique and classic car show in Enterprise, Oregon this weekend and this painting will be awarded to the winner of the survivor category. The show organizers commission a survivor painting from Dennis every year.

Wayfair did an article on buying the perfect chandelier for your home, and asked me to join six other bloggers by revealing a photo of our lantern and sharing some lighting insights.  It was a well-written article, with a nice variety of chandeliers. If you're interested, the link to the article is here.

My creative mojo took a dive during the summer heat. However, just before the record breaking heat spell ended, when I was dreaming of the beach and cool ocean breezes, I was inspired to create this collage. It's not quite finished -- I have to add a dowel and hanging cord -- but here it is.

This is the first time I've done a collage this large. It's approximately  17" long (including the fringe) and 12" wide. It will go in my shop when it's ready to hang. I'll now be moving on to fall themed items. Can you believe we're talking about that?

It's been really nice to catch up. Thanks for dropping in. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Wishbone Barn Conversion

A 500 year-old "rough-luxe" barn located in Malvern Hills, Worcestershire is this week's featured small space.

Welcome to the 114th post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Discovered by the current owners "whilst looking for the perfect retreat to escape," the Grade II listed barn has quite a historic past: "There is reputed to be a plan of Bank Farm area in The West Minster Abbey Archives, showing the house and pond as it was in the1400's. By 1876 the farm belonged to Earl Beauchamp and in 1919 was sold to Stephen Ballard the second, who was son of Stephen Ballard who engineered and built the railway tunnel through the Malvern Hills. He also built Jubilee Drive which runs from the Wyche cutting to British camp to celebrate Queen Victoria´s Golden jubilee in 1887. The farm was then turned into a fruit farm. Some of these ancient apple trees remain in the orchard in front of the barn, which has an amazing display of pink blossom in May."

Nestled between the primeval apple orchard and a private fishing lake, this stunning barn conversion has kept its historic roots without sacrificing modern conveniences. 

The sympathetic renovation retained the original timbers, stone walls and vaulted truss ceilings. Additional wood and stone came from around the farm.

Facing the double blue barn doors is a velvet sofa that lends a touch of luxury to the rustic interior.

The trunk coffee table adds character and doubles as hidden storage.

The view from this space is breathtaking.

In this open floor plan the sofa separates the sitting area from the dining.

There's a sense of balance here, with the furnishings complementing the architectural beauty and not upstaging it. As the owner explains, "The refurbishment of the barn came from the desire to preserve and highlight the amazing internal features but not overwhelm them with the interior refurbishment It was so important to utilise many pieces I have collected over the years like the little time worn wall cupboard, the antique meat safes, the vintage console table and all the collectable accessories."

The handmade kitchen was repainted to Lead Grey. Stairs lead to the hayloft -- more about that later.

In a sea of soothing neutral tones the kitchen's red cooker makes a perfectly bold statement.

Behind a "puddled heavy" curtain lies the master bedroom.

Large enough for a king-sized bed with room to spare for an antique dresser

An ensuite bathroom has shabby chic charm.

And a gorgeous walk-in shower.

Upstairs the old hayloft is now a sanctuary for naps or curling up with a good book.

Or just enjoy the fresh air and views from the hayloft's open wooden door.

Outdoor living is as special as the indoors at Wishbone.

Sixteen beautiful green acres surround the barn.

The private picnic area offers a lakeside view while enjoying a meal.

A friendly equine neighbor completes the bucolic scene.

Wishbone's owners sum up the wonder of this place so well: "We were inspired to make this humble countryside building an interesting and beautiful place to stay and with the barn doors open and the amazing view of the Malvern Hills unfolded before you – it feels magical and a place unspoilt and changed by time and time to rediscover yourself."

I couldn't agree more. Seeing Wishbone inspires me to bring more magic into my own small cottage.

The Wishbone is a vacation home available for rent from Unique Home Stays, 

Images © Unique Home Stays +44 (0) 1637 881183

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.