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.











Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cottage Life - Living Intentionally and the Closet Purge

For three decades I've been on a quest to simplify my life and to live intentionally. What do I mean by living "intentionally"? For me, the best description I've read to date is summed up in this quote by Mandi Ehman, blogger at Life Your Way:


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


One of Dennis and my core values is being content with less. When we designed our cottage we intentionally planned for a small closet in our bedroom. This has forced us to keep our wardrobe fairly simple because we don't have room for a lot of clothes. Of course, it takes discipline to stick to a minimalist wardrobe. The easy thing to do is just keep adding storage somewhere in order to accommodate more clothing. But that defeats the purpose of our building a 670 sq ft cottage for simplified living. At some point you have to decide to stop the accumulating and increase the purging

During a snowstorm earlier this week I was struck by the idea of tidying up my closet. While it howled outside, I got to work inside. 

Now mind you, I had already done a major wardrobe clean out last fall. However, after several months I realized there were still pieces that could be eliminated.

There are all sorts of ways to complete this task, but this is the method I used:

1. I examined my wardrobe and determined which articles I wear the most. In doing this I discovered I favor three colors: black, white and blue. 

2. I pulled out all the clothes that didn't conform to those (three) colors and put them in a give away pile.

3. I tried on all the pants left in my closet and eliminated any that didn't fit. No matter if they were just a little snug or could fit if I lost a couple of pounds, they went in the give away pile.

4. Next I looked at all my remaining tops in the closet and removed any that didn't fit, or that I hadn't worn more than twice in the last year.

5. Exceptions. I kept a few articles of clothing that are outside the three most often worn colors because I like them and wear them often. But, they are exceptions and if it gets to the point where I notice I'm no longer wearing them -- out they go.


Just to show you how much space I gained in my closet, here's a photo showing what I gave away and the hangers that were freed up.




Now my closet is tidy and organized. I can see everything clearly. 



If I'm tempted to buy a new article of clothing in the future I'll ask myself these three questions:
  • Do I really need it?
  • Is its color one of my favorites (black, white or blue)?
  • Will it work with other items in my wardrobe?
If I can say "yes" to these three questions the purchase would most likely be a good one. If the answer to any of these questions is "no" I should walk away.

I'm not saying this is right for everyone, but I believe it's right for me. It's another step toward simplicity and intentional living.





Saturday, February 4, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - The Oyster Catcher

This week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature is a 17th century former fishing net loft in Mousehole, West Cornwall.






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


Recently I received an email from a reader in France with a link to The Oyster Catcher cottage in Cornwall.* She thought I might like to include it in this series, and she was right.

The Oyster Catcher is a gem.

From the exposed beam ceilings to the window seats overlooking the harbor, everything about this vacation retreat exudes charm.



The sitting room is bathed in natural light and filled with plush seating that invites lingering.





Scandinavian meets industrial here, and the subtle nautical touches keep the waterfront cottage from appearing "themey".





There's a refined rusticity to this place. Faded gray, taupe, and off-white create a perfect backdrop for the natural elements. 

A live twining vine brings life to this corner.







Layers and textures abound. The attention to detail shows the love poured into the interior's design.





This dine-in kitchen has captured my heart.






Unfitted kitchens have so much character.






Wonderful vintage pieces give the impression that this kitchen has aged over time.




Wood countertops and dining table warm the space and make a lovely contrast against the light ceiling, walls and floor.





The bedrooms are serene.







As I posted these photos I noticed that the neutral colors indoors allow the vibrant colors outdoors to come into the room without distraction. 






The rooms have a sea washed appeal.



















Who wouldn't want to curl up here?










Although I'm a shower girl, this tub looks awfully tempting.






Living extends to the enchanting outdoor courtyard garden.









A corner space for lounging.



A pretty bench for dreaming.




And a spot for alfresco dining.


s




This garden is stunning.




Beyond the home there is beautiful scenery to enjoy.




This is one of my favorite featured homes to date. If I ever came for a stay I don't think I'd want to leave.





*Hats off to Magali at The Little White House On the Seaside for bringing this delightful cottage to my attention.


The Oyster Catcher is a vacation home available for rent from Unique Home Stays, www.uniquehomestays.com +44(0) 1637 881183.
Images © Unique Home Stays www.uniquehomestays.com +44 (0) 1637 881183
All images are owned by Paul Massey and were used with his permission.



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.