Saturday, December 20, 2014

Living Large In Small Spaces - Erin's Charming Christmas Cottage

Fourteenth post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

"At Christmas, all roads lead home." ~ Marjorie Holmes

A warm welcome to you.  Thanks for joining me for another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

Today's feature is a bit of a departure from the usual posts in this series. With Christmas only a few days away I wanted to share something seasonally festive, something cheery and bright. While pondering and searching for just the right subject, I came across My Painted Garden the blog of California artist Erin Houghton and her enchanting Christmas Cottage Home/Garden Tour. I asked Erin if I could share it here as a re-post, and she said "yes." She is so gracious and kind.

While Erin's home is not small in total square footage, the rooms she has chosen to show in this post are small spaces and in my estimation she has successfully selected furnishings and accessories appropriate in scale, including her choice of Christmas decorations. I believe we are still on topic overall and that if you live in a small space, or are contemplating a small space, Erin's decorating finesse is sure to inspire you, as it has me.  Enjoy!

Welcome.  I am so happy that you stopped by. Since I  have had so many requests from my readers to see my home/garden decorated for Christmas  I decided to have a little home/garden tour.  My front door is open for you to come in and enjoy a cup of spiced tea and take a little Holiday  home tour - this is where my family and friends celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus and enjoy the joy and warmth of the season.

                                       The garden entrance to our home.

                     Bentley, my Studio Assistant, is waiting to welcome you.

 The red front door opens into the dining room that opens into the living room where the blue cupboard is.  I bought the  cupboard at a garage sale across the street - it was originally in a neighbor's garage and used for tool storage and is one of my favorite finds for $25.00 .  I removed the bolted down vice and painted it blue.   With the exception of the dining room all of the ceilings are high and open beam.

I fell in love with the red front door and wonderful light in my house and bought it on the spot.

This shot shows the dining room table without a cloth -it is an early 1800's  pine 3 leg "cricket" table that I had strengthened to hold the weight of the round glass so it will seat six comfortably.

I am often asked what my decorating style is and I suppose you could call it  flea market  "coastal cottage".  My home is very casual - filled with sea shells, baskets, flea market finds and my coastal cottage art.  Books are stacked everywhere  in the living room and we call it the "reading room"  as it is the perfect place to read -enjoy long visits- cozy fires - music - or just day dream!

I like to keep our Christmas decorations simple and natural and use  fresh greens, berries, sea shells, and little American flags and bring lots of potted bulbs and Poinsettias into the house from my garden. The Christmas tree is a living one that lives in the garden and is placed on a vintage fern stand in the living room.   When it gets too big to bring into the house - my gardener finds a home for it and plants it in the ground. 

I just painted the large coastal cottage painting over the mantel  - it is a little Christmas present for my house- and I decided not to add any decorations or greenery as the painting  already has so much color.

                     I love the way my old paint brushes look in a blue and white vase.

The French doors and window look out onto the garden.  The outdoor plants do very well in this room as there is so much light. The burlap wine bags are filled with greens, berries and tiny flags.

View of the garden from the living room French doors  all decorated for Christmas - the pillows are all indoor/outdoor so I can leave them out in the rain.

                    View of the garden eating area from the window in the living room.

                            My kitchen is furnished with more  flea market finds.

                                  The French doors overlook a little patio kitchen garden. 

View of the little garden off my kitchen French doors where I grow herbs for cooking and have morning tea.  I use a lot of red accent pillows year round  in my house and garden - they are perfect for Christmas decorating - the rest of the year I mix the red with stripes and/or florals so it does not look so much like Christmas year round. I buy them in indoor/outdoor fabrics and they last for years.

This used to be the outdoor eating area of the garden and I recently switched it around and made it into a little reading nook.
This little nook is where I keep some of my rusty flea market finds.

                      Bentley is waiting on the stair landing to give you a little peek at the guest room upstairs.

                           Guest room decorated for Christmas waiting for guests to arrive.

Thank you for stopping by.  I sincerely appreciate your visits, e-mails, comments and those following my blog. I will be taking a blog break to be with my family and will return January 1, 2015.

          "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."  Matthew 2:10

May the Peace and Joy of Christmas be with you and your family throughout the New Year.

Thank you to our Service Men and Women and their Families who give up so much to protect our freedoms.

Blessings, Erin

Thank you, Erin, for sharing your charming coastal cottage with us. 

Visit Erin's beautiful blog here to see more of her home and art, as well as the very handsome Bentley.

Erin also has an Etsy shop where she sells her art: My Painted Garden

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

**I'd like to say thank you to all of you who have been
following this series and for your lovely comments. 
I'll be taking a break from blogging to enjoy Christmas
 with my husband and will return on January 1, 2015.
Have a very Merry Christmas
and best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year**

From the comments I've received on this series, 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.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do You Have Room?

I  sing the birth was born to-night
The author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it.
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched and true they found it.

The Son of God, th' eternal king,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
was now laid in a manger.

The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no No,
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made flesh indeed,
And took on him our nature.

What comfort by him do we win,
Who made himself the price of sin,
To make us heirs of glory!
To see this babe all innocence;
A martyr born in our defence:
Can man forget the story?

A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior ~ Ben Johnson
Born in 1572, Ben Jonson is regarded as one of the major dramatists and poets 
of the seventeenth century

My Christmas prayer for you dear friends is that you will rest
for just a moment more
 and allow this gentle song to speak to your heart. . .

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Living Large In Small Spaces - Home of Our Dreams to Freedom and Means

Thirteenth post in the series
Seasons Greetings!

Come in and join me for another edition of Living Large in Small Spaces.

Kathy's Christmas Condo

I'm tickled to welcome Kathy of the Esty shop Western Reserve the Butler's Pantry to A Joyful Cottage today. Kathy and I became friends through our Facebook pages over a year ago, and though I don't recall who found whom first, I do remember liking every photo Kathy shared at the time, and I've continued to be delighted by her finds ever since. She has impeccable taste and nowhere is it more evident than in her beautiful home. 

Please get yourself a cuppa and cozy up because you're in for a real treat as Kathy shares her story of downsizing from a Victorian farmhouse to a new condo, and how she and her husband transformed it into a charming home they love.


If someone told me 6 years ago I would be living in a new condo I would not have believed them.  I have always loved old homes.  I never had any interest in living in a new house.  

All that changed 5 years ago.  

We were living in a 2,000 square foot Victorian farmhouse in the heart of a cute historical village. When our son was moving out of state to DC and our youngest daughter was moving out to NYC we realized it was probably time to consider downsizing.  We loved that old house and had spent years bringing it back to its original condition, so it was a difficult decision.  We looked in the village for a smaller home and couldn't find anything that would work for us downsizing; we still wanted a place for family to come home for visits and have some privacy.  

On a whim I suggested we look at our current home. . .a CONDO!!!  I even hated the word, it sounds so sterile and ugly. 

The exterior was the thing that sold me on this place.  It was kind of cute.  

When we bought the condo it was basic builder grade boring and everything done on the cheap.  Before moving in we had wood flooring installed throughout the entire place.  

View of Living Room and loft half wall.

We wanted to downsize but still have a place where others would feel comfortable staying. When family comes to visit they have the second floor -- an upstairs loft with a nice size bedroom and bath. 

For being 1,200 square feet this home fits our needs perfectly.  If we didn't have family that lives out of state we could have gone smaller.

Over the years my husband has installed trim around the windows and antique interior shutters in the living room and downstairs bedroom. 

You'll notice the scrubbed pine antique furniture.  It's all from the 1890's, the date of our old farmhouse. 

The huge French armoire was used for storage; old houses don't have great closets.

The hutch in the living room that's now used to hold antique books and the sideboard where the Christmas tree sits were my cupboards in my big old farmhouse kitchen.  I couldn't part with them.

I'm not really a Victorian furniture fan.  These pieces are all from England and France.  The European country style is more what I tend to favor. 

We put up beadboard in the living room.

We had crown molding installed throughout the downstairs and picture molding installed across the half wall that encloses the loft. 

Dining Room

There's a bedroom and bath on the first floor. 

Master Bedroom

We designed a marble countertop and back splash, and replaced the vinyl flooring with traditional black and white marble.  We made the same upgrades to the loft bathroom as we made to the first floor bath.

I had my husband turn the hall pantry into a place to display and store things.

In the kitchen we added beadboard and changed out the counters with granite.

There's an eating area in the kitchen.

The dry sink  was from my husband's great-great-aunt's home. We've used it for storing pots and pans for years.

A small, laundry room between the kitchen and the entrance from the garage is the bonus!!!!  I don't have to drag laundry down to a dark old basement.

Our latest project was installing cupboards above the washer and dryer and beadboard behind them.

We were given approval to enclose the patio off the kitchen to give it a courtyard feeling.  

Our home is outside of the village which we miss, but we don't miss the noise. We're surrounded by birds here and lots of wildlife.

Wow, I guess we have done a lot!!!  It's been a gradual process. We still have a few things on our list, and kind of groan that the day we finish that's probably when we'll decide to move again.  That seems to be the routine.  I think right now it would take a lot for us to want to leave.  It's not perfect, but it feels like home.

Thanks so much for visiting!❤️  If you have a Facebook page I'd love for you to stop by so I can get to know you better too!

Warm Regards,

Western Reserve the Butler's Pantry


Kathy, thank you for inspiring us with your story and gorgeous home. Some of the comments I hear from collectors is that they can't imagine downsizing. . .what would they do with all the objects they've collected over the years?  You've shown us it can be done in perfect harmony with small space living.  

Visit Kathy at her Facebook page: Western Reserve the Butler's Pantry
Kathy also has a vintange and antique Etsy shop: Western Reserve the Butler's Pantry

Home of Our Dreams to Freedom and Means was featured at

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 on this series, 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.)