Friday, October 31, 2014

Every Room In The House Party - #11

Since November 1 falls on Saturday which is the scheduled day for the Living Large In Small Spaces series at A Joyful Cottage I'm starting the ERITH party a day early. 

Greetings Cottage Friends,

I'm sure many of you have been busy getting ready for tonight's trick or treaters.  I've noticed that front porches are becoming more and more elaborately decorated for Halloween. I'm not into scary and spooky and all that, so if I had a front porch I'd like it to look like this.  

Country Living - A cozy-cute scene 

I love those adorable owls and the grapevine pumpkins.

October's party was held on the Fall Porch, and I have to say all who partied have some truly gorgeous autumn decorations.  Let's take a look at some.

Please pin from the original post and not from this site.  Thanks!

Most viewed Post from October
Oh, to have a porch like AnnMarie's to decorate for the seasons.  Her Falling For Fall porch at Musings of a Vintage Junkie is filled with loads of color and vintage charm. I love the touch of aqua.

Have you ever imagined what fall might look like on the island of Crete?  Poppy of Poppy View gives us an up close, personal and poetic look at her gorgeous pool deck in Faking Fall.  Bring your swimsuit!


Jann at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson creates wonderful vignettes, and her porch overflows with them in Fall Greetings on the Front Porch.  She also shares a link to her tutorial for that fabulous "Fall Greetings" pillow on her glider.

Penny's porch pinches the prize for the prettiest pastel fall porch. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist the alliteration.)  I do love this uniquely styled porch, including Penny's scarecrow secretary and hay bale coffee table.

Green and orange is a beautiful fall color combination, and Julie at Renaissance Mermaid uses it to full advantage in A Warm Welcome. Check out her lantern on the chair for a cute decorating idea.

When Aimee at Refresh-Renew picked up some old gutters from the curbside, she wasn't sure what she would do with them.  Six months later inspiration hit.  Aimee turned her freebie into a Vintage Gutter Flowerbox, and filled it with fall splendor. So creative.

All dressed up with heirloom pumpkins, orange mesh ribbon and vintage goodies, Debbie's Lakehouse porch is harvest perfection in Decorating the Porch for Fall. I imagine sitting on Debbie's charming porch with a mug of hot cider. 

In her post If you can't beat them! Then join in with them! Kris at Junk Chic Cottage showed how she cleverly combined her still-blooming summer flowers with faux flowers and pumpkins, along with real pumpkins for a delightful fall porch. 

What's a Texas gal to do when gifted with real cotton from the field? Why add it to her fall porch decor, of course. In Fall Front Porch Part 2 Stacey at Poofing the Pillows tucked cotton into her door wreath and flower pot. Mums and pumpkins complete her lovely fall porch.  

Laurel at The North End Loft is celebrating Autumn On Our Front Porch with gorgeous fall colors.  I really admire not only the traditional mums and pumpkins, but the wicker chairs dressed up with red plaid and glorious blue. Stunning.

Dawna at That Country Place took us to her neighbor's porch for a look at Christine's Autumn Door.  And a pretty fall door it is.  I love its simple beauty.  Very inviting, and a perfect accent to that wonderful cedar shake siding.

I'm disappointed that I couldn't feature more partiers, but they didn't create a link back to the Every Room In The House Party.  That's essential to be featured. 

I appreciate everyone who brings something to share.  You're all wonderful and creative, and I'm inspired by your posts.

If you were featured, please grab this button.
A Joyful Cottage

Thank you to all who visit 
and leave comments.
I love reading them.

Ready to start November's party?

This month we're partying in 

The Dining Room

You don't have to have a dining room per se to
participate.  Eat-in kitchens, nooks, even 
TV trays are welcome, too!
Whatever brings you joy in your dining space (DIY project, table setting, Aunt  Fannie's serving bowl, etc.) will bring us joy, too.

The party will be open all month.  Bring a friend!

Please, please remember to put a link in your post back to A Joyful Cottage.  That's necessary to be featured.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Living Large In Small Spaces - Simple Living In A Small Cottage

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

(Teri and Bill's Sweet Cottage)
I'm so pleased to welcome Teri of My Homespun Kitchen  to A Joyful Cottage today. 

Teri and I became friends back in September when she stumbled upon A Joyful Cottage and introduced herself. Through emails and reading her blog I've come to admire the simple, authentic, large life she and her husband share in their small cottage.  I invited this very special woman to share her story with us. Enjoy.


Welcome to our little cottage.  We are Bill and Teri.  We have been married 46 years and have lived in the same little cottage throughout our married life.  We have one son, a daughter-in-love and our grand doggy.  They live just a few blocks from us, of which we are so very thankful.

Our little cottage sits on one small lot on a corner in our little town.  Our home was built for my gramma.  My gramma only lived here a short time.  Due to health issues she was no longer able to be by herself.  Bill and I were newly married and looking to buy our first home.  At that time, it was a starter home; needless to say we are still living here and love it even more now than when we first chose this little cottage to be our first home.  I grew up next door, so I didn’t venture far. 

(Our Little Cottage)

Our little home was built mostly by my parents, my uncles and aunts for my gramma.  It was very small.  It had a living room, kitchen, bedroom, laundry room and bathroom.  It was a very basic design.  We knew that it was built well, but again very basic.  We have added our little touches to it and it is our HOME SWEET HOME. 

(Home Sweet Home)

We built on a second bedroom and hallway with a basement under those two areas.  Our basement is used for storage and if we have stormy weather it is a safe place for us to go.

Our living space is 876 square feet and with our very small basement area our total space is around 1000 square feet.

Our situation is a bit different from the others who have shared here.  We have lived in our home forever it seems.  We did not plan or build our home ourselves.  All those years back, we paid what now seems like a very small price for our little home.  It fit within our budget.  My hubby was in law enforcement in our town for 35 years of our marriage.  I was the keeper of our home.  I was a stay at home wife and mom and would not change that for anything.  Our plans were for my hubby to take an early retirement.  With much planning, much budgeting and living within our means, he retired at 59.  We have enjoyed over 11 years now of being together each and every day, of which I would not change for anything either.  We continue to plan, budget and live within our means. 

We are both homebodies.  We do love out and about days, little getaways, but we love coming home to our little cottage even more.  As we are used to living in a small home, we were able to save for our small “home away from home” for our little getaways.

(We live small even when we travel)

(This sofa is made down into our bed at night)

 (My little kitchen space)

We have always found it to be of great importance to live within our means and to live simply.  We have always lived small and have been content with what we have.  It is on our hearts to live a more simple life, living a God centered, purposeful life.  We wish to live each day enjoying what God has given us.  We want our home to be comfortable for us, as well as those who visit.  I want to cook real food that not only tastes good but is good for us.  We want to be in control of the food that we put on our plates.  We have a small kitchen garden on our little plot of land. We enjoy our flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables.  We want to have control over where our money goes.  We cherish the simple pleasures of each day … a good cup of tea, a favorite book, quiet moments together, watching the birds in our garden and yard, plants on our windowsill.  We like to spend time with our family and friends.  We enjoy those simple conversations around the table.

We look back now about our retirement and how we planned for it.  We have been able to make ends meet, even putting money into savings.  There are even more ways that we could cut back if need be.  We are so very thankful for small and simple living.

I thought that I would share a few reasons why we have chosen to live small and simple.

Little houses are budget friendly.  They are easier to heat and cool, so smaller utility bills.  During the heat of summer, a small window air-conditioner is all we need to make our little cottage comfy from the heat.  In the cold of winter we use an electric heater to keep us warm and cosy on most days.  We also have a gas wall furnace that we use if we have extreme cold.

Small houses cost less to purchase.  When we purchased our little cottage many years ago, our payments were affordable and we were able to pay off our mortgage in a short amount of time.  I might mention that we were able to do this on one income. 

Little houses are easier to decorate.  We have a rather simple style of decorating.  Our little cottage is rather old fashioned, a bit country and what we would call homey. 

(This is the bay window in our living room
looking out to our front lawn)

(Our living room … our cosy, comfy, quiet reading space)

(The window over my kitchen sink where we enjoy doing our dishes by hand    
The kitchen curtain is most always open, just wanted to share with you the vintage look)

(We eat all of our meals at our kitchen table,
as well as tend to many little projects there)

(My vintage cupboard, a birthday gift from my hubby,
which has much storage space) 


(Another vintage cupboard, another gift from my hubby, which is used for storage as well)

(Our bedroom)

Small houses share family togetherness.  When our son was small it was easy to keep an eye on him and I loved to hear him play as I tended to my home keeping chores.  If I were puttering around the kitchen or the laundry room, I knew what was going on in each small room of our cottage. 

Small spaces help us to enjoy more time outdoors.  Fresh air is good for us.  We cherish our time outdoors on our front porch, patio or puttering in our lawn and garden.

(Our front porch, a very cosy and comfy place
where we love to spend time)

(A little corner of our front porch where
I love to decorate for the different seasons)

(On our patio we have double washtubs that we use to grow herbs and a salad garden some years and pretty flowers in other years, and also a rain barrel to harvest rain water)

(Kitchen garden just off of our patio)

(Another part of our kitchen garden)

(Our patio and garden area
We also have a garden shed and compost bin in the back corner 
of our little plot of land which is not shown)

Little houses are easier to keep neat and tidy.  Being clutter free is always at the top of my “To Do” list.  We find that having a place for everything and keeping it there works best for us. 

Small houses are cosy.  I love the cosy feel of our small space, especially on a cold wintry night when we are snuggled inside.

Small houses are easier to clean.  I love a clean cottage, not perfect, just clean, tidy and comfy.  I am thankful for less space to tend to.

This is what has worked for us for over 46 years.  During those years that our son was growing up, our home was snug and cosy.  Now that our nest is empty, it is working well for our retirement years as well.  It is still snug, cosy and easy to tend to.

Home Sweet Home

A home is much more than a house built of lumber, brick or stone. A home is made 
of love, sacrifice and respect. We are responsible for the home we build. We 
must build wisely, for eternity is not a short voyage. There will be calm and wind, 
sunlight and shadows, joy and sorrow. But if we really try, our home can be a bit of 
heaven on earth.

~ Thomas S. Monson ~

Thank you so much Nancy for inviting me to share our simple and small space living.  I have enjoyed all that has been shared and look forward to those yet to come.

Happy Harvest and Simple Blessings 
from Our Little Cottage to Yours


Thank you, Teri, for sharing your cottage, lifestyle and wisdom with us.

Visit Teri's blog 
where you'll find
more on "small space living, small budget spending, and basic simple pleasures".

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.

Would you like to share your small space story 
or have your home 
featured  in this special series?
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for email address.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Living Large In Small Spaces - Colorado Cottage - The Log Barn

Fourth post in the series

"Living Large in Small Spaces"

Our Colorado Joyful Cottage

Dennis and I are no strangers to small house living.  In April 2011 we purchased and remodeled a 640 sq ft cottage in the Colorado Rockies. This was our full-time home until July 2013 when we sold it and relocated to Oregon.

It took three months to remodel the 1926 cottage. We hired a friend to help us and with the exception of the hardwood floor refinishing, kitchen cabinetry and countertop installation, plumbing, electrical and new roof, we did all the work ourselves.

Before the remodel 

Dennis called it a "Cowboy Cabin"

This and all the before photos that follow were taken the day we closed on our cottage purchase.


Entering through the back door
A piece of plywood covered what originally had been the bathroom window. Previous owners had removed the glass, put wallboard directly over the window opening on the bathroom side, and the plywood on the mudroom side.

A door on the left opened to a stairwell.  At the bottom was a tiny, dark basement where the water heater was located.

Dark vinyl paneling covered the other walls.


The minimal kitchen was probably last updated in the 1950's.  Mice had left their calling cards in the shallow cupboards and drawers.  The newer gas range, however, was in very good condition.

We sold the vintage refrigerator. While interesting, it was an energy hog.  Whatever changes we intended for the kitchen, I wanted to maintain the look of those wonderful windows.

 Living Room

More dark paneling along with drab carpet and maroon curtains gave the living room a cave-like feeling.  On a positive note, there was a charming red gas heating stove in the corner, a gorgeous hardwood ceiling, and adequate natural light.

The front door was located at the opposite end of the living room.  (A dilapidated deck barely stood outside; one side was propped up by a lilac bush.) The area where the white walls begin was probably a porch converted into additional living space. 


The little rug on the door was covering up a fist-sized hole.

There wasn't anything special about the bedroom except the hardwood floor.  When I saw it I suspected there were hardwood floors throughout the cottage.  I couldn't wait to pull up the carpet and find out.


Accessed from the bedroom, the bathroom was one of the smallest I've ever seen in a stick-built house; a 4' tub/shower combo, a tiny vanity, and a commode were crammed into the space.   

Will we have hardwood floors?

The day after closing I pulled up all the carpet.

My suspicion was confirmed -- hardwood floors.

Even in the kitchen under two layers of linoleum.

Let the demolition begin

Everything and the kitchen sink

The first room we gutted was the kitchen.

The walls were lath and plaster, typical for the home's age.

Bathroom demolition revealed dry rot and mold from shower and bathtub leaks, so most of the walls and flooring had to be removed and rebuilt. The tall crawl space proved very beneficial to our remodel, especially for the electricians and plumbers. We planned to enlarge the bathroom by taking space from a walk-in closet, its frame seen at the top of the photo. 

The only other room we gutted was the mudroom.

We eliminated  the basement stairwell to make room for a pantry and laundry area.  (Don't worry, we created another access to the water heater.)

Now comes the fun part

It took several days for the flooring contractor to refinish our hardwood floors, and we couldn't have been happier with his work. He was thrilled to discover the heart pine wood -- a hardwood that he said isn't common to the area -- and believed it was probably shipped in at the time the cottage was built.

Because the floor refinishing came first to accommodate the contractor's schedule and we still had the rest of the remodeling work to do in the cottage, we covered the finished floors with Ramboard, a product that protects the floor while allowing it to cure.  It took us four hours to roll out the Ramboard in three rooms and tape it down; well worth the effort when one considers how expensive it is to have floors refinished.

After the remodel


Removing the stairwell gave us room for a built-in pantry and stacked full-size washer and dryer. Dennis raised the ceiling at the entrance to accommodate a standard height entry door.

By moving the kitchen door over we made space for a closet opposite the washer/dryer. We created a new access to the basement -- where the water heater is located -- from inside the closet.  A door on the floor lifts up to reveal a ladder to the cellar.

We enlarged the windows and added a shelf for plants.  

A door to the bathroom from the mudroom was added.


View from the mudroom.
The knotty maple cabinets came from a friend's custom kitchen showroom.  He had dismantled a display and gave us a super deal. I handed him my kitchen design and he customized the cabinets to fit, including adapting the sink base to accommodate the stainless steel farm sink.

He cut down a wall cabinet and added shelves for cookbooks, and wavy glass to the cabinet door for the vintage look I wanted.

To fill the gap between the OTR microwave and window, he built a pull-out spice rack.

We installed beadboard on the ceiling.  Dennis cut down one of the original interior doors to fit the attic access, and I painted it to match the beadboard.  The repurposed door was a fun way to remember the original cottage

View from the living room
The French door leads to the mudroom. We reused the range; all other appliances were purchased new as a package from one supplier. 

A friend made the wall cabinet for us.  Decorative baskets on the shelves double as storage.  The open shelved counter-height unit is a repurposed $40 cabinet we found at a local thrift shop.

Our cabinet guy added the countertop, which matched the rest of the Wilsonart laminate.  I replaced the drawer pulls shown here with cup pulls to match the other kitchen hardware, and Dennis made additional shelves for storage (not shown in this photo).

I found a pot rack on Craigslist for $15 and spray painted it black to cover the less than desirable gun metal gray.  

Living Room

This photo is from our real estate listing.  The console under the double windows is part of my staging.  

We actually used that area for dining.

I painted over the dark paneling with Valspar Wicker. Serendipitously, a friend had salvaged five gallons of the paint, leftover from a hotel renovation, and asked me if I wanted it for our remodel.  The color was perfect for the cottage, and I was able to cover all the walls and new ceilings in the living room, bath and mudroom at no cost for the paint.  

This portion of the living room received a dramatic transformation. Dennis moved the door and installed windows to match those in the rest of the cottage.

Before and After 


We left the paneling on three walls and I painted it.

The nightstand is repurposed from a 1940's vanity I found at a thrift store for $20. It was in rough shape and missing a mirror.

Not the actual vanity, but close.

Dennis cut off the drawer units and I painted them to match colors in our comforter. We set the little finished tables side by side in the space between the bed and the wall to create a nightstand the ideal size.

The wardrobe in the corner is a repurposed pantry unit from the kitchen display mentioned earlier. Dennis installed a hanging rod in the lower section.  The top section held drawer units that he could easily reach.  I used the armoire for my things.


We retained access to the bathroom from the bedroom, but moved the door over a bit to make room for the shower and a cadet heater.

The spacious shower replaced the old closet.

We were able to reuse the existing commode, as it was in great shape, and ordered a pedestal sink from the same Kohler collection.

Dennis, who worked his way through college as a stonemason/bricklayer, enjoyed doing the tile work and all the heavy texture on  the new walls and ceilings in the cottage.

Shower Tile Close Up


View of the cottage from the west
I took this photo the day we completed the exterior remodel.  

Do you think we made a difference?

View of the cottage from the south
And this one just before we sold the cottage two years later. Isn't the native grass beautiful?  Dennis worked so hard to get it established.

Next Saturday I'll share more about our Colorado homestead. We'll take a look at the 1880 log barn we converted to an art studio for Dennis, and I'll share tips for living large in a small space.  I hope you'll join me for the next post in this special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

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

Would you like to share your small space story 
or have your home 
featured  in this special series?
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for email address.)