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.)


  1. Nancy,
    What a great choice to feature Erin's sweet home here. I love all her beautiful whimsy to her gardens. Her use of bright colors is gorgeous. I went back through the pictures a few times. Just lovely. I am heading over to her blog now. Her dog is too adorable too. What a sweet face.

  2. So sweet and happy. I love the beach cottage feel and the beautiful dog. xoxo

  3. What a cheerful home! I especially love the old paintbrushes as decor and the wonderful outdoor spaces.

    1. Me, too, Julie. I never thought of my husband's paintbrushes as being fodder for decoration! Now I know! xxx

  4. Nancy, Thank you for featuring my cottage and garden home tour. I am so happy that you found my blog so I could in turn find you and your blog. I love the concept of your blog and am looking forward to visiting often.
    Wishing you and your family a Joyful and Merry Christmas, Erin

    1. God bless you, Erin. I'm so glad we met. :) Merry Christmas!

  5. Such cheer this cottage look brought me.
    And I would take Bentley home with me right NOW!
    How cute is he . . .

  6. I love how colourful it is! What a pretty home!!

    Merry Christmas Nancy! I wish you and your family every happiness in the new year xoxox

  7. Nancy, Erin's place is just darling. It might be small in size but it is big in fun and love and cheerfulness. It is just downright adorable. xo Diana

  8. What a beautifully cute home! I so wish I could sit out in my garden during winter! Love her sense of color, cause color is close to my heart! I'l also take Bentley home I miss having a dog so! Another great home in your series!

  9. I think the cottage is just adoreable!! Love all the colors and the Christmas theme with the coastal theme. Looks so pretty and cozy! Thanks for sharing!!
    Merry Christmas to all!

  10. I have enjoyed going back and catching up on this series. So many lovely homes and talented homeowners. I love the cottage you selected for today. I have to tell you Bently stole my heart from the first glimpse.
    Merry Christmas and I hope your time with family is filled with love, joy, and peace....

    1. Thank you, Nancy. Bentley is quite a pup, isn't he? Like a big stuffed toy! Have a Very Merry Christmas and I'll see you 2015! xxx

  11. The Christmas decorations are amazing and the living-room looks so inviting. Very inspiring.

  12. Good morning sweet Nancy! I am smiling with happiness in my MIND as well as my heart, for every time I see one of your features, it really opens up my ideas about living in a small space. Though we have discussed the fact that we added on to our footage, it is still a good lesson in decoration to know how to place furniture and highlight a space by using the right colors and arrangement. This cottage is so darling, and one of the features I notice is LIGHT. Light opens up a room and the contrasting accessories really blend in well. And of course, I THINK her most precious addition is Bentley! teeeeheheeee

    What a welcome for me this morning! We spend all day yesterday painting our exposed beams. I AM THRILLED about them! They were a beautiful dark wood, but by painting the a distressed white, the room is OPEN elegant yet rustic. My husband was up there on a ladder using Annie Sloan paint like a pro!


  13. This was a great cottage for Christmas. I love her nature style. I have never been much for poinsettias but now I want to go out and buy a car load, I am really enjoying this series. Bentely fits his name very well by the way. Have a Merry and blessed Christmas. Debbie

  14. Red, red, red....that's all I see and I am IN LOVE! What a perfect post for the season! Merry Christmas Nancy!!

  15. I love Erin's style....and her beautiful art! Merry Christmas Nancy and Erin! Sweet hugs, Diane

  16. So much eye-candy here! How kind of Erin to share pics of her charming home. The dutch door is definitely my favorite feature. Merry Christmas, Nancy!

    1. Dutch doors are wonderful, aren't they? Thanks for visiting, Laurie. Merry Christmas!

  17. Just adorable and this is my first visit to your blog, visiting from WOW. Merry Christmas.

    1. Patty, it's so nice to meet you. Thank your for visiting and leaving the kind words behind. Merry Christmas!

  18. Thank you for sharing Erin's home with us--my, she's a good decorator :) Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas, Nancy!

  19. Hi, Nancy! I'm lurking no longer! :)

    Your blog is really lovely and it's such an inspiration to see other peoples' finished decorated spaces. Gives me a little motivation to get working on my home and finish all those projects that have been living in my head.

    1. Anne, thank you so much for these very kind words. I'm so glad we've met and look forward to reading more of your lovely blog. xxx ~ Nancy

  20. Erin's cottage, merry and bright and charmingly cheerful is the perfect festive finale to your fabulous series at this time of year, sweet Nancy! I smiled at its wonderful whimsy, and can completely relate to those red checks. Thanks for sharing and introducing us to Erin's blog.

    Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!


  21. Love this one, all the bright and cheery colors. Just absolutely wonderful thanks for sharing it Nancy. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

    1. You're so nice, Tiffany. Thank you for taking the time to visit and leaving these kind words. You made my day!

  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Nancy!

  23. So much charm and color, wonderful tour! And Bentley is adorable!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...

  24. Sweet Nancy! Good morning! I loved scrolling down to see Bentley in his darling little cottage; no cottage is complete without the warmth of a beloved pet!

    Thank you kind friend, for coming to visit my post. It has been the most remarkable time in blogging and I feel so blessed to have encountered many creative and positive people along the way, making some very good friends as well.

    I have learned so much; to keep things positive and bright is a much better route when publishing for a wider audience to see, for this dear world of ours is often shrouded in darkness. I love your blog for you celebrate the goodness in the smallest of places, where I actually prefer to look. I just had that thought this morning to look for LIFE in unusual places, and to write about it.

    May the new year give you new ideas to run with and explore dear friend. Anita

  25. Erin's Christmas cottage is amazing Nancy! So glad you shared this. It is so stuffed with charm and has welcome written all over it! I would be singing all day if I lived here!!!

    Wishing you every blessing you can hold in 2015!
    sending hugs to you dear Nancy....

  26. What an adorable cottage! Full of charm and color.....I like the mix of the blue and red! That dutch door grabs my heart and the doggie! Happy New Year! Blessings~~~Roxie

  27. What a charming abode indeed!

    I also wanted to thank you for contributing to the Art of Home-Making Mondays in 2014. Hope to have you continue sharing in 2015 ;)

    Have a blessed New Year!!


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