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.)


  1. I love what you did to the condo (slash condo, your home). You definitely made it home and a homey cozy place to live. Have a Merry Christmas.

    1. Thanks for visiting LJ. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

  2. Lovely story about the condo....beautifully done...

  3. This is such a great post. My hubby and I go back and forth. He is pushing to downsize to a condo and I keep saying- No-Not Yet! lol This home really does NOT look like a condo. They have done a great job on it. xo Diana

  4. I really enjoyed this post. She did an amazing job of downsizing and making a much smaller place home for her family. It's just beautiful and so tastefully done. It's been fun going back and reading past post in this series. I am always amazed at the level of creativity different people exercise in decorating their homes.

  5. Hi dear friend ! Una linda historia !
    Espero que tengas un bendecido finde semana

    1. Gracias, Angelica. Kathy's story is an inspiration, isn't it?

  6. I love it. I never cared much for condos, but if I saw this I would get it for sure. It is so pretty.

  7. Very nice - I adore all those antique pine pieces!!! This is about the smallest size I'd ever consider living in... I need my space!!! :) xox

  8. Perfect redo on this condo to make it have charm and style. Love the old furniture pieces, the bead nard, shuttered windows. The courtyard was my very favorite! Perfectly gorgeous . . . my kind of "greens," comfort and privacy. (If I return to the first line to make a correction I will lose the comment, so bead board instead of bead nard!)

  9. I love older homes, too, but after living in 2, I can definitely see the plus side to condo living! Kathy's condo is charming inside and out and filled with beautiful antique furnishings! I would never have guessed that it's a condo. And the courtyard is beautiful! thanks for sharing Kathy's lovely home with us.


  10. Wow, amazing! Each photo shows so many thoughtful, lovely details I can tell how much work you and your husband have put into your home. I think my favorite addition are those antique shutters. :)

  11. I cannot believe that is a condo! Wow, Kathy and her husband have done a really amazing job transforming their home. It's a very unique and charming house...I just love their style! I think it's great that they were willing to think outside the box to find a place that fit their budget and then make it fit their lifestyle! Thank you for sharing another wonderful cottage, Nancy, and for introducing me to another cottage lover!

  12. Unbelievable. I would have thought that this was a historical cottage somewhere in Mass. (where I lived for many years) or some other charming village! This is the perfect down-sizing choice because the charm of collected items and family memories have a lovely home to be housed in, to be remembered. PERFECT CHOICE! Oh, and the little garden area. Perfect for that downsized living. Anita

  13. This is a great example of living large in a smaller space. The addition of beadboard, picture mouldings, and window trim really add character. The new floors and countertops elevate the surfaces from the original finishes. This is just more good inspiration for those of us who will eventually downsize...great ideas!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Julie. I'm so glad Kathy shared her beautiful condo, as I think it is a great alternative to buying a small house. Where we live there are no condos for sale, otherwise I'd be thinking along these lines. . .especially what Kathy has shared.

  14. Love the outside of this condo so charming and welcoming. I hope to downsize to a condo for our next step and would love to find one as charming as this. Kathy's condo is so cozy and sweet.

  15. Just goes to show that home is where you hang your pictures and find a place for all your memories! Great job on making a condo a {home} ....

  16. I enjoyed another post in your living large in a small home series! I never seen a condo like this before, in my area we call them townhouses. With all the great addtions it definitely a charming home!.. I so love beadboard!

  17. Enjoyed seeing all the changes that were made to this condo. Most people here in Florida think of high rise apartment style condos. I recently moved into a single story condo like this and I love it. It is like owning a house but with no maintenance. My only problem is finding a place for my beach equipment when not using. Hopefully I will be able to share my makeover with you in a year. BTW love the courtyard.


  18. Me ha encantado tu post, tienes cosas muy interesantes, felicidades por tu bloc. Te invito a visitar el mio, esta semana ponemos espíritu navideño en el exterior, espero que te guste. Ah! Si no eres seguidora deseo que te hagas, gracias por visitarme.Te espero en

  19. My goodness, what a treat to have the pictorial walk through this home! All of the gentle touches and careful placement of loved items in such a gentle beautiful way! Thanks Kathy for sharing your home with us, and thank you Nancy for once again amazing with an incredible post about creative small space living!!!!

    1. You're very kind. Thank you for visiting and for your nice words. xxx

  20. I love the red and the blue transferware collection that we can see in different rooms of the house.

  21. Your downsized home is just lovely. You did great upgrades...and I would not suspect builder grade at all. We have done sort of the same thing. Downsized and are upgrading a builder home. I would love for you to visit me at my blog..

    1. So nice of you to visit, Sheila, and I will enjoy visiting your blog, as well.

  22. Good morning sweet sister Nancy!

    Praise the Lord for His love and for the life to be able to communicate the glories of His powers. May your holiday be filled with nothing but joy Nancy! Thank you so much for coming by to visit! I so love this post...

  23. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for posting.
    I am back from my adventure, but will not be blogging until next week. I wanted to be sure to read my favorite posts. You do such a good job. Thank You!
    Have a Happy Christmas,

  24. Wow, what a beautiful home!! She sure does have amazing taste!!! I am a country girl but I could definitely live there!!! :)

    Thanks again for a wonderful tour on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

  25. Your home is beautiful and charming. It doesn't seem like a condo, but you did do a ton of improvements. Simply lovely!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing Kathy's beautiful home. Thanks for visiting. ~ Nancy

  26. I love all of Kathy's built-ins. I especially love the shutters, my daughter has wanted my spouse to build some for her ever since we came back from Europe. I also love the navy on the bathroom vanity. xoox Great series, Nancy. xoox

  27. Hi Kathy just found your blog over at Brenda's so glad I your style!! Your home is many pretty things! Your newest follower...would love for you to follow me back:-) Merry Christmas!

  28. Oh this is my style for sure! Love all of the pieces of furniture! Such a pretty home! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!


Your comments bring me joy! Thanks for stopping by.