Living Large In Small Spaces - The Art of Living Smaller but Larger

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

Hello and welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

My very special guest today is Su of the blog Butterfly and Bungalow. Some of you  are familiar with Su and her fabulous blog. I don't remember how I made first contact with Su, but it was love at first sight when I saw her uber-charming cottage and unique style of "romantic, vintage finds with a ruffle of French and Swedish country with a Southwest sprinkle."  Su writes in her profile, "In our cottage there is painting, whimsy, music, gardening, creating, kitties, and a toy poodle." Su has truly raised living large in a small space to an art form. She inspires me and I know she'll inspire you, too.

Please join me in giving Su a LARGE cottage welcome!


It was sweet of Nancy to invite me as a guest, and flattering, and I hope I can do a good job. Hi, I'm Su and I blog at Butterfly and Bungalow.  Our blog is a hobby, because I like to fix things, take photos, and meet like-minded people.

It's a small cottage, but much bigger than a tiny home. There are only three bedrooms and the smallest bedroom (which is a passageway to my daughter's bedroom) is used as a library. The house has 1090 square feet. 

Library (2nd bedroom)

In my opinion, when we had a large home we were doing what many desire. Oddly, I never wanted a large home, because I grew up in a large family in a smaller home. I  couldn't understand what you do with all the space and no people, but it took my spouse, a member of a small family, to come around to my ideas. 

We downsized from a large home. Having one income and my daughter's interests, it made sense to live in a smaller home. The main criteria is that the house had room for a grand piano. .

Living Room

A small home lowers expenses, and we are able to have experiences that would be more difficult to do with a larger home. Last summer we were able to send my daughter with me as chaperone to Europe to study piano in a  program that she received acceptance.

This home was a fixer-upper. We put an energy-efficient roof on it, so our electricity bills in the summer are almost half our neighbors. But compared to our former home, the electricity bills are less than a 1/3, and we can keep it at 74 instead of 78 in the summer.  

The challenges are storage and clutter. I kept the large furniture pieces and they serve double duty. The armoire in the dining room holds kitchen items, glassware, and seasonal items. The armoire in my bedroom holds spare blankets, pillows, and clothes. The china cabinet in the library holds books beneath, and special plates. I have to stay on top of the clutter, because it can be seen quicker in a small space. The kitchen is only 83 square feet. We designed the cabinets, because we were having a hard time fitting a refrigerator and preparation space, and we did not want to knock out a wall due to expense of moving plumbing that had been replaced by a previous owner. We chose a large sink that hides the dishes from the front door. The funny thing about this home is that it is more me than any of my other homes. A powder blue refrigerator is fun.

(Kitchen and Dining Room with view into the porch... (SMEG refrigerator)

We also have only one bathroom, but it works fine most days. We installed an Ikea sink console, and it has an amazing amount of storage.

The problem with an older cottage is that there can be initial repairs, but a good inspection will fill you in. The benefits of this home is that there are no home owner associations or club fees, and because it is small and old, the taxes are low. (Young families might not realize that when you purchase a new home you pay for all the new infrastructure: school buildings, pipelines, et cetera.) I also can grow a vegetable garden, and I am allowed to have citrus trees, which one cannot do in newer sections of the city. We planted four types of citrus; our lemon tree produces lots of fruit. Last February I grew our lettuce, tomatoes, and basil. This saves money. There is also no special assessment on the developer for new water infrastructure, so my water bill is a quarter to a third of what it used to be, even though I garden with irrigation. 

We repaired the sleeping porch, which desperately needed it. It's a three season porch (there is no heat or cooling there, but it has a foam roof) where the laundry, microwave, and coffee are located. We can't sit out there in the summer daytime hours, but we can in the summer evenings with a fan. We installed retracting screens over the French doors to let the air in, but not the bugs. It is usually not cold here in the winters, so it doesn't need heat. The foam roof fixed the cool problem of the winter, and lowered the summer temperature. The porch is a nice space that works in a mild climate, and it has a bed for lounging and guests.

Sleeping Porch (Laundry, Desk, T.V. and guest bed)

We use every space of this home. We installed organizers in our tiny closets and shelves in the potting shed. We even found a way to turn the storage room in the carport into a work space for my spouse.

When one lives a bit smaller overhead is less.  Maybe someday we will have a tiny house, but we will need a place for books and an upright piano. 

"Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with beauty of sunset, with the quiet of nature, with a warm and cozy cottage."


Thank you so much, Su, for sharing your story and lovely cottage with us. You may be "living smaller" when it comes to square footage, but you and your family are Living Large in every way.

Visit Su's blog for more photos of her charming home, and lots of DIY, budget-wise and space-saving ideas:

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, 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. We are still coming to terms with the life in our new-old cottage. This post is timely because today we are going to work on the den-guest room. I see some ideas here!

  2. Love the read and the tour! Great cottage! I also live in a small cottage/farm house and love its character

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed Su's cottage and what she shared. Thanks for stopping in. xxx

  3. Awesome choice Nancy. Su's cottage is warm and cozy and so so quaint and welcoming. Love Su and her beautiful blog. It was nice to see more pictures of her beautiful cottage here. My fave room is her sleeping porch so sweeeeet! Happy Saturday.

  4. I love Su's blog and her pretty home. Her fabulous kitchen makeover was so inspiring!!! That's when I found her blog. Great choice Nancy!

    Happy Saturday!!

  5. Nancy,
    Thanks for featuring Su's wonderful small cottage. I love her blog and enjoy seeing her photos of her home. I find her cottage soulfully playful, oozing with charm and creativity. Hey Nancy your series is great, thank you for running it.

  6. I too am a fan of Su, her lovely blog and her sweet bungalow. I have the same challenges as Su and enjoy reading how others deal with storage. I got some ideas just now from her and can't wait to try them. But, we have to finish off our new little garden cottage first.

  7. I love Su's cottage so much. Love the reasons for living with less space and love how she has chosen to decorate their sweet home.

  8. Thank you, so much, Nancy, and all your visitors. It came out really great. I love your series. xoox

  9. Loved the large sink in the kitchen! I need one of those! Really enjoyed Su's rendition of large living in a small space!!!

    1. That's a copper sink and it's gorgeous! I love it, too.

  10. Great feature Nancy!! I love Su's beautiful cottage...she has it filled with so many pretty pieces!

  11. I love Su's home and how she decorates. I want that sink, so if it goes missing? Your home is so charming!

    1. Thank you, Cathy. I'm really happy with that sink. It oxidizes, but I always wipe it dry when I'm done, and I've not had a problem. Even if gets a ring on the inside, it disappears. What I like the most is that it does not show age. I've had porcelain sinks in the past that did not stand up to our use.

  12. I love Su's cottage and I've been following all her transformation for a while. She's very inspiring.

  13. Wow Nancy!!!!!!!!

    I am having to redesign my thinking. Yes, this may be an ODD way to start my comment here, but as I am looking at these small and wondrous homes you have been sharing, it is showing me that so much elegance can be obtained in small spaces.....and that a person's home is the place from which they launch off into more creativity. I am saying all this with other ideas floating in my head, as I reconsider why I am blogging and if I should continue.

    This home however, is filled with exquisite furnishings and most importantly, beautifully photographed, a CONUNDRUM that has been challenging me for a few years now as I attempt to capture my home. LOVELY HOME, and you have truly opened up my understanding of the beauty of a small home. Blessings to you, Nancy!

  14. Hi dear Nancy ,, que bonito living ,, adore esas bellas imágenes,, que tenga un buen domingo

  15. Another really nice feature! I am amazed at how "large" this small house looks. I think it is the soft colors!

  16. I love Su's blog and home, and am so pleased that you featured her, Nancy!!! Such a delightful post!

  17. Hi Nancy!
    I'm so glad I found you! I loved Sue's story and she has given me inspiration for my husband and I, too, live in a relatively small house. My sister lives in our downstairs and so we have to use the space we do have efficiently.
    I don't usually make resolutions in the new year but de-cluttering is high on my list this year as well as re-claiming a bedroom and making it into a multi-functional space. Sue has given me some new ideas today, so THANK YOU both. I really enjoyed Sue's post.
    I agree with your reader, AnnMarie, and love the soft colours that help to create a sense of space.
    I'll hop on over to visit Sue now and will surely keep following you, Nancy! XO
    Wishing you a beautiful day,
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

  18. I love your cottage! It is wonderful.


  19. Fun home tour! It's such a cute cottage. Totally love the Smeg fridge. It's on my one-day list. :)

  20. Su's home is gorgeous, she has great style and I'm envious of that sleeping porch, it looks like it's straight out of a Scandinavian house.

  21. It was so fun to take a tour of Su's home. I am a follower of her blog. I enjoyed seeing the sleeping porch redone. It's something that people usually knock out in older homes. I love the colors she uses in her home and how efficiently she uses her space.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Jenny. And for the very nice words you left us. :)

  22. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for featuring Su. I do enjoy her blog and have enjoyed her sharing her home with us.
    Thank you again,for the fun feature.

  23. Oops, I almost missed this one and that would have been really sad! I love what Su has done with her cottage home and, like mine, she has managed to fit in everything the family requires. Lowering housing expenses is a huge plus - many young families over extend themselves by buying larger homes and then often find themselves in financial difficulties later.
    Some lovely things around Su's cottage - please thank her for sharing with us.

    Hugs - Mary

  24. First--love the kitchen! The farm sink, the Smeg fridge... *sigh*
    Living in a 1000 sq ft house ourselves, I find the same problem with storage but you've solved that conundrum so well. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Such a sweet cottage and I love the kitchen too!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY.

  26. What a delightful story attached to your photo's.
    Lots of blessings

    1. It's great to know the back story behind the cottage, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.

  27. I am familiar with Sue's was nice to see it featured here! :)

    1. Thanks, Deb. I was pretty happy when Su accepted my invitation. She did a great job!

  28. Such a gorgeous cottage! And I love that she has one bathroom (so do we!!!) which seems almost rare these days :) I also appreciate how they invest more into their lifestyles than a huge home that is unaffordable. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Nancy!

  29. Su's home is one of my favorites in the blog world. Quaint, cozy and brimming with so much inspiration! xo Jen

  30. Nancy, I love Su's cottage! I always come away with a cozy feeling after visiting her. The sleeping porch is my favorite, but it is all just wonderful! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  31. I love Su's dreamy cottage, with its powder blues and sandy tones, on a creamy white foundation. Her use of space is extremely efficient and she has decorated it with whimsy and soul.

    Thanks so much for another lovely little space with large appeal, Nancy!

    Happy weekend!


  32. This small home is delightful! It is amazing what one can do with lots of creativity and imagination!

  33. Our home is not big by most American standards but it is still far more than I want. My husband and I are looking forward to downsizing to a tinier home. I love small spaces and can not wait to go even smaller!


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