Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Spotlight at Junk Chic Cottage

Hello Cottage Friends!

I'm over at Kris' Junk Chic Cottage today as her featured guest.  Kris has a weekly series called Saturday Spotlight - Life Behind the Blogger, and I'm over-the-moon excited that she wants to cast her spotlight on me. 

Uh-huh, it's me!

Kris has a beautiful blog filled with lots of home and garden lusciousness. On top of all that she's one of the nicest bloggers I know. 

If you've been curious about moi and some of the private and somewhat personal things about me, then click drop over to Kris's place here.  You may see a whole new side of me.

See you next week when Living Large In Small Spaces returns. Be sure to come back because I've got something really special lined up for you.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Joy List Monday - Home and Away




filled with simple things I cherish




memories I long to relive

Thank you for all your kind words expressed to me last week
while I was sick.
Your sweet thoughts and prayers mean so much.
I'm feeling much better!

Are you looking closer at the beauty around you 
or aware of things to be thankful for today?

Joy List Monday was prompted by Anne of My Giant Strawberry. I love her idea of "taking a few moments to jot down bits of beauty that I've noticed or any little details in my day that are bringing me joy." 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Mountain Cottage

Twenty-second post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

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

Today's featured cottage was designed by TKP Architects of Golden, Colorado, and won the 2012 "Architect's Choice Award" from the AIA Denver and the Newman Award from the Institute for Classical Art and Architecture in 2013. This is not at all surprising, as you're about to see. 

Before we tour this fetching cottage, I'd like to thank Karen Keating, President of TKP Architects for the privilege of sharing the firm's photos and for providing me with details about the cottage design and construction. Karen couldn't have been more gracious and helpful.  

This 500 square foot cottage is located on a three-acre property, which includes a century-old miner's cabin that TKP remodeled several years ago "for a contemporary lifestyle while retaining the aesthetic and the quirks of an old mountain homestead." 

Intended as a studio for creating custom jewelry, the mountain cottage doubles as guest quarters.

The homeowners wanted the cottage "to feel as if it had existed for a hundred years." Reclaimed wood plank flooring, as well as the timber window and door trim and open roof trusses fabricated from old barn timbers, help to secure that antique look and demonstrate good environmental stewardship.

The open roof trusses make the cottage seem much larger that its actual size. 

I first became interested in this cottage when Dennis and I were playing with the design of a 350 square foot home which consisted of one large multi-functional room and one bathroom. Instead of a separate master bedroom, we thought of using a murphy bed.   

Here the classic custom cabinetry to the left of the fireplace disguises a murphy bed.

I love this! 

Although we scrapped the idea of a one-room cottage with a murphy bed, this beautiful pull-down bed will forever live in my dreams as the perfect solution for a part-time bedroom. 

Imagine waking up to the view outside the sliding doors. Just beyond the stone patio is a "gently sloping wooded meadow."

Here's the view from the outside looking in.

Windows in large dormers with copper roofs allow additional light into the cottage interior.

Fabulous, right? 

Behind the fireplace is a small, elegantly appointed bathroom with a shower.

Glass mosaic tiles on the shower floor were produced from recycled glass.

A sleeping loft is accessed by a custom made steel ladder, sized to fit the space. Each step is a leaf design.

The cozy loft features a charming arched window and looks into the rustic open timber trusses.

The slate roof tiles came from a demolished building. 

"This rustic mountain cottage replaced a deteriorating outbuilding. . .Stringent zoning requirements required the cottage's location, its footprint, and its overall height match the existing structure. . ." ~ TKP Architects

"Lichen-covered boulders were used as the stone veneer so that the cottage seems to emerge from the site's existing craggy rock outcrops.  A steeply pitched roof, appropriate to shed winter snow, would have been over the height limit, so the cottage was buried into the hillside, adding to its aged, organic appeal.  Windows in large dormers with copper roofs allow additional light into the cottage's interior." ~ TKP Architects

As I mentioned, this is a studio and guest house, and it also functions as a retreat for the owners from their main house. With the inclusion of an actual kitchen -- which local building codes prohibited in this structure --  I could imagine full-time large living in this gorgeous small space.

I received no compensation from TKP Architects for featuring this cottage. It's simply a lovely place that I wanted to share with you.

All photos are the property of TKP Architects and were used with their permission.

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 in this series.
If you live in a small space (approx. 1200 square feet or less),
 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.)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our New Cottage - Progress Report #1

Dear Cottage Friends,

Whew!  Where to begin?

First, I've been out of circulation this week with a bad cold, so bear with me as I try to catch up not only with blogging, but with all of you who have dropped by AJC and left nice words behind. I promise I'll visit you soon.

Second, construction is moving so fast on our new cottage that I fear if I don't bring you up to date right now our house will be built and we'll be moved in before I can say "occupancy permit."  The weather has been so unbelievably nice here that construction is ahead of where we thought it would be on this date. (I'm so sorry to talk about nice weather in front of all of you who are suffering with a horrid winter, I feel for you. . .I do, and you have been and will continue to be in our prayers.)

Let's take a look at what's happened with our new cottage build so far.

February 6, 2015 - The house location is staked.

The little white building came with the lot.  It's a well-built shed.

February 9, 2015 - Excavation! And we meet Scott!

Thank you, Mr. Excavator!
This is the excavation for our entire cottage -- all 667 square feet.

Scott, the construction superintendent for BLH our builder, is our new best friend. We met him for the first time at the excavation and let me tell you he put me at ease immediately.  Scott's gonna nail this thing! (No pun intended.)

February 11, 2015 - The footings are poured.

Footings in and ready for the pour.

Greg Bales arrives and sets up his amazing Mobile Mix Concrete truck for the pour. 

And we have a pour!  This process is truly amazing. The concrete is mixed on demand -- as it pours -- and Greg moves his truck remotely to place the trough where he wants it.  (Look Ma, no hands!) 

I made a short movie (only about 12 seconds) for you to watch Greg in action with his super-duper concrete truck. Watch this. . . 

Is that the coolest thing ever?  This isn't your grandpa's cement mixer, my friends. This is high tech stuff.

In less than an hour the concrete footings are in place.

February 18, 2015 - The foundation is poured and I introduce you to Dean Hines of BLH, our builder.

The forms have been built and we're onsite for the pouring of the foundation.

Close up of the forms and reinforcement.

And one more view before the pour. (Does this interest you at all?  Because, honestly, I love this stuff.  I've been around construction of one kind or another most of my life.)

Greg's back onsite with his fancy-schmancy truck and the foundation pour is in the works.

"Hey, Greg! Can you give me some concrete for this porch support?"

"Sure thing, Scott, I'll just push my remote control and whip that concrete trough right over there where you want it. No problem."

Here is just the nicest guy you could ever hope to have for a builder, Dean Himes of Bronson Log Homes (BLH), Enterprise, Oregon. We're not building a log home, but that's okay because BLH builds frame homes, and furniture, too. Dennis worked for Bronson as an architect 16 years ago, so there's some history here.  Dean has a great reputation as a custom home builder and we're very excited to be working with him.

We left the guys to finish up and headed back to our apartment.  

Tomorrow (February 20) the floor truss joists and subfloor will go in. Good chance of rain on Saturday, so they may have to cover up the floor.

To be continued. . .

Update: Click here for Progress Report #2.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - A Québec Cottage

Twenty-first post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

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

One month ago today I discovered Donna's blog An Anglo In Québec and was instantly enamored with the charming cottage she shares with her husband. Donna has a great eye for design and has created beautiful spaces in her modestly sized home. The kitchen, living room, dining room, pantry and a bathroom make up the main floor, which has been completely renovated. Three small bedrooms and another bath comprise the top floor. 

I asked Donna if I could share her home in the Living Large series and to my delight she said yes. When I saw her answers to my questions via email, I knew we had to do this segment in Q&A style. Our emails were truly like a conversation between friends over coffee.

Sit back and enjoy Donna's home and our discussion.

A Joyful Cottage: Donna, how long have you been in your home?

Donna: We bought our home in the summer of 1993. We were expecting our second child so we were anxious to get out of our little apartment in Québec city and into something more practical. We also wanted a yard for our two children. So now 23 years later this is truly the only place that we have called home. 

Back Garden Area

AJC: Was this your first home purchase?

Donna: This was our first home purchase and at the time I really thought it would be a starter home. My husband loved the home much more than I did at the time. There were elements to this house that really threw me off.  The 70's style feel to the house was playing havoc with my design ideas at the time. Plus we were coming from an apartment which dated back 100 years or more and included character features such as beautiful woodwork and french windows. So this was a shift in thinking for me.

Beautiful Backyard and Woods

I did  love the location. We can see the lights of the ski hill from our kitchen window and we are both avid skiers so that was good. I also loved the sense of adventure that the back woods provided for our children.

But the house love, well, that was really about my husband. So, at the time I figured we would do some minor changes and sell it. We actually did put it up for sale about 5 years later, but in the end the house we wanted did not work out so we decided against selling. I am so glad that we did; that really made us move forward with renovations. We completely shifted our thinking towards making this house everything we wanted in a home.

AJC: Your house dates back to the 70's. Is that right?

Donna: Yes, this house was built in 1975. It was one of the first homes built on this high hill which faces a ski hill. We have a pond in front of our home and several of the original homes were built around the pond. It is all wood which is very typical of the ski chalet style homes in this area.

The 70's kitchen before the renovation.


The pantry skirt may change with the seasons or on a whim.

The bathroom has a sliding barn-style door

Dining Room

AJC: Do I understand correctly that there was no fireplace in the house when you bought it, and that you had that beautiful fireplace installed?

Living Room

Donna: One of the first indoor projects was to move an old wood stove from the basement up to the main floor. It was over-heating our basement and I was always worried about our children and their friends touching it. There was an acorn style 70's fireplace on the main floor which was sort of cute but in our cold climate it was causing us to lose heat due to its poor design. I see they are back in trend but I am sure they have a much better design.We made the decision to install a custom high-efficiency fireplace a couple of years ago, shortly following our kitchen renovation. That was a scary decision for me as I was afraid such a massive structure would eat up our living room space. But, I LOVE it. We enjoy it all fall, winter and early spring. It really makes a huge difference to our home for heating purposes and design and adding a "cozy" factor. 

It is one of the best on the market since it goes beyond all environmental norms for being a clean heat source. We can actually cook on it as it has a built-in rack feature. We do that from time to time with friends and family.  It also has a built-in fan to push heat through various vents in our home.

Anyway, all that to say that it was a good investment.

AJC: Is your gorgeous dog's name "Jack"?  Do I have that right?

Donna: Jack it is. He is our third child. :) We have had several dogs over the years but Jack seems to be the one that has had the greatest impact on all of us. He is a golden doodle and if you know anything about that breed then you will understand how "human" like they can be.

"The living room runs across the front of the house and we decided to break it up into the area around the fireplace at the one end and the little reading area at the other end. But really, as you know, in a small space like this it never really feels like two separate spaces. It is more about the arrangement of furniture that allows for that sense of two areas." 

~ Donna

AJC: Did you hire contractors to do the work?  It's all so beautiful.

Donna: For the big jobs, yes. We discovered a local contractor when we made the decision to put on a new deck. That was one of the first big projects that we did. We had a very small deck off the front and a very dangerous deck on the side. I felt that it took away from the look of the house and it was completely impractical. You could not sit on the front deck without your knees touching the railing. :) We have done some of the smaller renos, plank walls etc. but the bigger stuff has been managed by me and carried out by him. I am always very involved though to ensure that the budget gets maintained. To date, we have really lucked out on the costs and nothing has been unreasonable. And, of course we have done it in stages. I sourced out the wood floors and got 'cast-off' flooring which we love but the pieces are shorter than the standard length. That was our approach to everything.

AJC: I've read your renovation posts and see that you've really done a lot to your home, and that you have more in mind.  What else are you planning to do?

Donna: I did not realize how much I would enjoy turning this somewhat bland space into our home. Of course we are always on a very tight budget and have to be selective in our choices. 

Next up is the upstairs bathroom. I have met with our reno guy to see what he says and it looks like we can do what I would like to do within a reasonable budget. That might not happen until next winter though since we have plans to travel this spring and summer. 

Master Bedroom

I always have small projects that I want to complete such as new doors for the upstairs bedrooms and painting the floors. 

Daughter Sarah's Room

They are old pine floors but not of a high quality pine. Certainly they are not worth sanding so I am going to paint them all in a creamy white. 

Guest Room

Perhaps one day I will do them in a similar wood to the main floor but right now I love the idea of the painted floors. I think it will work well in this house and lighten up that level.

I am also thinking about adding shutters this summer...functional shutters that actually open and close. I like this idea and I think it would add a bit more character to the facade of our house. We did a lot by removing the "wings" that were on each side of the front wall of the house. Not sure you will see what I mean by that but now I feel like it needs a little grounding and I think shutters will do that. Also, our new doors on the side, which acts as our front door has done a lot to change our entrance and the facade of our home. I have a few projects around on that side too. Nothing major just fun.

AJC: I know you have a daughter in college.  Any other children?

Donna: I have a 23 yr. old daughter who is studying in Spain right now. I have a 21 yr. old son who is on a personal adventure traveling and working in western Canada. He is living the life of a skier-restaurant worker in the Rockies. 

One thing about my daughter is that she shares a love for design. She had her own apartment these last few years and put out a great effort to purchase everything second hand. It was so much fun to confer with her on her many ideas and purchases. She loves the "hunt" for a good bargain as much as I do! 

AJC: When you bought the house did you think you would stay in it this long?

Donna: No, not at all. But I have no regrets. It has been a wonderful personal project ever since. I get to live my long ago dream of being a designer. As a teenager, I actually worked in an old home which was a show house for a furniture company. I loved design and really wanted to follow that dream but in those days it was not a very developed field and I was discouraged from following up on that. No real regrets though, but I do love to make all the design decisions and our reno guy knows that he is working directly in sync with me. So, it has all worked out.

AJC: It sounds like you plan on staying in your home. Is that correct? (I mean, I don't know why you'd want to move. . .it's gorgeous!  But I have to ask. :))

Donna: Yes, we have talked about moving. Our children are determined that we don't. ;) They want to hold on to the great memories. We love our home and everything about it. We have worked so hard at making it a great space for friends and family that it would be hard to give up. We have several friends that come here for holidays as their own home away from home and various "nieces" that have spent their summers here learning French. This house has seen a lot of "living" over the years that it would be hard to give up.

We do dream of having a place in Tadoussac where we love to spend our summers so sometimes I wonder about a condo downtown and a house in Tadoussac but that is not in the plans really. For now, we rent a home there in the summer to live out that little dream.

Donna, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home and its story with us.

To see more of Donna's wonderful cottage and visit her delightful blog here. And to get the full story on her incredible kitchen renovation, including lots of photos, hop on over to here. Donna is an excellent story teller, so plan on spending some time there.

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 in this series.
If you live in a small space (approx. 1200 square feet or less),
 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.)