Saturday, March 28, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Jo's Little Peace of Heaven

Twenty-sixth post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"
Dining area
Jo's Very Special Home


Greetings Cottage Friends and welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

It's my pleasure to welcome a very special woman to A Joyful Cottage today, Joanne Boulter of Anne's Attic - design blog. When I first visited Jo's blog I was struck by her unwavering joy in the midst of some pretty big life challenges. Having lived in a large home -- what many consider the American Dream -- she now lives large in a small space. Read on to learn more of how this creative lady is thriving there.


Welcome everyone to my humble home and a special "Thank You" to my sweet blogging friend Nancy. Nancy is such a beautiful person and a dear blogging friend. I met her last fall as we were visiting each other's blogs. She always has something kind to say that perks me up right away.

I am Joanne Boulter from the blog Anne's Attic - design blog. I live in Bountiful, Utah USA. I have four children: a daughter Candice, and three sons Adam, Dane and Nathan; and eleven grandchildren. Besides family and my faith, interior design is my love.

I have an interesting arrangement as far as housing is concerned. I live in a darling basement apartment below my youngest son Nathan, wife Jordanne, and four children: Kingston 7, Boston 5, Juliette almost 4, and Izabella almost one. 


Six years ago I went through a divorce after 35 years of marriage. I found myself empty nested, and suffering from an illness that did not allow me to work outside of the house. This was the first time that I had ever lived by myself and I found that I didn't like it at all. I raised a daughter and three sons, I was use to living in a large home with a large yard that I really enjoyed taking care of. One day my third son Dane called and said "start packing we are moving you to Nathan's house". He didn't even give me a chance to say no. I was concerned about being in the way . . . you know all of those kind of things, but it has turned out to be a great blessing in the lives of all of us and I have done a lot of healing since I have been here. What's more healing than four little ones with their arms around your neck?


My day job is tending these four darling grandchildren every day while mom works. I have a yard to dig in and a small home to decorate.

Basement entrance
Basement entrance

Here is my front door, or you could say basement entrance. I have a full kitchen that is light and beautiful. Behind the curtain are shelves for storage. That's the only storage that I have. I have learned that I really don't need a lot of extra things.

BeFunky_N from kitchen.jpg

Standing at the front door you can see to the very end of my home. I was really lucky because the apartment had a total cottage feel to it before I moved in. It's painted in a light dove-gray with white trim. Gray carpet and dark gray tile in the kitchen and bathroom. I love the large bar in the kitchen, perfect for little grandchildren.

Kitchen with lighted cabinets.
Kitchen with lighted cabinets

I have lots of counter space for baking and playing games with the grandchildren. I love the lighting in the cabinets.

Range and refrigerator
Range and refrigerator

BeFunky_N bath entrance.jpg

Just off to the right of the kitchen is a little throughway to the bathroom. I have shelves there for sheets, towels and beauty aids.


Here is my cute little bathroom. I really like the pedestal sink.

BeFunky_N bathroom 1.jpg

Pretty and frilly.

BeFunky_N bath roses.jpg

I have everything that I need in this sweet little bathroom. The shower is huge. The only thing I miss sometimes is a tub, but it will do for now.

Dining area
Dining area

As you walk out of the kitchen you come into the dining area. I have a small antique farm table and chairs.

BeFunky_N back dinning.jpg

This gives me room for dining with friends and family. The cabinet above the table is antique, I hung it as is. So perfect with my white stoneware.

BeFunky_N hutch 1.jpg

Across from the dining area I have a sweet little hutch; it gives me the extra storage that I so badly need.

BeFunky_N bunny chair.jpg

Most of the things that I have in my home are second-hand. I love the challenge of redoing something that no one else loves anymore. Even my dishes and utensils are second-hand. If a dish gets broke I'm only out a few pennies. I want people to feel comfortable when they come to visit and not to have to worry about breaking something or messing things up. With four grandchildren running in and out I can't be worried about it all the time.

BeFunky_N white chair.jpg

A friend asked me what interior design style I have. I thought for a minute then said "50% French Nordic, 50% Shabby Chic = 100% Romantic Farmhouse."

BeFunky_N work all.jpg

Next to my dining area is my work bench. This is where I do all of my projects. It's made out of a hollow core door and two small book cases. Behind the curtain are drawers of supplies.

Where I create
Where I create

BeFunky_N workbench side.jpg

This little work bench really does a great job!

BeFunky_N from living area.jpg

This is a look standing from the end of the sitting room clear through to the kitchen.

BeFunky_N chest 2.jpg

This little chest sits behind my futon. I had to sell my beautiful white tufted sofa because we couldn't get it through the door. I had to have something that we could put together once we got it inside.

BeFunky_N couch.jpg
N sitting room

The sitting area is just the right size and I even have a fireplace. It is very cozy.

BeFunky_N roses.jpg

N bookcase

BeFunky_N wash room door.jpg

Right off the sitting area is my bedroom, the other door that you see is the family laundry room. I keep everything neat and tidy. This keeps me from tripping all over things in such a small space.

BeFunky_N bed pillows.jpg

My bedroom is big enough for a queen size bed with night stand, a couple of small chests and a chair.

N bed chest

BeFunky_N bedroom.jpg

Off to the left of the butler's table I have a huge walk in closet. I am perfectly happy in my tiny space, but you never know when life is going to throw you a curve ball and send you somewhere else. I am very blessed to hear little feet pattering all over upstairs, and little ones jumping in bed with me for a good night story.

BeFunky_N bits & bobs.jpg

That's the bits and bobs of it all!
Thank you for visiting. 

Hugs, Jo

I would love to have you visit me at my blog. (Click below)

contact sidebar image

Thank you for inspiring us today, Jo.

Isn't Jo's apartment cute? It's so feminine and fun.
You can see a lot more of Jo's charming home and her many wonderful design projects when you visit her blog.

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.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Our New Cottage - Progress Report #3

Dear Cottage Friends,

Thanks for joining me for the latest on our new cottage build. Here's what's happened since my last report:

March 12, 2015

Will and Scott work on the roofing, leaving the east side unfinished until the studio is ready for its roofing.  At that time they'll tie it in with the cottage, completing all the roofing at once.

I'm happy with the charcoal gray shingle we chose. 

March 13, 2015

A fairly quiet day.

Scott had a well-deserved day off.

Will builds the forms for the studio's foundation.

March 16, 2015

The windows are installed!

Dennis and I aren't around to see the installation. We drive to Walla Walla, Washington for shopping and lunch. 

March 17, 2015

Seeing the cottage with all the windows installed is exciting.

In keeping with our budget we chose single hung, vinyl windows. Wood is tempting for that "authentic" look, but really vinyl will be much easier to maintain over the years, and I'd rather spend money on other things that matter much more to me. 

I'm very satisfied with the Pella windows.

Scott and Will begin work on the soffit.

Here you see a close up of the soffit venting. 

I won't bore you with details about venting, but if you're interested in why and how it's used here's a good article from Fine Homebuilding: A Crash Course In Roof Venting.

Meanwhile, inside the cottage hurricane clips are attached to the roof truss. We can get some pretty high winds here, so it's good to have these.

March 18, 2015

We meet at the site to review kitchen details with Dean, and Jason of Miller Cabinetry.

Dean and Jason go over the measurements.

While we were shopping in Walla Walla, Dennis found antique brackets that we will use under our garden window (exterior).

Even though we think the patina on these is wonderful, since we're using them outdoors we've decided to have them sand blasted and powder coated white. They'll match the window trim and will hold up well to the elements. 

March 19 - 20, 2015

Russell Plumbing completes the rough plumbing.

The butler's pantry will have a bar size stainless steel sink.

Plumbing vent in roof.

March 21, 2015

It's Saturday. Dennis and I drive out to the job site and walk through the cottage.

View from the front door. 

The fireplace will have a gas heating stove.

Someone asked what we would be putting in the kitchen window. The answer is potted herbs and flowers. A grow light, for use in winter months, will be hidden in the soffit.


The utility closet houses the stacked washer and dryer, water heater and storage.

The studio foundation forms are ready for the concrete pour, and the roof truss has been ordered. 

Stay tuned, folks.

If you missed previous progress reports, you can find them here:

Progress Report #1
Progress Report #2

You can find our awesome builder at their website:
BLH Construction.