Saturday, June 27, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Encinitas Cottage, Mobile Homes Redesigned

Thirty-eighth post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

Welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

Last week's post on Geneva and Buzz's remodeled single-wide mobile home Whisper Cottage was very well received. Which makes me happy because I like the idea of mobile homes as a housing option. So let's take a look at another charming mobile home, shall we? 

This custom-designed Southern California beach cottage was designed by Hayes, Inc. Architecture/Interiors.

Whether used as a primary residence, or a retreat, this tiny house has lots to offer.

Plank walls and ceilings introduce the cottage vibe.

This home has one bedroom and a loft.

The kitchen seems to have all the essentials.

Farmhouse sink, plate rack and sink skirt spell c-o-t-t-a-g-e.


The mood is casual and carefree.

Here's a better look at the window seat. Love this.

Good use of space in the bathroom. Great sink vanity.

I love this little place.

It seems like one could live large here with very little maintenance.

No compensation received for featuring this cottage.
For more information visit here.

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, June 25, 2015

Our New Cottage Build - Progress Report #11

Hi Cottage Friends,

It's me again, with another update. 

The kitchen cabinets still haven't arrived. The last we heard the paint booth broke down and needed repair, which backlogged everything. And that's all I've got to say about that. 

Dennis and I have been moving forward despite this set back, and I'll share what we've accomplished since my last report.

(Warning. The quality of some photos is not good. It's the best I could get with my iphone, which is the only camera I have right now.)

June 10, 2015

Ryan the Electrician arrives in the afternoon. He installs light switches and power outlets.

I chose rockers instead of toggles for the switches. We used these in our last home and I found them to be very easy to keep clean, and I like the uncluttered look.  Some people think they should only be used with contemporary decor. It's a matter of personal preference. I hear push button switches are gaining popularity. They could be fun for a more vintage look, but they're pretty pricey. About four times the cost of toggles or rockers. For me it's not worth the expense.

Ryan also installed the ceiling fan in our bedroom. 

A ceiling fan in our cottage is a must for air circulation, both in the summer and the winter. We chose not to install air conditioning. Temperatures here dip to 40 - 50 degrees at night and warm to 75 - 84 degrees during the day in the summer.  If we keep the windows open at night, in the morning the house is quite cool. Our cottage is well insulated, so if we close the windows and doors before the morning air warms, the house stays comfortable throughout the day. 

June 11, 2015 

I purchased several containers of flowers for instant color.

The metal stand was a $1 flea market find. When we have time Dennis will make a top for it and I'll give the whole thing a paint job.

Ryan the Electrician installs the light fixtures.

Back entry/butler's pantry.

Dining pendant (raised and secured out of the way while construction continues).

"All right, Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close up."

Kitchen mini pendant.

Ceiling light in my workroom.

Exterior lamp over each entry door.

June 12, 2015

Chuck, Bronson's furniture maker, is making the mantel for our fireplace.  We stop by his shop to see how it's coming along. This is the pine log slab that will become our mantel.

I love the big knot and cracks on the front.

Chuck will sand this down a little and stain it a dark walnut.

This is my mantel inspiration photo.
Source: Period Living - A Traditional Welsh Cottage

June 13, 2015

Dennis begins tiling the hallway and bath floors.

Chuck and Dean bring the mantel to the cottage for measurements before cutting.

Here it is upside down with the corbels.

Ryan is supposed to come back and change the outlet cover to a gray one. I'm not sure it will matter once the heating stove is installed. I doubt the outlet will show.

June 14, 2015

Dennis and I take a drive after attending our church worship service. There's nothing like new-mown hay to soothe the senses.

June 15, 2015

While Dennis works on the tile I spend time on the dry creek bed, adding rocks and potted plants. This project will take time to complete, and isn't a high priority right now.

June 16, 2015

Dennis lays a lot of tile. My main task is to drive to the flooring store for more mortar. An hour round trip.

June 17, 2015

Dennis grouts the tile.
Back entry and bath

I plant Zinnias and Nicotiana.

June 18, 2015

Dennis finishes grouting and cleans the tile.
Hard Working Guy

I plant herbs.

Dennis crafts and installs the bathroom trim. I apply primer to the door trim.

And apply primer and two coats of Do-It-Best Star Magnolia to the baseboard. 

Star Magnolia will be used on all the interior trim.

Dennis begins trimming the garden window.

June 19, 2015

Dennis finishes the garden window trim.

Ready for me to paint.

June 20 - 21, 2015

Dennis enjoys building the trim and casings and even on Father's Day he wants to continue working, which he says isn't work at all for him.

June 22, 2015

The LP gas company digs the trench and installs the gas line.

After it's inspected and approved, our LP gas tank will be delivered and we'll have gas for cooking and primary heat. (For those curious, there is no natural gas available in our county.)

Our compact front load stackable washer and dryer are delivered.

These are made by Whirlpool and actually are smaller in total dimensions than the all-in-one apartment size laundry centers.  I'll give you my opinion on their performance once I start using them.

Dennis trims the bedroom windows.

And the bathroom window.

I finish painting the garden window.

June 23, 2015

Chuck wants me to come to the shop and approve the finish on the mantel. I do. It looks great. I'd show it to you now, but I want you to see it after it's installed. We have to have some surprises, don't we? It's like not showing anyone your prom dress before the big night. 

June 24, 2015

I take a day off to shop and have lunch with a friend. Life feels kind of normal today.

Dennis works on the studio window trim.

June 25, 2015

While Dennis works on the trim for my workroom, I apply one coat of Star Magnolia on the living room window trim.

Dennis leaves for a doctor's appointment after lunch and I head out after finishing the window.

I'm very blessed to have a husband who's able to do finish carpentry, lay beautiful tile and do all the other things he does to make me happy.  Thanks, Honey.

We're waiting for the plumber to come for the finish work. Once we have a toilet and shower, even without the kitchen we can camp out in the cottage.

Dennis had minor surgery yesterday and will be taking it easy the next two days (I hope).  After I post this and finish my coffee I'll head for the cottage for more trim painting. I find it rather relaxing.

I hope you're day is off to a great start.

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

Progress Report #1

Progress Report #2
Progress Report #3
Progress Report #4
Progress Report #5
Progress Report #6
Progress Report #7
Progress Report #8
Progress Report #9
Progress Report #10

You can find our awesome builder at their website:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Whisper Cottage

Thirty-seventh post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

Welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

I believe there are countless ways to live large in small spaces. There's no "right" way. I've featured a variety of homes in this series, from a lovely senior's room in an assisted living center to a designer mountain cottage; a charming basement apartment, a vintage beach cottage, a floating home, and much more. Homes in Canada, West Sussex and Wales; as well as small homes from coast to coast in my home country -- the USA. My mission is to inspire you with good design, interesting style, and my personal favorite -- stories of individuals who have made the choice to downsize and live more simply. Because when all is said and done, it's the vision and tenacity of these people and the joy they possess that inspire me the most, and I have a feeling that's what inspires you the most, too.

Today's featured home is one that I'm particularly interested in sharing with you, because it's the first of its kind to appear here. 

The owners Geneva and Buzz are a delightful couple. I ran across Geneva's blog My Heart's Song a while ago and invited her and Buzz to share their home and story. At the time they were in the midst of a move and understandably didn't have the time to write a guest post, but they were more than willing to allow me to tell their story. As you probably know, I've been pretty busy myself with our cottage build, so all this sat on the back burner for a bit. However, I just couldn't put it off any longer. It's my pleasure to share with you today the people and the story behind


In August 2010 the couple sold their beautiful brick home and began the search for a home in which they could afford to retire. 

As Geneva tells it on her blog:
"Buzz found this mobile home in June of 2010; took pictures of it and thought it might be something we should consider.  I spent hours looking at the pictures he had taken since my schedule didn't allow me to see it in person. 

"Even though a mobile home seemed like a good option, this one seemed so dirty (from the pictures anyway).  Buzz went back at least two more times to check it out from top to bottom...but we decided to put it on the back burner.  Honestly, I think I just didn't want to live in a mobile home... no matter how it looked.    

"We had always thought we would end up in a cute little cottage some where in the Texas Hill Country and believe me we looked there, and in East Texas and in West Texas, and in South Texas and in North Texas.  It never entered our minds that it could be any where but Texas ... :)

"We were both praying for God's guidance.
This wasn't a decision we wanted to make on our own."

Geneva writes, "The whisper came when I was driving home from work in December 2010 'You need to re-think the mobile home'.  That's when I sighed and said ... 'I know, it just makes sense.'

I felt excited, and couldn't wait to get home 
to tell Buzz what God had impressed on my heart. 

When I walked into the tiny apartment we were renting, there sat Buzz, obviously getting prepared to break some news to me.  I was worried, until  he said 'We need to re-think that mobile home', then I just smiled, and asked, 'When did you start thinking about that?' 'Oh, about thirty minutes ago ...' (God had whispered in our ears at exactly the same time)."


Geneva and Buzz bought the home late December 2010, and began to remodel. On February 1, 2011 they moved in after completing the first and most extensive stage of the remodel. Since then they have continued to upgrade their home, and the results are amazing.































A Joyful Cottage: This is your retirement home. And you sold your conventional home to downsize and be debt free in retirement? Is that correct? 

Geneva & Buzz: This is our retirement home.  Originally, we had thought we would pay off the mortgage on our 2200 sf site built home, but opted to downsize instead.  We not only saved a big chunk of our savings, we also saved the money taxes, insurance & maintenance would have cost us each year.   We weren't using all of the space in that home and knew a smaller space just made more sense.  We sold our home and never looked back.

AJC: Are you willing to share how much you paid for your home?  I fully understand if you'd prefer not to, but even if you gave an "under $____" figure, I believe it could be an encouragement to my readers who are looking for alternative affordable housing.

G&B: We found our existing home in a manufactured home community consisting mostly of Senior adults (55 & older) and paid $17,000 for it.  We invested another $12 to $15 thousand in remodeling to make it our own.  I've given a breakdown of costs in the Q & A section of my blog.  Realistically, the home could have been spruced up for much less ... it was simply our personal choice to do the extra things we've done.
The home and remodeling expenses are paid in full ... :)

AJC: It looks like your home was on private property when you purchased it. Is that right?  

G&B: Our home was and is currently located in a manufactured home community, which we prefer because of the low maintenance, security & sense of community.  This community also provides amenities that we use on a regular basis ... especially when our granddaughter visits.

AJC:  You recently moved. Can you share a little of what that was like.  Was it difficult to physically move the home? Do you own the property? (I hope I'm not being too nosy, please feel free to tell me to take a hike!)

G&B: Even though moving our home was a major interruption to our lives, it's working out pretty nicely.  The new community gave us a great re-locating package which included moving our home, garden shed, carport and decks, as well as putting new skirting on our home.  Another plus-since our old community was going away (the property was sold to a developer), many of our neighbors moved here as well (instant community) . The actual moving of the home was a little surreal ... seeing our home being pulled away by a truck was pretty scary.  We received very little damage which was a relief since we've done some pretty unconventional remodeling on the interior walls.  Packing was a breeze.  We didn't have to remove anything from the home ... we just moved things to the center, took pictures/mirrors off the wall and dishes out of the upper cabinets.  Even with that, we were able to purge some things that were taking up valuable space ... a nice perk to any move.

Since our garden has been an important part of our lives, we were relieved to learn we could dig up many of our plants and bring them here.  This garden will be different ... simply because the space is different, but it's great to have a head start with some mature plants.  As soon as we've settled a little more, I plan to do some blogging about our move and our new location.  

This move helped us realize we don't have to be afraid if it happens again.  :)  We still have our home!
AJC: I'm so impressed with what you've done. Do you have any advice for someone considering downsizing, especially to a manufactured home?

G&B: Downsizing to a manufactured home isn't for everyone, but it's certainly been a positive for us.  Our primary advice to anyone purchasing a used manufactured home (ours was about ten years old), would be to make sure the home has good bones.  Most damage to older manufactured homes come from leaks, which can literally ruin walls and floors.  Maintenance of our home is relatively simple, but ongoing ... just like any home.  Since we maintain on a regular basis, we've been able to keep the costs low, and use the savings to do the FUN things we want to do at this stage of our lives.  
Our remodeling advise (in my blog) isn't professional in any way, but we've been more than happy to share what we've learned along the way. 

AJC: Is there anything you'd like to add?  Anything at all?

G&B: Our home has roughly 1200 sf of living space and has everything we need.  The lot/space that we rent gives us ample room for outdoor entertaining and with landscaping we're able to have pockets of privacy ... outdoor rooms.  Basically, for $30,000 we have a home that we're very comfortable with, and our monthly expenses are generally, below $500.00 (lot rent/utilities).  A very affordable lifestyle!

Thank you so much, Geneva and Buzz, for sharing your lovely home and life with us. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this photo of you two is proof positive that you really are living large in a small space!

Our Life Lesson
True contentment is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.  

We've barely scratched the surface of Geneva and Buzz's home and lifestyle. There's so much more for you to see. Geneva shares wonderful DIY projects and inspirational writings. Go to Geneva's blog here. And be sure to read her Remodel Q&A page here for more details about the project.

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.)