Saturday, October 31, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Stone Cottage in Spain

I must confess my pulse quickened when I discovered this enchanting stone cottage in Spain. It has great design that doesn't sacrifice function, lovely outdoor spaces and loads of charm. 

Welcome to the fifty-fifth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

It's hard to believe this cottage began life as a stable; the rehabilitation is just amazing. Come tour it with me and see if you don't agree.

Walking through the front door we enter into a living room filled with natural light and wonderful architectural details. The deep well windows and exposed beams give it so much character. A cozy reading corner invites snuggling up with a book from the built-in floor-to-ceiling library.

A soft color palette and plush furnishings create a relaxed mood. The big picture window invites nature to come in. I'm crazy about the shutters on all the windows. 

The rosy pink dining chairs are a delightful burst of color.

There's a refined rusticity to this home.

Who wouldn't like to cook in this stunning kitchen? Even if you don't like to cook, just standing at the sink would be enjoyable.

The girls' bedroom is like something from the pages of a story book. Built-in bunks are so charming. (Notice the storage drawers under the bottom bed?)

The master bedroom is breathtaking. Everything about it spells romance.

Living space is expanded through the creation of outdoor rooms.

Arranging intimate outdoor spaces invites sitting in quiet meditation or relaxed dining with family and friends.

Sometimes all that's needed is a bistro set on the lawn.

Here the children have their own outdoor space. . .a red playhouse.

In my book this is a small home with characteristics that make it live very large.

Is there a particular feature in this cottage that you'd like to incorporate in your own home?

Photos courtesy of
Published under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Enter my Giveaway!

Heads up! There's still time to enter the Parrot Uncle lighting giveaway I'm hosting.The winner will receive a new lighting fixture valued at $50. Click here to go to my giveaway post and enter for your chance to win! The winner will be announced on November 6.

This Parrot Uncle wall sconce is one of my favorites.
Retro Industrial Style Black Iron Hat Shape Pendant Light
Retro Industrial Wall Sconce

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 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, October 29, 2015

The Right Size Chandelier and a Lighting Giveaway

Hello Cottage Friends,

When we were designing our cottage I spent a lot of time gathering information on interior fixtures. One area, in particular, was lighting. It's pretty easy to choose home lighting that looks great. There is, however, much more to lighting decisions than simply zeroing in on a preferred style. Knowing what size fixture to install for the task is just as important.

Take dining for example. Did you know there's an easy formula that can help you determine the right size chandelier to place over your dining table?

This post is sponsored by The topic, content and opinions expressed are my own.

3 Lights Tiffany Style Chandelier with Rhombus Patterns

According to lighting experts, the chandelier diameter should be one-half to three-quarters the width of the table. This means if your dining table is 34" wide, the chandelier diameter should be at least 17".

As a rule, the bottom of the chandelier should hang approximately 30" - 32" above the table. This is primarily in a room with an 8' ceiling. If the ceiling is higher, raise the chandelier 3" for each additional foot.

Of course, there are always exceptions. In our dining area I chose a 12" pendant to hang over the 34" wide table because a larger fixture would have dominated the small space. Still, these tips are a great place to start.

If you're in the market for lighting, I've got good news for you. has a remarkable Holiday Sale going on right now until Christmas -- save up to 50% off their already discounted prices. And they offer free shipping and free returns, too. Parrot Uncle ceiling light fixtures are just one category in a plethora of lighting options. 

A big sale. . .what a perfect time for them to host a giveaway for my peeps, right? Entering the giveaway is super easy. Click here to go to the Parrot Uncle web site and view their lighting. Then come back and leave me a comment. Just tell me which product is your favorite. The winner will receive a new lighting fixture valued at $50.

This giveaway is open worldwide, and you don't need to be a blogger to enter. Make sure I have your email address, though, so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner. I'll announce the winner here on November 6.

Now get crackin' and good luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Carriage House

Today's featured small space is a carriage house located in the Pacific Northwest. 

Welcome to the fifty-fourth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Historically speaking, a carriage house is an outbuilding, used to house horse-drawn carriages, the horses and related tack. At times the carriage house -- also called coach house -- has included living quarters above for the staff who cared for the carriages and horses.

This one-bedroom guest house -- a recent remodel of a caretaker's carriage house, is a far cry from those old-fashioned buildings. 

Traditional Garage And Shed by Seattle Architects & Building Designers AKJ Architects LLC

Skylights and dormer windows ensure the traditional interior is bright and inviting. Painted V-groove wainscoting adds cottage charm. Vaulted ceilings, white cabinetry and neutral walls visually expand the space. The glass front cabinets repeat the window grid design and give the illusion of more depth in the room.

Wrapping the wainscoting around the dining room gives definition to the space. The flooring is antique salvaged oak.

A sitting area in the bedroom provides a cozy spot for relaxing.

Or sit at the desk and enjoy the stunning view through the window. Note that minimal window treatment throughout the home allows natural light to flow into the rooms and brings the outdoors in.

The pedestal sink with cross handle faucet and tile wainscot give the bathroom a vintage look. 

This is a beautiful home. It may be a guest house, but I'd have no trouble making this my permanent residence.

How about you?

Architect: AKJ Architects
Interior Design: Pamela Pearce Design
General Contractor: Toth Construction, Inc.
Photo credits: Benjamin Benschneider

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 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.)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Counting Life by Heart-throbs

"We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.


We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.


And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest.
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.


Life's but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God


The dead have all the glory of the world."
Philip James Bailey (1816-1902)

I've been in a reflective mood the past week; finding joy in counting life by heart-throbs:
1. The Somerset Life magazine was a special blessing from Kris at Junk Chic Cottage. I was one of the winners of her giveaway. She wrote an article for this issue entitled "Blogging: My Unexpected Discovery." If you don't have the magazine, you can read the feature on Kris's beautiful blog here. I'm absolutely in love with this beautifully photographed periodical. It's jam packed with creative ideas and inspiration for living. (Thank you, Kris.)
2. A Monarch butterfly paused in my garden to drink nectar from a Cosmo.
3. The subtle beauty of a fall arrangement created from nature's supply.
4. I believe the simplest image can stir the heart that has opened its eyes to see. 
Anne Butera of the blog My Giant Strawberry has a thought-provoking post today. Anne is a soulful artist with extraordinary insights into life and a marvelous way of expressing them. 
Click here to read Anne's Finding Perfection in the Present Moment. 
Are you counting time by heart-throbs, or by figures on a dial?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Spring's Cottage

Today's featured small space is a one bedroom Spanish style cottage in Orinda, California.

Welcome to the fifty-third post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Our story begins with a young family in Northern California and a mother/grandmother living in Southern California. When the family outgrew their first home they purchased a larger house on a lot that could accommodate a second smaller residence for the grandmother. 

A quaint brick courtyard separates the new 674 sq ft  cottage from the main house

A patio entrance affords space for outdoor living.

Decorated in happy colors and eclectic furnishings, this cottage evokes a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

Here you'll find traditional mixed with mid-century modern and vintage pieces. 

A lovely kimono of soft colors is displayed on one wall. Books fill large and small shelves, adding warmth and interest.

The kitchen is bright and cheery thanks to plentiful natural light and primary colors.

The fireplace has double-sided glass that faces both the living room and the bedroom.

Subdued color in the spacious bedroom sets a tranquil tone.

The bathroom tile is stunning. (By the way, the white mantel of the bedroom's fireplace can be seen on the far right of the photo. There's no denying that a bedroom fireplace adds romance.)

I'm a firm believer that a home should reflect the taste of its owner, not that of a designer magazine. White cottage style wall cabinet and door with Mediterranean tile?  Why not? This is a smashing look.

Even on a dreary day, this bathroom would be sunny.

I can only imagine the joy this grandmother feels every day in this darling cottage so close to her family.

Traditional Landscape by Berkeley Architects & Building Designers New Avenue

Could you live 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 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, October 15, 2015

Falling All Over Ourselves

Hello Cottage Friends,

Are you as busy with fall activities as we are? Although the afternoons have been sunny and warm here, we know freezing daytime temperatures will soon be upon us. That said, we're spending most of our time completing outdoor work.

Such as our garden shed. 

Are you surprised by the paint colors? Or is it pretty much what you expected? 

Dennis has been working very hard on the landscaping. Digging and shoveling dirt, moving dirt, mounding dirt. It's dirty work.

Today he's adding rock to the dry creek bed. The black plastic keeps the weeds out. He'll trim it all back once he's finished, so it won't be seen.

Several days ago he finished the patio in the front cottage garden.

While he's been accomplishing all this, I've been decorating the front porch.

Overnight temps dip into the low 30's here, prompting a morning fire to take the chill off our little cottage. We like to drink coffee and watch the flames dance in our gas heater. A few days ago I started some interior fall decorating, as you can see by the mantel and Dennis' paintings hanging above it. 

Dennis enjoys painting landscapes in each season, so I have the privilege and blessing of changing out the original artwork in our cottage at least four times a year.

Last night a friend gave me a trunkload of pumpkins -- large and mini -- so I finished decorating the mantel and added some fall charm to the kitchen.

This watercolor by artist Carol McLaughlin was a birthday gift to me from Dennis. He knows I love birds, and especially those our good friend Carol paints. 

The white plate was found in the free box at the Soroptomist Thrift Store. It has a subtle harvest theme.

We shopped Dennis gallery and storage to find paintings that work with the colors in our sitting room. This oil is a scene from Oregon's Soda Creek in very early fall.

I like the way this oil painting repeats the fall colors in the throw.

"Taos Mountain" remains one of my favorite of Dennis' oils.

One more photo before I go. I think this skillet with veggies ready for Dennis to saute has a very fall look. Nearly every morning he makes breakfast, and vegetables are always on the menu.

So, dear friends, are you outdoors or indoors this week?