Living Large In Small Spaces - Gosherd Valley Cottage

We wish to extend our sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday. You, and all of France, are in our thoughts and prayers.

Gosherd Valley Cottage

Looking at the photo of this colorful cottage nestled in snowy woods, one might assume it to be in Scandinavia. That assumption, while not true, would be taken as a compliment by the cottage owner, Connie Cunningham.

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

The paintings of Swedish artist Carl Larsson inspired Connie's color choices for the cottage.

Getting Ready for a Game of Cards
Getting Ready For A Game of Cards by Carl Larsson 1901

When Connie's mother, Patty, purchased an1800's farm after her retirement as a commercial artist, the homestead cottage was quite dilapidated, with no electricity or plumbing. Patty made some improvements, added the utilities and painted everything white, but it was "still incredibly rustic."

Twenty-five years later Connie moved to the farm from Chicago -- where she had a successful landscape design business -- to care for her mother, who was diagnosed first with Alzheimer's and then lung cancer. When her mother died four years later, Connie remained on the farm she had come to love and made living arrangements in the barn's loft. She and her sister Chris, along with the help of friends, then went to work on the cottage renovation. 

Part of a working goose and poultry farm, the 1200 sq ft cottage is now a B&B rental located in a historic German region of Missouri that specializes in Wines, Spirits and Breweries.  "We have wineries all around, " Connie says. Gosherd Valley Cottage ships once a year for Holiday geese. They are AWA certified (Animal Welfare Approved) the hardest independent certification process in the country to attain.

When I first saw this photo of the kitchen, I knew the rest of the cottage would be utterly charming. I was so right.

Connie says the cottage was "created for people to unplug and relax and eat locally produced foods in their own cottage." Cottage says,  "A lot of people now request a thawed chicken for when they arrive."

The kitchen is stocked for guests to make their own breakfast. Connie explains that all products are local. "My neighbor's bacon or ham... my eggs, the local German bakery with fruit stollen with marzipan folded into the dough, two amazing jelly makers provide spreads, etc.. and of course I sell my own farmed chickens and geese here for guests to cook up for dinners."

Connie painted the existing kitchen cabinets. She repeated the scalloped trim on the new cupboard beds she designed for the cubby room, which was originally the one room log home.   

The vintage quilts were purchased at a local estate sale.

A tag-sale pillow embroidered in German speaks to the region's German heritage.

"Sleep Tight"

Rather than strip the painted ceiling beams, Connie painted them with a faux wood grain.

A previous owner had poured concrete floors throughout the cottage. Connie gave them a wood grain look, too.

Much of the decor comes from Connie's own extensive vintage and antique collections. "Everything is for sale in the cottage. . ." Connie says,  "all the antiques and artwork." 

Warm and cozy, the living room invites lingering. Connie's mom painted the wood grain on the faceless clock. 

Connie's love of primitive art is reflected in the painting she chose for the master bedroom.

Connie antiqued the new bed to make it look old.

Furnished with a full-size antique iron bed, the back porch bedroom was originally the front porch. 

Two full walls of windows make this a beautiful, light-filled room.

A wonderful spot to snuggle under a throw and read, or nap.

The fabulous bath vanity was made from an old dresser Connie found on Craigslist.

She found the claw foot tub on Craigslist, too. It came with the feet detached, which presented a bit of a challenge for Connie. A tub restoration company "walked her through the process" of reattaching the feet.

Windows open to enchanting views of the farm.

Cottage guests are encouraged to pick and enjoy fresh produce from the 1600 sq ft historic German four-square garden.

Geese roam freely in the pastures.

Great Pyrenees guard dogs watch over the geese.

Max and Angel guard the sheep. Belle (center) is retired from active duty.

Belle and her small friend certainly look relaxed to me.

I urge you to watch this lovely video (less than 7 minutes) of Connie and Patty's story, and how the cottage and goose farm came to be. I promise you it will touch your heart. And you'll get to see so much more of the cottage and farm than I can show you here. It's really beautiful. So go get a cuppa, settle in and watch. (You can thank me later.)

Visit Gosherd Valley Cottage online:

Facebook: Gosherd Valley Cottage

Photo credits: Carmen Troesser, Connie Cunningham

A special thank you to Connie Cunningham for allowing me the privilege of sharing her delightful cottage here at A Joyful Cottage.

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.)


  1. Oh my goodness--I am in LOVE!!! This tiny space speaks volumes to my heart! And don't even get me started on how precious darling Belle is with her little friend...

  2. My prayers go out the the families of the loved ones lost in Paris also. The cottage is so pretty and I love what they did to it and the decorating.

  3. It's so adorable, especially the cubby room. It's wonderful how it has stayed in the family. xoxo Su

  4. My favorite room is the porch bedroom, especially the iron bed. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

  5. Solidarité ... Nancy I enjoyed this Missouri cottage tour and video very much. All the faux painting looks authentic and convincing. The faux wood grain on the concrete floors - well it floored me! Relaxation at this B&B would be easy. Ahhh the dogs and the sweet photo of Belle with her fluffy friend is precious.

  6. Thank you so much for the comments and featuring my cottage (& Belle) She is a requested visitor by my guests, "Is Belle coming down? She can spend the night you know."

    It's been great having the cottage available for people to stay in and explore the area from. The German heritage and tiny towns and wineries, distilleries and breweries are a lot of fun to discover.

  7. Awwww Belle with her sweet little friend adorable!!!! This cottage has so much love and comfort oozing from it. What a wonderful place to call home for a short relaxing stay. This is a great one Nancy.
    Happy Sunday.

  8. Wow ~ This is a wonderful cottage with a beautiful story. I thoroughly enjoyed the heartwarming video.

    Thanks to you and Connie for sharing her bit of paradise here on earth.


  9. What a beautiful cottage - the faux finishes so well done. I'm VERY glad I watched the video, too. There IS serenity in routine. Nature IS restorative. It IS a sane way to live :)

  10. Great great post!!! Watched the video and I am in love with the farm and this woman's life... Perhaps she should do some ebaying to get rid of some of her "stuff", lol...

  11. Now that is the kind of B & B I would like to rent. It is a B&B in the true sense and then some! I love how she mixed all the colors to make it so cozy. I couldn't get sound on the video but the picture story is beautiful!

  12. I am so glad you shared this story, Nancy. Connie's video was exactly what I needed to see to set up a Sunday of serenity, gratitude, and balance. I love everything about this post...the charming cottage, the animals, the sweet message...thank you both :)

  13. Charming indeed . . .
    The white of the Geese against rolling green of pasture and hills . . .
    Belle and herding companions . . .
    Cubby beds . . . curled up with a good book . . .
    would draw me in and provide such comfort and relaxation . . .
    (Tragic beyond words . . . my prayers and caring for Paris and its families.)

  14. What a beautiful life style you live. Gorgeous farm, the little cottage is so adorable.

  15. Very cozy and cute home! LOVE that setting and the photo of the dog and goose is adorable!!!

  16. You keep topping yourself with new Small Spaces!
    As I look at each post, it's the details that stand out for me. This time it was the use of fabric and windows. Wonderful!
    I fell in love with the place.

  17. Simply adorable! Wish that was my view outside my bath area.

  18. Precious space. Dearest Nancy, I am late today; I spent the weekend at a delightful and magnificent bed and breakfast in Hastings, MN. It was WONDROUS! It wasn't far from St. Paul, so we enjoyed a weekend with friends, poetry, antiquing and spending the night in this marvelous mansion.

    In light of all the violence that has happened and continues all over the world, a quiet, safe home is the place to start peace. May goodness and love win. Love to you!

  19. So...last night I read this post. I was so taken with it that I watched the video, twice, then followed the links and got very caught up! I even investigated a stay! I checked out the price of a holiday goose and caviar! Needless to say, I didn't get back here to comment until now. I guess I don't have to say more...I love this one!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. KIm, just FYI, I am not sold out of geese. it is the software on that E-commerce site that makes it say that, instead of "coming soon". The geese will be ready to sell next week. Once I know all the finished weights, I will get that part up and running.

  20. What a wonderful, wonderful place to visit and truly 'unplug' from the daily business of living in a fast paced world. I love this!! What a great find this was. xo Diana

  21. Just when I think I've seen the cutest cottages you have to share each week - it gets better. This place is darling. And makes me feel at home just seeing it in pictures. The video was like frosting on the cake! What a beautiful story.

  22. This cottage made me happy, so pretty and welcoming. I would love to come and stay, already picked out my room :-)

  23. Love this cottage Nancy, and that bunk room is totally awesome! I want to hide away in there on a rainy day with a good book. I really enjoyed the video too and learning the story behind the cottage. It sounds like Connie has created a very special place. Loved this one!

  24. Nancy, hands down, my favorite cottage yet! And I'm so glad I watched the video, what a good story. It does make me long for geese--we already have a big white dog who is half Great Pyrenees--but I would end up with 400 pets, I know.

    I have 4 books about Carl Larsson. And her kitchen is indeed as pretty as any I've ever seen designed after the Larsson kitchen. I was so influenced by him and his wife when I was younger, an by their lifestyle.

    Thank you for this post,

    1. Geese make wonderful pets! I do have a pet flock headed by Gustav the gander.

      I love all things Swedish, the colors, the light, the furniture, the utilitarian aspects of it all and Carl Larsson in particular!

  25. I don't know how you keep finding these most charming places to spotlight Nancy, but you outdo yourself every time! So many things I loved about this cottage, but I was especially drawn to the bookshelf over the bed, how lovely! And I can't imagine decorating a cottage, and then having all the items in it for sale... that would be difficult, I would think! What if someone wanted to buy the gorgeous bed she redid, lol! I would! (if I could afford it, lol!) And the great Pyrenees dogs are amazing. We are considering getting one for our free ranging chickens. Lots of people have them in our area, they really are the best protection for your flocks. Enjoyed this visit so very much, and hope you are having a blessed and lovely day today :)

    1. ;-) It remains a challenge for me to keep it looking "correct" while cycling pieces thru as they sell and are replaced. But last weekend, the couple did want to buy the master bedroom. I thought they meant just the painted bed frame. But they meant the entire bedroom!

      LOL.. I couldnt figure out how to replace an entire room before the next guests came in, so I had to say no, but that Id be happy to paint pieces for them when I found similar ones.

      I have 5 buildings of things that need to be sorted though,cleaned up and sold.... so there are plenty more pieces around here that need to move along to homes where they will be cherished again!

  26. Good Morning Nancy, What a wonderful cottage and such a peaceful area. I watched the video and it took me off on an internet adventure that lasted about 30 minutes. Isn't it funny how the internet can do that. I had no idea that geese bonded like that . . . it makes me want a couple of them, but we really are not set up for raising animals. I love the green kitchen and the homeyness of this cottage. I am sure that the visitors have a hard time leaving this tranquil environment. Speaking of tranquil environments, that is not what is happening around here. Our poor neighbors had three trees fall over in their front yard yesterday evening. Good thing is that they didn't do damage any structures. There are landscapers out there this morning cutting down and chipping up all of the mess and it is driving my poor little dog crazy. Maybe I need to drive to Missouri, LOL. All kidding aside, what I loved most about this cottage was how in transports you back in time to a gentler lifestyle and her story just goes to show that sometimes our plans for our life can change in ways we would never expect. It sounds like she is just where she is suppose to be and very happy being there :)
    Have a lovely day!
    Connie :)

  27. Nancy! This is so crazy- but I wont the Houzz 2016 design award for the cottage.
    In their video showcasing the international winners, all beautiful sleek, neutral and amazing, I pop up in "America" like a dandelion in the middle of a green lawn. Really I am the sore thumb of the group and couldnt be happier to have a "cottage" decorated with Ebay and Craigslist and antique store finds among such a sophisticated group.

    1. Fantastic! Congratulations, Connie. I'm not at all surprised, and very pleased that apparently I sure know how to pick 'em. LOL Seriously, I'm very happy your sweet cottage was the winner. xo


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