Saturday, April 29, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - The Edwardian

An Edwardian showman's wagon is this week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature.

Welcome to the 101st post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Before we tour this unique vacation home I want to announce the winner of the Bungalows and Cottages Magazine subscription giveaway:

Mary - A Breath of Fresh Air

Congratulations, Mary! I hope you enjoy the magazine.

I received so many lovely comments from all of you last week and I appreciate every one of them.  How I wish I could give each of you a subscription. Thank you for making this a joyful place to hang out with you -- my friends.

So, after the big 100th post celebration last week I wondered how I would follow up, until I found this intriguing holiday home in Wales. 

The Edwardian began its life as a circus showman's residence.

And now this green-and-gold-ribbed beauty is  the ultimate in glamping.

The wagon's interior is stunning. It's believed that originally the color scheme was burgundy and gold, and that palette has been retained in the restoration. 

The filigree gold-leaf stencilled ceilings and detailed wood panelling are amazing.

Antique red velvet curtains dress the windows. Notice the shutters on the kitchen window. So charming.

Modern conveniences have been masterfully integrated into the wagon's design. An example is this 1950's gas stove.

In the sitting room a wood burner keeps the space toasty warm, and adds a bit of ambience. The stove-side arm chairs invite relaxing in front of the French windows.

The old gas and paraffin lighting has been replicated by gentle electric light.

I really like the way they kept the furnishings appropriate to the age of the wagon. Even if they may not be exactly furnishings from the original period, they do hint at an earlier age. 

Plenty of windows and natural light to keep the cozy sleeping nook from being claustrophobic. 

Behind the wagon a cedar extension with a turf roof complements the wagon.

The addition houses a hallway with pantry and fridge, and a bathroom.

Cedar lines the bath.

I'd say this is refined rustic. I love the sink.

The large shower is made of Moroccan plaster in a shade of Veronese blue. A high window looks out on a wooded glade at the back of the wagon.

Dining on the deck affords beautiful views of the countryside.

Including this one of the orchard.

I guess I'm a hopeless romantic, for I've always loved the idea of living in a wagon like this. Especially perched in an orchard.

All images are owned by Blaentrothy Holiday Cottages and used here 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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cottage Life - The Secret Revealed, Food, and An Announcement

One of the greatest challenges of living in our 670 sq ft cottage has been storage. Even though we've minimized our possessions to a large extent, there are still items that need to be stored. 

Enter our latest storage solution, this cupboard; the secret I promised to reveal in last Wednesday's post.

The cupboard started life in our local coffee shop. I didn't take before photos, so you'll have to imagine it painted black with red fabric panels in the cut-out areas on the left. Dennis covered the cut-outs, made it critter-proof, reconstructed the inside to provide a hanging rod, installed a padlock latch on the right side, and gave it a new paint job.

Now the cupboard's left side houses his outerwear and duffel bag. (Notice the direction of the top of his hangers. Am I the only person who would hang clothing here with the hanger's hook facing to the left?) Shoes and boots are stowed under the cupboard, accessed by opening the doors.

Dennis uses the right side of the cupboard for artist supplies and painting necessities.

The rustic cupboard sits on the breezeway, right outside Dennis' studio. Very convenient, and believe me the breezeway will look a whole lot better with all his artist paraphernalia tucked away in the cupboard.

I actually feel like decorating the rest of the breezeway now that all the junk miscellaneous items have disappeared.

Last Saturday our church hosted a ladies luncheon, which meant I needed to make a dessert and a main dish to share. I don't bake much anymore -- as we try to limit our sugar and are pretty much gluten free -- so I don't keep flour and other baked good ingredients in the cottage. I didn't want to buy those things for just one recipe, so I opted to make a cranberry orange loaf using a Krusteaz mix. Mary at a Breath of Fresh Air blogged about using the mix for her cute Easter muffins. She said the mix -- which has a separate can of cranberries in juice -- baked up moist and not too sweet, and she was right. Very tasty. 

For the main dish I made a romaine salad with chicken, chopped green onions, pecans and dried cranberries, and tossed it with poppy seed dressing. I found the poppy seed dressing recipe online. It was pretty good, but it uses mayo and sour cream. Next time I'm going to try a non-dairy version. Overall, though, this salad is scrumptious. Dennis had some and loved it. I don't think you can go wrong with chicken, cranberries and pecans. Adding the green onion really works, too.

Now for the announcement. Very soon we'll be opening an online store where we'll offer Dennis' art, my handcrafted rugs and mixed media collages, and eventually other items. We've been talking and praying about this for a couple of years, but the timing never seemed right, nor was I comfortable with the mechanics of e-commerce. Recently, though, one of my readers contacted me about buying a watercolor print and after we sold it -- and she loved it -- it got me to thinking that maybe now's the time to sell through the internet. I've had a fair amount of retail experience. I've been a window dresser, sales associate, buyer, and I managed our own gallery and consignment shop in Estes Park, Colorado. In fact, that's where the name of this blog came from. Our shop's name was A Joyful Cottage, and that will remain the name of our new store. My blog won't change or relocate. A Joyful Cottage blog will still be about cottage living and I'll continue featuring small homes every Saturday in my Living Large In Small Spaces series. The only difference will be that I'll have a shop tab that will take interested readers directly to our store. And from time to time I may mention shop happenings.

So, right now I'm immersed in e-commerce, and what an education that is! Fun, too. I guess I love a good challenge, love change, growing, and trying new things. I'm an adventurer at heart. And a dreamer. Oh, yes. I'm a dreamer.

"Sometimes are dreams were so big 
that it took two people to dream them." 
-- Marie T. Freeman

When we launch the store, you'll be the first to know.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Lavender Cottage

Today is special to me. So special that it was difficult to settle on a feature for this week's Living Large In Small Spaces. There are so many small homes and cottages, bungalows and studios waiting to be discovered and drooled over, but I think Lavender Cottage was meant to be shared today. It's just that charming.

Welcome to the one-hundredth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Notice that number above? Can you believe I've written 99 LLISS posts -- now 100 -- to inspire my readers on how to live large in small spaces? Me either, but it's true. And that's why today is so important to me. How do I celebrate 100 posts (not to mention the hours of cyber searching and typing) with all of you -- my best friends? 

It starts with finding and sharing an endearing cottage and garden.

Located in a tiny hamlet in Yorkshire, Lavender Cottage is the holiday home of artist and designer Helen Charlton and her husband John.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but in the email I sent to Helen thanking her for allowing me the privilege of sharing her cottage I actually gushed a bit. You see, Lavender Cottage is pretty close to my dream cottage. A lovely English country cottage with the sort of architectural details that inspired the design of our own cottage.

When the Charltons bought the 18th century stone cottage they waited eight months before making any changes. During that time Helen kept a design journal crammed with inspiration and ideas until the contractor, who had worked on their farmhouse renovation (their primary residence), was available. He actually lived in the cottage for five weeks while he completed the remodel.

Dark ceiling beams were stripped and painted. Local sandstone was used for the new chimney breast, and an aga wood-burning stove was installed to keep the cottage cozy on winter nights. Helen's choice of a pink chandelier is a pleasant surprise. I love the painted grandfather clock and the window seat. The beautiful hardwood floors are solid maple. 

A color palette of sea-side blue greens, sandy creams and pebble greys was used throughout the cottage.

The contemporary kitchen is beautifully appointed with oak countertops, travertine flooring and a Belfast sink. A bank of windows is the icing on the cake.

A bar was installed to provide dining in the small kitchen.

Careful attention was given to every detail in the cottage.

A delightful wall cupboard holds Emma Bridgewater pottery.

The bedroom -- nestled under the eaves -- is decorated in blue fabric and wallpaper by British company Cabbage and Roses. (This fact alone makes me swoon. I love everything Cabbage and Roses does.)

The antique French bed is simply gorgeous.

Really, this bedroom is perfection.

A pretty chandelier hangs over the bed.

In the bathroom the addition of a tube skylight brings in natural light. By the way, have you noticed how many homeowners are installing the tub fixtures on the side wall rather than at the head of the tub these days? Brilliant, right? Who wants to hit their head on the faucet when they're soaking, or try to find a place for their feet if they turn the other way?

The stunning cottage garden is awash with pink old fashioned roses, honeysuckle and clematis. 

And it wouldn't be Lavender Cottage without lavender planted in the garden.

I'm so taken with this precious cottage.

Even though she didn't ask me to, I must give a plug for Helen Charlton and her amazing talents. She is owner of Busy Bee Studio, has taken part in BBC2 TV The Great Interior Design Challenge, and her farmhouse and Lavender Cottage have been featured in some of England's most popular magazines. She's an extraordinary woman and I'm so pleased that I was given the opportunity to introduce you to her and the lovely Lavender Cottage.

Lavender Cottage is available to let on their website: If you go there, be sure to spend some time looking at the panormaic virtual tours of the cottage rooms. You'll see so much more than I can show here.

Also, check out Helen's blog here and her beautiful Busy Bee Studio here.

(Thank you, Helen for making my 100th post anniversary so special.)

And now I have a surprise for all my faithful readers. (You didn't think we were done partying did you?) A Joyful Cottage wouldn't exist without you, nor would 100 posts on Living Large In Small Spaces be possible. So, to show my appreciation for your loyalty I'm giving away a one-year subscription (6 issues) to this magazine.

"Give your home a cozy cottage look with Cottages & Bungalows. Enjoy house tours, expert tips, inspiring stories, and beautiful images that empower you to create a cottage lifestyle in any home. 
Organize, decorate, restore and maintain!"

Six issues of inspiration can be yours. Just leave me a comment that you'd like to be entered in the drawing. If you're not a blogger or you're a no-reply blogger you'll have to leave your email address so I can reach you if you're the winner. That's it. No following rules or Facebook likes required. I'm putting you on the honor system that you're already a follower and regular reader of A Joyful Cottage because you see value in the content presented here.

I'll announce the Cottage and Bungalow Subscription winner right here next Saturday, April 29.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cottage Life - In the Cottage Garden Again

I trust you had a lovely Easter, my friends. After church we drove through the countryside to our favorite little cafe for brunch, and saw newborn lambs with their mothers. So sweet. I would have liked to take photos, but there was no good place to stop and do so. Trust me, they're adorable. 

It was a beautiful day, around 60 degrees. The first warm day we've had this year. After we returned home Dennis worked on his latest home project. (It's a secret for now. I promise to share it when its finished.)

While he painted  the secret I cleaned up the front porch and potted some pansies left over from the Spring Fling

I potted an English Daisy, too, discovered at the nursery where I bought the pansies. This flower is new to me, and since I wasn't sure how it would do if I planted it in the ground so early, I gave it a temporary home on the porch. I'll put it in the ground once the soil is warm.

After I finished prettifying the porch I rewarded myself with a respite, and before long Dennis joined me. We had a very pleasant Easter day.

Yesterday afternoon I slipped into my gardening clothes, pulled on my gloves and headed for the cottage garden. Finally, the weather is cooperating with this anxious gardener. My neighbor called out to me, "It's great to see you in the garden again," and I assured her it was great to be there.

I had a lot of work to do. This is the first time I haven't cut back my perennials in the fall, wanting to add winter interest to my garden. It worked out well in the early weeks, but before long we had so much snow that the plants were entirely covered and not to be seen. 

I wondered if they would survive the cold, brutal winter we experienced, but I needn't have worried. They faithfully have come back to grace my cottage garden once more. I took photos of the blooming ones to share with you.

This is Pulmonaria 'Ms Moon'.  Delicate pink and blue flowers, a great plant for shade and the deer don't touch it.

Cranesbill transplanted from my friend Barbara's garden. I planted this last year and it's really spreading now. It likes rocky places. (Ignore the pine needles. These fall from our neighbor's tree and are quite a nuisance. I try to remove them as I work in the garden, but yesterday was a pruning day and not necessarily a "pick up the pine needles day". I try to stay focused.)

More groundcover -- Vinca Minor -- growing on the back side of the berm.

Grape Hyacinth -- another transplant from Barbara's garden. Such a sweet little flower.

The Primrose bloomed very early, and is winding down now. 

Violas, aka Johnny Jump-Up, Hearts-ease, Love-lies-waiting, among many other labels. I read a comment in an article recently where a gardener lamented these "weeds" and went after them with a vengeance. Weeds? I think not. Their sweet faces make me smile, and I consider them my forever cottage garden friends.

Not planned, most of the blooms are in the purple hues --Spirea being the exception.

The photos were taken from all around the cottage. I had hoped to have daffodils to share with you, but apparently those I planted two years ago have decided not to bloom. The bulbs were given to me and are quite stubborn. I may have to start afresh this fall. I do so enjoy daffodils and they are another spring bloom the deer don't like.

It's sunny this morning and predicted to be another day around 60 degrees. 

Care to guess where I'll be?