07 June 2013

Summer Tour and Progress

Remodeled, Fixer-Upper Cottage

Outside an old cottage in a funky neighborhood...
There is a bicycle.
I love the new, vintage looking bicycles.
Welcome! Our family lives here with a toy poodle and three adopted, outdoor kitties.

Choosing Exterior Paint Color

My tween and I picked a fun, exterior, paint color for the house, 
because these particular old cottages look adorable in playful color, and Alice in Wonderland is our heroine. 

 We selected SW Rain and white and it looks adorable, 
but you should see the cottage in pink and white that looks like a cupcake!

Small Home Living


This house is seventy-years old and just under 1100 square feet!
But it is one of those older, desert homes with lots of protection from the sun, so  
 there are three sides that are covered: porches, a potting shed, an office, a hallway and a carport.  So it lives much bigger.

They were really thinking ahead in those days.  Believe it or not, a two story here was rare until the 80s.  Sprawling ranches yes, but not two stories because they cost a fortune to cool.
 Cooling is an issue here, not heating, so the overhangs keep it cooler.

I am participating in Domestic Imperfection's Home Tours

Domestic Imperfection



I am participating in 

and sharing here: 

This small cottage was a total fixer-upper, a downsize, and a move to a funky, urban area.  You can view the original state here.  I don't think I've seen worse, except on the MLS!

We completed almost all the work ourselves except the electricity and plumbing. 

Downsize and Trim Collection

My home collection has been gathered and culled over twenty years, so although we have only had this place about a year, it looks collected.  

We landscaped the front yard about six months ago and the waving grass is starting to come in.  Ornamental grasses make good kitty lounge chairs.

Can one rebuild salvaged chairs?

The weather here is nice most of the year, except summer afternoons, so the front porch is frequently a nice spot for a morning cup of tea or coffee on our salvaged and rebuilt chairs.

On the Front Porch  

My spouse and tween found the chairs on the garbage, and my spouse rebuilt them.

Paint Stripes on a Ceiling!

Striped Ceiling


Isn't this fun!


It's often the first thing visitors notice. I wanted something delightful for the front porch ceiling, and it makes me happy every time I see the blue and white stripes that we painted.  There are interesting ceilings here.

 Inside the Front Door, Desk, and "Foyer" is
a desk to work or study or a place to drop the keys.

Choose colors that make you happy.

The front door is painted a happy SW Silvermist blue.
(There are baskets under the chairs and beside the door for storage or organization.  In a small home it is handy to have a space to stash store things.)  The floors are the original, colored concrete floors that they built in desert homes, some we had to paint and epoxy.

Display Quilts

It's a small house.  Why not display some quilts on a cabinet or armoire when there is no where else to put them?  They look like art.

Painted Furniture and Warm Woods

Music Room
As you can see, I love painted furniture, but I prefer to mix it with warm woods.
Do you see the long drapery rods?  We made them from electrical conduit for very little.

I use these two particular bookcases to store
extra place settings, small collections, display photos, and some books.
I have out a little more than I would prefer, but it's a cottage. I didn't want to keep everything put away as I did with my big house.

I had some really beautiful rods from RH, but they didn't fit this window, so I designed and made drapery rods with conduit.

Basket under the chair for organization.

We love shells.  Do you display what you collect?

Slipcovered sofas last longer!

We like to read on the slip-covered sofa and put our feet on the leather ottoman.
Washable slipcovers make life easier.

What are your favorite decorating colors?

We love blues, whites, grays, with a touch of coral.  See the shoes and toys on the floor.  
That's why we use need baskets.

The music's edges are worn.

And a plein air painting or two...by people in this home, friends, and locals, and some more boxes and baskets for music and trinkets.  

Real paintings are charming!

A rebuilt chair retrieved from the sidewalk.

The Children's Suite (consists of a library and bedroom attached)

Home Library

I made the drapery rods from a couple of sets of rods that came from big box stores. 
The built-in bookcase was up-cycled.  It is really beautiful wood and it picks up the color of the birds painted on  the chest, so for now I've decided to not paint it, because there are plenty of other projects around here.
I made the curtains from Ralph Lauren Sheets with ruffle on the bottom.  One can see the ruffle in my child's room.  Her room is a suite consisting of this library and her bedroom so the colors and furniture are coordinated.  Maybe it is a little cluttered and cozy, but it's a library, 
and we love our books.
The trunk is a dress up chest.  

Conduit Projects

We fixed up the doors and then made them slide to save room.


Tween's Room and Here
This is a handy corner cabinet for storage
There are baskets under the bed to store books, baskets under the desk, and baskets in the closet, and baskets under the chairs.

Bathroom Remodel
We did it ourselves.
There are plenty of videos on You Tube showing how to tile or how to plank.

 I don't like clutter, so I use baskets and cabinets to stay organized and rotate collections.  There is another big chair in the right hand corner that often holds the laundry:)

Kitchen We Just Finished
Our kitchen was a finalist in Cottage and Bungalows first project of the year,
and Home Depot liked it too.  Update: 7/27/2013  And we just found out that it is
featured as a small cool kitchen.

I designed it and my husband and I did almost all the work.  It is around or a little more than 80 square feet.
It's whimsical and functional and absolutely the most fun kitchen we have ever had.
We love the touch of blue.  Everyday dishes are stored on the shelves, and
they don't get dusty because we use what is displayed.

The counters consist of two remnants of marble, river white granite, and butcher block.

This side we did completely ourselves.  The cabinets, the walls, the shelves, the honed marble tops remnants.... etcetera....
There is plenty of storage and space. When planning this space, I used my summer youth experiences of trailer camping or staying in small cottages with my ten siblings.

The cabinets on the sink side were installed because they were going into cement, though it was so unlevel the person ending up hanging them from wood installed on the wall.  We installed the reused cabinets in the library, but it was hard using a drill that is like a jackhammer, so we thought lets pay the few hundred extra dollars.
The sink is copper, which is antimicrobial and recyclable.

The dining room is separate, but open to the kitchen, and we use the armoire below
 for overflow dish storage.  We like to create things.


We just finished installing and painting French doors.  There are three sets and we installed 
two of them ourselves!  The colors I chose and the style make people 
think the kitchen is vintage! 
The concrete floors were original to the house. Builders use to put them in desert homes because they hid the dirt, and they were cool to the touch.  The ones that were a little worse for wear were painted and treated with an epoxy.
It is a very durable surface and cleans easily.  I've seen them in some expensive homes on Houzz.

The sleeping porch is not finished yet, so there is stuff on the floor outside the French door,
so I won't don't want to show it today.

This is the linen closet that we put together ourselves.
There are baskets for organization and a privacy curtain, because it is often unorganized. 
Linen Closet

Cafe Eating Off the Kitchen
Down this outdoor hallway is an office, but we haven't started working in this area.

Potting shed was here and attached to the office, but we re-purposed these cabinets and stone remnants to fit, and we installed shelving that we had and installed some new ones as well.  I only spent 100 dollars.  I had everything else.  First we painted the ceiling.  We also use our old refrigerator out here.

These are reused cabinets too and the stone counter on the right is a remnant.  We cut them down and trimmed them out to fit this space.
It gives us extra storage.  One of the cabinets has some small kitchen appliances that we rarely use.
  Our old refrigerator is in here too and a bank of shelves for tools.

Opposite Potting Shed Some Hallway Organization
The console can hold extra jackets and sweaters.

This is what I didn't want to show, but it is
Sleeping Porch Interior Progress.
My spouse rebuilt a rotted wall and put in two sets of French doors.
I have lots of plans in my head for this space.  In the meantime one can look at the mess.

We temporarily cleaned for a Mad Hatter party,
even though we are still painting and working on this room.

Exterior Progess: landscape in the backyard will be last.  Mess is okay.
Can you spy the pile of concrete that we removed?
We are still painting too.

Side Yard
 We have not done anything with the side yard, but it looks better than the main back yard.
Eventually we will add some color here.

I think we have accomplished a lot with a small space and a modest cottage.
There are also benefits to living smaller.  Number one, it saves money.
And it's an old neighborhood so there is no HOA.

This place has a big lot, so in the future I plan to try to grow a food garden; it will be tricky due to the temperatures and water issues and will require us building beds; I need to be ready to go by September 1.

Thank you for visiting our 8)(8 cottage.  We love it.

Labels to specific posts are below or in the cloud.


  1. Just lovely! You must be the speediest renovators. I can't believe how far you have come in such a short time! It's hard to believe that your home is the size it is. It really "lives' much larger--so warm and cozy.

    1. Thank you, Linden Townhouse. :) I know its the strangest thing! My sister has a newer home and it is 1400 square feet; she says my home seems larger than hers, and that my kitchen was planned so well that it has more storage and counter space than hers. There is no negative space ie. no hallway inside the house and the laundry is on the sleeping porch. I guess I should take some photos of what I did with the three closets. I have enough storage even though gave up huge closets.

      I think it also seems larger because they built all these covered areas to keep the house cool, because there was no airconditioning in those days and a swamp cooler does not work in the rainy, summer months. So the house is sheltered on three sides: two porches, and then the side that has the carport, eating area, my spouse's office, hallway, hot water heater, and potting shed.

  2. Wow! Such beautiful spaces. I love your eclectic mix of colors and styles. My favorite kind of house :)

  3. Your ceiling on the front porch is so neat and I have always thought concrete floors are neat too. You home is simply darling. Thanks for visiting my blog too. Hope you are having a fabulous day.

    Pearl 13.1

  4. It's such a beautiful home. I love that combination of pale blue and white, its so pretty.

  5. I love your place Sue! You have such a wonderful eye for style and putting it all together. I have to agree, you are a very hard working team ....you get things done!

  6. it is all so wonderful...i love the shot of the gal at the piano and your SMEG fridge is to die for!
    have a good weekend,

    1. Thank you, Erin. That's my dd. She really knows how to play. I tried to capture it with my old, slow camera.

  7. Your house is amazing. I'm so jealous you did that in a year. The picture of you daughter playing is perfect: you captured her movement and she looks so inspired there.

  8. You've done a fantastic job on your home-loved the tour! :)

  9. Your home is absolutely charming! A fun, colorful and very welcoming home.....Beautiful

  10. I love your home. I think you have the cutest kitchen in blogland, and I've always wanted a Smeg (but I want a pink one). ;P

    Your daughter is so cute! I think I might want to play along with the tea party this year. FUN!


    1. Thank you, Ricki Jill. I love the pink one!

      That would be fun if you join Vanessa's party. Last year I noticed that many of the participants were artists.

    2. Sweet tour of your cottage! You've done so many things to really spruce it up and make it your own! I'm from the midwest, so to see Cactus and other desert plants outside really get my attention. I like the tool shed that to me doesn't look like a tool shed, but another room! Thanks so much, also for stopping over at my blog and leaving a kind comment! Hope you are enjoying your summer!
      Ann @ Cairn Cottage (http://cairncottage.blogspot.com/)

  11. What a joy it must be to cook on that range! You have a lovely home.

  12. What a fabulous home and such a great tour. Every room is so inviting and interesting. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  13. Love your home tour...it just keeps coming together! looks great!-aimee

  14. Love your home tour...it just keeps coming together! looks great!-aimee

  15. Love your home tour...it just keeps coming together! looks great!-aimee


Thank you for taking time to visit and leave a kind message today. I love to visit your blogs too, and I do when I can link back. xoxo Su