Cottage Recap: Exterior

If you’ve been following along (which we appreciate!) with the progress of our Cottage remodel/renovation, you may have already seen some of the reveals along the way.¬† However, I wanted to take some time over the next few posts to reflect back on the entire transformation, starting with the exterior…

where it all began, a cute little cottage ready for some TLC

the roof stayed, the rest went down to the studs

new siding, windows, etc…ready for a new deck

where we are today…SO IN LOVE

exterior final

For anyone that might be wondering, the front door paint color is Jitterbug and the deck stain is Canyon Brown ūüôā

I’ll be back soon to continue with the interior.

Unitl next time,


My Story

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my interest in interior design & decor sparked; but I do know it started at an early age…

In elementary school I remember walking through a house for sale with my parents and our realtor.¬† To this day I can vividly remember one of the bathrooms had large,¬†dramatic black & white tile and a clawfoot tub.¬† I was disappointed when we didn’t buy that house because of that bathroom alone.¬† I also remember finding a vintage chair at a garage sale that I fell in love with but the fabric was terrible.¬† What 4th grader falls in love with a chair?¬† We had it re-upholstered and it was perfect. It was at that point I first learned the importance of looking for the potential.

A few years later, when I was in middle school, we started building our house.¬† Mom & Dad asked for our input when it came to our bedrooms.¬† The one thing I wanted was hardwood floors.¬† They indulged me and it was the only room in the house that wasn’t carpet. Again, what 6th grader cares about their bedroom flooring choice?

Throughout high school I watched Trading Spaces almost obsessively, and liked having a bedroom that was put together. Don’t get me wrong, I still had the messy teenager room at times, but probably mild compared to many of my peers.

I went into the Interior Design program at GRCC after highschool and a few years later went through the C.I.D International coursework to become a Certified Interior Decorator.  There was a lot of valuable information in these programs.  However, I have learned the most from personal experiences over the last decade or so. Experiences like: moving into different rentals where you have to be creative in making a space your own, decorating with virtually no budget, Mark and I going through first renovation together, and a complete remodel of our Cottage which has been our biggest undertaking to date.  Not to mention our current house will always be a work in progress, even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I have never been a decorator or designer by profession.¬† Most of my projects have been personal or for family and friends.¬† I enjoy being the “go-to” person for people I know when it comes to consulting on paint colors or picking out fabrics or wall decor.¬† Over the years we have been together, Mark’s interest has also grown and he has developed very good taste (I’ll take partial credit for that).¬† It might still be a hobby at this point, but that could change in the future.¬† Whatever the case may be, I’d say this passion of mine isn’t going anywhere after 25 (ish) years and I enjoy sharing it with you.


What’s your story? I’d love to hear it.





Cottage: Bath Reveal

Between being on vacation and trying to get caught up after being on vacation…I have slacked on my updates, but I am here today to remedy that.

We were able to use our shower for the first time!¬† To refresh your memory, we had some unexpected¬†issues¬†that had to be addressed before our plumbing could fully function.¬† Now all is WELL.¬† See what I did there? ūüôā¬† Moving on…

Here we are once again, looking back at how far our little cottage has come:



another closer look 

Given the small size of the cottage, we ended up pleasantly surprised at the amount of space we were able to get in the bathroom.  I kept the blue/grey/natural color palette that goes through the rest of the cottage with the addition of few orange accents.

One of my favorite features of the bathroom are the cabinet knobs (pictured above) that are a near perfect match to the colors/pattern of the shower curtain.¬† I purchased the shower curtain about 2 1/2 years ago on clearance at BB&B.¬† I found the knobs on Amazon about 2 months ago.¬† This may seem like no big deal to you, but details like this make me giddy. ¬†Different brands, stores, etc….and yet they look like they belong together.¬† Coincidence or meant to be?

Have a great weekend!



Auction Finds

By now you probably know that Mark and I love going to auctions.¬† A couple of weekends ago we spent our Saturday morning at a local estate auction run by our favorite auctioneer.¬† At first, nothing stood out that we planned on bidding on…then we took a second look, a third, and so on.¬† We ended up hitting the jackpot.¬† THIS is exactly why we love auctions, you never know what you will end up with.¬† Case in point…


  • 3 sets of Edgar Allan Poe books
  • antique candy scale
  • fowl feather artwork
  • Williamsburg slipware trencher platter

Bidding on and winning an item is only half the fun (well maybe more like 75% thanks to the adrenaline rush) the rest is figuring out how to incorporate what we buy into our home.  It takes an open mind to think of how items can be used or repurposed.

This time around, I started with the books to makeover our mantel with a few other pieces we already had. It took a few attempts at rearranging to get it “just right”.afterlightimage-26

My favorite piece out of this group is the candy scale, which is now a centerpiece on our kitchen table and also has the perfect spot to hold a small candle.  I think it was made for our house.



Mark’s favorite item is the trencher platter, he picked it out.¬† It is now on display on the kitchen counter and is also currently holding a candle.¬† Apparently I turn everything into a candle holder.¬† It is a very unique piece that I’m glad he spotted, he has a good eye!


Last, but not least, the fowl feather artwork.¬† Small and simple and a perfect accent in our guest room.¬† For my own peace of mind, I am convincing myself that no birds were harmed in the making of this piece ūüôā


Let me finish by saying, not every auction is this much of a success. Sometimes it is hit-or-miss but that is part of why we enjoy going, it is always a gamble.  Here is a little more insight into our love for auctions for anyone who might be interested.

If you are a fellow auction enthusiast, please share! Experiences, favorite buys, etc…


Cottage: Well…shoot (UPDATE)

WellThis photo may not be pretty but it is very exciting for us…

If you remember from¬†this post¬†we received the unfortunate news in March that the well¬†for our cottage needed to be replaced.¬† ¬†After the permits were squared away we were added to the list of a local well drilling service.¬† We have been waiting ever since for the¬†weather to cooperate long enough for a solid date.¬† As a temporary solution when we were up to visit, Dad rigged a hose system from their house to the cottage so we could at least use the toilet and faucets (not enough pressure to shower). Don’t worry , we showered at Mom & Dad’s.

Yesterday afternoon they started drilling. Once complete our cottage will be fully functional…just typing that makes me smile.





Cottage: Kitchen Reveal

Why does it always feel like long/holiday weekends seem to go too fast and the “short” work week after seems to drag on? Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way…

Anyway, over Memorial Day weekend we were back in Michigan enjoying time with family and in our little cottage.¬† Since it was a relatively short trip, the only work we did was hang a few things on the walls and clean/organize.¬† Most of the previous progress pics of the kitchen have highlighted the¬†butcher block¬†or¬†shelves¬†, so I figured it was time for a full reveal…





The kitchen isn’g quite 100% complete yet, but it is getting close (note the tape and stickers still on the oven). There are a few minor items including hardware, we have yet to pick out, that we will take care of when we are back in July.

Before I end, let me take a quick moment to zoom in on this adorable wine rack we found at a flea market.¬† We are now officially stocked and ready for an evening glass of wine on the deck this summer…priorities right?



Magic in Mexico

On 5/5 we left for Cancun for 5 days for our 5 year anniversary…it just happened to work out that way while planning but it seemed like a good omen.¬† This post is a bit of a detour from my normal home/decor topics but I feel like it is worth sharing and I hope you agree.¬† Very shortly after we got back I posted some photos on Facebook and IG but I wanted to take a little more time to give credit to the wonderful place we stayed.

Delta offers a direct flight from Indianapolis to Cancun…that part was a no brainer.¬† After¬† some research we picked the Riu Palace Las Americas.¬† I cannot recommend this place enough…seriously.¬† This was our first experience an all-inclusive for both of us and it was worth EVERY DANG PENNY!

At check in we were promptly greeted with glasses of chilled champagne.¬† When the manager discovered we were celebrating our anniversary, she upgraded our room to their best available suite, free of charge…talk about great first impressions.¬† We tried to act cool about it, but as soon as we got to our room and were by ourselves we promptly LOST ALL CHILL.

We are not “free upgrade” people, we are “I’m sorry there has been a mistake” people.

Every single inch of the resort, inside and out, was IMMACULATE.¬† We were constantly in awe.¬† Most of these photos do not give this place justice…not even close

First…the lobby and our suite

The terrace and the view from our room felt like were like nothing I had ever seen in person

The entire resort was immaculate, honestly breathtaking


Most of our time was spent lounging by the pools or the beach, we intentionally did not plan any excursions.  We had no concept of what time it was, we left our phones on airplane mode, it was the most relaxed I have ever been.  It was heaven.

The food was good (surprisingly the buffet was our favorite dining spot), the drinks were strong and plentiful, the service and the facilities were top-notch.

Since nothing is ever 100% “perfect” I will share the¬† only complaints we could come up with, if that’s even what you would call them…

1. The handle on the toilet in our bathroom was a little jiggly…but was promptly fixed

2. One day Mark ordered a screw driver with breakfast and they brought a mimosa

3. Apparently the pool bars do not open until 10:00 AM (which actually seems pretty reasonable)

A very sweet touch was a bottle of sparkling wine delivered to our room while we were at dinner with a note and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries for our anniversary


Before we left, we had several people express concern about traveling to Cancun.¬† I feel like it should be common sense when traveling anywhere, especially abroad, you should exercise a certain level of caution and awareness, this was no different.¬† There wasn’t a single moment that we felt unsafe.


We have missed this place since the moment we left and are already planning our next trip to another Riu resort.¬† Maybe for our 10 year…probably sooner ūüôā



Front Door Refresh

afterlightimage-1Our front door was boring…a lot of brown & beige blandness.¬† I’m not exactly sure how or when I let this happen but this week I decided to remedy the situation. I did not want to spend a lot of time or money, and wanted to utilize what we already had…a quick & easy fix.

All the new additions purchased from Target with the exception of the plants from Lowes. We bought the grinder at an estate auction last year and it has been sitting in the same spot ever since…not living up to its full potential.¬† I found this shallow¬†galvanized planter¬†which fit in it perfectly to add some trailing greenery.

I decided to stick with green as a subtle pop of color.¬† I added a hanging fern, buffalo plaid¬†indoor/outdoor rug and¬†mini boxwood wreath.¬† I have been loving the look of layered rugs lately…I wish I would have thought of it sooner.

This little project cost right around $50 and only took a few minutes to put together once I purchased everything.  This is a perfect example of  how not all changes have to be drastic or expensive.

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately, it has taken me some time to get back in the swing of things after vacation.¬† I’ll make sure to post soon about our trip to Mexico.

Have a great weekend!


Where to start?

Recently a friend commented on one of my IG posts that she struggles with knowing where to start when it comes to decorating and design...I get it.¬† ¬†The last few days I’ve been thinking about times I have struggled with inspiration and what my suggestions are for someone in a similar position.¬† I’ve realized that for me all it takes it takes is ONE THING…one color, pattern, piece of art or furniture or even a small accessory to draw inspiration from and build on.

How do you find your one thing? As I see it, there are two ways you can go about this…

Seek out inspiration.  This is an active approach when you are ready (or beyond ready) to make a change.  It could involve scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, etc.. for a specific theme or idea.  Or it could involve collecting a dozen or more different  paint samples to see what you are drawn to.  You could even look around your house for items you already have and LOVE and decide to find more items similar in theme or design.

Let inspiration come to you.¬† This is a more passive, but perfectly acceptable, option.¬† Perhaps you have had a few thoughts about making a change but aren’t quite ready yet.¬† Be patient and keep your eyes and mind open.¬† You never know when or where inspiration will strike you.¬† I think of it as waiting for a “lightbulb” or “aha” moment.

The latter approach is what happened in the case of our guest room.¬† Orange may not be the first color you think of when it comes to decor…but when I came across this¬† metal accent table (pictured) I decided it could be a perfect nightstand and went from there.¬† Picking a jumping off point doesn’t have to mean going all-out…I wasn’t interested in orange walls but I did want the color to be pronounced.¬† I started searching for other accent pieces that would coordinate and it was surprising how easily it came together from there.

Finding inspiration can sometimes be harder than the execution; don’t get discouraged if you have a hard time getting started!




Decor Deals

When you love decorating, but you are working within a budget, you hunt for deals…simple as that.¬† I actually enjoy the hunt, it makes me feel like I won something.¬† Now, it is worth saying, that when it comes to certain items “quality over quantity” is a good rule of thumb to follow.¬† For me, it is all about balance.¬† There are certain items I am willing to splurge on and others that it’s all about the bargain.

Here are some of my favorite recent decor deals from my go-to resources including Amazon, Etsy and Target (of course).


1. Preserved boxwood wreaths from Amazon

I paid just over $30 for both: 6″ $11.55 / 9″ $19.98…and they were PRIME eligible so no extra shipping charge and arrived in 2 days (YAY!).¬† Compared to some of the prices I was comparing on Etsy for similar wreaths, or faux versions, I felt like these were a good deal.¬† Also, I am impressed with the color and quality.


2. Custom throw pillow covers from ShamShack 

If you have purchased custom shams (or any shams for that matter) you know they can be expensive.¬† I have purchased from this shop before and find their prices to be reasonable, plus they have wonderful customer service.¬† I paid $33, including shipping, for these two covers (10×10 & 17×17).¬† I was able to select the colors and materials so they turned out exactly how I wanted.


3. Floral watercolor painting from CoastToCoastArtist

This sweet little print was only $5 on sale.¬†Having a one of a kind piece can be affordable. ¬† It’s new home is now in our cottage bedroom and it is perfect.¬†This shop has all kinds of beautiful botanical, animal, and farmhouse themed paintings.¬† Not only that, she does custom artwork as well, which I think will be my next purchase.


4. Sweater knit throw blankets from Target

If there is anything I might love as much as throw pillows, it would be throw¬†blankets.¬† I had my eye on these for a while.¬† They are usually $24.99 each, but I was lucky enough to catch them on sale for $17.99.¬† My REDCard added an extra 5% off and free shipping.¬† I’m glad I was patient.¬† They are so soft and comfy, definitely worth the wait!

 Maybe my favorite decor deals could turn into yours, have a great weekend!


No affiliations or paid promos in this post

Just some good deals worth sharing 


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