Monday, July 27, 2015

The Cottage


















Let's go back fifteen years. Our friends had just gotten married, and had moved into a new home. In their yard was an old shed...four walls, a door, and a flat roof. It was run down, and not very pretty. One of their first projects was taking it down, and burning all the wood. We saw potential, and before they started asked if we might help take it down, and rebuild it on our property. They said yes, and Justin headed over one day to carefully dismantle it and bring it home.

It was put back together, a pitched roof was added, a few windows and French doors. The only items purchased to this point were the French doors, everything else was reused...old windows, an old door, hinges collected from auctions, and so on. The inside was left as is, and we used it as a potting/storage shed for a few years.

Then one morning as I ran down our country roads on my morning run, sitting at the end of a driveway was a wood stove. When I got home, I told Justin about it, and he immediately drove to the house to ask about it. Turns out they were throwing it out, and were happy that Justin was willing to take it off their hands.

And here is where the dreaming began.

I pictured the wood stove in the potting shed, a few chairs and a coffee table. I imagined the snow falling on a chilly winter day, and I saw myself walking out to the potting shed (now referred to as "the cottage" in my dream) with a cup of tea, a snack, and a book. I snuggle up under a quilt, in front of the fire, and spend a wintery afternoon soaking up the peace and quiet, sometimes alone, other times with Justin, reading beside me. It was a good dream, good enough to make it a reality.

We finished the walls with basic plywood, added wainscoting created from reclaimed wood, and painted; the ceiling and wainscoting white, the plywood walls green. We bought pine for the flooring, installed the wood stove, and brought in chairs picked up at an auction. It was wonderful, and for a few winter seasons before Reece was born, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We had thoughts of eventually turning it into a little guest cottage, but never really took it to the next step.

When Reece was born, I remember Justin heading out there on many occasions for an afternoon nap. By this time, the cottage had a sofa, and he would light a fire and catch up on sleep in those early new born days. The dogs, at the time we had three, also spent a bit of time out there after Reece's arrival. Three big dogs in our little house was just too much for me in those early days, so they spent their nights in the cottage, laying by the fire, keeping warm.

As we decluttered our home over the last few years, things we weren't sure we could part with ended up in the cottage. It hasn't been used for much of anything, except storage, and as a sugar shack in the spring, when we boil down sap for maple syrup.

All of that changed earlier this year when we invited friends to come for a visit this summer. With very little room in our one room schoolhouse, we set ourselves a goal to finally bring the dream of a true cottage in the backyard to fruition. This weekend we put the final touches on it.

We knew we wanted to be able to use it for more than just guests, so we opted for the versatility of a futon, we used one of Reece's play stands, minus the canopy, as a shelving unit, and we added a few lamps, some curtains, an indoor/outdoor rug, and flowers....because you know me and flowers.

To say we are pleased with it is an understatement. When I walk into the cottage it feels calm and inviting, exactly how I hope our guests will feel when they walk into this space. Our first guests arrive next week, my dear friend Renee and her family from the UK. They are in Canada visiting family, and will be visiting with us for a few days. I can't tell you how excited I am to spend a few good quality days with Renee, her husband and her little miss. Then, a few weeks later, a dear blog friend and her family will be visiting for a weekend. Yanic and I have never met in person, but I feel like we are kindred spirits, and I have no doubt that the few days we spend together will be like visiting with an old friend.

Finally creating this space we have dreamed of over the years feels so good, and I hope our guests will enjoy their stay in our little cottage in the backyard.

64 comments:

  1. What a beautiful cottage. Your guests are in for such a treat :)

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    1. Thank you! I sure hope they feel the same way :)

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  2. OMGoodness Kim!!!!! Your cottage is so so gorgeous!!!!! Congratulations on making your beautiful dream come true. Enjoy xxoo

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    1. Thank you Julie! It feels amazing to have this little space complete, and I can't wait to share it with my friends and their families.

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  3. What a beautiful cottage and how amazing that you saved it from being burned all those years ago. I'm sure your guests will love staying there, and, for some reason, it feels particularly exciting that Yanic is coming to visit since I follow along with both of you!

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    1. Thanks Sally. We have always loved to reuse/recycle, this is probably the biggest project we have done that way, and it feels good to be able to do it.

      I hope they enjoy it. It is exciting for me too, so looking forward to spending a few days with Yanic and her family.

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  4. Wow, its beautiful. I would love to come and stay!

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    1. Thanks! You are welcome anytime my friend :)

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  5. Oh wow Kim what an amazing space you have made there, I would love to stay!
    We had renovations going on for several weeks this summer to make a guest room in our basement. It has a new window and nice flooring and white walls now. And I hung up some of my sister's art. So I know it feels so could, to carve out a space from what you have for guests.
    And how cozy that cottage looks! Great job!
    Have a lovely day!

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    1. Thanks Sylvia. I hope you know you would be welcome to some and stay. It would be wonderful to sit, have tea and chat with you in the cottage :)

      It does feel good to have this space for guests. I think they will appreciate having their own space to retreat to in the evening.

      We had a wonderful day, hope you did too!

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  6. It's the perfect guest cottage Kim, I love it!
    Mike and I spent a lot of time yesterday designing my little tiny home for the beach that I hope to have one day, it' was fun.
    Enjoy a great Monday my friend.

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    1. Thank you Tracey! Oh goodness, how fun! Justin and I were chatting about the cottage last night, saying that all we really needed to add is a small bathroom and kitchen and it could be a tiny little house. I hope your dream of your tiny beach home comes true one day Tracey.

      We had a great Monday Tracey, and I hope you did too!

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  7. Oh my Kim, it looks like a cottage straight out of a fairy tale. You guys worked so hard, how could we not feel welcomed and deeply cared for. My daughter made me look over the pictures 3 times. She asked if we could light the fireplace. LOL! I said who knows? With the summer we've been having, who knows what weather we'll be getting in late August. :-)

    Oh my dear friend, I feel the same way about you. I feel so blessed you came in to my life. You've been such an inspiration and a source of support through the last few years of big changes in our lives. My life is richer for knowing you and meeting face to face will just make it that more wonderful.

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    1. Aw, thanks Yanic. I do hope you guys will enjoy your stay with us, and that cottage will be a cozy spot for you guys to rest your heads at night. Haha, I am not sure you will need the fire with the weather we have been having, it is crazy hot! But tell her we will have fire outside for sure, both nights :)

      Goodness, thank you for those very sweet words. I am always a little uneasy about being an inspiration, I mean I am just walking my path, doing what feels right for myself, and for my family, and trying to live slowly, simply and mindfully on this earth, but in some ways I guess that is inspiring, in some small way. And to know it has made a difference in someone's life feels pretty good. So thank you my friend.

      Can't wait to meet you in person, and share a few wonderful days together. xo

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    2. In our cultivation, our teachers always tell us that the best way to inspire is to simply live the truth. And that is what you do every day, you live your truth. You don't "try" to inspire, but you do by being authentic and by showing your true heart everyday.

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    3. Such a lovely way to put it Yanic.

      Thank you for your sweet and kind comment, you have made my heart smile this afternoon. xo

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  8. Oh I want to come and stay!

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    1. Let me know when your plane arrives, I will pick you up at the airport :)

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  9. The cottage looks wonderful! It's so inviting and cozy and anybody would be lucky to be able to spend the night there. You did a great job fixing it up and decorating it!

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    1. Thank you Anke. I think I will be heading out once the little man is tucked in, to do a little reading with a cup of tea...all by myself :)

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  10. Oh, my gosh, I love that so much!! It makes me think of reforming a very messy shed/playhouse attached to our deck (how do you keep mice and bugs out of it, btw?).

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    1. Thanks Andrea! Oh goodness, do it! We have never had a problem with mice, there is no food in there, so they don't bother. Bugs, we have never really worried about. We are going to put screens on the windows this week, but the French doors will remain as it. I figure if the curtains are closed that will keep a lot of bugs out, and once the sun starts to go down we will close them to keep the mosquitoes out.

      The cottage has been attached by squirrels a few times, but we just keep repairing it, and they seem to have given up, at least for now. Yesterday we actually picked up some fox urine, it is dehydrated and in powder form. It is suppose to keep little critters away. We picked it up to try and keep the chipmunks out of the chicken coop, they are eating all the chicken feed, but we will put it around the cottage as well, to keep the squirrels away too. Fingers crossed it works! And if it does, we might put it around the house this fall to keep the mice out :)

      We will win this war!

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    2. Fox urine! Wow. The things they come up with. Keep us posted how it works and I'll keep thinking about a playhouse re-do. :)

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    3. I know, that's what I thought when I found out about it. I will definitely let you know. Can't wait to here what you come up with that playhouse re-do :)

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  11. that is LOVELY! wow, so wonderful.

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  12. My goodness Kim it's amazing!!! what a find!
    My husband want's to buy his grandmothers property but I'm don't want to - it's lovely but it need lots of work - and lots of money pumped into it! but out the back there is this wonderful shed - opps cottage - that has already been turned into a bedroom and now I'm thinking that maybe just maybe we could go and take it down and bring it here.....Thanks for the inspiration - again.
    Hope your guests enjoy their stay.

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    1. It was a great find, although if you had seen it then, you might not think so :) It sounds lovely, hope you can make it work out!

      Thanks, I hope so too!

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  13. Oh my goodness this is beautiful!! I know all your guest will love this little cottage! Make me want one in my backyard;))

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    1. Thanks Beth! I think everyone needs one in their backyard :)

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  14. Just found you via Harvest, lovely blog
    Looking forward to have a good look round
    Happy days xx

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    1. Hello there, and thank you for stopping by. Wishing you happy days too. xo

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  15. Well, great job it looks amazing! I love the story behind it. I know I've always felt more satisfied and fullfilled by a project when I've reused some materials. When we redid our kitchen we used mostly second hand cupboards from the local habitat for humanity restore. It was more time consuming to refinish, and harder to fit everything in - but the end result was unique, good quality, and had more of our sweat put into it. So, we started out doing it this way b/c of our tiny budget, but, after doing it that way, even if we had unlimited funds, I'd still do it the same way. Just for the satisfaction of knowing we saved some landfill and we did it ourselves.

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    1. Thanks Matt! Yes, we do a lot of reclaim/reuse/recycle work because we usually don't have a budget for the things we want to do. Our chicken coop is also another big project around here that uses all recycled materials with the exception of a few hinges and screws.

      It does feel good to work this way, to give new life to something old. It is a necessity for us, but like you said, we would most likely do it this way even if money wasn't an issue.

      I love how your redid your kitchen, I bet it looks great!

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    2. I know exactly what you mean about lack of budget. My wife stays at home too, so there is only one income. But, three years ago I took 9 months of paternity leave - which meant almost no income. I had time so I used it. I ran across a few pallets that a warehouse had put on the side of the road. I took them home, pulled a few apart, put them back together and made a table for our backyard. I put up a pic on my twitter - https://twitter.com/PUTPine/status/626524971603398657

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    3. Oh that table is awesome! Nice work!

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  16. So beautiful, I love the calmness of it! You have such a good eye for that! Now I will dream of a cottage out back!

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    1. Aw, thanks Michelle! Dream away, they do come true :)

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  17. Oh wow what a wonderfully tranquil cottage with a view! I've seen it in your garden pictures and wondered what you used it for and now I can see - it's like a little dream hideaway just perfect for some very special guests!

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    1. Thank you Carie! Very special guests indeed! I so hope they enjoy their stay with us.

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  18. Oh my goodness, your cottage is wonderful, Kim! How nice to have this space to relax in and to host friends and family. You have really made it a beautiful, welcoming space. Enjoy your upcoming company.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! I am so excited to have it for guests, but also excited to be able to use it myself. I am planning to sneak out there later this evening, once the little man is tucked in, with a cup of tea and a book.

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  19. That looks absolutely wonderful! I am always so impressed with your projects.

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    1. Aw, thanks Rosemarie. We love taking on projects like this, so much fun, and the finished product usually exceeds our expectations, which is always nice :)

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  20. It's absolutely perfect Kim! Better watch out you might have lots more visitors now! :)

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    1. Thanks KC! That wouldn't be a bad thing, I like entertaining here and there :)

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  21. Dear Kim it looks great! I wouldn't mind visiting 🌎

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    1. Aw, thanks Karin-Ida. So when is your flight arriving :)

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  22. Um, I want to live there. It's so lovely (and actually does look like the perfect nap house!), and also such a wonderful place to stay. And... thanks so much for the mail - the girls get so excited to get mail from Reece! They already have plans for the journals. Thanks for the letter. :) xo

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    1. You know you are welcome anytime my friend. It would be wonderful to visit with you and your family.

      So happy to hear the little package arrived. Reece loves getting mail from them too. Glad they liked their journals.

      Hope you are well. xo

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  23. What a warm and inviting space you have created, so lovely!

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  24. Oh wow...what a wonderful addition you have created!!! you know that you are going to have to start taking reservations after this post, don't you?!!!

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    1. Thanks Erica! Haha, you are too funny :)

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  25. Wow, what I beautifull space you created!I will love to come and stay!;)

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    1. Thank you! It feels pretty good to have it finished, and I can't wait to share it with our guests.

      You are welcome to visit anytime. I got your letter yesterday, thank you. Hope you have a wonderful vacation. xo

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  26. I love that idea and how nice to have a guest cottage for family and friends and possibly sleepovers with friends!! Beautiful :)

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    1. Thanks Karen. It has been a dream for a long time, and to finally have it finished feels awesome!

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  27. This is so beautiful. I love unique and creative spaces like this! Thank you for sharing it. I would love a tour of your schoolhouse/home. You've inspired me to do a barn/home tour for my blog upon saying good-bye to it. It is so neat to think of you and Yanic meeting as I follow her journey too and feel I've gotten to know both of you a bit. Have a wonderful time....and tell us about it :)

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    1. Thanks so much Jen.

      I can't wait to see your barn/home tour. You know I might just do something like that with the schoolhouse too. We will see...

      I am so looking forward to our time with Yanic's family. A few days of hanging out, eating good food, great conversations, and our kiddos playing. It is going to be a good few days.

      Will definitely share some of our time together.

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  28. Wow! I say that a lot here, but wow! I've wondered what was in that building in pictures. I even imagined it as a guest house. It's beautiful. I shared this with Bear...he wants to move in ;)

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    1. Aw, thank you. Yes, a guest house, which received a lot of use this summer. You guys are welcome anytime :)

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