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.