Monday, February 8, 2016

Living Large in Small Spaces

Funny story.
Recently, I was honored to be asked to write a blog post 
about our little cottage on the lake 
for the blog A Joyful Cottage.
Nancy, the Joyful Cottage blogger, had seen some photos on Houzz 
of our cottage that were taken by Gridley and Graves 
for a feature in Cottage Style Magazine.

for a series on her blog called Living Large in Small Spaces.
My sweet blogger friend Lynne from Irish Garden House 
saw the pictures, recognized our cottage and sent me a link.
And then Nancy contacted me and asked me to tell the rest of the story.
It seemed like a good idea
and it forced me to organize all of my posts
about the cottage into one easy to read place.

So, here's the Joyful Cottage post!

A Joyful Cottage

Hello, Joyful Cottage Readers!
My name is Erin and I write a blog called Just*Grand. 
It's a blog about ideas, designs, crafts, renovations, recipes 
and anything else that I think is - Just Grand!

I was thrilled when Nancy at a Joyful Cottage 
asked me to share the story of our Little Cottage by the Lake.
I am always happy to talk about our little cottage.  
It's been a true labor of love!

Let's start at the very beginning.
I have always, always wanted a cottage by a lake.
A little cottage.  By a big lake.  Like Lake Michigan.
I wanted big sky and sunsets and sandy beaches and crystal clear water.
I wanted to be able to see weather fronts approaching.
I am awed by the wind and the clouds and the power of the lake.

We found one such cottage on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, 
only an hour and a half drive from our home.
It was a sad little cottage, shabby and much neglected-
Which was perfect for me.  
I love a good project and this one promised to be huge! 
We took a leap and have never looked back.

Ours is the second one in from the left.
These cottages were built about 80 years ago, as housekeeping cottages 
where families came to enjoy the cool breezes by the lake.

We share the lawn with the other cottages
and we play games and host parties
and at least one family even had a wedding there.
Here's a view from across the lawn.

Our cottage actually looks charming, from a distance!

This picture below shows what truly awful condition it was in.

But the setting was great and the bones were good. 

We had to replace virtually everything, inside and out.
Here's how it looks after our renovations.
This will make your eyes feel better....

New roof, siding, windows, doors, deck, landscaping 

We had the power lines that were attached to the front of the cottage buried
and what a difference that made!

Here's how the back of the cottage looked when we bought it.

So shabby!

Here's how it looks after the renovations.

We added an outdoor shower that is just heavenly.

And last summer, we added this little railing by the back steps...

Those before pictures hurt my eyes.
Look at this instead.

That's better. 
That's why we're here!
The Lake.
Remember this, because there are more ugly Before pictures coming.

On the inside, we replaced everything too.
All new electric, plumbing, hardwood floors, drywall, molding, 
vaulted ceilings, skylights, a loft, 
a new kitchen and a new bathroom.

Here's a picture from the main living room, Before.

And that same view now...

Believe it or not, the burnt orange fireplace was salvaged by a friend of the builder's!
And I do not miss it. 

Here's the front porch room, before.

And here's how it looks now.
And a link to a post I wrote about it.

This is another photo by Gridley and Graves. 
They made it look so dreamy.

Let's look at the kitchen.
Warning- Not pretty.

That's the hot water heater under the little window 
and it was taking up precious space in the kitchen.
We moved it up to the attic. 
And we saved that one cute little window.
My husband spent an entire weekend stripping and refinishing it 
and then decided we needed all new windows.

I was able to find someone who wanted to salvage the old windows.  
They were really cute, but very dilapidated and not insulated.  
and what they do with salvaged wood.

Here's how the kitchen looks now.

Another view

On to the bathroom.  
Keeping the pictures small because they are so ugly.

Here's the bathroom now...

The tub was scooped up by a neighbor who longed for a vintage claw foot tub. 
We were happy to help!

Here's a detail of the tile in the shower.

And the watery blue floor


We made some changes in the master bedroom, too.
Here's a picture of the room before it was redone.

This photo by Gridley and Graves shows how the same bedroom wall looks now.

We tore out the closet in the corner 
and added two small closets on the opposite wall, on either side of the window, below.

We also removed the plywood ceiling and paneling from the walls 
and had the ceiling in the room vaulted. 

We put the little salvaged window from the kitchen 
up into the new gable wall 

and had a skylight installed over the bed.  
It's lovely to lay in bed and see the stars or watch it snow.

Here's a peek into the tiny second bedroom. 
My son calls it the closet with some shelves you can sleep on!

It's tiny but it works!

The colors I used in the cottage were inspired by the colors at the beach
and by the beach glass that constantly washes up in the sand.

So, I got my wish...

Big sky, sandy beach, clear blue water...
You can see the weather coming when it's hours (or minutes away)!

And the sunsets!

It's all Just*Grand!

Thanks, Nancy!

Linking to: 
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Inspire Me Monday at Sand and Sisal
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

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  1. So beautiful~ love your decor, colors, and how it all blends together. What a difference you've made! Lovely!

  2. Beautiful! Love the lovely colors you used!!


  3. BEAUTUFIL post Erin . . .
    Just*Grand . . . I am sure Nancy and her Joyful Cottage followers will love seeing your "cottage journey!"
    And I am here in Michigan SMILING . . .
    I have seen it in person . . .
    Believe me . . . it is the best . . . and so very lovely!
    And ERIN . . . well she is . . . Just*Grand . . .

  4. Hi Erin :)

    I found you via Nancy and just wanted to tell you that you did a lovely job on your cottage. The before and afters were amazing. I'm so glad you saved that old home.


  5. What a miracle worker you are! It's truly grand!

  6. Oh my gosh!
    It's wonderful!! What a transformation....and beautifully done....

  7. So pretty! I would never leave the sunroom!

  8. Oh how lovely... All this, and the beach too. Lucky you!!! :-)

    Gentle hugs,

  9. Love your cottage. Especially your porch! Oh my goodness!!!!

  10. What a fantastic redo! I love Lake MI, my favorite lake. Now you must get very excited to go to your cottage for some R&R.

  11. Perfect in every way. We are about to move into our lake home in a week or two. A bit larger house, smaller lake:-) We will love it I know.

  12. So cute and so colorful. You got those colors right on with your photo. Your little cottage is also featured on the Town and Country blog today and she pulled the photos from Houzz.

  13. I love every detail that you did with this cute, little cottage. It is so sweet, cute, clean, and pretty. Found you on Jennifer's blog, Town and Country today.

  14. Thanks, again, Erin for joining me at A Joyful Cottage. Everyone loves your grand cottage. Hugs ~ Nancy


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