Jenny: Cottage Lust

I was looking through a Better Homes and Gardens a few weeks ago and found this darling place, Breeze Cottage:

Isn’t that the cutest thing ever? Plus it’s in the town of Tybee Island on the Georgia coast, so ocean! Yes, I know, hurricanes, but also ocean! Then I read the article. The cottage belongs to Mary Kay Andrews, a former friend who is former because never told me she had a darling cottage near the ocean. Okay, she’s still a friend, but she writes great mysteries as Kathy Trochek which is a genre that is currently kicking my writing-blocked ass AND she has a cottage that’s finished and gorgeous while mine still has no walls, AND hers is near the ocean, AND it’s in Georgia so it’s warm in the winter, so really, she’s walking the edge of friendship here. I mean LOOK HOW CUTE THIS IS:

Plus it has a pink front door. I want that pink front door and turquoise hat rack and chartreuse glider, so now I must paint some things of mine pink and turquoise and chartreuse.

Yes, I know I sound chaotic, but it’s cottage lust.  Or maybe just house lust, that passion for a future space–someday I will have this in my life; some day I will open a pink front door, someday when I wake up, I will see a turquoise hat rack, someday I will sit on a chartreuse glider, some day my life will be like this.  I think that’s healthy.  My mother used to keep a scrapbook of pictures she found in magazines for the house she wanted to have some day.  The house she got wasn’t as glorious as the pictures, but it was a house she loved, and she did things to it that made her happy because she’d spent all that time cutting pictures out of magazines before she got there.  She planned for a future space she was never sure she’d have; she built her dream house in her head, and then later moved into a good house that she could do many the same things with.

My cottage is not on the ocean and never will be.  It’s not going to have a pink front door because pink front doors belong in the south and would look odd on my northeasten cottage house.  I’m probably not going to have a chartreuse glider because I don’t have a big old porch to put it on.  These are not deal breakers.  But looking at Mary Kay’s house made me realize that the plans I’ve been making have been too cautious.  I knew I was going to put all my really colorful stuff downstairs in the space that’s going to be for me and my dogs only, and then go with white and tasteful pastels on the main floor.  Now I’m rethinking that.  Not the white walls: I have so much color in the things I own that the white walls are the only thing that’ll keep people from going blind when they visit.  But there’s no reason I can’t paint my mission settee turquoise if I want.  No reason that my family’s antique pie safe that my mother fastidiously stripped all the  milk paint from (I know, I KNOW) can’t be stripped of its thick 50’s plastic varnish and painted chartreuse.  (Actually, thank you, mom, for stripping the pie safe of its value so I can paint it without guilt.)  I can do what I want.  I don’t have to be tasteful, it’s MY HOUSE.  Or in this case Mary Kay Andrew’s house, but you know what I mean.

Mary Kay Andrews Cottage Lust, I haz it.

44 thoughts on “Jenny: Cottage Lust

  1. Diane (TT) says:

    I grew up near San Francisco’s Painted Ladies (not to mention the Little Boxes on the Hillside), so I enjoy creatively painted exteriors. Ferndale , which can’t be much further south than your cottage, has Painted Ladies, too – lots of ’em. But if your house is in the woods, you may, indeed, want to be a little more subtle. But the original gingerbread house was in the woods,so maybe not.

    Dreaming and planning for a home is a lot of fun. I may never own, and so the problems of furnaces and roofs are not mine, but ideas are still free!

  2. When the outside of my house needed painting 6 or 7 years ago, I emphatically did not want the gray or odd blue my mother always chose. I wanted a tropical color to go with the white Bahama shutters and the overall setting.

    I vacillated for weeks, worried that I’d go too far. Then I plunged in and chose a shade of purple that’s a little deeper than lavender. It still makes me smile when I get home.

  3. Sigh – we have a house we love painted in colors we love (Chinese red drawing room, bright yellow sitting room and hallway and fuchsia bedroom, minion No.1 chose to have two turquoise walls and minion no.2 chose to have two emerald walls….) which takes all our clutter and furniture and everything and is our home, just like in the Madness song, our house, in the middle of our street, our street which we love because it is 5 mins from the park and 5 mins to the metro and we can get anywhere without setting foot in a car.

    But we will probably have to move because my contract finishes in 18 months time and then my juicy salary disappears, and with it the boys’ free school places and all the rest of it. We’ve known this was coming since we signed up for the deal, but it still bites deep. Sigh.

  4. When we bought our lake cottage last summer, I was determined not to a. over furnish it and b. to maintain a beachy feel. To that end, I found wicker furniture with bright cushions, a wicker and glass table for the eating area, and a few pieces that maintain the lake cottage look. This summer, I need to concentrate on the walls, which are currently pretty much bare. I’m going to ask my MIL for old photos of Husband when he was a kid at this same lake–maybe make a photo collage in a bunch of different sized frames…hmmmm….

    Your cottage will be gorgeous, Jenny, because you are gorgeous and it will reflect your personality and taste–so paint anything you like any color you like without apology. Have fun! It is YOUR HOUSE!

  5. Ylva Hedin says:

    Soo true… you have to have dreams you have to have visions so that when what you wish for comes true (witch it always does, only not in the way we perhaps tought of) you are ready! 🙂

  6. I have lusted for years over my County Home (alas, now discontinued) and Country Living magazines. I save them, which really contributes to the clutter, but every now and then a woman needs to escape, even if it’s a fantasy.

    I want to live in the middle of nowhere on hundreds of acres of land, and this will not happen for several reasons. But my house is full of antiquey things that would transition well if I won the lottery, or shed four or five family members, and could move. I like to keep the dream alive, for motivation.

    It’s your cottage. It can’t help but be fantastic!

  7. Maine Betty says:

    Oh, my God. This is a shot straight to my house-lusting heart. I read Mary Kay Andrews for her decorating and house descriptions. I drool over the fabrics and colors. I have my house in my mind, (all fabrics must be dog and cat resistant, so the over the top French brocade couch* with silk tassels is a no go). The piano must be away from the heat source, and the TV must be away from the piano.
    I’m working today to save up holiday time, but I’m afraid these pictures have destroyed my never too laser-like concentration on IT matters.
    And you’re right, it’s your house, have it just the way you like it!

    *I must have been channeling a Georgette Heyer when I saw it.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Oh, I love color. Each room in our house is different and the only room
    Still white is our guest room. When it came time to repaint the porch we steered away from the traditional white with gray or blue trim that lines our street. Instead, our porch is bright blue with real trim. Not only is it more fun to come home at night but it’s much easier to give people directions.

  9. Ack, cottage lust! Damn. I love cottages and bright colors. I painted my last house (’64 tract ranch-style on the Oregon Coast) a particular shade of apricot that the sky reached at a certain point as the sun set over the ocean. It matched perfectly. New owners painted it olive green with brown trim. Previous house? Tiny cottage north of Seattle — I painted it light milk chocolate (or maybe the color of a pair of chino trousers) with vanilla trip and dark turquoise shutters. The next owners painted it — an 820 sf cottage) dark brown with black trim. I just don’t get it.

    Now I want MKA’s cottage, too. Or yours, Jenny, because it’s all ready to be brand new. I Want A House! I do not like renting, especially an apartment. Sigh. I’ll just print out those pretty pictures and put them into my own someday-scrapbook and dream.

  10. It’s so funny when I read how much you love houses. And I realize that all your books have houses featured prominently.
    I didn’t get the have-to-have a house gene. I sometimes think I want an rv. But owning a house feels like I’m going to stay in the same place forever and then I feel trapped. I know that’s illogical but I’m done fighting it. It’s a part of me.
    I read somewhere that there’s a tribe in Africa that never lives the same place more than one cycle of the moon. They believe that doing so is too heavy on the earth. That statement so resonated in my head.
    The funny thing is, right now I’m living in the same place longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere. And I’m not really looking at leaving anytime soon. I do sometimes feel trapped, though.

  11. This is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I examined every room, every corner of these photographs like a kid in a candy store. And the cottage would be perfect for a week long writers retreat. Maybe I can round up some friends. Who am I kidding? I’ve got way too many expenses this year. But I can still dream, right? I mean there’s always next year.

  12. I have one bright blue door and one barn red door on my house. It’s the ugliest house in creation but that means I can put any colors on it I want and it will be an improvement!

    Love that cottage,but I stopped getting those magazines because they were making me crazy jealous!

  13. Hi,
    I love playing with paint and bright colors. In the new house, my office is a bold, beautiful turquoise, so happy and inviting. Our bedroom is a paler blue. (husband does not share my tastes for bright colors, but I like a dark bedroom anyway).
    Recently painted the hall a color called Key Lime Pie. Yum. A light, bright yellow green. Thought the husband would hate it but he didn’t.
    Kitchen and sunroom was already a really bright, bold, sunny yellow, and I thought it was just too much. But we’re going to keep it. It fits the house.
    Just painted the living room a granny smith apple green colored called Gleeful! 🙂
    And the front door was bright red when we bought the house.

    I have an old metal glider, too. Which needs paint. Hadn’t even considered chartreuse!

  14. Jessie says:

    When I wanted to paint the dining room dark red, my husband had a fit. But it is a large room – 14 by 24 so I knew it could take color. I was tired of white so I went with a dark blue that I call a Chinese blue. After a few years I had to repaint it and I bought another gallon of the same color and that evening under artificial lights I repainted it. Imagine my surprise the next morning to discover it was closer to turquoise. But my husband still loved it so it stayed.

    And I have to say it was difficult to have most of our paintings look good in there. The whole room had to be color coordinated which gave it too much of a decorator look for me. Last year I painted the room sandstorm brown and now I put any art I want in it – even art that clashes with other art in the same room and I like it. You have to go with your heart.

    (My husband still misses the turquoise.

  15. Maria says:

    Lovely cottage. House envy except that I am not too hip on hurricanes, humidity and bugs. Guess I’ll be staying in Southern California.

  16. Moar color, moar bettah! Color is a beautiful thing, white walls can be but why settle for somebody else’s idea of taste when you have such fabulous taste your own self? Go for it.

    Robena, I second your call for a writer’s retreat – let’s see who else we can get on board. And I don’t snore, btw.


  17. Monica Stecher Braless Betty says:

    Yep, that’s adorable. There are a lot of very cute bungalow’s on Tybee. There are some for rent too. My niece got married there this past June and a couple family members rented for the week. They were very sweet. There are also some AWESOMELY FANTASTIC homes for rent in Savannah. If you want a change of scene to break your writer’s block you could go for a week or two. Walk through the graveyard that was in Eastwood’s movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” that’ll get the juices going.

    On my niece’s husband’s side of the family, they are from Savannah and grew up on Tybee, in fact the old hotel there was theirs. Nieces father-in-law also lived in Savannah as a young man and has told me stories about the graveyard. He saw a headstone glow. I guess everyone knows about it. But I think there’s a scientific reason why, phosphorus or something.

    Last week during several sleepless nights I came up with what I want to do to my office. I’m going All pastel. I made the mistake of painting it journal brown and I hate it. I feel like I’m in a cave. Because we’re renovating, I’ve saved lot’s of ideas out of magazine on paint and refinishing and I have an instruction sheet on doing distressed paint. I can scan it and send it through Lani if you like for restoring the pie cupboard. I’m going to swap out my dark laminate desk for a solid wood and paint it distressed YELLOW! And start from there. I want the room to look sunny and cheerful.

    Anyway, I just finished watching ABC’s new show The Revolution and thought of you two. Watching their dream team might help you guys stay inspired. It’s on at 2pm eastern time.

  18. Brilliant combinations of colour and style. I love it.
    I don’t know why, but seeing the tin bucket and watering can etc I was reminded of Wild Ride. Must be the metal, paint and colour thing…my brain will do that though, cartwheel off somewhere… 🙂

  19. We lived on Hilton Head from 1985 to 1992, so I spent good bit of time in Savannah and Charleston. Both amazing cities, colorful quirky people, great trees, great accents, beautiful houses.

  20. Lou says:

    That cottage is adorable! It looks like a southern cottage with the lightness and brightness. I love how cheerful it is!

    You can still have cheerful in the NE. Just make the inside like a southern cottage!

  21. I did manage to talk Richie into painting our bedroom a sort of black raspberry color, which is rich and gorgeous. Everything else is far too subdued.

  22. Jen Wyatt says:

    When it’s time to paint your palace, get some of that Behr premium plus paint with the primer in it. It goes on like a dream…even in nice spartan white colors.

  23. Robin S. says:

    Help Please! The technologically impaired needs instructions on how to find past posts that have been missed. Sigh.

  24. Okay, if you know what you’re looking for, type the subject into the search box on the lower right of the blog.
    If you want to scan through previous posts by month, click on the month under “Previously on Re-Fab . . .” (which previously was not there).
    If you want to scan posts by subject matter, click on the category you want to search.
    After that, I got nothin’.

  25. My painter is a Benjamin Moore guy. I have always painted my own walls, but Pete did such a stellar job on the exterior that I thought, “Let’s do it right this time,” so when I have walls again, it’ll be Pete and Benjamin.

  26. Robin S. says:

    Yes!!! “Previously on Re-Fab…” works! Thank heavens! Got to be able to catch up! (I know, I know, a little bit of OCD going on…)

  27. cathy Hineline says:

    I would be happy just spending a few weeks in a cottage by the sea, or river or lake!!! There is just something peaceful about living by water!

  28. Yes. Gorgeous. (I am late to the party tonight.)

    I love that cottage style. I don’t have a single place for it, and yet, I’m going to have to figure out how to make some of that work where I am because I love it.

  29. I was going to ask this, but then you beat me to it. We need “previous” and “next” buttons too.
    By subject won’t work for me, gotta be in chronological order. Always.

  30. Micki says:

    Lovely! I’ve always loved the turquoises, and I’m going to be so sad when they go out of fashion again . . . (not that I’M changing, but that I won’t be able to find stuff to buy).

    You can do anything you want with your house! Even color the walls, if you like. My friend painted her downstairs a very warm terra-cotta (but sponged on top of a cream or something, I think, so it had a lot of depth), and it went with absolutely every colorful souvenir she brought home from her world travels. But then again, she has Sense, so maybe that wasn’t a total accident (-:. I believe you have Sense, too. Me, my sense is all absorbed from friends and pretty magazines, and I simply can’t be original with it.

    My house is probably going to end up all woody and green, with some rocks and lambskins . . . simply because it’s easy, and it fits with the location. (I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t sound all that exciting, either.)

  31. tara says:

    Just a note about the white walls… Most people think that’s the best color to tone down or showcase bright colors of furniture/fabrics/whatever, but I’m loving gray right now for that very same reason. It manages to be a neutral AND a color, and I’ve yet to find a color that i don’t like with it.

    Just something to think about, because if i had my way, white would only ever be an accent color….

  32. The problem with gray is that it doesn’t bounce light the way white does. Nothing bounces light the way white does. This is a very small cottage with tiny rooms (most are 9’x9′) and I have a big Mexican folk art collection (although a lot of it is migrating to Krissie and Richie now since they love it, too, and I have way too much), and a yarn stash that takes up four huge bookcases and a long counter in the kitchen, and a collection of framed prints that I love and will not have room for (Lani’s getting all the wine posters), so it has to be white. Gray is just too damn depressing for a small house in the woods. My mother and daughter, both of whom have excellent taste, would agree with you. I have extravagant taste, so bleah on gray.

  33. Jen Wyatt says:

    Benjamin Moore is indeed the Mercedes of paint! I cringe to think what a gallon costs these days, but this is your cottage, damn it, so do it up right.

  34. Moonlissa says:

    My creole cottage is going from wheat to a very pale grey. (Benjamin Moore Grey Owl) I lived with patches of different colors on the wall for ages now. I need to find the time to actually paint! There is a recently renovated house down the street that is blue with lime shutters that I lust after. When I get to paint the exterior it will be bold, but this is New Orleans. I will probably still be one of the tame houses in the neighborhood!

  35. Kelly S says:

    please do ask Alastair to add the previous/next links to the bottom of the comments of a post to be done when he has time to do so, of course. Thank you!!

  36. Kelly S says:

    Thank you and Thank you to Alastair! I see he has it up and working and I’ve been using them already!

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