Cottage Makeover: Interior/Exterior Progress

Hello again, friends. Thanks so much for following along as I detail the transformation of my Arkansas cottage. (As a side note, for a little spoiler of finished pictures of my house and garden, check out the March issue of Southern Living. It has just hit newsstands and contains a story on my house!)

The back porch/entry of the cottage has gotten a facelift. Gone are the out-of-date (and ugly!) iron, floral-motif columns, and soon there will be nice, new wood columns and trim, all of which will be painted the same color as the brick (Sherwin-Williams' Black Fox). The entire back of the house already looks better, even at this stage. Just getting rid of the old iron is a big improvement.

As for the little room that used to be a workshop, I am going to convert this into a three-season garden room...just a fun place to hang out with friends, enjoy a morning coffee, or curl up with the laptop to write blog posts! My plan is to remove the old door and window that faced the parking area and to install a new window on the opposite side and double glass french doors facing the house. The area between the two structures will be my main outdoor living space, so the garden room will be a great extension of what will be my courtyard.We have also started demolition on the carport/shed structure. It, too, is outdated and rather unsightly. My plan is to improve its looks and convert it into a multipurpose garden cabana. I told you I would think of something fun to do with this! From day to day, the carport will still function as a carport, but for parties I will be able to move my car and have extra space for a large buffet table, game table or an extra seating area. I plan to add outdoor curtains, some decent lighting and eventually a built-in grill area that will help make this space much more than just a parking space.

Inside the cottage, things are moving right along. The original oak floors have been sanded down and are ready to receive their new finish.

In the den, the barn wood accent wall is complete, and I love it! The character of the century-old planks warms and enlivens the entire main living space, and I know it will only get better when furnishings, art and accessories are added.

Also on the barn wood wall, the sconces I chose for this room are being installed. They are gold-painted iron twigs with a bronze metal shade, and I am in love with them...even if they are not rated for outdoor use. As you know, my plan was to make just about everything in this house outdoor-worthy, but I just could not find an outdoor sconce that I liked enough to put here. These could easily be placed in a well-protected covered outdoor living space, but they are not truly meant to go outdoors. But, just this once we can pretend!

Other lighting is going in, as well. In the main areas, I selected recessed can fixtures from Lighting Emporium in Lowell, AR that sit flush with the ceiling, which is only a standard eight feet tall. Still, they tilt and swivel, so I can aim them at specific art and accessories, which is good for adding a little drama. The cans will be painted to match the ceiling.

In the less public spaces (kitchen, hallway, bedroom) I settled for simple track lighting. Even though it has a larger profile than the recessed cans, I like track lighting, as it is infinitely adjustable and very affordable.

Also on the electronic front, I am so excited about the new alarm system being installed by Custom Electronics in Fayetteville, AR. The keypad has an interactive LCD screen and even talks to me. I mean with that soothing voice, how can I not feel safe and secure? Ha!

Door hardware is also being installed throughout the house. For all the main interior doors, I chose an egg-shaped knob by Emtek that I found at PC Hardware in Little Rock, AR. I really liked its combination of shiny silver finish and slightly rustic, hammered texture. I think it adds just the right amount of bling!

In the kitchen, not quite as much progress has been made as I wanted...no appliances yet. But still, the granite counter tops are going in and look great. Deciding what to do with these counters and the back splash was one of those times when I just could not make up my mind. But, thanks to Joanna McCusker and New Century Counter Tops in Springdale, AR, I am thrilled with my decision.

The counter top in the bathroom, a textured quartz material, has also been installed, along with the toilet and plumbing fixtures from Plumb Perfect in Springdale, AR. I chose shiny chrome fixtures (I am kind of tired of the whole brushed nickel thing) with square, rather than round, shapes to keep everything very sleek and clean.

Well, so there you have it...progress! Check back on Thursday to see the dramatic painting of the exterior brick. See you then, Daniel.

See more of the transformation: Cottage Garden Transformation

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