Downsized But Uplifted

Sometimes moves are hard.  During one of the hardest times of my life, I had to sell my large Pre Revolutionary War era home and move into a modest rental home.  That was the bad news.  The good news was it was a charming little 1920s walk to town cottage tucked behind a clipped privet hedge and the landlord knew my work and was okay with my doing a little renovating and decorating to make it feel like home.  He knew that whatever I did would make the house more attractive to potential buyers should he decide to sell after my tenancy.  The house was built in the 1920s and was a Sears and Roebuck "Kit" house.  Between 1908 and about 1940, Sears offered house kits that you could "mail away" for.  The kit included everything you would need to build the house, inside and out.  There were many different styles and many were Arts and Craft style which was all the rage at the time.  But they also offered some sweet English cottage/colonial styles. The house I lived in was The Barrington Model:IMG_0770 You could actually order this house from a Sears catalog for $2,425.00!   By the time I moved in, a few alterations had been made to the floor plan. The front porch bench was long gone, a half bath had been added in place of the coat closet on the first floor (thank goodness!!!), the kitchen layout was a little different and the second floor bathroom was remodeled to include a separate shower and double vanity but otherwise, it was the same.  It was a darling little house but the walls were all white and it felt a little tired and cold.  I felt a lot tired and cold and needed a project full of happy color to help me get through.  The truth is I needed something to get me out of bed in the morning because my life had fallen apart. For me, the best therapy is creating something.  So, I got out my paint colors and swatches and set to work...  I had the place whipped into shape on all four floors plus the garden in a matter of 2 months.  Here is a little tour of the home that I created when things didn't look like they could get much worse in my life.  I think the happiness of the house helped lift me out of the dumps!




After finishing the bedrooms for my girls and the main living areas, I turned my attention to the outside.  With such a small house, it was important to add more living space and outside was the only option.  There was a brick patio and a fenced postage stamp size yard to work with and blessedly, an enclosed outdoor shower which really helped when the 3 girls were all at home!

Here was what the yard looked like before:


I sketched a plan on a napkin (seriously!) and texted a photo to my landscaper.  I needed it to be finished in 3 days because my middle daughter was graduating from high school and we wanted to celebrate this milestone at home.  They did it!



IMG_1435 IMG_1437IMG_1082This is Charlotte in the garden on graduation day. Whew!

Hope you enjoyed the little tour. Happy Wednesday!