My mom loved a party. So I’m pretty sure that when our big, noisy clan gathers together in the little cottage next door, where she lived at the end of her life, she smiles down on us from heaven. This little nugget of a house, perched on the edge of the lake, has become our favorite place to celebrate holidays and welcome visiting family members.
For my whole live, I’ve been pretty crazy about my big sister Judy. Since she moved to Detroit years ago to build her successful career as a newspaper reporter and editor, I’ve been trying to find ways to entice her to come visit more often. So when it came time to decorate the cottage’s bedrooms, I had Judy in mind. I pictured the two of us here, in our jammies, catching up on life, laughing until we had tears in our eyes.
In the summer, I’ll put her in this bright and breezy bedroom that looks out over the lake. This second floor room has a little door that leads out onto a porch. We installed a screened door so we can let the summer breeze in, but not the mosquitoes.
I love India Hicks’s island style, and her unique approach to relaxed elegance was my inspiration for this little bedroom. One of her books has a photo of a ledge mounted on the wall, filled with straw hats. I decided to do the same above the bed, which is covered in a crisp summer plaid. The pillows have Judy’s monogram.
The rest of the room is filled with family keepsakes, and a few new finds.
In the winter, I’m moving Judy over to this snug bedroom, dressed in regal plaids. We had this towering tartan headboard at Nell Hill’s, and I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. Before it could sell, I snatched it up and took it to the guest cottage. I didn’t know how it would work, to squeeze this dramatic, 7-foot-tall headboard into this tiny bedroom in a very modest house. I’m glad I trusted my gut, because I’m crazy about the drama this magnificent bed creates.
I picked rich fabrics for the bedding ensemble, carrying on the men’s ware look of the headboard. To add a touch of the feminine, the windows are dressed in navy floral panels.
Since the bed took up most of the space in this little room, I kept all the other furnishings to a minimum, opting for smaller-scale pieces. This bamboo campaign style tray serves as a bedside table. I placed a desk on the other side of the bed, next to the door. I love a red shade – so bold and daring. It’s just right, with the rich blues and greens in the bedding.
A little reading corner was a must for this bedroom. I found a delightful, smaller-scale chair that tucked right in, welcoming.
We have so many big plans for this little house. I’m picturing us here for many years to come. In the summer, I see us playing bocce on the back lawn by the lake. In the winter, cramming into the tiny kitchen to make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I think that’s just the way Mom would want it.
Next Week … House plants are bigger than ever in decorating.
Cindy Weis saysMarch 26, 2018 at 8:18 am
I love this room, and I am also working with a very tiny bedroom, and would just love for you to take a full view of this room, that way I can see the over all furniture placement, and just copy it!!!!
Beverly Cook saysMarch 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Your sister is so very blessed to have you for a sister!! I could only dream of that kind of loving closeness in our family. I am very happy for you both.
franki saysMarch 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm
It’s perfect. franki
Lisa Mercado Fernandez saysMarch 26, 2018 at 10:07 pm
I love this cottage and the idea of it. I can see you and Judy laughing and maybe eating some chocolates together. How fun. What a special place and may I add what a magnificent idea to have kept it. I love the idea of having an alternate place to entertain while your home remains in tact. I’m positive your mom is smiling from above and maybe my mom and she have become friends. Love everything. God bless,
Catherine saysMarch 26, 2018 at 10:46 pm
Mary Carol, I greatly enjoy your blog. But, A Tale of Two Bedrooms is my very favorite. It’s perfect for the differences in style of the two bedrooms, sharing the skill involved in decorating a small bedroom, showing the love you have for your sister and rememberance to your Mother. Not to mention everything is better in black watch !
Patti Gencarelli saysMarch 27, 2018 at 1:09 pm
Please tell me that Fiddle Leaf Fig is not real;
along with everything else – it is drop dead perfect.
Mary Carol Garrity saysMarch 27, 2018 at 4:56 pm
hahaha- yes, it’s real. The upstairs does not look so good, however. I keep trying!
Linda L saysMarch 27, 2018 at 7:31 pm
Oh Mary Carol you have the perfect playhouse right next door. You can decorate and redecorate to your heart’s content. And you have a cozy comfy guest house too! Lucky you. Lucky Judy! Enjoy!!!
Margo saysMarch 28, 2018 at 3:36 pm
A blue and white lamp with a red shade…my heart fluttered, and I MUST try this. Can I be your sister too?