Summer Bedrooms at Mary Lou’s Cottage

I’m amazed any of our neighbors are still speaking to us. We’ve tried their patience sorely with our painfully slow renovation of the little cottage next door. But now, the eyesore of the neighborhood is close to becoming the sweet little cottage I envisioned.

Christened Mary Lou’s Cottage in honor of my mom, who lived there at the end of her life, this snug little spot has already become party central for our loud and raucous clan. Mom loved a good party, so her cottage seemed the perfect place for our family’s holiday and birthday celebrations.

My latest “win” is getting all three bedrooms ready for guests. I completed two of the rooms last winter, and I love them. But the third bedroom? Nope. I was using it as a junk room to hold all of Mom’s belongings that I didn’t know what to do with. Close the door, and no one is the wiser, right?

If it wasn’t for a group of girlfriends who decided to come for a visit, it might still be filled with junk. I think most of us are like that. We turn a blind eye to things we don’t like in our homes until we have a deadline, like out-of-town guests or a party at our home. Then, it’s game on.

I got so psyched up about getting that bedroom in shape that I couldn’t stop there. I also had to rework the first two bedrooms a bit. The beds, dressed in rich plaids, looked too darn hot for summer. So I replaced the heavy duvets with bedding made of simple, snowy white sheeting. Cool, light and bright, it’s exactly the look I wanted for summer.

The new bedroom is filled with family pieces. This night stand was my mom’s, and the lamps belonged to Mimi, Dan’s mom. I have never been able to decide whether I love these lamps or hate them. I’ve kept them shut away in storage room prison for decades. I decided that if I’m ever going to use them, now is the time.

Instead of using an antique bed, I picked a reproduction that looks a little like a classic Jenny Lind bed.


Even though I’m pretty crazy about the newly decorated bedroom, this room is still my favorite. Here is what the bed looked like in the winter, fun tropical fabrics finished with this lovely plaid.

All I had to do to switch it up for summer was replace the plaid duvet with a creamy matelasse quilt, topped by this pineapple comforter I’ve been pining after at Nell Hill’s for three months.

We’ve special ordered if for several customers, and finally, I couldn’t stand it any more. I had to have it.

The striped chair in the corner and the fabulous new piece of art are also new in this room, proof that the best ideas come when you are drinking wine with your friends. When a neighbor dropped by for a glass of wine, of course the next step is to redecorate your house. We hauled the chair upstairs just to see how it looked, and it was perfect.


Here’s a before of the bedroom with the bold plaid headboard, taken last winter. I love it to pieces. But not in August.

Here’s the same bed with brand new summer bedding. Gone are the layers of velvet, plaid and paisley pillows, replaced by two simple white Euro shams. The bed is layered with white sheets finished with a blue embroidered band, my new obsession. A matelasse quilt and flouncy duvet finish it off. All are from the ready made collection at Nell Hill’s.

It feels great to have all the bedrooms done and ready for company. Next up for Mary Lou’s Cottage? Creating an office space for Dan that is so attractive, he will want to move his messy desk next door.