Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Cozy Cottage

The transformation of my little house has seen to it that it has had several names. When I first became the owner over five years ago, I jokingly referred to it as "The Shack." I spent so little time there with my full-time teaching job, and visiting elsewhere on the weekends, I upgraded its name to the "Love Shack."

2008: The Shack came "prelit" with Christmas lights.
Those were the first thing to go when I became the owner!

Inside, I had given it a fresh coat of paint, an upgraded, although very small, bathroom, and a wonderful heating and cooling system. The money from my divorce settlement quickly ran out, and it still looked a little drab, but it was a comfortable house for my youngest child and me.

After several years as a rental when I moved to Marysvale, the house was in dire need of some tender loving care, and before I could move back in the spring of 2014, there were appliances, doors, and carpet to be replaced, walls to be painted, and vinyl flooring to be installed. 

The whole season of Lent, I had been purging the house in Marysvale of anything unnecessary or unloved so that when we moved back to My LITTLE House, it would be a home of simplicity and comfort. 

Who needs dozens of shoes? And where would I possibly store them? How many towels and sheet sets do two people need? How many counter top appliances are enough? There were hard decisions to be made.

As I prepared for the move, I knew that I needed a change in attitude about my house; I could not bring myself to call it the shack any more. In conversation, I started calling it "The Cottage." I began to feel a slight affection for this little house. My son Dylan gave me a wooden plaque with a quote on it, and this sentiment has helped me through more than one trial.

"When you change the way you look at things, 
the things you look at change." 

I knew it was going to take a big chunk of my savings to do it, but I needed this house to be my safe haven and a little slice of heaven on earth. It was going to take some work and money, but I formulated a plan for the transformation. 

The Cottage was outfitted with a new sidewalk leading to the front stoop which now sports a little gable, a bright red door, and almond vinyl siding covers the house. As soon as the exterior remodeling was finished, there was a big, red pot of flowers by the front door, and later, decorative rock covered the bare dirt.

As soon as I finished the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge in 2014 in my old house, I made a plan of attack for my new house the next month. 

What was there to do? Well, as much as I tried to purge everything before moving, I discovered the limits of my storage space. While contractors fixed up the exterior, I had to view everything with a critical eye and a hard heart once more to see what else I could eliminate inside. EVEN LESS IS EVEN MORE, I discovered all over again. 

Hanging the lace panels in the living room made such a difference. Oh, it really felt like home that day. My house went from being called "The Cottage" to "The COZY Cottage." No longer a shack, it is my safe haven; my retreat; my little heaven. I was finally home.


  1. This is so beautiful! I can't wait to see more of the transformation. I sense that many who read will realize they have been a "shack" or been in a "shack place" and will be encouraged that they and their situation can become a "cozy cottage!" Blessings on you today! We do want a play-by-play!
    Sharon at

    1. Sharon, thank you for your thoughtful comments. It's easy to get stuck in a negative frame of mind. Thank you for the blessings. I feel energized now, rather than overwhelmed, by this new beginning. Have a blessed Easter!

  2. My word for Q was Quest. This seems to have been your quest for home.

    1. Yes, Linda; a home of my own was my quest, another piece of the larger puzzle called peace.

  3. It looks charming, Denise, and I wish you and your man child much happiness inside its walls. Happy Easter and many blessings...
    Sheila at Longings End

    1. Thank you, Sheila. Bridger is teaching him Jack Johnson's song "Home" on the guitar while a cake is in the oven. He is having a darling girl join us tonight to color Easter eggs. I truly feel that we have come home.


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