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 my then-boyfriend, that we upgraded its name to the Love Shack. 

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 ran out, and it still looked a little drab, but it was a comfortable house for my little boy and me.
2008: The Shack came "prelit" with Christmas lights.
Those were the first thing to go when I became the owner!

After several years as a rental while I lived in Marysvale, the house was in dire need of some tender loving care, and before I could move back in this spring, 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. "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." My son Dylan gave me a wooden plaque with that quote on it, and that sentiment has helped me through more than one trial.

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 is going to have a new sidewalk leading to the front stoop which will sport a little gable, a bright red door, and almond vinyl siding will cover the house. As soon as the exterior remodeling is done, there will be flowers by the front door, A Dogwood Tree to plant in Daddy's memory, and grass seed will be sown.

Today is the last official day of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. This weekend, I will lay out a plan of attack for my new house for the next month. 

What is there to do? Well, as much as I tried to purge everything before moving, I am discovering the limits of my storage space here. While contractors fix the exterior, I will view everything with a critical eye and a hard heart once more to see what else I can eliminate inside. EVEN LESS IS EVEN MORE, I am finding all over again. 

Last night, we hung the lace panels in the living room. Oh, it does feel like home now. My house has now gone from being called The Cottage to The COZY Cottage. No longer a shack, it is my safe haven, my retreat, my little heaven. I am 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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