Decorating with Handmade Cottage Charm

When you think outside the box, the possibilities are endless. That's the philosophy proven in this stylish and colorful cottage home, which taps into the charm of vintage goods and repurposed pieces for a look that is as comfortable as it is chic.

Lauren Frandsen


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Front of home with picket fence and greenery
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Quaint Cottage

    The lackluster landscape and outdated interiors of this house might have scared off some, but the current homeowners saw potential in the house and completely transformed it into a charming home using their creative craft. The cottage-garden plantings enhance the character of the 1939 Cape Cod-style home.

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Modern Mantel

    The painting above the fireplace is an original done by the homeowner. To help showcase the piece of art, a blue panel was painted behind it. The mantel-top box also built by the homeowners holds an array of low-growing sedum plants and clear-glass candleholders.

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Wonderful Windows

    Bay windows can be tricky to dress. Here, they are outfitted with scalloped shades and are softened around the edges with blue curtain panels. The bay-spanning rod also supports the pair of lanterns hung at different heights. To fit the color scheme, the once-brown lanterns were painted a coordinating blue and sanded for a weathered effect.

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Creative Containers

    A blue sewing box perched on a small chair keeps jewelry-making supplies close at hand. Tucked behind a chair, a white trunk turned on its side supplies cabinet-like storage and a perfect place for a contemporary vase that's used as a candleholder

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Customized Colors

    For a quick custom project, ready-made pillows can be tailored to suit any color scheme by sewing a fabric panel on the pillow front. This vintage fabric adds another blue accent to the living room, while the cloth throw brings comfy texture to the mix.

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Perfectly Framed

    Cabinets pulled out of a closet and into the living room create a perfect frame for the piano. The slanted shoe shelves now display magazines. The painted bench picks up the blue wall color. A love of home is expressed in letters atop a vintage mirror.

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Personal Touch

    Blue accents throughout the house tie everything together. An eclectic mix of thrifted antiques and personal items add to its charm.

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Old with the New

    The dining area perfectly pairs the rustic with the refined. The weathered benches are a fitting contrast to the sleek glass-top metal-frame table. Another blue wall panel frames a piece of art. The bright blue vases bring the home's signature accent color into the room.

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Hallway Gallery

    Hallway walls are a perfect spot to create a family photo gallery. Use different sizes and textures for frames and try hanging the photos at different levels. The eclectic arrangement provides lots of visual interest.

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Saving Shelf Space

    In the kitchen, shelves replaced cabinets to create a more open feel. Tired laminate countertops were refreshed with an electric palm sander and coats of primer, paint, and polyurethane. Pots and pans hang on S-hooks above the sink to free up shelf space.

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Cork Creation

    A 6-foot-tall memo board created from wine corks is the perfect place to stick shopping lists and family photos. Corks can easily be glued together in a parquet pattern and the final product hung on a wall.

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Stylish Storage Spaces

    This space proves that a mudroom can be stylish as well as functional. Just off the kitchen, with a door to the outside, this mudroom also doubles as a work space and is outfitted with a desk as well as storage space. Weathered blue-and-cream cabinets offer a place to keep kids' gear handy but out of the way. An old tool carrier and decorative boxes on the desk stow daily household essentials.

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Office Space

    The space's gallery-like walls are perfect for hanging fabric-covered bulletin boards and framed photos. Inside the painted armoire, a computer station is easily accessed when needed.

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Bedroom Vignettes

    The master bedroom's decor showcases the homeowner's artistic talent and repurposing savvy. Every corner boasts a handcrafted vignette. On the bed, embroidered pillows create a plush and pretty place to relax.

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Nature Nook

    The bedroom windows are dressed with shower curtains, an affordable and unexpected alternative to pricey drapes. The oval mirror introduces another vintage item to the room. The old childhood desk was updated with paint and blue glass knobs.

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Canvas Collage

    A personalized headboard created out of a large canvas displays children's plaster palm prints, handwritten notes, and other gathered keepsakes. The family collage can always be updated with new mementos.

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Repurposed Hardware

    A new chandelier was painted to fit in with the rest of the colors in the room. An old metal utility cabinet provides additional storage in the small room. The color is neutral, but the rough patina finish gives it character.

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Robot Retreat

    Once a single large room, the home's upstairs level is now two separate spaces, divided to accommodate two kids. In one half, space-theme walls are right at home under the ceiling covered in an outer space mural. Skylights let plenty of natural light into the room.

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Fairy Garden Fantasy

    On the other side of the room, the walls display a fairy-garden mural and blue skies that reach to the ceiling. Another skylight lets in natural brightness.

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