Step Inside This Charming Cottage Packed with Personality
One part rustic and one part refined, this family home packs Texas-size personality and farmhouse charm into every inch of its compact square footage.
From a little bit weepy to laugh-out-loud funny, there's a story behind every object in Joel and Courtney Warren's Waxahachie, Texas, cottage. That's because Courtney has an eye for the unusual (she's an interior designer with a bargain hunting streak). Even from the curb, Joel and Courtney Warren's Texas home seems to open its arms wide to those walking by. The arched door, diamondpane windows, and wide-plank porch are just a hint of the friendly, fun, even festive mood cultivated inside the home. And that's all by design.
Also part of the Warrens' home (and story): sentimental family pieces. In the hallway, for example, baby clothes and inked footprints of their sons Judah, age 10, and Abe, 2, are lovingly framed and hung on the wall overlooking family photos. And perched on the desk in the breakfast room is a framed needlepoint copy of the Lord's Prayer, stitched by Courtney's grandmother.
Because furnishings were collected over time, they don't match—note the hutches flanking the windows—but they do complement and balance each other, a key distinction. In the living room, Courtney left the chimney's old brick exposed and trimmed either side with white-painted wood. Faux-fur pillows and mercury glass contrast delightfully with more rustic items. New upholstered seating pieces in the living room cluster around a vintage coffee table laden with flea market accessories. Mismatched antique hutches flank the windows, which are dressed in striped draperies.
The Warrens' house was built in the 1930s and its walls are suited up in its original shiplap, which consists of wide wood planks laid horizontally. The little dresser (a flea market find) won Courtney's heart for the French words unspooling on its drawer fronts. A latticed window adds cottage flair.
Wall Color Alabaster (SW7008), Sherwin Williams
The cottage's old front porch was crumbling, so the Warrens replaced it with a sturdy wooden stoop just wide enough for a rocking chair and a few pots. New paint on the siding and an arch-top wood door brightened the whole facade, while a vintage awning—which Courtney spied on the curb in an upscale Dallas neighborhood on trash day and paid two passing teenagers $10 to load into her car—shields the entry.
Rather than hide the TV, Courtney created a vignette, situating a beloved buffet below and a vintage awning above. Several pieces retained from childhood reside in their grown-up home. This small shelf is from Courtney's bedroom—she painted it blue and a friend dressed it up with scalloped trim. As newlyweds, Courtney and Joel attended an auction with his parents and spied this antique buffet.
This vignette in the living room showcases many of Courtney's passions: frames with chipped paint and no glass, a splash of color in the chair upholstery, a sliding barn door, and commercial signage—one of Courtney's signature collectibles. The combination of rustic and contemporary decor in the small gallery makes for a dynamic display.
The arched screen door once hung at the front door (the Warrens even left the house numbers on) but now admits people into the pantry. The café curtains are actually striped dish towels attached to curtain clips and strung on a curtain rod. Courtney added a herringbone pattern to the kitchen island to dress up the too-plain sides.
This small hutch was crafted out of weathered wood and a salvaged window. The smattering of the letter 'W' (for Warren) dances along the breakfast room wall. Family heirlooms and signage are Courtney's decorating go-tos.
Shelves in the kitchen built of pipes and wood planks are modeled after a much smaller, flea-found pipe shelf in the breakfast room. Natural baskets further the farmhouse vibe.
The Warrens scooped out a nook for a small desk and sheathed the wall in vintage-look subway tile. An industrial pendant light provides light to the work space, and the black metal frame mirrors the dark grout between the tiles. A vintage chair adds a touch of color. Near the small office, a banquette with storage and a farmhouse table provide a spot to eat meals as a family.
All in the Details
The home's original shiplap (whitewashed on the walls but left its natural wood tone on the ceiling) is on full display in the master bedroom. Courtney kept the ceiling its original finish to preserve both its rustic appearance and its history. The stately bed started out as an intricately carved door. Courtney loved it so much that she had a carpenter build it into a bed. It still has the original keyhole.
The antique wavy mirror in the master bath inspired the robin's-egg blue hue of the vanity. Courtney commissioned a carpenter to construct a vanity to resemble an old washstand. The above-counter sink was situated on one side to allow a wide swath of counter space on the other.
Vanity Color Wythe Blue (HC-143), Benjamin Moore
The hallway is a walk down memory lane. Among the keepsakes displayed in vintage frames and shadow boxes are clothes their newborn sons wore home from the hospital, Courtney's wedding shoes, and a sheet of Joel's schoolwork. A merry medley of frames—some black, some blue, some curvy, some new—keeps the display interesting. This diminutive organ once belonged to a funeral home.
This golden frame had nothing in its center when Courtney bought it. She had a mirror cut to fit the round opening. Fun (and authentic!) street markers, old advertisements, and commercial signs give the boys' bathroom a playful punch. A new sink with an exposed basin could pass for vintage cast iron, thanks to a coat of black paint on its underbelly.
Courtney loves framing old family photos for a vintage vibe in any room. Framed memorabilia showcase the Warren family's athletic legacy in 10-year-old Judah's room: dad Joel's childhood basketball jersey and grandfather Bob Gehring's high school letter are among the items on display. Sheer red café curtains are draped with vintage felt pennants—a fortuitous eBay find—to carry on the sports theme.
Rather than conventional pastels and baby blues, the nursery is decked out in full outdoor regalia and includes a faux bois rug that mimics wood grain and a stuffed moose head mounted on the wall. Mismatched bed linens add tons of pattern to the space.
Picket fencing, in all of its rough-hewn weathered glory, stands in as genius wainscoting in 2-year-old Abe's nursery. It serves as a backdrop for fishing and camping gear, which Courtney has collected over the years. There are also a few nods to the family's home state in the decorations.
A guest bathroom features dyamic shiplap in shades of aqua and tan. Mosaic tiles give a vintage feel, while a frameless mirror adds a contemporary element to the design. Small accents of black (floor tile, the lamp, and a blackboard sign) carry throughout the space.