Make the most of downsizing with inspiration from a Michigan homeowner who revamped a neglected cottage and packed it with pattern.
Discover how to make the most of downsizing from a Michigan homeowner who rehabbed a long-neglected cottage, packing the rooms with pattern and texture while maximizing space for storage and display.
The best things often happen when we’re least expecting them, as Patty Moore discovered during a casual stroll around her Kalamazoo, Michigan, neighborhood a few years ago, when she spotted a “for sale” sign in front of a Cape Cod. Intrigued by the quaint exterior, she toured the inside on a whim, even though she was not in the market for a new home. Her first impression of the 1,100-square-foot 1940s dwelling was less than glowing. However, Patty says, “I could see its charm underneath the dated decor.” She immediately decided to buy the home, even though it meant downsizing. “It just felt right,” she explains.
A short time later, Patty was rehabbing her new digs. “The house was in terrible shape—it wasn’t even evident where the front door was!” she recalls. To remedy this, Patty added new doors and completely overhauled the landscaping to create an entrance. In the kitchen, Patty installed a new sink and slate flooring. She resurfaced cabinets with fresh paint and hardware, replaced countertops and mounted rustic wooden beams on the ceiling. Throughout the other rooms, Patty removed tattered wallpaper, updated lighting fixtures, tore out old carpeting and refurbished the hardwood floors. “The entire project required a lot of scrubbing and painting,” she recalls of the elbow grease involved in the rehab.
When it came to selecting a palette, Patty combined complementary shades of green and cream with sunny yellow floral-patterned wallpaper, all of which enhance what she refers to as her “English cottage” style—although she prefers not to limit herself to any one decorating theme. Indeed, she relishes the freedom that comes with displaying her favorite collectibles and textures in unique ways. Throughout her home, collections of Blue Willow, Torquay motto ware and pewter blend seamlessly with primitive accents, baskets, boxes, porcelain figurines, vintage books and one-off decorative plates. “If I see a $2 piece of cracked pottery, I buy it!” Patty jokes.
Ultimately, for Patty, decorating is less about adhering to a prescribed design style and more about embracing the fun that not only reflects her personal taste, but also fosters contentment in her little cottage, which has been utterly transformed thanks to her creative vision and hard work. “I love the small, cozy feeling in this house,” she concludes. “I feel snug and happy here.”
There was no landscaping to speak of when Patty Moore bought her Cape Cod-style home, but thanks to her love of gardening, the little cottage now boasts loads of curb appeal.