The Story of a Cottage

Posted on March 7th, 2011 by Tonia 4 Comments

This week, we’re cleaning up the cottage that sits on the northwest corner of our property. The story of the cottage- as far as we can gather from various folks around town who are familiar with our property- is that it used to be a milking barn, and later a pottery studio, before it was remodeled about 15 years ago into a little guesthouse.  It has a very charming mudroom with a brick floor, on which the cows would stand to be milked.

The previous owners of this place rented the cottage out to vacationers, and since all the buildings on the property are powered by the solar panel in the field, the cottage was certified as a Travel Green Wisconsin destination. But the cottage has sat, sadly uninhabited {except for the occasional mouse-family…} for several years now, musty and in dire need of some TLC. We would love to fix it up and return it to the condition it was in during its glory years. This week we’re concerning ourselves with giving it a good scrub-down and getting it set up for our renters.

Yes! Renters! A really awesome couple will be moving into the cottage in a couple weeks. We’re really excited to have neighbors- especially these neighbors. They’re gardeners, they have chickens, a really friendly husky, and a desire to live sustainably and simply. We could not ask for better folks to share our land with. Mike and I have romantic visions of the four of us tending to our crops this summer while the chickens peck away in the grass and the dogs chase chippies together….And it will be nice to see the cottage lived in and loved instead of sitting lonely in the corner.

This photo is obviously from the summer- but I wanted to show you the cool french doors on the front.

We will be pulling a bunch of furniture out of the cottage that was unwanted and left by the previous owners, and it will be fun to see if we can find new uses for any of it. I recently saw this great tutorial on rehabilitating old lampshades, and these tips for reupholstering a couch, and it got me excited to do this as low-impactly {not a real word…} as possible by reusing/fixing up what is already there instead of buying new furnishings.

There will be some big projects- like installing a claw-foot tub in the bathroom and building new kitchen shelves/cabinets- down the road {probably won’t happen until after the renters have already moved in, just because we won’t be able to get all that done in the next two weeks.} My dream is for the kitchen to someday look like this {but with a salvaged sink, and salvaged wood for all the shelves}:

Photo credit:

I’ll keep you updated on the progress as the cottage gets its makeover!


  1. Shannon says:

    Aw, man, that sounds like my dream cottage.. so jealous!

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