Thank you, Pamela, for inviting me over to share how I found my style with your readers. Hi, I'm Jane from Cottage at the Crossroads.
My husband and I live in a small country cottage in South Carolina so there is no doubt what my style is. It's definitely Southern country cottage with leanings toward an English country cottage style. Which is really appropriate because our house was built by my husband's grandfather on land that has been in his family since the 1700s. The land was a grant from the King of England to encourage settlement in this region. And my husband's family has been here ever since. The South is dotted with numerous houses very similar to ours, but sadly, most of them are in disrepair or have been abandoned. We're preserving ours.
The front of our house has a screened-in porch, and you can see that the cottage style starts here with repurposed items and painted furniture. The shutters are actually bifold closet doors that someone was going to throw away. We rescued them to add a sense of privacy to our porch and make it feel more like a room.
And the red ticking, checks, and ruffles all say "cottage" along with the furniture that has an emphasis on comfort.
The front door is sporting a new patriotic door hanger. I love to decorate for the seasons and holidays, and July 4th is no different. I'm a retired school teacher and my husband says that sometimes he feels like he's living in a giant bulletin board! Ha! But for the summer, my decorating inside the house is simple.
When you enter our home, you will see a display of sweetgrass baskets. My husband Leo and I lived in Mt. Pleasant, SC for many years, and sweetgrass baskets are a traditional art form and found only in Mt. Pleasant and just a few places in Charleston, SC. Most of these were gifts to me by special people or students who I taught. The baskets are very durable and are made from native sweetgrass and pine needles sewn with strips of palmetto leaf. The art of weaving them is handed down in families from generation to generation.
If you collect something, I think it's important to group your items for greater impact. And this collection shows people a little bit about us when folks enter our front door. The pine piece is unique and tucks into this corner well. I have a great love of English pine pieces, but most of what I have are reproductions.
One hallmark of cottage decor is painted furniture, and you can see that I'm not afraid to paint something. To the left is a music cabinet that I painted last summer, and the little rustic coffee table was used on our back porch in our previous home. To get that cottage look, just mix the old with the new.
This floral print on my chair and ottoman reminded me of bark cloth when I purchased it years ago. It definitely has that retro, cottagy look.
I placed this vintage dresser scarf that I've had forever on our sofa table under the dough bowl. Simple and summery.
We have a large farmhouse table in our dining room. Nothing makes me happier than having every seat filled with family around the table.
And there's a grouping of jugs on top of the corner cabinet. I used to have them spread out throughout the house, but they have a greater impact when placed together. A few of them look like they could have held some moonshine in them, don't they!
You'll never find a cottage without some fresh flowers in it and these came from our yard. Nothing adds more life to a room than fresh flowers.
And real plants, of course! My favorite is English ivy, but do you see those fern fronds in the candle holders? Psst! Don't tell anyone, but they're artificial!
And so are these succulents! I'm not big on using artificial plants in decorating, but they are making some now that are really hard to tell that they're faux.
I recently hung this beach painting for the summer. It's an original, and I got it along with another item for $15 at the auction that I attend. Flea markets and garage sales are also wonderful resources for finding items to complete a cottage look.
In the cupboard in the dining room, I have displayed some milk glass that I've started collecting. Pieces of milk glass are usually very inexpensive and easily found.
Nothing says cottage more than beadboard so we clad the walls in the bathroom with it when we were modernizing it. And we added some in our kitchen, too. If you're on a budget, you can use beadboard wallpaper to get the cottage look for less. You'd never know it wasn't real beadboard unless you touched it.
Pamela asked me to share a treasured find, and this is my grandmother's pie safe. I can remember going to her house when I was a little girl and seeing freshly baked pies sitting on its shelves. She gave it to me in the 198os and I've treasured it ever since.
Not a valuable antique but a family treasure, for sure. Now I use it as a bookcase.
This butter mold and egg basket also belonged to her, and I have many memories of her associated with these items. Putting out old, family pieces help to tell your story when you're decorating.
Just how did I develop my cottage style? Well, I've always loved old things even when I was young. And I used checks in decorating several decades ago. In between, I've decorated with 18th century furniture, but it was a little fancy for me. So I switched to a more rustic country style during the 80s when it was at its height of popularity. Since then, I've developed my own style by choosing things that fall somewhere in between those styles.
What advice do I have for decorating? Well, you don't want things to be all matchy and look like you bought everything at one store! Take time to acquire things you really love. Put out your personal collections to create a unique home. And paint can be your best friend!
And remember, people are not really going to care what things you have. It's how you make them FEEL when they come to visit you. That's the important thing!