Home Sweet Cottage

~Heaven’s a Little Closer in a Cottage by the Sea~

Sweet reader DeAnn left this comment during our last shoreline visit: Love your photos! Please, please do your beach cottage next. Some of us are living vicariously through you!

Well, DeAnn, you talked me into it! This blog is for you and anyone else who has ever dreamed of a getaway to a seaside cottage!

Come with me to a simpler time, where the sound of a slamming screen door and children’s laughter floating in the air reminds you of a time when life was full of wonder and memories were made to last a lifetime.

The word “cottage” conjures up all sorts of images doesn’t it? Do you imagine a small building with weathered shingles nestled in the dunes, or a sun baked stucco casita high on a hill? Maybe your mind wonders over the pond to a rose covered stone cottage with a thatched roof sitting atop a grassy knoll with its own private peek at the ocean? They all exist and not just in our imaginations. Oh, how I would love to visit one of each! To me, the word cottage simply means home.

Ours is a three season cottage run by solar power and propane. We call it the Sea Horse, but sometimes joke that we ought to change the name to Tiny Pony because of its size. The square footage is right around 371 square feet but somehow it sleeps us 4, Max the corgi and would you believe our guinea pig quite comfortably? So, what’s the secret to living large in a space that small? Well, it helps a lot that we are only there during the summer months. This makes everything we do as far as housekeeping much easier. Summer time invites lighter living. We live with less, although, if you ever saw our car before we unpack you might wonder if anyone really knows the meaning of less is more in our family. We are an hour from a store of any kind so it’s important we start out with everything but the kitchen sink… And, we usually do! Speaking of the kitchen sink, let’s take the kitchen tour.

Don’t blink!

Not much has changed in our cozy cottage kitchen over the last 23 years. And that’s a good thing! I’ve brightened the walls with Kayak Yellow paint and changed the window coverings from dated slate blue cafe’ curtains with ruffles, to something a little more Seaworthy. Recently, I stripped off the old bright blue contact paper (circa 1970-something) that covered the AGED TO PERFECTION wooden countertops. Now, glass stains, cuts and dings shine through!

We manage to make the most of the fact that we have no running hot water, microwave or electric coffee pot. You won’t find an electric mixer or can opener either. With our Hoosier cabinet, four burner gas stove, hand- held cheese grater, egg beater and bottle opener we do quite well. A tea kettle which does double duty heats water for doing dishes once a day in the old farmhouse sink and again at bed-time for washing up cottage style

MaryJane has found her way into our humble cottage kitchen! Her Budget Mix is a perfect match when I need an easy, healthy, quick meal at the beach.

Pan Bread from the Farm Kitchen recipe issue and Blueberry Scones from the recipe booklet inside the Budget Mix box. Both of them are YUMMY!

Our cottage is minimally furnished, with comfy futons on the sleeping porch and a few born again creations made from cast offs that nod to beach life. Instead of nightstands beside our bed, we have two book shelves which allows us to store books, magazines, and a few beachy knick-knacks like my husband’s trophy for biggest striper caught in the annual fishing tournament. My husband created the blue table using an old weathered oar for the legs, a discarded hockey stick for the frame and some pine strips he had laying around. We created the “window art” from an old shutter, once used to cover the windows in the off season. I purchased the window with mirrored panes from a local discount store, then crackled it for an aged look. Learn how I did it here!

I can’t finish this post with out mentioning my brother in law. He is the man behind anything and everything solar in our beach community. Largely self-taught, he brought us into the 21st century by installing a solar system ten years ago, which allowed us to go from gas lights and flashlights to solar electric light inside. Someone is always in need of his mechanical talents at the beach. One thing we have always had is an outside shower and we love it! Water is pumped into barrels on top of the shed and then heated by the sun all day. When we get back from a long day of boating or beachin’ it, we’ve got a refreshing shower waiting!

The clothesline is attached to the shed for easy access to hanging beach towels and bathing suits to dry for more fun in the sun later.

Our drinking water comes from our well and our flush water is piped in via a solar powered electric pump from a holding tank that captures rain water. This is fancy living compared to some cottage dwellers that still use an outhouse or a keeper.

I didn’t plan to end this post in the bathroom. Somehow that’s just where it ended up! I hope you enjoyed your little peek into our vintage cottage by the waterside.

I’ll see you on the shorelines for Memorial Day!

Until then, here are a couple of my favorite beach books:

“Touch the earth, love the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earth’s and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and the dawn seen over the ocean from the beach.”
~ Henry Beston

Beach Blessings to all!
Love, Deb

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Cilla says:

    Your cottage is a castle! Reading your post made me remember "living" at the beach every summer. As many days as possible I was at the beach with my Uncle Tom. We were so lucky he was retired and a beach addict also! My favorite memory is the dinner picnics we would have would friends and family. Dad was a farmer so he only could go to the beach in the evening. It was wonderful growing up on eastern Long Island in the 50’s and 60’s! Thanks for bringing back great memories!

  2. ruth ann smith says:

    Love your cottage.. Couldn’t we all do with a lot less than we think we need. Once had a kitchen the same color and loved it, so bright and cheerful. Enjoy every minute you can spend there……

  3. Julia says:

    OOOOOO! I so need a few days in such a place! My soul longs for sun and surf! You have a gem of cottage!

  4. Sheila Belveal says:

    Love your cottage! Reminds of the cottage (cabin) my family and I would go to every summer. Only this was on the lake as that was the biggest body of water nearest to us. This cabin had a pump at the sink and one outside to get water from the well. But, the memories of those days still linger in my thoughts. They were such a simpler time. The cabinet by your stove looks just like one my mother had in "the Old House" except Mom’s had an upper cabinet w/ two doors above the metal counter top. The bottom looks exactly like hers. Cool!

  5. Debra Allison says:

    I can smell the salt air and feel breeze off the ocean! I grew up in NW Pennsylvania near Lake Erie and have always enjoyed being near large bodies of water. Between my junior and senior years of high school my mother treated me to a trip to relatives in Rhode Island. I spent a most wonderful week on the Narraganset Bay experiencing the rising and ebbing flow of the tide, digging for clams with my toes because I didn’t have a rake and getting that toe pinched by the clam! Thank you reviving those wonderful memories!

  6. Brenda says:

    Thank you for sharing. The grandparents of my first husband had a cabin in the woods that we would go to quite often for the weekend. No running water in the cabin. There was a pump and we would heat the water on the stove to wash up and do the dishes just as you do. It was one room, kitchen area at one end a set of bunks and a fold out sofa at the other. Spent many evenings playing cards at the table and just enjoying everyone’s company. Only draw back was going out to the outhouse in the dark. The solar power you have sound like just enough energy to make things just a little more comfortable but still enjoy your solitude.

  7. Michel says:

    I grew up on the Northwest coast in WA and now I am land bound to Mn. Though we have plenty of lakes and a great big one up north I am still homesick for the ocean. My family would also summer in Oceanshores, WA. As a kid I got to learn about surfing and clamming.:) I also noticed the you use a percolater for your coffee. My husband and I discovered the use of a french press and I can actually make really good coffee. Please take care and have a beautiful summer.

  8. name Pattycake says:

    Thank you for sharing you little bit of heaven with us. I so enjoyed just wondering through your cottage with you and feeling the peace and happiness within it’s walls.
    Who says we can’t go back to a simpler more meaningful life. You have come so close to it hear in your little cottage by the sea. Simplicity is a heart attitude and I believe you’ve got it girl!!!

    PattyCake

  9. Tammy says:

    Oh this was a lovely post. I felt like I was right there and oh to walk on the beach.

  10. Nancy says:

    Hello Deb & Everyone,

    I am very blessed to live year round near the shore in the Southern most part of New Jersey, Cape May. Moved down from the City with my parents when I was 14. I love it here and can’t even think of living anywhere else. My house is not really a cotage, but it is smaller than alot of homes around me. It is beautiful anytime of the year. If you get a chance come visit our small towns. You won’t be disappointed. Thank you for sharing your memories…it refreshed mine too.. :-)

  11. Brickhorse says:

    The Beston excerpt reads like a psalm. Thank you for sharing your lovely cottage with us. The closest I’ve come to a cottage on the sea is visiting a friend’s camp in Maine, or staying at a funky hotel on the Gulf coast, or camping out in Ocean Shores, WA. My life is enhanced knowing that you and other good people actually are living one of my dreams. Maybe someday…but, I would need a pasture for my horses.

  12. Joy Coates says:

    Your cottage is SO cute!! I would love to have seen ‘ALL" of it, inside and out…Where you sleep, etc. What a wonderful summer life!! :)

  13. Oh, this is the cutest place~I can see spending several months a year there! I love the outdoor shower and your solar system. I also love the oar table and all!
    Enjoy your Summer there!
    Sherry from Western Mass.

  14. DeAnn says:

    A very belated Thank You to you for so quickly fulfilling my wish to see pictures of your beach cottage. I love it! You always have such awesome pictures to go with your blog.

  15. Shery says:

    Oh Debbie, you transported me! I loved every one of your photos! How I would love to walk in that charming back door and give you a hug. Your cottage is a dream, love everything you’ve done. How much you enjoy it, obvious in every way. The sailboat valances are too fun. I thought of you the other day, No Really, I was at an estate sale and there were a couple of vintage 50s water skiis. They would be such a fun decorative touch for cottage by the water. Good job on this blog entry. Thus far, this is my favorite! shery

  16. Laura says:

    Just LOVE it, thanks for sharing

  17. Vickie says:

    This was a little mini-vacation for me. I work in education and though it’s summer vacation time, I am finishing the last week of summer school. I will be heading to the beach as soon as I can! Thank you for the reminder of how lovely life can be by the sea~

    Vickie

  18. Carrie says:

    Fabulous blog- so fun to visit here today!

    I have a sign in my kitchen that reads: Heave is a little closer on the Eastern Shore.

  19. Carole Morales says:

    Loved your cozy beach house. Brings me way back to when I was growing up outside of Boston and going to the Cape.
    Thank-you for sharing. It has much Soul.

  20. Pingback: Golden Nuggets From the Beach Farmgirl. | Farmgirl Bloggers

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