Re-Creating a Cottage | Midwest Living

Re-Creating a Cottage

A tiny riverfront home in southwestern Michigan recaptures its original cottage character with paint, fabric and a floor plan overhaul.

Cottage redo

Antique and new furnishings create an eclectic cottage mix in David Bradley’s home in the Michigan beach town of Saugatuck.

When David purchased the 1,100-square-foot house, its charm had been stripped away. “It was vinyl-sided and very linear. It reminded me of a mobile home,” says designer John Cannarsa, who reworked the floor plan for better function and returned the house to its 1950s cottage style—with modern accents. 

John moved the entryway, added a porch, and expanded the kitchen and dining room within the footprint. New painted wood floors, wall panels and wainscoting deliver inviting texture. A refurbished stove and retro-style refrigerator highlight the kitchen’s throwback design.


Open up

To make the house seem larger, designer John Cannarsa raised the dining room roof and added decorative rafters. A bench seat keeps sight lines open into the adjoining kitchen. Cornflower blue transforms a wooden piano into a bold statement piece.

Stylish storage

This creative storage design turns a shallow entry space into a stylish spot for holding towels, shoes and other beach gear. 

Modern kitchen skirt

A skirt under the sink looks fresh in a modern print.

Relaxed retro

A refurbished 1946 Blue Bonnet stove from eBay gives the kitchen an old-school vibe. 

Vintage-style bath

A vintage-style faucet is fitting against classic subway tile, while easy-to-make curtains brighten the bath. Throughout the home, fabrics and bedding in midcentury prints (stripes, polka dots, boomerangs and atomic graphics) add flair for little cost.

Color cheer

Yellow walls add big cheer to a small bedroom.

Exterior update

When the home’s vinyl siding was peeled away, it revealed a mustard yellow hue—close to the color chosen for the new siding. “We started to discover the true nature of the cottage,” says designer John Cannarsa.

Click here for a buying guide to this home.


Add Your Comment