Today’s “Step Inside” home tour is such a treat. I hope you are as charmed by this cozy cottage and its owner as much as I was.
When I drove up to Becky’s home, not only was it my first time there, it was my first time meeting Becky too! A mutual friend connected us, and we quickly set up this day to meet and shoot her home. The whole experience was extremely uplifting – Becky is so warm, and easy to talk to. A few hours after I got there, I left with a new friend 🙂
In addition to being completely charmed by Becky, her home and surrounding property transported me to a fantasy world with fountains and gardens. As you’ll learn in the interview below, Becky and her husband moved here 30 years ago with barely a bush or plant in sight. I could not believe it until she showed me an arial photo of the property when they first moved in. What you see in the pictures below is a generation of lovingly adding the greenery that you see. One by one. Year by year. The result is a well-loved home tucked into a woodsy property full of beauty and surprises.
Hope you enjoy your “step inside” this cozy cottage.
Becky’s Cozy Cottage and Secret Garden
Who lives in this home and how did you come to live here? My husband Duke (and Lilly, our 14 year old jack russel terrier) live here with me. This piece of property was part of an original ten acre tract of land owned by my husband’s parents. We built this home thirty years ago and it is where we raised our three children. It seems like yesterday they were posing for preschool pictures by the front door. Ten years ago, our daughter’s wedding reception was held in the back yard … and these days our four grandsons rule the roost!
What was your vision for the house as you were preparing to build? Duke and I were both so young when we built this house and our vision at that time was one of pure elation at just being able to build our first home! We built and bought what we could afford at that time and have added on twice through the years.
You own a foliage and landscape business. How has that impacted the way you live? Duke and I share a love of plants, and given our business, plants have always been a huge part of our personal and professional lives. When we first built our home there was one large live oak located in the back, and about 793 cacti scattered throughout the yard. Duke spent many a weekend digging up each cactus that first year, and we have spent many a weekend since planting, growing, and nurturing. Truly, a labor of love!
How does adding plants/foliage impact a home’s feel? I always say that adding at least one healthy, live plant to any room is the difference between a vacation rental property and a well-loved, well-lived in home. We love bringing the outdoors in, and by doing so, create a more natural style right off the bat.
What do you splurge on in your home? Where have you saved? In our recent renovation we splurged on the cabinets, appliances, light fixtures, etc. All of the “bones.” I save by bargain hunting for the rest!
What is one thing you think every house should have? Every home should have a comfortable, inviting area for the entire family to gather. Since remodeling the kitchen, the banquette seating area has become a landing spot for family and friends. I love to cook, but food preparation now is so much more fun because (at any given time) I’m surrounded by those I love.
Your home has so much character. What do you think it says about you and your family? My home is a true reflection of what and who we hold most dear. So many of the pieces and collections that surround us are family heirlooms and things we’ve picked up through the years while traveling. Our faith, family, and friends are central to our lives and I believe our home strongly reflects this.
How would you describe your aesthetic/style? My style has evolved and been sifted through the years, but the core elements have remained the same. Antiques passed on from our grandparents and great-grandparents coupled with art found while in a boutique or specialty store. My aesthetic has always leaned toward a cottage farmhouse style. Not too formal, always relaxed and inviting.
Which room/area in your home do love the most? My kitchen is my favorite room in our house. We remodeled several years ago and I love the open floor plan that we ended up with. Everyone always ends up in the kitchen and it’s so nice to have areas within the kitchen that encourage the gathering of family and friends.
What traits draw you to other people’s homes? Even as a small child, I took notice of my surroundings. I am a visual person and appreciate good design elements. What draws me to any home, however, no matter what the style — is the feeling I have when I’m inside. My favorite home is one that tells a story about the people living there.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your home? I’m not a buy “brand new” person … it’s why I’ve never been able to buy online either. I need to see it and feel it in real life to really have a good idea of the impact it could have in our home. My most favorite places to shop? Antique and thrift stores … though, it’s true … I could get lost for a few days in Homegoods!
Where do you find home inspiration and ideas? I find inspiration in nature, in the creativity of others, and in design books and magazines. None of our windows have window treatments for this very reason … the light and landscape of the outside drives the (natural, laid back) aesthetic within our home.
Where do you like to find art? I find art anywhere from small gallery shops while traveling to something tucked into the corner of the attic to my grandson’s preschool painting. We don’t have anything to “fill a space” … everything has meaning.
How do you hope your children and grandchildren will remember this home when they are older? This is the only home my children have ever known. Duke and I want our home to be a sanctuary for our family, and we always have. This is a place where love abounds and peace lives. I want my grandchildren to remember it as a place of love and fun. I want them to remember the cookie jar on the kitchen counter (that wasn’t around when their parents were growing up – ha!), the child size furniture in the kitchen and living rooms … I want them to remember ice cream on the steps of the pool in the summer and the twinkling lights all around during the holidays. I want the legacy of this house, of our family home, to be one of love and belonging.
Isn’t it magical?!?! Although most TV shows would have us believe that transformations happen in a snap, that is just not the case. Over the span of 30 years, Becky and her husband have intentionally crafted a home that fully represents their values. The reason her home exudes warmth and love has nothing to do with the furnishings. Those are just their values shining through.
“Even as a small child, I took notice of my surroundings. I am a visual person and appreciate good design elements. What draws me to any home, however, no matter what the style — is the feeling I have when I’m inside. My favorite home is one that tells a story about the people living there.”
I could not agree more, Becky. That’s what it’s all about. If you ever feel down that your house doesn’t look like the ones on TV, remember that your home is your unique story. Don’t focus on emulating others’ styles. Use that energy to uncover yours!
If you liked this cozy cottage, find more “Step Inside” home tours HERE.
Photography: Ale Cretul