Cottage in Progress: Living Room

Posted by Carly Morgan

We’re slowly but surely doing new improvements on the cottage. I’m hoping that the crisp fall air brings a new wave of productivity, because summer has sucked it out of me and there are still lots of things I’d like to do. At this rate, we’ll put the window treatments up in March and move in May.

Still, I am enjoying the cottage more, especially since we made some changes to the living room. The living room is where Kyle and I spend most of our time together, because it has the TV, the couch, the piano, and the guitar. We also eat dinner in the living room because we’re too lazy still to use the dining room. (Sadly, the dining room is going to go unused until I get some decent dining room chairs.)

When we first moved in, the living room started out as something of a man cave. The sloped roof and dark furniture made it feel very cozy and a little cramped and messy. There was also limited seating, which meant we were dragging chairs into the living room whenever anyone came over.

We were going to get a recliner, since Kyle loves them, but ultimately I decided it didn’t work for the room. We used to have two recliners, which was great because we entertained a lot more often in Ohio. Now that we’re here and our friends no longer live within a ten block radius, it’s mostly just the two of us, so a couch and two recliners was really going to be too much. We didn’t want to have no seating at all for when people come over, though, so we were looking for something to put in that room.

Luckily, I found a bright green chaise lounge in the As-Is section of IKEA for 70% off and it worked to add seating and brighten up the room. We also added a rug and some pillows and did a little rearranging.

It’s nice that we now each have a place to stretch out and we have enough seating for 5-6 people if friends come over to chat. It’s still a little awkward for hosting movie nights, but until we upgrade the TV we’re not too worried about it. The TV is something I got as a housewarming present in 2003, long before Kyle and I were living together, and it has been dragged to no fewer than 13 apartments. We keep saying that we’re going to spring for a new one, but then something comes up. Oh well, one of these days…maybe Santa will bring one if Kyle is a good boy…

The other change that we’ve made is one that I mentioned in the last cottage update. We dragged the treadmill out of the guest room to free up the space, so it’s now in the second living room. It’s sort of tucked away and not too intrusive, but I still wish we had a separate room to put it in. It’s just not worth getting rid of it though, because we both use it and it saves us from needing a gym membership, at least for now. I thought about trying to do something to hide it, but I think this is about as hidden as it gets.

That’s going to be it for a little while as far as big changes go. We still have lots of little changes…namely the window treatments that haven’t happened in any room but the bedroom. I also have little projects that need to be done in every single room, so I’ll be a busy bee this winter. I love it though, even if we don’t own our cottage. It’s so nice to live in such a nice place and I have a lot of fun making it our own.

Cottage in Progress: Dining Room and Closet

Posted by Carly Morgan

We had a big get-things-done weekend, which was a little amazing since I’ve been feeling pretty under the weather. The cottage has been a mess for a couple of weeks and I noticed that my work, chores, and other things (like bills) were all starting to slide into a big pile of things that I was late on. I just can’t exist in a home that isn’t in order. It makes me NUTS.

My wonderful husband gave up his weekend and let me order him around, making him move furniture and carry boxes and do all kinds of stuff you’d never want to do in August. The results have been quite happy indeed:


  • The dining room felt a little too crowded, with stuff piled on all three walls.
  • The storage cabinets I purchased and lined up at the back of the room were really cheap-looking, since I broke down and got them from Wal-Mart. I originally wanted to paint them, but mostly I just wanted to chuck them out the window. Unfortunately, we are in desperate need of the storage space they provide.
  • The cookbook shelves were handy, but they got in the way of sitting at the table and felt just a bit bulky and oppressive.
  • By last week, the whole dining room had spent six weeks being the place we piled everything we didn’t want to deal with. (Laundry, packages to mail, bulk food containers, etc.)


  • It’s not perfect, but breaking up that line of cabinets really opened up the room and made it easier to move around in there.
  • We painted two of the black cookbook shelves white and put them in the guest room. We stood the remaining shelf up and stocked it with the cookbooks that we use most often. The rest went either to other parts of the apartment, where we can still get to them, or into storage for some future home that includes more shelving than what we have.
  • The Parent Trap print was scored on eBay for $17 and framed in a movie poster frame that I got from Deseret Industries for $2. It doesn’t have any glass and is slightly pixelated when you really look at it, but that’s worth the $60 price difference between what I paid and what I found when I originally looked. Since it isn’t a photo or “real” piece of art, I’m perfectly happy with it as it is.
  • I wanted to make the focus of the dining room the poster and the cabinet holding our wedding dishes, so I moved them to the back. We can also get to the dishes more easily now.

It still isn’t ideal or finished (I need window treatments and the cabinets need handles and don’t get me STARTED on the chairs), but it’s a big improvement over how it’s been. It’s also nice to be just a bit closer to the two cabinets that hold things like mixing bowls and kitchen appliances. The other two cabinets hold non-cooking stuff. One now holds a bunch of the games that were originally stacked on all four cabinets:

The other holds my craft supplies and other little projects, which is handy since I do many of them while sitting at the kitchen table:

Being able to get this organized was only possible once we had freed up space in another part of the cottage: the closet. We have a large storage closet in our 2nd living room and up until now it’s been a big pile of stuff sitting next to the catbox. Kyle helped me clear it out and then he hung up some rods from IKEA. The result is much better:

I can get to everything easily and the cats aren’t too crowded when they’re trying to eat dinner or use the litter box. There’s a light in the closet, but we usually leave the door mostly shut, with the air purifier on outside, so that we don’t have a home that smells like cats. I love my furbabies, but I hate going into someone’s home and smelling nothing but litter box. I think that might be a deal breaker for me. Luckily, Kyle takes full charge of the cat box and I never have to deal with it.

Moral of the story: I simply couldn’t do a thing without my amazing husband.

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