It’s my Cottage One Year Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe that’s its been exactly one year since I signed on the dotted lines and bought myself a little cottage.  Part of me feels like the time has gone by in a wink, but when I think about it,  SO much has happened since those early days.  I feel like a different person and the house has been transformed into a whole different (better) kind of home.

Highlights of the renovation include a bathroom gut job, painting my existing laminate kitchen cabinets turquoise, removing all of the walls (and half walls!) on the first floor and creating an open concept plan.  I also used a heck of a lot of paint.  I ripped up maroon carpets to discover antique pine floors. I attempted to make a headboard and subsequently burnt out on DIY’s for the next 6 months.

Here’s a little round up of my project so far.  You can click on the title or the picture to see all posts related to each room!

the living room

living room before and after

living room before and after 2

the dining room

design manifest dining room before and after

design manifest dining room before and after 2

the kitchen

design manifest kitchen before and after

design manifest kitchen before and after 2

the bathroom

design manifest bathroom before and after

the master bedroom

design manifest master bedroom before and after

the guest room

design manifest guest room before and after

the lounge

design manifest lounge before and after

Reading this first post I wrote the day after settlement still puts a big smile on my face.  I was so hopeful and excited.  Six months of waiting and renovating tested my patience and honestly, my self esteem.  (Who wants to live and work with their parents 24/7 ?)  October  through December were NOT good months for me as I sunk into a anxious state of depression.  (I talked about it in this post here.)  I impatiently moved in mid-February (even though the house wasn’t finished) and quickly began putting my decorative touches on every little nook and cranny.  Work, life and exhaustion plagued my progress, but I was happy just to be doing my thing and living in my own home.

I still have a lot to do, but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to take my time and allow the space to evolve as I live in it.  The more I use the cottage, the more I learn what it really needs.  Some rooms I love (bathroom, guest room,) some rooms I can’t seem to get right (master bedroom,) and some rooms I’ve barely touched yet (lounge, dressing room.)  I think year two is going to be a lot of fun and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!



  1. Congratulations Naomi! Your work is a fantastic work! It’s a look outstanding & awfully innovative.

  2. Francis

    This is a fantastic makeover! Where did you get the white curtains with black border?

    • Naomi

      They are actually Ikea curtains. We added the black trim ourselves.

  3. Rie

    OMG – so late to this post but I had to comment as I’ve never seen a renovation/redesign in which I loved ever single room. Holy Moly just a wonderful style, comfortable & completely unique. Enjoy it!

  4. First things first, Many Congratulations for your brand new cottage!! Absolutely marvelous transformation Naomi. I must admit you are a decorating genius. Keep up the good work, I am totally impressed with your style of work. Hats off!!

  5. Naomi congrats!!
    Its looking superb, cool ideas and very innovative. I think its looking much lively and colorful now. Enjoy your brand new renovated cottage.

  6. Nicole H

    Hi Naomi!

    I just came across your blog and love it! I was wondering where you got the yellow piece of art in the last picture? I believe it’s in your loft… I love it! Thanks so much!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Nicole! I came across that painting at a local mid-century warehouse sale a few years ago. If you are a Philly local, I am happy to share the details!

  7. The bedroom has had an amazing change, looks great.

  8. Robin Z (@abirdinthehand)

    Wow, so great to see all the before and afters in one place, what an amazing job you did. And your bathroom is still one of my all time favorite bath renovations. So clean and pretty.

  9. I can’t believe you did all of that in 1 year! It is beautiful. I think my favorite re-do is the kitchen. It is amazing!

  10. what an amazing transformation. I can not say which room I like the best — they are all amazing!

  11. Monique

    What a beautiful home! You, your father and crew did a wonderful job. You’ve come so far from the original design and you’ll be able to enjoy your first Thanksgiving and Christmas there in your new home.

    Thanks for keeping it real during the transformation process. Living the real deal is much different than what a viewer watches on the DIY programs. In spite of it all, you are now able to enjoy your warm spaces.

  12. Kristen

    Amazing transformations! Great work!

  13. Shannon

    Still one of the very best bathrooms around!

  14. Erica

    Congratulations, my love! Your hard work has paid off immensely. I know the cottage will continue to evolve as your needs, your life, and your personal style continue to change. I look forward to walking with you, every step of the way! xoxo

    • Naomi

      thanks, Love!!

  15. Your cottage is so cute! Such a happy place to come home to! Keep it coming! I love your style!

  16. BHH

    What progress (even after a summer “off”)!!! Which room/project do you think you’ll tackle next? Can’t wait!

    • Naomi

      thoughts are:
      1. really finish bathroom and take proper photos
      2. tweak master bedroom
      3. dressing room
      4. lounge

      maybe switche 3 and 4… I also want to paint a wall in the kitchen. So much!!

  17. Kim Grey

    What an amazing journey it has been for you in your cottage! I’ve enjoyed watching the progress on each room, and I look forward to seeing what the next year brings for you. It is so true that living in a space lets you figure out what really needs to happen there,. It takes time to realise what would make you happier, being in the space. It’s a beautiful evolution, creating a home.

  18. What a wonderful transformation and i’ve loved following from the start. My favorite was watching your bathroom come to life – it’s amazing!!

  19. Kristen

    You have done sooooo much in one year! I can not believe time has flown by so fast. Congratulations!

  20. First, congratulations! I’ve been in my most recent house just over 2 years and you are way ahead of me. Your cottage is lovely – I especially love the light fixture over the dining table!

  21. Elizabeth Lindsey

    It looks incredible!!! You are crazy talented. I have been following your blog for over a year now and greatly appreciate all your insight, tips, etc!!! I have saved many-a-email/blogs into my “decorating”folder for later reference. Wish you were in Nashville!! Do you ever do long distance decorating advice/planning (not for free of course 🙂 ?!

    • Naomi

      Thanks Elizabeth! Unfortunately I do not do E-Design at this time. It’s just more than I can juggle and I am lucky to have my hands full with local clients.

  22. Michelle Hitchens

    Hi Naomi, I’m from Melbourne Australia and have been following your work for about a year now. I want to say how fabulously inspiring your aesthetic is. Your blend of glamorous and pared-down pieces really speaks to my taste, and I’ve already hacked some Ikea and bought a pair of Chinese foo dogs as a result of reading your blog. Congratulations on your cottage and I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves!

  23. Your cottage is all sorts of right. You are a decorating genius. Congrats on the anniversary…can’t wait to see year 2.

  24. Yasmine

    Hi, Naomi!
    Congratulations on your cottage-versary! I’m a relatively recent reader, and have been enjoying (and swooning over!) all your posts post-cottage-move. You are such a rockstar, and your design/style is beautiful! The before/after photos are gorgeous — I’m particularly in love with your living room, kitchen, and bathroom…okay, actually, ALL of the rooms…and I have you to thank for appreciating what a difference GREAT lighting makes. I’ve never focused on changing out overhead ceiling fixtures in any place I’ve lived, but, oh gosh, your pendant lights in the dining and kitchen areas are GORGEOUS!

    My comment is already long and gushy (I promise I mean every word), but I do have a question for you, too: How have you been liking your high MALM bed from IKEA? I have a solid real-deal-wood bedframe right now, but lately it’s been feeling too dark and heavy for me, and I’m hankering for a white bed with drawers to store stuff. IKEA’s storage bedframes look great (particularly the BRIMNES and MALM), but I know they’re built out of particleboard, so I’m wondering how well yours has held up over the last 6+ months. Does it seem pretty solid and sturdy? And if I were to take it apart and rebuild it during a future move, does it seem like it would fall apart in the rebuilding process? Would love to hear your thoughts on your bedframe! Thanks so much =)

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Yasmine!!

      I’m pretty happy with the Malm bed. It seems pretty sturdy. I don’t have the one with the drawers underneath, though. I bet that is super heavy!!
      I also dont trust that it would be taken apart and reassembled very easily.

      • Yasmine

        Thanks so much for the info on the IKEA bed, Naomi! =) Based on possible issues with assembling and then dis-/re-assembling for next year’s anticipated move, I think I’ll hold onto my behemoth of a bed for now, and get an IKEA one down the line! Thanks again for the reply, and I look forward to more photos/stories about your beautiful cottage! =)

  25. Nancy

    congratulations Naomi! It has been wonderful following you along and watching you personalize your cottage. Love how eclectic it is, it makes me feel like I know you!
    xo Nancy

  26. It’s been such fun seeing the progress along the way. You are seriously good at what you do and I love the cottage. Can’t wait to see what is to come!

    • Naomi

      thank you, Jane! xo

  27. I love those clear awesome bar stools at the dining area! They look so cool catching the light like that, almost like ghost chairs! Great work with your house!

  28. I love your style. Everything looks so fresh and pretty!

  29. Congratulations! What a difference a year really makes, you did an amazing job transforming the cottage, Bravo 🙂

  30. Daniela

    I’m impressed and inspired by your transformations so far!!! I moved in last October into a 1950s ranch and understand your frustrations. It looks great and congratulations!

  31. Brittany

    I have loved watching your transform your sweet home! Can’t wait to see what you do to the lounge!

  32. Ashley

    I’m going to echo what I said in my comment to your last post–your cottage looks like a place you’ve lived in for much longer than a year. Seriously. Nothing looks rushed.

    So, pat yourself on the back and celebrate the cottage anniversary with some bubbly, ya hear?

  33. Happy Cottageversary! Thanks for letting us all tag along!

  34. Such an amazing transformation, and wonderful to see it all as a single post! Pat yourself on the back, girl. You done good.

  35. Congrats Naomi! You have turned it in to a masterpiece of gorgeousness. 🙂

  36. Rebecka

    I LOVE the guest room and bathroom! And the lounge is already my favorite place.

  37. I love your home. And I love that you share it with us.

    Speaking of which, what did you end up doing with your front door on the outside? I’m curious to see how your grounds are coming along. Since I’m not an actual neighbor, I can’t snoop on my own.

    Help a virtual neighbor out? xoxo

    • Naomi

      Oh gawd the front door is a disaster right now. It’s half black, half red. And the front yard is half mulch/overgrown plantings and half grass. I’ll do better next year?
      I’ll snap some “progress” shots! 🙂

  38. Happy anniversary! You’ve done so much already and it has been great fun watching you put your personal stamp on a great space. Well done!

Leave a Comment