It's so much fun to see how different people live across the country. Brenda is the blogger behind Cozy Little House
and a self-described "homebody". It's easy to see why - she has surrounded herself with the things she loves. Each item has a story and has been lovingly created or collected, and displayed, by Brenda herself. In fact, Brenda's "About Me" on her blog describes the feeling of her blog so perfectly that I feel compelled to quote it in full:
My cozy little house sits amongst tall pine trees in East Texas. I'm surrounded by the quilts I've stitched and little trinkets I've picked up along the way. You can find me in my garden or feeding the birds and squirrels. Or right here reading your blogs, with one dog in my lap and the other one keeping my feet warm. And probably a cat or two nearby as well.
Another thing that's wonderful
about Brenda's blog is that it's not just about stuff
. She incorporates living things into her descriptions as well. It could be a pet dog, whatever is blooming in the garden, the forest or a bird that stopped by for a snack. The blog transports you to another place. A place that is relaxed and breezy, where whimsy rules and makes one feel right at home.
Please tell us about your first meeting with your house.
My first meeting with this house was when we were planning to movehere to Tyler and we were looking for a house to at first rent. My husband is a doctor and had been transferred here. We had one day to look and only looked at a couple of places. But I fell in love with this older garden home. I loved the privacy features, even though we're one block away from the biggest road in town. I knew it had good "bones." I just had a good feeling about this house. There would be a lot of work, but I knew I could turn this into a fantastic property. After three years renting, we purchased it two years ago. That's when the real renovation began, and hasn't stopped since.
What are your favorite styles? Colors?
I'm a color gal. Color makes me smile. I have lots of red. I have made many quilts over the years, the old-fashioned homespun sort, so I've incorporated
those rich primary colors into my home. I'd have to say my favorite style is just an eclectic mix of everything. I like vintage items and antiques. I like what has staying power. I'm not into trends. I don't have a definite style. I just choose what I like and make it work.
Please tell us about a spot in your house that makes you happy/proud.
We've redone every single room in this house. And the yard to boot. The bathrooms were gutted. We had professionals for all that. I don't do the actual structures myself. I'd say my garden room/office and my yard. That's where I spend the bulk of my time. I love my new pavilion, where I can enjoy the birds and the new waterfall. And my garden room/office was simply a closed-in patio with concrete floors, a drain in the middle, one outdoor wall, and outdoor siding. (Which is why it got dubbed The Garden Room, and the name stuck.) It has been absolutely transformed into a room I love to spend time in.
What is your precious accessory/furniture/art?
I have four indoor pets, and they are allowed on any piece of furniture in this house. I don't care for expensive furniture and art. I decorate with what I use, say, in crafts and sewing, into the decorating
elements of a room. My old Singer Featherweight sewing machine, that I use to sew on to this day, is one of my favorite possessions. It's very old and heavy (though small) and a real work horse. My quilts are precious to me because I hand-sewed and hand-quilted every one. Lots of love went into those stitches! My most precious things are ones I've repurposed from something meant to be entirely different. Or it already has served its purpose as one thing, and still has life left in it for something else.
What's your next house project?
I will always have a project going. But now I'm going to spend the bulk of my time working outdoors. The structures have been completed (pavilion, decks, waterfall, fence). So I'm going to take my time and create lots of little gardens and incorporate more miniature fairy gardens into my landscape. Maybe add more water features and plants. Since we live so close to a main thoroughfare, and they just built a two-story bank across the street from my house (thus my new eight foot fence), I want to block out noise as best I can. My yard is a nationally certified wildlife habitat
. Which just goes to show you, you can nurture and help nature no matter where you live. They keep tearing down trees for buildings. And I keep adding bird houses and abodes for these creatures who are quickly losing their natural homes to construction.
What are five things that Houzz readers need to know about your blog?
I'm rather whimsical about what I show on my blog. It might be a Wal-mart dish drainer turned into a file system. I have an old potting bench I bought at a consignment shop that serves in my kitchen
as a place to hang pots and pans. I'm never going to have a "decorator's show house." (So if you're looking for that, don't make this stop). I might showcase furniture I've decoupaged (like the old child's school desk). So one, I'm going to show how I repurpose things. Two, making things cozy is what I'm about. And that will be the bulk of my blog. Three, I'm going to continue to feature new blogs (I'm always on the look out for them) every Friday. Which over time has come to be called Welcome Wagon Friday. Like in former days when the Welcome Wagon lady came to your door when you first moved in. Remember them? I'm the Welcome Wagon Lady of the blogosphere. I want to give new and possibly struggling blogs exposure, and to help them grow. Four, I'm a "tell it like it is" gal, and that will never change. And five, I consider my blog as part of the online neighborhood. I want folks to visit, to chat and ask questions, to ask for help, and to know I'm as down to earth as it gets.
For instance, a fellow blogger in another country needed one roll of wallpaper she couldn't get shipped there. So recently she asked if I'd mind ordering it online and shipping it to her. I took this one roll of
wallpaper to the post office to ship to another part of the world. Boy, did I get strange looks! So, I'm very approachable!
What's your best tip for the remodeling beginner?
Don't bite off more than you can chew if you can help it. Get the professionals in for jobs that could potentially cause fires if done improperly. (We once lived just four days in a house, and during a snow
storm, we had an electrical fire and lost much of the roof. Due to someone having previously done a do-it-yourself job installing kitchen lighting.) Don't be afraid to ask anyone and everyone for ideas and answers to questions. It doesn't hurt to ask, and on the internet, someone will know your answer!
Thanks so much for opening your home to us Brenda!
Last but not least: as a Houzz friend, Brenda has chosen a Pottery Barn giveaway gift card to one of the lucky readers that will share their thoughts about her house and interview.
For your chance to win the $50 Pottery Barn gift card selected by Brenda, comment on this interview by Sunday, April 11, at 5pm EST.