I love blogs that tell the story of a house – from the less-than-desirable beginnings to the oh-so-beautiful reveals! Those kind of blogs are so fun to follow, watching the homeowners struggling with their choices, broadcasting their mistakes, and then finally, proudly showing off the finished product. And even more impressive about these renovations, is that all the labor is usually done by the blogger and her DH (dear husband to you and me) – amazing. The Lettered Cottage is just that blog – it tells the story of a cozy cottage in Alabama being transformed before our very eyes.
But there’s a lot more to The Lettered Cottage than just the cute house - add into the mix a practicing interior designer who specializes in online-renovations: you email her photos of your house and then she sends you back a plan, with photoshopped pictures of what your new room will look like and she even includes sources for all the furniture you need to buy! She’s been blogging for just under a year, and she’s one of the most popular out there – you can’t help but love her infectious spirit and boundless energy. She adores the coastal style – all beadboard with burlap and linen and touches of blue and black, with seashells and baskets mixed in with stripes and tortoiseshell blinds. She especially loves the look of letters and numbers and has a company that specializes in her hand-made products. She’s a rising star in Alabama and on the blogosphere as well, and soon, hopefully, hopefully! on TV.
Her name is Layla, and yes, she was named after Eric Clapton’s Layla – so you can guess how young she is! She’s as beautiful as she is talented and I was thrilled when she asked if she could interview me – beyond thrilled! I’m always bugging Layla with questions about her photoshop skills – she’s become quite adept at it – so I leapt at the chance to pay her back for all my bothersome emails. But mostly I admire and adore her (who doesn’t?) - so I am so happy to be a small part of The Lettered Cottage for a day. The interview is here – be sure to check it out – the questions were thought provoking and interesting, just like Layla!
Here are a few pictures of the transformation of Layla’s Lettered Cottage:
BEFORE: The Lettered Cottage’s kitchen as it was when Layla and her musician husband Kevin bought the house. OK – so what would YOU do with this? How would you remodel this kitchen?
AFTER: Well, you could do what Layla did – put in new hardwoods, nice and dark, take off the cabinet doors and paint them black. Then add a crown to the upper boxes and put decorative corbels along the bottom. Install beadboard, new hardware, and accessorize! I can just hear Layla now: “I’m going to put in stainless appliances and a new countertop next!” There’s always something she has plans to soon do. Take your time - I think it’s beautiful just like it is – and an incredible makeover, don’t you agree?
A close up showing the new corbels and recently installed beadboard. I love how Layla accessorizes – with baskets and white dishes and her beloved letters and numbers! The corbels cost just $9 each – but the change they madeto the room is enormous!
The other side of the kitchen has a hutch which she redid with new hardware and a lime green interior.
This could be a picture from a magazine – it is styled so perfectly!
BEFORE: Seriously –what would you do with a room that once was a bathroom and measures just 6’ x 6’? Look at it as it was when Layla bought her house – before she turned it into the Reading Room!
AFTER: How cute is this? Layla calls it the Reading Room, I would probably take naps here! Notice how she painted the walls in white and taupe stripes which help to visually widen the tiny room. Instead of a door taking up precious space, Layla uses burlap curtains, inside and outside. She added bamboo shades for texture and the bedding is perfect! Of course she has a list of things she wants to add – a chandelier, a quilt – but to me, I just ADORE this room!!!!!!! (Layla this would make a cute nursery? haha!!!)
BEFORE: The living room with old white carpet and knotty pine, which of course, Layla will turn into an asset. She looks so busy here – plotting and planning!
AFTER: Look how gorgeous the pine is painted white! It really adds such a cottagey and beachy feel to the house. And the piano adds a touch of glamour – remember, her husband is a musician who travels the country with his band. The large mirror reflects the media cabinet which is painted black and accessorized with baskets. The hardwoods were stained dark brown, but Layla was recently hinting she may make them a little lighter brown to match her tortoiseshell blinds.
Another view of the gorgeous paneling and such a cute lamp!!!
I love her shades – she gets hers from Bed Bath and Beyond. I get mine at Target! I think I like hers better than mine!
This isn’t the first house Layla and Kevin remodeled together. Check out her blog to see the mid-century styled house they just moved from. The transformation is amazing, for sure. Also, when you visit her blog, be sure to see all the before & after pictures of her virtual and real-life design jobs she’s done. Thank you Layla so much for the including me in your blog – it is such a thrill for to be a part of the The Lettered Cottage.
AND: just in case you need more of Cote de Texas (I know you are just dying for more!) – read my interview with Click 2 Houston’s Lauren and Owen here. Lauren Freeman and Owen Conflenti anchor the morning news on the local NBC channel here in Houston. Lauren recently gave birth to a precious little boy and she shows us his nursery – not to be missed, people! You HAVE to see his Fortuny-laden bedroom. Only in Texas! Thank you Lauren and Owen for including Cote de Texas!
AND- wait, there’s more!!!!! Southern Accents magazine – my absolute favorite - (someone please kill me if they ever stop publishing), recently started a column called “Miss Gracious Living” and yep! – they interviewed moi (here), the most gracious host and southern belle of all times. Stop laughing! I really came up with some good tips for this one - I am giving out helpful hints on entertaining (gotta love that one!) and housekeeping, all done very graciously, of course. In all seriousness, editor Karen Carroll pleasantly surprised me (shocked would be a more accurate word) when she asked me to be the first Miss Gracious Living! As you all know, Southern Accents is my bible, so I was more than happy, make that ecstatic, to be included in their online site. Alas, good things must end, and I had to graciously relinquish my title to Courtney of Style Court and return to my slob-filled life. My reign was short – but walking around knowing that I, Cote de Texas, was Miss Gracious Living, made me just a little bit more polite and soft-spoken for awhile. Thank you so much Karen, for including me, I hope I didn’t disappoint!! As an aside, Southern Accents web site just gets better and better. It’s become a wonderful addition to the magazine and a must-read for me. If you haven’t visited it in awhile, take a look around, I think you’ll be very pleased with it!