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Design Ideas
A Cottage of Many Colors
Daisy Cottage’s décor is as bright and cheerful as its name.
Many homeowners shy away from experimenting with bold colors in their paint and décor. Kimberly McCole is not one of them. In fact, she looks for opportunities to make each interior and exterior space in her 1922 Lakeland, Florida, cottage bungalow come alive with color. The self-described photographer/artist/writer and homemaker always admired the charming, old... Keep Scrolling
Written by Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography and Styling by Kimberly McCole


Many homeowners shy away from experimenting with bold colors in their paint and décor. Kimberly McCole is not one of them. In fact, she looks for opportunities to make each interior and exterior space in her 1922 Lakeland, Florida, cottage bungalow come alive with color.

Home with a bright yellow exterior and white trim
BRIGHT IDEA. Kimberly painted the home’s faded façade a bright, bold yellow (Valspar’s “Beach Umbrella” in SR610). “I love when a home’s exterior is a preview of what’s inside,” she says. The green buffet is a vintage French provincial style she found at a Goodwill store and painted green. “I love to put indoor furniture on the porch,” Kimberly says. “I think of it as another room in the house.”

The self-described photographer/artist/writer and homemaker always admired the charming, old cottages she would drive past over the years. Finally, one day, one of them became hers.

Wicker furniture under thrift store quilts
COZY & CONCEALED. In the laundry porch at the back of the house, Kimberly cleverly concealed the washer and dryer behind louvered doors and yard sale wicker furniture under thrift store quilts. The aqua dresser, a contrast to the red table, was a yard sale find. “I don’t follow any color wheel,” Kimberly points out. “I just go by what I like.”
Rocking chair, table, and buffet table on a front porch
PORCH APPEAL. The swing that attracted Kimberly when she first saw the house still graces the front porch. The round table was formerly her kitchen table that she moved outside. The terracotta floor tiles relate to the terracotta pots inside the home. These tiles are found in many houses and restaurants in the area.

“A ‘for sale’ sign was planted in the tiny front yard of a faded yellow cottage, and I asked my husband to pull into the driveway. As we got out of the car, our eyes saw a huge front porch with a white swing beckoning us to try it out. We did, and that was all it took for my heart to fall in love with it. I had been living in a house just like this one, but only in my dreams.”

A basket of yellow flowers on a black, distressed table
MAKE A STATEMENT. This view is the back of the family room. Kimberly found the old table, painted it black and distressed it. “I chose black paint to ground the other colors and to make a statement,” she explains. The green French cabinet houses Fiestaware dishes and was originally white.
Flowers in a vase on top of a table covered in a vintage tablecloth
COLOR BLOCKING. The sitting room represents the last remaining yellow wall in the house. A vintage tablecloth conceals books stacked underneath the table. “I like to stack books in the same color to create a color block,” Kimberly says. The toile draperies are from Etsy, and the wall sconce was found at the Fancy Flea, where Kimberly is the photographer.

As soon as she and her husband, Kevin, and all their pets moved in, Kimberly couldn’t wait to pull out her palettes and express both herself and her home’s character with color.

Dining room with a vintage picnic table and two wing chairs
PAINTED PERFECTION. The dining room illustrates Kimberly’s talent for mixing colors, textures and patterns. She chose a narrow vintage picnic table to give the small space more room to walk around in. The two wing chairs were Facebook Marketplace finds. Kimberly painted their legs green for a fresh look and chalk-painted the originally dark-brown rattan chairs in a bright-green color. She painted the lamp bases in the same coral color as the cabinet. The dresser stores linens and table décor. The throw pillows are from Fancy Flea.

“When I first saw the house, I knew the exterior would truly shine in a bold yellow,” she says. “Its architecture is bold, and I felt it could handle that and be at home in the Florida sunshine! I adore color and nature—I have to have both in my life—and while I have changed colorful walls to a soothing white in the past few years, I still dot lots of color and odes to nature all around my rooms with painted furniture, colorful fabrics, florals (real and faux) and art. If they go together in nature, they can go together in your home.”

Fireplace mantel surrounded by framed vintage botanicals on the wall
GATHERED FLORALS. This view of the sitting room features the fireplace mantel surrounded by Kimberly’s collection of framed vintage botanicals she acquired over time and hung as a grouping. The chair at right was found online, and the floral pillows are from Etsy. The fireplace mantel was purchased at June Taylor, a vintage eclectic shop in Lakeland.
Flower pots on a French armoire
MORE IS MORE. A dining room wall displays pots on a French armoire. Kimberly distressed it to house all of her china. Organically weathered clay pots bring the outside in. “More is more when grouped together to make a bold statement,” Kimberly says.
A sitting room with a pink floral chair and a pink vintage cabinet
SENTIMENTAL SWANS. Kimberly collects swans because they’re her city’s mascot. “The queen of England gave Lakeland its first pair of swans, and they are part of our town’s heritage,” she says. In the sitting room at right, a cabinet showcases more swans. The pink cabinet was a vintage find Kimberly used to store tableware for entertaining.

Seasonal Style

Kimberly always loved cottage style and carries that theme throughout the rooms.

“I seek and gather treasures with that aesthetic in mind and let them play together pretty much organically, with things changing quite often to fit the mood and seasons of the calendar and life. Each room has evolved over the 17 years that we have lived here, but I do stay true to cottage style—and color will always be in play,” she explains.

Pink floral vintage couch
HATS OFF. The family room is where everyone gathers to watch TV and relax on the vintage sofa, so Kimberly wanted to create a comfortable, family-friendly ambience. A hat collection adds classic character to a wall.

The home’s décor reflects Kimberly’s bright personality and lifestyle.

Green pine cabinet next to a black chalkboard wall
CHICKENS AND SOUP. A green pine cabinet from which Kimberly removed the doors houses her cookbooks and chicken collections in the kitchen. On a black chalkboard wall, vintage shutters display aprons.

“It’s important to me for my home to feel warm and welcoming and for everything to be comfortable while, at the same time, pretty and charming,” she says. “I choose family-/pet-friendly furnishings and antique pieces that are not too precious but can be enjoyed the same as thrift store painted ones” (for instance, ceramic roosters perch on kitchen cabinets, vintage curtains hang in sun-drenched windows, and cherished collections fill the rooms).

Black chalkboard wall and a brass chandelier
CHALKBOARD CHARM. This view from the kitchen into the family room reveals a black accent wall Kimberly painted with chalkboard paint you can write on. “I left it as is (without writing) for a dramatic background and to ground the wall items,” she says. Kimberly found the brass chandelier at Habitat for Humanity for under $10 and added crystals for an elegant touch.
A wall with paintings of fruits and flowers
CURATED COLLECTIONS. The family room’s gallery wall started with one amateur art fruit painting and grew into a collection over time.
A teepee made from fabrics and sticks
KIDS PLAY. Kimberly’s creative thinking is evident in the closet door she cut in half to make a Dutch door so her granddaughters could put on puppet shows. Her sister, Jill, made the teepee from fabric and sticks.
A cat on top of a piano
KITTY-APPROVED. Family pet Buffy the cat relaxes in the dining room on top of the piano.

Worn to Perfection

The kitchen displays many of Kimberly’s cottage décor philosophies: “We wanted to give the stock kitchen cabinets a warmer, more custom feel and did so simply by painting them black and white to mirror the backsplash tiles and adding molding to the top,” she points out. “We added the butcher block countertops last year and chose a rich, dark stain for added warmth.

A kitchen with black and white cabinets and a black and white checkered backsplash
KITCHEN RECIPE. The bold, checkered backsplash was already in the eat-in kitchen when the family moved in. However, Kimberly put her special stamp on the Home Depot stock cabinets by painting the upper cabinets white and the bottom cabinets black to elevate them. She also added molding, distressed some of the doors and added chicken wire.

“Florals come out to play in the kitchen, showing up in the vintage curtains hung in the window and on the antique tole trays hung on the chalkboard wall. The ceiling was painted blue, as in the dining room, as a nod to nature. I love collecting chickens and cookbooks, and having the open cupboard to store and display them makes that fun, especially when they’re painted green!

“I wanted the kitchen to feel like home and welcoming to all. Dishes and coffee cups are at the ready, and an old marble table on wheels can be used for an island or meals and conversation. The floors are original 1922 heart-pine floors and are precious to me—worn to perfection, I would say!”

Heaven on Earth

The rest of the home showcases Kimberly’s penchant for infusing every space with color, character and charm.

A bedroom with floral bedding, a green table, and a blue vase
SWEET SUITE. The words, “love you,” are meant for Kimberly’s granddaughters’ suite, which doubles as a guest room. She spray-painted the Hobby Lobby letters in red. A vintage quilt makes cozy bedding.
A vintage red suitcase standing at the foot of a bed
A vintage red suitcase at the foot of an Ikea bed blends old and new.

“I used the same favorite things in all the rooms—flowers, pillows, candles, books, linens, painted furniture, antique pieces, and art and figurines (such as swans), which are meaningful to me, mixing them without overthinking it,” she explains.

Religious artifacts above a mantel in a bedroom
Religious artifacts complement the colors on the bed in the main bedroom. The fireplace mantel adds to the serene ambience.

One of Kimberly’s favorite places to spend time at home is on the front porch.

“We chose the boldest, happiest yellow paint for the outside of Daisy Cottage and planted lots of Gerber daisies,” she says. “Two white rocking chairs don our front porch and provide the perfect place to sit for quiet evening chats and watching the neighbors pass by, the birds bathing in the bird bath and squirrels frolicking in the trees. It’s like heaven, and life is good.”

Stacks of gardening books and a flower pot on a vintage table
Stacks of gardening books on a vintage table Kimberly distressed liven up a small center hall.

Resources

To learn more about Kimberly, her photography and painting, visit her on Instagram: @imagerybykimberly.

  • Front door green paint: Sherwin-Williams “Tailpot Palm” (HGSW1272); lowes.com
  • Yellow house paint: Valspar “Beach Umbrella” (SR610); valspar.com
  • Vintage brass wall sconce with candles in sitting room: The Fancy Flea; fancyflea.net or (863) 712-3278
  • Mantel in sitting room: June Taylor; junetaylorshop.com or (863) 670-2154
  • Picnic table, clay pots, painting above aqua wine cabinet in dining room: June Taylor; junetaylorshop.com or (863) 670-2154
  • Green paint on rattan chairs in dining room: Fusion Mineral Paint in “Upper Canada,” June Taylor; junetaylorshop.com or (863) 670-2154
  • Coral dresser in dining room: June Taylor; junetaylorshop.com or (863) 670-2154
  • Teepee in guest room/girls’ suite: Created and sewn by Jill Steinbauer
  • Bedding in guest room/girls’ suite: The Fancy Flea; fancyflea.net or (863) 712-3278
  • Marble-topped table in kitchen: June Taylor; junetaylorshop.com or (863) 670-2154

Feeling inspired by Kimberly’s style? Check out “8 Ways to Add Cottage Charm with Garden Flowers and Fruit.”

And of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and, Pinterest to get your daily dose of cottage inspiration!

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