When it comes to creating a home that truly makes you happy, vision is everything. When Betsy Glass and her husband bought their cottage in 2012, Betsy could picture it becoming her dream home. It was a model home before, so the walls were bare and plain, and the front yard was just dirt. Working her way from the outside in, she made the cottage into a unique and refreshing cottage retreat they dubbed the “Sleep Inn.”
The home sits in a forested lakeside area in Michigan with only a few other houses in the neighborhood. Betsy, a landscaper and interior designer by trade, relished the opportunity to make her own cottage feel like home. She set out to make it a place for people “to feel like they’re always on vacation.”
The white picket fence, pea-gravel path and hydrangeas greet you with cottage charm as you approach the house. Adirondack chairs and vintage lanterns-turned-lighting-fixtures on the porch invite visitors to sit and enjoy just being here. Take the gravel path to the backyard, and Adirondack chairs again issue an invitation to relax and enjoy the warmth of a fire, good conversation around the fire pit and the great outdoors. Betsy continued this natural, rejuvenating theme in the backyard by lining the border of the in-ground pool with catnip.
Betsy chose the colors throughout the cottage to preserve the light and airy coastal feel. The walls are paitned very light gray or light blue with white trim.
Inside, Betsy aimed to keep it “light and airy” for a coastal feel. She describes her aesthetic as urban cottage—“a farmhouse look with a touch of industrial.” The wood—the home’s exterior and the décor and furniture made of reclaimed wood, barn wood and pallets—creates a rustic and nautical feel, while the simple color scheme and metallic accents provide an urban/industrial vibe. Playful large letters and printed words also add a whimsical modern touch.
Cast the Nets Wide
As a resourceful designer, Betsy knows where to find things. “If I can’t find it, I make it,” she says, and she did make much of her cottage décor and furniture. She also knows the local markets and vendors as well as the larger stores. She loves to pull from everywhere— from local markets and vendors to eBay to World Market. She loves this process and recommends others take their time with it too. “You don’t want to rush and buy everything at once,” Betsy advises, “so you have time to gather or even make unique things.”
Sometimes all it takes is seeing something with new eyes. Pebbles from the beach can fill a glass soda bottle for a whimsical décor accent. A piece of plywood can become wall décor and a pallet can make for a unique display. When shopping for clients, sometimes Betsy lights upon something for her cottage.
Giving herself time allowed her to make and find things that blend together seamlessly. In the enclosed patio, for instance, Betsy made the table herself and distressed the milk paint for an aged look. While out shopping for a client, she found folding chairs at TJ Maxx and recognized they would be perfect with her table. For the master bath, Betsy paired a vintage wooden laundry basket frame with a new cloth bag. She stenciled and painted on the word “Laundry” for a playful touch and to tie the basket in with the other linens with words on them.
Simple and Personal
Betsy chose the colors throughout the cottage to preserve the light and airy coastal feel. The walls are painted very light gray or light blue with white trim. The furnishings and décor are also mainly light, natural tones, mimicking the natural surroundings and allowing sunlight to fill the rooms. This way the pops of color are more striking and memorable.
While Betsy wanted to keep the décor simple, she still found ways to make the home feel personal and unique to her and her husband. They have two dogs; in addition to their handmade feeding station, dog-themed décor weaves its way into several rooms. They also have beach pebbles with hand-painted letters spelling out their last name, “Glass,” punctuated by a paw print. Betsy also had a road sign made that points to their beach in one direction and to the highway in the other, grounding the décor in their geographic location.
You don’t want to rush and buy everything at once,” Betsy advises, “So you have to take time to gather or even make unique things.
Unique or handmade pieces also add a personal touch. A pallet-turned-display adds color and the chance to show off small, beloved items. The use of words also adds a sense of fun and gives you an idea of what Betsy and her husband love about being in their dream cottage—their dogs, good food, dessert, wine and lake life.