If you didn’t take a gander yesterday, I posted about some ideas I had brewing around in my head for ways to create architectural interest in our basic cookie cutter house. And even though some like to take a stab at the cookie cutter basic house, I’m going to defend it- I love our house. It was the cheapest we could get for the most square footage and the best location with the biggest perk of all- new! But even I have to admit, there is something about walking into an old, loved-for-generations cottage. My husband always talks about the house he grew up in where is parents currently live. They call it The Big Yellow House and there’s a reason it’s a proper noun; it has a lot of character and its solid foundation has seen a lot of action in over a hundred years. It was built in 1904! It has seen times of trouble and times of joy, births and marriages, and a century of Christmas visits.
The Big Yellow House
Although, Barb and Ernie, my in-laws, have also used a lot of elbow-grease and money to keep it in working order, and THAT is the part that I’m glad we don’t have to tackle in our cookie cutter. I can’t create a history as rich as this one has for my own house, but I can sure as heck try to give it some of the character.
I’m not sure if we’ll ever have the funds to make these projects happen, but here are some ideas to add old charm to an otherwise blank builder-grade house.
1. Faux Wood Beams
This product find made me giddy. Even my toddler looked at me like I was crazy when I did my happy dance. I don’t know if I’ve been living in a hole seeing as how I’m a new homeowner, but whoever came up with this concept was genius. Despite their heavy, reclaimed wood look, these beams are actually hollow, lightweight, easy to cut and install, and much cheaper than the real thing. Tutorials here.
It does so much for a room.
2. Air Stone
This stuff I definitely hope to use one day on an accent wall, on a tub surround, or even above our faux mantle that I posted about yesterday here. You can buy an 8 square foot box at Lowe’s for under $50. It’s every rustic-decor lover’s dream. The stones can be easily cut with a hacksaw and pressed to the wall with pre-mixed adhesive. Rather than days, this project could take just hours and create tons of texture for an otherwise plain room. Tutorial here.
3. Wood Planked Wall
I posted about this yesterday, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s times like these when I find myself wishing I had a little boy because a pallet wall would be so adorable for a little outdoorsy themed bedroom. (But sorry, Mom, baby #2 is not in the plan.) Tutorial here.
Even better, if the natural wood is too dark for you, it can be painted or washed! Laminate floor plans do the job too.
4. Paint Cabinets
This project is definitely for the brave at heart, but if you truly want to be rid of that builder grade oak, this big project is transformational. Adding molding to the tops can create more detail and height too. This before and after floors me every time I see it. If you’re willing to do it yourself, The Kim Six Fix does an incredible tutorial.
5. Butcher Block Countertops
This touch just screams old country cottage, and you’ll never guess where you can find these bad boys: the modern decor mecca, Ikea. These DIY countertops pictured cost $40! Find the tutorial here.
6. Beadboard Wallpaper
A tell-tale sign of an old cottage is the presence of beadboard, and y’all there is this beautiful thing called beadboard wallpaper. You can put it on walls, ceilings, cabinets, bookshelves, backsplashes, wherever your little heart sings for that little extra detail. It can even be painted if you choose to make it a different color other than white.
7. Board and Batten / Picture Frame Wainscotting
Believe it or not, this project is a not-too-pricey overhaul that can add tons of dimension to any space. Centsational Girl has a very thorough tutorial too.
Life on Virginia Street
8. Framing Builder Grade Mirrors
This little trim can add so much to a bathroom. And in this tutorial, you even get more storage! Plus, it’s under $60 to do, and you don’t even need to remove the pre-existing builder grade mirror.
9. Reclaimed Lumber Laminate
For reeeaaaaal? Laminate? How gorgeous is this flooring? This is a new product by Armstrong Flooring that already has a hand-hewn-like distressed finish. Kids and pets aren’t a problem in that sense. 😉 Distress away, kiddos! I don’t know if I’ll ever get my hands on this stuff for my own house, but if I do, it’ll be glorious. There are all sorts of colors and finishes, but this one is my favorite:
10. Cottage-Style Lighting
Old, classic lighting can be found in so many different places: Goodwill, Lowe’s, or of course antique shops. Or you could just paint your old school brass fixtures and turn it into something special. To add some rustic charm, wrap a chandelier with twigs.
The DIY Village
11. Pressed Tin Ceiling
(Okay, so I went over the 10 limit but are you really complaining?)
This project is easier than ever before thanks to plastic “tin” ceiling tiles you can buy at Lowe’s that are cheaper and easier to install than the real deal. You can even add them to appliances or walls for texture and interest.
That’s it for the cottage upgrade round-up! It’s times like these when I wish I could clone myself so that I could tackle all of these great ideas, but I’m hoping some of these tutorials will at least help someone out there. 🙂