Tuesday, March 16
Susan Anthony's Acorn Cottage
Prompted by an empty nest and a change in marital status, New York based interior designer Susan Anthony decided that she needed a fresh outlook on life and a new place to hang her hat. She envisioned a cottage in the woods with a beautiful garden and all of the amenities of a much larger home. “I needed a house to heal myself and one that felt like a family home. Really, what I wanted was a place to write the next chapter of my family history,” Susan recalls.
Wanting a home that was both small and manageable, she looked at dozens of houses over many months before finding the perfect place. Or, more accurately, Susan found the perfect garden. The house was a tired and ugly affair built in 1950, but the garden and setting were lovely. It was exactly the kind of house she told her agent never to show her—a raised ranch.
I love Susan’s account of finding and renovating her home, and thought that I would let Susan tell you the story in her own words:
The moment I saw this house I knew exactly how to fix and correct its multitude of design deficiencies. After I purchased the house my friends and family thought that I had lost my mind! For a moment, their responses made me think that I had a momentary lapse in judgment, but it was too late to turn around. I was a determined woman who was already in love with her own vision.
I wanted to recover much of the mid century architecture without tearing it down and building new. The day after my bid was accepted I put pencil to paper and designed the entire renovation. I placed my furniture in the plan and started to fill in the blanks. As soon as we closed the work began. I was lucky to have wonderful contractors who completely understood my vision.
We reused much of the original construction and used only products made of recycled materials for the insulation and roofing. We put in energy efficient appliances, windows and doors and recycled the old appliances. All of the old appliances were sent to a charity that reworks them and resells them to lower income families at reduced prices.
Making use of natural resources we sliced through boulders on the property for siding, patios and walls. We then used ground up tiles from the demolished bathrooms for aggregate in the concrete.
When we were finished some nine months later I had added a full bathroom, an entry foyer, a bedroom, a laundry room and four closets just by adding forty- eight inches to my garage and changing some outdated duct work. The master bedroom was expanded to include a sitting room and I was also able to add some storage to my garage and still have plenty of room for my car.
Perched on a hill surrounded by oak trees I chose to name my new home Acorn Cottage after nature’s perfect food - the acorn. This home has fed my soul and nourished my heart.