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.

35 comments:

Acanthus and Acorn said...

This is an absolutely beautiful home and story! Of course, I may be a tad partial since I too cherish the acorn!!!

eric@ericrossinteriors.com said...

This cottage is PERFECT. It really reflects the trend toward a rebirth in Americana. Love, love, love!

Tracy F. said...

This is exactly what I want! Love, Love, Love it!

Kelly Green said...

I have just done a post on colour but still find this charming cottage delightfully soothing! KG

HAMPTON HOSTESS said...

What a lovely story--its so important to always move forward-have a great day, Barbara

ALL THE BEST said...

I so agree Barbara! Hope you are well.
All the best,
xoxo

ALL THE BEST said...

I am so glad that you all like the story and the charm of this home as much as I do!

Ivorrye01 said...

I love this designer's story! Starting over can be daunting and difficult but she can do it with such great taste!

Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

Ronda,

Just beautiful. Love this house and story. Like the new pic of you too. You look very pretty. Hope you are well.

Gwen

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

Thanks for sharing Susan's story and home. I know what a cathartic experience this renovation must have been for her. She's created a wonderful place to get on with her life. Beautiful!

Peggy and Fritz said...

I am in love with the entry and the bedroom (the whole house actually). I would love to see the before and after especially how you transformed the front of a split level. I always say design is like clothes that make you feel good sometimes it's out with the old and in with the new. Best of luck in your new journey!

Hill Country House Girl said...

Love the story and the house. It is beautiful and warm - wishing Susan a wonderful new chapter in her life.

Karena said...

She has worked wonders with this darling cottage! Adorable and love the garden. Thank you Ronda!

Karena
Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

I adore this style - Susan is really talented and I'd love to see more of her work!

mary said...

I love this story of healing and creating--which are, after all, one and the same. Hope to meet you in LA next week. Thanks for the wonderful post.

casey at loft and cottage said...

Wonderful story and gorgeous, classic house. Thanks so much for sharing. Everything about the designs and story is inspirational!

Mona Thompson said...

I love this house. I will definitely save these images. Really , every room is cozy and wonderful. I could move right in. I love the shutters that flank the front door. They add such charm to the entryway. Great job! Mona Thompson Providence Ltd.

Mary said...

This was wonderful! There just wasn't enough. More, please.

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

I love her story and her gorgeous downsizing.......she sure didn't lose her mind, looks like she found it here. So lovely.

Tammy@InStitches said...

She certainly created a beautiful space for herself, bravo !

The Muddy Dog said...

This is so charming - being a raised ranch, I would love to know what it looks like outside!

Renee Finberg said...

wonderful colors, combined with interesting pieces.
love it.
x

HONEYBEEANDME said...

I LOVE STORIES LIKE THIS......
I HOPE SHE FOUND WHAT SHE WANTED IN THE CHANGE OF LIFE AND HOME...


XXOO
MELISSA

Barbara said...

What a beautiful story of Acorn Cottage. I felt her determination and sense of place. A home of her own.
bg

Kelsey B. said...

what a beautiful home and story!!

La Petite Gallery said...

I really think this is charming and every room beautiful. May there be love and happiness there.

yvonne

Patricia Torres said...

This is such a gorgeous home.. Love how its put together... with sooooo much thought.. Awesome!!

Love your blog!1

Chic Coles said...

Just the name cottage gets us. What an out standing job she has done.

Heather at Satisfying Spaces said...

Well done. My favorite room is the bedroom. Thank you for sharing.

House and Life said...

What beautiful, well lived rooms! Great post.

Renae said...

What a great place...I know she must be comfortable...it has such a fresh appeal!

Lilla Kullan ♥ said...

Just lovely! Beautiful blog.:-) Stina

froulala.blogspot.com said...

Wow, what a beautiful and soulful home. Lovely light and energy. I met Susan at our Withit NY Design Tour http://www.withit.org/ last May and I recall her mentioning about building a cottage. Happy to see it all come together! Your before-after post is inspiring as well!

Jane Schott said...

Before and After's have always been a favorite of mine.

This one was swell....

ArchitectDesign™ said...

A great blend of high and low - not quite a cottage but also not a mansion.Beautiful.