Some people’s travels inspire their décor; others recreate childhood memories through their collections. Sharon Brandt simply focused on her family to find special ways to turn her new house into a cottage style home through light and bright spaces. Scroll down to see more of this colorful vintage cottage filled with antique treasures!
Creating a Colorful Vintage Cottage
The dining area, kitchen and family room compose what Sharon calls the home’s great room. She wanted it to look warm, inviting and “put-your-feet-up comfortable.” She used gray as a neutral color in the family room area. Sharon likes to decorate a shelf for the seasons, holidays and parties by changing accessories.
With a large family, it was very important to me that everyone had a comfortable place to sit together.
From White to Bright
When Sharon and her husband moved into their newly built four-bedroom house in Redlands, California, the walls were white and the floors were carpet and linoleum. “We installed travertine stone on the kitchen floor and engineered plank wood floors in place of the carpeting throughout the rest of the house,” Sharon says.
“I wanted a streamlined, simple look in the kitchen with plain farmhouse Shaker cabinets that have glass inserts. My son, Clayton, installed beadboard, base and crown moldings and mantels. We changed the granite countertops to quartz and painted the walls robin’s-egg blue to add color.”
“Every Sunday we all have dinner in the kitchen together: my husband, our four boys, their spouses and our grandkids. We talk about the week and enjoy each other’s company,” Sharon says. “My daughters-in-law help with the cooking. In addition to the food, we make wonderful memories together. There’s always laughter and children running around. I needed a big kitchen where all that could happen and everyone would feel comfortable.”
This loft houses children’s chairs that Sharon collected for their cute country cottage architectural design. The massive wood piece is a Hoosier cabinet (they were often used as pantries when they were designed many years ago). She purchased it in the 1980s at an antiques mall. The gumball machine was her mother’s. Her mom used to fill it with candy for her grandkids. She hung architectural-salvage pieces on the large wall. “It’s more interesting to have architectural-salvage elements rather than one big picture on the wall,” Sharon says. She found the architectural pieces at thrift and antiques stores to add layers of cottage style.
Sharon explained her decorating approach when faced with a large wall in her colorful vintage cottage. “I like to have one main focal point and leave space on either side of it,” she says. “Start from the center [and move] out, and don’t try to fill up the entire space, because then the eye doesn’t have a place to focus on.” Sharon loves to decorate for Christmas, so she opted for a neutral background so she could change out accessories for the seasons. “Old windows and high-quality, colorful silk florals are my favorite things to decorate with,” she says.
Sharon painted the white master-bedroom walls a more relaxing blue. She sewed curtains and lined them with blackout fabric. She also fashioned the shelf above the bed with corbels she found at an antiques store. To create the shelf, she bought a piece of lumber, distressed it and put a wash on it. Then she hung a transom window over the shelf as an architectural detail. The room features the old windows and silk florals that Sharon loves to decorate with. She uses coral colors to brighten it up for spring and summer, and cream and white for Christmas.
I like to have one main focal point and leave space on either side of it,” she says. “Start from the center [and move] out, and don’t try to fill up the entire space, because then the eye doesn’t have a place to focus on.
Rooms with a Story
The house has two guest rooms. Sharon calls one of them “the pink room,” with its pink and gray color palette. It was also inspired by a family event. When her son, Derek, and his wife, Kailey, got married, their wedding colors were blush and cream.
Sharon put the leftover wedding accessories—which included a mirror, chandelier and pink cabinet that held paper goods—in that room.
Old windows and
silk florals are my favorite things to decorate with.
Repurposing with a Purpose
Sharon shares her tips on giving flea-market finds a second life.
• Think outside the box. Consider different ways to use an item in your décor besides its original intended purpose.
• Look for thrift-store finds that can be repainted or stripped. Incorporate them into your cottage style décor rather than using furniture off the showroom floor.
• Find the best place for your finds. Don’t be afraid to arrange a room, stand back and take a good look at it—and rearrange it multiple times if it doesn’t feel right.