The cottage. My big project of 2020.

 I am long over due to report my big project for last year.    So here we go...

The first week of January 2020  I set a goal to fix up a cottage on the property.  For those who are newer, this station (which is Australian for ranch, I guess) is my parents.    We have been here almost two and a half years.    My Dad invited us to live here and he fixed up the house for me.  He had a dream for the whole family to come back to the farm. It was the best thing of all time.   It also gave me precious time with Dad.  We had over a year here with him monitoring our progress and coming for many many cups of tea,  to pinch spinach from the garden and take some eggs as he went on his way.    He had his special chair at his special table and his own cup and saucer.   If I did'nt answer the door he came in and put the kettle on.  One time I came back from collecting the eggs and he opened the door for me and said "come in!"  

Of course at the start of last year I didn't know about Covid and what else we would face and the biggest thing we faced was losing Dad.

I am glad Dad knew about my plans and saw them coming along.  He cast his eye over all we were doing and he, who worked harder than any person I ever know, said "don't work too hard."   This is quite a compliment from him.  

I have not posted photos before as really the cottage is not beautiful or fancy or shady chic.   It is just a dump improved.  haha! 

When we came here this cottage was in such bad shape a few people said I should burn it down.   And it was pretty bad.   But we had builders at our house and I asked them to look and see if the cottage was basically structurally ok?   And they said it was fine.   So with that I thought to turn a massive eye sore and mess into an asset.  

It is now a comfortable and lovely little cottage.   And it is not an eyesore anymore,  which is good as we pass it to come in to our place as does everyone who comes here.

Now to give you the general idea here are some before photos and a video.  

All the stuff on the floor is dead flies and bees. Someone broke the front door and then left it open for years.  

Here is some laundry inspiration for you.

The bathroom was basically the same. 

I did not do this all by myself. I hired two young guys for several Saturdays.   They pulled out the carpet which was a very heavy job.   We had a huge bonfire with that.   They moved out the furniture and drier and old stove etc.

All year I collected things from the op shops and Buy, Swap and Sell on FB.  I had the goal that the cottage would have everything for five people.  Five cups, five plates, knives, forks and so on... cookware, toaster, kettle and everything you need in a kitchen.  This is also how I found an old table and chairs,  coffee tables, beds and a leather lounge.    As I accumulated things we stored them in the shed for the day it could all go into the cottage.   The only things I bought new we light fittings and a fridge.  

Beneath the putrid carpet were nice wooden floor boards!   Once we had things back to bare bones we were half way there. 

We painted everything.  It was so filthy before that I just want it to look CLEAN! 

The setting is very pretty as it looks out over paddocks, gum trees and sheep and cattle.

We put up a little rain water tank,  and got the power re connected and all that kind of stuff.

As I collected things I tried to keep the theme "down on the farm" style.  

It was a fun project to collect everything.   

I have tried to think of everything you need in a house, like a can opener and egg flip and all the random things you don't think of until you need them.

I used a lot of things I had or could pick up.  We used deer antlers to hang kitchen towels and hand towels.   

As I collect more I will put a big basket of pinecones on the veranda,  dried wildflowers inside,  a bowl of feathers and gum nuts I pick up. 

Like any project it is never exactly over as you add to it.   But now we have an asset.  A useful asset.  Left longer it probably have deteriorated beyond repair. 

It is scary to take on a big project.  The year before we moved here I painted by whole house in Adelaide in a year.   Once you announce the plan you are kind of committed to it.   But broken down into 52 weeks it wasn't that bad.  In the case of painting my house it wasn't that good either as I got tennis elbow in both arms! haha! 

I guess it would be my biggest "put it to good use" or "make the most of it" project.   I realise not everyone is lucky enough to inherit a cottage.  I am very blessed.   
But also the principal is basically the same with anything we do.    There are times I strongly feel a message come to me over and over.   Lately that message is to make the most of our time.  To be good stewards with out time, opportunities, talents and what we have.   If you have a one meter patch of garden then be a good steward of that.   Nothing is ever perfect.  It doesn't have to be.  We can instead make the most if it as we can.  I could say I have poor garden soil.   (Because I do!) But instead we work constantly to improve that soil.   Mostly this is free to do and just taking opportunities.   One day I will say my garden soil is pretty good! 

Well, for those that asked,  that is my cottage story.  I think I should call it a hut.  It is more of a hut. 

I have a list of goals for 2021 but nothing as big as this project!   I am happy and proud we did it though! xxx


  1. The cottage is beautiful and welcoming. Now that it's finished, what is its purpose? Guest cottage, "she-shed"? It was definitely worth your tim

  2. What a wonderful project. It is warm and welcoming. What will you do with? What is its purpose? Guest cottage? "She-shed"? Definitely worth the effort 💗💗💗

  3. Lovely!! Would love to see more. Great upcycle project. Now who is going to live there? Are you going to sublet it out? Farm hands?
    You did a great job.

  4. Wonderful work. It looks great.

  5. it's beautiful & it's heritage! am so glad you saved it! love all the antiques & vintage items you've put in it to make it an inviting home, so, what now? are you renting it out, a weekender or just just for guests?
    you are most fortunate to have a lovely farm to, not many farm families handed their farms down to the kids as most probably didn't want it; wish i had a farm
    love reading about your farm fancies & every day life
    thanx for sharing

  6. It is lovely! I am so impressed. I would love to spend a night or a week there.

  7. It turned out very pretty and very functional. And definitely a big asset. Job well done !

  8. How happy that place must be to have a new life! That is a major accomplishment - you done good!! It has beautiful views (as you said) and even it's own rain tank! Who wouldn't love a stay there? Like what you said about even 1 sq. meter of land for a garden, make the most of it. Love, Mary in SD

  9. WOW! What an incredible and beautiful transformation! I love it! What are your plans for this lovely cottage?

  10. Your cottage makeover is amazing, Annabel. I love that you saved it and bought previously owned items to rest in this cottage; a work of love. You are such an inspiration to all. May God bless your every endeavor.
    With love,

  11. It is lovely, not a hut at all. Some thing to be proud of. Well done. God Bless

  12. That was quite a project and I think it has turned out just beautifully. You must feel proud of the work that you have put in to make it so homey and welcoming.

  13. Your cottage looks charming. Well done! You did an amazing job.

  14. Wow, that turned out cute as could be. Kudos!

  15. Wow! Annabel ! That was a mammoth project and goal given how your 2020 year went . What a lovely asset , no words to describe your hard work , go you 🎉 with love Maria xxx

  16. Dear Annabel,

    Good on you! I absolutely cannot believe how awful it was before you cleaned it all up...that IS a big project! And now, like you say, you have an asset! You are definitely an inspiration to us all!

    xx Jen in NS

  17. Oh I loved seeing this transformation and I loved that you sourced everything 2nd hand and the theme was down on the farm....would love to see more pics inside now it's finished. What a wonderful achievement and a great project to work on in 2020.

  18. Well done you! 👏
    You are such an inspiration!
    I still scratch my head at how you find the time and energy for all that you do.
    The cottage looks amazing and will now become an asset. I wonder what God has in store for it. A little voice in my head is telling me that one day you will post about how fortunate you were to have extra accommodation available (for some purpose) but it won’t be good fortune it will be good forward thinking, being prepared and taking action!!

  19. It's a lovely little house!

  20. Congratulations on a job well done! I can see why your dad cautioned you. You are one busy lady...the blog, sewing, cooking, op shopping, gardening and the rest.

  21. Dear Annabel, I am sure your Dad is smiling down on you and all your hard work! You are preserving his life's work for now and all the future generations of his family! You are an amazing woman!!!! xoxo, Holley

  22. Dear Annabel
    I think it's wonderful that you saw past the appearances at first look and took advantage of "saving" it :)
    With such uncertainty these days, I think you did the right thing in keeping it.
    Have a great week!
    Heidi xxx

  23. How fantastic ! I didn’t think I would enjoy anything as much as your animal photos and stories but I thought this was lovely, taking an old cottage and giving it life again! Well done! Thank you for posting! Your blog is really well written and useful, I look every week for updates and have learned so much. I started a pantry a few years ago, and you wrote a blog back then saying how strongly you felt the need to improve your pantry, and I had felt the I did. Thankfully we were in decent shape when Covid arrived. Thanks again, this blog really makes a difference.

  24. oh that is so very lovely!! I esp love the table and the cups! But how wonderful to restore this cottage! That's really lovely!

  25. What a transformation! Love the look of those wooden floors, I can just imagine sitting out in the shady porch and looking at the beautiful scenery. Good job!

  26. Fabulous! That cottage is beautiful, and I think it definitely counts as a cottage :)

  27. Oh Yeah! So happy to hear you have finished that large task, and what an amazing improvement you have made, and on a budget!

  28. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for sharing and well done! You did a fantastic job. It is lovely. The timing of everything in your life still amazes me (although it shouldn't as I know it is because you follow God's promptings). Given your growing family I am sure the Huttage (Combination Cottage and Hut) will be put to good use. I have been thinking about Winter preparation at my house. As soon as February ended Summer said goodbye here. I pulled out a few blankets I want to wash this week. Love Clare

  29. Truly a labour of love, hard work and vision. Lovely to behold, Annabel!

  30. What a sweet little cottage! You should be proud of your hard work and ingenuity for furnishings and decor!

    I look at that space and think, wow! Wouldn’t that make a great quilting studio! I second the notion of it being a wonderful she-shed!

  31. Hi Annabel,

    What a wonderful idea to clean it up and make a nice little cottage out of that space! You did a really nice job and now it is useful and sparkly clean!

    Hope you have a great day,

  32. Debby in Kansas USA5 March 2021 at 08:29

    It's wonderful! And you can never know when it might be needed. Having it ready for that just-in-case is as wise as keeping a good pantry. Congrats on a job well done. I could easily see myself renting such a small place like that just for the experience, like a week-long dude ranch.

  33. Annabelle it is beautifully done. I do realize it's not yet finished in your eyes but it is lovely truly. Five people hmmm? Perhaps your other girl and her children and partner?

  34. Love your work thanks for sharing .


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