Last weekend, Beachboy and I enjoyed a getaway weekend at Gorham’s Bluff. It was serene and secluded, a slice of heaven to interrupt our frenzied lives.

Just when we needed it most, Gorham’s Bluff found us and helped us slow down.

The lodge was cozy and comforting.

Its design was reminiscient of days of old.

And really, what can beat enjoying both the starfilled sky and a flickering fire from the comfort of a bubble bath?

As an added bonus, it was filled with darling little houses!

Better still, two of the homes under construction were unlocked!  We enjoyed roaming through them and dreaming up details.  I can’t wait to share the interior shots with you!

Until then, here is a link to some plans by the resort’s architect.


This week, I’ve been toying with a plan I found online.

Front ExteriorMy goal: downsizing the home while not compromising space in the places we need it most. In addition, the upstairs didn't work for us at all. Here's what I have so far. The windows and doors are not accurate at all, and I've yet to figure out the drafting program completely. So, the stair opening is missing as are the dimensions. Level 2

Level 1

Now, for the fun part.  Here are a few shots of the original house.  I’ve loved it for several years now, so I was excited to play with the plan using the drafting program BeachBoy gave me. It was the Coastal Living holiday house.

living room and foyer


Dining room and kitchen


living room and dining room


Master Bathroom

So, when can we move in?

John Tee’s Crabapple Cottage

“I think we should go ahead and purchase one of the lots.  Think about which one you like, and let me know.”

BeachBoy said that to me over the phone this week, out of the blue, when he called to tell me he’d be working late.


We’ve driven through the neighborhood in question a few times, but I didn’t know he was serious about that particular spot.  We’ve been hunting tirelessly for a lot forever at this point.

The neighborhood does have several pluses:

  1. Shortens BeachBoy’s commute by half the distance
  2. Puts us 5 minutes to chuch instead of 30
  3. Has a lovely lake overlooked by the pool and clubhouse
  4. Includes spacious lots, some of which can take on a basement
  5. Is filled with pretty homes


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  But, I was.

So, we drove out today to pick up the plats.  They were closed.  I called the realtor’s office.  It was closed.  Luck is not on my side today.

A few neighborhood photos:

I’m a sucker for cottages– a big one.

In fact, my plan for tomorrow afternoon includes a drive around town to take photos of a few of my favorite cottages.

Until then, here are a few I find inspiring. 



…that make the home, and overwhelm the homemaker.

Over the last couple years, I’ve spent a vast amount of time searching for pictures to match the images in my mind.  It can be frustrating when you know what you want your home to look like but you can’t find pictures to share that idea with someone else.  I’ve filled several sketch books and graph paper pads with my ideas.  I’ve used a ridiculous amount of our computer’s memory storing jpeg files, and I’ve compiled two large expandable file folder units with pictures I’ve torn out of magazines and catalogs. 

You could almost say I’m a detail junkie. (BeachBoy would leave out the “almost.”)

Last weekend, BeachBoy took me to see the Southern Living Idea House in Senoia, Georgia.  It was of no surprise to him that my pictures were mostly of small details rather than of rooms.  While the other guests strolled the house chatting about all things Southern Decor, I snapped countless photos of trim, fixtures, and colors.  BeachBoy smiled sweetly and struck up conversations with the others since I was clearly too busy to talk.

Doesn’t everyone believe knobs to be a vital design element?


I truly believe a hallway should always act as more, otherwise it is wasted space.  In the master suite, Jamie created a walkthrough linen closet in the hallway between the bath and bedroom.  In the second floor hall, perfectly palced sconces and art created a gallery outside the children’s bedrooms  which would be perfect for family art and photos. 

The backsplash in the master bathroom mimics the one found in the kitchen.

Window trim throughout the house is more than the ordinary sqaure box-in. 

I’ve lusted over trim mounted outlets for some time and was delighted to see them in the house!

Inexpensive IKEA cabinets were mounted thoughtfully to create a custom look on a realistic budget.

The trim work was fabulous.  Need I say more?


Plank walls and ceilings have also been on my love-list.

Buttons and custom rods dressed up the simple curtains.

I’ve been begging BeachBoy to let me use this type of door mounting somewhere in our next home.  I was thrilled to let him see a sample of it in person!We’ve been discussing the many options for making use of the space under stairs.  The idea house showcased one of the setups we’ve considered.


This morning, Beachboy and I visited a little gem of a house.  At roughly 1100 sqft, the cottage lives large.  However, the home can be operated for roughly $200 per year.  I must admit, our electic bill is more than that each month.  Ahem.  As our cottage is only 1740 sqft, we really have no excuse besides the fact that it’s old and poorly insulated. 

 Model Home: Serenbe 

Our visit included a presentation on solar power and a brief discussion of geothermal heating and cooling.  I was delighted that BeachBoy left satisfied with the rough cost of an initial investment in these things.  Since our talk of building began, I’ve secretly longed for both.  Could they really be budget friendly?  That would be incredible!

Look closely at the first picture again.  BeachBoy was doubly pleased to note how hard it was to locate the solar panels when outside.

Here’s a look at a few special places.  Every time I see these pictures, I just want to move right in and start enjoying the simple life these cottages offer!

Ross Chapin’s Pocket Communities

Lew Oliver- The Nest at Serenbe

BeacBoy and I adore the community.  If only it had better access to the interstate! (Though, I suspect that would kill its charm just a little)

A few other Serenbe Beauties (larger than we want, but still make my heart happy)

Built by McKinney Builders, a Southern Living builder —above

You may have read about Serenbe in CL, where it was featured a few times.  I believe the house on the left is a Moser Design Group plan.  

Habersham- Beaufort, SC

This plan is Southern Living’s “Sugarberry Cottage.”

Over the course of our year and a half long adventure, one of the things BeachBoy and I have talked about is our footprint.  We’ve toured countless homes, and while they are beautiful and easy to love, we’ve found we want something different.  We want something small.  (GASP!)

Small and Southern, that just doesn’t mix, right?  Yes, we’ll be the outsiders, but we’ve made a commitment to keep our home feeling like a home by maintaining a human scale.  At the same time, we’ll enjoy the gift of more land around us and less of an impact on the enviroment overall. 

Here is a little gem we’re looking at now.  At 2,000 square feet, it’s only slightly larger than our current home, but it makes much better use of the space.  Besides moving the fireplace to the front wall, the only major interior change I would want to make is relocating the washer and dryer by creating a laundry room and half bath off the kitchen that would lead to an attached garage. Having lived with closet laundry for three years now, I know that it’s something I just refuse to do again.  Small houses can’t “live large” when there is laundry everywhere.

(Check out New South Classics for other beautiful designs!)

Of course, I’ve been dreaming up all the tiny details.  That’s always my favorite part of plan selection. It begs for the comfort of rustic details and cozy white furnishings.

We’ve officially been “at it” for a year now.  I know what you’re thinking.  “They started a year ago, but there hasn’t been any progress!”

BeachBoy can only laugh at a comment like that, no doubt, because for a year now, my file has been growing.  Countless times, he’s picked it up from where it fell as I drifted to sleep. 

He’s sat through the explanation of a mind numbing number of plans.  He’s often said, “Haven’t I seen this one before?”  Together, we’ve toured model home after model home and walked numerous lots.  I’ve spent hours on MLS and Gardenweb. 

Progress is a tricky thing. 

We now have a much clearer picture of what we need and want.  We’ve analyzed how we use and intend to use space.   We’ve hunted for pictures to serve as our inspiration.  I’ve made detailed lists to give the builders for the estimates we’ll be getting for the final plan.

Anyway, here is a rough look at a plan I love.  It’s by a fabulous local architect whose work I adore.

Facade without changes

main level without changes

upper level without changes

The major changes we would need to make:

-Relocating the master bath and closet

-Relocating the laundry (down)

-Enclosing the side porch (to create mud/laundry)

-Creating a mud room

-Adding a screened porch off the dining room

-Enlarging the garage

The only problem with the plan? The total square footage is still a little higher than we want to go when all the changes are made.