17 Ways to Add Character To Your Cottage

We’re working on the newly-installed hardwood floor in our hallway today….sanding, staining, sealing….story of our lives- ha!

I look forward to posting the before, during and after pics soon, but in the meantime, here are links to some of the other low-dough/high-smile projects we’ve enjoyed blogging about over the past few years:

Transom window project-

Fireplace makeover-

Wood walls-

Wonder wall-

Wood ceiling-

Taller windows-

MDF walls-

Taller kitchen cabinets-

Old door makeover

Refinished hardwood floors-

Hardwood floor staining-

Empty room turned reading room-

Chalkboard wall-

Mirrored closet doors-

Tiled wall-

New front door-

Screen door-

We’re a cottage-y couple, so each of these projects helped to make our house feel a little more like home.

Ooh! Speaking of working on our home, it’s time for me to fire up the skateboard again!

I’ve got 93 square feet of floor stainin’ to do!

Taco Soup - Katie's Kitchen
Flea Market Style - Summer 2012

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. Deidra says

    I have been following for almost a year now and have posts about many of these projects. I am so glad you “centralized” all these characteristics and projects into one post. L-O-V-E it. There were even a few I missed somewhere along the way (i.e. the tile around the mirror only…genius!)! So I bookmarked this page in my Favorites, to refer back to. Thanks for inspiring me!

  2. says

    Thanks so much for such a comprehensive post with so many projects in one place. I had not seen them all so I am happy to catch up on the few I missed!! Love your home and your style =) Always enjoy seeing what you two are up to.

  3. says

    So glad you posted all of these amazing projects together in one place so it’s easy to find them. So handy! Like Deidra, I somehow missed a few of them, so I’ll be checking them out. Thanks so much for all of your inspiration over the years. Love your site!! :)

  4. Tracey says

    Not the skateboard again! Your poor back! ;-( When my husband did our floors he got a mop-type thing from Lowe’s and just mopped the stain on. Hardly took any time at all and saved his back! Just make sure to do smaller sections (or have Kev go along behind you) so it doesn’t end up darker in some areas. No matter how you do it, happy staining! ;-D

  5. says

    As usual, Layla and Kevin, just perfect ideas! I have a question I can’t find the answer to anywhere… I have a pantry door with frosted glass in the middle. I desperatly need a chalkboard area for ‘mom notes and reminders’ in the kitchen and have thought about painting over the frosted glass in chalkboard paint. Would this work and more importantly if I needed to change it back would I be able to get the paint off of the frosted glass? Thanks so much for your great blog and humor!

  6. Louise says

    What a beautifully presented list! Why didn’t HGTV pick you up again? They are so missing out! This is absolutely awesome! Thanks so much, and have a fabulous weekend!

  7. says

    Thanks for the tips! I absolutely love cottage/aged decor… my husband tends to be a bit more traditional/modern so these tips are great for helping me integrate what I like while blending our preferences. Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

  8. says

    I’ve been reading you long enough to have read all of these posts on their first ‘release’! Looking back over them is like looking through a photo album because through your wonderful posts you have made your readers feel like we were a part of all of these renovations. I can’t even pick a favorite because they were all THAT good!
    I hope you have a chance to look at our bathroom renovation!

    Your Friend,

  9. says

    Oh , How I love your style. I live a small cottage-y type house in Australia and I love following all your adventures! Lou x

  10. Laura says

    Love this -having them all in one post. :)
    And like the others, I missed one or two along the way, so I was glad to see them here. I especially like the price tag – so helpful when considering for myself. Thanks for one of the BEST DIY sites on the www!

  11. says

    This is such a great round-up of projects that are simple and inexpensive enough for most anyone to do. Such creative ways to spruce up a home and add character, without going out and buying a bunch of new “stuff”! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Amy G. says

    I am convinced that you and Kevin have the most adorable home in the world! I love it!

    • Layla says

      Well, thank you for leaving us such a sweet comment, Amy! We’ve been working hard on ship-shapin’ this place up, and appreciate you taking the time to swing by today! 😀

  13. says

    Is it sad or funny that I remember all these posts?
    And by the way, if you guys EVER decide to move and sell your home, CALL ME!!! I want to live there. 😉

  14. says

    I came to your blog today in hopes of tracking down your fireplace re-do post – and ta-da! There it was!! Thank you for making it so easy to find it today!!!

    I’m helping a friend re-build her fireplace today….as always, you guys inspire m e!!!


  15. Katey says

    Hello! I love your house so much! Yours is the blog I turn to for inspiration. I have to know before I rip out drywall in my dining room, the wall I want to do it on is an exterior wall. Is that smart or should I leave it alone? Its the only wall I got I can do it on. The rest of walls have cathedral ceilings and are exterior walls also. Thank you!!!

    • Katey says

      Ok, the answer is no. I made a little hole in the wall with a hammer and felt the cold air blow in! So I am going to do a faux plank wall. Thank you for the post it has been very helpful!!

  16. Ter'e says

    Jeesh, I hope this is not a stupid question! With that being said……..here goes. When you strip the drywall off the walls and you are down to the bare wood……….what does that do for your energy factor? Is that room hotter/colder as the elements change??? I happen to know that ALA can be way cold and super humid…..and just plain ole HOT! The things I wonder about……….. :-)
    P.S. Now that I have my question out in space, are you just stripping walls that are interior walls????? DUH! That would give me my answer, wouldn’t it? Heeeeeey….if you don’t ask, you don’t know.

  17. Diane Tavolacci says

    You guys are awesome. My husband is a flooring installer by trade. I can appreciate all of the work you do.

  18. says

    Oh my goodness what a great post! I love how all of your projects are in one area. I really need to learn photoshop. You do such cool things with it Layla! Maybe you should do a photoshop learning series just like Kevin is doing a photography learning series :)! I would be willing to pay!!! :)

      • says

        That is great! I just tried to view link but I am on my iPhone and is says no access to Vimeo so I will try to checkout the site later. Thanks for letting me know. Please shoot me a message when the classes and fee become available. I get behind on my reader and don’t want to miss it :)

  19. says

    Oh, Layla! Thanks so much for putting this all in one place!! I love cottage/farmhouse homes, and yours is one of my favorite in the whole wide world wide web 😉

  20. Sarah says

    Hi Layla! What a fun blog! Your house is gorgeous! Had a question about the ceiling. We have the dreaded popcorn ceiling too. Do you think we can add wood or bead board directly to the popcorn? Ripping or scraping will just be too much work and mess right now.

  21. says

    I’ve bookmarked this bad boy because I know when it comes time to buy our cottage, these will likely come in handy big time. I’m so jealous, doc said no sanding, fumes, etc for 30 days (25 more to go) so no DIY projects for me right now and I’m going through withdraw. Must live vicariously through you guys right now! :)

  22. says

    Wow! Most of my favorite projects all in one post! Thank you! 😉
    We are planning on doing two “wonder walls” in Jonathan and Luke’s room. I’m thinking of putting each of their beds in front of their own “wonder wall”. It will be a great way to store books and trophies, and such! :)

  23. Sherry Ann says

    OOh, great ideas. I am going to use the chalkboard wall and try to talk Mr. C into the fireplace makeover. Wish me luck!
    Thanks for sharing!

  24. says

    Layla and Kev,
    Knowing you too just get down and dirty and try anything has inspired my husband and I on many projects. It’s funny now people say to us, “we wish we were that handy”. We always laugh and say, “we don’t have a clue we just try our best and you can too”. With out the two of you we would have never tried…thank you both:)

  25. Liz says

    Hi Layla,

    I am just compelled to write you once and for all. I see images of your creations all over the internet. I think I have a total design/life/cottage/cozy/cat/textiles crush on you.

    The things you DO are all the things I DREAM about doing…

    You are truly inspiring to me. You have amazing design sensibilities, and you have the knack to do things DIY style with cost in mind… It is so true money doesn’t buy you taste. You have it all going on for you.

    I am so excited to find the source of all of these projects I have seen pinned all over the internet all in one place. THE LETTERED COTTAGE.

    I think your husband intimidates my husband a little bit. Actually alotta-bit….
    Me: “OMG babe, look at what they can do”…
    He: “Uhh…. I could try???” ( he’s great about always trying :-)

    You and your husband are an inspiration to us both. You guys rule!
    Just wanted to say Hi.
    :-) LIZ