Christmas Cottages

Well, now that Halloween is over…

…I thought I’d blog about a couple of Christmas-y magazines we’re excited about this year! The first one is Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine…

We actually snagged a couple of copies of it at Books-A-Million way back in September (man they start the season early, don’t they?!), but we did see that they still had some there (and at Lowes!) just the other day. The folks at Better Homes came out and photographed our house for a feature in it last February, and we’re pleased as punch with the article. Here’s a sneak peek at our dining room which appears on pages 120 and 121…

Of course some of the rooms in the article look completely different now than they did when BH&G came out to photograph the place…but it’s fun to have photos of the “old rooms” saved all in one printed-out place, too!

(PS- Our friends Jennifer and Kate were also featured in the Christmas Ideas mag, and you can find their homes on pages 34-40 and 92-99!)

And the other magazine we’re excited about (that’s due to hit newsstands any day now) is the December issue of Cottages & Bungalows…

Kev and I styled and shot the photos for an article called “Christmas Bounty” that appears on pages 48-55. The home is located in Perry, Georgia, and here are a few sneak peeks of some pics we took that did (and didn’t!) make it into the mag…

Kelly (the homeowner) had a brown Kraft paper runner on her dining room table, so I had fun doodling on it before we snapped this shot…

She tied a black marker to everyone’s napkin so they could get creative, too…

What a fun, inexpensive and interactive way to spruce up your holiday table! Love that!

Kelly’s thinking about starting a blog in the near future, so I’ll keep you posted on when she has it up and running!

(There. Now it’s in writing, which means you have to do it, Kelly!)


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  1. says

    I love seeing you guys in the magazines! You’re filled with inspiration. And I hope she does start a blog, I love what I see here! Great ideas Kelly and such a beautiful home!

    • Layla says

      Thank you Debbie! And I will definitely keep you posted on Kelly’s blog…because she HAS to start one! ;-)

  2. Beverly Palmer says

    I’m in love with your dining room chairs! Can you tell me where you found them (and please don’t say the side of the road!) hee hee

  3. says

    OMGoodness, I JUST happened upon your blog.. IT’S TO DIE FOR, say the least!!! I will definitely be back often to visit & get my creativeness on!

    Kentucky Blessings, Pamela

  4. says

    How exciting, can hardly wait to get my copies of the mags! (Do you autograph if we send them to you with a SASE, Layla?)

    Kelly- it’s in writing so now you HAVE to start a blog! I’d read it!

    A Follower in NW Illinois,

    • Layla says

      Hi Suzanne!
      Boy do you know how to make a goofy girl and guy feel good! :-D
      We’d be happy to sign them for you if you really want us to…drop me a line and we’ll work out all the deets!

  5. says

    OMGoodness… I dearly LOVE everything! I JUST happened upon your blog… IT’S TO DIE FOR! I will be visiting often to get my kick of energy & creativeness!

    Kentucky Blessings, Pamela

  6. sarita says

    i love the idea of the markers and the paper on the table! i’m thinking of using that for my t-giving dinner – maybe with colored markers…thanks for info about the mags too.
    congrats on being in the BH&G one.

  7. says

    Everything looks fantastic, guys! You sure have a knack for amazing style and…photography! swoon! ! I can’t wait until we finish our girls room{pssst! your reading room was the inspiration!} can’t wait!
    blessings to you!

  8. says

    What a cute Mario’s couple you two make:) I love your home at Christmas time. I think all those splashes of red add so much warmth. You are so right, Kelly totally needs a blog. Her home is so warm and inviting and feels like the perfect place to cozy up with some hot cocoa on a cold winters day. Congrats on the Magazine, I always feel like I can brag when you two are in them.

    • kelly in georgia says

      Rebecca, they came from Target, and the last time I checked they were still available online.

  9. Marta Deely says

    I just stumbled upon your blog this past week and fell in love with it. We just moved into our dream home 5 months ago…and i’ve been stuck on decorating it. I now have plans to update our fireplace and build a mirror thanks you two! Look for me in the pick my presto… i’ve got a couple big bare rooms that im crossing my fingers inspire you. :)


    PS. I love your heart for adoption, I have two little adopted african baby girls; 2 & 3 that melt my heart countless times a day. :)

  10. says

    In love!!! Another great idea when it comes to writing on the table is from a great article I read in the November issue of Country Living… a woman made a white sheet into a table cloth she used at all their special dinners. People would leave messages on it in marker or pen and then she would stitch over it with thread… Each thread was a different color that represented that date (ex: pink could be for Thanksgiving ’09). Cutest is the outlining of a baby’s foot on it.. Too cute! Keep up the good work guys!!! :)

  11. says

    Oooo I need these mags! You and Kevin are amazing.

    ps. I have a cute little 1940s home in TN and my dining and kitchen are shaped so similarly to yours. You’ve given me some awesome ideas for a kitchen redo….so thanks! :)

    • kelly in georgia says

      Brittany, they came from Target. I think a party right now would be great…and probably inspirational to everyone who attends (plus you’d beat the big December rush!)

  12. Juli P says

    I LOVE that (shallow depth) built in on the dining room wall. I need my father in law to build something like that for me! LOVE it!

  13. Cindy Logan says

    I love the idea fo the brown paper as a runner with markers for everyone. This year we are having Christmas with our kids the weekend before Thanksgiving and I am looking for ways to combine both holidays. This would be perfect!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Sheila says

    Hi Layla and Kevin – I so very much enjoy your blog and think you both have wonderful personal style. I especially enjoy your “Pick My Presto” segments. I love how you styled your home and Kelly’s home in this post. Keep up the wonderful work…I’ll be following along:)
    Sheila from west Michigan

  15. says

    My Christmas “itch” came early this year too! I started with ,yet another, freebie Christmas DIY project- gotta love those!

    • Layla says

      Hi Sara! We had to shoot it before Winter rolled around last year, but MAN you should see how beautiful their property looks with snow all over it! SO PRETTY! :-D

      • kelly in georgia says

        Glad you like it Jana! You wouldn’t believe all the shades of khaki I have used on the inside and outside of this house. The kitchen is Brandon Beige by Benjamin Moore- and plays well with a zillion different colors.

  16. says

    I love the Kraft paper runner!! That would be an excellent idea for Thanksgiving too. Each guest; What are you thankful for?

    Great post. :)

  17. nicole says

    Love that last house, is it in New England?

    My in-laws have been going that tablecloth thing for about 10-15 years now, they use a real one with marker that won’t run when washed. Each xmas, we all put an update of what’s going on in our lives, it’s really cool to follow year to year!

  18. says

    Kelly’s home from the outside is perfection already! Wow, I love it and the garage too. KELLY…I’m your new blog reader :)
    As for Layla and Kevin….power couple ! I love the pic with the chalkboard and the photo tree!
    ~another reader from Ky/Tn…our yard is in both states…come on over and I’ll take you through our family’s indoor flea market!

    • kelly in georgia says

      Thank you for the sweet comments Auntie Bliss! That chalkboard is one of my favorite things in the house! It was a Pottery Barn one that had a brown frame, but I painted it to match some green fabric I had….which led to painting baskets in the room green…which led to paining the chair green. Does everyone have these domino decorating effects???

  19. heathyr says

    LAYLA! congrats on being featured in BHG. I know it’s not the first you’ve been featured in print, but I’m sure it’s still exciting as the first time :)

    I have to admit, I’ve had a little Layla resting on my shoulder lately- one that looks in my dining room and says “DO WHAT I DID TO MY DINING ROOM. Really, do it!” But I have to ask… is it really as SIMPLE and as AFFORDABLE as you make it sound? Because the shot that’s featured in BHG above is really spectacular and looks like something I might fail at. BUT I REALLY REALLY WANT IT! I don’t have secret wood inside my wall like you did… UGH. Should I listen to that little Layla?!

    PS – your friends home makes me want to abandon my “need” for living in the city and move out into the country. that house is a dream!

  20. says

    Loved seeing SO many of my friends in one magazine!! Your article came out so great, as did Kate’s and Jen’s. Beautiful spread, you should be so proud. I also know Deserae too who was also featured. This one will be a keeper copy for sure. xoxo

  21. says

    My kids loved the pics of y’all as Luigi and Princess Peach!

    The house you styled and shot is so great! I’ve already found 3 ideas I’m stealing fo sho. The tree in a bucket donning black and white photgraphs is so doable–love it.

    • Layla says

      Well, to be fair…Kelly made it VERY easy to set up the shots with her INCREDIBLE decorating skills! :-D

  22. says

    Gorgeous, Layla and Kevin! Especially love the picture of the black dresser with the chalkboard of game rules above it. Too cute. That would be cute in my boys’ rooms wouldn’t it?
    Great job as always! Can’t wait to pick up the mag for myself.

  23. kelly in georgia says

    Nothing like a little pressure, huh Layla! Thank you for the lovely post of pictures (and everyone’s super sweet comments about the house!). Kevin has awesome photography skills! It was almost surreal having you two here, and I could kick myself for not getting a photo made with you!
    I STILL haven’t received my issue yet and am DYING to read the article. Guess your post will have to hold me over until it arrives either here or in stores! Blog IS coming…there has just been toooo much LIFE and work in the way in the last few months to get it started (and I am scared to death of!) You will be the first to know when it is up and running.
    Love love love the costumes for Halloween! Both of my boys grew up on Mario and Luigi – the music is playing in my head as I think of this!

  24. says

    I actually found your blog after seeing your home in the BHG special issue. I fell in LOVE with the way you decorate and was shocked I hadn’t come across the Lettered Cottage sooner. I am now an everyday reader! :)

  25. Kelly says

    I bought this magazine a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at your house…looks awesome!!!! I would love a autograph from ya’ll….if possible.
    And the brown craft paper in Kelly’s home is a great idea…might have to do this in my home:)

  26. Andrea says

    Would anyone give a link to the numbered plates on if you can find them. I searched but couldn’t find them and I love them so!

  27. says

    I absolutely love your creativity! I’m not naturally creative, so I “borrow” a lot of ideas from people like you :-) Now that we’re close to buying our own house, I’m excited to start using some of these project ideas to make it OUR home. Thank you for the inspiration!

  28. says

    Beautiful photos! I especially love the built in buffet/hutch. I had the vision in my head of what I wanted, but couldn’t find a picture of it. You just posted exactly what I want. I have the lower cabinets already. Just need to build in the upper shelves.

    I tried pinning this on Pinterest, but it’s being a PITA this morning.

  29. Lisa Bates says

    What gorgeous and inspiring photos! Thank you for this post! My daughter asked me earlier this week when could we start decorating the house for the holidays. After reading this, the answer is this weekend starting tonight! I love all of your ideas and will be picking up both of these magazine issues. Congratulations!

  30. Aunt Chriss says

    I love the craft paper and marker idea! I think I am going to do that for my Christmas Tea! Thanks for another great blog!!
    :) love you

  31. Diane P. says

    I’ve been following you for a while now and it’s so exciting to watch you grow! I love the framed blackboard with: Life is a game. – play fair – play by the rules – take turns ???? Can you fill in the rest of the blanks? I have a teenage daughter who is learning about the mean girls at school. I would love to have this framed in her room to keep her grounded. Thank you and continued success!!!

    • kelly in georgia says

      Diane, it says:
      Life is a game.
      Play fair.
      Play by the rules.
      Take turns.
      It’s not whether you
      win or lose.
      It’s how you play.
      So play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.

      The last line (the 3 sentences) is a quote by Michael Jordan. All the rest are just things I thought of that were sayings related to games. The chalkboard hangs in our playroom, so I thought that would be fitting of the room. I think it would be great in a teenager’s room too!

  32. Pam says

    First time commenter here! I do love your site and congratulations on the magazine stuff!
    I just thought I’d throw this into the mix. When my husband and I were very young, every time we went on vacation somewhere new we’d buy a Christmas ornament. Instead of a t-shirt or sweatshirt that would eventually be thrown away, we’d find something to put on the tree. Most were actual ornaments, but some were just small objects that would fit and that brought back great memories-a small, round piece of redwood, a bunch of glass grapes from Venice, a single serving basketed bottle of Chianti. After over thirty years together, these all still go on the tree along with the ornaments our kids made when they were little and, now, the ornaments that the grandkids are making. The tree groans a little more every year, but it’s full of stories and memories.

  33. says

    Congratulations on being featured and having your photagraphy featured. Normally, I don’t get in the Holiday mood so early but this year I am really excited about. I think it might be coold to DIY some new ornaments for our tree. I can’t wait to see how you decorate your house this year.

  34. says

    Layla, I saw the pictures when I picked up the copy of Better Homes Christmas about a month ago and was so excited about it. Your home looked beautiful in the pictures! Congrats!

  35. Sandra says

    Layla and Kevin,
    You guys did a great job as usual with the BHG spread. I went out a few weeks ago and bought it. I am still thumbing through it to get ideas for how I would like to decorate this Christmas. I have been doing red and gold for the last 10-12 years and would like to switch it up a bit. I really like how you incorporated the natural materials in your design. (rope, burlap ribbon, etc.) I think I might throw that in my decor this year.
    Can I ask where you got all the numbers and letters for your dining room wall? I am located in Prattville, so if there is a store close by, please let me know. :) I have been looking for a while at the local thrift markets with no success.
    I would love for you two to sign my magazine as well if possible. I live in the same town and we have yet to cross paths.
    I can’t wait to see your next project in C&B. Let us know when it is available.

  36. says

    So exciting about your feature! The dining room looks great. I’ll have to hunt for it!

    And the photos you took – Kelly’s home is gorgeous! I spy some great inspiration!

    Have a wonderful weekend! So glad Kit-Cat is ‘home’!

  37. Shannon says

    Coming in late on this b/c I’m just now catching up on blogs for the week but I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of the BH&G Christmas issue just the other day at Barnes and Noble. Is by chance the offer to autograph a copy still open? I’d be glad to send it on to you both if so…Thanks so much and I can’t express enough how much I love your blog and yours and Kevin’s style. :)

  38. says

    Kelly should definitely start a blog. Love the pics of your home and you did a stellar job on the photo shoot. Now I’m really getting pumped up about the holidays!

  39. says

    Congrats on the magazine articles..I saw the BH and G one a few weeks ago and was so excited to see you guys in it!! I’ll have to look for the Cottages and Bungalows one when I grocery shop. You guys rock! I have a friend who has a darling house but a bit traditional so not a cottage and bungalow can I get her house in a magazine…because it should be in the is that darn beauriful…thanks..

  40. Stacey says

    wow, everything looks fantastic! i stumbled on this from pinterest while looking for a diy snowball tutorial. did you make yours or buy it? i want several for holiday decor, can you tell me where you bought it or how to make? :)

    • kelly in georgia says

      Stacey, I made it using a styrofoam ball, Elmer’s glue, and a bag of artificial snow. It is a messy process but works. First, I pushed in some “thumbprints” randomly all over the ball since real snowballs are not perfect spheres. (It looks more handmade that way.)Then I squirted the glue on the ball, spread it all over it, and finally rolled it in the artificial snow. Let it dry, and you have a “fake snowball”. Hope this helps!

  41. Tammy says

    I love the bedroom. I have been trying to acheive this exact look and I have been looking for this exact bed. Do you know where it came from or where to find an affordable one like it? I have been headboard/foortboard-less for well over 10 years. Thanks!

  42. ValrieM says

    Love your house, Kelly! May I ask what your kitchen color is?
    I have a white kitchen, as well. Thanks!

    • kelly in georgia says

      Thank you Valrie. So glad you like it. My kitchen is a Benjamin Moore paint – Brandon Beige. I started with an all white kitchen, changed it many times, even had the cabinets painted that beige at one time, but really love the white the best for the cabinets now…but who knows for the future?! :)

  43. Christine from Canada says

    I just picked up the Cottages and Bungalows issue and simply LOVE Kelly’s house. I would love to know when her blog is up and running so that I can become a follower. Layla-your blog is always inspirational!! Keep up the fabulous posts!!

  44. Bev says

    Totally gone to do the brown paper runner…….. having informal brunch with kids this year. Love it !

  45. Jodi says

    I have this house saved in my favorites. It is so beautiful. I can’t believe no one has asked about the exterior color of Kelly’s house! Could someone tell me please. Congrats on the BH&G!

    • kelly in georgia says

      Jodi, thank you for the sweet compliment. It is Pelham Gray from Martin Senour (my spelling is probably awful on that!). Layla and Kevin liked the color so much when they were here they decided to use if for the outside of their house in Alabama. It is called a gray color, but it is not really gray…must have been a color blind person that named it!

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