Living Large In Little Houses: Kris’s House

Today we have the first in my small space living series. Kris of Junk Chic Cottage has sent me photos of her gorgeous little cottage and answered questions that I think you will find interesting to read.

Isn’t this little house adorable?

I would move into this home in a heartbeat. They took a dull little house and improved the exterior and added the beloved white picket fence, which made all the difference in the world.

Kris, in her characteristic cottage style way, immediately added this welcoming basket of flowers to the front fence. I’m sure the neighbors were blown away.

Let’s go inside and mosey around.

Kris loves white and shabby chic. The Rachel Ashwell loveseat is one of her favorite pieces of furniture.

Everything she brings into her home she gives her own special touch to. I could see her rooms anywhere and know that it was hers.

She thinks of things to add that I wouldn’t have thought of. Just special touches. Like the candles on the cake or the bow on the gift.

Her home is so cozy and has hygge written all over it. There are soft throws in place to while away a cold night watching Netflix and enjoying family time.

Kris’s home is definitely what I consider “a soft place to land.”

Over the mantel are doors hiding the TV. A perfect way to hide that TV and not take away from the look and feel of her cottage style.

She thought they could make do without a dining table in her little house that had no dining room. But she found she could not function without it.

A person just needs a place to sit down with their loved ones while eating warm stew or chili fresh from the stove.

She and her husband Terry came up with something, as they always do. They carved out a little space in the living area.

Aren’t the table and chairs perfect there in front of the window, where she added such gorgeous soft blue and white curtains?

Here is a close up of that dining space, where they can entertain family and friends with ease.

Let’s move on into the kitchen, shall we?

Kris and Terry are famous for their junking sprees where they scout out architectural finds like the added framing around the door. No part of their cottage is spared artistic improvements.

They added the wooden countertops after a DIY countertop kit didn’t turn out well. It’s so lovely with the floors.

Your eye is just automatically lifted from those pretty wood floors up to the counter top. A great choice.

There was no pantry space, so Terry built a pantry for the house. He’s something else with those tools of his with their combined vision of a cozy and charming home.

In all the years I’ve known her, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Terry not being able to come up with just the right detail for their home.

He built a pantry into the space so it would look like it had always been there.

Now let’s look at the office that they share.

Oh my, those old wood doors are priceless! They just don’t make them like they used to.

Kris loves these primitive angels. Someone is always sending her one to add to her collection. She hangs them about the cottage walls as decor.

Below is her husband’s side of the office, which is decorated with fireman memorabilia, as that is his profession.

Just inside their bedroom door is where Kris keeps her jewelry. Literally on the back of the door.

You have to put that vertical space to good use in small homes!

Meet Buddy, the resident dog, who is happy to pose for a photo. On the bed of course, looking like royalty.

Isn’t that bed and bedding luscious? Just makes you want to crawl up there with Buddy and take a nap.

And here’s the other side of the room. Where there are more angels. It must feel so soothing having all those angels hovering over you.

Now let’s chat with Kris a bit…

Question l. How long have you lived in your small space?

We bought this small 785 square foot home in July of 2019.  

Question 2. Did you actively seek small space living and why? Price? Downsizing?

My husband is a Fire Chief and he took a new position in a town further from where we were currently living. With him being on call 24/7 we needed to be closer to the community he serves. 

We still wanted to keep our next home small. And we also wanted to stay in a price range that we could pay off our home in the next 5 years when we hope to retire. 

A condo was a thought but we are just not condo people. I need a yard for our dog and also my love of flowers and gardening. My husband is my handy man and he needed space for his tools and wood working. 

A condo was not going to be able to allow us these things. We were excited to find this really tiny home that I refer to as my two bedroom condo with a yard and garage!

Question 3. Which room has proven to be most problematic for you?

I think the most problematic room has been the living room/dining room combo. It is one room that is square and very small. 

Trying to carve out a dining area and also have room for a living room area has been a challenge. With some trial and error and Terry and his handy tools I think we have the space figured out.

Question 4. Do you have a pantry and/or linen closet?

I have both a linen closet and also a pantry that my husband built for me. 

We had an open space at the back of the small kitchen.  We found an old German armoire that my husband was able to cut down and fit into the space to allow me a pantry and also a coat closet.

Question 5. Where do you store small appliances and things like ironing boards, etc?

I have a utility room that has a stackable washer and dryer that also houses my furnace, water softener etc. We put up shelves in there to store things like the vacuum, ironing board, small appliances. 

We also have tall cabinets in the kitchen that allow for storage on the top shelves for smaller appliances that are not used daily.

Question 6. Where do you store seasonal/holiday decor? 

We are lucky in this small home to have pull down steps in the ceiling that lead up to a very large attic. So most of my Christmas decor along with other things are stored in the attic.

Question 7. What do you like best about living in a small space? 

I feel living in this smaller space is so much easier to keep clean. We utilize every inch of this home to live. 

I have done the bigger homes where there are rooms that are used maybe once a year for holiday entertaining. In a tiny house you have to be creative and smart with every inch of your living space. 

I like that we use every room in this home for daily living.

Question 8. What do you find most challenging about living in a small home?

I think the most challenging part of living small is making sure you have your daily living needs met in the space you have. 

I thought I could live without a dining area but found out after living for a few months in this tiny home we needed a small space to eat daily. Eating on the living room couch in front of the TV just was not cutting it! Plus when we had a couple over for dinner we needed a place to share a meal. 

I do not do the big holidays anymore. My two daughters do that now.  Having a small dining space for my husband and I and the occasional guest works perfect.

Question 9. What projects are you wanting to start but haven’t tackled yet?

We just built a garage that is almost as big as the house. My husband needs a “man cave” so we built in the extra space in the back of the garage so he can have a space for himself and all his fire department decor. 

This Spring we hope to finish the garage in a fire department theme and have a special room just for him.

Question 10: What made you fall in love with this house?

The minute we drove down the street to look at this house when it was up for sale made my heart beat just a little faster.  This tiny home is in one of the most historic neighborhoods. 

Every home is different from the next and all mostly built from the late early 1900’s to 1940’s. No cookie cutter homes. There is so much history in these homes. 

Two of the homes on my block were built to house the mistresses of Robert McCormick. The stately  mansion across the street from my neighborhood was once the home of Chicago Tribune  editor and publisher Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955).

Colonel McCormick lived here with his family from 1936 to1955. McCormick’s legacy of journalism, history, architecture, politics, First Amendment issues, patriotism and philanthropy are all captured with tours of his Mansion.

Robert McCormick Mansion and grounds are now open to the public and is a museum, golf course, party venue and restaurant on acres of beautiful preserved land.  

Most of the homes in my neighborhood have history and stories of the families that lived in them. We feel so fortunate to be able to buy into this wonderful neighborhood filled with so much history that has been preserved in these homes.


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  1. I just wanted to ask Kris, are You & Hubby limited (interior/exterior/grounds) on changes You desire to do because You are living in a historic area? Did You have to get permission to put up the picket fence (one of my favs?) 🙂 b

  2. Brenda, you know that I’m a small house addict and Kris is one of my all time favorite cottage decorators. She has an amazing eye and an amazing handyman to make her dreamy visions a reality. Thanks for showcasing all the pretty!

  3. I’m really looking forward to this series. I live in 900 sq. ft. house for the same reasons Kris mentioned. I’ve enjoyed living small but I’m always open to hints from others. The interview is such a great idea too. Thank you Brenda.

  4. Great post! I like the Q&As. Also enjoyed reading about your visit with your daughter in the previous post.

  5. Brenda,
    What a great post about Kris’s beautiful home!! Loved it!! Glad you showcased her sweet home.. Kris is a doll and a friend!! Will be sharing this on Face book….

  6. What a pretty little house. I like the yellow front door with that shade of blue siding. I understand the challenges of living in a small home. My home is just a little larger than hers by about 100 square feet. The white picket fence does set it off nicely. Our area does not allow fences in front yards, but this got me thinking about a couple of small sections of picket fence as an ornamental accent.

    The interior of her home is beautiful with all of the white walls and light wood floors. I love looking at it, but the all white wouldn’t work here because it would accent my very imperfect housekeeping.

    My favorite area of her home was in the dining area with the beautiful white with blue curtains and white dining table and chairs that allows the light to stream into the room.
    Thanks for showing us this pretty little house.

  7. I really enjoyed this post, Brenda. I’m fascinated with the ways that people adapt to “tiny house” living but I always come away feeling a little claustrophobic and wondering where all the evidence of “the living” is. I mean Kris’s little house is charming but a bit sterile-looking for my taste. And I certainly don’t live in a house much bigger than hers–about 1100 sq. ft. but I have a basement which is partially finished which provides for some storage. Of course with my daughter and her twin boys living here, too, I guess my own space is quite a bit less than 1100 sq. ft.! So maybe I could live in a tiny house if I did some serious purging first. It’s all interesting to think about anyway. And you are a great interviewer. I’ll be looking forward to the next small house post. So interesting seeing how creatively people handle small space living.

  8. I loved all of Kris’s houses but I love this one the best! It takes real talent to make a small house so perfect and she and Terry have lots of that. It’s a jewel box of a house! And Buddy is the sweetest angel there!

    I didn’t know all that about the historic neighborhood, so interesting! Thank you, Brenda, for beginning this new helpful series with Kris and Terry!

  9. As this cottage home..great presentation. The historic neighborhood surely makes it quite a find and yall fit right in since you make your home so special. Thanks to both hostess and guest..quite lovely…!!!!

  10. Brenda, I was blown away by all the special touches this sweet little home has to offer. What a talented couple. Your tour and Q and A at the end were perfect. I’m so impressed; I will have to go back time and again to look at the photos and take in all the special things to look at. So, so sweet. Thank you for coming up with this idea and thank you Kris for letting us into your home. Sandra

  11. I too have followed Kris for many years. Her approach to decorating has always been refreshing, lovely, and never pretentious. I believe that is what drew my attention and kept it for so many years. Although I am not into the white Shabby Chic myself, Kris’s beautiful approach and sharing of her world tempts the Shabby Chic genes way down deep inside of this Oklahoma girl.
    Loved this post Brenda. You do a fabulous job drawing out the most interesting traits of the people you interview. I enjoyed it immensely.

  12. Such gorgeous cozy home. I truly enjoyed this tour. Thank you to both you and Kris for sharing .

  13. Loved to-day’s post, hope you have more like it. Am following Kris’s adorable cottage, love the white.

  14. I know I’m going to enjoy this series, Brenda. The house I rented when I moved back to my home town was 950 sq ft, two bedrooms and one bath, but it had the barn and acreage I needed for my horses. I remember after the movers left, crying as I climbed over furniture and boxes to get to the couch. I felt that I had hit rock bottom and couldn’t figure out what in the world I would do with ALL my stuff after coming from a house three times its size. I lived there for 4 years and came to love that little house so much and I also loved not being responsible for upkeep for a change. When the owner died a family member wanted to live in the house so I ended up buying the place I have now, and to get the barn and pasture I ended up with 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, about 2300 sq ft., that I occupy with my 2 dogs and 2 cats. For the time being I’m enjoying this place but a tiny little house just like this one in a lovely little town is my dream for the future. Loved this post!

  15. This is a lovely house. However, some of the rooms are so white, or have little color. While I think they are pretty, I prefer more color.

  16. Lovely house, would love to see the gardens and the Fire Chief’s space in the garage when finished! This just goes to show that two people can live comfortably in under 1,000 square feet. You can only occupy one space at a time and with only one or two people in the home, that leaves a lot of space that you can be in all by yourself, if and when you want to. Having a yard for a gardener is an essential in my book 🙂 Having a garage is always a plus too for storage and if you have a vehicle(s).

  17. Great interview, Brenda! I’ve always loved Kris’ “touch” ~ seeing it all in one place, it is even more charming!
    Can’t wait to see more in this series!

  18. Do you think you might give us a tour of YOUR blue house and show us ,again, all of the wonderful things you did it make it special?

  19. Very pretty and helpful to have a handy hubby!
    To much white for me,Id spend my life cleaning after the black cats also seems very feminine for a man in residence but to each their own!

  20. This is going to be a fantastic series. Her house is beautiful. And it’s great to have a handy husband who can help
    with your ideas. You have outdone yourself once again my dear!

  21. It also reminds me of your former house. It’s adorable, but I’d have a tough time keeping all the white clean. So much white. Each to her own.

  22. It reminded me too of your former home. Loved this house starting with the great curb appeal. And the inside was so charming and sweet. Thanks for featuring this adorable home.

  23. I like your idea of showing us small homes. I hope to some day live in one, I keep talking about it with my husband but he is not ready yet. It is delightful to see the creativity of those who are living in small homes.

  24. Thank you Brenda and Kris. Follow both your Blogs and this new small space series is terrific. Those of us looking forward to downsizing are sure to be truly inspired and equally motivated!

    1. A loveseat we inherited from motherinlaw has recliner-like pluses – One for each section of the love seat, and another plus (which she wanted when I went with her to pick out something,) it rocks like a rocking chair! 🙂 b

  25. Great interview! I love the story and the house. Now that I’ve retired, this would be perfect. It gives me some more ideas

  26. Love this post! This should be a wonderful series and I am really looking forward to these small space living stories/photos/tips. Kris and her husband are amazing and their home is terrific. Thanks for allowing us to visit.

  27. Wonderful post!
    the blue house at first, reminded me of your former home!
    such a delightful and beautiful home!
    You are back in your element Brenda!
    Keep up the this trend!
    looking forward to the next episode!
    thanks also to Kris for the visit!

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