Small California Cottage Fixer Upper

The person who bought this small cottage fixer upper grew up continuously rearranging her bedroom furniture. She was a natural even during childhood at showing love for decorating in her Maine home.

When Jen Curtis was an adult she moved to San Francisco and discovered Alameda’s flea market. And thus began her love for old linens and all things vintage.

Los Alamos Cottage:

Then she met up with a 1927 cottage in Los Alamos in 2015. At 1300 square feet, it sat on a half-acre parcel.

It was very rundown and the yard was dirt with spotty areas of weeds. But Jen could see the possibilities. And so she began this cottage transformation.

Dogs Greta, Benson, Harper and Hudson adorn the small front porch she added for curb appeal.

As you can see, this house was nothing to write home about. It was just a rectangle with no character.

But Jen looked beyond all that to what she could see in her mind’s eye.

Ugly Duckling:

The house and yard were ugly. Very ugly and plain. But she saw its potential and quickly tapped into her childhood love of decorating.

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She started making this home her own, diffusing her personality into the cute little gem hidden within what originally was a truly ugly house and yard.

Jen filled it with vintage treasures, antique finds and cottage style furniture.

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Her dining table looks like it would better belong out in a garage as a woodworking bench. But Jen saw something of beauty in it and now it’s the star feature in her dining room.

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True Cottage Kitchen:

The kitchen is straight out of a cottage style notebook.

The island is surrounded by benches and primitive stools, turning it into an impromptu eat-in kitchen.

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Now the kitchen is adorned with high end appliances, gold fixtures and white cabinets.

And I love the shelf above the stove where you could arrange a collection, random decor objects or use as extra storage for the kitchen.

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A bar is tucked in a corner space and is always ready for entertaining should friends drop by for a visit.

The Bedrooms:

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Her bedroom is simple with its antique bed and old cupboard for a bedside table. As you can see, her dogs are a fixture in here.

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The guest room has two twin beds dressed up in cozy cottage linens and blankets. Patchwork pillows add a cheerful addition to the room.

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Jen loves vintage linens and she owns quite a lot of them. She folds and stores them here in this blue cupboard.

The Backyard Transformation:

Jen took the nondescript and ugly backyard and created a lush oasis where she can garden in solitude or entertain with loved ones.

{Photos and edited details come from this source}


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  1. I live in the same town as this person. Her home is lovely but she is an absolute nightmare. I realize this site is not about people who are nice, it’s about homes that are nice. I just thought that was worth sharing.

  2. This is the perfect size for a home, exactly the same as my own. I especially love her garden.

  3. Brenda… a question for you please… this home you shared from the Country Living website lead me to their website. I’m considering signing up for the magazine and digital content. I’d like to know if you like the website and was the fee worth it. Do you get a fair amount of extra digital content that you can’t find any where else? Thanks

  4. I love, love, love these home tours when you share them. You have a knack for finding the PERFECT places to share. Thank You.

  5. These delightful photos were just what I needed to prime my creative juices that seem to have been stalled for far too long. So many ideas, like that shelf above the stove, are simple as d functional.
    An enjoyable and uplifting post, Brenda. Thank you.

  6. Gosh, what a beautiful and appealing home. I wish it were mine! Thanks for showing it.

  7. I love little houses,we moved into a tiny one-time bedroom and both my babies came home to that house!
    It was cramped but it was on a nice street,nice neighbors and a little private yard.

  8. Absolutely loved this cozy cottage home. (As I do your cozy wonderfully decorated home) Thank you for posting! :0)

  9. What a lovely home! In particular, I like her back yard. What a beautiful oasis she’s created out there. Who wouldn’t want to sit out there and enjoy a beautiful afternoon alone or with friends and family? The other thing that really catches my attention are all the plants she has everywhere indoors. It makes every room so cozy and inviting. Her home looks happy and peaceful. Thank you for sharing such a lovely home.

  10. Really enjoyed this charming home. This young lady has great taste. The blue sofa is beautiful. I love that her foresight could see the possibilities in this once plain Jane and made this cottage a little jewel.

  11. Love this woman’s spare but comfy look.
    I especially like that back yard area…what a great place to eat and visit. Like you, Brenda, she has an obvious love for her outdoor area.

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