Country-Cottage Kitchen Ideas

Choose your colours carefully
When designing a country kitchen, homeowners will often opt for white as a focus colour. This can make the room look more spacious, but if you want to add some real style and personality to your kitchen, use brighter colours — but just make sure you're restrained.
Use patterns to add interest
Plaid blankets and tweed might come to mind at the mention of country style, but there are far more patterns that can be included in the design of your new kitchen. Stripes, florals, and woodland and farm animal prints will all look delightful against a rustic backdrop.
Add antique details
If you don't want your country kitchen to have too much of a modern look, adding some antique details will give it a more traditional and lived-in feel.
Choose your colours carefully
When designing a country kitchen, homeowners will often opt for white as a focus colour. This can make the room look more spacious, but if you want to add some real style and personality to your kitchen, use brighter colours — but just make sure you're restrained.

Country-Cottage Bathroom Ideas

Natural Materials
The soapstone countertop, wood paneled walls, and antique sink all work together this give the bathroom in this beautiful house a less refined look and feel.
Country White
The texture of the tongue-and-groove planks in this 161-year-old Wisconsin grain mill keeps the all-white palette from feeling too crisp or cold.
Upcycled Pieces
In the master bath of this family's country dream home, a claw-foot tub sits on wood blocks. The vanity is simply an old work bench with a new vessel sink, while a simple salvaged doorknob became a smart substitute for a plain old nail.
Antique Touches
A new master bathroom looks original, thanks to its apron-front sink with toile skirt; old record cabinets provide storage.

Warm, welcoming and comfortable - the country kitchen makes the heart of your home as cozy as possible.

One of the most popular cottage style bathroom ideas is converting vintage furniture pieces into vanities. This is a way to bring the past into a modern bathroom without sacrificing convenience.
Warm, welcoming and comfortable - the country kitchen makes the heart of your home as cozy as possible.
Utilise your space fully
Warm, welcoming and comfortable - the country kitchen makes the heart of your home as cozy as possible.
Look up
Warm, welcoming and comfortable - the country kitchen makes the heart of your home as cozy as possible.
Opt for cool colours
Warm, welcoming and comfortable - the country kitchen makes the heart of your home as cozy as possible.
Or on the flipside
Warm, welcoming and comfortable - the country kitchen makes the heart of your home as cozy as possible.
Incorporate rustic details

Nine years ago, I met Adam. It was the day that changed everything for me, and it’s one that I honor annually with more emotion than even our wedding anniversary. (Without that day, I might never have met my partner in love & business... I might never have moved into the Cottage... and, most unfathomable of all, there would be no West.) 

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This year we wanted to celebrate by spending some time in Montecito with our family.

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We were generously provided with a luxuriously designed 2020 Lincoln Aviator for our drive and overnight stay so that all 6 of us could get around town together safely and comfortably. 

Above/Below: Handmade pants by   Thief and Bandit

Above/Below: Handmade pants by Thief and Bandit

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An epic sunset, a morning at the beach, some family meals, and quiet moments together in the hammocks throughout the property made our short getaway feel therapeutic in a way that was much...

Small homes/apartments located in regions with colder climates face their own unique storage challenges. When one sweater or jacket requires as much room as a small stack of summer clothing, or when a single pair of boots are all you can fit by the front door, space suddenly becomes that much more challenging to find, create and/or maintain.  And, as storage space gets eaten up, spare inches intended for relaxation, work or play are often infringed upon, just when you need them most while spending more time indoors.

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I have rented several small apartments (with no outdoor space) in regions with freezing weather the past. From living in a makeshift, triangle-shaped bedroom that doubled as a close friend’s home office, to spending years with a partner in a typical New York City walk-up (which was not only tiny, but was also booby trapped with exposed heating pipes that sizzled my skin any time I reached for a book or bent over to put on my socks, I have grappled with storing cold weather gear in a compact home.

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Still, I’ve hesitated to...

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about our family being under the weather while under one (tiny) roof. At that time, all of us were sick and struggling to avoid passing germs on to one another on repeat while sharing such a small space. This weekend I’m circling back on that topic, but from another angle.

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This time, our 3 year old is experiencing typical cold symptoms, whereas Adam and I are feeling healthy. So we’ve been coming up with calm activities to do together in our tiny home to help West keep entertained without the use of a screen, and without overexerting himself.

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Our go-tos have been creating pillow-lined paths for West’s new wooden trucks, reading stacks of books (we’re extra careful when handling the library books in this context), laundry as a family activity, doing flash cards and puzzles, watching dino eggs hatch, and playing with organic flour dough and dough tools made from recycled plastics.

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I also went out early on Saturday morning to get West a compact, fold-up wooden train set as a little “sick day” surprise....

In recent years, one of the habits we’ve shifted the most drastically is how we select goods for our pups, StanLee and Sophee. For example, we’ve switched from food delivery services to preparing their meals here at home, and we’ve found bags, tools and accessories work well for our their needs as well as our evolving, greener lifestyle. As always, it’s a work in progress— we are constantly learning new information and pivoting accordingly. But the following is our current set of practices, coupled with a product roundup.

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LINT BRUSH
After Sophee chewed up our last plastic lint roller (WHY, SOPH?!), I refused to buy another. We now use a wooden lint brush that effectively removes animal hair and lint from clothes and upholstery. It’s constructed from beechwood and natural rubber strips, then bound together with copper wire.

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SHAMPOO
We don’t have to bathe the pups too often— a perk of the breed. But when we do, we have a pet shampoo bar that’s effective and virtually waste-free. It comes in compostable, minimal packaging.

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We prefer to keep things clean and simple over here. For us, it makes life in a small space much more manageable. Sometimes we succeed, other times we don’t. My daily bag is a stellar example of a notable minimalism fail.

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When not in use, the placement of the bag within our house is nice and practical. It either hooks on to the back of our front door, or it hangs from an s-hook on the exterior of the closet. In both places it’s easy to access throughout the day or when in a hurry, all without taking up any surface or closet space needed for other activities or items.

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It’s the stuff inside the bag that’s a bit of a cluster. The blend of running the business, parenting and trying to be less wasteful with single-use items prevent me from keeping the contents to a minimum. But the system works, so I’ve come to embrace it all.

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Reusable tissues/cloths, a canvas bulk food baggie, a larger sheet of beeswax paper, a cutlery roll for myself, a combo play mat + cutlery roll for...

Gifting is a low frills affair here. We rarely wrap things, and we almost always opt for simple designs. But that doesn’t mean we don’t give the process a good deal of thought— on the contrary, actually.

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We typically give bundles containing beverages or edible goods, along with local floral bunches. On special occasions, we add handmade or vintage artful homewares that hopefully support beautiful and less wasteful living.

I discovered this handmade loose leaf tea caddy (made in the USA with sustainable walnut) on Etsy, which has long been my go-to source for vintage and handmade goods. The caddy is such a lovely and functional item that can encourage the recipient to slow down and enjoy a quiet moment, particularly during this fast-paced time of year.

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I also found a nesting set of stainless steel cups (perfect for little ones) that are bound together with a lid and strap for easy toting. Other items I’ve gathered for gifts this fall include a handmade baby spoon (the same one we got for West when he was 6 months old), some color twig...

After adding the adaptable book storage to West’s desk zone last week, we realized just how much space we could save by putting a few more tools and supplies up on the low walls.

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This is a tricky little area in the house. It’s our only hallway, connecting all 4 zones within our cottage: the kitchen, living space, bathroom and bedroom. As such, it has to remain easily passable for foot traffic, and yet we also want it to be functional for West as an art and play zone. The low wall here is actually divided into three little parts, each of which stands frustratingly at different depths. This means that West’s desk cannot sit flush against the entire stretch, and that we can’t use one big organizer or shelf— we instead have to accommodate three different widths and surface materials.

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We found that one book holder, one canvas pocket organizer, and his perpetual calendar were the perfect trio for the space above the folding table.

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The canvas pockets hold pencils,...

You know those pin-worthy closet tours that showcase neatly stacked piles of pants, rows of shoes and handbags arranged in artful lines, well-lit full length mirrors, and mid-room island dressers filled with drawers of diverse accessories? This is most certainly not one of those tours. 

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Instead, this is an honest look at how we make a small closet (which was once a nursery) work for 2 adults, 1 preschooler, a collection of books, and A LOT of dog hair. 

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Clearly I’m no fashion blogger. I usually feel such joy and satisfaction when arranging a space, but for some reason I’ve never derived much pleasure from composing an outfit. But I do appreciate a beautiful garment— so much so that I often end up incorporating clothing into the decor of our home.

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Luckily, this also helps us make better use of our small space when it comes to finding storage solutions. (For example, West’s apron dangles from a hooked magnet on the fridge, our scarves and hats drape along the bedroom...

Recently, our child turned 3. What I loved most about the day was witnessing our little one’s clear understanding of the significance of the occasion, and observing his reactions to certain aspects of the celebration. 

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He relished seeing so many sweet videos sent from family and friends who live afar. However, each and every rendition of “Happy Birthday” (whether pre-recorded or in real-time) clearly made him uncomfortable. 

He was overjoyed with the excuse to eat a donut in the morning (which was his choice of sugary indulgence rather than cake), and was satisfied by the ceremony of blowing out a candle.

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Adam and I decided not to host a gathering. While West thoroughly enjoys visitors and playing with his friends, he seems to be happiest in low-key environments. And when we asked him if he wanted guests, he repeatedly responded with a quick, “no thank you.”

Instead, we turned on music, had a dance party in our tiny living room, and watched as our 3 year old opened cards that were mailed to the Cottage, and a small stack of (borrowed)...

Since our bucket bike is our primary mode of transportation (as both a business and a family), we decided it’s finally time to spruce up our “company car” before 2020 rolls in. (Read my recent posts about our bikes, here.)

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We’ll be working with local artist Brittney Banks to create custom designs for the exterior or the bucket. (I’m looking forward to finally removing the bland text-only decal from the side.)

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Fun fact: Brittney created the cards we gave to all the guests who attending our home-wedding. I appreciate her playful style, and the ways in which she manages to capture Venice with her brush. 

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These are very quick prelim designs she made after we rolled the bike into our garden and chatted about the direction we wanted to take with the art. We’ve since modified the concepts somewhat, but the vibe will be the same, and the scenes will be tailored to our funny lil’ live/work world here by the Canals. 

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In a recent post, I shared visuals demonstrating the simple way in which we wrap our son’s gifts. We use linen napkins, scarves and tea towels from around the house. They’re zero waste, easy for little hands to untie, and once the wrapping is no longer needed we can simply toss the cloths into the laundry bin or return them to our drawer. But what about presents that are destined for homes other than our own?

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As we head into the holidays, Adam and I have somehow already found ourselves wrapping little items for our friends’ children. Instead of using linens or traditional wrapping paper, we use picture book dust jackets. 

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This idea is not new. I’ve seen it before, and I’ve heard it discussed and suggested a few times over the years. But now that our son is 3 and is well into picture books, we’ve accumulated enough beautiful yet impractical covers to create our own little pile of unique wrapping paper. 

When we get a new book that has a dust jacket, we inevitably remove it within a day or two. I can’t bear to just chuck the paper into the...

When I look back at the way my family celebrated Halloween when I was growing up, I have strong (and positive) memories of the events, the costumes and the decor at home and in school. But in this time of climate crisis, and with a child who is fascinated but clearly unsettled by certain settings and setups, I’ve found that opting for less during the holidays in general is currently the best fit for our lil’ home and family. (See our Tiny House Halloween post from last year, here.)

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If we had piles of picturesque fall leaves here, I imagine would gather some to string into garlands to drape around our home. But, despite the fact that it’s mid-October, Venice is still in late-summer mode— plus we don’t have an abundance of trees here to begin with. I’ll admit that I found myself searching for real leaves online before I realized how silly that was. I closed the computer, annoyed with myself for even considering purchasing leaves (the Florida girl in me is still shaking her head), and then having them packaged and shipped to our house— a completely unnecessary expense and add-on to our carbon footprint. 

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This week, a reader sent me a message requesting recommendations for what to do with spare sofa cushions and pillows when converting a living space into a sleeping space for overnight guests or a child. In a truly small home or apartment such as ours, just tossing the cushions aside isn’t an answer, as they clog up floor and surface space that’s needed for navigation and everyday life. And when you’re already pressed for storage inches within your closet, under the bed, and in/around cabinets and shelves, it can often feel like there’s zero room for bulky temporarily displaced items such as these.

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As always, my recommendation is to go vertical, and to work with what you have.

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First, we double-up the cushions that we can keep on the couch without getting in the way of the sitting or sleep space. And we always use a cushion as a headboard, which makes the setup feel more bed-like, while also putting good use to an otherwise displaced cushion.

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In our case, we scatter the...

Our kitchen isn’t tiny, but it is of course compact. One double-door cabinet above our sink holds all of our drinkware.

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When selecting our glasses, cups and related accessories, we’ve tried to stick to items that will save space and reduce waste through their versatility and adaptability.

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For example, when our child began to drink out of a bottle, I started to notice how many styles of drinkware for children there are. The designs are often tailored to stage and age, meaning they need to be entirely replaced at several milestones. We are certainly guilty of going through a few styles of bottles and cups before understanding what we actually needed, and how we could reduce our waste while saving space within our home. As it turns out, all we needed was a small number of stainless steel bottles that could be adapted for babies, toddlers, kids, adults, and travel via their tops.

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Similarly, I had mason jars in use for a job here-or-there around the house, but I also...

We don’t buy an overwhelming number toys for West. As long as he has access to lil’ trucks (new or old) and a stack of library books (refreshed weekly), he’s usually pretty content.

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But we do, of course, have a mix of playful games and activities at-the-ready throughout our home, hiding in plain sight.

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Here are the most common sources we explore when searching for toys:

  • The Wooden Wagon

  • Acorn Toy Shop

  • From Jennifer (Etsy)

  • Plan Toys

  • Tender Leaf Toys

  • SoHandmade (Etsy)

  • Hand-me-downs from neighbors and friends

  • Local art festivals and pop-up markets

  • City and county libraries

(Additional photos are provided below, with some specific product links.)

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Despite the fact that we should be consuming less to more effectively fight the climate crisis, it feels to me as though we’re increasingly being marketed new tools and products geared towards “self care.” As I’ve shared on this blog, I admittedly splurge on a very small, selective batch of items that fall into this category— particularly when it pertains to my simplified skincare routine. But recently it’s given me great peace to go without the latest items that are touted as self care essentials. It’s saved our family money that we need to ease the stress of high monthly bills, it’s enhanced the simplicity of my daily routines, and it’s allowed me to hone in on what it is that actually generates a calm and unique sort of joy within me.

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My fancy self-care go-to is floating around our neighborhood in an old wooden hand-me-down canoe with my senior dog, StanLee.

I acknowledge that this activity is, of course, a great privilege. From the canals themselves to the SoCal weather, to being the recipients of the generous gift of a unique old canoe, to the spare minutes once or twice per week, we are so lucky to...

Today is National Voter Registration Day!

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Text VOTER to 26797 to make sure you are registered to vote and to receive important election information. 

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We try to make sure that the items we bring into our lil’ cottage are crafted with consideration, are versatile for ever-evolving use, and enhance the function and feel of our home-office.

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For a tiny, unique addition to our home this I introduced these two, handcrafted folding book hangers to the low wall in our multi-purpose room.

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I found these compact, adaptable accessories on Etsy, which has been my go-to source for everything vintage and handmade for over a decade. The hangers are ideal for our pre-schooler’s activity pads, as well as a selection of seasonal books borrowed from our local library.

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Our child’s folding desk and his wooden perpetual calendar were also Etsy finds, of course. Explore some of my handmade Etsy favorites for fall, here.

Note: While this blog entry was not sponsored, the book hangers (which I selected intentionally for our home and needs,) were gifted by Etsy in conjunction with a sponsored Instagram post.

Our friends at Olli Ella invited me for a Q & A regarding small space, sustainable living. The full feature is on their blog, and a preview is below.

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“Sustainability warrior, interiors guru and long-time friend of Olli Ella, Whitney Leigh Morris is setting the example for everyday folks who hope to lead a fuller life, with less. Whitney's now famous Venice Beach cottage (which measures in at 400sqft) is loved by people near and far for it's clever use of space and her blog and Instagram have become a constant source of inspiration for many thanks to her small space styling hacks, incredible eye for design and the environmentally fueled ethos by which she lives; you don't need to live large, to live beautifully. We chatted with Whitney about her family, her home and her growing passion for Tiny Living.” - Olli Ella

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Q: The merging of interior design and styling with your passion for sustainability has really become the heart of your brand. Is this passion a result of living in The Tiny Canal Cottage, or is this an area that you have always...

I realized recently that it’s been months since I emptied our tiny bin in the Cottage bathroom. Thanks to the changes we’ve made to our bath and body care habits, we almost never have any trash/recycling leftover. Making some simple modifications to our long-standing home dental care routine was one of the easiest ways to reduce our waste.

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The products we use now are just as economical, consume no extra space, and even beautify our little bathroom. (Who knew that dental hygiene products could be so lovely to look at?!)

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Toothpaste 
By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Over 1 billion plastic toothpaste tubes are thrown away annually, ending up in landfills and oceans. What can you do to help? A simple shift in our small daily practices can help us all make a dent. Bite makes cruelty-free, plastic-free, zero waste toothpaste tablets sent in refillable glass containers. When you need to replenish your supply, Bite sends new tablets in compostable kraft envelopes padded with post-consumer recycled newspapers. Just...

My previous blog post was dedicated to the topic of how to keep homes, apartments, and/or offices decluttered for the long-haul. Once you’ve simplified your space, you’ll likely have a number of items left over to donate.

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A simple Google search of nearby non-profits can provide you with a list of organizations within your community that might be able to put the goods to use. Just give them a quick call or send them an email to inquire what they need. For those in the LA area, I’ve provided a brief round-up of diverse organizations that accept a myriad of donations, outlined below.


The RightWay Foundation 
The RightWay Foundation works with current or emancipated foster youth to move from a point of pain and disappointment to a point of power, productivity, and self-sufficiency.
(323) 903-5021
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Items Needed:
Toiletries
Grooming + Beauty Products 
Interview/Workplace Attire, including Bags + Accessories + Shoes
Diapers, Toys and Books (for the young children of the former foster youth)

Mail or Drop-Off:
3650 West Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. #195
Los Angeles, CA, 90008
(If dropping off,...

This is the fifth installment of our mini video series, Tiny Takeaways. In this episode, we’re highlighting some easy ways to maximize outdoor spaces! For 200+ more tips for making the most of your compact home or apartment, explore our lil’ book: Small Space Style.

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Every now and then we like to select a few features from the Cottage that were published by other outlets, and share them via our own blog as well. Our early summer roundup includes stories from goop, Hunker, Domino, Create & Cultivate, and Olli Ella.

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Click the links below to explore!

  • HUNKER HOME: 5 Small-Space Organization Lessons We Learned From Whitney Leigh Morris

  • GOOP: Low Waste Living - How to do Things Small with a Big Impact (IG Stories feature*)

  • DOMINO: Turned a Tiny Backyard Into an Outdoor Oasis

  • CREATE & CULTIVATE: Even CEO's need Their 8 Hours a Night

  • OLLI ELLA: Sustainable Small Space Styling

* Screenshots from IG Stories feature below.

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This is the 6th installment of our mini video series, Tiny Takeaways. In this episode, we’re highlighting some easy, space-saving swaps to make your home or apartment a bit more eco-friendly. For 200+ more tips for making the most of your compact home or apartment, explore our lil’ book: Small Space Style.

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There’s something unrelentingly frenetic about the pace of family life in a major city. Between traffic, crowds, and prices, simply putting a foot out the door can feel like stepping into a whirlwind.

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However, since curtailing our dependency on disposable / single-use items, Adam and I have realized that we rarely have to go shopping, which means we have reduced those frenzied family missions to an absolute minimum.

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Once we no longer needed to replenish our stock of cleaning goods, household supplies and toiletries— and since we reprogrammed ourselves to stop bringing new items into our home— there became significantly fewer errands to run. (This is, of course, partially achievable through online shopping, but the carbon footprint of packing + shipping are far too taxing on the environment to warrant frequent deliveries.)

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Other than our regular trips to the market or to pick up canister refills for our Sodastream, we usually only leave when we are meeting people,...

This post was sponsored by Garnet Hill. The words an opinions expressed are my own. As always, any imagery showing West and/or the pups was taken as they interacted in their own natural ways.

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 An individual’s journey to a more eco-friendly existence doesn’t have to be completed overnight. It doesn’t need to be traversed flawlessly in a straight line, and no one is fast-tracked to the high road by shaming others or one-upping our peers. The transition is about caring and trying. Really trying. Both when the eyes of others are upon us, and when they’re not. 

For me, this journey began when Adam, StanLee and I moved into our tiny home, as small space living is inherently more environmentally friendly. But, looking back, we certainly amassed a regrettable amount of waste in the years that followed. It wasn’t until after out son was born that we became far more aware of our footprint, and our role in the climate crisis. 

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 Since then, we’ve been working towards the goal of as low waste of as lifestyle as is reasonably possible here in our...

In summers past, Adam and I would always take at least one trip away via plane. The summer after West was born we journeyed back to to Belcastel. Last year we met up with our family in Idaho. This year, however, Adam and I agreed to ease up on air travel, as we’re monitoring our collective carbon footprint as both a family and a business. Flying less often is such a simple way to significantly cut back our negative impact on the planet, as a single cross-country flight here in the US represents about 1/18th of a person’s annual carbon emissions.* Plus, we live in a tourist destination— we might as well stay home and enjoy it!

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Then, unexpectedly, a friend of mine called and invited me to join her in Hawaii for an August mini-break. For a few personal reasons, I decided to go. As a result, I began exploring the ways in which I can lessen my impact both from and during the trip. (goop recently published an article entitled How to Travel Responsibly in an Era of Climate Change, and it’s definitely worth reading.)

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We opted to fly Alaska Air,...

There’s no getting around the chore of laundry— even in a tiny house. This is especially true for residences that with young children, pets who shed, a full-time office, and a slew of reusable/washable goods in lieu of disposable single-use supplies. (🙋🏻)

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In order to make laundry feel like more of a game and less like an obligation, we’ve made washing and drying into a family activity at the cottage.

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We take our vintage children’s chair out beside the bistro table set, pair it with an old restaurant bus tub (left over from our wedding), and add some water and a soap bar to then hand-wash a few garments with West.

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We end up tossing everything in the washing machine, of course. But we’re constantly reevaluating and exploring ways in which to reduce our environmental footprint during the laundry process.

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We only do full loads (rather than small or partial washes), and run most of them on cold, since...


This is the 7th installment of our mini video series, Tiny Takeaways. In this episode, we’re continuing to highlight some easy, space-saving swaps that might make your home or apartment a bit more eco-friendly. For 200+ more tips for making the most of your compact home or apartment, explore our lil’ book: Small Space Style.

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Our tiny home-office has been the full-time workspace for my small business since we moved into the Cottage 8+ years ago. (See our short video about streamlining a compact home-office here.)

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My convertible sitting/standing desk is located in our main room, which is connected to the kitchen through an open floor-plan. This area also serves as our living room, a playroom, a pop-up dining room, West’s sleep space, and a guest room.

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Lately I’ve disliked having my back turned to West as I face the iMac while working. So a few months ago I decided to test going without my large desktop computer. I backed up my files and put the machine in our only closet. I figured if I could conduct my creative business as effectively from a laptop and iPad that I could pass the iMac on to a family member who needs a newer device.

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It’s been an adjustment, but I’ve preferred the versatility of working on my laptop. It makes me feel more mobile, and less tethered to one spot as West and...

This is the 8th installment of our mini video series, Tiny Takeaways. In this episode, we’re demonstrating some of the many ways in which a single, simple, compact room can be transformed throughout the day. Why this topic? Because in an era of climate crisis, we believe it’s important to share true to life examples of how living in (and with) a smaller footprint as a family is not only doable, but delightful.

For 200+ more tips for making the most of your compact home or apartment, explore our lil’ book: Small Space Style.

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This post was sponsored by Dermstore and NuFace. As always, the words, opinions and images are my own (with the exception of precise product descriptions). Any images featuring the pups were taken as they behaved in their own natural ways.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not entirely comfortable discussing appearance. All too frequently women are told that we need to prioritize beauty, and invest in maintaining (or recapturing) our youth at nearly every age, and I don’t want contribute to that narrative.

At 38, I love my age, and I’m more confident than ever in my skin. But that doesn’t mean that I’m always thrilled with my appearance. 

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I have no desire to look like I’m in my 20s. And I have no desire to erase the lines on my face that are, to me, reminders of a life filled with so much joy and laughter. But I would prefer to not always appear so damn TIRED. 

Don’t get me wrong— tired is okay. Tired is real. I AM tired. Who isn’t? Our current world is a weighty one, and the strain of it all clings to our bodies… Yet I’ll admit that it would be nice to look in the mirror and appear as though I’ve at least...

Recently I decided to change the services offered by my company— mainly the behind-the-scenes one-on-one decor gigs, which I rarely share online. I did this because those jobs produce far too much waste for my comfort, they consume more time than we currently have available, they induce a level of stress that I feel is disproportionate to the subject matter, and yet they only account for a sliver of my company’s income. So I’m currently phasing out those responsibilities, and will have them behind me by the end of the month. 

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In the transition phase, I’m taking time to inspect my world at a less-frenzied pace.

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I’m focusing on what I treasure most about my business, my personal life, and my home environment. 

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I’ve been able to work from home for the majority this week, as I’m spending less and less time rushing about LA.

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In the moments in between business and playing with West, I catch glimpses of...

The other day we stopped by a craft store to pick up a specific item for our son. While running through the aisles chasing after him, I spotted a simple market/lemonade stand for $30. I jumped at the rare impulse purchase.

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I appreciated the simple, unfinished, all cardboard design for what it offered, and also for the room it provided for customization and creativity.

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With some crayons, toys, books and goods from around the house, as well as a mix of real and faux produce and plants we already had on-hand for West, it was easy and entertaining to completely transform our main room (and the stoops) for hours of play and learning.

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We used the scraps of cardboard from the packaging to make little notes and cash for the stand. West’s existing sorting bowls and their corresponding wooden chips became perfect coins.

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It was tempting to buy a wooden cash register set, but Adam and I agreed that...

Our 9th episode of Tiny Takeaways offers the tiniest and simplest tip of all, but I still think it’s one worth sharing: Consider utilizing the outside of your compact kitchen’s refrigerator. Every space is different— maybe your fridge isn’t magnetized, or perhaps you barely have room to open the door or access the sides or top, in which case this episode might not apply to you. But when I think back on all the tiny kitchens I had in the past, I wish I’d thought to save precious surface and drawer inches by using low-cost items such as clever magnets and wire baskets. In our 8+ years in this cottage we’ve stored so many items on the exterior of our fridge: timers, reusable coffee filters, aprons, herbs, bottle openers, spice racks, new user guides, table brushes, chalk boards, produce bags, candles, and multi-use clips. This is not an earth-shattering hack, but that’s not our intent anyway. Our intent is to demonstrate that you don’t necessarily need a bigger space, because with some creativity, you can enhance function and character WITHOUT increasing your footprint.

For 200+ more tips for making the most of your compact home or apartment, explore our lil’ book: Small Space...

On Fridays and Sundays, we typically like to do movie nights as a family here at home.

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I’m not a big fan of staying inside huddled around a screen— especially since we live in SoCal, where the weather is usually gorgeous, and something is always in bloom. So this weekend we decided to try outdoor movie night.

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It only took a few minutes to set up, and worked wonderfully.

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We didn’t need any special furnishings or equipment. We simply placed our vintage, folding outdoor table (which we also use for pop-up dining, crafts, and for offering refreshments outdoors when hosting,) on the back stoop, and topped it with my work iMac.

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We’ve been meaning to mail this desktop computer off to a family member, as discussed in this post about our recent home-office modifications, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s been sitting on the floor of our closet in the meantime, so this was the perfect way to...

America wastes more than 40% of its food. Not only does this contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but it also fails to help the 1 out of every 8 Americans who struggles with hunger. As consumers, we can make a difference in many ways. Even taking small steps— such bringing our own produce bags and choosing flawed produce when shopping for groceries— can create change that leads to a more sustainable future. (See our IGTV video on this topic, created in partnership with Kroger, below.)

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This blog post is sponsored by Miracle-Gro Twelve. As always, the imagery and words are my own, with the exception of precise product descriptions/specs, and any images with the pups and/or our son were taken as they interacted under adult supervision in their own natural ways.

Having a garden is not something I take for granted. With the exception of my childhood home, this cottage is the first place I’ve ever lived that has its own lil’ patch of earth. 

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Not a week goes by that I don’t receive messages from readers who express their frustration about not having a yard of their own in which to grow leafy greens. For that exact reason, we decided to try the Miracle-Gro® Twelve™ Indoor Growing System here in our tiny house and share our experience with you. 

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We stacked two systems together by using the stacking kit and can now grow 8 batches of herbs and leafy greens from seedlings right here inside the house. We documented the process— from start to finish— for readers who are curious about ways in which to grow greenery in small interiors...

I post a fair amount of content on Instagram featuring our family’s fleet of bikes, which we affectionately refer to as our “Company Cars.”

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Most of the time I’m simply offering glimpses into our daily routines and lifestyle habits— rarely do I discuss WHY we bike so much and drive so little. 

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First, I should state outright that pedaling here-and-there as a family like we do is a mix of planning and privilege. This lifestyle works for us because of a myriad of factors that don’t apply to everyone. 

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Yes, we go out of our way to accommodate the mildly inconvenient realities of biking, such as waking up earlier, carving out more time, bringing changes of clothes, awkwardly carrying bulky cargo, wandering around events or this crowded city with a trio of helmets fastened to our belt loops, etc.

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But these are things we are privileged to have the opportunity to do. We are able-bodied, we do not have to...

The Global Climate Strike begins this week, running from September 20th - 27th.

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The strike is powered by young people all around the world who have been speaking out on behalf of our planet and its inhabitants, and fighting for just and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 

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On the 20th and 27th of this month, our family and our small business will be striking with the youth who’ve organized this week’s events to demand climate justice for all.

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We aim to demonstrate to political powers around the world that the urgency of the climate crisis requires a new, swift, impactful, and meaningful response that will serve the health of the planet while also focusing on human rights, equity, and justice.

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Find out how you can get involved by clicking here.

Our lil’ back garden suddenly looks twice its actual size thanks to a new custom sofa + mirror set (made here in LA with reclaimed materials) by our friends at Tumbleweed & Dandelion!

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When we first moved into our tiny home 8 years ago (photo below), we wanted to redo the wall that runs the length of this outdoor space, which is the back of the ramshackle shed we share with our neighbor— it holds our washer/dryer, bikes, and lots of his camping gear. But that makeover has simply never been within our financial means.

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Over the years we added plants and furnishings that were mainly run-off products from various shoots and client projects. But nothing was ever just right for our space.

Recently we were hosting some friends for a little catch-up session, and I realized that our friend Jeff was basically sitting with his head in a plant the entire time. I’d put the plant there to cover up part of an unsightly, unused garden door. It was meant to be a placeholder, but it ended up living there for years.

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Lately I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on why I do what I do for a living. My goal is for the readers of this blog and my book to be confident and fulfilled in their small homes or apartments, and I want to be one of their primary go-to resources for reliable, low-cost, eco-friendly takeaways that can help them spend less time organizing and searching for their stuff, and more time with the ones they love. Adam and I created a mini video series that we hope offers creative, no/low cost styling and storage solutions to folks living in smaller spaces. This is the second episode, in which we focus on ways to streamline a compact home-office. As always, thank you for your encouragement and continued support of our lil’ home, family and business.

(Note: This episode is formatted vertically for mobile viewing. To watch it on a desktop/laptop, please click the full screen icon on the control bar at the bottom of the video player. )

Our son (who turns 3 this fall,) has very few articles of clothing. Nearly everything he needs fits into three jute baskets in our closet, while his undergarments and overnight cloth diapers fit in one additional small drawer.

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It’s been the same ever since he was an infant. We never buy for his next stage of growth, and focus solely on comfort in the present. We donate anything that he’s clearly outgrown so as to avoid a build-up of articles, and we keep the number of garments that all of us own to a minimum.

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The key is finding versatile pieces that can be layered regardless of season, as well as designs that continue to grow over time. Pants with legs that can be rolled up (and then back down again all too soon), and tops with sleeves that can do the same have been helped us keep certain garments in use for well over a year.

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Whether we’re here on the beach or visiting our family up north during winter, our son remains comfortable. (We always have 1 major coat, 1...

I’m not entirely comfortable discussing appearance. All too frequently women are told— one way or another— that we need to focus on and invest heavily in “beauty” at nearly every age. We’re inundated with marketing that aims to profit from physical insecurities under the guise of empowerment, and I don’t want to contribute to that. For me, it’s a layered topic, and not my favorite to indulge, which is why I haven’t blogged about it since my postpartum entry.

However, I can’t deny that my simplified skincare approach over the past 1-2 years has saved me time, money, and space. It has also reduced so much bottle, palette and canister waste that I feel as though it’s worth sharing here— especially since I’ve received several requests recently to post about my favorite resources for skincare and makeup.

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First, some context: I’m 38 years old, covered in freckles, and have visible sun damage from decades spent outdoors in Florida and Southern California. (That’s why I’m constantly wearing my West Perro hat.)

I have never used injectables such as botox or fillers, and I have never had any cosmetic surgery.

I’ve...

This blog post was sponsored by Curaleaf Hemp. As always, the imagery and words are my own. Any images of the pups were taken as they interacted (under adult supervision) in their own natural ways.

When I gave birth to my son, I was fortunate enough to be able to do so without taking any pain medication. The birthing experience made me realize just how strong our bodies can be, and I now recognize the vast value of preventative care, and organic processes + treatments. 

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As CBD slipped into the mainstream recently, Adam and I welcomed its arrival as a non-intoxicating and soothing natural remedy for various minor but persistent health issues. Integrating Curaleaf Hemp’s CBD oil in droplet form has been beneficial for his lifestyle, and completely non-disruptive, the way certain pharmaceuticals and other cannabinoids can be.

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As I’ve discussed many times before, one of the main reasons we live in a small home is that it helps us enjoy our day to day life by reducing our household costs and responsibilities, and by encouraging us to stay...

Back in February, we revamped the front half of the Cottage garden with the landscape design team at Big Red Sun. One of the most notable changes of the makeover was the addition of a 5-foot wide by 6-foot high garden wall at the entrance to our property.

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The Cottage is surrounded by an old wooden fence. From late spring and throughout the summer, it’s masked by cascading grapevine tendrils and leaves. But during the other half of the year, the fence feels barren and looks pretty worn after years of water and termite damage. It’s not in our budget to replace it right now, but we can’t dress it up with planters either as it’s not strong enough in all areas to support the weight.

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When the creative minds at Big Red Sun suggested beautifying the fence with a custom garden panel, I was thrilled. I’d seen examples in their shop before (shown below), and while I couldn’t picture exactly how one might look at our lil’ home, I knew it’d be the perfect spot for hanging pots, training plants to climb from the ground, and even buttressing part of...

This spring marked our 8th anniversary of living in our lil’ home! We always want to remember this time, so we made a video that we can revisit later in life.

Thank you to Lucia Doynel of Tinylicious for capturing this footage so naturally while we went about our day at home. And thank you to Eric Mellgren of Vigilant Healing Solutions for permitting us to use his original song, Up To Something, in this video.

(See our “Then & Now” post from our 7th year anniversary here.)

This week, StanLee and I were guests on Access Live, where I shared my book, Small Space Style, as well as some thoughts on living more sustainably with less.

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We were lucky to work with Airstream, who provided a space-savvy Flying Cloud for the segment. (It’s so well designed, both inside and out. Adam and I are already planning to take our family on a lil’ trip in one of their travel trailers.)

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We also brought our “Company Car” (the cargo tricycle by Virtue) for the feature. To my delight, the hosts later rode around the lot with StanLee.

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The segment is below. Thank you so much for having us, Access Live! We look forward to returning.

I don’t do much retail shopping these days, but I still try to support Venice’s small businesses whenever possible. I pedal our cargo tricycle to thrift stores and locally-owned boutiques when I need something for my family or clients, or even to just to pop by and say hi. Some of my personal favorites are Big Red Sun, Late Sunday Afternoon, Tumbleweed and Dandelion, Venice Plants, The Mart Collective, and Venice Vintage Paradise. Another favorite is The Piece Collective, which is a beautifully designed shop in an old bungalow located on Abbot Kinney. It carries works by some of my favorite makers and home brands, such as MQuan and The Dharma Door USA. They invited me over for a brief Q&A in honor of Mother’s Day— a preview is below.

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Q: What do you find to be the biggest challenge of motherhood?

A: In a time of terrifying climate change, growing populations, sweeping violence, and general uncertainty, it can be an extremely intense process to decide whether or not to bring a new life into the world. And once that child is here, the task of balancing her/his safety with her/his independence is a phenomenal...

I don’t want everything I publish to be shoppable. (That’s why I started my “Some Items You Can Probably Go Without” blog entries.) I don’t wan’t to earn income by constantly encouraging people to buy more, when I know that most of us can (and should, for environmental reasons,) live with less. What I do want is for folks to be comfortable, confident and content in their small homes or apartments. And I want to be a resource for reliable takeaways that can help you spend less time searching for your stuff, and more time with the ones you love. Adam and I created a mini video series that we hope offers creative, no/low cost organizational and storage solutions to folks living in smaller spaces. This is the first episode, and I so deeply hope that it’s useful to some of you. As always, thank you for your encouragement and continued support of our lil’ home, family and business!