Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gardener's Retreat Cottage

Cottage View

This gardener's cottage -- first constructed as a storage shed and left unattended for many years -- appears as if from a storybook. Designers John A. Buscarello and Maggie Cohen approached the restoration by envisioning distinct areas for relaxing and working. The shingled one-room clapboard structure was treated to a wider front stoop, new window boxes, fresh paint on the trim, and a new stone path. In short, it became a gardening devotee's dream cottage.

Fireplace Setting

Brightened by the sunlight sifting through five windows and warmed by restful greens and blues, this cozy cottage was renovated with a gardener's needs in mind. Each object, from botanical prints and animal-motif fireplace tools down to the faux-stone floor, contains a reminder of the natural world -- and a bit of inspiration for days spent dreaming indoors. On the right, shovels function as the legs of the table desk, which provides a storage place for reference books as well as a flat surface for drawing up elaborate landscaping plans.

Tiled Shower

The blue-and-white-tiled shower area is handy for bathing large plants as well as for cleaning up after a good day's work in the dirt. Deep enough for filling watering cans, the original soapstone sink also has generous work space. The peg rail traverses two walls, providing places to toss a sun hat or two, hang tools and other accessories, and dry herbs and flowers.

Potting Closet

What to do with a sunny, windowed closet? Transform it into a potting area complete with shelves for displaying plants and botanical prints, and floor space for storing clay pots, aluminum containers, and other assorted garden equipment. Additional tools are kept in the corner of the main room, propped against walls or hung from above. The clothes tree takes its name literally, providing useful limbs for straw hats, aprons, and slickers.

Soapstone Sink

The original soapstone sink not only offers a basin deep enough to fill watering cans, but a generous work surface perfect for flower arranging. Fresh-cut roses and chrysanthemums are stored in aluminum containers awaiting the creative talents of the floral arranger. A simple yellow bouquet has already been created in a white ceramic pitcher. The two birdhouses on the shelf above are also waiting -- for installation outdoors and the return of their feathered residents.

Willow Chair

A willow chair and ottoman provide a comfortable resting and reading spot, particularly with the warmth of a fire on one side, and seasonal views through the window on the other. The chair's blue check upholstery fabric is repeated on the drapery lining. In the corner, a closet has been reconfigured as a built-in display cabinet, the top doubling as a garden library.

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