Stuff in My Old Cottage

by Liz Dowling

This post is an oldie, but goody, from 2014.

My husband and I bought a 1928 cottage on Block Island, RI in 2001.  This is after we tortured our buddy Gail Heinz for seven summers looking at everything for sale on the island.  It might be my imagination, but I think when Gail saw me coming down the path to her real estate office she would pull down the shades.


The house we finally bought was an estate sale, no contingencies / no inspection, and all of the contents (except the car in the garage and one painting) were left behind.  The prior owner was in her 90s and had lived in the cottage for 50 years…..


Suffice it to say, we had a LOT of work to do.  Shout out to my friend Amy who came over from Newport to help me clean things out (especially the “things” in the fridge, food pantry and bathrooms) after we closed.  She came with six boxes of steel sack Hefty Bags, rolls of paper towel and 409.  We used them all.


Even though our house is only 1,500 square feet, any extra cash we had was used to fix the structural items, leaving the decorating budget on the lower end.  Some of the estate sale furniture left behind had good bones.  We had a few spare pieces in our Charlotte house (required towing a u-haul for 14 hours) that we used, and my mom also had some gems she wanted to get rid of.  Buckets of paint and bolts of fabric on sale got me moving.  It is definitely a hodge podge of old furniture, gifts from family and friends and repurposing as much of the estate sale stuff as possible!

This is what that looks like.


Fish cutout in an old screen door.

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My crab lampshade (complete with a little mold) and a flea market metal crab.  Thank you Julie!


My parents comfortable den furniture (not recovered yet) spruced up with some new pillows.

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A shell shower curtain and an old Ball jar full of shells.

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Family pictures on the fridge and on top, the extra hat supply for guests.

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Old porch furniture now used in the living room and our game bookshelf.

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Orange fabric on sale and a new Pottery Barn umbrella.



The master bedroom.

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Our family picture wall upstairs and a green/blue/yellow color scheme in the guest room.

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Lilly Pulitzer on an old consignment bed in our daughters’ room with a nautical bedside lamp.

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Rhino breaking in the new Dash & Albert rug and a repurposed wicker chair in the same room.

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Emily, working hard!

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Our horsehair plaster walls downstairs.

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The rebuilt outdoor shower (used to be a real outhouse!) surrounded by ancient lilac and rose bushes.

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A recovered couch in the living room from Charlotte.  My husband’s favorite metal striper by Stuart Littlefield outside.

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Since the house is so small, everything overlaps from room to room!


We have made additional improvements since 2014 and things definitely look different, but it is always fun to look back!


the wry home

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