The Story of Bee Cottage

Frances Schultz…has built her career on her sense of beauty, her storytelling genius, and her warm Southern charm…- Signature Magazine

My mom and I have been thinking a lot about moving and downsizing lately from our large home.  Just thinking about it has us suffering from a kind of inner turmoil that only those who love their homes will understand.  We love our French inspired stucco house more than anything and it’s served as a refuge for us ever since my dad died three years ago.  It really is more space than we need and we can’t decide whether to stay or go.

Sometimes we think that moving and embarking on a new decorating project would energize us and give us the impetus to really start living again.  Change is good, right?  I recently came across the story of House Beautiful contributing editor Frances Schultz who bought and renovated a small cottage in the Hamptons and quite literally decorated her way back to happiness after a series of personal setbacks.  She named the house Bee Cottage and it really is one of happiest and coziest houses I’ve ever seen.

Bee Cottage when Frances bought it in 2008. You can already see how much potential it had.

The amazing AFTER!! Frances did extensive landscaping and added a new roof and shutters.  Bee Cottage really is the perfect cross between a Cotswolds cottage and a house in Provence.

Even the sign is perfect!

Once Frances had mastered the outside, she set about making the interior happy and cozy.  She stayed true to the original footprint of the house except for adding a large porch on  the back.

The garden room before.

The garden room after.  I love how Frances chose to put overscale pieces into a small space.  She says not to be afraid to put large pieces in smaller rooms- her sofa is 4-by-10-foot and actually makes the space look larger.

In the living room, she used all sorts of design tricks to help the space feel larger and the ceilings seem taller.

The living room before.

The amazing after.  Frances used high gloss paint and mirrors to make the space feel larger.  The simple draperies draw the eye upwards too.

One of the most dramatic changes was the galley kitchen and butler’s pantry.

The kitchen needed a lot of TLC.

Amazing, right?!!

This corner of the kitchen needed to be better utilized.

Frances turned it into a cozy eating area.

The butler’s pantry before.

This is quite simply amazing!! And all of the added storage is a bonus too.

The bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in the cottage.  It has low sloped ceilings which Frances cleverly disguised with a super chic canopy over the bed.

This cozy corner needed to have a function.

Frances added an armoire and adorable chair for a reading spot.

She had a clever idea for this mirrored arch too.

It was turned into a pretty dressing table.

Frances chronicled her amazing journey in a monthly column for House Beautiful magazine and it became so popular that she wrote a memoir about her journey with the house (she also has a great blog) The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness has been named one of the best books of 2015.

The author at home.

Maybe we should follow Frances’s lead and decorate our way back to happiness too.  Who knows, it may just work.



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