Connecticut Horse Farm Cottage Restored to Former Glory

Designer Kelly Mittleman transforms a farm cottage suffering from years of neglect into a charming getaway with strategic structural changes and thoughtful cosmetic upgrades.

Wood Panel Dining Room

Wood Panel Dining Room

Knotty pine paneling is original to this cottage's living and dining space and was kept natural to maintain the modern country feel. The natural wood provides a backdrop to the owner's colorful artwork depicting a jazz club scene.

Photo by: Jane Beiles

Jane Beiles

When she first laid eyes on the neglected caretaker's cottage located on a thoroughbred horse farm, designer Kelly Mittleman didn't want a thing to do with it. 

"Initially when we looked at it, we were like, 'We're not touching this,'" says Mittleman, principal at Kelly and Co. Design in Redding, Conn. "It was a total junk pit."

Red Country Cottage Exterior

Red Country Cottage Exterior

Exterior

Photo by: Jane Beiles

Jane Beiles

Exterior

At first, the new owner of the property, who purchased it from a family who had owned it for the previous 23 years, wasn't interested in putting much effort into restoring the cottage either. But his interest in the 1,600-square-foot home grew over a few weeks, and he asked Mittleman to reconsider what it would take to restore it.

Looking at the home with a fresh eye, Mittleman was moved by its pastoral setting and charming layout. The open-minded approach by the owner helped too.

Modern Cottage Kitchen With Green Cabinets

Modern Cottage Kitchen With Green Cabinets

Kitchen

Photo by: Jane Beiles

Jane Beiles

Kitchen

"There was a pregnant pause for a couple weeks, and then he came back and said, 'What would you do here?' That's always scary for the client, because cost was definitely a factor," she says.

Once they peered under the contact paper covering the floor and into the dark corners of the home, the 1930s-era cottage offered a few happy surprises.

Extending across the full footprint of the two-bedroom home was an open, unused attic space. But rather than finish the attic into more living space, Mittleman opted to raise the ceiling of the bedrooms and kitchen.

Cozy Country Den

Cozy Country Den

TV Room

Photo by: Jane Beiles

Jane Beiles

TV Room

Mittleman opted to move a wall and doorway to turn a small, dark and dingy room into a bright, cozy space for watching television.

That structural changes completely transformed the entire home.

"We were able to take this cramped space and really open it up and give it charm where there was none," Mittleman says. "We felt really lucky."

In the main living area were knotty pine walls in relatively good shape that added more period-appropriate charm. 

Rustic Farmhouse Living Room Features Modern Furnishings

Rustic Farmhouse Living Room Features Modern Furnishings

Living Room

Photo by: Jane Beiles

Jane Beiles

Living Room

Coats of Farrow and Ball paint on the kitchen cabinets and on walls and trim throughout the house freshened up the home even more. Mittleman pulled in colorful artwork from the homeowner's collection and objects found in the property's barn to adorn the walls.

The two bathrooms were completely remodeled. Mittleman outfitted one bathroom with a custom-made shower door and stone floors with radiant heat. The other was given a mosaic-style floor to honor the homeowner's Indian heritage.

Black and White Shower With Subway Tile

Black and White Shower With Subway Tile

Custom Shower Doors

Photo by: Jane Beiles

Jane Beiles

The refreshed cottage has served as a small retreat for the homeowner, a guest house and even an Airbnb rental. 

"He's had prizewinning authors and design teams from Anthropologie. Music videos have been recorded there," Mittleman says. "That, to me, is a testament as to why things don't need to be grandiose. Cozy and sweet is impressionable."

See the Rest of This Cozy Cottage

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Caretaker's Cottage Turned Getaway

Built as a caretaker's cottage on a Connecticut horse farm, this home now serves as a guest cottage, Airbnb rental and a private retreat for the property owner. Rust red exterior paint gives the house a subdued touch of color for an updated take on traditional barn red.

An Airier Alternative

The homeowner was adamant about not having a permanent island in the kitchen, so designer Kelly Mittleman instead placed a table that can double as counter space but can also be easily moved to create a more open space. Using a table in place of cabinetry also helps maintain the airy feel of the room.

Cottage-Style Color

The homeowner also wanted his home to be infused with color. In the kitchen, Mittleman had the cabinetry handpainted with a soft green Farrow and Ball paint to add color in a way that maintained the farmhouse cottage style of the home. 

Pattern and Color

Cheery fabrics, such as the cushions and pillows on this window seat, introduce more color.. Varying pattern scales add visual interest.

Photo By: Jane Beiles

A Farm (Kitchen Ceiling) Raising

The ceiling throughout the main floor of the home was raised during renovation, taking advantage of an open attic space above. The small change added space above the cabinets in the kitchen, making the room feel even more open and airy.

Let the Light In

Bare windows and open passages between rooms let ample natural light flow throughout the home, keeping it bright and airy in spite of the darker walls.

Photo By: Jane Beiles

Knotty Pine Wall Panels

Existing knotty wood paneled walls were kept in place when during the renovation to maintain the modern country feel.

A Balancing Act

Mittleman also had the ceiling in the living/dining room raised. The extra space helped balance the heaviness of the wood wall paneling.

Jazzing Up the Room

The natural wood provides a backdrop to the owner's colorful artwork depicting a jazz club scene. Mittleman discovered the artwork stashed in the main home's basement and knew it would be a perfect fit for the space.

Rethinking a Room

What was once a dark, dingy room is now a bright TV room. Mittleman relocated the opening to the room to let in more light. Old grain sacks hang on the wall as a nod to the horse feed once used on the farm.

Bathroom Makeover

The bathrooms in the cottage were completely redone. A mosaic-patterned floor was selected to honor the homeowner's Indian heritage.

Sunny Reading Nook

A sunny corner is the perfect spot for a cozy reading nook. Naked windows allow ample light in during the day, and personal reading lights take over at night, making this the perfect spot for hours of relaxation.

Bohemian Bench

Natural light reflects off of the crisp, white walls and whitewashed ceiling. Assorted pillows add another colorful punch.

Found Objects

Mittleman found the pitchfork now adorning the hallway wall while looking around the property. "In the loft of the barn there were a lot of great farm tools. We found that pitchfork, and we put it on the wall, and it was just cool," she says.

Touch of Teal

A beautiful, teal velvet headboard with tufting brings a touch of glamour to the bedroom. A stool serves as a nightstand, furthering the home's understated farmhouse style.

Farmhouse Mixed With Modern

The wall paneling and light fixtures in the second room maintain the farmhouse feel, though a sleek vanity and faucet fixtures add balance with a modern touch.

Custom Touches

The shower doors were hand-fabricated and so heavy that three people were needed to carry them into the bathroom. The floors are outfitted with radiant heat functionality.

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Kelly and Co. Design

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Kelly & Co. Design
www.kellyandcodesign.com/ Redding, CT 06896 203-247-3951