If I sound a bit proprietary about L’s cottage and studios, it’s because my daughter, Kelly, and I have been sharing ideas and enthusiasm with her from the time it was still pretty much a ratty farm shack, with nothing to recommend it but a spectacular view of the ocean and farm fields at the southern tip of San Mateo county.
But like L, we harbor our own fantasies about having our own little cottage by the sea, just big enough for one, in which we would create beautiful things.
Many cups of tea, afternoons pacing in the garden, trips to look at materials later, the cottage is fully realized, and has spawned a small studio beside it and now, another converted outbuilding has become a large studio nearby.
The garden, designed by Kelly, has had a couple of years to mature now. It had been months since I’d seen L, so a date was made for yesterday, and L surprised me with her newly completed studio.
Dear pals, walk with me through her house, her garden, her art spaces, and know that there was no team of production people running around dusting and rearranging things ahead of us. This was not a photoshoot for which plans had been made months in advance.
L is a real woman, who actually lives here and works in these rooms and designed them herself, unless you want to count the opinions Kelly and I gave liberally during the process. The flooring, fabrics and furniture aren’t pricy or rare.
There are a few old family items, but no collections bought through snooty dealers.
It’s just stuff. Cool stuff. Nice stuff. But the beauty is in L’s artist’s eye, and in the care and love with which she edits and arranges every corner.
As gorgeous as this food was to look at, it was even more unbelievable to taste. The scone came from Swanton Berry Farm, a few miles south, and it was a triumph of whole grain and berry wonderfulness. Not the sort of thing I’d normally go for, but it was truly a bite of heaven. The cheese, too: a creamy gorgonzola….Cambezola? Heaven. Plus, of course, the mangos, the berries….yikes, it was good.
L had been working in a tiny studio built next to her cottage, which is also spectacular in its extremely small way.
This was L’s big surprise for me. The studio she’s dreamed of, and we’d been scheming about for years now, was now complete — or at least, complete enough to use.
What a fantasy come to life! A big, mostly empty room full of nothing but possibilities. With a view of the ocean. The chairs are from Ikea.
Frannie the cat completes a window tableau.
These elegant, rustic vessels are L’s work, and they’re sitting on her tiny front porch.
The flowers are from our local farmer’s market: L said they were $2 a bunch, and this is two bunches. The sculptures underneath are her work. The green cabinet was drug home from a yard sale and slightly reworked to fit the niche.
I was particularly happy to be able to share this with you all, because I know how much it inspires me to see a vision manifested, and to see spaces created for endless, beautiful possibilities. I hope it inspires you, too.
And especially for those of you who have either chosen to live alone, or are doing your best to live alone and well, please appreciate that there are things only you can do with your singular spaces.
Just be sweet to your non-single pals and let us come over once in a while to drool over the perfection, the neatness, the delicacy and scale of it all.
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