No Place Like Home

DSCF0525When Phillip and I bought Full Moon Cottage in 1997, most of our friends thought we’d been bespelled. The 4 acres were promising, but the house was hideous. It had been built in 1969 and had passed through two families without any modifications to its design or decoration, and came to us with a complete lack of landscaping. The couple who sold it to us admitted they “had no idea” where exactly to place a garden, and had avoided any remodeling because, to them, the property was just an investment.

What we bought in 1997.
What we bought in 1997.

But we had a dream about the home it could be.

Our first night in the home was spent ripping up carpeting in the living room and then setting down one of our own rugs and then our mattress, because the bedrooms were even creepier. The second day, we began taking down walls, pulling up more carpeting, and ripping off wallpaper. Within the first year, Phillip had painted the house, laid wood floors, rebuilt the kitchen, added wainscoting, and begun to replace windows, doors, ceilings, and cabinetry, opening the east side of the home to the river as much as possible.

Day 1: Tearing down a wall. .
Day 1: Tearing down a wall.
Removing hideous flaming red carpeting before removing hideous wallpaper, windows and doors.
Removing hideous flaming red carpeting before removing hideous wallpaper, windows and doors.
Hideous kitchen entirely blocking view of river.
Hideous kitchen entirely blocking view of river.

Over the next few years, we’d tackle each room as we were able, discussing how we wanted to modify it. Phillip was able to manage the carpentry, electrical and plumbing work, and I was the delegated painter and designer, although we tend to team well on problem-solving and innovation. I designed stained glass windows and Phillip created them. We’d get ideas from magazines, movies, memories and old photographs, and then incorporate these into our plans and dreams.

Dining Room
Dining Room

In 2005, we hired builders to “rough-in” an addition to the house for my mother, but her death and waning finances prevented us from finishing it for a few years, so we used the addition as our “summer escape,” until we’d saved enough money to convert to geo-thermal heating and cooling for the house, and Phillip tackled the huge job of finishing the addition.

february 2005 015

inside additon 004By 2010, we had our home the way we’d imagined it, with just a few touch-up’s and minor remodeling jobs left. The gardens were looking good and Full Moon Cottage began to match the dreams we’d imagined all those years ago.

January 4-Leggeds, Trail 048

January 4-Leggeds, Trail 044

January 4-Leggeds, Trail 036I was thinking about all these adventures over the weekend, when subzero temperatures set in and we gathered in the living room to read and sit by the fire. I looked around the sweet room and lingered on all the work Phillip has done to make it beautiful.

Of course, now I vacuum and cover all the furniture with clean blankets every morning, then wash and dry the blankets at night, so the 4-leggeds can relax and, at the same time, the furniture can be protected and perhaps last a few years longer. Some doors are closed to the 4-leggeds, so dander and fur are prevented from spreading, and a section of the kitchen floor is clearly a feeding zone.

January 4-Leggeds, Trail 017





063So yes, the house is finished, more or less. And it’s probably loveliest to see when it’s company-ready. But it creates the loveliest memories when we’re gathered together on weekends, sitting on fleece blankets, cuddling with cats and dogs and enjoying the love that makes Full Moon Cottage a better home than we ever dreamed it would be.



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10 thoughts on “No Place Like Home

  1. It is such a pleasure, Catherine, to visit your home, by way of pictures and your story, and see Phillip working to get it right; see the before and after, and the four legged friends, as they enjoy life with you. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you so much for opening your home to us. It looks like a very beautiful place, and a home that is really inviting.


    1. I think that’s the best compliment we could hear, Shimon; we hope it is inviting and people (and other guests) feel welcomed.when they visit…know you’re always welcome, too, if a visit to Wisconsin is ever on your bucket list! 🙂 Thank you so much for your continued encouragement and kindnesses.


  2. LOVE IT !!!! Great job…Been there, done that and oh what work it is but just look at your end result. It is such a satisfying feeling. The babies look very ‘at home’ as well. I know you are very happy there as it spills out through your words when you write. Enjoy your space and your cottage life together with Phillip and the 4 leggeds. I am so happy you are at peace. Thanks for sharing and hug the babies for me… VK


    1. Thank you so much, VK. It’s always nice to share with another “remodeler;” for us, the process has been wonderful for our creativity and commitment to the place we’ve been given to tend for a space of time…nothing is perfect, but it’s always fun to look around and recall the adventures that led to our choices and the results.

      You are so kind to visit and share your sweet comments; please know how much I appreciate it!


    1. Oh, I hope you’ll be able to enjoy creating your own home, too, Jasmine. It really seems that a small space full of “you” and those you love is as good or better than a huge space full of some pre-determined perfection…we tackled a lot of arts and crafts that were new to us and so we learned a lot, too. And, as you can tell, the home evolved and the creativity spanned quite a few years, but that made it fun, too, because we “collected” bits and pieces from salvage places, estate auctions, and etc., and then worked them into the puzzle…thank you for visiting and sharing: blessings on your search for the home that’s meant for you!


  3. I really enjoyed seeing your lovely cozy home. It helps me to get to know you a little better. I’ve often wondered what Full Moon Cottage looks like and now I know!!!
    I do love those window seats and the cute little shutters on the windows, in fact I love all of it!
    Wow, you two have surpassed yourselves, it’s amazing how you have completely transformed the place.
    Now….how about taking me on a tour of your four acres…. that I’m MOST jealous of!!! That will be another treat for me!

    I LOVE the pics of the four leggeds, lovely to see our little Fergus part of the family. It’s great that all your cats look so different, what a handsome bunch, I really felt like getting in amongst them all for a cuddle, and hugging those cute as a button dogs…..


  4. How fun to imagine you here, Miss Snow Bird; glad you’ve had the chance to visit, if only vicariously. We’ve probably covered 2.5 acres with gardens and fruit trees; there’s an entire acre that’s wild and we still hope to either create a labyrinth or a prairie…maybe both :), and there’s another half-acre that’s a hill sloping down to the river. Haven’t done much with it because the height of the river has been extraordinarily variable. One day when our ship comes in, we’ll landscape it so it can tolerate water, or its lack…Thank you, as always, for your enthusiasm and kindness!


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