The Creative Cottage
by Steve Gross and Susan Daley
2016, 160 pages, 8.5 x 11 x 0.8 inches
The Creative Cottage features 13 fabulous small abodes that house collections of many types. Each chapter highlights a cottage that has been rehabilitated by adventurous and artistic homeowners with vision. The cottages are art themselves, with thoughtful architecture, and they are filled with wonderful upcycled, found, and renovated components, both antique and modern blended together, feeling curated and purposeful as opposed to random and slap-dash. The creative souls behind them are artists, pickers, and normal folks too, who just needed someplace more special to live.
The text reads like a menu in a fancy restaurant, in which every ingredient has a special designation, treatment, and provenance. The painting from the lobby of an old theater in upstate New York. A salvaged stained-glass window. A zinc rain barrel holding antique canes. A soapstone sink from a high school lab. A red vinyl 1940s barbershop chair. Striped tea towels hung on a twig. A 1930s school locker sponge, painted to look like wood. A bed platform made from painted license plates and metal Alabama road signs. Sculptures fashioned from beaver-chewed wood.
Even if you're not planning on renovating the shotgun shack on the back forty or the tiny abandoned building by the edge of the local harbor, the photographs are fun to look at. Finding each ingredient discussed within the accompanying photographs is like playing Where's Waldo with 19th-century furniture and Barbershop ads from Nigeria. This might be a book for you if you enjoy seeing how others live, are interested in architecture and interior design, or need some inspiration to create something beautiful in whatever space surrounds you.
– Aaron Downey