Design Hints

Can-Do Cottage

Learn how to maximize style in a small space with advice from the owner of a tiny Texas cottage that's big on country charm.

Vintage American

Innovative decorator and blogger Andrea Haywood infused Texas-size style into her petite Dallas cottage. (Visit her blog at Here, she shares creative ideas for putting your personal stamp on your home with simple DIY projects.

1. Hit the lights. Create your own custom lamp shades by covering new or old shades with fabric and trim. All you need are scissors, fabric and a hot-glue gun, plus premade bias tape or braided trim to cover the cut edges.

2. Embrace imperfection. If an attempt to strip wallpaper damages your wallboard, consider creating a textured look with drywall joint compound. The Haywoods' efforts to strip grasscloth off their kitchen walls led to holes, so they used trowels and joint compound to create a faux plaster effect that resembles the walls in an old-world farmhouse.

3. Canvas the area. Not many fabrics come cheaper than canvas drop cloth from a home improvement store -- a 9-foot by 12-foot heavy-duty cloth typically costs around $20. Andrea bleaches the fabric to give it a brighter look and then uses the material to make everything from slipcovers to tablecloths to curtains.

4. Reuse or reinvent. Turn an old tablecloth into pillow covers, or make a decorative sign out of something unconventional. For instance, Andrea bought a large silver-plate tray from a thrift store and painted it with chalkboard paint. She used chalk to transfer vintage typography found free online to the tray, and then she traced the chalk outline with a white paint pen. "Don't be afraid to remake, repaint or use fabrics in a different way," Andrea advises. "Find something you have in your stash and make it fresh and new."

5. Show off. Create vignettes within larger displays by utilizing compotes, candleholders or lanterns to show off smaller items, either singly or in groups. In her living room, for example, Andrea filled a lantern with little vintage treasures, including a soup crock and a saltcellar, and layered in colorful seasonal foliage and gourds.

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed and Styled by Franklin & Esther Schmidt

This home was featured in the September 2014 issue of Country Sampler.