The Epitome of Cottage Charm

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Text by Rob C. Martin / Photography by Marcy Black Simpson

Step inside this lovely cottage, and you’ll discover a rarified world that exudes all the comforts of home.

Even though Vicki and Harrison Brannon’s stone cottage is located near the heart of a busy suburb, it might as well be tucked away in some idyllic rural setting. Built in 1925, this picturesque abode rests at the end of a shady, meandering drive that winds through lush grounds leading to an adjacent garage and potting shed with guest quarters above.

As fourth owners of the property, the Brannons immediately recognized the unique character of this place, and they’ve lovingly maintained it as a haven not only for themselves, but also for family and friends alike. With this intent, Vicki has prudently combined old and new elements to complement its undeniable charm. “Our home is a mix of what I like,” she remarks, “things that appeal to both Harrison and me, with cherished items handed down through our families.”BrannonCottage7

It’s evident the moment you walk through the front door that the home and its owners were destined for each other. From the pickled heart-pine walls and ceiling of the front living room to the vaulted kitchen and deck beyond, the interiors flow with the same ease and familiarity as the Brannons prefer to live. And when a couple’s lifestyle is so in sync with their surroundings, it’s a wonderful thing to observe.

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There are several attention-getters in the Brannon kitchen. Most prominent is an antique French wine barrel carrier hanging from the vaulted ceiling as a convenient pot rack. Around the corner, the ovens are tucked into an old stone chimney that is original to the house. A vintage clock from a post office completes the kitchen’s eclectic appeal.BrannonCottage8

When Vicki sets the table for special occasions, she is reminded of dear friends and loving relatives. “The silver flatware was given to us by Harrison’s aunt,” she points out. “Also, the silver goblets were a gift from a cherished neighbor who was like a mother to me.” Vicki also uses these teal linen napkins at dinner parties as conversation starters.

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The upstairs media room provides the perfect spot to unwind. Metal rods enable the heavy red curtains to be closed behind the sectional sofa so that the room can become completely dark, even in midday. A wooden cabinet stores blankets and quilts for curling up with popcorn to watch a movie. Adding to the room’s coziness is an Amish folk painting that depicts a pastoral scene of barns, sheep, and fish.

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A group of illustrated envelopes framed between pieces of glass hold special meaning for Vicki. “They were letters my mother wrote to my father during World War II while he was in the Navy,” she explains. “My mom was an art student at the time, and she fondly drew humorous pictures on them to provide some comic relief for my dad.”

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Style Idea: To create a tranquil bedroom retreat in your cottage, mix old and new furnishings.