A Break With Tradition

This 1991 cottage was originally very traditional, but the homeowners found clever ways to infuse their personal style.

Since buying the home in 2000, Don and Stacy Murdoch have made changes to the house that they said “just felt right.” What feels right to them is the warmth of bright colors and diverse art. The home’s style has been called “eclectic” and “bohemian,” though Stacy isn’t sure that either term quite captures it. “My home, both inside and outside, rarely has rhyme or reason to it; nothing is calculated. If I see an interesting piece of art or furniture, I don’t think about where I should put it; I just work it in,” she says. The result is comfortable and inviting.

In addition to their art collection, much of the cottage’s character is the result of Stacy being a passionate gardener. Thanks to an abundance of house plants, the lush outdoors continue inside. A corner of the living room features a chaise longue surrounded by tall plants—a wonderful place to relax with a book when cold or rainy weather keeps the gardener inside—and just beyond the kitchen window is a cheerful brick patio that is home to Stacy’s container garden.

Style Idea: Displaying a collection of folk art can give a crowded, messy look if not done well. Keeping the other elements of the room more minimal will help keep things in balance.