The Vintage Cottage


Text by Karen Callaway/Photography by Marcy Black Simpson and William Dickey

An interior designer surrounds herself with the timeworn treasures she loves.

“Nearly everything I have is old,” says Jane Hodges, while smiling as she talks about the furnishings in the lovely 1930s cottage she calls home. Once owned by her in-laws, the bright and breezy house is as gracious as Jane herself, and she has filled it to the brim with an enchanting collection of antiques that have equally enchanting histories.


Using serene shades of off-white throughout, Jane softened the vivid pink palette favored by her mother-in-law to create the perfect backdrop for the beautifully aged treasures that give her home its singular charm. The living room holds cherished pieces, such as the handsome mirrored screen passed down from her mother-in-law and a portrait of Jane’s son as a teenager that hangs above an antique desk in a washed-blue hue.


A pair of arched windows reclaimed from a lakehouse is incorporated into the sunroom’s expansive wall of windows, where gauzy draperies frame the view of the pretty and peaceful garden beyond. A large framed mirror reflects the sunlight streaming in, amplifying the room’s radiance and giving it an irresistible ambiance.


Jane loves to repurpose pieces in unexpected ways. In one guest room, the twin headboards are actually footboards, and the footboard from the bed in the other guest room hangs in her foyer, looking ever so much like a piece of artwork.


She has used decorative shutters all throughout the house—as if one could throw them open at any time to let in a fresh breeze—and incorporated a number of salvaged architectural elements, like the stained-glass window in a bedroom. In fact, a stroll through Jane’s home must be done at a snail’s pace, lest one miss any of the curios or details tucked here and there.


Though this accomplished designer likes mixing in a few contemporary items, there is no denying that Jane’s heart lies with heirloom pieces, like those her mother loved so well. Her fondness for antiques may have begun at her mother’s knee, but she believes her years away at college in the quaint neighborhood of Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., fine-tuned her affection for things that become even more beautiful with time. “Antiques give a home character,” she explains. And she lives out that philosophy every day in her own cheerful—and delightfully old—cottage.


Style Ideas

Welcome with Style

Add loads of character to ordinary doors by attaching a pair of weathered shutters. Apply a decorative treatment to a glass-front armoire by lining the back of the glass with beautiful vintage lace panels. Architectural remnants, like the striking piece over the door, offer eye-catching details.


Sweet Dreams
A local custom upholsterer created slipcovers with ruffled burlap trim for the comfy corner chair. Jane found the needlepoint footstool in an antiques shop. The master bedroom is anchored by an antique French bed that is both painted and glazed.