A Retreat in the Woods

When I saw the pictures from this NY Times story on my pal Sami’s blog, my heart was awash in joy.  This blonde sprite of a woman,  Sandra Foster, took what was a decrepit hunting shack and turned it into a dream escape just for herself on a budget of $3,000- FOR EVERYTHING.  While it has no kitchen or bath (those necessities reside in the trailer she and her husband live in on the property), this Victorian dollhouse is simply a place for her to retreat to alone. Wouldn’t it be so lovely (not matter how much you like spending time with your S.O.) to have a little place to call your own? Where you could go with a cup of tea and paint or re-read all your Twilight books (is that just me?)

While this little house was created from Sandra’s own sweat and determination (she did the construction herself), there is a deeper, sadder story to this take that makes the final result all the more sweet.  Her family lost their home when she was a teenager and while homeless Sandra dreamed of a home like this one, full of antiques and frills.  Her husband and she  have had their share of monetary troubles as well.  He’s recovering from an injury and she’s been working two jobs to support them. I must admit, they make a visually unexpected pairing, but they both love to garden, and have found a quiet life that suits them just fine– and that makes me smile and believe in the enormous power that love has. Read the entire story here– it’s a truly magical, interesting piece.

I can think of no one more deserving for this darling space than Sandra (who is also a blogger!)


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  1. What a “feel” good story. It shows that some hard work and dreams are sometimes all it takes. You may not have everything, but you can have what’s important to you. I love her “think outside the box” style. Thanks for passing her story along…she has a great sense of style.

  2. Are you kidding me???? This place is insane- it seriously looks like something out of a fantasy movie- talk about a getaway- sign me up now! The loft bed seals the deal- I love cozy little sleeping spaces!

  3. This shack is charming and beautiful. I love the mix of beautiful adornments and rustic look. I would add a bathroom and kitchen in the back and live there!

  4. Having a space like this of my own would be amazing! I’ve read posts where people turn old sheds and garages into little studios and if I had either a shed or a garage I would do the same in a heartbeat!

  5. Oddly, I read the article as less than positive…it did not celebrate the couple’s quirks, in my opinion, it pointed out how bizarre their arrangement is. Did you notice that she lives on Long Island during the week and only drives four hours upstate to see her husband (who can’t get up into her bed) on the weekends? It did not come off as a positive piece to me.

    I realize that many who like the “shabby chic” look swoon over the cottage, but the circumstances around it seem quite strange to me.

  6. Reminds me of an adorable cottage my parents used to have on Nantucket…we sold it though when our cat passed away.

  7. lovely post, lovely little home, so many amazing details, thx for sharing this story…. a great reminder what you can do with pure creativity…

  8. This is unreal. I feel so inspired to just create my dream room! I’m lucky enough to have extra rooms in my apartment; I need to really go all-out in one and make it a place I never want to leave. Fleamarkets and thrift stores right outside the city have awesome finds. Thanks for posting this! Yay!

  9. I agree with Jeannine. The cottage is certainly beautiful but the article … kind of made them sound nutty. I didn’t get the feeling that the author liked them much or had any respect for their situation. (The aside about how her sister remembers their homeless period being only a year … was that necessary? Or that Sandra would brush her dog’s hair and then her own?) Still, what she did with the cottage is amazing (wish there were before pics!) and you have to admire her tenacity and all her hard-work!!!!

  10. Thank you for highlighting this story. I am absolutely enchanted by it!!! The font porch is perfectly disheveled and so inviting!

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