If you’ve been following my blog and the few meager posts I’ve made thus far, you may be wondering what the heck I actually do. Well, I often ask myself the same question! The short of it is this: I collect vintage items that make me smile; I style, refinish, and distress furniture pieces that simply need a little TLC; I create or recreate pieces that I would be proud to display in my own home (if only I had the space! I think a mansion would do just fine…); I’m a home decorator and events planner, and, well, I’m a jack of all trades attempting to take experiences and passions and roll them into one, perfect business.

Am I certified in any of these things? Absolutely not. I’m a newbie in this old world of vintage; I picked up furniture refinishing due to a little curiosity and a lot of frugality; I’m a freshman DIY’er, a self-taught home decorator, and an events planner by default due to 1) volunteering for the responsibility in my previous job(s), and 2) getting married and planning my own wedding, which I thought was pretty darn awesome (if I do say so myself…).

Perhaps I’m too confident in my potential, perhaps I have my head a little too far in the clouds and my feet a little too much off the ground, but…whatever. Thanks to my amazing and hard-working husband, I had the opportunity to move forward and take the risk, and I chose to take it. It would’ve been a crime not to, even though it continually scares the bejesus out of me!

So, I’m getting a custom logo created and business cards ordered shortly thereafter, all with little more than a dream to strive for – hoping that one day, this little venture could turn into some kind of career for me. Fingers and toes are crossed…

In the meantime, here are a few images of my work…

Drum Table Complete

Click HERE to see before…

Green Side Table Profile 2

Before and After

Reclaimed Desk Macro 2

More Before and Afters…

The Colonels Pride Can Styled

Even More….

Child's Dresser Final

And even a few children’s pieces…

Child's Desk Finished

To briefly use my blog for self-serving purposes…you can find all of these and much more in my SHOP, once I have it back up and running!


I luuuve me some blogs, but in my humble opinion, there are a few in particular that have stood out over the test of time. Elements of Style (EOS) is one of the first lifestyle and design blogs that I stumbled upon in my quest for a good read, and even years later, it never fails to inspire and encourage. Erin Gates, the creator and author of the blog, has such an honest, open, and witty voice that upon reading it, you immediately feel as though she’s your new BFF. Seriously, I bet I could share a few cocktails and laughs with that chic and learn a thing or five about the design and art world in the process.

LOVE her office, her chic style, and amazing interiors…



This is another amazing blog that I’m quite sure I could not live without. Marion, the voice behind Miss Mustard Seed (MMS), has such a strong and inspiring personality that it’s hard not to think of her as Superwoman. Seriously, how does she do it all? Read a couple of her posts and you’ll be inspired to clean your house, paint your living room, organize your closets, refinish a few furniture pieces, and restyle your guest room – all in one day.

Her furniture and interiors are simple, farmhouse elegance…


Finally, a little outside of the design and decorating realm, but nevertheless a must read, is The Happiness Project. If you’re anything like me, you may be a “glass half empty” kind of gal (or guy!). I tend to dwell on the negative rather than the positive, and this really takes me on a downward spiral that is often hard to escape. The Happiness Project (also now a book!) is the author Gretchen Rubin’s account of her dedicated year of happy living – focusing on the things that really matter (love, family, healthy living, etc.) by setting monthly resolutions for herself. It’s fun, funny, and incredibly motivating to live life to the fullest, dammit!

Now, I have started my own blog or two in the past with the vein attempt to emulate these other amazing blogs. The first was a lifestyle and design blog, and the other was a blog about my own pursuit of happiness. But after a month or two, I always felt myself lacking the motivation to continue. Why, you may ask? Because I was trying to create something that already existed in the world! It was like trying to remake Gone with the Wind – why would anyone ever do this when the original was, and still is, so damn good?!

So I have decided to create a blog that is wholly my own, in voice and personality. It’s a little lifestyle with a pinch of business, a lot of design and DIY projects, hopefully a heck of a lot of happiness, and sometimes, my struggles to find happiness. Welcome to The Modage Cottage! Why don’t you come in and stay a while?

(Ps….did that last line sound a little Mr. Rogers to you?)


A long rant may not be the best way to begin a blog, but if you stick with me, I promise that there will be many fun-filled (and much shorter…) posts in the very near future! But to be as authentic and real as possible, I felt it necessary to be honest and open – not only with my readers, but with myself – about my very real fears and frustrations; about life, about business, and about living – or better yet, NOT living – life to its fullest.

I love my life – I really do – but at times, many times, I simply….forget. Instead, I begin honing in on all the negatives, all the terrible wrongs in my life: the bad skin days, the bad hair days, the bad hair months, the gray and rainy start to the week (despite the clear, blue sky and warmth of the sun beating down on me at this very moment), the laundry piling up, the clean laundry piling up, the chaos that is my husband’s desk, the chaos that is my entire office, the food-caked dishes piled on the kitchen counter (don’t even get me started on the rest of the kitchen…), the lack of storage space in this house, the limbo that is my “business” (quotations = stretch to call it a business), the judgments of friends and family about my business, and the list goes on and on.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I so often have “the glass is half empty” kind of mentality? It’s overwhelming, fear-inducing, and frankly, just plain stupid! These thoughts hold no real value. Instead, they keep me terrified of taking a single step forward – that one, single step that will put me into motion (as the saying goes, “a body in motion stays in motion,” right?).

So, instead of putting one foot in front of the other, I tend to plop my butt in front of the computer, troll the web for ideas and inspiration (which in itself is not a bad thing!), and dream of the day when I will actually have the guts to move.

*On a side note, most of my inspiration comes from pictures – beautiful landscapes, picture-perfect homes, picture-perfect people in their picture-perfect homes…probably not the best thing for my sensitive and perfection-craving ego. In fact, it either puts this ego into a bit of a tivy – into super overdrive – or it simply makes me want to drive off of a cliff. I’m confident in saying that neither is healthy.

This morning, however, I found a few inspiring words (courtesy of Elements of Style) that made me question my negative perspective, and actually put a little bit of force behind my butt and into my feet:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”Zig Ziglar.

This was followed by a blurb by Andrew Gates (husband of blog author, Erin Gates):

“…just start and things will happen. Far too often we over think something so much that it never even gets off the ground. Better known as paralysis by analysis.”

Paralysis by analysis. Holy shitballs, that is good. And that is exactly where I stand. I analyze any potential risk to the point of exhaustion. Ever hear “making a mountain out of a mole hill?” Well, I make the Grand f’ing Canyon out of a crack in the sidewalk. And then I turn my eyes onto all my faults and weaknesses, analyze those to the point of exhaustion, until I feel so much like one huge stinking pile of poo that I actually want to jump into the canyon that I just created. But since I do love life (literally!), I just stand there instead, too afraid to jump over to the other side.

I realize that I do expect to be great to start. I want to step over that canyon (or crack in the sidewalk) and materialize into Kelly Wearstler, or at least a beautiful, intelligent, and all around amazing entrepreneur that has all of her t’s crossed, i’s dotted, ducks in a row, or whatever. I want perfection. But I hate to break it to you Sista (yeah, that would be me, speaking in 3rd person…), that’s just not how life works. Life is messy, life is hard, but it can also be fun and fulfilling when you actually choose to live it. You just gotta get moving, put one foot in front of the other, one little baby step at a time, and things will start to happen, life will start to happen, instead of it just passing you by.