Maggie and David Cogswell have lived in their charming Olympia, WA cottage for three years. In that time they’ve welcomed a baby girl, Nora, and their beloved dog Penny, and Maggie feels like it’s finally the home she had envisioned and worked towards over those three years. It’s hard to imagine when looking at the 1927 cottage that it didn’t instantly fall into place for the family as it is now, but because of the small — and admittedly somewhat awkward — layout, Maggie had to be very intentional with how she planned the home to make for the most efficient use of the space. Despite some tears over the challenging layout, and the fact that they would have to part with nearly all of their previous furniture they brought with them to the new home, Maggie has embraced the task of creating their home with old and new pieces she’s sourced that feel destined for their house now.
Maggie is a Photo and Digital Preservation Archivist by trade, but asserts that her passion has always been in art and design. Before obtaining degrees in history and library science, Maggie studied photography and art history in San Francisco, and finds that she gets to continue to explore her artistic side within her home and in her spare time. David is a fish biologist, an avid fly fisherman and an amateur woodworker. In fact, many of the furniture pieces and decorations in the couple’s home were built by David.
While Maggie is the first to admit that they love house projects, they also want to maximize their time enjoying the beautiful outdoors that are so close at hand. Being a busy family, they’ve strived for a home that is efficient and minimal in distractions (and clutter that requires extended cleaning). They’re also conscious about what they bring into their home and try to take care of the items they already own so that they’ll last while lessening their impact on the planet.
One of the family’s favorite aspects of their little home is the fact that it came with fruit trees, “When we bought this house we inherited four apple trees, one pear tree, one cherry tree, a chestnut tree, grapes, and several large blackberry patches,” Maggie shares. “We feel pretty lucky to be surrounded by so much abundance. In the fall we harvest the apples for cider and applesauce, among other things, and David goes fishing for salmon on the peninsula. At Christmas we smoke the salmon and package up all of our homemade goodies for friends and family.”
The small size that the cottage is now, at about 980 square feet, is actually much bigger than it was when it was first built. A neighbor shared with the couple that their cottage (along with the others on their block) may have originally been built for loggers that worked seasonally on the peninsula. Their bedroom and the kitchen were both part of an addition in the 70s. Originally, it’s thought the cottage consisted of the living room with a wood stove in the middle of the room and was little more than a one-room shack. “The thing I am most thankful for about our home is its small size and proximity to so many beautiful outdoor spaces for exploration,” Maggie shares. “I love the fact that Nora will grow up surrounded by trees and plenty of open space for running around outside.” —Rebekah
Image above: The dining area in the main room, as it’s seen from the music area. “Our dining table was built by a friend and is made of recycled wood from an old ship! I love simple shaker-inspired furniture, but had a hard time finding a table I like in our area (new or used). So I commissioned the table from our friend and couldn’t be happier with the result. The print of George Washington is one of my favorite vintage finds. It used to hang in an old schoolhouse on the peninsula. I put a crown on him at Christmas and haven’t taken it off yet. I feel like it gives the space a whimsical feel,” Maggie shares.