Big Ideas for a Small Home

Cottages and Bungalows|August-September 2020

Big Ideas for a Small Home
A designer renovates and decorates an 800-square-foot guesthouse for her family without downsizing the décor.
By Meryl Schoenbaum

Having a home in the city is exciting, but it can also be exhausting. After living in the Washington, DC, area for nearly 20years, interior designer Lynn Tanger wanted to find a retreat where she and her family could relax amid the natural beauty of a serene setting.

“While my husband and I love our hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, we wanted a spot that would allow our family to unplug and enjoy activities we experienced while growing up in the Midwest,” Lynn says. “I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to historic homes,” she adds, so when they found this 1950s fixer-upper overlooking the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern shore of Maryland, they knew it was the idyllic haven they were looking for. The property it sits upon consists of a primary home built in the 1780s, a guest cottage, and a large pond. Being a historic home, it also came with a charming story: It once served as a family sleepaway camp in the 1920s and ’30s.

“The guest cottage was a tiny space—800 square feet—but has vast views of the water and many of its original finishes from the ’50s, including the kitchen cabinets and appliances,” Lynn says. “However, it sat unoccupied for some time and sustained water damage, so it was in need of a renovation.”

HOUSE LIFT

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August-September 2020