A Very Modest Cottage

Fans of Country Living may already have seen this tiny refurbished cottage with an interesting past. The cottage was recently moved hundreds of miles from Central Illinois to a camp in Wisconsin and refurbished by Tereasa Surrat. In its past lives, the cottage was used as a roadside cabin, a “den of iniquity” and a temporary office space for a trucking company after World War II.

Tereasa, her husband David Hernandez, and her brother moved the cottage from where it stood next to her grandmother’s house. Tereasa then proceeded to restore the cottage to complement the other buildings at a resort that she and her husband are also renovating. The cottage now rests on the edge of the woods next to Wandawega Lake. It’s decorated with flea market furniture, thrift store finds and $15 curtains.

Tereasa’s experience renovating the cottage is the subject of her book, A Very Modest Cottage. Tereasa is an advertising creative director, but prides herself on being “an international flea market haggler.” Tereasa’s book is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Photos Courtesy of Country Living

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Join Our eMail List and download the Tiny House Directory

Simply enter your name and email below to learn more about tiny houses and stay up to date with the movement.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Luna - March 7, 2011 Reply

I love this! thanks for sharing!

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - March 7, 2011 Reply

How cool! I love little tourist cottages, spend much of my life in them all over the country.

And beautiful photos, as well. (When Country Living came to my cabin, years ago, they thought I should have pumpkins on the deck. Um…cabin in the woods. No garden. No oven. Hence no pumpkins…)

    Christina Nellemann - March 8, 2011 Reply

    Cathy, that’s so funny! Yes, I guess you need to take magazine photos with a grain of salt.

      Deek - March 9, 2011 Reply

      Actually, Cathy, I’d think your cabin would be more fittingly decked out in Indian Gourds….kidding….

      Yeah, some of these mags/etc are fickle about these things….I just did a shoot where they insisted I say “I build micro-houses”.

      “But they’re not REALLY houses.” I insisted- but they adamantly didn’t like the ring of “I build tiny, mobile shelters”- weird. Lol- we’ll see which take they use.

      Anyway, rambling…

      That cottage is beautiful- the style of design I love, low-key, budget-friendly, and not “showy”- while still being so pleasant on the eyes.
      Great work!

      It has such a colorful backstory too! Not, “I bought it as a kit from Home Depot”.


      matt - August 5, 2014 Reply

      I like the colors and furniture.

SoloTotoCoyote - March 7, 2011 Reply

Nice…… but, what is the layout of the cabin? The three pictures look like the same place but I just can’t see how they fit together with the picture of the outside of the cabin.

    wyndwalkr - March 7, 2011 Reply

    I agree. The vinyl tile floored dining room just doesn’t seem to fit in. Could this be from one of the resort’s other cottages, uh, by accident?

    kitty - March 7, 2011 Reply

    I was just wondering the same thing! I doesn’t feel like all three pictures go together.

mroriginality - March 7, 2011 Reply

uh… this story is two years old.. and kent is the one that initially blogged about it. http://tinyhouseblog.com/tiny-house/vintage-tourist-cabin/

keep the new ones coming. 🙂

    Anne - March 9, 2011 Reply

    Yep. Been done here. Just ’cause main stream media is late to the party doesn’t mean Kent was… Maybe he needs a program so he can check for old ones. Takes work to be ahead of the curve K 😉

alice - March 7, 2011 Reply

If you follow the Country Living link at the beginning of the article you can find more information and photos. If I’m reading the captions right the dining room is in the main lodge of the lake resort, not in the little cabin.

Manuel - March 7, 2011 Reply

Cute little building. Can you tell me how many square feet are we looking at?

    Kent Griswold - March 7, 2011 Reply

    It is 11 x 11 so 121 square feet.

v - March 8, 2011 Reply

I am a tad bit sad at the EDGE of criticism on some of these comments.
Sure, the links seem to be general.. but they arent.. THe teresa link takes one to her companion page… advancing is weird-just click on the tabs…. and the country living looks real general but it isnt and does include 10 photos and story line that will give you the whole idea of the cottage (SMALL – bed and side desk and Stove) and an ‘exceptionalist” lifestyle of a few people… something that i think many of us would like but wont arrive at… but the “edge’ almost ruins the delight of someing that we would like to escape to…

alice - March 8, 2011 Reply

I’ve noticed a trend of people not thoroughly checking out the links before asking questions that may or may not have been answered if they had. I’ve probably done it myself, though I try not to. I’m not trying to be snarky, just pointing out a practical course of action. It doesn’t make sense to repeat all the information here every time, it’s enough to be made aware of something and pointed in the direction of more information. Some people may be interested enough to follow up, some not. It’s your choice but the tools to do so are usually provided, or you could even do some independent research. Sometimes it can lead to all sorts of interesting new discoveries.

Susan Juetten - March 8, 2011 Reply

I look at these photos for love and inspiration, but ‘spose it isn’t right to intentionally mislead people. At any rate, having spent many summer days in cabins rather like this, the happiest days, thanks for the joy looking at these brings me.

Cheryl - March 10, 2011 Reply

Cute and simple, especially like the window and potbelly stove.

Liz - January 8, 2012 Reply

Her site is all Flash! Kill me now. Or actually, kill her web designer with the cutesy site that I can’t figure out how to navigate. A gorgeous site that can’t be navigated is a site that loses traffic.

    Liz - January 8, 2012 Reply

    And, oh God, it has music that loads automatically.

    OK, sorry, rant over.

    I do love the cottage and all people who would lovingly restore such things.

Anne - January 28, 2014 Reply

You’re all so clever!!!

Karen LaGrasse - November 12, 2014 Reply

Its perfect, for me!

Karen LaGrasse - March 7, 2015 Reply

Is this cottage for sale? Does the resort you’re building allow for tiny homes?

Leave a Reply: