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Ellie's Carriage House




Aspen, Colorado



Square Feet:


What I Love About My Home

I love that my once seemingly too-small-to-live-in living room has now become one of my favorite places to be. Originally a carriage house in Aspen’s historic West End, my tiny cottage has gone through many life cycles to become what it is today. With a cotton-candy pink exterior and (during the summer months), lush garden and small stream, lavender and mint bushes, giant sunflowers and flowered windowboxes, the living room becomes infused with the beautiful pinkish filtered light reflected from outside, filled with the sound of the bubbling stream and the sweet floral aromas of the fragrant plants. My living room is my favorite place sit and enjoy a bright summer day, and I have tried to capture that warmth in the décor so that it always feels like summer, even in the middle of a cold and dark winter.

Biggest Challenge in Furnishing My Home

The biggest challenge in furnishing my home is the complete lack of storage. When I moved in, there was not a single closet, cabinet, set of drawers… anything! To create spaces to function as closets in my rental without breaking the bank has definitely forced me to think creatively about storing things. One solution was to use the large white drapes as closet “doors” and install storage systems in the eaves of the house behind them. I have learned that living in a small space makes you more aware of what you have, what you need, and how to make it all work in a (hopefully) beautiful way!

Favoriting and voting have ended.

Comments (79)

but seriously can i live with you this summer?

posted by kakers on April 14, 2011 at 7:32pm
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I love your choice in patterns for your pillows. Where did you get the Missoni-like zigzag patterned pillows?

posted by Pamela L on April 14, 2011 at 12:29pm
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It took me awhile to get my head around this space but once I got there I think it's brilliant. Love the canopy bed with 'closet' space behind. Not quite as chaotic as the pictures first appeared. Are they wine bottles hidden up in the rafters of the kitchen?

posted by Greener on the other side on April 14, 2011 at 9:04am
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I'm in love!

posted by ingridli on April 14, 2011 at 9:07am
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very clever closet system! creates a cosy romantic bedroom, plus it's functional, that's cool :)

posted by lei on April 14, 2011 at 9:14am
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The bedroom, with the curtains functioning both to hide your clothes and create a sort of canopy around the bed, is genius. Incredibly beautiful and inviting.

posted by azr2005 on April 14, 2011 at 9:30am
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The pops of color on pillows and two chairs when you first enter are nice! Very cozy and well thought out. the to lights flanking the bed are beautiful.

posted by keifers on April 14, 2011 at 10:11am
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Charming kitchen and bed! They look so cozy. The living room, to me, is a little cluttered but it certainly is full of character!

posted by owlmug on April 14, 2011 at 10:57am
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I love how cozy this is! I love your bike too! Always good to see how other people store their bike.

posted by theresaann on April 14, 2011 at 11:12am
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Very charming and homey! The bedroom is great.

posted by junklover on April 14, 2011 at 11:16am
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This place is truly great. I love your tiny kitchen! We seem to have similar problems--very little counter-top space. Yours looks far better than mine!

Your bedroom storage system...genius. It makes your bedroom look so comfortable, relaxing, and a bit romantic. If you hadn't mentioned the storage system, i wouldn't have known that was the purpose of the draping.

Beautiful place!

posted by Jessica Jeanne on April 14, 2011 at 11:26am
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I've been keeping up with the latest entries everyday, and today is the first time I have logged in and added a favorite. You 100% get my vote! I'm SO in love with your cairrage house!

posted by suslee33 on April 14, 2011 at 11:56am
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As others have said your bedroom and the curtains hiding storage and adding a romantic canopy at the same time...pure genius! Love the pop of colors the throw pillows add.

posted by Tracy333 on April 14, 2011 at 12:28pm
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I love it! If only we could see see the outside--sounds like a dream!

posted by MWesdock on April 14, 2011 at 12:41pm
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Just lovely!!!!

posted by danze on April 14, 2011 at 12:46pm
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This is fantastic, I love it! Very bright and cozy, I'll bet it's a great place to come home to :o)

posted by HollyGoBrightly on April 14, 2011 at 12:51pm
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This is so adorable and sweet, I just want to eat it! Cotton Candy is the perfect word to describe your cottage. It looks so much bigger than 395 sq. ft. Everything is placed and arranged to perfection! Could you share the source for the pillows on your two arm chairs?

posted by Raaina on April 14, 2011 at 12:53pm
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I'm going against the grain...looks like there is wayyy too much stuff in that apartment, and it makes it look even smaller :-/

posted by jenawithonen on April 14, 2011 at 1:03pm
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Lovely, and the surrounding sounds amazing!

posted by Gaidig on April 14, 2011 at 1:24pm
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when you have a full life and have little space, your space is going to have a lot of stuff in it. it's sad that people who live in small spaces get dumped on for "clutter". that's like saying, "you are not allowed to have mulitple hobbies or collect beautiful things because you can not afford or find a 4 bedroom house to house all of your stuff". this girl is obviously an active person who enjoys fluffy comfort when she finally plops and her home seems well organized using all of her alloted space. that's just my rant. - love, a long-time small space dweller

posted by sarahsilvas on April 14, 2011 at 2:14pm
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Such elegance in such a small space. I love the defiance of it (space be damned!). It's obvious that while your space is small, your life isn't. A fave for sure.

posted by cvgmiami on April 14, 2011 at 2:25pm
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Very clever space usuage and very cozy. Love.

posted by eclectic-chick on April 14, 2011 at 2:43pm
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I'm in love. Would it be rude of me to ask how much you pay in rent?? I need to get out of Chicago...

posted by magicalbee on April 14, 2011 at 3:16pm
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In love for sure! Cozy and comfy...I want to be there on a winters' night with snow falling with a hot toddy in hand! Or a sunday afternoon in the summer...ok, I'll stop. You did a great job on the loft/bedroom creating more storage.

posted by Susan in Austin on April 14, 2011 at 3:31pm
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great place...hard to believe it's under 400 sq ft.

posted by amyks on April 14, 2011 at 4:28pm
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posted by Cliffie93 on April 14, 2011 at 4:48pm
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It looks a bit cluttered at first, but very cozy. I love the kitchen and bedroom areas.

posted by Daisy_K on April 14, 2011 at 5:09pm
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This place is great. I think winners in this comp need that "special something" and I reckon you've got it. Good luck!

posted by googerber on April 14, 2011 at 5:34pm
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I meant 'open' bookcase

posted by azaleasmoke on April 14, 2011 at 5:57pm
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I want that mini kitchen.

posted by ellerden15 on April 14, 2011 at 5:49pm
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I think this is great, and the only thing that throws it off an makes it feel "cluttered" to some is that oprn bookcase/chest under the tv. If it was white and had doors to enclose the stuff and the garbage it would look instantly pulled together and no one would call it 'cluttered'.
Some serious love and thought has gone into this home.
Where are the chairs in the livingroom from?

posted by azaleasmoke on April 14, 2011 at 5:52pm
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Very, very nice!

posted by Gallivant on April 14, 2011 at 6:04pm
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posted by gennalyn on April 14, 2011 at 7:31pm
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I could live here all summer!!!

posted by kakers on April 14, 2011 at 7:31pm
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posted by biggrnloudr on April 14, 2011 at 6:54pm
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Top Notch Work. Really. It blows my mind.

posted by DaMurkoisno1 on April 14, 2011 at 6:58pm
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The beams and small scale of this place is really charming. You work with that very well.

The bedroom is dreamy.

posted by digger61 on April 14, 2011 at 7:06pm
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I envy you, that place is awesome! You are very talented.

posted by mulliganmcdivot on April 14, 2011 at 7:52pm
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where is the hanging light in the kitchen from?

posted by AES0213 on April 14, 2011 at 9:09pm
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Wow!! What an amazing job you have done and I love seeing all the beautiful things you have collected into the space. To me the placement of everythng seems ingenious. I needed you when we downsized to our 800 square foot 2 bdrm...I thought that was a challenge...but, what you could have done with that! Amazing!

posted by OggDefying on April 14, 2011 at 10:43pm
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eloise, i heart this so, so much. come to chicago and help me with my teeny-tiny room too?

posted by olivia the piglet on April 14, 2011 at 9:17pm
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I want to know where this is! I'm an Aspen girl myself and lived in a west-end carriage house too! Lovely home!

posted by TMcGDesigns on April 14, 2011 at 11:15pm
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posted by shizuru on April 15, 2011 at 12:16am
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I love the space, and what you have done with it, but speaking from experience, I think if you cleared off some of the surfaces and de-cluttered, it would have so much more of an airy feeling. Many large patterns also make a small space seem even smaller. Having said that, especially with your limitations, I do think you have done an incredible job.

posted by ach on April 14, 2011 at 9:57pm
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maybe i like having less thingss... and having A LOT OF symmetry ..and basically a Fixed Focal Point... ..but i like the warm lights. SOOOO hypnotic, I cant stop staring. =)

posted by JulianneMay on April 14, 2011 at 10:33pm
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Thank you all for your wonderful comments, they are very encouraging!

@Greener on the other side - yes, those are wine bottles! The rack was a feature installed by a previous tenant. I did not know if I would keep it, but now I secretly love it!

@Pamela L & @Raaina - The pillows are from either Lowes, Target, or Pier 1... all purchased on sale due to my teeny-tiny budget for my teeny-tiny space!

@azaleasmoke - The chairs were purchased at a wholesale design warehouse in Dallas that is no longer in business... sorry!

@kakers - Of course! 4th summer in a row. I will clear out some drawers for you. ;)

@AES0213 - The light over the kitchen table is from Lowes. It was only $19!

@ Olivia the piglet - Chicago soon for sure!

posted by ellieslittlefort on April 14, 2011 at 11:19pm
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Very nice, cozy, bright place. Love it.

posted by Kacie3 on April 14, 2011 at 11:54pm
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One of the coziest...want-to-go-to-bed-right-now bedrooms I've seen. Such a great idea with the white curtains, which one would think would box the room in, but it doesn't at all. In fact, adds depth to the room. Very well done. I absolutely love it!

posted by smoothsailing on April 15, 2011 at 3:07am
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White curtains upstairs are great - but the curtains in the living room don't seem to have enough space to hang properly. Maybe blinds would work better? Very cute cottage.

posted by saucefiend on April 15, 2011 at 4:11am
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Adorable! Love the tent effect in the bedroom--and the kitchen is absolutely charming.

posted by missbrown2you on April 15, 2011 at 7:38am
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Ellie deserves some extra credit points for 1) finding one of the three places in Aspen you don't have to be a multi-millionaire willing to succumb to extortion to live in and 2) finding a place to stow the skis & bike & all the assorted bulky gear required to enjoy living in the Rockies in 330 sq ft. It's not likely any of the other contestants had to deal with those 2 extreme challenges.

I'm not normally a fan of clutter in my own life either, but here it all seems cheerful & cosy & just right, perhaps because of its mountain town context. I'll second someone's suggestion above to paint out & obscure all the stuff in the cabinet by the door in order to help it 'disappear' visually into the wall, but otherwise Ellie's done a fantastic job as a renter with her non-structural storage solutions & fashioned quite the charming hideaway for herself smack dab in the middle of paradise.

posted by leilanitexas on April 15, 2011 at 9:19am
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Love, love, love the bedroom space.

posted by emilynoelle on April 15, 2011 at 10:18am
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One of the best uses of space so far... not to mention adorable.

posted by Anet500 on April 15, 2011 at 3:18pm
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I am not really a fan for the couch cover...but...your space is wonderful!

posted by wendym1 on April 16, 2011 at 10:10pm
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Very cozy & unique!

I've never seen a house that's only 400 sq ft.... and has 2 stories!

And I like everything decoration in this house!

Very very nice!

posted by California Sleepybears on April 15, 2011 at 5:15pm
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This is so clever and well done. You have a lot of creativity. I'm really impressed. I really love it.

posted by Christie333 on April 15, 2011 at 5:47pm
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Love the bedroom & the armchairs & the kitchen!
The living room does seem a bit cluttered at first glance, otherwise, great use of space & kudos to you for making it happen!

posted by iLayla on April 16, 2011 at 8:49am
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This is by far the coziest, homiest, most creative and colorful set-up I've seen, thus far! You have done an awesome job! It's inspirational and comforting at the same time.

posted by Raeesa on April 16, 2011 at 12:00pm
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Such a precious precious place! You should be a designer! The little personal touches make it so original. I absolutely adore every square inch of your home!

posted by CarlyGia on April 16, 2011 at 12:47pm
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Wow....a storybook cottage!

posted by joyia on April 16, 2011 at 2:55pm
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You do have a great,charming space AND you have great design sense too. Love it, especially the bedroom!

posted by Cymansezdesign_ on April 16, 2011 at 8:50pm
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Very Cozy.

posted by mscopeland on April 16, 2011 at 9:37pm
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Absolutely ADORE this space! I want to curl up in the living room on a chilly winter day with a cup of tea and a book. LOVE.

posted by CyNyC on April 16, 2011 at 11:19pm
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Adorable! You have to post your summer garden this season.....

posted by jamaica2009 on April 17, 2011 at 5:57am
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the reason yours is my favorite is because i would want to live in it. i do not like cold weather and had to laugh because i would never guess with the bright and sunny style that it was in colorado. i would definitely have to live in a place like yours if i lived in freezing cold weather most of the year. :) best of luck!!!!!

posted by revorebs on April 17, 2011 at 2:37pm
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This is definitely one of my favorites so far. We have low beams like that and eaves and you've given me some great ideas.

And I disagree with those saying this place looks cluttered. You've kept the walls white and seem to have been fairly restrained with what you've displayed. The suggestions for an enclosed cabinet and different curtains (maybe in a lighter pattern?) couldn't hurt, but you've done an amazing job so far!

posted by misscorinne on April 17, 2011 at 5:35pm
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I have seen several apartments in the Small Cool contest that have bikes in them and I always love it. The kitchen is delightful.

posted by House Voyeur on April 17, 2011 at 11:45pm
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I have yet to see a home in this contest that beats how adorable this is. I am thoroughly impressed, I wouldn't change a thing :)

posted by misssamwilson on April 18, 2011 at 1:50am
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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Perfection!

posted by RJfromtheblock on April 18, 2011 at 11:42am
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Thank you all for your kind comments! It is encouraging to hear all of the lovely thoughts about my curtained closet!

Living in this house has been a test in finding creative and extremely affordable solutions to a lack of space situation. Living in Aspen has so many amazing perks, but it also means living in a teeny-tiny budget. My budget has meant furnishing and decorating my apartment with begged, borrowed or donated items. For example, my couch came from a previous tenet and the brown shelves are borrowed from my boss! (they actually are made to be vertical, but did not fit in the space, so horizontal they went…) Another way I found I could add décor on a budget is to use interesting table cloths as curtains! They are not perfect, but they are changeable, serve their purpose well, and add more color, which I love!

I hope that my little space is encouraging to see what you can do with very little money and a lot of creative thinking. Thank you all for noticing the effort and care put into making this small carriage house a home.

posted by ellieslittlefort on April 18, 2011 at 11:52am
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this is divine. i am absolutely in love!

posted by sylph on April 18, 2011 at 4:03pm
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Truely inspirational . fav so far

posted by kimscollectables on April 18, 2011 at 8:11pm
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<3 the throw on the couch. Where did you get it?

posted by Cate G on April 18, 2011 at 8:57pm
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Bang-up job! Very cozy and unique for such a small space. It has so much natural character and charm and you capitalized on it beautifully. Hands down fave, you get my vote.

posted by dicey1 on April 18, 2011 at 10:59pm
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Exceptionally realistic. Adore the expression of selections with the white-washed architectural details. You deserve an A for that fabric storage solution design.

posted by prairiepearl on April 19, 2011 at 12:56am
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At first I didn't know what to make of the draped bedroom "walls" but after seeing others' comments and looking at the picture again I totally love it. It's so ethereal -- must feel like sleeping in the heavens! I just want to run out and buy fabric for my bedroom now. Even more impressive that it serves such a utilitarian storage purpose.

posted by Clairesf on April 23, 2011 at 10:05pm
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I have a big chair in my living room just like yours and I KNOW it's a wonderful place to nestle into. Your space is perfection in a teeny-tiny package!

posted by Cayennegirl on April 27, 2011 at 2:30pm
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Love love love.

You've inspired me to get over my lack of space and get a bicycle. If you can fit one (and fit one well) in your space, I can fit one in mine!!

posted by Abbie G on April 28, 2011 at 1:30pm
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sooo cute !!

posted by pizzapi on May 12, 2011 at 3:04pm
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