7 Jun

Dreama Tolle Perry - Dream.Love.Paint cottage - https://dreamatolleperry.com

During the Creative Process

Inside My Studio: The Dream.Love.Paint Cottage

I want to share with you my creative place.
A humble little house that I’m happy to call my creative home.

Room by room at the Dream.Love.Paint cottage, item by item, I have grown it to reflect me and my dreams. 
It is not based on what a proper artist’s studio ‘should’ have. (Who wrote those ‘rules’ anyway??)
It is and will always be reflective of my changing dreams and desires.

Let’s head inside so you can see what I’ve chosen and why.
I hope you are inspired to do the same for yourself. Create a magical space, one that reflects and supports YOU in your creative endeavors!

The Dream.Love.Paint Cottage

This 100-year-old cottage is made up of 5 rooms which, as fate would have it, is perfectly sized for me.
Writing, watercolor, oil painting, quietness and conversation are all my passions— and it has allowed me a room for each of these.

Before I dive into the details of the cottage, I should mention here that I love things made from nature. Although there are many convenient items made from plastic, I find myself passing them by. Always on the hunt for things made of glass or wood or wicker. Which led me to look for items for my creative space from flea markets and antique malls. I love repurposing them and I adore the life they bring to a place!

Dream.Love.Paint Cottage - back - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com

So here goes…

The Entry Room for Writing

Dream.Love.Paint cottage entry - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com

The front door entry room has light spilling into it from the large window on the right. My desk from the 1800’s fills the facing wall. Now freshly painted a lighter color to match my mood and its surroundings. With a slanted, leather top and shelves to hold my journals— I can scarcely walk past without wanting to sit down and put thoughts to paper!

I’ve placed a vision board to the right of my desk. An old fashioned hourglass and a photo of my love, Ron, occupies a lower shelf. (The hourglass is to encourage me to write for longer periods of time—an idea inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert!)

A favorite scented candle, sheer curtains that filter the light softly and a bunch of dried lavender are there. These are the kind of things that call me to myself. With a rag rug on the floor and a vintage French chair pulled up to my desk, I’m tickled rosé with this room 😉

It holds my dreams and possibilities.
I can see me growing in this space.
The sign on my desk? 
It says—


 ‘Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.’

Amen and amen.

The Front Room for Quietness

The front room sits to the left of the entry and has a swing suspended from its ceiling. A plush rug, fine for sinking bare feet in lies below. A rocking chair, my guitar, and oodles of pillows/soft covers (in the color of my favorite rosé) are here in this room. Lots (and lots!) of candles, good books, a delicate water glass on an agate coaster—all things that spark joy.

It is a nurturing place.
It speaks to me and you know what it says?
It tells me to be kind to me. To allow time for meditation and quietness.
To listen. To swing gently. To rest. To trust in the process.
Creative people need a place like this.

The Side Room for Oils

The next room is L-shaped and is my space for oil painting. Center stage is my shabby chic easel and mirrored table that holds my palette. Positioned so that it gives ample room to step back from my paintings as needed.

Dream.Love.Paint cottage - Oil Room Bookshelf - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com

A long, low bookcase holds paintings, inspiring books, brushes and more.

My favorite piece in here is the wooden wardrobe, a soft green in color. Five feet tall, it has 5 large drawers to hold my oil paint supplies on its left side. And a deep shelf that I’ve stashed all my oil painting gear on for travel. The right side once held someone’s long dresses. It now holds my new painting panels, waiting to become paintings! Every time I look at this piece it makes me smile. It has found a new life in my studio and you would think it had been designed to do exactly what it’s doing 😉

An old white farm table sits to the right of my easel. It serves as a handy catch-all when I’m painting. Perfect to mix medium, clean a brush, or sit a wet painting or two on. A live fig tree adds the finishing touch to this old/new space for me to play with the paints.
(I know. Delicious so far, right?? I am hoping this inspires you to use old things in new ways.)

Sidenote: It would be remiss of me not to mention my love for old picnic baskets and luggage. I have these scattered throughout the cottage. Either holding various items or sitting empty, ready for me to stash art stuff and head out!

Watercolor Room-Vintage Kitchen Cabinet - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com

The Center Room for Watercolor

What do a huge farm table and a vintage kitchen cabinet have in common? They are living together in the center room at the cottage.

The cabinet is perfect for storing all my watercolor sets, journals, brushes, cards and pens! It has glass doors on top that let me see those handsome Italian journals and Paris watercolor sets.

The table is largish (7’ long!) and perfect for spreading out when I want to work in watercolor. I’ve kept this space clean and simple—sort of like watercolors themselves. A few French chairs with woven bottoms, a rag rug and a large plant all share this light-filled space with me. Color me happy!

Watercolors in Dream.Love.Paint Cottage - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com

Conversation

The kitchen is the last room before heading out onto the cozy back porch. It holds lots of picnic baskets and blue ball jars—and oodles of old dishes. It’s where the real conversations take place.

Over a good Chianti and crusty french bread. With vintage silverware and Limoge plates appearing from local and French flea markets. Inspiring for still life, the items themselves often become part of the conversations. Perfect for brush cleaning or setting a freshly snipped rose in a vase on its windowsill. This little kitchen helped feed a family of 8 in one of its past lives. And now it’s home to one hungry artist’s dreams 😉

Back Porch and Yard

We exit the kitchen to the porch via the old back door which is original to the house. Chipped and weathered, it feels like home (I always enter via the back door to the cottage 😉

Dream.Love.Paint Cottage - back - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com

The antique French daybed provides a cozy nest on the back porch. It’s one of those things I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Found it online in North Carolina and had it trucked here. Filled with fluffy pillows and a colorful cover it is now my spot for reading and scheming.
And journaling.
And sipping.
Surrounded by peachy geraniums, variegated ivy and hot pink petunias— it makes me happy just looking at it!

The back yard has a hammock swing that hangs from the strong leafy arms of the maple tree. (I do sit and twirl in it, like a kid. Helps me to remember to not take life so seriously. )

Things that inspire/make me happy in this space?
A beautiful fringed umbrella and an old flower pot that I’ve had for 25 years (it has traveled to California and back!)
A hanging vase that I fill with fresh cut flowers every chance I get
Freshly planted lavender that reminds me of Susie’s lavender farm in France
A climbing rose bush just getting started on its journey
A periwinkle blue wall at the edge of the yard that has this painted on it:

‘Write it on your heart that today is the best day ever.’

What I’ve Learned

As creative souls, everything becomes a tool for learning more about ourselves. What we love, what makes us laugh, what sparks JOY! These are the things that we carry into our processes. With every choice on what to keep, what to add, what to let go, I discovered a piece of myself.
And that was the best thing of all. Which is why I knew I had to share it with you.
The better you come to know the one and only YOU—the better able you are to deliver your gifts to a waiting world.

Take the time to create your space and it will give back to you in ways you never dreamed possible!

I’d love to hear about how you create your space – and I’m sure others will, too. Please share in the comments below.

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  1. Thalia Newton

    Dreama. The fact that you are willing to share so much of yourself is
    (To me) your most adorable trait. You inspire me to be a better person., to find joy and peace and happiness with the blessings I already have and , most importantly of all, continue to make myself better.

  2. Loved your tour! Very inspiring – must get to work re-organizing my own “space”. All is well on Marco Island. Busy keeping the arts alive!

  3. Mary C Boyd

    Inspiring! Good ideas and love the quotes !

  4. camille

    love the beautiful cottage-studio! It will be my model 🙂

  5. I finally looked at your made over cottage. It is absolutely gorgeous. I dream of painting again. I’ve done acrylics and oils. Your watercolors are so full of light and love. Such an inspiration. I’m currently making art quilts. My studio, aka dangerous room, is in such disarray, you’ve encouraged me to stop in and work on it. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  6. Rosana Leatherwood

    Wow wow so beautiful and so much peace in your “place”. I’m creating my “space “ in a small room coping your ideas, we need this! Thank you darling. Love

  7. Just had a tour f your beautiful cottage. So organised,soft and delicious!! I now want to organise my painting spots! My garage, a bedroom and patio!!
    I must surround myself with things I love. Roses, pinks, oils and watercolours. I have a rose garden, and furnished my small white cottage country style it is newly built but had a homely cosy feel! Luv your writings. art
    oils and watercolours. Have done three of your courses. Still have lots to finish!! Have now been approached to do a workshop!!
    Been doing botanical native still life’s but it is back to roses and anything pretty pink!

    Thank you so much for all you share. You are special

    Luv
    Carolyn J
    My best friend has started making rag rugs. Luv them!

  8. Judy

    My art space bounces between my art studio, shared with my husband and five year old daughter, and my large dining room table. I love to write at our local Starbucks or in nature.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful space with us. Very inspiring!

  9. My dear girl, your studio is the dream of every artist. At least every female artist. It invites you to create.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  10. Patti Wagnitz

    So beautiful and inspiring, thanks for sharing. 😇

  11. Ka Afshar

    What a beautiful creative space❤️I love it. Mine is a converted stable where put in a lovel arch window which looks over the beautiful views of East Lothian in Scotland. Which change daily with the light and crops grown. Whether it is golden fields of corn blowing in the breeze or fields of poppies. It is very inspiring

  12. Susan Petersen

    This was so inspirational as I am heading into retirement soon I am so looking forward to the very things you speak of! Editing my current studio and garden is difficult as everything holds a memory. Thank you for your inspiring encouragement! Be blessed💕

  13. Nancy

    I love it! My Studio/Room is above my garage…skylights, a large window and still some leftover things from other parts of my life (as in a Queen Bed for guests who come to visit). I noticed in past postings, you had your cat, Eddy…and the book “My French Cat”, which I have had for several years and looks just like my cat, Buster, on the cover. Sorting out my oils and watercolors…pulling it together for my “space”. p.s. Love your statue of Frank (ie, St. Francis) in your garden…That I also have.

  14. Sandy

    Love your cottage! Soft, pastel and warm! Thanks for sharing

  15. Dreama I just love your adorable cottage. How peaceful,restful and creative the space is! Love your writings and how inspiring they are to me. Please share what watercolor sets you use, I am quite interested in knowing. Thanks for your insights.

  16. Kathy kappeler

    My space is a 12×18 shed that used to be my father’s stained glass studio. It was pretty rough and had become a squirrel hotel. When I first opened the door, I couldn’t believe the damage the little rascals had done. Paper shredded and walnuts about a foot deep. You can imagine the smell! It was a complete redo, walls, ceiling, floor, and a patio door. My husband did an awesome renovation. I now have some of my mother’s antiques, her oriental rug, and a chandelier that has 350 crystal’s on it. It is a peaceful place that is all my own and it has a sign over the doori that says Tranquility. No more squirrels just lots of art supplies and me.

  17. Lindy

    I want to move in with you!
    Absolutely beautiful. There is nothing I would change except to add a basket with my yarn and knitting needles.
    Xoxo

  18. Ruth

    Ahhh…. Just so lovely, light and airy and spacious!
    It is a beautiful space and i love your touches to it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing! Very inspiring! My husband and I are about to take off on a 10 day vacation in the beautiful FingerLakes Region in central New York – known for rolling hills, deep glacier carved lakes and WINE country! It’s beautiful and peaceful there and I’m excted to be taking along the new plein air easel my guy gave me for my birthday. Painting, wine, my dogs at my feet, my Dreama notes from Provence in the bag…YAY!!!!! Planning to play with watercolors as well this trip…we shall see….

  20. Kathy

    Well you did it ! What you do best, inspire ! I’ve spent the last 3 days in my studio making it me !
    Thank you, Dreama ♥️

  21. Dreama – I have been following you for years and signed up for Postcards from Paris (tsk tsk – I still have yet to paint my first painting; I decided to create a custom rubber stamp, which is here now..). Nonetheless, I am SO very grateful for this excerpt and encouragement to create my dream space (on my mind for years and years). So with your wise words and visuals to guide me – I AM COMMITTING TO DO THIS FOR MYSELF! It will be awhile – but I will share with you! THANK YOU so much for being who you are – I admire you so much and am so glad you are in my life!

  22. Lynette

    Oh My!!! I absolutely LOVE your cottage studio! I’m just beginning to make a little space for myself in my basement. Thanks for all this inspiration!!! The most important thing for me was a big window with a lovely view. So far I have painted my floors white, and hung a canvas/fabric “wall” that I sewed together. I also plan on adding lots of inspirational quotes that encourage me to keep moving forward…. I’m also dreaming of a little patio space just outside my window for enjoying the lovely summer evenings. Your outside space is delightful! I’m so encouraged by all you have done. Thank you so very much!!!!

  23. Sherri

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of your creative space. It is truly wonderful. I will be visiting each time I need some inspirations. I Love Your Colors!!

  24. Theresa

    What a beautiful home!

  25. Sonnie burger

    DREAMA, THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR COTTAGE. OF COURSE, IT IS LOVELY. IT MAKES ME REALIZE EVEN MORE THAT I SHOULD CONTINUE TO SEEK OUT THINGS THAT BRING ME JOY. GOD BLESS YOU.
    SONNIE BURGER

  26. Dreama, your cottage is gorgeous and your artwork fabulous! I also live in a cozy cottage that overlooks our city…every room is a different vibrant color and full of my favorite possessions~ I juz started painting last year and enjoy every minute of creativity and expressing my talents 🎨

  27. Holly Morris

    Love this…so inspiring. One question: where did you get that sign?? The one that says:

    
 ‘Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand—and melting like a snowflake.’

    I really NEED it!!

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      Holly–this is from one of my favorite stores–SugarbooandCo.com 🙂

  28. Love Love Love your space!!! I just want to keep looking at it!!! And your pastel watercolor palette is gorgeous!!! I need one!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  29. You are so blessed to have that house for your studio! How far is it from your home? How often do you get there -do you have a schedule?
    I have 2 studio rooms in my house (a summer encaustic studio in the basement, which has a lovely old Persian rug; and an upstairs room in the winter, that I share with my orchid collection), but none are as lovely (and as empty) as yours!
    Thanks again for the inspiration!!

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      My studio is in Paris and Paris is small–I live about 5-7 minutes away 😉 As far as schedule and how often I use it–depends on if I’m traveling a lot or not. When I’m in Paris, I go down almost daily (someone has to water all those plants 😉 I don’t have a set schedule. The one good thing is I don’t have wi-fi at the cottage. I can use my phone as a hot spot if needed, but it tends to help keep me offline and doing something creative–writing, painting or reading 😉 I love that you have two places in your home Sharon–and an orchid collection–sounds wonderful!!

  30. Your space/s are so beautiful and yet simple, I love that you can dedicate rooms to different areas of creativity. I don’t have separate rooms but I do have one big studio that has those wireless speakers to pump in whatever music I want to paint to… you probably do, too… but just thought I’d mention it here to others. If you have music, you can do great things!!

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      I agree completely Katherine–music is everything. I use Spotify and my iphone to play music on one of the small wireless speakers–it’s usually my Postcards from Paris music playlist 😉

  31. Love your place !! Must have that umbrella – where did you find it? Or did you design it yourself? If so who made it for you? Thank you for sharing your soul home.

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      Nancy so glad you love the cottage! The umbrella was a must have–found it online at Anthropolgie.com (my favorite place for clothes and their household things are always so divine!)

  32. I love the light and airy-ness of your studio cottage! You’ve filled it with things that bring you joy, but not overfilled it! I have but one small room in our house (which I realize is more than many have), and it’s crammed full of work surfaces, supplies and things that bring me joy…but a bit too many things! I need to pare down on “stuff”. Unfortunately the natural light in this room sucks. There simply isn’t enough of it or in the right places, so I’ve had to add lights everywhere. It, like myself and so many things in my life, is a work in progress. Often it’s the choice…organize the studio or paint? Painting wins most of the time. But you continue to be such an inspiration and a guiding light in this process and journey! So grateful I stumbled upon your website!

  33. Carol Rischer

    Dreama, I loved this tour of your creative space! It oozes nostalgia of a simpler time and evokes feelings of peace and joy. I loved looking at the clean simplicity juxtaposed with your beautiful paintings and rustic, aged artifacts. I found myself smiling and feeling a bit like a singing, bubbling brook, in response to what you have described and created. Thank you for this! You are a beautiful person. At 81, I feel fortunate to have taken two of your workshops. My paintings, reflective of what I have learned from you, bring a spark of joy to my family and friends. You light the world through who you are, and how you share your gifts. 🙏

  34. Enri

    WOW! Beautiiful space! Every artists dream. You’ve done the hard work. Just Beautiful Dreama! thank you for sharing.

  35. Julee Holder

    Love the little house. I wish I could come there to see it in person and have a cup of tea with you. Thanks for sharing your space.

  36. Linda stratton

    What a fabulous, intimate, soulful, happy place! It’s a ‘leave your troubles behind’, ‘be happy’, ‘makes you smile’ kinda place! …It’s so Dreama-like! Your talent, style, art & smile shine through every corner, crevasse & vintage accessory in your little art cottage! Congrats on creating a slice of heaven in such a sweet fashion!

  37. KAnani

    Thank you!! I love your paintings and your style. Recently retired I am unfortunately unable to take your classes, but I enjoy reading your posts and seeing your work . Keep up the good work……k

  38. page prewitt

    Dreama where is this enchanted cottage???

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      It’s in the town where I live Paige–Paris, Kentucky–just a few minutes away from my home.

  39. page prewitt

    Enchanting—-Dreama! my home is chocked full of old stuff with new uses! Charm and history abounds!!!

  40. I have my aerie in the converted attic in our 100 year old home. The flight of stairs represents my transition from the outside world to my world. I am at peace. In this space I don’t make mistakes. I only have challenges. There is no judgement. I am blessed.

  41. Your post was the first thing I read this morning with my cappuccino. It inspired me and made me happy to be a painter. I have to figure out how to make my painting space more my own, getting rid of furniture that my family wants but I don’t!

  42. Your post was the first thing I read this morning with my cappuccino. It inspired me and made me happy to be a painter. I have to figure out how to make my painting space more my own, getting rid of furniture that my family wants but I don’t! I paint in my daughter’s old bedroom.

  43. Mandy

    Dreama, I’ve wanted to have a proper nose around your studio space for aaggges and it didn’t disappoint!! Not just a studio but a whole cottage – utter perfection! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 🙂

  44. This would be the most wonderful dream – in my world. Yes I would love to go to France and be able to paint as you paint, but just having this absolutely gorgeous place for my own…at my age (73), would make my life complete. Thank you for showing me what my dream looks like!

  45. Katie

    Thank you for taking us on a tour of your amazing cottage! I love everything about it. How inspiring to have your own painting cottage must be for you because it even inspires me. I love your garden umbrella. Do you mind sharing where I may find one of those?

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      Katie, that umbrella came from one of my favorite places–Anthropologie.com–couldn’t resist the fringe and the fabric (it’s a print on the outside and a delicious pink on the inside 😉

  46. Vijaya Shetty

    Love 💕 love your space!!! Hope to have a studio sometime in the future. Thank you for sharing your space. It has inspired me to start planning for my future studio.

  47. Wendy Weir

    Your cottage is just lovely and so inviting! You’ve done a wonderful job of making a sweet retreat to refresh your soul and to create! I feel inspired to do some work on mine!

  48. Weldon

    I’m of that certain age that we are losing our friends and families. It makes me blue but it is part of life. Love to read your inspirational musings. Must remind myself that I am as happy as I want to be. Watercolors take the sadness away —- so hope you will do another watercolor class. Xo W🦋

  49. WOW, I love to read what you write. Now I’d love to know about the history of the little
    cottage, where is it? did you move it somewhere, where did it come from? Is it in your backyard? Do you drive to it or do
    you just go out there barefooted and get inspired. I’ll picture you going out there with a cup of coffee.
    Your article made me start to think about my space and how to make it more me. I’m fortunate, that I have a guest room to paint in and a huge kitchen with a wonderful old oak table that we’ve had for 40+ years. I’ll never part with it. Our son ate all his meals there. Now we eat in the dining room more than the old oak table. I have few rules, but one is that we eat at a table. No TV trays here. I think we are in the minority in our modern world.
    I’ve got to start eating there more, it’s a pretty room.
    I just started acrylics after a long time with watercolors and I like to do those in that room. I don’t know why I started doing that instead of doing it in the other room, but I kind of like your idea of having a room for each medium. Makes for a nice mental shift. I think I’ll keep doing it that way.
    We are at that point in our lives where we have downsized from our huge home to half the space. After moving to this much smaller home, I’ve been donating things on a weekly basis and still I have a ton more to get rid of. I wonder, are you always so neat or do you madly clean up for photo shoots? I’ve started using the phrase, “editing my possessions”. I think it sounds so much more elegant than the more accurate, “getting rid of all the crap”.
    We split our time between Arizona and Oregon and it’s quite lovely. I can’t imagine not having either one of my little houses, but when I leave one to go to the other I am always hit by
    a sense of panic. I know that once I get to the other house I’ll sigh and be at home but it’s so
    strange to have to leave my nest when I know I’ll be gone for months.
    I have no idea why I’m sharing that with you. It’s just something that I find interesting.

  50. Dreama, this has been a delight to visit your studio…..felt like we were just right there with you! Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration to your Dreamettes even after the class is over. I know I wouldn’t have half the joy I do now sitting before my easel, if it hadn’t been for that first class, DreamLovePaint !

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      Carol I love knowing that–thanks so much for sharing!! 🙂

  51. Polly ladner

    Sweet

  52. Carol

    You are contagious, thank you !, From my creative heart to yours!

  53. You are living the dream!! How I envy this cottage…not in a bad way! I am so happy for you. You have worked hard, have awesome talent and you are focused. What an inspiration you are to me!!!

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      I understand Betty–I ‘envied’ that French daybed that I originally spied in the ‘Summers in France’ book by Kathryn Ireland ’til I finally got one 😉 We all have ways of inspiring each other–can’t wait to see where your inspiration leads you!

  54. Don Andersen

    These comments of yours are giving me ideas to make my home more attractive to encouraging me to paint but find the spaces for other parts of my life. Thank you. Don

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      That’s exactly what I was hoping for Don! It’s fun to explore the ideas and then take action–enjoy!!

  55. Nancy Toth

    Reading your email this morning (while sipping a hot cup of coffee while listening to jazz) was a portal into a dream. You’ve inspired me to paint again.
    Thank you for sharing your heavenly studios!!!!
    Luv
    Nancy

    • Dreama Tolle Perry

      I love the visual you created here for me of your morning Nancy! It’s wonderful to begin the day with dreaming 🙂 Glad you are inspired to paint–that’s a beautiful thing.

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