Seaside Cottage Painting | Illustration by Wondershins

An Oceanside Escape

If you were to ask me to describe my dream house, what you would end up hearing is a whole mess of different things thrown around you in a heap – “A hobbit door, big library, lamp post in the front, treehouse, reading nook, telescope…COBBLESTONES!”

A kind of word dissociation that will have you piecing together a house that would look as if it was constructed of various bits and pieces from all the other houses lining the street. Perhaps something like this:

Hobbit Pony and Dream House | Illustrations by Wondershins

Truth is, I don’t really have a specific dream house. But I do like drawing quite impossible things – you know, heavy stone turrets that are somehow supported by dainty wooden beams.

So I was quite surprised when I began sketching my ideas for a seaside cottage and found that I was quite practical with the construction. I even searched my boyfriend out to ask, “Would it be bad if the second floor is made of wood? Would the ocean mist damage it and weaken it? What if there was a tsunami?” (I never claimed to know anything about house construction!)

I imagined window placements and debated where the light would fall the most, which room would get the most natural sunlight, and which room would be attached to the chimney. My heart was truly set on building the perfect seaside cottage, because it felt so real to me. It was a collaboration between me and an incredible artist, Kimberly Malueg, and being able to create something with another artist made it extra special.

Sketch of Seaside Cottage | Illustration by Wondershins

This collaboration came from The Art Stew, which is a wonderful creative community that provides a weekly prompt on Instagram to inspire you to create. Some of the prompts are collaborations, which means that Rhea, the creator of the Art Stew, pairs people up, and each pair comes up with an idea together on how to approach the prompt. Within each pair, each individual creates his or her own piece.

Our topic for the week was “Favorite Color,” and when I asked Kimberly what her favorite color was, she responded…

“My favorite color is any color the sky can make at any time – all the little in between colors.” @kamalueg

How beautiful and poetic is that? I love her answer because the sky at some point in time can make every color. Even if it is mainly blue, I could see how it is possible to love every shade. The bright blue of a cloudless summer day, the grey-blue of dusk, the navy of a star-strewn evening… Such wonders captured in a brilliant response.

I told Kimberly I adored the color green – all shades! – but it is the green found swimming in some oceans that make my heart beat faster. It is that ocean green that captivates me and leaves me wonderstruck.

With the sky, the ocean, and the colors blue and green as our muses, Kimberly and I decided to each draw our own little cottage by the ocean, as if we were neighbors. Because if the Art Stew has been anything, it has been the coziest community of people all around the globe, coming together over virtual cups of tea by the fireplace. Though we all reside in separate places, there is a neighborly bond amongst us all.

Seaside Cottage | Illustration by Wondershins

After hours of constructing the foundation and beams of this cottage, I infused its stones with colors borrowed from the sky and the ocean. And now, I invite you into my creative getaway by the sea…

Open the front door of this cottage (the lovely Hobbit door, might I add), and you’ll find yourself in a warming living space with a wide window on the opposite side of the wall that looks out into the backyard filled with greenery and a welcoming hammock. To the right is a cozy fireplace and plush couches, perfect for evening conversations or peaceful reading.

Enter an archway to the left and you’ll find the kitchen with a window that overlooks the ocean, because there is nothing more calming than chopping carrots with the ocean in your peripheral vision. A soup simmers gently on the stove, while the smells of freshly baked bread and oatmeal raisin cookies waft into the living room.

From the living area, head up the stairs, and you’ll come upon two bedrooms that overlook the ocean. An outdoor balcony provides a tranquil space for some morning tai-chi, reflection, or reading. As you pass the bathroom in the hallway, you’ll come upon a ladder that leads up to the sloped-ceiling studio, the sunlight spilling through the open window and toppling upon the drawing table situated beneath it. A perfect space to capture ideas and paints, words and colors.

It is this topmost room that I painstakingly built this cottage for. A studio space to call my own, to allow papers and ideas to sit freely and recklessly. To wildly grab brushes and ribbons in a frenzy to create, create, create! The sound of ocean waves crashing against the shore in a calming rhythm, flowing over me with inspiration gently pulsing alongside my heart. The smell of the salty ocean air soothing me and carrying with it a renewing vigor…

Let’s stay awhile, but not too long. For we’ll be heading to Kimberly’s with a tray of fresh baked cookies before the stars come out to say hello!


I have never really thought about owning a seaside cottage, but after realizing my pull to the ocean and the calming effect the waves have on me, I can imagine that a little place by the ocean will be an inspiring creative getaway for me.

If you could have your own quiet cottage for a creative retreat, where would it be? What colors surround this lovely place?


  1. Ooh, I love this so much! Your cottage sounds amazing and I would want to visit you all. the. time. 😍 And Kimberly’s cottage is so cute, too! What a great collaboration you guys had ☺️

    If I had my own quiet cottage, it would be on an island, by the golden shore, with vibrant green forests inland, and a mountain farther in. The weather would be warm yet breezy, and the sky bright and blue with a few small, wispy, white clouds. (I think I just described Hawaii, hahaha.)

    • Hawaii sounds like a wonderful place to have a quiet cottage for a creative retreat! Not only are the colors so beautiful, but the vibe as well. That chill, happy vibe. I didn’t picture any place specific when I did this, but if I were to build a cottage in real life, I would do Hawaii as well…we can be island buddies! And go ATV-ing inland! 😀

  2. Such loveliness!

    My quiet cottage would be in the countryside, possibly the Scottish countryside where Beatrix Potter once painted from a studio nestled near rolling hills, shining lakes and roaming creatures.

    I, too, love cobblestones- particularly in the form of pathways, and a library with a cozy window bench reading nook has always been a dream. I’d also love a secret passageway or two leading from studio to library for obvious reasons. ^.^

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