MFH Office Exterior

MFH’s New Office Space

By Erin Huffstetler | 10/29/2017 | 14 Comments

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Woo hoo! My Frugal Home finally has its own space!

After 15 years of working from home, we had long-since outgrown our little 100-square foot office, but we’d been slow to do anything about it because we had a plan.

That plan involved purchasing the little cottage behind our house, which finally came up for sale this August.

We closed on it Thursday, and have already moved most of our stuff over. But before we did that, I snapped a bunch of pictures to share with you guys. Let’s start the tour outdoors.

Side of Office

The cottage was built in 1920, just like our house. In fact, it actually sits on the same lot as our house. It’s a two-bedroom, one bath with 938 square feet. This is the side of the house. The previous owner used it as the main entrance, and we will, too.

Side Porch

It has a flagstone porch that I’m in love with. One side was covered with outdoor carpet, but I’ve already ripped that up.

And see that board and batten siding? It’s all original. Most of it is in great shape, but we’ll have to replace a small portion on one side of the house. We’ve worked on board and batten before, so no biggie.

Front of Office

Here’s the front of the cottage.

Office Front Porch

This entrance hasn’t been used in years, so it looks pretty rough, but it’s nothing a paint job and some elbow grease can’t fix. And like the other porch, it has that gorgeous flagstone floor.

The front door still has its original lock, but the skeleton key is missing. We’ll have to find one for it.

Alright, now let me show you the inside. We’ll use the side door.

Right of Side Door

When you enter and look to the right, you see this pint-sized dining room, with lots of nice built-ins.

Office Living Room

And when you look to the left, you see this generously-sized living room. It’s actually bigger than the living room in our house. That’s the front door in the front, right corner.

Office Fireplace

Here’s the living room from a different angle. That’s the side door in the front, left corner.

The fireplace is currently boarded up, but I’d love to get it working again.

Built-In Shelf

And here’s another great built-in shelf.

Living Room Closet

The living room also has a big closet. It was added to hold a washer and dryer, but we’re going to use it to hold all of our craft show tables and displays.

Office Kitchen

If we backtrack to the side door, there’s a door almost directly across that takes you to the kitchen. It still has 1950s cabinets and countertops. Love it!

That door leads to the backyard.

Other Side of Office Kitchen

Here’s another view of the kitchen. The stove was sold during an estate sale, so we’ll have to find a replacement. It’ll need an apartment-sized stove.

The fridge was also sold, but we had a small fridge that fit. Yeah!

Craftsman Door Frame

And see the trim at the top of the door? All of the windows and doors in the house look like that. Such a neat touch.

Office Pantry

The kitchen also has a little pantry/broom closet.

Now, let’s check out the bedrooms and bathroom.

Office Hallway

This is the view from the front door. The living room is off to the right, and the bedrooms and bathroom are down the hall.

Hall Tree

There’s even a hall tree on the left wall. Never had one of those!

Front Office Bedroom

The front bedroom has a little, freestanding vanity that was built for the house …

Front Bedroom Closet

and a surprisingly large closet for such an old house.

Back Bedroom

The back bedroom is just a smidge bigger …

Back Bedroom Closet

and has another nice closet.

Office Bathroom

The bathroom is at the end of the hall.

Cast Iron Tub

It has its original cast iron tub and sink. The bathroom is also accessible from the kitchen.

Office Linen Closet

And look … a little linen closet just waiting to hold some of my vintage towels.

All in all, I’d say the house is in decent shape. All of the wiring and mechanicals have been updated in recent years, so we mostly just have a ton of painting in our future.

And landscaping … lots of landscaping. If you look at our garden tour, you’ll see that we left our back property line unlandscaped. That’s because we’d always planned to buy the cottage. 14 years of patiently waiting finally paid off.


There was an ugly chain link fence dividing the two properties. We ripped it out right after we signed the papers. We still need to move the chicken coop, rabbit hutch and swing set to a new spot. There’s also a rotten shed behind the cottage that we’ll tear down in the next week or two.

We probably won’t tackle the landscaping (and exterior painting) until next spring, but when we do, I’ll update our garden tour.

In the meantime, I plan to do another office tour once we get settled, so you can see how we’re using the space. Spoiler alert: I finally have a studio to create in.

Wondering How We Afforded to Do This?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may be wondering how we’ve managed to afford a house, a cabin and now an office.

The short answer is that our frugal lifestyle has allowed us to do all of it.

We don’t make a ton of money, we’re just really careful with how we spend the money that we do have. We don’t have cable/satellite; my husband and I share a cell phone (that we only pay $50 a year for), and there are all sorts of other things that we don’t spend money on, or spend very sparingly on, so we can put more of our money towards the things that matter to us.

I don’t want to be one of those people who talks about all the things they’re going to do some day; I want to be the person who makes them happen. So, my husband and I set big goals for ourselves, and then we put in the work to make them happen. Often times that means making sacrifices and having lots of patience. It took 13 years to make the cabin happen and 14 years to make the office happen. But reaching those goals meant more because we had to work so long and hard for them. Instant gratification isn’t really a thing in our world.

Neither are frequent upgrades. When we scrapped our Jeep earlier this month, it had 213,000 miles on it, and when we bought our house, we committed to making it our forever home. We’re now two years and nine months away from having it paid off.

But really, we made all of these big things happen because we’re willing to fight hard for the things that we want. When our neighbor’s tree fell on our house six years ago, it took us out of our home for 17 months and landed us $100,000 in debt. But we didn’t let that defeat us. We did what we had to do to get back in our house. Then, we got busy paying down those bills, so we could get back to working on our goals.

It’s easy to make excuses for why you haven’t made something happen; we just don’t allow ourselves to.

In the coming months, I’ll be sharing more about how we save for things. I also plan to share our current goal. It’s a doozy.

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  1. Erin I am so happy for you and your DH to have an office away from your home. You can spread out and do so many things in that cottage. Glad you were able to buy it since it shares your land. You and your DH are a true frugal inspiration. Janet Alliesmama

  2. woohoo Erin!! congrats….lots of work ahead, but I cant wait to see what you do with it; I’ve loved your house tour, and following your cabin remodel, now I get to see what you’ll do with your office space….you guys sure work hard! have fun…

  3. Absolutely amazing! I’ve been waiting for the big “reveal” anxiously and am so envious! How perfect that its right behind you so still no commute and so cute! I can’t wait to see what you do with the the place! And now I’ll anxiously await the next big surprise! Congrats!!!!

  4. Erin,
    Looking forward to seeing the improvements & changes you incorporate in your Little House. I have different sites I check out but yours is a rare treat. I truly enjoy seeing the different ideas and neat things you do. Thanks for sharing it all too 🙂

  5. Good morning Erin,
    I can’t tell you how proud you and your whole family should feel regarding your newest accomplishment. This was a family effort with fantastic results. I love your thinking and since meeting you online and following you for a few years now you have convinced me that Frugal is the only way to go. Your parents must be proud also to have such a wonderful daughter and son-in-law. I know I would be. You must tell us if your frugalness had something to do with your parents. I am sure you must have plenty of stories. To be in this financial shape at this time of your lives is wonderful. You are a true role model for others your age, and then beyond. I love how you set your goals and followed your dreams.
    Congratulations are definitely in order and I wish you much success in all that you do. I don’t think you’ll need it though because you are both so strong.
    Onward and upward, or as Tim Gun would say, “Make It Happen.”

  6. Erin, I am SOOOO happy for you and your family and look forward to many more years of insight and wisdom as many (myself included) are so inspired by your hard work and thrift. Your knowledge, dedication and patience show that you really CAN have it all;)

  7. Thank you, Erin for sharing the great news. You are helping inspire me to make the changes needed for my husband and me. Missy

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