A Very Modest Cottage
by Tereasa Surratt


Hearst Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-588-16797-2.
Reviewed by Susan M. Andrus
Posted on 08/17/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Creative Life; Nonfiction: Arts/Crafts

If you met Tereasa Surratt, you might see a camera attached to her like an extra appendage. So when you read her book, A Very Modest Cottage, you'll understand why her book is filled with amazing color photographs showing the rehabilitation of a 1920s-era motor court cottage that actually had four earlier lives before she picked it up (with the help of her brother's truck), hauled it across two states, and plunked it down in the middle of a camp on Lake Wandawega in Wisconsin.

This inspirational book for home improvement aficionados shows in a step-by-step photographic narrative how she moved, renovated, finished, and decorated the cabin that used to sit next door to her grandmother's house. A Very Modest Cottage also shows how shopping in thrift stores and flea markets helped Surratt to decorate it in its original 1930s style. Once a speakeasy, poker destination, hunting/fishing lodge, and business office, it now sits overlooking a lake with a wood stove making it a year-round vacation cottage.

After reading this book and enjoying the wonderful photographs, I believe that anything is possible when restoring an old building if you have the will, the friends to help, and a camera to record the process.


As an advertising creative director, Tereasa Surratt has created campaigns for brands such as Dove, Suave, and Sears. In addition to receiving industry awards, her work has garnered attention in national media, including the Wall Street Journal, People, Oprah, and "The Tonight Show." She has served as a panelist at industry conferences, juried art shows, and mentored creatives at the Chicago Portfolio School. Tereasa's renovation and interior design projects have been featured in numerous magazines. Find more information on her blog.

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