The Browns’ Cottage Novella

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Alisha Peterson-Irwin)

Name: Jess, Erio, Stella & Tiger Brown (& Shorty the dog)
Location: West Petaluma — CA
Size: 1300 square feet
Years lived in: 7 — Owned

While some peoples homes speak pages about them, the Browns’ home is a vintage encyclopedia set. A set that is hued in the colors of the Sahara desert at sunset, with well worn tea stained pages that only the passage of time and care can create. Their charming cottage is filled with family antiques, vintages pieces found through many years of flea marketing, with a few modern pieces thrown into the plot.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

1 / 35
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The Browns are a family of collectors and artists. Jess Brown, the matriarch, hand stitches cloth dolls that softly whisper their stories to you when gazed upon and are adored by little ones all over the world. Her workspace glows with delicate swatches of fabric and bundles of thread, strewn about in artful abandon.

Stella, 12, collects antique Japanese Kokeshi dolls. Stella’s bedroom, in true storybook fashion, features a three tiered, vintage built-in loft, with birch tree branches that rise from the ground floor and reach into each balcony. A miniature sewing room graces the upper balcony, there’s a sitting area on the mezzanine and the ground floor hosts her sleeping quarters.

Tiger, 8, collects vintage pirate ships, in formation on the rooftop of his antique armoire. His room is the hippest 8 year old boy’s room I have ever seen. One of his favorite things is an original piece of artwork of Barack Obama as Luke Skywalker, bartered from a local gallery.

Last, but not least, Erio, the patriach, brings a collection of horseshoes from his hometown, to bring good luck into the household.

Each nook of their home tells a story…a vintage Vesace chair here, antique Chinese wooden mailboxes there, handmade fabric love notes here, woolen animals there, but as with all lovely stories, the more you turn the pages, the more you happily discover. A definite “must read”.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Global flea market style- with influence from Japan, France and India.

Inspiration: Antique textiles.

Favorite Element: That it’s old and feels lived in.

Biggest Challenge: That it’s old and needs constant attention.

What Friends Say: They like the way it “feels”.

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen floor! It’s an awful linoleum fake marble.

Proudest DIY: The back yard garden…it had been a gravel lot!

Biggest Indulgence: Antiques and our sofa.

Best Advice: Buy only what you love…if you love it than everything somehow works together.

Dream Sources: Open markets in India and France

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    •Martha Stewart: Magnolia White,
    •Benjamin Moore: Linen White, Cloud and trim is Bright White
    •Benjamin Moore: Palitan Blue on the Master Room Floor


    • Curtains: Cost Plus
    • Rugs: West Elm, Cost Plus
    • Sewing Table: Handmade by Erio Brown
    • French Antique Industrial Chairs: Alameda Flea Market
    • Antique Chinese Mailboxes: Alameda Flea Market


    • Sofa: Cisco -Mayfield & Company
    • Side Chairs: IKEA
    • Antique Italian Trunk: Family Heirloom
    • Antique Iron Loveseat: Alameda Flea Market
    • Vintage Side Tables: Spendid Little Shoppe
    • Artwork: Phoebe Washer, Huck Wirtz, Keith Haring (Stella & Tiger’s…of course!)


    • Antique Chairs: Petaluma Antique Faire
    • Sheepskin Covers: IKEA
    • Paper Lanterns: Cost Plus


    • Table & Bench: Family Heirloom
    • Metal Chairs: Modernica
    • Antique Hutch: Family Heirloom
    • Kitchen Tile: Expo
    • Appliances: Sears
    • Lighting: IKEA


    • Bedding: Kerry Cassill-Maude
    • Versace Chair: Family Heirloom
    • Antique Suitcases: Chelsea Antiques
    • Tiger’s Vintage Desk: Summer Cottage
    • Tiger’s Pirate Ship Collection: Alameda Flea Market and local thrift shops
    • Obama Art Piece: “A New Hope” by Jack Haye- Boomerang Gallery
    • Artwork in Stella’s Room: Phoebe Washer, Ryan McGuinness , vintage and her own framed pieces
    • Stella’s Quilt: Handmade by Jess Brown
    • Stella’s Antique Desk: Alameda Flea Market


    • Antique Kimono: Yard sale
    • Bathtub: Original clawfoot
    • Bath Towels: Telesma-Maude


    • Red Metal Garden Set: Alameda Flea Market
    • Buddha: Cottage Gardens
    • Teepee & Fish Pond: Handmade by Erio Brown

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Jess, Erio, Stella, Tiger & Shorty!

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.