About The Project Cottage

Welcome to The Project Cottage

After years of working in the restaurant business designing and opening restaurants, Colleen Gardner decided in 2010 it was time for a change – and time to put her design skills and vision to use. She started Project Cottage to fulfill her love of creating and home decorating. Her woodworking skills are self taught, but her determination to go after what she wants is ingrained. Allyson McFarlane, a graphic designer, was there from the beginning as Colleen’s best friend, next door neighbor, brand designer and sounding board – for a couple of years, her consulting was repaid through a barter system which mostly involved cheap wine and a lot of laughs – but she came on full-time in 2012 as a partner and the stage was set to to take Project Cottage to the next level.

We converted Colleen’s 2000 square foot garage into a complete studio and workshop over the last four years. It started by taking over small parts of the garage at first for cutting and assembling our frames and coat racks and grew to include space for painting, shipping and ultimately into office space as well. We design and manufacture all our products currently from this space. Although during busy times it seems we are busting at the seams, we have made it work by using clever ideas for storage and constantly evolving the space to keep up with our needs. The area outside is large and we love the ability to work outside too – or open the doors and bring the outside in. As busy moms, the ability to work from home is key and although we try to keep strict rules about no kids in the studio we usually have kids, cats, dogs, husbands, neighbors, etc. etc. traipsing in and out during our day.

Your favorite places can provide the best inspiration for your design style and we are fortunate to live near the ocean and doubly so because we live a short kayak ride away from a beautiful barrier island off the coast of North Carolina called Masonboro Island. Masonboro is a protected animal reserve with no development and can only be accessed by boat. Often we make the 15 minute kayak ride over to the island to have our weekly business meeting about what’s on our to-do list and to plan strategy for the future. Often we are the only ones on this pristine island and the solitude and beauty is something we feel is a rare find. It helps us focus and filter out all the other many things we have to do in our daily lives to keep our family running and lets us concentrate on our business and where we want to take it. The colors and sounds and things you can only see when on the water inspires our design sense, refreshes our soul and brings clarity to our vision.

We believe quality, comfort and style are not mutually exclusive. You can have it all and we strive to deliver it with every product we make. We also believe our strength comes from the partnership between us and the skills we both bring to the table. Our support of each other’s ideas is important, but the key is our willingness to push each other to find that even better idea and elevate all of our designs. And finally, we wouldn’t be where we are without our customers – people’s homes are often reflections of themselves, and like people, can rarely be defined by one thing or style. We like to mix it up and encourage our customers to do the same by offering different color options, sizes and styles.

Please take a look around our siteĀ and let us know if you like what you see!

Colleen & Allyson
Owners/Designers, Project Cottage

Etsy Shops:

PS. Project Cottage is social! Please come join us here:
@projectcottage on twitter

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