Character and Craftsmanship in a Creative Cottage

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Anyone who says all houses nowadays look the same need look no further than the Covington home of Barbara Hoopes to be proven wrong. Here, in an unassuming facade, a jewel of originality unfolds for every visitor. Animal person? Come on in, and bring the brood. Art lover? You’ll be right at home here. History lover? Get cozy; there are stories everywhere.

Hoopes, a passionate animal lover, boarder and rescuer, moved into her unique downtown home after relocating from Bush where she worked with horses for years. She’s previously lived in other areas of the country where she developed a love for Southwestern-style art and furnishings. Here, in this handcrafted setting, those pieces she has collected over time fit seamlessly into their new surroundings. Her love of color and texture are evident in the purposeful elements she has added to the house. 

The house itself was built ages ago, but came to look how it does today during a renovation in the early 2000s, well before Hoopes bought the property. Several major changes were made during that time, incorporating unique materials and giving more flow to the floor plan. For instance, the fireplace, which was original to the house, was long past its useful life and had been closed up several years before the renovation. It lives on, however, in the home’s garden: the bricks have been reused as a pathway and as edgings of the colorful flower beds throughout the yard. As a meaningful visual history of the estate, it can’t be beat.


Glowing heart pine floors unite the rooms of the home with their honeyed caramel tones. Stainless steel appliances and an olive-and-gray tone granite in the kitchen offer a welcome contrast to the home’s vintage feel. A creamy white wall paint plays a supporting role in the cast of characters, giving a sense of airiness to the home overall and emphasizes the incredible artwork that serve as focal points throughout the space. A painter herself, Hoopes makes regular use of the art room that features tall, open windows for ample natural light. It’s a painter’s dream to have such a lovely space in which to work.

Using multiple species of cypress in the bathroom cabinetry gives a two-tone effect to the custom cabinetry. It is a high-end, bespoke effect in a room filled with enchanting details. Sinker cypress that was pulled from the water after hundreds of years bears a soft green tone. With its reds and yellows, antique heart pine is a beautiful complement to the sinker cypress. White tilework with black accents keep the color palette neutral while adding a classical punch to the floors and wall surrounds. Even here, natural light fills the room from petite, high windows—all without sacrificing privacy. In a second bathroom, sparkling glass blocks form an unusually shaped shower stall: rounded, not square, with a colorfully pebbled floor inside.

Custom wood doors punctuate the space, featuring petite panes of glass even in the interior setting. It’s a well-planned touch that elevates an ordinary element to a noticeable feature. All over the home, a sense of liquid warmth emanates from the various species of wood that have been worked into each room. From custom cabinetry and shelving to striking window trimming, no space is without this timeless inclusion.

Having been a lover of horses all her life, Hoopes discovered while house hunting that some of the wood in the bathroom had been reclaimed from horse barns. “That’s how I knew it was the right fit,” she says. No detail is lost in any of the exqisite woodwork in this cottage. Contemporary handles and pulls accent the rustic beauty of the wood itself, and they are placed in such a way that make an onlooker pay attention, rather than just skimming over quickly.  

Indeed, for this colorful person, there is no better place to set up a nest.



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