This Design Couple’s Cottage Is a Stunning Blend of Vintage and Modern

Cozy fires on repeat.

By Katherine Fluor

If you’re thinking you have to choose between going vintage or modern while designing your home, think again. Brian and Anissa Zajac have mastered the rustic meets streamlined look in their stunning remodel, proving that with a little patience and lots of attention to detail, you can have the best of both worlds with a modern cottage house.

Located in a dreamy historic neighborhood in Indianapolis, Indiana, the couple bought their old Cape Cod cottage as a fixer-upper just over three years ago, and have transformed the home into a beachy, modern oasis they share with their three daughters. What most deemed as a remodel project too large to take on, Brian and Anissa, who started House Seven Design + Build, saw it as an opportunity to challenge their skills and test out some daring design choices.

“All the rooms on the first floor were cut up due to years of bad remodeling and it just didn’t flow. I wanted the house to serve us and how we live together so we opened it up as much as possible,” Anissa says.

Anissa and Brian are here with all the details on their design process, exactly how they turned a historic fixer-upper into their dream home, and of course, all the breathtaking photos.

Scroll on for a peek inside their modern cottage house.

Tell us about your home.

Our home is a Cape Cod-style cottage located in Indianapolis, Indiana. When we purchased the house we intended on remodeling quite a bit of it. But now we have actually remodeled almost every square inch in one way or another over the past three years.

Favorite spot in the house:

I love our kitchen because it’s where we spend the majority of our time as a family.

I can see why! When you’re not in the kitchen, what’s your favorite way to spend time at home?

The wood-burning fireplace is my favorite! I love lounging on the sofa with a hot drink while listening to Billie Holiday.

Your house is the epitome of beachy vibes meets cozy cottage charm. What was your design inspiration? 

I wanted the house to feel true to its cottage style. My goal was to keep the house feeling calm with neutral and organic elements, along with lots of texture for warmth.

How did Indiana play into your design inspiration?

It’s funny because most people that see our house online think that it’s on the West Coast. I gravitate towards neutrals because the sky gets very overcast in Indiana in the winter months, and I want to keep the house as light and bright as possible.

What does wintertime look like at your house?

Always a wood-burning fire going in the living room, soup on the stove, the scent of candles burning throughout, and jazz music playing in the background.

What was your biggest design challenge for the space?

The rooms are small so I had to work hard to choose furniture that would be comfortable and beautiful. I will say there were a couple of rooms that I didn’t get exactly right at first but now I think are perfect.

What’s your number one interior design tip?

Have a plan and stick to it. It’s so important to know how you want to use the space before purchasing items. I think living in your home for a while before tackling the overall design is so much better than doing everything before you move in.

It gives you time to get to know the home and how it functions for you. Once that is established you can make a design plan as to what you need to make the space feel complete. (Whether that’s new furnishings, paint colors, trim work, etc.)

What are your favorite design resources?

I’m always on Pinterest looking for inspiration but I also love design books and my favorite blogs that I look at weekly. I also love to travel. No matter where we are, Brian and I are always looking at the architecture and the way things were designed and fabricated. I love knowing the process of how things are made or trying to figure it out, which I think makes me a better designer.

Favorite places to shop for furniture and decor?

Antiques are my favorite—especially ones from France. The craftsmanship of French-made furniture always inspires me. I’m always searching for one-of-a-kind items, so I love the antique shows in Roundtop, TX.  It’s seriously a dream! I also love Eneby Home in Nashville for one-of-a-kind items, and of course, our own House Seven Design Shop!

Fill in the blank: A well-designed house should _______.

Make you feel at home and comfortable. It’s the one place that should make you smile as soon as you walk in the door. The saying, “There’s no place like home,” doesn’t apply to stuffy uncomfortable museum-like homes.

Describe your home in five words or less:

Vintage, modern, cozy, and comfortable.

Tell us about what you do at House Seven Design + Build.

I’m the lead designer at our company. I lead the interior design side of the business and Brian is the head Contractor and leads up the build side of the business.

The House Seven Design + Build Shoppe is our baby and we are both working together to get it going. Brian’s in charge of the overall renovation of the space while my team and I are busy designing it and filling it with all kinds of goodies! We officially started our business together in 2017, and I’m so excited to see where the next few years take us.

Shop the space…

house seven napkin set

House Seven Plaid and Striped Napkin Set

Perfect for hosting or giving as gifts, this sweet set of four can be used as napkins or tea towels.

Buy it here.

benedict vintage mat

House Seven Benedict Vintage Mat

Warm colors and muted details make for a perfectly cozy, low-profile rug.

Buy it here.

house seven mason chair

House Seven Mason Chair

Get comfy in this lovely, simple chair that captures the couple’s low-profile, West meets Midwest aesthetic..

Buy it here.

house seven vintage oversized bread bowls

House Seven Vintage Oversized Bread Bowls

These wooden bowls are the epitome of casual cottage vibes.

Buy it here.

house seven terracotta vase

House Seven Terracotta Vase

Place your plants in these lovely, simple, yet elegant, and timeless vases.

Buy it here.

house seven penn wall sconce

House Seven Penn Wall Sconce

Perfect for a hallway or reading nook, this unique lamp features a brass shade and a curved brass arm.

Buy it here.

house seven vintage pillow

House Seven Sara Vintage Pillow

Few things make a place feel homier than a vintage pillow with neutral pops of color and pattern. The perfect accent for your couch!

Buy it here.