Today marks the one year anniversary of our closing on the beach cottage and in honor of this special day, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at how far we’ve come. Part of me is amazed at how far we’ve come yet another part of me feels like we should be done already. Truth be told, to this point we’ve spent less than 60 days total working here so putting things into perspective makes me realize that we have done quite a bit in that time.
If you want to read about how the cottage came to be, you can check out the post where I shared the news of us buying this sad little house. Aside from photos online and talking extensively with the seller’s realtor, the only in-person walk-through was by myself, with the realtor back in July.
After that secret trip (we weren’t telling anyone about our plans until it was done), between us not being sure if we wanted to take on such a large project that far from home and a lot of delays due to the pandemic, negotiations with the seller and walking away once and 100 other things that slowed the process down, we finally closed on September 16th making reality to a dream B and I shared even before we were married.
B never saw the house before we closed. We actually drove out to the house the day before we closed so he could walk around the yard but B didn’t set foot in the house until we went there after closing. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he walked in, a combination of excitement and dread.
This poor 1930s cottage sat empty and untouched for over 8 years and while the bones were still really good, we were basically starting with what we joked was a very expensive shed. No electrical, no plumbing and many critters called this place home but it was mostly just a shell of a house.
While much of the demo had been done for us, there was still work to do to get the place emptied out to where we could start rebuilding.
While we had to work out some details in the back addition and in the kitchen area, B and I had a pretty clear overall vision from the start. You can read about the floor plans here.
The two primary changes we made from what was there to start with was reconfiguring the floor plan in the back addition to eliminate the wasted space around the old back door and give us a proper bedroom on the first floor and opening up the wall between the front living space and the kitchen by moving the stairs and making the doorway wider between the two spaces.
Moving the stairs also gave us the benefit of more usable space on the second floor instead of being chopped up by the stairs coming up in the center of the room.
The framing in the back addition was the first project which enabled us to move the location of the back door and add a laundry area that was lacking before. Moving the door allows us to see all the way to the back of the house from the front door which creates the illusion of a larger space and makes the flow so much better.
Moving the stairs and opening the wall between the kitchen and living areas required some structural work in the form of footers underneath the house, adding new posts to redistribute the weight of the second floor as well as installing a beam to span the new, wider opening. For me, this was the most stressful part of the project but it couldn’t have gone smoother.
Rotating the stairs to the side of the house changed everything and even though we kept some walls for definition, somehow everything feels so much bigger with the stairs off to the side.
Shiplap went everywhere in the main part of the cottage as well as an accent in the downstairs bedroom. This project actually went pretty quickly and having walls was such a moral boost for us.
The bathroom went in pretty quickly once we got started. There are still some finishing touches in here before I do a final reveal but I can say that this was a big milestone.
The dining room is almost complete with just a few items left to check off the list. Trim, touch up on the cabinet, a final clean up and accessories and this little nook will finally be a great place to share a quick bite before heading back out to the water. (I apologize for the mess, we are staying here when we work so it’s been a challenge with no where to put things just yet.)
Painting the cottage interior was a breeze. We invested in a good paint sprayer and what would have taken us days to do, literally took about two hours of actual work. Plus the sprayer came in handy when we painted the kitchen cabinets.
Speaking of the kitchen, this was a space I expected we’d still be waiting on but when we got a great deal on cabinets, we didn’t hesitate and it actually went really fast from just stud walls to a nearly finished space. The kitchen is down to just a handful of final details and I can’t wait to share this finished project with you.
Most recently, the floors went in, in the back addition. Lumber, flooring, anything wood has been impossible and extremely expensive so we had been holding off. Prices have been coming down and we were able to get just enough wood from stock that we went ahead and got this project finished up.
With the floors in we also were able to build out the closets that will flank the bed in the downstairs bedroom. Minus trim, this room is done!
The hallway is also down to trim and light fixtures. The doors are getting installed next week!
Outside, not much has changed but we’ve got some projects starting next week. We’ve got a shed going in on part of the concrete slab in the backyard, and we are building a small deck and boardwalk that will lead to the outdoor shower.
We are also going to be starting work on the front porch, replacing a lot of the rotting railing, finishing the bead board ceiling, painting, new screens, a new screen door, etc. This will do a lot for the front of the house. It’s been ugly long enough.
I’ll also have some reveals coming to you soon because we are actually getting some spaces finished and checked off the list completely. Can’t wait to share those with you!
This has been such a whirlwind of a year from the pandemic to taking on this project. Time has flown by and even though I wish we were closer to the finish line, it’s been such a fun project that has really stretched B and I in some really good ways. Seeing what we’ve accomplished in less than 60 total days excites me as I think about what the next year will bring.
I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at the progress. I know some of the photos aren’t pretty to look at but this is the reality of construction. It’s not always pretty so seeing it all come together is so rewarding!