Character Cottage Restoration

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The new owners of this 1920’s era cottage were keen to improve the layout while preserving the original character and charm of the property. In actual fact the property consisted of two cottages that had been joined together during the 1950’s.

The house, in spite of undergoing sporadic renovations by previous owners, had serious structural, energy consumption, layout and aesthetic issues. There had been a fire years before that left floorboards, joists and beams charred and structurally inadequate. The cottages were being supported by hand-hewn posts on rock bases.

The first step was to redesign the space, moving the main living area to the rear to take advantage of access to the deck, and lovely sunset views over the garden to the ocean beyond. Interior walls were moved, drop ceilings eliminated, and a fabulous master suite created. A new hallway allows for a more private entry to the newly designed main bath as well as the second bedroom.

Before proceeding with any site work, an environmental assessment was carried out, and materials containing asbestos were removed by specialists. From the crawlspace to the attic, the un-insulated walls were stripped and brought up to code, floor joists and flooring were replaced, cabinetry, plumbing and lighting fixtures were upgraded. A new air source heat pump replaced an old oil burner, and a new low-emission free-standing wood stove replaced the inefficient brick-faced fireplace.

Among the many space planning improvements was the creation of attic storage, complete with pull-down stairs; an unpleasant, unfinished workshop space on the lower level was turned into a dream craft room; and an underused storage shed was upgraded to a bright, warm and private office space. In keeping with the charmingly quirky character of the house, a vintage stained glass window was installed in an interior wall to bring light into the dark, dingy stairwell. New doors were sourced to match the style of the originals.

The single pane windows were virtually the only items not replaced, as the owners could not bear to do away with the beautiful wobbly glass that they had fallen in love with. Regardless, the energy rating increased dramatically from a dismal 31 to a very respectable 77!

This project proves that, while upgrading the structure and energy efficiency, original character can not only be retained but enhanced. This draughty old house has been transformed into a warm, welcoming and energy efficient family home!