Cottage rehab - one of my favorites!
This little 1918 bunglow was a lucky find, one of those that I heard about before it was 'officially' listed. The family we bought it from had built it originally, too - the house had never changed hands and had seen several generations and members of extended family call it home over the years. There had been no real renovations other than a 1950's kitchen, either - a total time capsule! The woodwork had only been painted in one room, there were only 2 layers of wallpaper (see above for the varieties we found), the floors were original, the windows original, and the plumbing was original. Yep, the 'sewer' was just a drain from the bathroom out to a brick-lined pit right outside the house that connected to the village sewers only if it filled up. That was a first! Luckily we were able to verify that the connection itself was 'modern' and useable, so making the toilets drain to the actual city services wasn't complicated. However, this fact, along with all the copper we had to install, is high on my list of why i feel houses that are pre- WWII aren't good flip candidates. The wonderland of possibilities for systemic problems is a bit too much to handle for most bottom lines. Live and learn!
The challenge this cute little house presented was a classic - how do you preserve what's worth preserving, but provide the market what they demand? I rolled the dice and went with my gut -keeping the beautiful floors, the varnished douglas fir trim, and ditching the cheap 50's kitchen, the giant boiler in the basement, and the brick sewer pit. We had to lift the ceiling a bit upstairs and legitimize an 80 year old attempt at an upstairs bath, but otherwise the interior spaces stayed the same. It also doesn't hurt that the style of a 1900's bungalow is mostly timeless. The existing tub stayed, with a fresh coat of epoxy, and reproduction fixtures and cabinetry were easy to assemble to create a restored look, as opposed to a builder-spec renovation.
I love the way this turned out! I like to think that I may have saved this little house from the wrecking ball, at least for a little while. The street has a lot of teardowns, and while most of the houses torn down weren't missed afterward, I thought this one had potential to stick around for more generations to enjoy. And that hallway cabinet - never painted, in perfect condition? The project was worth it for that alone! As with all of my projects, the cabinetry was my design, built by Hampshire Cabinetry, and I sourced the lighting, tile, counters, etc etc etc locally. I would rather 'shop' for that stuff than any shoes or handbags. I do love a new pair of sunglasses, and maybe some athleisure pants, or some skinny jeans..... Before I get too distracted, what do you think of this one?? Many more project recaps to come!!!