Clean and Simple : The Cottage Kitchen and Utility Room

Gross. That’s the only way to describe the utility room before we got ahold of it. The utility room is an addition to the house, which you can see by the exterior siding present along the main house wall. Incidentally, this little clue makes me want to rip off all the siding and see if the wood is still underneath. One day, and when I have a million dollars. Or at least, multiple thousands.


The utility room has no HVAC, but since it holds the furnace, it stays pretty warm in winter. It has two walls of windows, so the theme of “great light” carries on even into this space. It hosts the water heater, furnace, electrical panel, washer and dryer hook-ups, and a storage room. It’s built for work. One of the first things we did was get a washer and dryer – we actually took some off a friend who had an extra set and said, “Does anyone want these?” They worked fine, and we needed them. Martin Place didn’t have laundry, so once we moved, we were going to have to put a laundry space in there, put laundry in the Cottage, or go to a laundromat. This worked out well – we could do laundry while spending a few hours working.


Also in the before was this interior door. That lead to the outside. And didn’t close. So it was padlocked. Not only is this a problem from a insulation concern, but clearly, it was a safety problem. This is not a space I want to be trapped in. So dirty, too. This is also the closest door to the driveway, so it’s used almost more than the front door. And that floor. Gross. I know some people don’t understand color, but let me give you a hint : Pepto Bismol Pink and Forest Green don’t work together. And I realize it’s “just a utility room,” and not everyone will make their laundry room look like this, but I still believe that any space you live in should make you feel better just because you’re in it.


We added an exterior door that let in even more light, and kept the house secure and less drafty. Yay!


This was the SECOND time the floor was replaced – we had to replace it again after the flood. Brian and I knocked it out in a day, though. This, and cleaning and painting, made SUCH a difference.


The awkward closed-in-door-turned-built-in in the dining room looked weird. So I made it a giant 7 foot tall chalkboard. And it’s awesome.

If I didn’t have a renter, I would market this place as “Victorian Cottage with Giant Chalkboard and Decorative Hooks also features two bedrooms and a stunning bath.”


I mean, really.


This door leads into the kitchen, and it’s adorable. So you should look at it.


There are lots of types of surfaces in there, so I painted them all yellow, except the window trims, doors, and baseboards, which are the same white I used throughout the house. It’s a little less distracting that way. We brought over a cabinet that was in Martin Place without a job, so it adds some folding space and storage. The cabinet over the washer was lost in the flood, and on my “to do” list here for the future is to add a cabinet back over the washer, and also to add some more lighting over the washer and dryer.

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Lots of windows and light!

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The floor makes such a difference. It’s hard to see in these pictures, but we also added a clothing bar for hanging clothes, and a pegboard for additional storage by the cabinet. That door at the end of the room leads to a small cold storage area, which is really creepy but has a ton of space. It’s a great little room now, ready to work!

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The kitchen before. Birdhouses and villages and wallpaper and burgundy countertops. Oh, my. The best thing this space has going for it is its size, the layout, and the cabinets are in good shape, even if they are dirty. And guess what? Those are the only things that stayed the same.


The sink handles are made of wood. WOOD.


This refrigerator nook is just darling. If you can focus on it, and not the walls.




Luckily, the wallpaper wasn’t installed correctly, and so I pulled it down in an hour or so, no steaming or anything. Just with white walls, it started to look much better.

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The floors were not so easy. There was a sheet of lauan, stapled with about 9,214,325 staples under the linoleum. Edgar painstaking got them out. It was a mess. and the lauan splintered everywhere. AWFUL.

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What a difference that wallpaper made.


The way the floors were, we knew we needed to add a transition between the kitchen and the dining room and couldn’t have continuous flooring. We decided to still keep the flooring the same in the whole house, but I thought it should run a different way, just to make everything seems very purposeful. “Why not diagonal?” I said. Doug was on board, even when it meant making weirdo cuts like this.

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They look great, even if the post-flood baseboards still need some work.


We added new countertops, and cutting out the sink hole led to the realization that I can fit into a cabinet.


We bought all new appliances (since there weren’t any) on Black Friday, which is a great time to shop for appliances, and home improvement stores aren’t filled with all the crazies. This cottage has a fridge, gas range and vent, and dishwasher.


And new counters, new sink, and lovely new faucet. The sink is acrylic, but looks cast-iron (for now), and the faucet has some Victorian stylings. Laminate counters, which I’d love to switch out for stone sometime, but it just wasn’t in the budget.


The cabinets looked new on the outside after a good scrubbing, and porcelain knobs were added. And I painted it green, because I apparently have a thing for green kitchens. Example One, and Example Two.


Here it is!


We switched out the overhead light, and added the pendant over the sink as a new fixture. That pendant was leftover from the Jackson Street kitchen remodel, when we thought we were going to add three pendants, but really, two was better.



You can see here the diagonal floor, the transition, then the vertical floor in the dining room.


This is the only door in any of our houses ever that has a transom. I love it.


It’s definitely a cute space.


This is the last picture I took in the house before heading home after cleaning it, and getting ready to hand over keys the next day. And look! You can see Jackson Street through the window!


The Living and Dining Rooms, and the end of the Finished Tour is up next.

If you haven’t seen the Exterior, the Bathroom, or the Bedrooms, make sure you visit them, as well!

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