Last Cottage Post! Holy wow, we (mostly) finished a house!

It wasn’t supposed to take almost two-and-a-half years. But we weren’t supposed to buy two houses at once, either. There is a lot more we wish we had done, and a lot more that we might have done differently, but it’s done.

We’ve gone through the bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen and utility room, and the exterior. The living and the dining room might be the simplest transformations, but since they were the landing pad for EVERYTHING and the workshop for so long, it feels like we never saw them finished until we mopped the floor and locked the door.

It’s completely inexcusable that the only real “Before” picture of the living room is this. What was wrong with me? That area that looks like it has a nice wood floor? That’s the living room, and the only “decent” shot I have of it. And the floor isn’t nice. It’s a bad laminate with a giant gouge down the center. This was installed when you could tell laminate was laminate, and it looked all plasticky and gross. BUT IT HAS NICE LIGHT.

I swear. If I gave this house a name, it would be the “But It Has Nice Light Cottage.”


I also have this “before” picture in the living room. It’s not really OF the living room. I swear. It’s like I had no idea I’d want to ever share any of this with anyone. (I didn’t).


We pulled up the laminate and discovered that duct tape is a flooring material! Yay! I guess it’s water-tight, and if you know you’re covering it up, it works fine.

But, no.


Whew. That’s better. (Also, the amount of clutter in this picture is none. I probably felt the least embarrassed ever by this, which is why I took a picture.)


This was our woodshop, our workspace, our everything. So dusty ALL THE TIME.


And if that wasn’t bad enough, around the time of the flood, there was other water damage from a flashing issue outside, so we hired that out to be fixed, and then we got to add drywall and plaster dust to the sawdust.

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I should’ve made a snow angel.


I took this picture even before the floors were dry from mopping. New floors, paint, and new ceiling fan. Done.


Oh, and a new vent cover. I forgot.

Here’s the view of the front door and the front bedroom.


I really love the doors in this place. And the paint color, which I have vowed to be the perfect white, and is the only one I have used in the past three houses. Valspar Homestead Resort Jefferson White.


The view into the bathroom, which is off the living room.


A little better shot of the space, with dry floors this time, since I know that’s important to you.


This is looking into the dining room.


This was the dining room. Ew.

That built-in is kind of fun, even though it’s shallow. That’s the other side of the 7.5′ tall chalkboard in the utility room.


The existing lighting was a bit sparse for my taste. But you can kind of see the cool plaster detail in the ceiling, which was a pain to photograph, and I never got it right.

This does remind me of the “unseen” renovation of re-wiring the ENTIRE HOUSE because all the wiring was ripped out of it for copper by someone during foreclosure. That was fun.


This light is not old or period correct, but I bought it because it fit the space nicely, would appeal to a large number of renters, and was $40 on clearance at Lowe’s. This is really the one thing I wonder if I made a mistake on. I can easily see myself switching this out sometime for something more authentic.


But I still like it.


I love corner protectors. They are positively perfect.


Sometimes I think this is a weird space for a house this small – to have a massive dining room. But I also think it has good wall space, and would make a nice office / study / library.


This looks into the kitchen. The charming cottage door that’s open leads to the utility room, if you are trying to get your bearings.


Taken from the doorway of the back bedroom, you can see both the kitchen and the bathroom from this angle.


This looks into the living room, with the office door off to the right.


I had a lot of people ask me for the wall color. I actually created that color by mixing about 5 gallons of leftover paint of different shades together! I went through my color wheel, and the color that’s almost identical is “Redstone Dakota Sandstone” or “Channel Seal Gray” by Valspar. They are right next to each other on the paint strip. It really is a great color – I love it – it’s neutral, but still a rich tone.


I love these floors. BUT LOOK AT THAT LIGHT. The natural light, not the ceiling fan. Also, on our future to-do list is changing out all the outlets and light switches to white. Because the beige ones next to the trim kill me.


Finished. I hope you love it, and loved watching it transform.


What’s next? A break, re-filling the bank account, and decorating Martin Place for Christmas. And renovation plotting. There will always be plotting.


  1. Loved seeing Martin Place during the tour. Love your blogs. It is fun to see the transformation and not have to do the work. Keep up the plotting. Work is never done when you own or renovate a house.

  2. I love those doors, too. In fact, I have a house’s worth of those doors that I don’t need just because it made me sad to think of someone else trashing them.

    And as for that paint being the perfect white, I may need to discuss at length later.

  3. Dang, Amy! Beautiful job and in only 2 1/2 years! And 2 houses too! How I would love to finish a renovation in 2 1/2 years! Now on to the next one. I’ll be watching…with sawdust up to my knees.

  4. As always, everything looks great! Congrats!

    You wrote: “on our future to-do list is changing out all the outlets and light switches to white. Because the beige ones next to the trim kill me.”

    Amy, you are a restorer after my own heart!

  5. I owned and did a lot of work to the Adams street house in the mid 1990. It was my first house. I know I have pictures someplace if you are interested in seeing them

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