Tag Archives: cottage remodel

the cabin

cabinat long last we have a place of our own for a to-the-studs project! we could not be more thrilled. this woodsy little confection was built in 1963, at the tail-end of the mid-century era, in the California Sierra foothills. after a 3-month search through the pine forest with our realtor, we settled on the one: it was the right size (800 sq ft) not oversized like some ski-houses tend to be; in a good location we’ve visited with friends – it has access to a lake; and most importantly because it hadn’t really been touched much since the 60s and needs work – nothing major, but work that we’re anxious to do. a real vintage fixer-upper. below are photos of the other sides. rear-facadegable-roofa-frameit was affectionately referred to as ‘cigarette house’ by our realtor because it was beyond saturated with the smell. but that only ‘fueled’ our interest more – we knew we could do a job on it. I like the board-and-batten siding but not the lemon color. so un-woodsy! it’s nestled into a gentle hill with a deck in front and a cute guest cottage / toolshed out back – perfect for our unwanted guests lol! guest-cottageI assume it was used for sleeping because it’s insulated, carpeted and has lighting. Inside the house, it’s wood-on-wood-on-wood. another big selling point was the vaulted, knotty pine ceiling….which we love and think really makes the cabin. knotty-pine-ceilingthere are three truss-beams running through the living area. my engineer colleague took one look and said they’re not structural. but we’re keeping them, of course.vaulted-kitchenthe kitchen is quaint, and came with no refrigerator. that’s OK – we have coolers, for now. seems like a mircrowave was taken too – but we don’t care – less things to throw out because it would probably not been one we liked the look of. the cabinets are not original, maybe one of the only things updated in the house, but they’re OK for now. we have plans. dropped-ceilingin the bedrooms, the vaulted ceiling disappears….WTF. why are these ceilings flat / dropped? the first time I saw this, I was certain that the vaulted pine must continue above, and this is only a cosmetic lower ceiling. we also did not love the built-in closets that took up floor space in the cozy bedrooms. accordian-doorhow about those faux-wood accordion doors? oh my vintage! there’s no way they’d make the cut. camp-bathroomThe Bathroom…pretty basic…you can’t tell but the toilet is on an angle – we’ll call it the V8 toilet. I’m glad there’s a wall-hung sink, I often prefer them over vanity cabinets that can make a small space feel cluttered (like that shelf!). wood-toilet-seateven the toilet seat was wood-grain. the entire bathroom was paneled, ceiling and all. I actually like this curved-corner medicine cabinet and think with a little spray-paint it can stay. that outlet is not GFI = good thing I don’t use a blowdryer 🙂 vintage-light-fixturessome fun light fixtures. old-west scalloped realness above, and the lower one is the same as was in my childhood bedroom – and I’m sure many bedrooms across the USA.. eames-shell-chairthe original wood wall paneling: to keep or not to keep?? it’s ‘real’ wood, as in very thin sheets of plywood. not plastic printed woodgrain that came along later. this is genuine wood..and wood makes the CABIN. we are at once charmed by it, and yet could also see painting it white to brighten the place up. for now we’ll keep it, other things to do first. we’re also unsure if all exterior walls are insulated. the ‘Woodsman’ fireplace is so damn awesome. we’ve already built many fires in it. woodsman-fireplacewe like to think we are becoming woodsmen…ha. 6a00d83451ccbc69e201156f66c1c7970c-400wivintage moment: maybe we should keep the paneling in the bathroom? she doesn’t seem to mind it.cabin-interiorand as for this short, but obtrusive wall: I suspect there is a structural post within it, supporting the ridge beam. but it’s in a bad spot. we think this is where a refrigerator once was (on the kitchen side) but we don’t plan to put it back there. this wall irks us but I have a solution.

f2d5d29e207cca0499fe5f0fb85026b1your homework is to think about the paneling! should it stay or should it go?! more to come!

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back yard cottage

From what we can tell, this back-yard structure has been here for about 100 years as seen on the above 1913 Sanborn Map.  These maps are pretty cool because the outlines of buildings were drawn, and you can see what it may have been originally if it changed.  ‘D’ for dwelling – we’re upgrading this 2-unit building.  The dwelling at the front of the lot is being remodeled by Feldman Architecture – I managed the project when I worked there and I get to see them both happen at once. The building touches the property lines on 3 sides…which is uncommon at the back yard, and not really allowed anymore for several code reasons I won’t go into… not enough room on the blog!  Look at the gorgeous T-111 siding in brown and small single-pane windows – one of which used to open into a shed!  You can see the outline of the shed that was removed but will be rebuilt as part of the front building.  Inside there was a jumble of spaces and odd soffits and such.  The refrigerator wasn’t invited into the kitchen with the rest of the appliances.  Upstairs the back windows look out onto a nice large tree and adjacent back yards.  Part of the code issue is that these windows can’t be enlarged – if they are, they’re not permitted to open due to fire prevention.  So we’re replacing all property line windows in the same configuration so they can be operable. 

Once the walls were opened up we could see the abuse this building has withstood:  evidence of charred framing indicates there was a fire at some point (which explains why such an old building has no olde detailing) and whatever wood wasn’t singed was chomped through by some hungry buggers as seen in the window sill above.  ALL to be replaced!   You can’t tell in the photo but the floor has a significant slope…which we’ll be correcting because the living spaces are being opened up to one big room.  On the left: with 10′ ceilings it seems such a waste to have a standard 6′-8″ door…seems so wimpy!  Then again it’s only a rental building so we’re not going all out here.  The attic….how great would it be to finish out this space!  But it would go far beyond the project budget here.  Wonder what’s in that box…..

more to come!

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