You know, our house was a bit of a doozy when we bought it.
If you have been reading French Country Cottage for a bit you know our cottage was abandoned, neglected and vandalized for about 60 years before we bought it. When we first saw it sitting in the dried up grassy acreage- it was looking at something that once was and that would fall over at any moment.
But surprisingly, ‘the bones were good’ as they say. This house was built on a thick old 1940’s solid foundation. And the guest cottage was built even more strongly- two levels of concrete floors sunken into a hillside. But the siding? The lighting? The flooring? The… well Everything else … it was not pretty and left a lot to be desired.
Today it is all about the little cottage bedroom before. I know I have told you before that several realtors told us to tear the house and cottage down. That the value was in the acreage and to just rebuild. Aside from the fact that we were stretching our budget to eating beans everyday for a few months just to be able to buy this run down cottage on acreage in overpriced California- the house even in the lack of upkeep and ruin had a whole lot of original detail and charm under all that dust, grime and basic yuck. You just had to look past A LOT to see it. I have shared a before & after of a couple of rooms before- but this is one you haven’t seen. I actually didn’t even remember that we took photos of it until I bumped into them.
To be honest- this Before is really not terrible at all- and definitely not nearly as terrible as the rest of the main house was. But, as you can see… it was a bit of a dungeon. A dark, room with concrete floors that once had tile and just a single window on each side wall.
Side note: Does this room feel like it is over 500 square feet? It is. But it felt like it was about 150 square feet because it was so dark, dreary and that ceiling? So heavy. I wanted to reach up and push it up a bit.
Let’s discuss other lovely details. The lighting? There were two tiny single bulb sconces, but they really didn’t work well to light a whole large dark room- and so- the lamp on the floor to work by.
Notice how high the lamp is plugged in on the wall? The same height of the bottom of the window? That is the top of the foundation concrete wall. Not so pretty- but this place was built rock solid. We mostly used the guest cottage for storage of all those building supplies and bits for several years before getting to the renovation of it.
Here is a bit of the after ‘Before’ – these are older photos because it is currently in ‘process’ of changes yet again. 🙂
We added corner windows to the end of the cottage to mimic what was original on the house- and to bring in some much needed light- and basically the look and layout of the room is exactly the same as this one and repeated on the opposite side.
You might remember that antique plaster mantel we drove out into the wine country boondocks to pick up. We put that on the brick firebox to create something with a bit more charm. For reference- the fireplace is in that space next to the window- towards the back. This is about a 5′ wide fireplace so you can get an idea of how long this room is.
The photo below shows the back wall- where the bed is now. You can see the two sconces high up on the wall for reference to the photo of the After below.
Notice also that the corner windows were not original out here. There were NO windows on that back wall at all. That is like 25′ of dark wood with no light coming in. Interestingly, corner windows were original to the design of the main house and they were in every bedroom- so we decided to add corner windows to this room to bring more light in.
We also replaced the 2 broken original windows with new ones.
And of course, I painted EVERYTHING white to brighten it up. That orange stain required about 3-4 cans of heavy duty oil based primer to cover up. I kid you not. And we put down an inexpensive floor for the time-being (which has now turned into about 10 years haha.)
Can we just give a shout to the amazing difference priming and painting wood makes? It was like a whole new room in with just that one change alone.
Stay tuned for the next update- hint: it might have something to do with that flooring we put down years ago- and the outdoor living area.
Happy Before & After Wednesday all.
You can see more of the guest cottage and our home in my books