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
FRENCH COUNTRY COTTAGE & my newest book FRENCH COUNTRY COTTAGE INSPIRED GATHERINGS
Beautiful!! Where did you find your tufted bed? It is just what I am looking for….
It is from Eloquence. 🙂
chris murr says
Gorgeous! so classy! Can you share where you found these treasures! love the bed and bench!
The bed is from Eloquence and the bench from Lamps Plus. 🙂
I hI have a king-size tufted bed and they come in many different colors and it’s absolutely gorgeous and I got mine on Wayfair and the name of it is Marlon 👍good proce too ! Cindy
Margie Mortensen says
You are a genious – but I know that was a ton of work. Just beautiful.
Dena Jackson says
so beautiful and encouraging to find a diamond in the rough. it is amazing how deceiving that room is 500 sq ft, but the white paint and windows reveal it!
curious what is the total square footage of your home, not including the cute out buildings?
Hi Dena! Gosh- I would have to think about it- it has been awhile since we bought and added on to the main house- but it isn’t a huge house square footage wise I would guesstimate around 2600 sq ft – not counting the guest cottage which is a separate building.
Denise M Leon says
Just beautiful, Thnk you for sharing!
aussie jo says
Karen B. says
your house is amazing and I’m so impressed by your vision and your hard work to create a beautiful Home for your and your family. Its great following your posts.
Aren’t you happy you listened to yourself instead of others who wanted to tear it down? It’s just lovely!!! Wonderful job you did!
Such a great job!! I So love your Style.
Just love it 🙂
Lovely as are all your rooms! aND i SIMPLY LOVE YOUR WHOLE STYLE!
A concrete struCture built into a hillside?…..That’s our entire home! We have a berm-style earth home. Like your home & guest house, ours was a complete fixer- upper both the house and the acreage WHICH INCLUDES AN ORCHARD AND VINEYAD. bUT we saw past the disgusting “ick” that was created by the former owner’s excessive smoking, dog accidents on old carpeting, etc.etc.
It’s now become inside and out, a property our realtor told us could sell for about $100k more than we paid for it. That’s a testament to super-duper cleaning followed by gallons and gallons of odor-killing primer and gallons and gallons of white paint,,,WELL AND RIPPING OUT CARPETING, ETC. 😉 The power of paint….never ceases to amaze!
i HAVE YOUR FIRST BOOK WHICH WAS A GREAT INSPIRATION FOR THE INTERIOR DECOR WE HAVE.
Miche Ortega says
Just gorgeous. Yes, paint changes everything. Great job.
Sandy Sickinger says
Hi Courtney, I swoon over your photos and style. It’s been an inspiration for a lot of my projects.
Michele M. says
Well done!!!! lOVE IT, cOURTNEY.
yOU SURE HAVE THE VISION. sO GLAD YOU STAYED TRUE TO YOUR GOOD SENSE.
i WOULD LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN THAT GORGEOUS ROOM!
Betty Whatley says
What a wonderful job ya’ll have done with your home. I do estate sales and interior decorating and I Love it when i go into some of the older homes and see the memories, wood work that you don’t see in new homes. I am so glad you lOved it enough and could see the hidden beauty to make her new again. You could not afford some of The features that are in that home now. I know it is saying thank you for making us pretty again. Thanks for sharing and am looking foward to what else you do. Love it and enjoy it.
Love, love your style! You have IMPECCABLE taste! Your bed is so beautiful it makes my mouth watEr! 😋
Patricia Kasparian says
Amazing work here! Every ‘after’ photo is just beautiful! What is the white paint you use?
joyce Shawger says
I’m soooo happy to have found your site. I absolutely love everything you have done. Everey detail is Simply devine. What would you say are a few of yur top fav paint colors for walls and furniture re-dos. Just order your first book can’t wait to get my hands on it. Looking forward to more from you.
Lisa Anderson says
Nancy Yoakum says
What an amazing transformation!! My hat is off to you just thinking of all the painting! You have turned it in to a wonderful place and I have no doubt that everyone loves coming to visit!!!
Barbara Chapman says
Wow, Courtney, what a transformation!!! I do love that you put in the corner windows. Such a pretty look out there… Eloquence’s beds are still on my bucket list! 🙂
Enjoy renovating the cottage,
Stunning… and so country/Feminine. Can you please share where you purchased your rug from? Thank you.
Mary B says
I love the soft colors, the soft lights and the sparkle of gold and crystal. This room is perfect in every way. Thank you for all the work you do and for sharing the before and after pictures on your website.
Seeing the before makes Us appreciate the After do much more! What a Vision you had and its just beautiful!!!
What a testament to your immense talent and the magic of primer and paint. As a child, I remember the older ladies loving their paneling. My parents were chastised for painting over the “gorgeous knotty pine.” Beautiful job and kudos to your patient husband.
Would you share the name of this white paint?
I have wood on the ceiling and wood on the floors.
It has been hard to find a fresh white paint.
Hi there, it is Simply White by Benjamin Moore.
This room makesme say aaaahhhh❤️
Linda Johns says
WANTING to Paint our pine tung Panel wall. What would be the best metHod of Painting the walls?
Thank you so much for sharing! I too have a panel room that I want to paint white, but i sidn know how to go abo cover the orange stain. 3-4 coats of oul based paint! Thank you!