Monday, May 18, 2020

Centennial Cottage - Final Wrap Up!


After
It took 8 months to get to this point, but it was so worth it!  We took this 814 square foot house, without enough head room for tall people to get up the staircase - and now it's got 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, fantastic water views and energy efficiency for the 21st century.
Before

The location is pretty fabulous!
How did we do it?  Well we couldn't change the footprint of the original home due to building codes, but we could build a new addition.  That let us solve a lot of the challenges - as well as introduce some critical new spaces.

Original staircase had limited head and shoulder room
Speaking of the staircase..... well this is how the project started.  Tall people (like me) had to do a duck-and-roll maneuver at the top of the steps.


Since we couldn't change the height of the stairwell, we decided to move it to a whole new location.  Look at it now!  We have a big open stairwell with a wall of windows overlooking water views.  And lots of sunlight streaming in!
New staircase is bright and open - with water views!

I know everyone is predicting the end of the open floor plan - particularly after being cooped up with their family during the coronavirus pandemic! But I'm still a fan of linking these rooms, especially when there is a little bit of separation between them.  In this house, the foyer and staircase separate the living room from the rest of the first floor.
The living room in the cottage is part of the new addition.  We opened up the entire gable wall of the house to connect the living room to the new kitchen.
Linking old house with new addition
The living room is a large room, with windows on 3 sides, bringing in lots of light from morning to evening.

We added a gas fireplace at the far end, which creates a cozy spot on a cold winter (or like this year - a cold spring!) night.  Window seats flank each side to provide both seating and storage space.

Don't you love the knobs we added to the doors?  I bought them when we lived in Amsterdam and have been waiting for the perfect place to use them!  I love them here!

Do you remember the debate about which marble pattern to use around the fireplace surround? Isn't this herringbone Carrera perfect?

Laurie Fisher's paintings look fantastic in this room!

Original lobster painting by Valerie Paul
And best of all, the staircase provides the link between the living room and the rest of the first floor.  With huge windows all the way up to the third floor, sunlight comes streaming in every morning.

The kitchen is a great place for the family to gather - so different from the original space.  You see, it started as the living room, hallway and staircase.  



Now it's one open space.  The only original element that remains - part of the old staircase, which is now the kitchen pantry!  See the steps and diagonal skirt board on the left? 
One room that stayed the same (well, sort of!)?  The dining room!  But we widened it a bit and added a sliding glass door out to a new deck.  See all the sunlight that streams through?! 

Best of all, with an open floor plan you need a place to get away.  So there is a first floor home office. Perfect for those telecons when you want to shut the door for some peace and quiet!

It has a full bath adjacent to it - which got a major update, we gutted it down to the studs and added new insulation to keep it nice and warm.

Upstairs?  Well, we have the new master suite. (Sorry, this is in the new portion of the house, so there aren't any 'before ' photos to share.)

Lots of storage! 
And the master bath is pretty nice!  It has a double vanity and a large walk in shower.


The original staircase is just a memory - we reconfigured the space with lots of storage space and a skylight to bring in light and ventilation.

And check out the two original bedrooms.  When we started, you had to walk through the bathroom to get to the end bedroom - not exactly a desirable entrance!  We changed all that by reconfiguring the  doorways, an improvement for both rooms!

We also moved the oversized closet to the other side of the room, freeing up lots of floor space for furniture.  Don't you love the nickel-gap knee wall, what a great spot for cars and trucks and things that go.  


The middle bedroom is almost a mirror image of the other bedroom. 
Bigger window and moving the closet made such a difference!
 In both rooms, the original window was too small to meet fire code - so we raised the dormer and gained a much nicer window with a pretty view of Casco Bay.

The other change in this room?  We moved the door and closet, which allowed us to recess the closet back and make the room much larger.  A nice improvement, don't you think?


And the original bathroom?  Well we gave it a MAJOR facelift!  We replaced all the behind the wall stuff - electrical, insulation & plumbing - as well as refinished the original octagonal tub.  Isn't it great?

One of the biggest changes to the house was the 3rd floor addition.  It's up in the treetops and provides a space to get away from it all.  I know I've talked about it a lot - probably because I love it so much.
Top of stairwell


The windows provide a great spot to watch the ferry going back and forth from Portland to Peaks Island all year long.

And the deck is a perfect spot for a cup of coffee to start the morning - or a cocktail to end the day!
Meadow view to the right, Casco Bay view to the left.  Pretty sweet!
It's kind of exhausting to look back at all the changes - which also included lots of energy efficiency updates, new plumbing, electrical, heat pump, etc.  This was a huge project for us, but so rewarding to see the final product.  And best of all, the new owners are just thrilled with it!


We've already started our next project.  Hope you'll follow along on the blog, Facebook or Instagram!


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