Like most cape-style homes, the cottage originally had a central brick chimney and a fireplace in the front room. We love the idea of having a working fireplace and tried many different floor configurations to see if we could make it work, but the location of the chimney created a lot of limitations as we thought through how we want the home to work. Location challenges aside, the chimney was also in really rough shape. Some of the bricks were gorgeous (and in fact have been salvaged for later use), but there was severe cracking and general instability.
When you install a new sill, you’re going to need to install new floor joists. And when you have to install new floor joists, you first need to completely remove the old floor. Then while you’re at it, you need to take the opportunity to pour a new concrete floor in the basement. This is beginning to sound like that book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” but just like that book, construction projects create the domino effect that when something happens, a string of others must follow.
The original flooring from the front two rooms was in fairly good condition, so the removal process was done carefully so we’ll be able to reuse some (hopefully most) of it in the the house once everything is put back together.
The proportions of the cottage are charming, but what makes the property special is its proximity to the river. Whenever we find ourselves questioning the intelligence of our decision to do this renovation, we always remind ourselves that we’d never be able to build on a site like this today. So, when it’s all said in done, we’ll be happy to have this view in the end.
After the initial demo work in the two front rooms, we moved out way to the some of the smaller spaces in the center and back of the house. It’s tricky to get the proper wind-up on a crowbar when demolishing a closet, but what we may have lacked in finesse, we made up for in repetition and, on my part at least, brute strength. Kidding, kidding.
You’ve made it to the end of the tour! Lucky for you, I’ve saved the best for last.
The cottage itself is cute, but what makes this property so special is its proximity to the Connecticut River. There is no way that we’d legally be able to build a home in this location, so we want to make sure that we’re maximizing the river view opportunities that we have.
For a home that may look rather tiny on the outside, it has more rooms than you’d expect. The first floor contains a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen/dining space, a hobby room, and a full bath. The second floor contains another two (small) bedrooms and another living room. Let’s take a tour. I should note that the rooms are rather tight, so please forgive the lack of photos that show complete rooms in one shot. Note to self to rent a wide angle lens!