Mudroom Again…

I’ve written about the mudroom in our little cottage before. And before. And before.

It’s been two years since we’ve worked on it, because work stopped dead on the ceiling when we discovered a leak in the roof by the chimney. So nothing could be done until we had a new roof.

img_7708This summer we put on the new roof. But still nothing could be done about the ceiling because. Money. Time. Or lack thereof. You know, LIFE.

So the entrance to the cottage had an insulation ceiling and one wall that wasn’t finished. And a door and window that never got trimmed out because of inertia. Or lack thereof.

The wall you see when you walk into the cottage looks like this:img_7705

Not so impressive. Even though the kitchen has been 100% gutted and redone and is now gorgeous. Even though the living room and dining room were 98% gutted and redone. (We kept  the pine flooring that was under carpet, padding, and a layer of battleship linoleum.) But the first impression is bad.

But now — Now we have a white beadboard ceiling that matches the kitchen. We have trim around the door and window. And we have a real ceiling light, not this one:

Which light do you prefer?

Did I mention we now have real trim around the door and window?

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This door has been in place since October 2, 2012 when the outside of the house was still blue… It’s been so long since it’s been in that we have lost misplaced the little plugs that go around the small windows. We’re sure they are around somewhere, but it’s low on the priority list to spend hours looking for them. Maybe when This Old House calls us….

And just in case you’ve forgotten (I had) this is an early shot of the original demolition in the mudroom, ca. 2013.

In the meantime, we’re working on the 4th wall…

Finished and Unfinished...On the left is the finished kitchen....On the right is the only unfinished wall of the mudroom.

Finished vs. Unfinished…On the left is the finished kitchen….On the right is the only unfinished wall left in the mudroom. Those wires will be hidden soon…and there will be one last post on the mudroom.

Iced Tea on the Back Porch

This is the third August that has come around and I haven’t had to think about school. Instead of thinking on lesson plans and books and remembering kids’ names, I’m thinking on canning and freezing the garden’s produce, and sitting on the back porch with a glass of mint iced tea and enjoying these soon-to-be-glorious days of September.

Last summer we worked on the porch ceiling because the wood needed to be fixed before we could even think of putting a roof on top of it. We worked on it; I just didn’t document it, because, well, I wanted to have some nice photos to post about our wonderful, rustic back porch, just right for summer and mint iced tea.

Yeah, pride is a terrible sin…

I’ve never shied away from posting horrible photos of the cottage. You, dear reader, have seen pictures of holes in the floor, ugly plaster, dead mice in the walls, ancient electric wires, and rotten insulation. I believe in truth-in-blog-posting.

Mostly.

I’ve never shown you a picture of the back of the cottage.

The truth is, from the back it looks like an Appalachian Mountain Shack. This fact was brought home to me when we had to take photographs of the cottage from every angle for our insurance company. They didn’t want any pictures of the inside. The Beautiful Rooms that we’ve finished? Nope. They wanted photos of the outside. back of cottageOkay, so you can tell this was taken in the early spring. Actually, early spring, Last Year. Since then we have replaced, scraped, and painted some of the clapboard siding and fixed up the other stuff a little, but yes it’s still ugly. Although it does give you an idea of the scope of our problems. The mismatched windows belong to the basement workshop — not a high priority for remodeling; and what will we ever do with the cave there under the steps? Right now it’s a good place for garden tools…

We started with Mr. H.C.’s hard and fast rule — work from the top down. Replace the rotted boards on the roof. Put up new plywood and new drip edge. Take out unnecessary boards. Get rid of the spiders and wasps. Paint. And oh yes, put a new roof on the whole cottage.

These views made us consider a skylight or two, but that was rejected in favor of expediency and cost. Paint is cheaper. The new color is Sherwin Williams Segovia Red.

My sanding workshop around the back corner of the porch was in use again, as a door-stripping workshop. Lovely old French patio doors will eventually replace this ugly old metal door. It will be a great day when that old door goes on the trash heap.

But the work stopped when we discovered lead paint on the patio doors.  I don’t need any more dead brain cells, you know?

Now what was I saying?

So the porch is painted, the roof is fixed, but that ugly storm door is still there. So are Sliding Glass Doors # 5. And so is the ugly thirty-year-old indoor-outdoor carpet. Sigh. And the back of the cottage remains shack-like, with the top story painted and re-roofed, and the bottom floor ugly. (But the front is looking pretty good….)

At least no one sees the back of the cottage but the deer and the groundhogs. And they don’t care. And despite the unappealing nature of the photo above, these are views looking out from that ugly porch:

The skies and the birds and the green more than make up for the shabby carpet and the old screen door. And so does iced tea on the back porch while other people are in school…

How Can Such a Little House Have Such Big Demands?

We’ve been doing lots of little things on the house of late, but none of them has been post-worthy on its own.

Earlier this spring, Mr. H.C. put bricks under the front windows to finish them.

We also cleaned the brick, took out the old yews, and put in some new landscaping.

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All landscaping plants are deer-resistant. Unfortunately, the sunflowers I planted weren’t rabbit proof…

We updated our outdoor seating — Mr. H.C. put new wood on the seats of these old chairs, and I painted them.

I painted away the last of the blue gray cedar shakes, and Mr. H.C. built an arbor for our grapes inside the garden gate to protect them from the local plant predators.

There’s a new planter for herbs and cherry tomatoes on the sunny side of the back porch; it looks like it has always been there.


We took down the hideous-looking gutter from the front porch and added a nice new face board.

Once that was done, we agreed that the ugly painted plywood ceiling above the porch just wouldn’t do (it was so ugly, I never even took a photo of it…)

…so we gutted the ceiling and replaced it with traditional porch beadboard. It was a great day when that plywood ceiling came down.

But the really exciting news is that last week two trucks from Home Depot delivered a new door, a new window, and roofing materials and shingles. Mr. H.C. was anxious to get started on the roof, so I was surprised one evening when he came in and said, “I really think we should put the door in first. I don’t want it sitting around getting scratched up.”

Replace Sliding Glass Door # 3?  I danced with glee. (There were originally FIVE sets of sliding glass doors in the cottage when we acquired it. Two are gone. Three are now gone! This was Mr. H.C’s project all the way. All I did was pick the doors, the color, help move them across the yard, and shout encouragement from the sidelines.

The project would have gone faster, but like all old cottage projects, one must expect the unexpected. Or, at least, not be surprised. The sill under the sliding glass doors looked like this when we took it out:

IMG_7079 So extra work was involved rebuilding the sill, adding concrete and raising the new doors a bit to make a lovely (and solid) new concrete sill. These doors enter into what is lovingly called the garage bedroom. It used to be the garage. When the inside is finished, it will be the office, a guest bedroom, and the tv room — it’s a small room to be a threefer…

And one more before-and-after shot:

Painting of Apple Hill Cottage, ca.1973

The original cottage in the fifties

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The remodeled cottage of the seventies

July, 2016

July, 2016, with still plenty of projects to complete

Excuse the green-tarped package in the center of the yard. That’s the next old-cottage project.

On to the roof…

roofing in the dark to beat tomorrow's rain

Yup, we work 24/7 around here…