This Old Cottage

It’s been six years of steady deconstruction, reconstruction and the messiness that goes with them. We’re taking a short break… and we’ll be back soon with a gutted bathroom and a newly remodeled back porch.

It’s hard to start writing a brand new blog when it’s, well, brand new. I’m brand new at it also, which makes it doubly hard. But Apple Hill Cottage has come into our lives. It is a cottage with history — combined history for both Michael and me — and I want to write about it — document it — as we try to respectfully… Continue reading



Fast forward to April/May of this year. A lot of stuff happened in between, and we’ll get to that in later posts, but for now, we are working on the kitchen. As in taking out walls–that’s a later post too–but for the past few weekends, I’ve been sanding. Not just smoothing rough edges, but taking … Continue reading



We were a bit hesitant to tear out walls.
Dusty, everyone said.
Old Plaster, Mr. H.C. said.
What will we do with it? I said.

I was a bit hesitant to write on this topic of walls. So metaphorical, walls are. Especially tearing them down.

I could wax poetic, except I’m an unexceptional poet… Continue reading



Kitchen Cabinet Redux: We bought the imperfectly sanded, imperfectly primed kitchen cabinets in two different places at two different times. The first (and main) batch was purchased at Construction Junction for $225. They include 3 base cabinets and 4 wall cabinets in almost exactly the sizes we needed. The sink base was seriously injured–it was … Continue reading



The kitchen cabinets are looking creamy and shiny — the luscious color of steamed milk. They are ‘curing’ in the garage bedroom, and before we leave them for awhile, I have a confession to make : I spent as much on the new hardware for them as we spent on the cabinets themselves… Continue reading


We’ve been working on this little cottage every weekend for almost a year now. We are no longer under any illusions. We know that the wiring is haphazard, the upkeep has been minimal, and it was built in fits and starts without much planning. (This is not to cast aspersions on previous owners and builders … Continue reading


Well, there were only two of us who showed up to work this weekend, and the grunt laborer should have called in sick. The pay isn’t good enough to work through sneezing, coughing, nose running, head aching, sore throat type of days. But this is no union job, as Mr. Homeworks Contracting reminded her several … Continue reading





I got a new job this past weekend. We are getting close to starting the ceiling. (I know, I’ve been saying that for a month now…) So this weekend we had the lovely task of taking down everything that touched the ceiling. That would be: the obtrusive wall cabinet where all our … Continue reading

Those of you who read this blog on a regular or semi-regular basis (I love all of you!) know that we have been working on the kitchen window project for a VERY long time. There have been posts on looking for replacement windows, posts on sanding windows, posts on priming windows, posts on reglazing… Continue reading


Hardwood Lumber Company is a great place to order butcher block counter tops. They ship products all across the country, but we’ve ordered twice from them and picked up the counters at their mill both times. Located in either Burton, Ohio or Springfield, Ohio, depending whether you’re using their mailing address or a GPS… Continue reading




We spent weeks, months, selecting a kitchen counter top. I looked online at Countertops 101; I looked at the big box stores; I read articles about all the different materials we could use for our countertop — the pros and cons of each. While I was considering this, Consumer Reports came out with a timely … Continue reading





We’ve been working nonstop here at the cottage, but sometimes, like life, the actual progress goes in fits and starts. Working on the windows is slow going; we are 3/4 of the way finished, and it seems we’ve been scraping/sanding/repairing/priming/painting them forever. And we’ve been working on the outside of the house (it is a … Continue reading




More thoughts on color…I’ll try to keep to the topic this time. I’m having trouble making decisions about paint color in the kitchen. It is — or will be — black and white mostly (floors, cabinets, counter tops, walls) with rich chestnut-colored wood antique pieces … Continue reading


The best thing about living in a space where walls are crumbling and severely in need of repair is Writing On Them! For instance, at our advanced ages we seem to have memory short-outs quite frequently. This wall writing is very handy!
The other day Mr. H.C. asked me if we had a chalkboard (I actually did find an old one of Clara’s) but I don’t know why I didn’t just tell him to write it on the wall. It isn’t like we haven’t already made mistakes. The stove was originally going to go in the far corner of the kitchen where the pantry wall was taken out. We measured, drew lines, and…  Continue reading


The Good: Kitchen countertop and sink laid out on paper and ordered √ Dishwasher ordered and ready for pickup at Sears √ Black and white VCT flooring tile ordered √ Old linoleum and tar paper scraped off the kitchen floor √ Sliding glass door frame and surrounding wall demoed √ French doors framed in √ The … Continue reading




If you’ve ever been caving, you might know the feeling — a generic uneasiness as you’re thinking about it and hiking to the cave; several gulps and maybe some sweating when you see the entrance and realize it’s barely big enough for you to get your shoulders through; deep breaths to keep the panic away when the darkness envelops you; the urge to shout when you emerge from the dark hole in the ground. YES! I LIVED! Continue reading


Yes, we’re trying to straighten up a crooked little house — and it’s driving Mr. H. C. bonkers. This is a man who has to have pieces meet within a thirty-second of an inch. And that level bubble? Well it has to be right between those lines, as close to the middle as it can be. Poor guy. Some days he just shakes his head. Some days he wonders aloud why we ever got into this. And some days when the bird clock whistles 5:00, he just… Continue reading



That Was Then, This Is Now

That Was Then, This Is Now

Things are looking pretty in the Apple Hill Cottage Kitchen. Amazing, but true. Excitement abounds. We can actually see over the mountain top — we might even be descending through the slippery slope of final details and finish carpentry! This past weekend not only did I do a load of dishes in my new sink … Continue reading




In a previous post, I told you about [reHabitat], the online design/decorating company who is giving us ideas on what to do with our yellow bedroom, while we concentrate on the kitchen and the bathroom. In the interest of full disclosure :-) [reHabitat] is Diane and Emily, my sister and my niece. I chose the … Continue reading


Mr. H.C. is still working on the windows. He insists we can’t proceed until we get them painted and installed. So unless I wanted to clean the chimney in the kitchen, there was only one thing for me to do… take off the wallpaper in the yellow bedroom. There’s not much to say about it. … Continue reading





When Joe and Clara remodeled the cottage in the 70s (see 1. The Story of Apple Hill Cottage) they put in 5 (five!) sets of sliding glass doors — one at every entrance except the basement — and 2 (two!) opening into the kitchen. Correction:  there were 2 (two!) going into the kitchen; now there … Continue reading 




I started this blog six years ago to keep track of the renovation work we were doing on the new old house we’d just acquired. It was a house and acres filled with history on both sides of our families and I wanted to document it. You can read that story here. We’ve become complacent … Continue reading



Today was a double blessing day: our long awaited, too-expensive, gorgeous kitchen faucet arrived; and, in the mail was my reVive box from reHabitat, the fabulous design team who took on The Yellow Bedroom. (see post 37. ReHabitat-ing the Yellow Bedroom.) I was good. I did all my chores first, and then I cleaned off … Continue reading



The yellow bedroom is yellow no more. Even the closet has not a vestige of yellow left! We are mulling over a new name — just “the bedroom” doesn’t adequately cover its transformation. The change has been slow. I’ve been working on it by myself when unskilled labor is not needed in the kitchen. Taping … Continue reading





This page currently under construction: Temporary Inconvenience….









crown moulding painted sherwin williams steamed milk

Baseboard, Crown, and Cupboard

The Corner Dining Room

The Corner Dining Room









If one wall takes six months, how long do six walls take?

If one wall takes six months, how long do six walls take?

Oven Ordeal

Oven Ordeal







Serious cracks in mudroom floor

The Mudroom Demolition

American Craftsman window from Home Depot

Begone Ugly Window









Old drafty aluminum window

The Accidental Demolition

Ox yoke chandelier

One Ox-yoke Chandelier for Sale — Cheap!








Perfectionism: Part 3 -- The Struggle

Perfectionism: Part 3 — The Struggle

Going, going gone

Going, going gone

White treadle sewing machine

Sew What?







The Sixth Wall

The Sixth Wall

Cottage Move-In Day!

Cottage Move-In Day!








Porch Swinging

Porch Swinging

coal burning fireplace

Goin’ to Town and Buyin’ the Mantel

Harvest Kitchen

Harvest Kitchen

Fiberglass doors by Milliken Millwork, painted Sherwin Williams Dovetail Gray.

How Can such a Little House Have Such Big Demands?


Iced Tea on the Back Porch

Iced Tea on the Back Porch