January 22, 2020

A Cottage Renovation Update

Back in November I introduced our big renovation happening in our backyard: The Knox Cottage. Over the past few months a lot has changed and its all taking shape and will wrap up before we know it!

Let’s walk through everything that we’ve been working on:

This gives a glimpse of where the front door was and how the left side was a garage. 


The whole space changed immediately after demo. It helped us get a feel for the space and where everything would go. Since we basically started with a rectangle and removed everything from the space, we haven’t run into too many unforeseen problems because there was nothing to save. 

This will be the sink wall

This is the view of where the kitchen range, refrigerator and cabinets will go. Behind this wall is the bedroom.

New floorplan and leveling floor

We changed the floorpan to make a bedroom, laundry room, and open concept kitchen. We kept the bathroom in the same spot to keep things simple and not have to move plumbing too far. The garage floor was raised to meet the original floor and the front door was relocated. We replaced all the windows and added a set of french doors to open to a small patio and keep with the goal of creating an open, airy space. 

Drywall progress

Plumbing, Electrical, Insulation, Drywall

Then came the not-so-glamorous, laborious and most expensive part: plumbing and electrical. It seemed like this was the longest part since we were tying in new lines instead of working with what was there – everything had to be updated. 

Insulation and drywall went in this week and definitely makes the finish line seem so much closer!

Still needs extra trim, exterior lights and porch


While choosing details for the cottage, there wasn’t anything to salvage or a style to keep with like our main home. We have tried to be conscious of a cottage-style and make sure the exterior will match what we plan to do on our main home in the future. Since this is complementing our home, we decided to go with board and batten siding. This is a safer option since I feel it can mix with many styles and whatever we choose in the future for our main home exterior renovation.

Choosing the white exterior paint was probably the hardest decision I made yet! I have made my fair share of fails with choosing a white paint in the past and I didn’t want to miss it on something so important like the exterior. My main advice is to get ample paint samples and if the whites start to look the same, get two more samples of a warmer white and a cooler white.  This helped me actually start to see the undertones of the samples I originally got and find a winner. Another tip that helped is I chose the door color first and painted a swatch beside each white sample to make sure they went well together. 

After seeing my sister-in-law’s home painted Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore at 75% strength, I tried a sample of it and loved it! This sealed the deal and we finally got to paint!

Choosing Details 

The most fun and time consuming part for me personally has been choosing the details! I started with the flooring and decided on Lamton Laminate in Ultra Champagne from Build Direct. It is even more beautiful in person! The bathroom floor will be Zenith tile in Moon from Bedrosian Tile.

For kitchen cabinets, appliances and doors we went with simple options from Lowes. My goal has been to choose simply and inexpensive options so that the finishing details will elevate the design. The hardware, countertops, faucets, and shelving will all hopefully pull it together where it doesn’t look like it all came from a big box store!

I’ve also focused on making decisions that are best for renter situations. Since we will have a tenant, I want to make sure the finishes will hold up to wear and tear and translate into different styles and keep maintenance to a minimum. 

Next, air conditioning is going in. Followed by paint, flooring, tiling, and then assembling everything back together! I can actually see it all coming together and it’s been so exciting to see our vision come to life. We’ve had a great team working on all the details from our contractor to the sub-contractors which thankfully has made it a pretty smooth process!