The Walls Revealed: Our Cottage Renovation

I can’t remember a busier few weeks.  I traveled to Ohio for the Buckeye Book Fair, then spent four days of brainstorming with my new brainstorming buddies, and finally managed a quick trip to Western New York to see the beginnings of our cottage renovations.  Now I’m back in Florida and after moving from the east coast to the west, this week we closed on our new house just south of Sarasota.  We can’t wait for the movers to come.

Meantime, I wanted to share a few promised photos of the cottage renovations.  All you HGTV addicts will particularly enjoy.  Hopefully (!) we’ll see progress in the months ahead, although right now it’s stalled because of a problem with the permit.  I expect lots of these kinds of moments.

Here’s the back of the house stripped of siding. We’re building a two story addition of bathrooms and closets on both levels.

You find interesting things when you remove walls. Here, our wonderful architect is pointing out that there is nothing between the insulation and the vinyl outdoor siding, plus the insulation was installed backwards.

To keep the cottage character and some of the history, we’ll keep this wall behind stairwell exposed. It was covered with nasty insulation board until renovation began. Our builder also promises to plane some of the great ceiling boards and use them on the counter base. The best kind of recycling.

Our wonderful contractor heading downstairs. Note the width of these amazing boards now that the insulation board is off.


Who’s doing most of the “renovation?” The squirrels or the builder? Little hickory gifts from squirrels to us where cabinets used to be.

To keep the cottage feeling we’re considering yellow pine flooring to cover the plywood nailed over–most likely–the original yellow pine flooring. What do you think? We’re also using an old-fashioned linoleum look alike Formica on the countertops for the same reason.

Last but not least, look what was revealed when the insulation board was removed. A snippet of the original wallcovering. Wallpaper? Oil cloth? Glad I could get a photo.


  1. Dorothy Schreyer on November 16, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I love watching your prgogress. The traces of the old wallpaper is wonderful. The width of those boards boggles the mind, you can tell they are old. Thanks for sharinh.

    • Emilie Richards on November 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

      It’s more fun when it’s shared. Thanks for reading along.

  2. Patricia Minton on November 16, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I will admit I am addicted to HGTV !

  3. Pam Reed on November 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

    wonderful photos – isn’t it strange what is exposed when you renovate? Like the insulation installed backwards!It’s a wonder you didn’t freeze! Thanks for sharing – looking forward to more. And Welcome to Florida! We just got here last night. Cool today but I don’t care. I’m away from the snow in Michigan!!!

    • Emilie Richards on November 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Isnt’t it great? You only appreciate Florida winters after living in the north. I know I never understood the fuss as I was growing up here. Enjoy yourself.

  4. Lynn Ross on November 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Emilie, Ted the architect approves! He says the original was a tent, that is why the lots are so small (but you already knew that). Architect is also a history buff. Your cottage is going to be beautiful!

    • Emilie Richards on November 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

      He’s absolutely right. Then they built platforms for the tents, then houses on the original platforms. There are some of those still standing. We haven’t turned up much in the Chautauqua Archives about our house, but we did find several oil paintings done by a previous owner which we will hang with enthusiasm.

  5. nancy on November 17, 2012 at 8:58 am

    love reading and seeing your progress.
    the Chautauaqua houses are unique.

    you are correct about the winters up north (Jamestowm resident) you certainly don’t want to visit your home in January!!

    • Emilie Richards on November 17, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Particularly since even when it had walls, it didn’t have heat. Hope you head somewhere warmer for at least a bit of winter.

  6. Janet W on November 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I love HGTV and am enjoying the pics of your renovation. Please keep them coming. Thanks.

    • Emilie Richards on November 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      As the builder sends them I will. Hoping to get there in the winter if and when more progress is made. Glad you enjoy them because it’s fun to share.

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