Our Cottage – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hi everyone!

Today we’re sharing our plans for our “new old house”, the 1940s cottage that came with our property.

Although we essentially attributed no value to the house when we purchased the property, given the age of the house we wanted a thorough inspection done to make sure we knew about anything that might be hazardous to our little kids and new baby when we eventually move in.

Unfortunately, we discovered this house has the trifecta – lead-based paint, asbestos, and mold.

The cottage is tiny, measuring about 1200 square feet total. It’s currently a three bedroom two bathroom, with a large living area off the back that was added on more recently.

When we received our inspection report, unsurprisingly the house failed every aspect. The fascia on the exterior of the house, as well as the large well-house behind the cottage, was loaded with lead-based paint. The “master bath” which is barely the size of an RV bathroom is full of mold (fortunately an Aspergillus species and not black mold). The rest of the house is chock-full of asbestos, from the mastic holding down the floor to the texture on the walls, to the tiles on the kitchen ceiling. Asbestos typically isn’t an issue if you encapsulate and don’t disturb it, but with our plans to do some remodeling, we were concerned that the asbestos would become aerosolized and be unsafe for us and the children.

The house also has some serious foundation issues. The front portion of the house is pier and beam, with the addition being on a slab. As you walk through, you can tell there are lots of soft and uneven spots that will require an assessment and repair from a foundation company.

Originally we had planned to do most of the work on the cottage ourselves, as this will eventually be a tenant house and we didn’t want to spend a ton of money on it. But with the new baby arriving any day, the amount of work we have remaining on other projects, and the presence of the lead, mold, and asbestos, we decided to have the house professionally demoed.

Our initial plan is to have all of the interior drywall removed, including the ceilings, and the flooring removed down to the subfloor. Once we can see the framing we will be able to decide how we might be able to move walls, as ideally we would add a fourth bathroom and expand the master bath to make it more functional. We’d also like to open up the hallway to the kitchen to give the illusion of things being a little more open.

Once we are down to the studs, we will have the foundation people out to work on the pier and beam portion of the house, which we’re hoping doesn’t require too extensive of a repair.

We’re also having the demo crew remove all of the exterior siding, as well as tearing down the well house which was also covered in lead paint, and the covered side porch which is structurally unsound.

Check out the photos below to see what we’re starting with, and we’ll be back soon with another update.

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