15 October 2012

TLC Butterfly Bungalow Restoration

Sweet Cottage Remod

It was a mess.  A lot of features were gone, but we saved what we could, fixed what we could, and updated and remodeled where necessary.
In May we started working on this tired, neglected cottage.  It was all brown.  The slight green is weed abatement.

For the first project we replaced the rusted porch irons to prevent the porch roof from falling down.
After observing how the handyman did it, we realized it was a simple enough project that we could of done.  (My spouse's father was a carpenter, and he worked with him when he was a kid.)

The next project was the door.  In the before photo, one can see its classic appeal, not fully appreciated. 

That's a hole in the door, and it says "mail here", and the number is penciled on the door.
The post office would not deliver to us, so we bought a new mailbox, new numbers, and a new handset in brushed stainless and then had the handyman, that put the porch post up, replace the door.
This was hard; we could not do it ourselves.  He was a professional.

We planted two trees: a sisso, a type of shade tree, and a tangelo.  

Next we painted the house "Rain" from Sherwin Williams with the whitest white that they sell for trim.  But we bought multiple swatches of colors in five dollar jugs to try before making the decision.

Then we had Home Depot replace the left window because it was sealed shut and beyond salvage.

My husband built the new carport gate.

We refinished the left side gate by spraying painting the iron silver and painting the wood with the white exterior paint.

We painted the underneath of the porch's roof.
We painted the porch floor with a concrete paint from Sherwin Williams.

We stained the walkway and driveway with a gray Quikrete from Lowes.

For the frontyard, I selected the plants and designed what I wanted, since gardening was a hobby of mine.  I had not done a project like this before, but after supervising five landscape projects over the years, I knew I could.  All the plants are drought tolerant and take full sun.  The fountain grass is "rubrum" with a pretty purple and green foliage, and it's a perennial here; believe it or not, they were all the same size pots to begin with, but eventually it will even out.  I staggered them.  When this kind of grass moves in the wind it looks cool.  Not "kool", but cool; it's HOT here.  On the left in front of the window is a flower garden.  I planted a bouganvilla to train around the agave stump.

We measured the yard and then ordered the medium size river rock.
After the delivery, for two days, my spouse shoveled, and I brushed, because the rock would not move with a rake. Next we washed the rock, because it was full of dirt.

My husband and neighbor took down the dead mulberry tree, saving us four hundred dollars.

My eleven-year old spotted two wooden adirondack chairs on Garbage Bulk Day to go with her little adirondack chair.  She begged my spouse to bring them home.  He reluctantly did.  They were rotted, but he rebuilt them, and now he is happy that he listened to his daughter. 
(I covered that in another post.)

We put up an American flag.

Carport Gate
My spouse built the carport gate.  I couldn't find the handles I wanted in brushed nickel or stainless, so because the gate is in a protected are I bought cabinet pulls.  It should work great, because cabinet pulls last for years. 

We painted the frame silver and the slates white.
Side Gate 

My spouse rebuilt these.

The butterflies are happy.  
Psalm 119:50  "This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life."


  1. I love the colour you painted your house - the blue is such a fresh and happy colour, and looks great with the crisp white trim. The ornamental grasses are really pretty, and combining them with river rock is a great way to dress up your lawn without having the maintenance of regular green grass. Nice work!

    1. Thank you, Kelly, that's exactly why I selected that color! It looked "happy"!

      The house is 70 years old and when I was researching I discovered that the original color was a minty green. Mean while, another person fixed their cottage and painted it French pink with white trim, and it looked adorable. So I was inspired. Now, I hear how adorable mine is.

  2. Your home looks amazing! Why didn't I think of just cutting a hole in my door and writing Mail on it? :)

    1. Thank you, DeeAnna. Yes, why not? I couldn't figure out what the small rectangle hole was for. A key drop??? Bizarre.

      An elderly neighbor told me that she took the elderly lady who owned this house, before the last owner, to lunch and they drove by to show her how we are fixing it up, and it made her happy.

  3. There is so much to be proud of here! I love seeing the before and after. I'm not sure that my spouse and I would have the patience to tackle a big home improvement project like this, but this certainly inspires me. Your house looks so cute now.

    1. Thank you, Dawn. We just keep plugging away, but it is worth it, and I think I like it better than the former big, beautiful home with pool and guest house in CC.

      This house is more me. And even though I had to part with some furniture, but not too much, my country French and Swedish furniture looks better in this home.

      We are happy here.

  4. You certainly have done a ton of work on your cottage, and it looks great. Your garden will be so nice when it grows in, not too much upkeep. Thank you for visiting the Cottage and leaving such nice comments. I appreciate hearing from you..Happy Monday..Judy

    1. Thank you, Judy. It is a lot of work, but it is rewarding.

      I can't wait for it to grow in!

  5. Doesn't it just make you feel good to add that flag. It tells a lot about those who live inside.
    Such a beautiful home and quite and accomplishment!

    1. Thank you, Pedaling. It means a lot. I'm verklempt.

  6. This is stunning! It doesn't even look like the same house. Love the blue and white.

    Thanks for visiting my little blog project and following along.

    1. Thank you, Heather. We just kept plugging away, until I got it looking how I imagined when I first saw it.

  7. Oh, my - amazing! What a transformation. It seems so simple when you post the photos but, in reality, it's months and months of very hard work. Congratulations on a job well done. Would you allow me to feature the photos in a Before & After post on my blog? -- Jan

  8. What a beautiful transformation!


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