Monday, August 13, 2012

The Cottage at Belle Hill

I always wanted a dollhouse when I was a little girl, and the Cottage at Belle Hill has become like a life-sized version of that dream dollhouse. Originally this little cottage was the slave quarters/kitchen for the main house and had been moved (as we’ve discovered) twice in its 200-year history on the property to this spot where it sits now.

Twenty-four years ago it had deteriorated to not much more than a shed. Then it underwent its first renovation, which included the addition of electricity, plumbing, a little kitchen in the corner, and the old ladder to the loft was replaced with actual stairs. It still only had two rooms and the loft, but it was quite functional at the time as a little Guesthouse.

By 2010 it was looking a bit worse for wear, so we decided to fix it up again and this time add an addition. This is how it looked at the beginning of the second renovation.

So we drew up the plans, framed in and roofed the new room….

And took out the back wall on what was the kitchen side of the house.

The entire renovation was a tremendous amount of work, but it was also a lot of fun. Especially after the construction part was finished and it was time to start painting the dollhouse. I admit I did get a bit carried away with the colors, but I was inspired by this funky little place we’d stayed in a few years earlier in Queenscliff Australia. The trick was to incorporate that funky look into a little country cottage. I ended up sitting on an upside down bucket for days in the empty house with seemingly hundreds of paint chips trying to make up my mind. When I’d finally made my choices I wasn’t at all sure how crazy it would look when I was done, but decided the only way to find out was just to do it and see.

What was once the old kitchen….

Became the new sitting room….

The old sitting room became the new bedroom…

The old bathroom was extended to include a laundry room…

And the new kitchen was born…

The stairs to the loft were redone as well, and some repairs were done in the loft around the old chimney which included removing an old stove pipe that use to lead up from the woodstove in the old kitchen…


I think it came out quite well in the end, even if it did end up a bit funkier than I thought it would be. But funky or not it’s quite a cozy little place for family and friends to stay when they come visiting. And it was really a fun project.

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