WNY Handyman

Cottage Before and After Projects

We have been working on our cottage project for just about 10 months now. In fact, it was father’s day weekend last year when we first looked at the listing and went under contract.  Over the course of the past year, we have completed (or started) many projects.

We may have been at work on this for 10 months, but please understand that these are ‘cottage’ months.  This is a seasonal place and the winter months were off limits (Late October through March).  In addition to that, much of our time is spent scouring the beach for glass and rocks along with canoeing, campfires, various outings, and general chat with our neighbors and visits from friends.   Given that schedule, this project should be completed (or ready for another renovation) in about 5 years time.  I think I will understand what bridge painters go through at that point.  Finished?  Go back to the other side and start over!

In the spring of this year, we went off of our well water and tied into the new public water line.   Since I knew that would be the case, I decided to force my plumbing hand and cut out the old galvanized lines rather than winterizing those lines.  A galvanized line that had well water running through it for the past 70 years probably wasn’t my wife’s idea of a line that was suitable for sanitary drinking water.

During my plumbing work, I discovered the cause of a smell coming from the bathroom.  It wasn’t a horrible smell, but certainly not pleasant, and I assumed it was the well water stench.  Turns out, it was worse than I though (methane is deadly, after all).  There was no trap in our shower drain line!  This allow the sewer gas (from our septic) to head right back into the cottage.  The bath is adjacent to the kitchen so the situation was not ideal.  I assumed this smell was due to the well water, when in fact, it was the sewer gas.  Good news. New shower + new p-trap = no more smell!

Back in the day (1940’s) things were built well.   They might not have sized some things properly (headers and such), but the structures themselves were so stitched together, that demo isn’t simple (it shouldn’t be).  I have heard people ask how you can have a window in a load bearing wall without a header. Look at the structure.  Tongue and groove sheathing (1″) that had 4 nails in each 1″ x 6″, along with true 2″ lumber, and 5/4 window jambs and you will see why things held together.

Since people love to see before and after renovation photos, I have included a few of ours below.  I would call most of these before and during rather than after since things are still a work in progress.  When the kitchen is completed, I’ll add that post to the mix.

Here are some in-progress photos of our little cottage.

The cottage kitchen is coming along quite nicely.  We built our own cabinets and then decided to use a Wagner power sprayer to give them a finish that was nicer than a “brushed” finish.  Here is a shot of the current kitchen state.  New floor, new wall covering, new cabinets, new butcher block counter (just set in place).  More to come on the cottage kitchen.


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