Taking the trip down memory lane through the real estate listing photos of Idlewild Cottage before we got our mitts on it was both shocking and satisfying. Shocking because, well, just look at the pics. However it was satisfying because as I posted those pictures, I can see a much different home already…even if nothing is really yet done to it. Just the cleaning out makes it so. much. better.

Nothing like the smell of old, urine-soaked carpet.

Compared to:

Yes, unfortunately the trees had to go. I know, I was upset too. However, the big one in front of the house had to be removed because of the new second story we are putting on, and the ones close to the detached garage were leaning precariously over the structure, were infested with bugs, and had some type of fungus. The trees over the garage are also the reason we got to this project early:

Close up, you can see the moss and whatnot growing on the roof. The other side was worse, and had a few holes and rotted parts that we had to address.

You can’t see it here, but underneath that snow is a nice, tight new roof with architectural shingles that will last a lifetime. Now to just take care of the siding, the windows, the doors, etc… #wompwomp

With the super 70’s carpet torn out, the inside is so much better.

Patio looking toward the front of the house.

Living room, from front door/hallway area.

However, as you can see…no hardwood floors. We had assumed that the hardwood floors we saw in the bedrooms ran throughout the house, especially as the home was built in the 1950s. No such luck. That is a $10K addition that we weren’t planning on…but carpet doesn’t work for our lifestyle with two young kids, three dogs, a cat, and a mommy afflicted with a ton of environmental allergies. Worse, where there wasn’t originally carpet, they had asbestos tile that we needed removed, stat.

Hallway with asbestos tile!

Even when we did have hardwood floors, there was damage.

Underneath that lovely red carpeting is more asbestos tile…along with all the closets. Grrrr.

The laundry room again, clear of all items.

The kitchen, looking toward the patio door.

My spray painting on the kitchen walls to know which ones to take out. 🙂

I ended up removing the asbestos tile myself after getting the necessary safety gear. For about $100 in gear and a little sweat equity you can save thousands in the labor of removing asbestos. Slowly we took the walls down, one by one. Followed by the demo of the bathroom, then the ceilings…but that is for another post. This one is already too long! Suffice it to say we’ve just been a wee bit busy around here. 😉


Emily Behnke

Formerly a high level professional in a scientific organization, Ms. Behnke now owns and operates an organization and design company focused on living well in small spaces.

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