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Grout Cottage

Grout Cottage: Apt. A Living Room & Bedroom

Grout AptA Day 2 Head

Grout Cottage Apartment A Living Room

Apartment A is the downstairs apartment of the historic Grout Cottage. It is a two bedroom apartment with an eat-in kitchen, one bathroom and a laundry/mudroom combination. In addition to the interior transformation, we also added a deck on the back of the house for the residents of Apartment A to hang out on and enjoy.

In the beginning, Apartment A had a pretty odd layout. The apartment had two entrances from the front porch, one that entered the bedroom and the other that entered into a living room. Originally, if you wanted to go to the kitchen and you were hanging out in the living room you had to walk through a bedroom to get there. Obviously one of the first orders of business was to re-work the layout of the apartment.

This is the future living room originally functioning as a bedroom with a small existing closet, a free-standing closet that was added, an odd little storage space behind those two little doors up high and a lovely drop ceiling. Most of the house was filled with dirty, worn wainscoting.

Grout LR before3

 

Turning to the right we see this,

 

Grout LR Before

 

Continuing to turn around the room 180 degrees we see the front door,

Grout LR Before2

 

Here we are after all of the demolition is done. The closets are gone and we’re down to the studs now but haven’t taken the original beadboard ceilings down yet.

grout LR during

That old vent pipe needs to go,

 

grout LR during2

We eliminated those closets, walled over doors and tore everything apart except for the floor and then after several months our finished living room emerges,

Our new front door is a custom door made of solid alder with obscured glass and I love the additional light it allowed in to the room,

Apt A Living Room Entry Compare

We kept things relatively simple with window treatments, hardware and light fixtures because this is a rental property. Although they can be pretty much void of any style, it’s good to have a ceiling fan in the humid and hot summer in NC. If this were a renovation to sell or my own house I would definitely choose different fixtures and finishes.

 

Apt A Living Room to Kitchen Entry

 

 

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The original 119-year old heart pine floors were salvaged. We made the necessary repairs with some reclaimed heart pine and then had them refinished and topped with a clear polyurethane.I decided to use the usual wider trim and baseboard with the crown molding on top but this time opted not to install the blocks at the bottom of each door frame. I see the simpler approach to trim in new or renovated farmhouses.

Apt A Living Rm Trim Detail copy

 

And that’s our living room in Apartment A.

Let’s move on in to Bedroom One in Apartment A. Bedroom One is the largest of the two bedrooms with a ton of windows letting in a bunch of great light.

When we began Bedroom One was functioning as the living room. It had a drop ceiling like the rest of the house, ugly light fixtures (always come with the deal), no closet and three doors.

Apt A Bedroom 1 Before 3 copy

Tons of great windows which we intended to keep,

Apt A Bedroom 1 Before (2)

We removed three chimneys from this house and one of those chimneys was in this bedroom. The carpentry crew removed the chimneys all while someone was still renting the apartment above. Although it is absolutely possible to renovate half of a duplex and remove three chimneys while someone lives in the other half, if I were doing it all again I would’ve asked the upstairs tenant to vacate at the start.

Apt A Bedroom 1 Progress

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We got that chimney out, closed in the extra front entrance and started over with everything else and this is how Bedroom One turned out,

Apt A Bedroom 1 windows After

We borrowed our closet space for this room in part from the closet cavity in what used to be the living room and from the the 2nd bedroom.

Apt A Bedroom 1 closet After

Apt A Bedroom 1 hook

Apt A Bedroom 1 door after

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Grout Cottage: Exterior Reveal

Grout Queen of Hearts top

Grout AptA Day 1 HeadThe Grout Cottage was built in 1895 for the Grout Family, who actually utilized it as their guest house. C.B. Grout and family used the early resort cottage for their guests in the early part of the 20th century. The house was converted to apartments some time in the 1930s.

The earliest photograph that the Moore County Historical Association has of the Grout Cottage looks like its from the 1960s, so we can’t see it in the early 1900s to determine what parts were original and what was patched over time but we have a pretty good idea that those clipped gables, sunburst motif and paneled cornices are original.

We bought this “fixer upper” in the fall of 2012 and before Christmas of 2012 we had started demolition. When we bought the Grout Cottage it was a duplex with two apartments, with an old dilapidated carriage house in the rear, an overgrown yard and two tenants living upstairs. Today, it is still a duplex but everything else changed.

The total renovation took a little more than nine months. The finished product is a unique rental space with modern interior amenities and an exterior that stays true to the Queen Anne architectural style without some of the fuss. We think it folds comfortably in to the landscape of the small quaint town it stands in.

The Grout Cottage now stands between a bunch of new narrow houses that resemble free-standing row houses. Some members of my family were a little concerned that the Grout Cottage would look out of place even though it was the native in the neighborhood. I wasn’t concerned, if you stand there for 119 years, neglected and most recently existing in the middle of a construction zone you deserve some time to shine and I think that’s what happened.

A lot of time, careful choices and consideration went in to every detail of this renovation. I’ll let the images tell the story.

Grout Exterior Before & After

Working in the spring on straightening those clipped gables out, before we got scaffolding,

Grout exterior ladders_optRight side of the front porch,

 

Grout exterior porch side before_opt

 

Grout right front porch

 

Grout exterior front entry before_opt

 

Grout front entry

Straightened out those dog-eared gables,

Grout exterior gable front before2_opt

 

Grout front gable after

 

Grout exteropr 2nd floor before_opt

 

Grout top right gable

 

Grout exterior brackets before_opt

 

Grout Exterior porch bracket after_opt

 

Grout exterior light_opt

 

Grout Exterior porch closeup_opt

Crusty brackets and railing before,

Grout exterior front porch columns before

 

Grout exterior columns & brackets after

 

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So tell me was it worth the wait?

Sources: Light fixtures, porch brackets, porch railing, front door, house numbers

 

 

 

 

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Grout Cottage: Exterior Lighting Choice

So we’ve checked out the field of choices for the exterior wall light for the front porch of the Grout Cottage. And this is the choice,

grout lightI chose the Masonic lantern because I needed a hanging fixture with a lantern style. I liked the simplicity of the hook and loop and the curve of the framing detail around the seeded glass. I am pleased with the scale and the end result, see for yourself.

Here it is in action on the front porch of the house,

Grout porch light

grout porch light2

 I know the house looks finished in the photo and I haven’t shown you the complete renovation but it’s coming I promise. Can you tell what paint color it is?

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Grout Cottage: Exterior Paint Selection

Leaving dirty yellow, Pepto pink, white and a battleship gray foundation would be no trouble at all.

Grout front

From previous experience I know how painstaking the process of choosing an exterior paint color can be and I didn’t want to be rushed or procrastinate. I’ll sheepishly remind you all that I once had a house painted three times. In order to get ahead and never make that mistake again, I let samples stay up for something like two months at the Grout Cottage.

grout paint sample side2In gathering inspiration at the start of the project on the Grout Cottage pinboard, I pinned a few color combinations on Queen Anne style homes. For a hot minute, I kicked around maybe stepping away from the blues, greens & grays and doing some sort of terra cotta combo. Ultimately, I couldn’t depart from what I love so much so I decided that I would do something in the blue/gray family.

There were a few Benjamin Moore colors I have been curious about and wanted to try including:

1– Woodlawn Blue 2– Hollingsworth Green 3– Stratton Blue 4– Wythe Blue

grout paint sideI narrowed it to Woodlawn & Wythe fairly easily. After viewing them at different times of the day, I found that the intense sun washed Woodlawn Blue out significantly at certain times of the day.

So I chose Wythe Blue.

paint wythe blue

And then the rest of the players fell into place after that.

The Grout Cottage Exterior Paint Colors The Estate of Things

 

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Grout Cottage: Bye Bye Carriage House

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

grout carriage house

I know I said that we were going to keep the old carriage house but after taking a serious look at it in the back yard of the Grout Cottage, we decided that it would cost too much to save it. We wouldn’t really be able to recoup the cost to basically rebuild the dilapidated carriage house so last week it came down.

My Dad skillfully demolished it with the backhoe. Here’s a snippet of the action,

well that was fun if you like watching buildings being demolished…and then after a few hours work it was reduced to this,

Grout shed demoNice view of the neighbor’s pool now. They’ve got to love us after rehabbing this dump and they’ll love us even more after we plant some barrier trees.

 

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