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.
Turning to the right we see this,
Continuing to turn around the room 180 degrees we see the front door,
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.
That old vent pipe needs to go,
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,
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.
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.
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.
Tons of great windows which we intended to keep,
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.
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,
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.