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






So tell me was it worth the wait?

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





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  • Wow — you eliminated everything that gave the cottage historic flavor and replaced it with inferior modern imitations. “Fuss” is what Queen Anne is all about. Give me the Before version.

    • A lot of the “fuss” was ugly, neglected and grossly deteriorated. Not all of the porch columns were original, some had been replaced & were mismatched. The porch brackets were also not all original and some that were had been glued back together and frankly I didn’t like their shape. The sawtooth trim, all the fascia and soffets were rotten. So over time I did a lot of research, I consulted Virginia Savage’s Field Guide to American Houses and some other books, hundreds of images of restored Victorian’s on the internet and purchased new brackets that were historically consistent with the time period, modeled after originals. The original German lap siding still exists and was repaired. What was original on the interior was LONG gone, stripped out many years ago and replaced with different stuff in various decades. The heart pine hardwood floors remained and they were refinished. What I replaced it with is in no way inferior, what exists now is in fact superior. The house would’ve been torn down, it’s surrounded by new row houses with vinyl siding. I did give you the Before version. You’re entitled to your opinion of course but it’s pretty much….wrong.

      • Perhaps folks that may consider themselves purists might feel upon a surface approach that a Victorian/Queen Anne is best when it’s presented in full gingerbread flourish. I think that what you ended up with here is very starkly different from that expectation.

        I followed along from the beginning, and I can certainly appreciate the direction that you took with the updates. There is so much more that goes into the decision making process as you fight to preserve this important piece of architecture in your community, things that we don’t and can’t understand without going through the journey you’ve just completed!

        I’m so proud of the work you’ve done and I think the entire town is better off by getting to keep this wonderful piece of their history on the map, instead of having it replaced with another vinyl/brick new construction!

  • I LOVE WHAT YOU DID, IT IS FABULOUS!!! Just found your blog and look forward to more!!!!! I think your great!!!

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