As I sit here and look at the before photos i question why I ever undertook this project, but you will see in my following post that it was all worth it. This part of the house that has two bedrooms and a bathroom and a very large hallway space is in the original 1830’s structure. It is all post and beam with peg construction. This I first discovered when I looked at the house but I didn’t know just how beautiful it was until I got the keys and started ripping some layers off. The first was the living room ceiling which was amazing to unearth, basically on the first day I got into the house. So as I was starting to look at replacing the roof I explored more in the attic spaces and discovered how amazing the roof structure is. So the idea was to add insulation above the rafters and expose all these beams. That said if you refer to insulation code it has recently increased to get an even greater R value so I need to also insulate within the beams as well. The key is to create a super tight roof structure that stops air escaping and thus causing moisture build up as warm air moves to cold, and condenses.
The new roof itself uses a product from Hunter and is the cool vent poly iso boards. This builds up the roof, in my case about 5″and has built in ventilation to keep the roof shingles themselves cool and allows for any hot air to vent out. Along with that i have invested in two laters of insulation that go in-between the beams to get a total R value of R45 and the walls will be R13 with the dormers being R24. I have to say, having now finished the roof, the difference is astounding. Feel free to reach out with any questions on the products I used. I engineered this internal insulation so that i could still reveal the pegs used to construct the house and also do an aged plaster finish so that it emulates the old plaster that was once there. Needless to say this plaster effect is a real time drain but I think worth it.
The first time i knew there was something more to the house than meets the eye. Already I knew it was special with those floors, I later found out that someone wanted to put it and pull it down just for the floors.
This was what was my bedroom when i first moved in, all these funny little nooks. Odd doors here and there and a giant closet that i think was used a sleeping nook at one point.
This was my bedroom after my first reno, which involved simply removing some of the little wall that made a closet and painting. This is the picture that mid way through demo, I found myself asking why! It was perfectly fine before.
This is the hallway space with the day bed, that again was a perfectly lovely space but really was not used for anything. This space now creates the fourth bedroom and has actually tuned out to be a much bigger room that what was previously the fourth bedroom.
Here I’m starting to clear out the room, you can see how low the ceiling is. I think my main concern was that it was so cute and cozy before, and i didn’t want to ruin that by loosing what make the space special. This is really the process through out the house. When renovating an old space its really important to study what make a place feel authentic and unique. The cottage already had some much character I didn’t want to loose that. In any old building its a million little things that give it personality. Be it the wonky floor, or a crack here, and low door there, it i so incredibly important to understand these quirks and preserve them. I always try to balance this with a touch of modern but my guiding principal will always be what would the house have been built like and what techniques would have been used. I like to see the role as a caretaker and really don’t like to see an old place totally gutted and then just acres of perfect dry wall with cornice and door frames that don’t relate to the place at all.
This is the tiny bedroom that was next to my bedroom. Perfectly cozy as a guest room but as i continued to think about the space it just made more sense to open it up into my room.This way you get to really appreciate the beam structure by using the full height and seeing it all at.
This is the beautiful pegged construction, and that terrible chimney that was removed. Trust me when I say it was shockingly simple to knock those bricks apart. The worst was the mouse poop that felt like it had accumulated over centuries, all 3 ft of it. Its really a miracle that this place had’t burnt down with all the little pot belied stoves that had been used and metal chimney flues going into this one tiny chimney
Amazing old cut iron nails that are all over the original construction. This is the pop out dormer sections which for the 3 years i have lived at the cottage, their hasn’t been any insulation in those walls. Which is kinda amazing how warm it has been upstairs. It feels great to be getting new insulation in here. All the windows are original and i love the wavy old glass that is in there. I will never replace them as they are too special, they do need some love and attention, a little wood filler and paint. But it nice to know the walls are now properly insulated
This was the point when i stated to not sleep. What had i done? I was very concerned I had destroyed my house. I guess ones blind optimism is the only reason you go on with these kind of projects. All through the process though its really amazing to see the wood that was used, the width of the planks on the sheathing on the outside is amazing.
Finally getting to tidy up a little. Do not underestimate how messy or how much work this is. I did and I think its the only way i did it! Thank goodness i have a good day labourer who helped out on demo and removal along with drywalling. I would give someone my kidneys to do drywalling, I really hate it. So messy and time consuming along with really needing to have more than one person to help with it
Finally this felt like some progress was happening. Layers of insulation going in and tightening up the structure. This was also the time when I found out I had lyme disease so it all made sense why it was feeling a little overwhelming and exhausting. Non the less it really did start to turn a corner from here on out.
Then this happened. When the dry wall went up and the final layer of fire rated insulation i started to breath a sigh of relief. I could see how magical the space was going to be. My fears of destroying a cozy bedroom were gone as this lofty and still intimate space started to come to life.
The dormer windows all insulated and taped and foam sealed. This i have to say is a was a satisfying job to do. Also it was great to start seeing that extra heigh in the window bay.