Remodeling a 1905 Cottage – 3 Guidelines for Updating the Past

This past month on Tatertots and Jello I unveiled a project I’ve been working on for close to a year. It’s dear to my heart: it’s a top to bottom remodel of a house originally built in 1905.


I’ve been amazed at how much positive response there has been to this major project. So many people are interested in making the most of an older home or of small spaces — both things I’ve been working on for the last year!

As I’ve worked on this project, I’ve set three guidelines to help me make decisions. See what you think of these guides — and add your own after the break!

1. Respect the past but don’t be a slave to it.  For example, if a window exists where a door should instead, go ahead and move it.

2. It’s okay to un-renovate. Where someone through the years has made “improvements,” you can remove those changes to show more of the house’s original history. For example, in my cottage one owner over the years dropped the beautiful 10-foot ceilings down to about 7 feet in a couple of rooms. As you might imagine, I un-renovated that “improvement” first thing.

3. Roll with the unexpected. In this complete renovation, we discovered a cinderblock chimney in the middle of the house that could not be moved — and that goofed up our kitchen cabinet plans (and was ugly). We had to adapt our original plans and incorporate it into the room’s design. And, as every renovation does, we had to deal with some unexpected surprises like a collapsed sewer line!

For more on my remodel, you can visit this page, updated as I post new project updates!

Have you done a major remodel of an older home? What are your guidelines for a remodel?

Let us know YOUR ideas in the comments!


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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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