Thursday, February 4, 2010

Remodeling Our Galveston Beach Cottage: Six Ideas to Share

Our Before (top) and After Floor Plans:

I would like to share what I think made our beach cottage renovation successful:

1. We trusted our instincts.  If there is no architectural or historic significance to or in a space, have the courage to tear down walls and remove previously added decorative items  to suit your own tastes (i.e. we removed a tin ceiling the previous owner installed in one area of the house).  If in doubt as to what to remove or do, ask an architect, a respected renovator, an architectural historian at a college, or someone from your local historic preservation alliance to come take a look, to give you feedback.

This space above was taken where the old kitchen was. Walls removed.

2. We considered the neighborhood. We took note of the surrounding houses primarily because we didn't want to overbuild or make our renovations inconsistent with the surrounding style. I think this is an important consideration should you ever want to sell the property; you want to get your money back -- or some of it anyway.

We wanted to simplify the porch is what I meant to say in that cutline above.

3. We talked to people. In determining what and how much we would do to this house, we invited a few professionals inside before we did anything. One fellow suggested that this old house might have a chimney hidden within the wall between the living and kitchen space.  We did see the top of a chimney in the attic so we were hopeful. And when it came time to tear down the wall, we instructed caution. Our reward was finding an intact original brick chimney that probably serviced an old cook stove.  We know love having that architectural feature.

As a visual reminder, this was the BEFORE to the space above:

4.  We hired professionals sensitive to what we want to accomplish. McDaniel Construction Company took the extra step to have our bungalow declared a historic property by the Galveston Historic Foundation . GHF  then submitted our application to the state of Texas.  This was a biggie, as it allowed us to re-use the 1920 wood and glass windows in the newly constructed areas of the house (see floorplan).  Otherwise, we would have had to install new windows and compromised the look we wanted.  Additionally, this declaration allows us to replace windows with old ones even now should they ever be destroyed during a hurricane.  
5.  We recycled materials. As you can see with the floorplan, we took space from a small closet to add a half bath, which connects to the renovated full bath.  We reused an old door found elsewhere in the house as a pocket door, which slides inside the wall between the half and full baths. Pocket doors are great space savers!  We took the living room windows, which looked out onto a small brick patio, and placed one in the bathroom, rebuilt for stability reasons. We installed the other two in the newly constructed master bedroom space.  We wanted carpet in the bedrooms so the McDaniel group harvested the wood flooring in the bedrooms to install in the kitchen space, front door entry and new utility area, which previously had Linoleum floors.  We also reused the red brick pavers on the back patio where we had our new bedroom space constructed.  We had someone carve out a front walkway using the recycled brick.  When it came time to landscape, we had to remove some of the foliage (it was so overgrown), but we replanted much in more suitable areas. 
This is newly constructed space. The white doors here open to a small utility space. The front space is where our fridge now sits. Here's the Before space from a sightly different angle:

6. We maximized space. We wanted to achieve a smart use of space.  That's part of the reason we decided to open it all up. But we looked for storage opportunities, too. Like here (Before is below) :

I'll show more of what we did in my next post. Hope what I share here is useful to you or friends who want to do some remodeling or renovations.  See you soon. 

8 Responses to “Remodeling Our Galveston Beach Cottage: Six Ideas to Share”

Maria Killam said...

You are doing it all right! Thanks for sharing your process!

Janine Marshall said...

Hi Susan,
Again am dragging my feet in leaving comments. The other day I was only thinking about how when you really think and visualise something you would like done, a lot of tradesmen will try and talk you out of it. With nearly everything we have wanted to do we have thankfully stuck to our guns and the things we didn't, it's easy to feel disappointed about. I'm digressing a little here (sorry) that you mentioned in your post and I think you had some really good pointers for when you are going to do a renovation and how to approach it. I love the window seat Susan, it will give the room a little architectural punch and let's face it, won't it be great to sit there with a great book and chill out. Can't wait to see more pictures and I love that you have shown us the floor plans before and after. Always so interesting when changing the floor plans, small changes can make such a big difference. Are you inspired by Joni's post of dhurrie rugs, have you got them tucked away in a cupboard waiting for the day that the renovations are done!!!!! Come now Susan you can tell us, don't be shy!!! Anyway, will call in again soon as I'd better go. The kids head back to school Tuesday to start the new year and I've got to cover an enormous amount of books and clean the kitchen.
Take care
Tasmania, Australia

上課 said...


Anonymous said...

nice, i just made tons of some other new emo backgrounds to my blog

Great tips, Susan. Thinking and planning is everything. At least that's what I tell my husband every time he just wants to bash away at something and thinks I'm "wasting time" considering all the options. Oh, okay, so I CAN get caught up in the details and procrastinate forever. I guess that makes us a good team!
Love your window seat storage and that you added a sitting room adjacent to the master. Can't wait to see more as you progress.

brian said...

Love the colors Susan! Can't wait to see more.

Anonymous said...


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