White Mountain Cottage: Before Tour

Last week in our announcement post we shared that we recently purchased a home in Gatlinburg,TN that we intend to update and use as a vacation rental. This week we want to share a full before tour and the details of our renovation plan.

We visited the house the weekend after we closed and spent some time clearing out the house, taking photos and making plans. One thing I regret not doing when we renovated our kitchen and bathroom is making sure to thoroughly document the process, so I’ve promised myself to stay on top of it this time around.

I put together this short video so you can come along for the Before Tour:

Now let’s break the renovation plans down room by room, starting with the exterior:

One of the things that sold us on this house, other than location, was the charming curb appeal. I just love that the stone chimney is the focal point from the road.

The exterior paint is fairly new so even though they are not the colors I would choose they may have to stick around for a while. But at some point in the future, we plan to update the exterior with some light gray paint and new white trim.

The front door hasn’t been used in a while and the bushes have taken over. We plan to clear out the overgrowth, paint the door and add some new lighting and accessories to create a welcoming entry for our guests.

The house has plenty of outdoor space in the form of deck(s). The main deck, accessible from the road and through the French doors in the living room, is the main gathering space. After a good pressure washing, the deck will be updated with stain to give it a fresh, new look. We’ll add a table and chairs for plenty of seating and a few accessories will finish it off.

The second lower level deck is accessible from stairs off the larger upper deck. We’ll stain this deck to match the other areas. Add some chairs and small tables and create a quiet area overlooking the wooded valley out back.

We were pleased to find out that the roof and HVAC system are both fairly new (breathe a sigh of relief). But there’s a good chance we’ll need to replace the water heater.  We also need to add a vapor barrier in the crawl space (where the laundry is located).

We’re not planning to do much down there but we do want to add some storage and if there’s enough room in the budget we’d like to add a partition around the laundry area to separate it from the rest of the crawlspace. But that is enough of the basement, lets head inside.

When you walk in the front door the stairs to the second floor are straight ahead and the main living area is to your right. Let’s start with the living room:

It’s a decent sized room for this size house but the corner fireplace and angled ceilings will make furniture layout a little tricky. Our goal is to make the space inviting and cozy while still seeming open and airy. We’ll have one couch facing the fireplace and possibly two smaller chairs for additional seating.

We have something fun in store for the stone fireplace that I can’t wait to share with you next week. I don’t want to give too much away but we’re planning to lighten it up and then just clean up the existing wood mantel.

Here’s the view looking back from the fireplace towards the front door. You can see the stairs going to the loft and a sliver of the kitchen. I’d love to do something with the space under the stairs but need a little more time in the house to decide what would be most useful. Right now I’m leaning towards a row of cabinets for extra storage.

The main living area is very open which is a nice feature in a small house. There’s beautiful barn wood plank flooring throughout the entire space and in the hallways. Unfortunately, they’re pretty scratched up so we’ll need to refinish them.

Behind the living room in the dining area:

Not much needs to be done here just a new light fixture to go above the dining table.

By now you may have noticed the not so beautiful 1970’s paneling on the walls. Unfortunately, there’s not enough room in the budget to have it replaced with drywall but we will be painting it, white of course, to lighten it up.

Next to the dining room is the kitchen:

It’s a small galley kitchen so our goal is to maximize space and style. The peninsula is narrow and an awkward height so it doesn’t offer any real work space. We pretty quickly dismissed the idea of painting the existing cabinets and decided that the best thing would be to gut the kitchen and start over.

We need all new appliances and with the new cabinets we’ll have the flexibility to add a dishwasher.

We’ll also make the peninsula a full 30-36 inches deep which will allow us to have stools on the dining room side for extra seating.

For such a small kitchen our plans are big and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. To the left of the kitchen is the hallway that leads to the full bathroom and two bedrooms:

First, the bathroom. It will get an update but our budget is tight so we’ll have to get creative here, reuse what we can and spend our money wisely to make the most impact.

The main goal will be to lighten it up.

Further down the hallway are two small bedrooms. Straight ahead is the smallest of all three bedrooms.

Just like the main living area we’ll paint the paneling white, refinish the floors, replace the fan and update the doors and trim.

After that it’s just furniture, bedding and décor.

The second bedroom is a little larger. Same plans: paint, floors, fan, doors and trim.

That wraps up the first floor so let’s head upstairs, shall we?

At the top of the stairs is a small loft space.

We plan add a chair and small table to create a quite seating area.

Off the loft is the half bathroom:

Again, this will be a low budget update mainly just to add some style. The tile floors are in good shape but are pretty blah. Once we have a better idea of what the painting and floors will cost I’ll figure out what can and can’t be done in the bathrooms. Either way we’ll be replacing the vanity and getting new light fixtures.

Then just down the hall is the final and third bedroom:

It’s quirky but I’m a little obsessed with it. Like the other bedrooms we’ll lighten it up with paint, get new carpet, new lighting, and refresh the doors and trim.

This room also has a private balcony which makes me love it even more.

That wraps up the tour of the house. Can you picture it? Are you able to see why we took the leap and bought this place? It might be hard to imagine now but we’ll get there, I promise!

Friends often ask how we come up with ideas & how we get started with renovations. Honestly? Something usually just clicks and I can feel it when I walk into a space – what it’s supposed to look like beyond its current condition. This house was no exception and that’s how I know we were meant for each other. But a lot of it comes down to numbers too – the value has to be there to make the work and investment worth it.

This is our third house and most of the work we’ve done has been cosmetic. We’re big DIYers and do our best to get the look we want for less. We usually start with what we want the final product to look like and then work backwards to get the best, most cost effective way to get there. We make a plan and do our best to stick to a budget. When we’re not working at the cottage on the weekends we’ll be busy shopping around online, at thrift stores, and our favorite discount stores to get the best prices possible on everything from door knobs to appliances.

The only difference between this project and the work we’ve done on our own homes is that the time table is tight and we’ll have to do everything in a shorter period of time. That means organization is imperative and I’ll probably have to let some of my perfectionism go (eeek!). But like we said in the announcement post, this is more than just an investment for us it’s a stepping stone for bigger things and we’re looking at it as a learning experience.

Alright, it’s time for us to get to work. Next week we’ll share our first DIY project and some updates on our progress through out the house.  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@thedutchfarmhouse) & Facebook for more behind the scenes updates and adventures. And please leave any questions/comments below, I love hearing from y’all!

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2 thoughts on “White Mountain Cottage: Before Tour

  1. I love it! The setting seems quaint and quiet. I know that you will do wonders with sprucing it up.
    Can’t wait to see it…already got some friends who want to spend some time there 🙂
    Best of luck with the renovations…xxoo Grammy

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