Sunday, December 2, 2012

The "Bella" Marsh Cottage re-model - half done

Here she is - very simple in both look and feel when I bought her ...
Indeed, I did not notice this house - on the market for sale for years - despite the fact I lived two doors down when I first moved here in 2009.
Then, one day, I "saw" her...
I first called on this house in November 2011.
I then watched this house for almost a year and for many reasons was unsure of this purchase even after negotiations began. 

The challenge.
Many properties on Saint Simons Island, Georgia, require flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) requires new construction must build 13 feet from the ground to meet current flood regulations.  Re-models of original homes, like this one, which do not meet the flood requirements are only allowed to be improved 50% of the cost of the value of the structure itself - not the land value - if they are not going to build "up".  Makes sense.  An insurance company is not going to cover a home in a flood zone that is significantly improved upon. 

So, I had to choose - expand the kitchen and the internal foot print of the cottage (1000 square feet) or spend my money on outdoor living space.

I chose the porch, hands down.
When complete, this will be a 200 square foot screened porch with access inside via two sets of french doors (oh, and one dog door).
The front entry here has become a window and the double windows on the left and the right of the original front door have become french doors. 

The 12 by 12 inch cedar posts smell incredible. 

My contractor, Scott Beveridge, and his team, Jimmy and James, are also musicians.  Apparently on Friday afternoons, they bring out their guitars and have a jam session on the porch. 
I showed up the day before Thanksgiving with pizza and beer and along with a few friends & enjoyed their additional talents. Fun afternoon. 

Since they were prepping the roof that afternoon they saved the beer. 

Two weeks later, the cottage got a cedar facelift.

The paint from the original house color, a now faded blue-gray, remains on the sides and back of the cottage.
I will stain the cedar a transparent natural gray much like the inspiration photo below and likely paint around the window and doors frames but will stain them first with a solid stain.  We can paint over it afterwards. Allowing the cedar to remain natural creates a look for a mountain cabin not a coastal cottage but I am going to keep as much as I can because there is an element of "rustic farmhouse" I am also trying to create here.
Notice dog door through the ladder.
The tea pot sitting on the ledge was in the original cottage so my contractor team has placed it there for a little "zen" element. Every time I move it, they move it back. 
Please forward any additional suggestions or photographs...

Inspirational urban farmhouse.

 Notice the change in rooflines - very tricky.
This was the most complex issue for this re-model - how to extend the original roofline to accommodate such a large porch.  In the end, we had to "pitch" it as seen above.  
The cedar shingles were installed this week and will likely stay natural. 

The entry to the house will be to the left via steps such as these - framed grass steps.
I was committed to protecting the tree roots and these steps will not impact them at all. 


  1. O, oh, ooooo, Kim it is a home to love. And that gable roof is perfect.
    I see now why a much needed front porch was so necessary, where would entertainment take place if they didn't have a stage to perform on.

    Wish I were there, how fun is all this building, and your new neighbors are freaking out with the beauty you are adding to there neighborhood.

    Cannot wait to see what will take place inside.

    Lots of love

  2. She is going to be beautiful. You are so lucky! And I like the zen element.

  3. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


  4. Hi Kim, stopped by as I love your style & love what you are doing to your new home. thanks for sharing xo Laura

  5. Oh goodness so much fun! I love that you chose the front porch!

  6. Over from Burlap Luxe! Love the remodel it's looking very good/rustic~K.Marie