Watching a dream fade, a small house is sold

As you know I love living in a small space.  My last apartment was 450 sq ft, but it felt too large. I wasn’t using the space fully and it began to look like someone was either in the process of moving in or moving out.  It just had that empty feel to it.

I considered buying a home, but the smallest I could find was 500 sq ft and nothing smaller than that is allowed to be built here.  This one house I considered, I considered for many reasons.  It was where I wanted to live, and it presented me with an opportunity to remake it in my vision.  For years I have driven past this little cottage and wanted to redo the entire thing.  As it happens, I moved just down the street from this house, and recently it sold. Can’t wait to meet who moves in.

Everyone by now knows I love to take ugly and find a way to make it shine.  What do you think of this house?

This house is the only one in the entire town that has this look.  It’s done in a vibrant teal, orange and purple.  For me it’s too much.  I think the house is adorable, but needs to have it’s features highlighted in a much more subdue manner.

I would have started with a new paint job maybe a creamy white or light grey, enlarged the windows for more passive solar and fixed the concrete step, addressed the door completely, added some landscaping along the front for curb appeal.

Then inside I would have knocked out the wall between the living room and kitchen as these are really small rooms.  And on and on it goes.  Knowing me the amount of money I would have had to sink into this house to see my vision of it come to life would have been so wasteful.

My dream was to live lightly, there was no way to live lightly with what I wanted to do to this house.  I’m glad I passed up the chance to buy this.  But it was hard to do with the view from the front door, check it out.

Do you like the look of a vibrantly painted cottage?  What colors would you have chosen?  I can’t wait to see what the new owners might do to this little gem.



  1. I would have bought the house for the view alone! The house has many potentials. As is? yuck! Wow, did someone get paint at a discount?? 😉 I would go with a light light gray color and a vibrant red door. Its softly stated with a welcoming appeal. But that’s just me.


    • It used to be white, then the owners decided it needed some personality. It was used as a student rental for the university. Then they decided to sell it at the same time that the regulations about student rentals in town changed so it could no longer be used for that. The house does have lots of potential, and yes the view and location was the big reason I always thought I’d like it. Who knows maybe I’ll get to meet the new owners and be able to “help” them redo the place, that would be next best to owning it. I agree, a red door would be lovely with a very light grey.


  2. Eee gads! My first thought was that perhaps the owner was color blind. I don’t mind bright colors, just not clashing colors – the pastel feeling of the orange just doesn’t go with the jewel tones of the teal and purple. Personally I’d stick with neutral earth tones, you have to have a really good eye to pull off bright colors on a house.

    It does have a lovely view, but I assure you, knocking out walls and enlarging windows are no small tasks… especially if you’re not a structural engineer. About this time every year I start to wish that I could simply swap windows and put the big picture window on the south and the little on one the east, but alas, it really doesn’t work that way.

    Hopefully the new owners won’t add a big ugly addition onto it.


    • There is no real room to add an addition unless they went up. The plot is rather small, and the back while it goes back a ways it runs into swamp so there is flooding (when we get rain) within 20 feet of the back of the house. As for knocking out the walls, I have friends who would have helped and know what they are doing. And when it comes to the structural wall my grandfather taught me all about identifying it so most people ask me before they call someone in and start making plans to identify it for them.

      As for enlarging windows, that’s not really hard at all as I’ve done it, it’s harder to make a large one smaller as you then have to match the exterior up to make it look like it was original. I’ve also added a window where there wasn’t one in my one home. I hated looking at a wall when standing at the sink especially knowing I had a beautiful view outside that blank wall, so in went a window. It made all the difference in the world.

      I’m like you. I like color but only if the background is a neutral and the color is in small splashes here and there. I don’t even like the orange they have the main house in.


      • Wow! I’m impressed with all of your construction know-how. I’m afraid that once power tools are required I start to chicken out pretty quickly – plus, I fear projects that involve holes in the house… doors, windows etc. Perhaps this is irrational, but it seems like you’d want to finish them in one day, and that could be difficult when you don’t really know what you’re doing. I’m always afraid that I’d get part way into it and not be able to get it done… and then what do you do? You can’t just leave a big gaping hole in the house overnight…

        I suppose it’s sort of a moot point since I’ve got my hands full just trying to deal with the smaller stuff like fixing the window glazing and finishing the painting. You know, there are some days when I think wistfully back on the benefits of being a renter!


        • My grandfather refused to pay for anything he could do himself. Coming from a generation of people who learned to do everything that meant he only paid for car repairs. He would yell at me if I paid for someone to fix something telling me that if I wanted to own my own place I better learn how to fix it.

          I have taken on projects that got to be too big for just me. I enlisted my brother a few times to help with things I couldn’t do myself physically, like tear out the bathroom and start over. We made sure to get the toilet in on the first day and had arrangements for a shower elsewhere the couple of days the caulking had to set.

          But the biggest job I ever took on was when I purchased a mobile home. I began knocking out walls and moving them to make rooms bigger right from the start. I hated the layout of the kitchen, you entered this dark hallway then around a corner to enter the kitchen or the hallway leading to the bedrooms and bath. It was wasted space and creepy no matter how I painted it to brighten it up. So I began by cutting down the wall, and removing the upper cabinets. This helped but I wanted the floor space opened up. I then tore everything out and enlisted a friend to move the plumbing so the sink wouldn’t be in the middle between that hallway and the actual kitchen. Thing was I had no wood to close the hole made in the floor as the materials to build the mobile were different dimensions than what is used in homes. So that night while thinking I stuck a chair over the hole so no one would fall in it.

          I woke to a screeching and my dog going nuts in the early morning hours. A feral cat had climbed up and through the hole in the floor and my beagle was chasing it around the house. At one point I watched the cat run across the wall and window as if it were Spiderman. It was hilarious, but not fun trying to catch both animals safely. The floor was the first job of the morning to be repaired after getting the cat out.


      • p.s. I’m not a big fan of the orange either… although if it were done right with a sort of southwestern look you could probably pull it off. Maybe not in Pennsylvania, but you could make it work here if you did it right – adobe walls, tiled roof etc.


    • I love the view too, two colors would be better, but I would definitely change the color palate completely. All the colors are good if used in small doses, but for me never on the outside of a house. Although, I can’t imagine any place I would put a dark purple. Isn’t the view wonderful, that’s pretty much my view as well, only I am a little further down so I’m directly across from the lake, where the cottage is just a tiny bit south.


      • So you have a lake view too – that is wonderful. Yes those three colours are, what was your word: vibrant–you wonder about the personality of the people who decided on that palate–they are probably larger than life!


    • There are a few houses that just rub me wrong around here. One is a bright pink. It’s a two story house and the entire house has bright pink, with lighter pink shutters and doors. There are two houses just south of my little town, they are directly across the street from each other and shared paint. One house is white with a neon green trim and the other is the neon green with white trim. I’m all for sharing resources but pick a better color. Then there is an all purple house, sort of on the pastel side with darker purple trim. I am like you. I love color, but as an accent. My walls inside are a tan then the color comes with my furnishing. The neutral wall color is nice year round and matches anything I decide to do for the holidays and seasons.

      I will say something for the cottage, you can’t miss it 🙂


  3. Wow! Now that’ll grab your attention! I think I’d paint it a very pale yellow, with white trim. And add a covered front porch (so I could sit out and enjoy the view) and lots of flowering shrubs all around, skip the lawn.


    • Now that sounds nice. I have a funny story about yellow and white. I owned a home (lost to a fire) that was yellow and white, my youngest son bought his first home a few years ago it’s yellow and white, now my eldest son and family bought their first home and it’s yellow and white. Pretty popular color.

      I would skip the covered porch, but address the door awning situation. The only reason I would skip that covered porch is that side of the house gets the afternoon sun and I would like to have all the warmth I could get in the winter. But with the carport attached (and no car) I would turn that area into my porch to watch the sunsets and fill it with comfy seating and plenty of plants.

      Yes to the flowering shrubs in the front. I too would get rid of the lawn. The entire back of the property is treed and gorgeous, so while I couldn’t get a good picture of that, it has a large deck over looking it. The kitchen faces the back of the house, so if it were mine I’d put a wall of windows in the kitchen to see that view clearly too.

      I’d still have the lake view and my “forest” view.

      Can you believe that this cottage is only a block and a half from the main intersection and downtown area.


  4. Your idea of painting it white would have been great. It would make it look a little bigger. Then you could have splashes of colour from lovely flowers and plants in the front garden.
    Having seen your “work” on your blog, I am sure that you would have transformed it into something special.


    • It was a dream to restore and update the cottage into something special, but I knew it would have financially strapped me in doing so. Instead, I have the time for these little projects I pick up and I just hope the new owners will find the gem it is and showcase it, if they do I’ll be happy.


    • I am glad you like the cottage too, there is something so endearing about it that I could always picture myself in it. The deck off the back (kitchen) looking into the trees and the sunrise would be the perfect place to wake up with a cup of tea each morning.

      I don’t think any one will tear it down as the lot isn’t very wide and as far as it’s depth, it’s mostly wetlands so they would have a problem building that direction as well. They could build vertically, but I secretly hope they don’t. My worst fear is really that someone bought it for a family member who is in college and they won’t take care of the property.


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