$100 House – Demo Day!

Hi all  – YAY!  It’s finally demo day.   Mr. Mobile Cottage and I often get referred to as the “Chip and Joanna Gaines” of mobile home renovations.  If you watch the Fixer Upper show which features the Gaines, you no doubt know that Chip’s favorite part of rehabbing is demo day.  The same holds true for Mr. Mobile Cottage who LOVES to take down walls and all that revolves around demoing a home.

When we first purchased the $100 home, there was a wall and two, very low breakfast bars separating the kitchen area from the living room area.  In addition with was a full wall with hideous glass inserts separating the dining room from the living room.  To put it simply, the living room area which overlooks the lake, was almost closed off to the rest of the home. by these dividing walls.

Dining room wall (on right) cutting off living room

Breakfast bars in kitchen (on left) cutting off living room

So Mr. Mobile Cottage got busy taking down both walls and also both breakfast bars, opening up all spaces to the living room.  Now this newly formed Great Room has waterfront views from all areas.

Demo Day begins and walls come down – what a difference!

Wall between dining area and living room is GONE



New open plan “Great Room” has a fabulous Lake View

In addition to the Great Room we also demoed the master bath vanity (which had seen better years) and also the built-in “hutch” top,.

Another view of open Great Room – look at all those windows with fabulous views – WOW!

Now that demoing is done, we can finally move forward with painting and adding that much-needed charm.  Stay tuned…more reveals coming soon.

P.S. Do you enjoy my blog and want to start receiving all my posts?  Click “follow” at the bottom of any of my posts and you will automatically receive them.  Thanks for following!




$100 House – Outside Adventures

Hey all – I wanted to give you a little preview of what the outside of the $100 house looked like when we purchased it.  In the picture below you can almost see the house and that was the problem.  Years of neglectful overgrowth had taken their toll; literally swallowing up both the house and screened porch.  In addition, several critters had decided to take up residency in the many trees and bushes along both the house and screened porch, thereby encroaching further into the home itself.

Overgrowth on the back of the home…and a really ugly electric meter

Front of home – you can barely see it!

There was no view of the lake from the living room nor the screened porch…only vegetation which was completely shapeless or dead.  And while I didn’t relish looking at the ugly electric meter once the overgrowth was cut down, I was excited to see the spectacular lake view which lay beyond.  And so it began.

The first project we tackled was to cut back and attempt to shape the gorgeous Bougainvillea bush and remove all the grass and weeds that had grown thru and around this beautiful flowering bush.  Once done with that undertaking, we turned our attention to the screened porch  overlooking the lake.

Porch area, engulfed by overgrown cedar bushes and other undistinguishable bushes.

It became imperative to repair all the screens on windows and the screened porch to keep out any additional unwanted pests.  But with some screens missing, bent or simply destroyed due to neglect, this simple project proved to be a lot more challenging to say the least.  But determined, we whipped the screens back into shape and the home was now sealed off to the outside elements.

Next was the task of removing most of the cedar bushes engulfing the home which were now more “trees” than bushes.  Although reluctant to remove or trim these bushes because of their wonderful smell, we knew we had no other choice.  If left as is, they would only intrude more into the porch and cause more damage plus we wanted to fully expose that remarkable lake view.

Let the trimming begin

Thorny bougainvillea, cedar bushes and some other unidentifiable weeds were taken out or removed permanently.  Weeds were also cut down around the entire perimeter of the home and other dead or withered bushes and trees were dug out or pulled out and everything raked into piles awaiting their final departure from the home.

Lakeview from inside the home…it was starting to come into view.

Now with sore hands, shoulders and arms from the overabundance of vegetative removal, the home itself was finally coming into view.  And charming it was NOT, but we could at least see what we were actually working with.

Front of home after clearing out all overgrowth.

Another view of home and porch after initial trimming.

Stunning lake view now – WOW!

There is still an overwhelming amount of work yet to do on our $100 home, but at least now we can enjoy that fabulous lakefront view from wherever we may be working and what could be better than that!

Stay tuned as renovation of this little gem continues…you won’t believe the results.



$100 House – Week Two

Hi Guys!  I just wanted to give you another update on the $100 house.  As you remember, my first post detailed our week-long adventure of clearing out all furniture and large debris. Once that was done, we next needed to tackle the second, most pressing issue…. the many years of non-cleaning and those smelly odors.

After bug-bombing the home twice (yes, twice) to ensure we had gotten rid of all the “critters” who had taken up residency, we removed all the carpet and other flooring which had seen much better days and threw out everything else in the home with the exception of the little dining table and headboard in the bedroom that would be rescued and used again.  Garbage bag after garbage bag full of everything imaginable (really, things you wouldn’t believe) eventually became a mountain of bags in the driveway even disguising the shed beyond.   But with everything out of the home, we could finally see its potential, but it was going to need a lot of help.

The beginning of the debris pile

Kitchen – beyond disgusting with spoiled food and critters.


Dining room as we found it.








Years of cigarette smoke, pet issues and human neglect had put their mark all over the floors, walls, ceilings, cupboards…pretty much every surface of this home.  And even though we are seasoned rehabbers, I must admit the amount of cleanup in this home was overwhelming in its scope.  But again, we were not going to be deterred and pressed on.

Nicotine stained ceiling

Floors in the home after carpet removal.

Poised with spray bleach, liquid bleach, really any and every form of bleach, coupled with a ton of elbow grease, the house started to smell and look a little better, but bleach didn’t solve everything.  So what next?  Baking Soda.  Yep, the one basic, cheap miracle product.  Using boxes and boxes of baking soda completely covering the floors and other surfaces, we let this little “do everything” product work its magic.

Baking soda on floors to absorb odors. Also look at that wallpaper…YIKES!

Bug bombs and baking soda everywhere. Notice the nicotine stained doors too?

The secret to using baking soda is to let it set for day(s) until it turns into a very fine powder and then vacuum it away.  Just like it absorbs odors in your frig, it will absorb odors resulting from pets or spills on floors or other surfaces.  Unfortunately for us, however, this process needed to be repeated several times to fully get rid of the neglect thrust upon the floors over the years.

Once we had a handle on the floors, it was time to start on the next pressing project.  What was that?  A little hint……it has nothing to do with inside the home.  More to come soon!

The $100 House

Hi guys – so sorry for the long absence, but we have been VERY busy with multiple projects and houses and I literally haven’t taken the time (my fault) to post.  But I thought I would give you a little peek into our most recent endeavor which I am calling the $100 house.  Of course, with other purchasing fees it was a wee bit more than $100, but essentially this project home was one of the cheapest purchases we have ever made.  With that being said, it was also one of the most challenging projects too.

What we purchased – overgrowth and neglected

In this photo, it doesn’t look too bad, right?  And you can even get a little glimpse at that fabulous waterfront lot this gem sits on.

So just maybe we weren’t too crazy to take on a home that nobody wanted, right?  Well, maybe we were.  This home needed EVERYTHING and nobody (and I mean nobody) even wanted to step foot inside.  But we pushed forward.  Wearing our hazmat suits and masks for about a week, the clean out began.  Piles of trash and debris along with broken or forsaken furniture formed in the driveway waiting to be hauled away.

Trash and debris removed


But finally after the initial clean out, we could start to see the “bones” of the home and it was good, very good in fact.  High vaulted ceilings, two good-sized bedrooms and two full bathrooms (well sort of) and a large screened attached porch overlooking the lake emerged.  But the years of neglect were also very evident.


Master bedroom AFTER initial clean out – YUK!

Initial cleaning out of home – hazmat suits required!

In addition, this home had been vacated for many, many months.  There was food left in cupboards, a non-working refrigerator, no air conditioning (which is essential in the south), and debris strewn everywhere.  And to top if off, let’s just say that ANY cleaning of the home had also been neglected for years.  To put it simply, it was beyond disgusting.  But we remained determined to restore this waterfront gem to its full potential and even add a little charm along the way.

So what did we do?  Well we did ALOT!  Stay tuned for more details of how we turned this neglected eyesore into a truly charming cottage that is now the envy of the neighborhood, and of course, as always, on a tight budget.  You won’t believe the changes.




The Cottage Laundry Room Redo

Yep…..the dreaded Laundry Room redo.  This room is heavily used not only for laundry, but somehow became the drop-all, catch-all, dirty shoes and paws, walk thru room.  You know, the most used room in the house but the one I never really wanted to spend a lot of time in, let alone redecorate.  However, it was time….time  to somehow make it blend in with the rest of my Little Cottage in the City.  But with plans for a major overhaul of this room in the future, spending much (or any) money in the overhaul of this area was just not in the budget.

However, this room happens to be located just off our dining room and as mentioned, serves as the pass thru room to the garage and also provides access to the side and the back yards too.  It is the room our beloved pet uses to gain access outside to “do his business” and of course, where I do laundry.   So basically, this room is always in use all day, every day and needed some love and attention.  So what did I do?

My Laundry room upon purchasing our Cottage in the City YIKES!

Laundry room – after initial painting – no cottage charm or character.

First,  the room was freshened up with leftover white paint and weird placed shelving found throughout the space was taken down which immediately helped this room feel larger and brighter.  Next, I searched thru my decorating closet and decided to utilize a gray striped shower curtain (which could withstand my pet and Mr. Mobile Cottage) and trimmed it to size for a “skirt” on my former island turned laundry folding table.  Once skirted, this former island now provides me the opportunity to put my laundry necessities along with other items out of sight and also helps with “decluttering” the space.  I next turned my attention to the remaining issues in the room, namely disguising the unsightly furnace/hot water heater and also dressing up my ugly utilitarian mop sink.  Using leftover white curtains around the furnace area and the rest of the gray stripe shower curtain fabric around my mop sink, the room was starting to take shape, but it still needed charm.

Looking around the space, I decided I needed to find something to help disguise the wall between this room and the garage.  With not much to choose from,  I decided to utilize a pair or tall, rowing oars and painted them white.  While these may be a bit unconventional for a laundry room, they actually bring unexpected charm to the space.  Looking further inside and outside the cottage and in my decorating closet for additional items I could use, I found  a striped lampshade and lamp base, an old shutter, a wooden laundry sign (which I painted white),  a small bench and a cute window all of which are now housed in this room.  And yes,  I even decided to utilize my cute chandelier given to  me by a close friend.

While it does seem odd that all of these items would work together, they actually now provide a hearty dose of cottage charm that even I didn’t anticipate.  Couple that with  a dab of greenery sprinkled in and  my multi-use laundry and pass-thru room is now a space which will endure the daily heavy usage while serving its main purpose of completing laundry chores.

View into laundry room now – much brighter, lighter and cottage charm added.

Old shutter and window – so cute!

Gray stripe “skirt” added to former island – now laundry folding table – instant charm!



Chandelier in a laundry room – Yes please!

Skirted mop sink…so much cuter!

Blessed sign, curtains concealing furnace/hot water heater and striped lampshade along with greenery bring in cottage elements .

I find sometimes the more I am challenged with a project, the better it turns out.  Such as the case with my laundry room.  Using items I already had on hand, this little utilitarian space now oozes charm with unexpected items that cohesively work together and best of all it didn’t cost a dime and what can be better than that?

Stay tuned….more reveals coming soon!

My Little Cottage in the City – Loving the Island Life

If you have been a faithful follower of my blog, you no doubt have seen the many transformations made to our Little Cottage in the City, more especially, the kitchen transformation of this little abode.  And while Mr. Mobile Cottage and I liked our newly renovated kitchen, it just wasn’t fully meeting our needs.  The space felt cramped and closed off and although we loved how the kitchen looked and the small island placed in this space, it simply was awkward to utilize and impeded movement within the kitchen area.  So what did we do?

View of original kitchen

Another view of original kitchen area – YIKES!

Kitchen before -first renovation in progress – no charm

Kitchen- first renovation almost completed

Kitchen after first renovation with beloved island – so cute but hard to navigate around.

First, we identified our specific needs and uses for this area.  We knew we wanted to integrate a new stove/oven into this space but also have a large island which would incorporate space for bar stools, room for food prep and eating,  a work space for paying bills and other tasks along with additional cabinets for storage.  We also wanted a more open floor plan to allow for better traffic flow to adjoining rooms in our small cottage.

So to garner the open floor plan we desired,  we opted to take down a secondary section of wall separating the living room and kitchen areas.  However, it was a bearing wall and knowing that there was no way Mr. Mobile Cottage and I could install an 18 foot support header ourselves, we simply left one section of the original stud construction in place, this ensuring the newly opened area was fully supported.  Next, we started framing the island.

The island framing begins

Another view of framing


The cabinets and drawers go in along with a wall for the stove

Another view of the cabinets









In stock cabinets from our local home improvement store were put in place and we next looked to add charming details found in the rest of the cottage.  Scouring our home to see what we may have available that would add a unique feature to the island, I looked no further than the old window currently hanging in our laundry room.  I knew this old piece would add the character the new island was lacking,  but it soon became apparent this window would come in handy in two ways.  First, it would soften the appearance of the island and create a “china cabinet” effect and also allow us to disguise the back of the new stove.

The new “china cabinet” goes in with the addition of our signature trim

The stove is put in place behind the china cabinet

We next turned our attention to the barstool dilemma.  We decided to make a “barstool garage” behind the bank of  cabinets building a wall with just enough space to stow our bar stools out of sight when not in use.  This little space has truly worked exceptionally well and people are often surprised by the barstools as they are completely hidden from view from other rooms.

Side view of island!

Once we had all the basics of the island in place, it was time to turn our attention on incorporating more cottage charm.  We first painted the entire island several coats of crisp, white paint and added bead board to the sides and backside of the piece, and also added a “shiplap” wall using scrap wood to the little window/china cabinet area.  In addition, we  added butcher block countertops to match the rest of the kitchen, incorporated our signature, gingerbread trim around the perimeter of the island along with adding off-the-shelf, cottage style, support legs also found at our local home improvement store.  Floor moldings, decorative trim pieces, and more white paint on everything rounded out the charming piece.

We also tackled the ugly support beam and encased it with wood, gave it a hearty dose of trim top and bottom,  and added a cute little task light too.   The kitchen ceiling light fixture was swapped out for an “outdoor” lantern found on clearance and painted white and the appliances also received an upgrade.  The plate rack above the refrigerator was tweaked to accommodate the new refrigerator and pewter grain scoop handles and knobs were added to the cabinets and the remainder of the flooring was finally installed as well.

Paint on the island and the butcher block counter tops

The aptly named “China Cabinet” with its shiplap wall. The window can be opened for seasonal decorating changes. So cute!



View of island into living area. Cabinets and hardware match other kitchen cabinets. Makes the Little Cottage feel spacious.


View into kitchen area. New kitchen island matches cabinets. Notice new plate rack, light fixture and appliances.


View into living room. Light, airy and open! (p.s. notice the cute fireplace just completed)

Our kitchen island is now the true hub of our cottage and provides us with the open, airy floorplan we desired while not overwhelming adjoining spaces.  The traffic flow is no longer closed off and although we did need to leave a support beam in the middle, it actually worked out well providing a spot for task lighting and an electrical outlet – perfect to plug in for today’s needs.

We truly are loving the evolution of our Little Cottage in the City.  This once forgotten house has now become a gem in our neighborhood and has sparked several home updates by our neighbors.  And what can be better than that?

To get all my blog posts, simply click the follow button and you will receive my blog automatically every time I post.  Also, feel free to leave your feedback.  All comments are welcomed.

Stay tuned….you won’t believe the latest renovation we’re tackling!












My Little Cottage Fireplace – Back to the Stone Age

If you follow my blog, you know that my Little Cottage in the City built in 1956 came with no discerning character, lacked any charm and was at the time, your basic tract ranch style home meant for simple living. At a whopping 876 square feet, this little place proudly boasted 2 bedrooms, 1 tiny bathroom, a utilitarian kitchen, eating spot, living room and carport. Back then, open floor plans didn’t exist, and people mostly mingled in the living room area. Modest kitchens were meant for food preparation and basic eating.

But as I have shared in previous posts, our vision of renovating our Little Cottage was to dismiss these compartmental areas, thereby enjoying the open plan lifestyle most of us share today. (Look for a future post about our recently completed open floor plan kitchen renovation).

Once we opened up the Little Cottage living room area to the kitchen which opens to the dining room which opens to the porch (yes, you can see straight through the Cottage) we realized our cute fireplace, once the focal point of the Cottage, was underwhelming.  It was being swallowed up by the open floor plan and although cute in charm and details, it just wasn’t what we really wanted.  So what did we do?

The walled-in living room and fireplace wall when we first purchased the Cottage (and our favorite pet).

The fireplace – first renovation after adding mirror and trim – cute and charming, but small. Notice television in bottom

First, we decided that we wanted our television to hide out of sight when not in use, but in its current place inside the bottom of the fireplace, we couldn’t add doors nor any other “cover”,  so we knew it had to be moved.  Second, both Mr. Mobile Cottage and I have always adored the charm of an old stone fireplace. There is just something so endearing about stone coupled with crisp white wood in a cottage.  So there it was….we had a basic plan.

Starting with the beloved fireplace mantel that has traveled with us from place to place, we knew we wanted to incorporate it into the new design. We also knew we wanted the new fireplace to hold its own, thus it had to be bigger and have a space for the television too.  So we stated to build a basic design from floor to ceiling. First we ensured there was a cubby for the television and components and doors to close when not in use.

The building begins!

Another view!

Second, (here’s the part that took some time) we wanted stone somewhere. At first, the design was to encase the entire fireplace in stone. But after looking its placement in the rest of the cottage, all stone was going to overpower the small space. So after scouring magazines and online photos, we decided to simply do the fireplace “box” area in stone. Not wanting it to look too “boxy” we decided to do a simple arch in the fireplace box (thus giving it a nod to an original cottage fireplace) and once done, also decided to do another arch below where for now I have stowed an old basket just to provide more cottage charm.

The firebox is established and arched

The stone is added – cute basket underneath too!

The television now housed behind doors.

With the addition of our signature trim and crown molding at the top of the fireplace, arched bead board doors encapsulating the television, and adding other trim pieces, our fireplace now fits perfectly in our Little Cottage and provides a unique focal point as well as performing the utilitarian job of housing today’s electronics we all enjoy.   With the addition of real wood in the hearth and a couple other decorative items (not captured in photos) the fireplace now emboldens the cottage charm we desired.

In addition, the cost for renovation of the fireplace was minimal as we used plywood already on hand and recycled wood for the trim pieces.  The “hearth” is simply wood with trim painted  gray and distressed with black paint.  We also dry-brushed black paint around the firebox and on the stones to give it a more “used” fireplace look.  The stones were found on clearance at our local home improvement store and were actually made for backsplash usage, but for us became the perfect accompaniment for the fireplace.


The finished fireplace now is the focal point of the cottage and instills the cottage charm and details we love

As I have mentioned several times, our Little Cottage keeps evolving as we live in the space and as we renovate adjoining spaces. What might have worked when we first moved in, simply may need to be updated or “re-renovated” to fit in now. Such was the case of our fireplace which we now love and reflects our love of all things cottage and what could be better than that?

Stay tuned….our kitchen renovation of the renovation (I’ve actually lost count) is coming soon!