Rosehill Cottage Kitchen Reno: Why We’re Doing This Now

Well, I didn’t expect to be writing a kitchen reno update post, but here we are. 

Yes, I always wanted to renovate the kitchen at Rosehill Cottage. But, when we first bought it, we replaced the flooring, had the cabinets painted, replaced the hardware and the ceiling fixture, and called it a day. We figured we’d do a bigger renovation in the future. 

The cottage had other plans. First, some of the appliances started to give out. Fine, we expected that, appliances don’t last forever. They looked significantly newer than they actually were — turns out appliance styles haven’t evolved significantly in the past couple of decades. Replacing those wasn’t anything that was going to move the needle in terms of the look. And that was fine! I didn’t feel like the kitchen looked dated, particularly with the cabinets painted, it just wasn’t quite my style.

When the Renovation Flood Gates Opened

Then the cold snap over Christmas happened. We were at the cottage for 2 nights ahead of the holidays, and headed to Richmond on Christmas Eve afternoon. With temperatures plummeting into the teens, we took precautious, knowing pipes freezing was a possibility. But apparently it wasn’t enough.

Our Christmas guests checked in Christmas morning. Then we get a DM through VRBO…

“Don’t be alarmed, but I think your pipes burst.” Seconds later, a call (because a pipe burst is, in fact, a reason for alarm). 

That is exactly what happened and our guests were amazing, so much more than they needed to be — if they hadn’t been there or hadn’t been so incredibly willing to help, it could have been so much worse. We walked them through turning off the water, they did what they could to mitigate the initial flooding, and then headed out (don’t worry, we refunded them and are giving them a free stay!). We, thankfully, were in Richmond, so much closer than if we’d be in DC, and got down there within an hour and a half. 

At first, it didn’t seem so bad. There was flooding and water staining, yes, but it could have been worse.

Or so we thought. 

We scheduled our contractor for this past week, after the last of our January guests that were already booked (we gave all photos and the option to cancel, but they all opted to stay). 

The first day, he thought the same as we did, it would be a quick and easy job. Replace the drywall and ceiling, good to go.

How wrong we were.

rosehill cottage kitchen reno

As soon as he started demo, it became clear that everything behind the walls was wet and severely damaged. Everything needed to be taken out — cabinets, counters, everything. 

That’s how we got here. To basically a full kitchen renovation, with the exception of cabinets, which can almost always be salvaged (and ours are solid wood and still in great condition, so they wouldn’t make sense to get rid of). 

Here’s Our Cottage Kitchen Reno Plan

  • Leaving cabinets and floor plan as is
  • Adding recessed lights
  • Replacing and adding to the under counter lights
  • Adding a pendant light above the sink
  • Removing the wood valance above the sink
  • Replacing the sink with a single basin
  • Replacing the sink faucet with brass
  • Installing a wide wainscoting backsplash
  • Replacing the oven (dishwasher was replaced earlier)
  • Replacing the microwave with one that actually vents outside rather than recirculates 

And, because I know some will ask, no, we can’t open up the kitchen to the living room, as I wanted to do whenever we decided to renovate — we do have to leave one supporting wall, it turns out.

Now, the goal is to get this all done in the next two weeks, before our next booking the first weekend of February. So it’s going to be a sprint to the finish. Wish us luck, and I’ll update when it’s done!


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