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May 26, 2012 / Linda Hartong


When we first move to Carmel in 1997, we are in the middle of the dot-com boom. Real Estate is selling fast and many of the elderly homes are demolished and replaced with brand new, quaint homes.

Later when the boom has turned to bust, more and more buyers are content to purchase a home and remodel it to get what they want.

For 15 years, we enjoy our 1948 post-war bungalow, making cosmetic changes over the years, but are reluctant to remodel our cottage only to have the next owners tear it down.

Still, I have a dream of removing a pesky wall and opening the cottage up a little. When we are in Carmel this January, I start the process by interviewing several architects and builders and chosing to remodel with Abbey Baker Design Build .  It is a happy choice. With Abbey at the helm as project manager, I have been able to remodel from Kansas City.

Abbey calls daily and sends me photos so I can blog about this for us. No detail is too small for her to notice and she searches for materials that keep me in budget. Her husband, Gabriel, saves the day by finding my tiles for the baths and kitchen.

We pay our cottage a visit last week to see the progress and this is what we see

This is the original patio

Which we recently transformed to this

Oh, oh. We seem to be going backward. The large window in the guest bath is gone and the bathroom tiles sit on site. 

The kitchen windows over the sink are being lowered so that I can see out of them and enjoy my garden views!

The front which looks like this in 1997

Now shows the kitchen addition of a whopping 25 sq.ft. This brings our square footage up to about 950 sq. ft.

The original kitchen

Dolls up nicely

But this pesky wall holding the washer and dryer ( and the house up)

Only provides tantalizing views of the living room

 I love this little dining space we create

But love this more. 

The wall is out

The kitchen bumps out.

The living room goes from this 

To this

Warm and charming but still that wall to the right cramps my style.

No more. And when we find out how pretty the roof line is, we insulate and panel the ceiling.

The rarely used front entry goes from this

To this

And now this

The second bedroom 

has been an office and now is a guest room.

Guests will want to wait until the walls go back up and we choose the shade of green paint 

And the new bedding ( Pottery Barn).

The Master bedroom 

Is very cute and is the only room not undergoing much change.

It is empty and staging green colors.

The guest bath is so small I can only get this shot while standing in the tub.

I kind of like this open feeling.

It will get a pretty little chandelier

New vanity 

and fresh linens

The master bath goes from this

To this

Now this

And this

Again a new vanity


Faucets, etc.

The kitchen cabinets sit in the garage.

With the help of Liz Lufrano, we catch a sale at Home Depot and buy them for half price. 

We pick a paint color

and gather materials to see how they look against each other.

What we can not see is probably the best part. New plumbing, new wiring to replace the “knob and tube”, insulation ( there was none), and instant hot water.

But the floor furnace remains. Checked and clean it continues to heat our space efficiently. 

We even find our “new” dining room table at the Cannery Row Antique Mall. It is a bargain- even when we add on the $35.00 parking ticket we get while we are shopping.

and celebrate by lunching in the house. 

I can hardly wait to show you more when it is finished.


Leave a Comment
  1. Shari / May 26 2012 11:28 pm

    You have a WONDEFUL home, Linda!! Your new decor is going to be just beautiful. I had a great time looking at all the hard work being done and imagining what I’d do if I were doing the remodeling. I’m still deciding which shade of green paint I’d choose! LOL Thank you for sharing your home with us. I can’t wait to see the final outcome.:0)

    PS I enjoy your blog very much. I’ve subscribed for a year or so now and always look forward to the tours and information you share. Thanks for the fun!

  2. leilani / May 26 2012 11:30 pm

    This is wonderful, you must be so excited!

    You do realize that now people will be coming by your cottage, snapping pics and leaving their cards hoping for a tour, don’t you? 😉

  3. leilani / May 26 2012 11:35 pm

    PS) Love that guest bedding. Do you mind if I ask where you found it?

    And if you haven’t selected a color yet, I’m thinking that Donald Kaufman’s DK No.29, an ethereal seaglass color seen at this link at Things that Inspire would be the perfect opportunity to at least try a sample of in that room even though it looks like you’ve already decided to go with a more saturated color:

    (scroll down and if you click on the guest room photo, it’s #6 & 7 in the slide show.)

    It’s TTI blogger Holly’s sister’s former guest room on the Chesapeake Bay, decorated by Caldwell-Beebe in McLean VA. It’s such a restful tint & she says that color does amazing things as the light changes during the day & through the seasons. DK paints are kinda hard to get a hold of but you can buy it through Cox Paint in Santa Monica. You don’t have to drive down there, you can actually get it online, including color cards & sample pots, through their website :

    • Linda Hartong / May 27 2012 12:10 pm

      The bedding is from Pottery Barn. They do have some lovely linens.

  4. Barbara H. / May 26 2012 11:40 pm

    What a change! It looks like it is going to be wonderful. I’ve been reading you for a little while, enjoying the cottages of Carmel that you share with us. Thanks for sharing you own little piece of heaven.

  5. Heather / May 27 2012 12:49 am

    Wow, the renovations are amazing! I love that the ceiling has been lifted. It’ going to have such an open feeling. Exciting!

  6. Miranda / May 27 2012 1:31 am

    How fun for you! The roof line is magnificent; a world of difference in how roomy it will feel.
    Love the bed linens as well. I needed a break and was down to Carmel for a few days, and just got back on Thursday. Enjoy your stay.
    P.S. There are some great antique shops on the side streets of Pacific Grove – good prices too.
    SF Bay Area

    • Linda Hartong / May 27 2012 12:09 pm

      The bedding is from Pottery Barn.
      I will check out the shops in PG

  7. tammy j / May 27 2012 2:02 pm

    still reading…
    from the very first. and still loving this blog.
    thank you for sharing your own cottage with us and for the ongoing before and after.
    i’m like you in that a sense of open space and light is important. beautiful selections!

  8. Bev Conrad / May 27 2012 2:49 pm

    Hi Linda, wonderful transformation. Thanks for sharing it with your loyal following! Bev C.

  9. Inspired and pretty / May 27 2012 3:58 pm

    Linda, your home is so beautiful ! Renovations are so exciting (a lot of work too and mess !) Tearing down the wall in your living room made a huge difference, it’s so much better this way ! I love the vanity for the bathrooms, the tiles, faucets, very pretty ! And your patio, oh boy what a change ! Your yard looks beautiful with all the big trees all around and the flowers. You live in a beautiful place !

  10. Lynn / May 27 2012 6:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing – we will be moving to Carmel soon and doing a few things to our home also – loved seeing what you have done – look forward to more! Your home is darling!!!

  11. janet bishop- magina / May 28 2012 12:11 am

    Wow Linda, can’t wait to see the finished product! Looks gorgeous!

  12. Georgie / May 28 2012 6:31 pm

    Wow, this is fun! Can’t wait to see the finished project.
    I enjoy your blog and photos!

  13. Nita@ModVintageLife / Jun 2 2012 3:39 am

    Your home is going to be so pretty when done. All the changes have been fabulous so far. I can’t wait to see when it’s done.

  14. Jamie Peterson / Jun 7 2012 3:52 pm

    Love your home..I too am from Kansas. Your “new” table is adorable..could you please go back to Cannery Row and buy me that lovely blue bowl sitting on its to? I’ll be stopping by often now that I’ve discovered you beautiful blog.


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