The quirky little secrets of old houses can surprise, delight, and torment you.

You may have heard stories from designers about all the old things they find in the walls of homes when renovating a space. They’re basically time capsules holding all sorts of written materials and stashed items. You can learn a lot about previous owners by what’s lurking in the walls.

One thing I found right off the bat at the 38th Star House was a note taped to a bathroom mirror that said, “You are beautiful!” That was fun.

The less-than-fun find was what’s built into a closet located above the stairs to the basement. It’s a hulking bit of old wood that we originally thought looked like a chest of drawers. It’s literally bulging three feet up into the closet. We were like, “What is this thing?”

Well, as it turns out, it’s just a custom-built covering to the top of the stairs below. Kind of an awkward carpentry fix.
We’re still determining what do about that, as it’s not the best use of space. We’ll keep you posted.

The kitchen cabinetry saga continues.

You may have heard a bit about our kitchen cabinet bump out saga on Instagram. Well, it turns out that it was even more of an issue than it started out.

In the kitchen of our 38th Star House there’s a corner located just down the wall from the bump in the wall that the structural engineer said we couldn’t move. The angles of our cabinetry are also affected by the bump out, creating a ripple effect by inches.

The first work-around for this was to create custom cabinetry to envelop the 4” difference. But when it came in, it was clear we’d need to move things down to keep it from popping out.

When cabinetry came, we could see why the previous homeowners had done what they had done to the cabinets. With great cabinets in place, the countertop looked off. We could see a weird jutting-out of the counter top, and we could see that the cabinets had been templated to match that.

We immediately said, “Oh. That’s why!” Good thing we’re adding on to the kitchen and replacing the countertop, too.
Old houses are just like that sometimes. I’ve learned that you have to measure multiple times and think on your feet when taking on renovation projects.

At least it’s structurally sound.

The good news is that we carefully vetted all the properties we considered before investing in this one. We were very careful to avoid structural issues before buying. The structure has definitely held up under the scrutiny of the renovations, thank goodness.

Well, folks. That’s it for this edition of “This Old House of Britney’s.” Hope you’ve enjoyed this look “behind the scenes” of our latest housing rehab project. Stay tuned to find out next time how we’ll deal with the built-in basement work table!

Happy holidays!

Oh, and do remember: “You are beautiful!”