The Sparrow | Exterior, Doors, Walls, and BATHROOM!


The Sparrow | Exterior, Doors, Walls, and BATHROOM!

January 23, 2021


Yesterday was the one week anniversary of owning The Sparrow..our circa 1929 cottage that will soon to be a one of a kind short term rental. It has been a BUSY week trying to manage the happenings of the little cottage and continue to do appointments, but we still have managed to get quite a bit done, so we wanted to update you.

We started the work week with trying to clear all of the ivy off of the side of the house that was eating into the paint and brick. Needless to say, ivy is TERRIBLE! Yes, it is super pretty and makes it look like an enchanting cottage from Bridgerton, but this stuff damages everything! We got it all removed from the wall and started to take away brush and trees that were covering the sides of the house.


We learned that a Sumac tree was on the left side of the house which was the reason behind the sticky sap all over that side. Yuck. After removing the ivy, we now are going to have to touch up some of the paint on the side of the house and spray herbicide on the ivy, but at least now we don't have to worry about it growing into our brick and mortar.



Another finding was the place on the side of the house where there is a random square is actually an original place for a window! Instead of replacing the window, they covered it with plywood, and painted it to match the house. Thankfully, that is a window for the BATHROOM which is much needed for natural light and glorious ventilation! Who knew that those things were so important for a bathroom?? We have a new window on order that will be coming in by March 5th.

The exterior still has much to be done to make it homey and welcoming... we still need to pressure wash EVERYTHING, fix the front gutter that was backed into by the previous owner, paint places that the ivy took the paint off, put up a few 4x4 posts and concrete deck blocks to make sure the back deck is safe for our guests, finish cleaning out the gutters on the sides, and clean up brush and trees that surround the house...AND new handmade cedar shutters for the front of the house! So excited for those!

Milky, Sam, and his crew finished yesterday with the upstairs walls, and the upstairs is now READY FOR PAINT!!! We are so excited! The house now smells like a new construction house, and is starting to look like one too!




We were so impressed with how the walls/ceiling turned out, and can't wait to see how they look with fresh paint on them. All of the major cracks are now filled and covered, new ceiling in the living room, and all the original tape that covered cracks was removed and replaced with fresh so it isn't peeling away from the ceilings and walls.

When we bought the house, it was unfortunately missing the two bedroom doors going into the rooms. There are closet doors, but no bedroom doors.


Everyone likes privacy, so we went ahead and picked up two new solid pine doors. In this age of a house (1929), you can't replace with new and crappy. It has to be similar to what the original was. In the 20s, they would have used solid wood doors that aren't hollow. We also got aged bronze hardware and doorknobs with locks. Those will be hung before painting begins so they can be painted to match the trim.

While Jonathan worked outside, I decided to go downstairs and begin prepping the bathroom for paint. The bathroom was our biggest project because we knew we wanted to (at bare minimum) replace the vanity, paint the tile, and new fixtures...but we didn't know what was to come! This photo was the before...


I began taking down the subway tile stickers that the previous owner had applied to the walls, and decided I wanted to remove the beadboard that they had applied along the bottom of the whole bathroom...big mistake! Behind the beadboard was nothingness in some places where they had used it as drywall...and we found more mold...BIG SURPRISE! I immediately got my respirator and gloves and knew I was in for the long haul.


The vanity was handmade out of plywood with a sink on top of it. That was removed along with all of the drywall behind it that had mold down to the studs. As I went around the bathroom removing beadboard and drywall, I realized that the plywood window had daylight underneath it! Yay! There was where our water was coming in and the reason behind the mold buildup in the bathroom. Also behind the gross drywall was an ivy vine growing through the wall and some newspaper from 1987 that I guess they thought would help insulate the bathroom!!! Just crazy!!!

We kept on removing all the way around the bathroom until we got to the tub and stopped. If we remove the tub, we are in big time. I wanted to check with a professional before we moved forward with anymore demo.

My uncle Bucky, who is one of the owners at Cox Construction, came over to inspect the situation. Thankfully we don't have any leaks, but with the help of a new window, and a new fan in the bathroom, the ventilation problem should be a thing of our past. He explained that the bathtub would have to be removed and replaced, and the plumbing would have to be re-done to get it done up to code and done right so the pipes aren't randomly along the wall and actually are hidden in the walls and underneath the floor...and we would have to replace the tile floor in the bathroom. Ugh.

We knew it was coming, but at least now we know it will all be done right and be an oasis for our guests to come.






Our bathroom is now demo-complete, and we are ready to move onto preparing the bathroom for new plumbing...and a TUB! We actually already have a claw foot bathtub sitting on our farm that we use for outdoor milkbcath photoshoots...so we plan to refinish that and install it in the bath along with "time appropriate" styles for the 20's like my favorite classic black and white tile. We like "restoration" projects...not "renovation!" Check out my mood board photos for the bathroom below.

I will begin refinishing the tub this week, and Jonathan will work on digging trenches for the plumbing and removing the remnants of the tile floor. And hopefully, our friend Leo can begin painting this week or sometime soon upstairs. Also, on my to-do list is prime and paint the kitchen cabinets and get them ready for concrete countertops.



Another big project coming our way is the sketchy stairwell going to the downstairs level... Since we bought this, we knew we would have to make some updates. We plan to replace the stair treads and shore up the steps from underneath to make sure they are safe. If you look at the side of the steps, you can still see remnants of the 70's orange shag carpeting that used to cover these steps... Yikes! They also seem cold, so I may find a neat runner to staple down them to warm up the path to the downstairs after we replace the stair treads.

Underneath these steps is a closed in closet lined with tile. I plan to remove the closet frame and doors and open it up. It would be a wonderful place for open shelving, an old metal cart full of towels and bathroom necessities and maybe even a wallpaper wall or mural to spice it up! We can't completely open it up to the steps because it then wouldn't be up to code (we could remove it and put in pickets to fill that spot so someone couldn't fall through the open area...but I don't know if I want that or not.)

Overall, we have had a BUSY week full of ups and downs, but it is good to know we are making this home safe for our guest, and bringing it back to life. We are so thankful for the professionals that know what they are doing to guide us!

We can't wait to see where another week takes us!

























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Mill Pond Photography | Staunton, VA 24401 

| Tel: 540-836-7392 |

Email: millpondfarmphotos@gmail.com

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