Found a great house, but it's not in the right spot? Learn from these Florida couples who gave new life to their cottages by first relocating and then renovating.
Randy Harelson and Richard Gibbs love to remodel old houses. So when they heard that a 1948 cottage they'd admired was for sale because it was in the way of a planned shopping center, they rushed over.
How Randy and Richard Transformed this Cottage:
1. Attached a small screened porch to the rear so they could open the house from front to back
2. Added two baths with a rear addition and bumped out the shower for views of Choctawhatchee Bay
3. Turned the existing small bath into a laundry room
4. Repurposed the front bedroom as a studio and later added more studio space with a second addition
5. Installed three skylights to bring extra light into the all-wood interior
Aiming to refresh the cottage without changing its character, they updated all the functioning parts (wiring, plumbing, air-conditioning, and heating), added a fireplace and skylights, and extended the back for two new baths and a large shower. But the cottage looks the same from the front, and the interior is still lined with charming knotty pine.
Cottage size: about 1,500 square feet, cut into three pieces for the move
What they paid for the house: $16,000
Cool move detail: One bit of proof of how smoothly the move went: All the doors still worked perfectly afterward.
How far it traveled: 8 miles by flatbed truck
Paige and Mark Schnell were on the hunt for a new cottage when they heard that a local church was auctioning off its pastor's house to make room for a new sanctuary. The couple immediately put in a bid, scouted for a house mover, and (after a whirlwind two-week search) found the ideal corner lot just a few miles away.
How Paige and Mark Transformed this Cottage:
1. Replaced some master bedroom windows with French doors that open directly onto the porch
2. Widened a kitchen pass-through and installed a new counter with barstools
3. Added new windows and an awning to the front bedroom to give the exterior balance
4. Switched upper kitchen cabinets for stainless steel shelves for a more open look
5. Recycled the orphaned cabinets in the utility room
Paige, an interior designer, and Mark, an urban designer, loved almost everything about their new house—its rot-resistant cypress siding, simple design, solid feel, and spacious screened porch. Besides a few new doors and windows, most other changes were strictly cosmetic, with fresh white paint inside and out and Paige's colorful decorating.
Cottage size: about 1,500 square feet, cut in half for the move
What they paid for the house: $25,000
Relocation: $59,000 (including the new foundation)
Cool move detail:The house went back together so perfectly that the crew used the original screw holes to reinstall roof panels.
How far it traveled: 4 miles by flatbed truck
Location, location, location. It really is as important as they say, especially when it comes to perfectly good homes sitting
in the path of future development. Enter the house movers—the kind who truck structures, not pack boxes—for a rescue mission
of enormous proportions.
Donald Barbee from Ducky Johnson House Movers gives us the lowdown on house moving.