A Scottish man bought an abandoned stone cottage in his village and turned it into his first little house in 11 months — check it out


The exterior of the renovated house.

The exterior of the renovated house.George Danette

  • A Scottish man bought an abandoned cottage and spent 11 months turning it into a small house.

  • Homeowner George Dunnett estimates that he spent £ 102,458 on the renovation.

  • The 28-year-old Danette said the refurbishment turned out to be much more expensive than expected.

George Dunnet grew up in the small Scottish village of Kinnesswood, about an hour north of Edinburgh. For years, he was past an abandoned two-story cottage just down the street from his parents’ house.

Danette standing outside the house.

George Dunnett standing outside the house.George Danette

There were many nice houses in the village, but this one was one of the few that collapsed. The cottage was old and weathered, and the masonry walls were full of cracks.

“I always thought it was a bit disappointing to be left in this state because it was a bit old,” Danette, a 28-year-old video editor, told insiders.

Still, he could see the possibilities the house had.

Danette decided to buy a cottage and turn it into his first home, which was a daunting task. The 400-square-foot cottage was uninsulated and had no running water. It didn’t even have a suitable floor.

The house when Danette first bought it.

The house when Danette first bought it.George Danette

Danette purchased the property in October 2020 for £ 55,386. Insiders have confirmed Danette’s purchase proof to confirm the price.

“The floor was basically just the ground and mud. There was no concrete floor,” Danette said. “The windows were bad and the roof required a lot of work. It was almost just the shell of the building.”

Due to the aging of the building, it was necessary to reinforce part of the foundation for safety.

“There was a lot of structural work to do before it was time to choose a curtain,” he added.

A thick layer of dust and spider webs covered the interior. No one has lived in the building for more than 50 years and was used by the previous owner as a storage space.

A collage of the house before it was tidied up.

A collage showing the interior of a building that was used as a storage space.George Danette

“There are families in the village who own a lot of property that they have picked up here and there over the years,” Danette said. “This was one of the properties they owned.”

Based on what he learned from others in the village, Danette believes that the building dates back to the 1700s and was used as a place to bind and distribute religious books.

“People said it was bound to a demolished church, and it was just a neighbor’s yard,” he said.

After the item was cleared, Danette evaluated the condition of the house with the help of an outside contractor.

The lower floors after all the items have been cleaned up.

The lower floors after all the items have been cleaned up.George Danette

Both levels of the house have open concept floor plans and there are no interior walls to divide the space into rooms.

According to Danette, there was almost nothing in the house, except for the old fireplace and the flimsy wooden stairs.

The builder decided that for safety reasons, some of the walls needed to be reinforced and he needed to get into the old fireplace.

Upper floor after all items have been cleaned up.

Upper floor after all items have been cleaned up.George Danette

According to Danette, the side walls of the house where the chimney was located turned out to be hollow and unstable.

“If it collapses while I live there, it will obviously be a nightmare,” he added.

Danette was able to work with the contractor to maximize the small space and design the house the way he wanted.

Progress photo of the 2nd floor under renovation

Progress photo of the 2nd floor under renovation. Insulation has been added to the wall.George Danette

The plan was to split the two rooms downstairs into his bedroom and bathroom, Danette said. The combined living, kitchen and dining area is on the 2nd floor.

After layering the ground with cement to create a suitable floor, the builder raised the ceiling on the upper floors and added insulation to the walls.

“It was really nice to come here during the cold winter and make it semi-warm, as all the insulation is in it,” Danette said. The only downside was the inability to leave the original brick wall exposed inside the house.

Roof repair work was much more extensive than Danette expected.

Roof scaffolding.

The builder needed scaffolding to get up to the roof.George Danette

The builder noticed that the roof was not sturdy and had a waterproof problem. “For this reason, we had to pay a significant number of unexpected stacks for the scaffolding and subsequent repair work.”

The stones lined up on the outer walls of the house were missing, and Danette had to get a mason to repair them.

Scaffolding around the building.

Scaffolding around the building.George Danette

“The mason had to redesignate all the cement that was filled around the stone in order to make it safe and waterproof,” he said.

New windows have been installed in front of the house and skylights have been added to the roof.

Appearance progress photo.  Windows has been added.

With the addition of windows, the building began to look like a suitable home.George Danette

When the external repair work was completed, the house began to take shape.

“The windows let in so much natural light into the building that it looked like a house, not just an empty building on the street,” Danette said.

Once the electrical wiring is complete, the builder is ready to install drywall.

Progress photo of the upper floors.

Progress photo of the upper floors.George Danette

According to Danette, the cottage did not have the right wiring system to meet the needs of modern homes.

“With most of the installation done, Joiner was able to put in plasterboard to block the room downstairs, which allowed him to see how the space worked and make the interior look cleaner. “He said.

After the hardwood oak floor was laid, Danette and his mom painted the walls.

Danette's bedroom has gray walls.

Danette’s bedroom has gray walls.George Danette

“We painted the entire house white to keep it bright and cheerful, but added some blue-gray accent walls to the bedrooms and bathrooms,” Danette said.

The refurbished house has one bedroom and one bathroom on the lower floors and a living, dining and kitchen area on the second floor.

Last but not least, Danette had a stair railing in his house. That was the moment he was most looking forward to.

A collage of two photographs showing the completed stairs.

A collage of two photographs showing the completed stairs and railings.George Danette

Until that time, there was no barrier blocking the square on the second floor.

“I didn’t want to go up the ladder upstairs and make a big hole in the floor overlooking the concrete,” Danette said. “I was afraid to fall out of the hole and land on my head.”

On the outside, Danette’s dad laid out the cobblestones and created a walkway in front of the house.

The exterior of the renovated house.

The exterior of a renovated house with a cobblestone path in front.George Danette

Danette thought it would be nice to have the cobblestones in front of him, as the streets with houses are known as “cobblestones”.

“It used to be a completely cobblestone road, but it was paved some time ago,” he said.

According to Danette, the refurbishment took less than a year to complete.

Danette's bedroom is on the ground floor

Danette’s bedroom is on the ground floorGeorge Danette

The refurbishment began in January 2021. Most of the project was completed by August and the final finishing touch to the stair railings was installed in November. She has lived there since Danette moved to a small house at the end of November.

“This is the first time I’ve moved from my parents’ house,” he said.

The refurbishment will cost a total of £ 102,458, including legal and administrative fees, according to Danette.

Danette's bedroom is on the ground floor, facing two windows in front of the house.

Danette’s bedroom is on the ground floor, facing two windows in front of the house.George Danette

“I used my job as a video editor and the money I’ve saved over the years from my YouTube channel to pay for my house and all my work, and I’ve prepared myself with the loan amount deducted,” he said. Said.

Dunnett estimates that he spent £ 157,844 on the entire project, including the purchase of the cottage.

As the first homeowner to renovate an old home, Danette gives some advice to others who want to do the same: expecting it to be slower and more expensive than you initially thought. please.

A collage of two completed bathroom photos.

A collage of two completed bathroom photos.George Danette

“I was very naive about how long it would take,” Danette said. “Initially, the builder said it would take two months and £ 40,000 to do everything, but over time, getting into a build takes at least twice as long and costs twice as much. You can see. As much as possible. “

The house is on a busy street, so many people in the village stopped by to talk to Danette about his house.

Living room on the 2nd floor.

The living room is on the 2nd floor. Danette bought most of the furniture online.George Danette

“They all said the same thing. I always thought it was a shame that the building wasn’t used, and it was nice to see the local youth do something good,” Danette said. Said.

Danette is already looking at another fixer upper nearby that he wants to buy with his brother. This time he is keen to fix it himself.

The completed kitchen is on the 2nd floor.

The completed kitchen is on the 2nd floor.George Danette

One of his regrets, Danette said, was that he didn’t have the skills to refurbish the cottage himself. But after seeing how the builder works at his home, he wants to try a new remodeling project.

“It’s not a very serious project, it’s just a building that requires some work done inside,” Danette said of a nearby cottage. “So I’m going to do all the joinery work on it and see how much I can actually do myself.”

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