Shotgun Renovation

by Julie Deimert and Carolyn Geddert (photos)

IMG_6301It’s no secret, I’m a bit of a renovation addict and love turning rundown houses into something better. And, believing that each old fixer-upper is my last, I pour my heart into my new ‘forever’ home. Like this one: the cheapest, smallest home on the market in an almost desirable older neighbourhood. Plus, the little prairie ‘shotgun’ (20ft X 43ft) had some things going for it: high ceilings, great light, exposed brick and original siding.

Not going for it: popcorn ceilings, textured walls, cheap laminate, dated floor tiles, and a faux arch!

So, inspired by the challenge of small space design and well-resourced by apartment therapy and houzz , I rolled up my sleeves and called my contractor. And, while he saw uninsulated 2×4 stick framing, funky wiring, and a complete absence of something called “square” — I saw modern cottage.

The demo started neatly enough, just taking out one wall to turn the front bedroom into a small livingroom but one thing led to another as it always does.
Unable to skim coat or scrape the textured walls and discovering there was no insulation behind most of them, we decided to remove all the lath & plaster from the exterior walls.
Flimsy faux arch and ugly 'peninsula' gone!
Once the lath & plaster was removed, it was more than a little unnerving to glimpse daylight through the gaps in the exterior siding!

IMG_0905And while we were in the demolition phase, off came the old deck too! Needless to say, I was excited to begin the next phase: capitalizing on the shotgun’s clean lines and modest dimensions with a simple modern design.

Inspired by scandinavian cottage designs, I chose pine tongue ‘n groove to cover the popcorn ceilings and 1X8 spruce planks to clad an interior ‘feature’ wall running the length of the main living space and rounding the corner into my new sitting room. Ceilings, walls and trim were all painted with Benjamin Moore ‘White Dove’.


Underneath the various floor coverings, we discovered original wide plank fir, but it was too dry and splintery to be salvaged by my local hardwood experts, Rocky Mountain Hardwood. Instead, they installed new pre-finished red oak to ground the interior with warm wood.
Running the entire length of the main living/dining area this built-in bench provides plenty of seating and storage for my grandsons’ games and toys.
I think the kitchen is my favourite part of the project: recessed pot lights, stock cabinets upgraded with solid wood boxes, quartz countertops, small German appliances by Blomberg (fridge 6 ft tall but only 2 ft square!) and retro-style porcelain pendants that I found on Etsy at Olde Brick Lighting.
I love the subtle black vein in this countertop.
One of my splurges was the industrial strength ultra mod hood fan by Inspira. I’m not gonna lie — it had everything to do with the choice of funky colors for the glass front panel! (What I wouldn’t do again is the 24″ gas range as I find it too small for most conventional cookware.)


The bedroom was a happy accident! Misjudging the dimensions meant placing my antique bed in the corner, adding built-in shelving above, and opting for no door on the doorway to the diningroom. Between the bedroom and the bathroom, I added a sliding barn door for easy ‘ensuite’ access.


Originally owned by the infamous Hanging Judge of Barkerville, this bed has been passed down in my family because of my great great grandmother’s friendship with the maid of this notorious chief magistrate. In 2010, my brother refinished the bed frame and discovered the joints were held with mud and horsehair! Luckily, a new double-size mattress still fits perfectly. And, I’m intrigued to discover that there is currently in production a docudrama entitled Begbie’s Ghost! My bed definitely has history!
Combining what used to be a separate laundry room and bathroom, I now have a spacious bright bathroom with a compact washer/dryer tucked in the corner.

While at 872 square feet, every foot of living space counts — I was also mindful of creating room for my grandsons to play and explore their interests, including a ‘mini makerspace’ with a mobile art cart.




Replacing the old deck is this screened porch where we used the same ceiling and wall board finishes.


Shotgun Renovation

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