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He Rebuilt This Abandoned Tiny Cottage 


UPDATE: There were a lot of concerns and questions regarding George’s renovation of this 1700s-era 400 sq. ft. home. Well, he just published a new video detailing exactly how much the renovation cost and answering your burning questions. Scroll below to watch it!

ORIGINAL POST: I absolutely love when people take something old and more or less abandoned and give it a whole new life, and that’s the case of this young video editor who purchased a home-turned-dilapidated-storage-unit and transformed it into his modern tiny house.

It features a first-floor bedroom with a built-in wardrobe, bathroom, and under-the-stairs cubby as well as an open upstairs with an L-shaped kitchen, living space, and office corner. You’ll love the before and after photos!

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Old Stone Tiny House Given a Whole New Life!

Here’s what the upstairs looked like “before”

This is the first floor “before.”

Making upgrades to the structural integrity of the space.

After the exterior got all spruced up with new mortar and some windows!

Upstairs today. Wow!

Downstairs bedroom.

VIDEO: I Bought (and Renovated) an Abandoned Tiny House

VIDEO: How Much Did My Tiny House Cost?

Highlights:

  • He purchased this abandoned home (used for storage) in 2020
  • He had it all renovated!
  • It needed a lot of work — roof, walls, insulation, foundation — all needed repairs
  • Bedroom and bath on the first floor
  • Kitchen and living/office space upstairs

Learn more

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Corina Rose
    March 18, 2022, 11:47 am

    Upstairs in the living room there appears to be a door (plant in front of it)- where does this go?
    Great transformation to a beautiful home!
    Corina

    • Kim
      March 18, 2022, 12:30 pm

      Corina, I thought the same, but I think it is a mirror showing reflection of bed on opposite wall.
      What a great job on the renovation. Beautiful.

    • Alison
      March 21, 2022, 11:44 pm

      I think is is a cupboard/storage nook. It looks like there is a recess in the stone wall in that spot, when you look at the “before” pictures.

    • Matt g
      March 23, 2022, 5:03 pm

      Looks like it was likely recessed wood storage. Probably made into a closet.

    • Monya Churchill
      March 23, 2022, 6:14 pm

      I believe the living room is on the 2nd floor and if you look closely, it appears the door may hide some mechanical item, e.g., furnace, water heater or something, as the doorway does not appear to go to the floor. That room may be on the back or the left side of the house as there is no window on the right side of the house (see front door to the right side of the building which shows no windows). gorgeous little home

  • Pat
    March 18, 2022, 9:19 pm

    Perfect! After watching many episodes of Escape to the Country and wanting to see a tiny home in Scotland or England, I am thrilled to see this little house. Brilliant rescue, beautiful use of the space, absolute perfection. My only tiny suggestion, Mr. Dunnett, is to change the coffee table out for a smaller one, perhaps with a wood top and black hair pin legs. (Different strokes, as you say.) The rug works beautifully. Thank you for sharing your home.

  • Linda Baker
    March 18, 2022, 10:24 pm

    Great job! An overhead fan would be nice and is there only 1 entrance/exit? The light be walls make it be seem larger

    • James D.
      March 19, 2022, 1:47 am

      Yes

      • Eric
        May 2, 2022, 4:52 pm

        Interesting. In NZ there must be by law, and yes I looked it up, 2 entrances/exits. Even for existing buildings. And they must be, as near as possible, on opposite sides of the building.

        But that aside… bloody awesome job. Top notch.

        • James D.
          May 2, 2022, 7:33 pm

          Interesting, can you quote the clause reference number for that requirement?

        • Eric
          May 3, 2022, 2:23 am

          I can’t… but I can assure you the builders in this country wouldn’t put them in if they didn’t have to. Builders are the same world wide, if it ain’t mandated they’ll leave it out. People’s lives don’t matter unless its their own, or family/friends. It’s a sad state of affairs when you think about it.

        • James D.
          May 3, 2022, 4:14 pm

          Uh, no, I believe you’re overly generalizing and stereotyping builders, especially the world over as there would be a very limited number of house designs and of all questionable quality if builders only did what they were mandated to do. The building codes are generally the minimum requirements and largely don’t dictate design choices as long as there isn’t a safety consideration.

          Builders are just like everyone else, some do better work than others and some are better at it than others.

          What usually limits them is budget and time or one of those mandates telling them they can’t do something or only can do it in a specific way. While the builders aren’t the only ones involved typically, which means problems aren’t always because of the builder, and often the builder can only do what they’ve been contracted to do, regardless of what they may prefer to do and how the government dictates they operate under their rules and regulations…

          Never mind there would be no high end or custom builds if there wasn’t anything beyond mandates for builders… But if a builder isn’t doing anything beyond what is mandated, they’re either a bad builder or there’s a deeper issue involved…

          Anyway, I wanted to look up that clause because I’m pretty sure it only applies to commercial buildings as residential should only dictate egress and not entrances. While egress point would also be what’s common in most countries code requirements but the secondary egress point doesn’t have to be a door and can be any means of egress, like a window that can facilitate that function.

          While there’s usually a provision to account for size and capacity of the structure. So requirements have to meet certain thresholds and thus may not necessarily apply equally or to all structures.

          Though, I could have missed something when reading the NZ building codes but overall they don’t appear that much different from most countries that use IBC, etc.

    • Donna Rae
      May 3, 2022, 12:32 pm

      Beautifully done! I love stone houses but they are rare here in California. Regarding entrances/exits, a small house…or RV…can have just one entrance/exit door but it is required that there must be a way to get out of the structure in rooms away from that door. Windows that are large enough for an adult to fit through and easily open are key to those small homes. Even basements that are habitable must have large enough windows for someone to escape through throughout the U.S….as seen on many reno programs. Good luck, though, finding homes in California that have basements. 😉 I guess earthquakes make that less feasible or practical. Someone asked about pricing and I thought the video was supposed to cover that. In a way, it is irrelevant because pricing fluctuates wildly from country to country, state to state and neighborhood to neighborhood. It is also dependent on what kind of structural problems you have to deal with. It would be nice to get an idea, of course, but research is going to be necessary in any case. Fabulous post!

  • Maria Kentala
    March 20, 2022, 6:21 am

    Well done! Beautiful! What was the cost of the home and renovation?

    • James D.
      March 20, 2022, 7:56 pm

      Didn’t say but he’s planning on doing another follow up video answering that and other questions…

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 21, 2022, 6:20 am

      He did mention that it was expensive haha. But there was a LOT of work and structural work that had to be done, and he didn’t DIY it (which is totally fine!). That said, I’m glad he had the finances to restore that building rather than it rotting away.

  • Susan
    March 20, 2022, 10:51 am

    Beautiful! Perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing….

  • Genevieve Williamson
    March 20, 2022, 12:25 pm

    This is a delightful transformation and beautifully spare space. I really like that instead of a completely new build he went with a building that already existed. I think if he likes the table he should keep the table. I personally would probably have fingerprints all over it which would bother me.

  • Vera Mungeam
    March 21, 2022, 10:24 am

    You were lucky to find workman who did a outstanding job, good luck.

  • Stephanie
    March 23, 2022, 2:01 pm

    What a lovely job you’ve done with this building! I’m envious – I’d love to have such a sweet little place! I live on a ranch in Oklahoma but love the UK and Ireland and this would be a perfect ‘holiday home’ to stay in while I was there. 😉 Well done, and I wish you many years of enjoyment in your beautiful ‘tiny house’! PS I like the rug in front of the couch but not so sure about the pink in the table. JMO

  • Gail L. Van Luvanee
    March 23, 2022, 2:06 pm

    I’m surprised that they allowed him to make the changes that he did ….. this looks like an historical site and would allow little more than a restoration.
    . I know that is what i’d do — i’d honor the original design and construction and history of the house. Something like that should NEVER be lost.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 24, 2022, 1:40 pm

      True, but at least he kept the building. As it was, it wasn’t much more than a delapitaded shed and was only getting worse-off. And prior-to, it was just two large rooms upstairs and downstairs, so he had to edit the layout of the place to really make it liveable. I’m not one for modern designs in general, but I don’t think he could have kept much of the internal “character” and still have a habitable home.

      • Eric
        May 2, 2022, 4:58 pm

        delapitaded, rotflmao, that should be dilapidated.

    • James D.
      March 24, 2022, 4:25 pm

      Not everything old is part of a historical site. Like protected land, it’s something that has to be officially designated but not everything is and thus there’s a lot of really old buildings just sitting around. Some areas there’s even entire villages that were abandoned in the last century when people moved to the cities that will just be lost to time unless someone does something with them and there’s also the issue that not all old buildings were homes and could lack any modern use unless converted…

      Note, he did mention the area has some abandoned buildings, including the one he purchased, and only one was historical and kept original to honor a poet that had lived there in the 17th century. Typically, buildings without a link to a historical person are not preserved like a museum piece and may actually have gone through many changes over the years since it was first built, which could mean not all of it is original anymore.

      For most historical sites, they function mainly like a HOA preserving the historic appearance of the buildings but allowing the interiors to be modernized and changed over time. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be able to have any modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing, which weren’t around when those buildings were originally built. There’s just usually a council responsible for approving anything done to the buildings and it can depend on the specific building and its location for what is and isn’t allowed…

      In this case, it was just an old abandoned building, no one had lived there in over 50 years and it was basically just a storage building before he purchased it with no one taking care of the building. So he saved it from being completely lost to time and turned it into an actual home instead of basically just a warehouse, as can be seen in the before photos for what state it was in when he purchased it…

      Others may have just torn it down and put something modern or taken it apart and sold the materials, like how century old barns are being reclaimed for their wood and used to make furniture or add character to new buildings.

      • Pat
        March 24, 2022, 7:47 pm

        James, you and I don’t always agree, but I have to say here-yes! yes! yes. You are so, so very correct. He saved what most would have torn down and then made the building look like it had been there for hundreds of years. He did it well. He did it right. It’s easy enough to change interior finishes to give it “character charm.” By his saving the building, he provides many opportunities for others in years to come. I fully support your assessment and give a standing O to this young man.

  • Philip
    March 23, 2022, 10:55 pm

    Oh yes, the table must go, it destroys the whole project, hahaha. You have done such a tremendous job. So wonderfully planned and executed. The table seems to be bothering you, so change it.

  • Debra Saude
    March 26, 2022, 8:48 pm

    Love it! Other than adding some potted plants out front wouldn’t change a thing. Great job!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 28, 2022, 5:58 am

      Great idea!

  • Dana Turner
    May 3, 2022, 9:00 am

    Apparently, the grammar/spelling police have arrived.

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