Frozen water lines make way for a complete cottage makeover!

In late winter, February 2010, there was a not so unusual power outage. This time, however, the furnace did not restart when power was restored and a water line between the floors froze and resulted in a broken pipe. The cottage, being mostly used in the summer and fall, has a hot air furnace which is left on year-round to eliminate this type of problem. The owners had driven to the cottage to check on everything and this is when they discovered the two giant frozen waterfalls coming from their cottage. When they opened the door and entered the cottage they discovered the water still running from the broken pipe, carpets completely soaked, ceilings and insulation soaked and fallen down onto the floor and furniture, with mold growing everywhere.  The cottage has much solar gain so it would warm up during the day and re-freeze during the colder nights. The air inside was filled with mold spores and was not breathable.  Ceilings, floors, furniture, books, curtains, wood paneling, window and doors, pretty much everything was a total loss. The owners of the cottage contacted Keith Trembley Builder / Paul Davis Restoration to notify us they had a loss and needed someone immediately. Joe Ouellette, of the Mold Remediation division, was on site within 24 hours assessing the damage and developing a plan of action.  In the meantime Gary Proulx, from the Building & Design division began talking with the owner to see how they might use this time of trouble to make corrections and improvements.  According to the owners, the old cottage always seemed too small, the kitchen area was barely adequate, the bath only had a small 36” shower and was crowded, as was the laundry area. Also, the entry into the cottage was really quite dark even on sunny days, the stairs down to the walk out basement were really quite steep, the hot air furnace was noisy and seemingly cycled endlessly, the walk out basement area always seemed musty and, it too, was quite dark, the main living space was always crowded when family and friends came to visit or stay, as well as, uncomfortably hot and stuffy on hot days, even though the cottage sat only a few feet from the waters’ edge.  These issues had become less and less tolerable to the point where the cottage was seldom used for overnight stays and had day visits down to minimal.

Once Joe Ouellette had finalized his scope of work, the cottage needed to be completely stripped down to the frame work leaving only the foundation, exterior walls, roof, and support beams.  The mold and water had indeed done major damage.  Gary and the owner began discussing how they might improve upon the short falls of their old cottage layout and bring it up to a more enjoyable cottage to visit and stay.  After a little more than a week we had our first attempt with a slightly modified floor plan, one being acceptable by the owner, yet we thought we could still do much better and make some major improvements.  Given another three days we had a completely new floor plan for both the first floor layout and the walk out basement layout.  We had developed a plan that would address every last issue and concern.  This new plan even included three times greater view of the water!  Fast forward to July 4th weekend.  The owners of the cottage had planned a kind of grand opening for their newly designed cottage and a real test for the improvements. The conclusion? Everything was absolutely wonderful!  No one, not family or friends, could believe it was still the same cottage.

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