Erin, if that is it and appears to be nailed shut and painted over....didn't you have your house inspected for defects prior to purchasing it? If you had, the inspector would have done a thorough structural, plumbing, roof, etc. inspection and at one point would have gone into the attic to look around ..at least thats the way it is done here in Texas? How many square foot is your home, sounds like a cute little cottage!!