Civil War-Era Home Renovation (Update)

So, here is what we are up to on our Civil War-Era Home renovation.

Brance has been stripping the paint off of the original stairwell in the entry. You wouldn’t believe how many layers of paint were put on this beautiful mahogany wood in over 100 years. Well, maybe you would. But, pinch me, I can’t believe how gorgeous it looks in all its natural glory!

Mahogany Banister

I am thinking we will either lightly varnish OR, more likely, wax the wood once we are all through. I am also thrilled with how nicely it goes with our door. Ahhh, I am getting so exited about seeing it all pulled together.


I thought I would go ahead and throw this light fixture pic in. I am considering one like this for our foyer. I am definitely transitional in my style (with a bit of rustic thrown in for good measure) and since our door and stairwell are both traditional, I am looking for something more contemporary to help balance everything out. What do you think?  I’d love to know and please, please  share/show any ideas you might have!


Initially, I was leaning more toward a pendant light, but a semi-flush light is really striking my fancy these days. Who knows. I have some time. Hopefully not too much ;).

We spent most of today installing boxes for the electrical outlets and figuring out all of our light switches. I know, I know, that seems kind of boring. BUT, the thoughts of actually being able to USE them sometime soon is exciting, for me. And, I feel very fortunate to be able to make these decisions with Brance. I won’t be able to complain if something isn’t up to my liking. Smart man I have!

Electrical Box

Installed Box

Here Brance is putting in the box for the lights in his study. He is pretty stoked to have carved out a little corner in our new house that will share the see-through fireplace and have floor to ceiling bookshelves AND custom cabinetry he hopes to build himself down the road. Let’s just hope he puts in the kitchen cabinets before he works on the cabinetry in here ;).

Brance installing boxes

Our little “helpers” always enjoy getting to play in the back yard. Please ignore the terrible condition it is in. Although it looks abysmal, replete with a pile of rubble, no grass, and a ladder, rest assured that there are no rusty nails out there and no raccoons living there, ANYMORE. AND, my children do love pulling weeds. Thank goodness, because that’s about all there is out there for them to do.

The girls

Brance had me “help” by writing notes indicating what we planned to do with light switches. We made notes and stuck them to the walls where we plan on putting the switches. It felt good to contribute a teeny, tiny bit, ha.

By the way, that is soot on my knees. The house is just full of soot, STILL (I can’t tell you how many times we’ve swept and vacuumed), from where coal was burned for years and years. It filled the wall cavities. Usually we leave looking like we walked out of a mine, black soot all over our skin, clothes, and even in our hair!

Lauren writing notes

Note indicating light boxes

That’s it for now!

4 thoughts on “Civil War-Era Home Renovation (Update)

  1. What a fun time!!! The house we live in now was built for us. I remember going through and making all these lighting decisions (he wrote them directly on the studs). The house we lived in in Portland was 1950s and VERY little light. So we knew we wanted LOTS of lighting here. I follow a lot of home design/decorating blogs. I can never think of things to decorate my house with, so these definitely give me some direction. Let me know if you’d like a short list!

  2. I need to dig through your blog so that I can see pics from your new house for ideas! And I’d love to have a list of design/decorating blogs to check. Especially since we are having to make so many decisions these days. I could use some guidance. Thanks so much!!!

    I can relate to the whole light thing. Our apartment is quite dark, especially in the bedroom where all of the windows are feet from the neighbor’s living room/kitchen windows. I could stand at them and see all that goes on in their house, or vice-versa. Of course, I don’t and we mostly keep the blinds closed. Thankfully our new house will have all of the windows on the font and back of the home and we made sure to add extra. Plus we want to make sure that we have plenty of good indoor lights, as well. I guess I said all of that to say, light is a big deal to me too :).

  3. I feel so sorry that I’ve missed so many of your blog posts, Lauren. These are so good! I will try to stay more informed in the future. But it is 12:51 am, and I could keep reading forever if I don’t turn out the light. Goodnight, dearest! Love, Lauralee

    1. Thank you so much dear friend! I hope you and your sweet family are having a good fall. There is still some color hanging on around here. We will be traveling to VA in Nov. I am not sure what your schedule looks like, but maybe we could coordinate seeing you guys. It would be fun to get out little a together.I love and miss you!

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