Renovating our Civil War-Era Home: Part 1

I thought it might be fun to share some from our home-renovating journey that started 3 years ago and is still ongoing! Considering we initially thought we would be in after 1 1/2 years max, and we currently live in a less than beautiful apartment (as in kind of last updated in the 60’s and falling apart around us…literally), this journey has taught me a thing or two about patience and contentment. But more on that later! This week I thought I would share a bit about the “new” home we look forward to being in one day.

The house that Brance and I bought and are renovating ourselves is a Civil War-Era home, which we thought was exciting. Really it is Brance who is doing the work, but I do have plenty of ideas, poor guy! We were fortunate to get a great deal on a single-family foreclosure, something difficult to find here in Boston (both, single family and a foreclosure). Let me tell you, the real estate market completely blew me away when we moved to our neighborhood of South Boston 3 1/2 years ago.  Most of the housing available is condos that come as small as 300 square feet (with very large price tags)!  Did I say we are blessed?!

Here are a couple of pictures of the home when we bought it. Even though the outside looked okay, it was a wreck on the inside and required an imagination to see anything remotely nice. But we were so excited to finally own our own home, and a single family at that, we were floating on air as we walked though the “wreckage” dreaming about what we could do with it.


Underneath all those layers of paint we found a beautiful mahogany banister that we are going to keep! It’s one of the few original things in the house, that and the beautiful pumpkin pine floors, that are worth keeping. Oh, and see Haddie’s little noggin? She was going through a phase where she was obsessed with being photographed.


I wish she would smile like this now for pictures!


What do you think about that faux fire-place? It’s gone. I know, I know… shocker.


So this is where our master bedroom will be. I couldn’t get over how awful those floors were.  It’s really is sad to think that somebody was living in the house in this condition.


And the kitchen! Have you seen anything so bad in all your life!? If I remember correctly, this is the first thing that got the sledge-hammer treatment.


CIMG2299I am really excited about this cool little attic (with two small rooms) that will provide some additional living space. Down the road we may open it up and use it as an extra bedroom. But for now, it will make a great office/play space.

If you are looking at these pictures, shaking your head, and feeling pity for us well up in your heart… I guess I should mention that  we ended up gutting the entire house. We weren’t planning on doing that initially (I know, we were seeing through rose-colored glasses), but as we soon discovered everything needed to be redone… electrical, plumbing, heating etc. AND the house didn’t have a stitch of insulation (well, other than air), we changed our minds.  I didn’t realize before this endeavor that air is an insulator, but folks, apparently it is.  Although, I will have you know, air insulation in Boston is not going to cut it for this cold-natured girl!