My Secret Life as an Old House Renovator.

 Before and After:
 Spencer's new house.
Well, just about the best Christmas present ever!
Spencer closed on his house on December 24th, at approximately 2:30pm.
Since that time, we've been elbow deep in hot water, soap, dust-pans and brooms, Spackle and paint, dumpsters full of rubbish.
Multiple trips to the Home Depot, and hardware store.
Hauling 'new' second hand furniture that Spencer was lucky enough, and wise enough to purchase from a professional decorator that had recently re-married and combined households.
Sure, we had to go about 55 miles from home to the lady's house {one way}, but it was totally worth it!!

Above is a picture of the fireplace after countless hours of scrubbing.
The "After" picture.
 Brooke, took on the task of making the old fireplace sparkle, and uncover the beauty that lay beneath decades of soot and ash.
She is amazing!
On her hands and knees, bucket and scrub brush in hand and bottle of "Awesome"... scrubbing away.
Layer by layer, uncovering beautiful fired ceramic tile. Art Deco style and with a beautiful patina.
 "Before" fireplace.  So much grime, soot, and ash.
Such a shame really, that it fell into such dis-repair, and neglect.
 "Before" picture of the fire place. You can see that there are a few badly damaged hearth tiles that will need to be repaired, or replaced.
 After: Looking towards the sitting area, from the living room.  This room is really quite large.  Approximately 30 feet long.
You can also see the beautiful detail of the coved ceilings.
What a tremendous amount of work this space has been.
 My sweet husband, and Brooke spent hours and hours on ladders, scrubbing the soot off of the ceiling and pulling hundreds of staples out of the ceiling trim.  Then it had to be painted twice with high quality paint, with built in primer. 
Turned out amazing!
 During:  The above picture is of the built in China cabinet in the dining room.
Spencer has been working on it for a few days.
He really wants to get his sea-glass colored goblets in it.
 Sea-glass colored goblets.  Set of 10
"Hand blown" by his "dear friend" that cannot be replaced if broken, because "sadly his friend passed away".
That's the provenance that Spencer is sticking with.
He's put the fear of death in everyone, if they are ever break one of his goblets.

Even though, we were fortunate enough to find the goblets at a thrift store.
He is "wise beyond his years"!
He looks for bargains, and is able to see the value in recycling items, and saving the difference in price.
So proud of him!
Spencer , gingerly washing his favorite goblets.

I cannot wait to get started on his kitchen.  Of course we need to paint EVERYTHING.  Re-glaze the sink, put in a new faucet, caulk windows, re-surface his counter tops... etc.. etc... etc...

Of course there is a certain type of person that takes on a renovation. 
A person that wishes to bring new life to vintage homes,  to see an old home gain the respect and admiration that it once had.

" I am as susceptible to houses
as some people are susceptible to
other human beings. Twice  in my life
I have fallen in love with one.
Each time it was as violent and fatal
as falling in love with a human being"
            ~Katherine Butler Hathaway, the journals and letters of the Little Locksmith

To all of us who just can't help it,
who would still rather live in
and old house even after fixing one up,
remember the words of the poet:

"He who loves an old house
never loves in vain."
                ~ Isabel La Howe Conant, "Old House"

So, there you have it.
I will be working away.
Helping Spencer bring back the charm of his old house.
Of course, I plan on posting more pictures, and filling you all in on the detail.
In the meantime, we are still trying to sell our house, and close this chapter and begin a new one.

Love to all....

Attitude of Gratitude:
~How very grateful I am for the ability to reach, stretch and renovate still!!  Yes.. I feel it deeper in my bones, than I used to... but the ability to do so is a blessing of great worth, that is not lost on me!!
~I'm so grateful for my renovators best friends: diet coke and chocolate.  Bless you diet coke makers, and M&M makers ***smile**.


  1. Oh Kerin! How you have inspired my day! What a joy in reading about your involvement with Spencer's beautiful home! Makes me want to be right there with you guys helping out! Of course, you know I am in the midst of our own reno project! So much character in your son's vintage home....LOVE the fireplace and those white wood floors!!! And of course, the stained glass and built-ins! My cottage unfortunately had some of the character removed but I'm trying to keep as much as possible. We do have some original wood floors but not in all rooms and the flow of the floors is creating a dilemma........! Keep us informed....I thought the sayings are SWEET! Enjoy your diet coke and chocolate~~~Blessings~~~Roxie

  2. Kerin
    I can see that Spenser has chosen a 'character' home.
    I love the details of the fireplace and the built in china cabinet.
    I hope he's proud of himself!! I know you're working hard, but it will be worth it in the end.

  3. Hi Kerin, Congrats to Spencer. Those coved ceiling caught my eye right away. A very beautiful place, and although hard work, it will be fun to watch it become a HOME!

  4. What fun! I love the look of his place and the fireplace turned out amazing! Our daughter and SIL bought a house that needed lots of work and TLC and it was fun helping and watching the transformation.

  5. You passed the "disease" on to your kids. Just joking of course. You've taught them well. As someone who has now renovated 3 old homes, I appreciate all that goes into that. Can't wait to follow along with the transformation.

  6. Way to go Spencer! Looks spectacular.

    Can't wait to see more.

    M :)

  7. Wow, that fireplace was a diamond in the rough! I can only imagine the work that went into getting it like that beautiful. I love old homes, you just can't beat the charm, but I know all the work involved. It'll be worth it.

  8. Oh my goodness, you folks are incredible!! That fireplace is amazing. And stunning. And your work on it is wonderful. I can not WAIT to see more photos of various projects in this new fantastic home. What a treat! The ceilings are divine, so so lovely.
    I wanted an old house. One with character and individuality. I live in a cookie cutter home, and I do love it, but I have always wanted a home with personality.
    Oh, so I suppose I get to live through you!

  9. Oh wow what a difference. The fireplace is beautiful.
    I also love the built in cabinets.

  10. What a inspiration this is. Spencer for sure and the family team working together to bring life to this beautiful home is very inspiring. Love the goblets! Look forward to more pictures.

  11. Congratulations to Spencer. His home is going to be awesome with all that hard work that you have all been doing. I love the china cabinet and the fireplace! I didn't know you were trying to sell your place. I thought you just fixed it up along with the barn.
    Thanks for stopping by and your sweet comment on my note cards. I know you love sunflowers. :0)

  12. Oh, Spencer's home is so wonderful and how exciting for him and you all! Beautiful goblets, too and the built in china cabinet is my favorite. Have a fabulous week Kerin! xo Heather

  13. Girl, you KNOW my heart is just singing with joy! Tears of joy and some sadness are streaming down my face right now. We have another contract on Tallulah... and, I met the lady yesterday during the inspection... when I realized how much she loves this grand old girl, I broke down in sobs... not just tears, sobs. I can't tell you how much it means to me to pass her on to someone else who will continue to love her. Spencer delights my soul, as we have discussed before. I LOVE that you have passed on this love, Kerin. Just love it!! His home is looking awesome. BIG HUGS and blessings to all of you ~ tanna

  14. I really enjoyed seeing this your work in this old house, and I look forward with anticipation to see the changes to the kitchen.


  15. I've so enjoyed reading about Spencer's home and seeing the photos of the renovations! That fireplace is amazing and I love the ceilings and built in china cabinet. There is just so much character in an older home that I think is lacking, for the most part, in newer homes. I love his goblets, too! Have fun with the house redo, even tho I know it is tiring. M&Ms have saved many a day for me, too!

  16. My goodness, you have been BUSY! All that hard work, and I'm sure it will all be beautiful when you're finished. I love those sea glass goblets!

  17. What a wonderful post. I enjoy reading about renovations and you have done a beautiful job. Wishing Spencer many happy and healthy years in this lovely home.

  18. OMG! We were separated at birth! If I was a millionaire that is exactly what I would do! I have fixed up some old "diamonds in the rough" but now I am stuck in this old ranch with yucky carpeting and with no energy or money to do much...such is life but hopefully soon I will move on.
    You are doing such a beautiful job and and bless you all for helping each other. You have gotten so much done and the love and hard work shows! I can't wait to see more pictures. I'm so excited for your son.....and thank you for the quote above! I am framing that one!
    What a wonderful family you have!

  19. Looks like you've been busy! It's going to be great when it's done. Lots of work but so fun to work with your family and such a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Mimi

  20. What a great house! I love homes with character. And you have a good eye for renovation!

  21. Hi Karen,
    What a great makeover. Love it. And you won my drawing, so send me your address. TA-DA!
    Nancy Jo

  22. Wow, a lot of work, but worth it. Sounds like me when I bought my house. So much work, but now it's my haven in a stormy world.

  23. My parents always fixed up older houses (while living in them!) so I learned to love the process! I too am a fixer-upper!

    I am amazed by the beauty of that living room!

  24. You have done a totally wonderful job! I have scrubbed black and ash like that and it is just hard, hard work. It looks so pretty now and so bright.
    I wish I could send you lots and lots of warm weather to melt your snow.


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