open house

Our House | Before + After

Three years ago, almost to the day, we made a bid for a century-old house on a corner in the Museum District.  Standing in the front yard, waiting for our turn to go inside the property facing foreclosure, I knew it was meant to be our home.  It took four months to close on what was called a “short sale.”  We took another six months to finalize architectural plans, sell our former home, and gather the finances to begin renovation and restoration.  John and his team spent about a year getting the inside to the point that we could leave the apartment we rented and officially live in the house we had affectionately named “Honor’s Corner.”  We spent an additional year completing the exterior of the home and other projects outside.

This summer has brought a real slow down around here.  We finally just live here.  The construction mess is gone and for the most part the house has settled into the block.  We still get an occasional knock on the siding as passersby, heading to Carytown, try to determine our siding material but for the most part we are just another house on the block.

We have tried to gather photos that best represent the transformation of our home.  Because we opened up the interior, it is impossible to get “Before & After” photos that line up perfectly but you can get the general idea.  Many thanks to Mallory for helping me get this culminating post together and thanks to you for following our journey.  It’s really been meaningful to share this transition with family and friends.



final shot




The wall between the front and center rooms was removed so the living room now opens directly into the kitchen.


We removed the fireplace and added French doors opening to the side porch.




We relocated the stairwell to the center of the house to make room for a foyer, shoe bench, powder room, and coat closet.stairs2






The kitchen and a full bath were at the rear of the house.DSC_0481

We added a row of windows in the kitchen, reconfigured the bath, and made a 1st floor master suite.DSC_0145




The former mud room retained its purpose but we added a laundry area with cabinetry. The hole leads to the cat box!DSC_0535


This is the center room at the top of the stairs.DSC_0722


The attic was opened up in the center of the house to highlight the interesting roof angles and flood the space with natural light.
A loft was added to provide space for additional family members and visitors to sleep.  It houses a full size bed!


better flex room



my room





Beforeep before

Afterep after2







IMG_1838 (1)


Photographs used throughout this blog post are courtesy of Mallory, Alferio Productions, and Adam Goldsmith Architectural Photography

Under Contract!

ImageWhat a happy sight it is to see that sign in our front yard! This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity. If you have ever sold a house you know what a pain it is to make everything perfect and then quickly get out, hoping you didn’t leave a trail of lint or dust behind and that you remembered to lower the toilet seat lids. If you have been following the recent posts you know that we have worked diligently the past several weeks to reduce clutter and pack up for the impending move.

The house was looking pretty tidy and organized. Feeling like we were ready for the market, I sought advice from my good friend Wendy, Interior Decorator and Professional Home Stager, to help me put the finishing touches on every room. Side note: Wendy was the one who coerced me into the attic of the city house. She is a persuasive professional and I followed every one of her hints for making our home inviting and warm. This included removing all signs of pets in the house. Easier said than done considering we have dog beds and toys in every room in addition to multiple bins of specialized diets for all the pets and a cat box! For every showing I had to move all the food dishes and bins to the garage and hide them in a big plastic tote and then load the beds into the back of the van. The cats were left in the house to fend for themselves. We are pretty certain Rocky hid behind the attic sofa and Lily took refuge in the box springs of our bed where she has ripped an entrance way through the fabric underlining. We have been told by our realtor that Timmy made himself visible to our house guests on several occasions. He always has been the the social one of the group.

Friday was insane. Luci suffers from anxiety and arthritis which made being out of the house all day difficult for her and stressful for me. We walked around the neighborhood in the cold for hours, got in and out of the van several times and hit up three separate friends for shelter throughout the day. We were real estate gypsies! Exhausted and stressed by day’s end, I made a reservation at the Holiday Barn for the dogs for Saturday and Sunday. As luck would have it, my 76 year-old father was married on Saturday and I had to be out of town for the entire day. It was a wonderful day for me and my sisters, my Dad and his new wife. Patrick was left at home to secure things for a full day of showings. Erinn was home for spring break and was none to happy to be ushered out of the house at 9AM on her first morning home. Everyone found their own special place to go for the day.

Sunday brought an early morning showing and an afternoon open house. Once again we were gypsies for the day. We went to church, out to lunch, took a long walk, ran some errands and napped in our car around the corner. It was a beautiful day and we had a steady stream of house hunters who arrived early and departed late from the open house. By nightfall we had several options to chose from and went into serious negotiations with one couple in particular.

I really do not like the whole real estate mind game. I could never be a realtor! No poker face here. I wear my heart on my sleeve and am totally transparent. I would rather just get everyone interested in the house together, chat about it and work out a deal with the people that fit the home best. The whole notion of impressing people with my home and negotiating out offers is just not me! Thankfully we have a close family friend who happens to be a dynamite realtor. Alex lead us gracefully through the process and at about 10:30PM we ratified a contract through electronic networks. After just one weekend on the market, we could get back to normal; put the bathmats back in place, leave a dirty dish in the sink and sleep late if we want!

We will close in early May so we are setting sights on finding a rental home for the construction period.