Sunday, March 22, 2015

Around the house updates...

We are unsure exactly when we'll get to installing a new front door and door surround on our new house, but one thing we knew we wanted to do right away was remove the plaster and lathe. 

This will make the 'one day' much less messy, which is especially important since by then, we'll be living in the house. 

The plans for the front door are to replace the existing (not original) broken door (which is irreparable) with a new solid new wood door accompanied by side lights. 


As you can also see from the above photo, we haven't installed the new stair railing yet. It was either the stair railing or the front door (budget wise) and we chose the stair railing simply for safety issues.

We had a meeting a few days ago to go over the new design and this is what that meeting looked like. 

The railing that was in the house had some structural issues. It was also not original or period appropriate to the house. We are replacing the bulky newel posts and chunky balusters with a hand-over railing (no caps above handrail) and thinner, more elegant balusters. 

Balusters during the Federal period were most often square, though they were also sometimes round, with a taper towards the top. We are in the process of trying to figure out which we'll use (a balance of cost and aesthetics). 

Our mason Edward and his assistant Andrew continue to restore and repair the chimneys. They finished the west chimney, and are currently working on the east chimney in the master bedroom. 

These repairs set the stage for use of the fireplaces in the future.

Another element of the renovation that offered a huge leap forward was the installation of the drywall in rooms whose walls had been demolished or rearranged. This photograph shows our new mudroom.

Next door, here is our future laundry room. The washer and dryer go in the right corner, with a utility sink to the left next to the window.

Downstairs bathroom. 

 Upstairs bathroom, with the mystery window on the left. 

The photographs may make it all seem fluid and streamlined but as you all know, it is hard work. The decisions, the decisions are many. Exhaustingly so. 

And although we feel as if we've hit the 'light at the end of the tunnel' mark - we also feel as if there is so much more to do.

To stay calm, I try and focus on the part I enjoy the most. And that is when we are living in the house and I can putter around from room to room (at my own pace) moving art work around, placing furniture here and there...Changing my mind with ease (something that is hard to do with the bigger things). 

That is my favorite part of the renovation process by far. And unfortunately, the part the comes last, after all the funds have been depleted. 

But I am still looking forward to it, no matter the form. 


Despite some snow yesterday, we are feeling that Spring is in the air. We have mud on our boots to prove it! 


  1. I love reading about the updates on your house. It 'll be beautiful in the end. Do you have an estimated date for move-in?---Best regards from WA!!

    1. It's constantly changing...We keep saying next month, but then it gets pushed back, etc.

  2. Happy Spring to you and yours. Looking forward to all you inspire your new home with. It's really showing off its beautiful foot print and its awaiting the furnishings to complete its home country home grace.



  3. Slow and arduous and no doubt with some frustrating days. I have such a hard time imagining a blank space. I don't know how you do it. It will be so lovely in the end, when it reaches that magical point you love. And will be all worth it when your life is no longer on hold!! Xo Terri

  4. I love everything! I am so excited to see the finished project!

  5. Thank you these fascinating posts. It's so interesting to see the bare bones of an old American home and I m looking forward to seeing the 'Phoenix' rise again

  6. Everything is coming along so nicely! I can't imagine the choices. I'm not great when faced with many choices (just ask my husband!) and so I know I would be completely overwhelmed. At least to some degree budget can be a deciding factor in many choices. I really can't imagine restoring an old home to the degree you and Mike are. I commend you for it. I'm looking forward to the day when you are settled in, but am enjoying watching the process of your renovation along the way.

  7. Oh boy: been there, done that with the staircase. When we moved into our home, it had lime green carpeting on the staircase with simple square wood as balusters and flat wood as the railing..hideous! We replaced all and discovered the original wasn't attached properly...and the staircase didn't have the correct height for the risers..Oh, joy.. We went with an over the top handrail, instead of post-to-post since it was more aesthetically pleasing for the house..

    It turned out beautifully...I have no doubt yours will also..

  8. I just love reading all your updates on your new home. It seems that you have found just good craftsmen to help you with your work. Catherine, take a look sometime at Laurie's work on Instagram at "White Flower Farmhouse." (if you haven't already) They are restoring an early 1800's farmhouse on Long Island. I am following yours and her restorations with such interest! What gorgeous homes you will both live in!

  9. Love all these updates, & your design choices.
    I check every two days, even though I know you
    usually post about once a week. lol
    You hit the Nail right on the head ....
    So many Big, Expensive Decisions, must be made
    and the Fun stuff comes at the End when all
    we have left in our pockets is lint. :)
    Thanks for taking us along ~~ Happy Spring, Connie

  10. Hello! I'm sure you've gotten used to this by now with your beautiful work-but I noticed this article on the yahoo homepage using your image (I think) and crediting it to someone else

    1. I saw that as well with no credit to your blog. Deni

  11. Love reading this as we have done or are doing the same here in France. I also love that you are taking the time to redo things in the original style, it makes things harder but the end result will be so much nicer. Thanks for sharing it is fascinating.

  12. Love watching the progress seeing the house become a home.

    PS While still struggling in the UK to find an off white/non cream organic fabric to cover a sofa in I found this website and thought of you as I know the company you brought your duck cloth off could not answer whether it had been treated chemically at all.

    1. Thank you so much Lisa, I look forward to looking at their link!

  13. Noticed the front hall light fixture, is it missing the bell? Or was it removed to keep it safe? It's coming along nicely, yep slow, but it's great progress when you really think about all the work that has happened there. Hoping Spring is coming for you all in the North. Slowly here in mid Atlantic, welcome every degree warmer and sunshine!

    1. Unfortunately, it's missing its bell. From the research I've done, bell jar lights are expensive, even the reproductions. Any good recommendations on where to find them? Best, Catherine

    2. I'll keep my eyes open for you. I love them.

  14. That is the right way to do things for sure. Not only will the new door be the focal point in that house, it is so much easier to get the door in and then take care of all that plaster after the fact. The solid wood doors not only look the best, they are going to be secure as well.


Thank you for leaving your thoughts. Kind regards, Catherine

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...