Today marks the nine year anniversary of the day Alex and I took ownership of our home, and thus embarked on this crazy journey of renovation adventures and misadventures. It's hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since we were bright eyed and bushy tailed twenty-somethings, ready to take on the world...and take on the renovation of an ugly Victorian in desperate need of some TLC. 

In honor of our house-iversary, we wanted to take a moment today to look back at where we started, and appreciate just how far we've come. It's been years of hard work, perseverance, challenges, and successes, but it's a journey we'd start all over again (at least I feel like that today, no telling what I might say on another day). We hope you'll come along with us for our look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let's start with a side-by-side of the exterior of our home. Our home certainly had potential. But with a new coat of paint, a new set of cast iron stairs for both our and our neighbor's homes, and our big vestibule reconfiguration project of 2011, we think we've made big strides as far as curb appeal goes. We're still sorry that we lost the big old tree out front, but have hopes that in a few years our new guy will do us proud. 

Moving on, let's take a look at the vestibule tile. What once greeted visitors was tired, dirty, and cracked green and black marble. We freshened up the look last year by installing a marble basket weave tile that picks up the black of our new french doors and cast iron stairs, as well as the warm neutrals of our interior paint scheme.

The old carpet on our staircase was NAS-TAY! Within only about 15 minutes of owning our home, we ripped that sucker off, exposing beautiful heart pine treads. WIth a harlequin paint treatment, salvaged leaded glass window, and custom wainscoting, we're thrilled with the new look of our entryway. 

Here's another look at our downstairs hallway, this time looking toward the front door. We're so glad we reconfigured the vestibule in 2011 in order to flip flop the location of the solid front door and french doors. What we have now is historically accurate, functions better because the front door actually opens all the way, is more visually interesting and provides more depth from the outside. 

Walking towards the front of the house this is a view of the living room and dining room, seen from our family room. The "double parlor" configuration had us stumped at first. But after living in our home for several years, we decided it would make more sense to have the formal living room and dining room at the front, rather than an awkward "double" living room without a comfortable configuration for television viewing.  

Standing in the entry hall looking into the living room once left you seriously underwhelmed. The original fireplace mantels were soot covered and discolored. We decided to paint them in the same off-white as the rest of the woodwork in our home for a more cohesive look. 

Seen here is a view of the mantel and window in our dining room. As you can see, the previous owner used the front two rooms as a true double parlor. We use them now as an adjacent living room and dining room. We completed a total renovation of the room, which included painting the mantel and ripping out that hideous air intake to make room for floor length curtains. 

What the former owner used as an office is now our family room. Television viewing is something we like to do a lot here at Old Town Home. (Maybe that's why we're not finished renovating after nine years?) So a few years in, we changed this room from what we were using as a dining room to the present use as a family/television room. To be perfectly honest, it's also the room we eat most of our meals in. 

If you've been following our Inexpensive Kitchen Makeover Series, you'll know that we were less than thrilled with the kitchen we purchased back in 2003. The biggest challenge? Having just sunk our life savings into the down payment, we didn't have a surplus of cash to complete a "real" kitchen renovation. Painting the cabinets and using a textured spray paint to refinish the countertops made a huge improvement right off the bat. 

Take a peek at the backyard "before" and "now." Did anyone notice that I didn't say "after"? What we have now is a perfectly comfortable outdoor entertaining space -- but we have big plans several years down the road to rip out the uneven brick and shoddy beds to create something spectacular. Only time will tell on this project, but we hope you'll hang around to watch our progress on this one.

Our upstairs hallway was sterile and unappealing when we moved in. Plaster, paint, rugs, crown molding, a new light fixture, and some personal accessories make it a space we happily enjoy walking through on the way to our bedroom.

Speaking of our bedroom, I can hardly believe the photo I snapped during our home inspection (at left) is the same room that we lay our heads each night. The new closet space, complete with a hers shoe closet (thanks honey!), makes me just giddy. I'm sure we'll do a post or two on it at some point in the future. When we do I'll gladly show it all off.

Our old guest bathroom would have made Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy and Rose feel at home. But this 1980s monstrosity had to go. What was once our guest bathroom is now both our guest bathroom and office (can anyone say wasted space?). Two things are for sure, we are using and loving every square inch of it and don't miss the old bath one bit. 

And finally we bring you to our guest bedroom, formerly known as "the crappy B&B." Alex and I lived in the back bedroom for a full year while renovating our bedroom, and it was gross. The walls were baby pink and cracked. We're not sure why it took us eight years to tackle this one, but last year's quick spruce up took us from crappy to happy in a couple short weekends. And we reused our old bathroom door as a headboard in the process. I'll call this a win.

So there you have it -- an abbreviated review of what we've been up to the last nine years. I guess you could say we've been busy, but we've been busy doing what we love. And even though we have a long way to go, I'd say we're well on our way to making our 15 foot wide Victorian a place we call home. 

So what do you think? Are we on our way? Anything you love (or hate)? Any projects you see that you're dying to know more about? Any projects you're working on in your home? Just let us know. 

If you're interested in more photos of our house through someone else's lens, check out our home tour on Apartment Therapy from last November. 

Comments 27


1/17/2012 at 10:58 AM
I love these before/after photos - just incredible!
Thanks, Justin. Your interest in our renovation and comments on Facebook was actually one of the reasons we started the blog, so thanks for that. Glad to be sharing now, and excited for all we have left to do (which is an amazingly long list of items).
1/28/2017 at 6:09 PM

Love the redo! What color paint did you use in the guest bathroom with the basketweave tile floor?

1/17/2012 at 12:28 PM
I love absolutely everything you guys have done with your home. And it makes me realize that our house will be beautiful one day too!

I do want to ask - do you notice Lulu leaving scratches in the treads of your stairs? If so, do you just deal with it or is one person more bothered by it than the other?
Thanks so much!

Lulu is actually DESTROYING our stairs. The last step from the bottom has so many scratches it in now. She runs down the stairs as fast as she can and then jumps off of the last tread. I'm very upset by it, actually. But it's one of those things where I'd rather have her than not have her. She is also so bad about getting her nails trimmed (she freaks out) that we can't keep them short enough. So we're just going to have to live with it. If it gets bad enough, we might put down a runner that lets the sides still show through. Not sure yet. For now I'll just look at it as another character building item in our house. They'll sand out if we need them to, and we could refinish the treads, but for now, we'll live with it.
1/17/2012 at 12:44 PM
Puppy toenails are the worst! Molly also hate getting her nails clipped and so she 'clicks' and I know her nails are scratching the hardwood floors. Oh well, love her anyhow.
I hate hearing the clicking too but like you we love our girl. There's no way we would trade her in to have pristine floors.
1/17/2012 at 1:27 PM
Amazing!!! I love your paint colors and love, love, love the wainscotting. You have a beautiful home. If you ever feel like taking your trim talents out to rockville, let me know!! I want wainscotting like that in my hall. :)
Thanks so much Kristin! We're happy to help when we're done with our place. How does 2020 sound? ;-)
maureen brady Johnson
1/17/2012 at 1:28 PM
I am so glad you did this! The photos are spectacular...the improvement in each and everyone of them is just wonderful. The time and care you have taken is wonderful to an "older" person such as is just so hopeful that "old" can be beautiful.
Thanks so much Maureen! As they say, "like a fine wine..." :-)
1/17/2012 at 1:57 PM
LOVE it! Can't wait to see the post about the shoe closets :)
1/17/2012 at 5:36 PM
Whew - I'm glad I'm not the only one! Tassy is destroying our stairs, too, and it drives Mike up the wall after the work of rebuilding and refinishing them. I've thrown out the runner option to him, but he hates carpet. So we live with it because we love her to pieces!
Spencer Koch
1/17/2012 at 7:15 PM
I'd like to hear the story behind painting the mantel downstairs. bad wood? didn't fit the decor?
A little bit of both Spencer. Soot stained wood that was worth "sacrificing" in the name of a lighter look. We thought long and hard about it first though. Painting old wood isn't something we take lightly.
1/17/2012 at 7:46 PM
Really neat to see side by side photos. Looking forward to seeing the backyard plans because I actually think it looks pretty cool already (of course, that could have something to do with the fact my new backyard was purchased full of trash...slowly but surely...). Good luck!
Thanks Rachel! We really enjoy our backyard in its current state, but admittedly we don't have the greenest thumbs. I can't wait to really dig in back there and make some improvements. A new master bathroom and kitchen are going to have to come first though!
1/17/2012 at 8:15 PM
Your home is an awesome renovation. It has taken me forever to read your post because I wanted to read about your projects to which you have linked. I just discovered you yesterday. I'm looking forward to following your future projects and catching up on your previous projects. You are an inspiration.
Wow, thanks so much Tee! We're so glad you found us and welcome!
1/18/2012 at 9:45 AM
You all have accomplished some major milestones in those 9 years! I only hope we can come half as far as you have in that amount of time. We're coming up on three years and we're already one year behind where we had hoped to be at this point. I guess that's life when you're restoring an old house.

Very nice work on all of the rooms!
6/5/2012 at 2:39 PM
I absolutely LOVE the teal door on the outside! It looks amazing with the black colonial doors - it's old fashioned and modern at the same time. Awesome!
Thanks so much, Laura! I have to say, the teal is a color that makes me smile everytime I walk through the door. :-)
6/19/2013 at 4:49 PM
Are the hardwood floor original? They are stunning!
10/22/2015 at 4:28 PM

The kitchen could have three photos - before, after, and after!
So cool.

12/29/2016 at 10:50 PM

What is the paint color in the guest bath renovation?

Nicole Harris
10/21/2018 at 7:07 AM

Beautiful! Question: what grout color did you use for the basket weave tile in the bathroom?

Thank you in advance!

1/5/2019 at 3:05 PM

Love everything you've done with this charming old home.Can you tell me where you got the wainscoting in the teal bathroom? Love it!

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