Welcome! We're Alex and Wendy Santantonio, owners and insane DIYers of not one, but two fixer uppers: an 1880s row house in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia as well as a 1908 foursquare, a short drive from DC but what feels like miles away from Beltway life.
Having bought our first house in early 2003 just months after getting married, we purchased our row home in a "bachelor pad" state, having no idea what we were in for. After years of blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention most of our free time and savings, we've decided to share our story of do-it-yourself adventures, in hopes that others can learn from our successes and failures, and be entertained along the way.
After 12 years of homeownership, we were itching for a new project and more space. While the natural thing to do would be to move, we simply couldn't leave behind the home we've lovingly renovated for over a decade. Therefore we decided to take on a new and second project with a completely different feel. Only a year in, we've been faced with more challenges than we bargained for (frozen pipes and toilets throughout the house, nearly six months without running water or HVAC, tick borne illness, tornado scares, and more), but we're not giving up.
Even though we began our renovation journey in 2003, we're somewhat new to the blog scene having started Old Town Home in April of 2011. In this short time, we consider ourselves fortunate to have met so many fellow DIY and design enthusiasts, and have even been lucky enough to have been featured on Apartment Therapy, and in The Washington Post, Old House Journal, Northern Virginia Magazine and The Washington Post Express. We were even a winner of eCollegeFinder's Top DIY Blog Award, a finalist in Apartment Therapy's 2013 Homies for Best Home Projects & DIY Blog, and were named one of the 17 Best DIY Blogs in 2014 by Domino Magazine.
Is it your first time here? Check out our Welcome Page or learn more as we answer FAQs and talk about why we DIY.
"General Contractor, House Nerd"
From his keen woodworking skills to mad plastering abilities, Alex can do it all. Well, everything except deliver on time and under budget. A computer programmer by day, he's sure to go way overkill on the technology aspect of any project.
"Principle Designer, Project Manager"
Responsible for the major decorating decisions as well as keeping projects forging ahead, Wendy has an eye for detail like no other. She is also a licensed realtor in Virginia, and specializes in Old Town as well as the other neighborhoods of Alexandria.
"The Home Inspector"
When not slinking away to sleep on the job, Mel, our 15 year old Scottish Fold, serves as our home’s chief inspector, anxious to examine every ongoing project, tool, dust pile and demolition zone.
The newest member of the crew, Lulu, our six year old Ori Pei (Shar Pei Pug mix), is quickly learning the tricks of the trade and has been eager to help paint and observe whenever possible -- with or without a permit.
When the kids aren't working, they're usually fighting:
In Memory - 2008-2010
"Director of Safety and Security"
In his all too brief time as a member of our renovation crew, our Daug (Dachshund Pug mix) Oliver ensured that the proper safety gear was worn at all times, as well as provided perimeter security of the property. His side hobby was redecorating replastered walls and refinished baseboards...with his teeth.