Hello and welcome to Old Town Home. We're Wendy & Alex, two long time DIYers who happen to have a love of old homes, an appreciation for a job done right, and some crazy ideas of what we can handle ourselves.
If this is your first time on Old Town Home, or if you've found yourself here several times and want to learn a little more about us, we've put together a guide that will help you to start navigating our website. And remember, if you follow a link to another section of the site, you can always get back to this page by clicking on the "First Time Here?" link to the right.
Even though we begun our renovation 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 Old House Journal, Northern Virginia Magazine and The Washington Post Express. We were even a winner of eCollegeFinder's Top DIY Blog Award and a finalist in Apartment Therapy's 2013 Homies for Best Home Projects & DIY Blog.
Though our blog is about our life and DIY adventures, the central character to this website is our 1880's Victorian row house. Starting with the "Our Home" navigation link is the best place to go. There you can learn a little bit about our house, the historic district in which it is located, and why it is important to us.
Once you know a little about hour house, a collection of before photos is always fun to peruse. We took a whole bunch during our home inspection, and even we like to go back and look at them to see how far we've come.
Nice to Meet You
We are a couple of high school sweethearts who've been together since 1995, and married since 2002. We grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio area, went to school at Miami University (yes, the one in Ohio, no the weather wasn't always sunny and nice, and yes Miami was a school before Florida was a state), moved to Alexandria, just outside of DC, for work in 2000, and fell in love with Old Town Alexandria within weeks of our arrival.
We were bitten by the DIY renovation bug when we realized the potential old houses held, the fact we wouldn't be able to afford a house that didn't need a lot of work, and the fact that we are a little bit Type A and can't stand when stuff isn't done "right."
Just like any good contractor working on a house, we consider ourselves our very own construction crew. And to be sure nobody feels left out, our pets Mel and Lulu are all part of the crew too. Be sure to drop by our "About Us" page to read about each crew member (both two- and four-legged) that has a daily hand in this story.
You know what they say, "Location, Location, Location!" Shortly after we moved to the DC area we knew Old Town Alexandria was our place to be. We never lived in an urban environment growing up and we were fascinated by the idea of row house city living.
Beyond the idea, Old Town Alexandria has everything you could possibly want: shopping, dining, entertainment, activities, proximity to a major city but still a small town feel, and it's all within walking distance. The homes and architecture are also unique and beautiful. In fact, Wendy is a licensed real estate agent in Virginia, and specializes in Old Town as well as the other neighborhoods of Alexandria.
Old Town often takes center stage on the blog, and it isn't because we're trying to brag about it. We want our readers to know the kind of wonderful place in which we live so maybe they'll come visit someday and we can run into them during a farmer's market, evening out at one of our favorite restaurants, or at one of our many local parades.
Since we put up new content every day, Monday through Friday (and even sometimes on the weekends), paging back through old posts can get a little overwhelming, so we've created a calendar page that shows each post by day. This page will let you look through each day's posts for the topics you are most interested in without having to click through tons of pages. Hopefully you'll find it extremely useful.
Here at Old Town Home, we like themes. I'm not sure why, we just do. It doesn't matter if we are decorating for our most favorite holiday of the year (ahem, Halloween), or if we're watching the unexpected neighborhood window decor (dressing up toy llamas is all the rage you know), we like a good theme. Luckily, we have several recurring theme-type posts that just make us happy. We hope you like them too.
- Toolbox Tuesday - We love tools here at Old Town Home, and Alex really loves tools, so we try to write every week about a tool or two that we've had some experience with and we think might be particularly useful to you.
- Open Housing - We also love to visit open houses in our historic neighborhood, and play a little game we call "Would you trade?" As the name implies, it's a money no object option to trade our current home for the one we just toured. The results might surprise you.
- Ask Old Town Home - Where we answer your burning questions. If you have a question about any of our projects, need some advice on one of your projects, or are looking for some additional info on any of the random things we talk about, drop us a line.
Major and Minor Projects
We link to many of our most significant projects, regardless of size under the "Projects & Tutorials" page (go figure). These include the various DIY renovation efforts we've undertaken, the quick items we've covered, and the things we are particularly proud of and have a burning desire to show off.
We're constantly adding to these sections as we tackle more things in and around our house, so those areas should be changing fairly consistently.
One thing we don't have right now is a very significant Before & After gallery (but we're working on it). Until then as have a simple post that should do a decent job in outlining some of the most significant changes our house has seen in a room by room fashion.
One of the questions we get more than just about any other question when we tell people we live in a house that is 125 years old is "So...is your house haunted?" In no way are we saying "Yep, haunted house here, call in the boys from TAPS," but we have had our fair share of unexplained things that go bump in the night. Around Halloween we shared a few of these stories here on the good old blog, and one of them we even went ahead and loosely credit to the original owner of our home, Mrs. Bryan. We also shared a couple of incidences as they happened on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We've got a few more tales yet to tell, but I think we're going to wait until next Halloween to tell you about those stories. But haunted or not, it doesn't really matter, it's all in good fun.
This may sound a little odd, but among our friends, this is what we're known for. When we do things, we try to not only do them right, but perhaps even consistently and methodically overdo them. We're sort of the "It goes to eleven" type of DIYers. This fact is evident by our seeming need to strip paint from every surface of our home only to repaint, our relentless searching for years just to find the right set of doors or hardware to complement the period of our home, or the need to construct a DIY basement server rack and install computer controlled lighting throughout the entire house. Yes, we're serious, we did that, and we'd do it again.
There You Have It
We hope we've properly thrown out the welcome mat for you and you feel like a virtual house guest of ours. We've been having a lot of fun sharing our adventures and learning more about all of our readers' experiences. It helps when we're taking forever on a project to know that our readers have been there, done that, and lived to tell about it. If you've made it to this point in our welcome, we're hopeful you'll be a new regular around here. After all, nothing makes a blog feel more like home than the friends that we see day in and day out.
We'll See You Around,
Alex & Wendy... (and Mel & Lulu too)