February 2013 - Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

DIY house renovation— a death-defying stunt for your marriage.

Two posts ago, I went back to the beginning of our house renovation—how my husband and I decided to buy an old house and fix it up… a decision based around the front-door’s antique hardware.  And an imaginary before-and-after picture that lived in my head—a picture designed by a DIY-enthusiasm that came from not ever having fixed anything.

We thought it was a good idea to move into a crumbling Victorian house… restore it… do all the work ourselves… while living here.

If you missed:
Part One, we tour the house and decide to buy it.
Part Two, we move, begin renovation, and reality sets in.

This is Part Three, where I realize the true meaning of fixing up an old house.

For the first two years, there were always multiple rooms with “containment issues”  Meaning:  one part was “livable” and the other was trashed.  Destroyed.  An explosion of plaster and lath and 120 years of dust.

And we were always trying to keep the “trashed” part separate.  Or?  One of us was: me.
The other of us thought containment was over-rated.

The other of us thought the ONLY acceptable use of time was action… To wade in and just GO.

Husband and wife DIY renovation of an old Victorian house.  Mess, and dirt are stressful to marriage. Wow. This is totally fascinating… keep reading.

How we got here… Part Two: I reconsider my ideas about house renovation.

The day after moving is usually a time of reorganizing.  Of shuffling boxes around.  Of moving one pile to another…  A time of trying to find basic necessities like towels and the coffee pot.

But instead?  The day after we moved in, Paul woke up at six in the morning.  He built three-stories worth of scaffolding.  Then he strapped himself into a harness and climbed roughly 1,000 feet in the air.

I was like—wow.  This house will be done in NO time.

Restoring our 1890 Victorian home. DIY old house renovation. Finishing and insulating the attic. Frustration. Marriage.

Wow. This is totally fascinating… keep reading.

How we got here… Part One.

This is the first of three posts…Part 2, Part 3.

Over three years ago, my husband and I bought an old house.
There were a lot of reasons… but none of them were necessity.

Our previous house was perfect.  A 1920’s Arts and Crafts cottage — charming and adorable and pristine. Although, woefully undramatic.

Paul had finished every last inch of that house. And he had done it all before he met me.
Which A- demonstrated to me: Paul’s magical fixing ability.
And B- showed me NOT AT ALL: the work involved.

We looked at this Victorian house out of… curiosity?  Possibility?  Because it was there?
Because we are the sort of people who look at houses they do not need?

Because we cannot afford Downton Abbey?

DIY. Restoring an old Victorian house. Victorian wraparound front porch. Color scheme.

Wow. This is totally fascinating… keep reading.