About The Blog - Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

About The Blog

Plaster.  Marriage.  Remodeling.  Gardening.  Sinks.  Paint.  Demolition.  Reading.  Writing.  Construction.  Laughing.  Dirt.  Dust.  Mess.  Sheetrock. Frustration.  Renovation.  Tile.  Noise.  Progress.  Lack of progress.  Joy.  Failure.  Faucets. Flooring.  Disappointment.  More noise.  Restoration.  Old stuff.  New stuff.  Budget.  Over budget.  Chaos. Obsession.  Panic.  Hilarity.

Over two years ago, my husband and I bought an old house.

Husband and wife restoring an old house.  Construction, DIY home remodeling.

We moved from a pristine, Arts and Crafts, 1920’s home.  To a disaster 1890’s Victorian.
We have lived here while rehabbing.

It has been:
Good
Bad
Ugly
Heroic
Beautiful
Extraordinary
Crazy-making
Horrendous
Fantastic

The Internet has become part of my life in a way that it wasn’t before. The last two years, I’ve spent an insane amount of time hunched over the computer. The access to ideas, inspiration, fixtures, tile, advice… has been invaluable.

The sites I’ve found most valuable are personal, house-centered blogs.  The ones with actual content. And actual homes, with real projects, real experiences, and real limitations. Not just gorgeous pictures and pristinely decorated, unattainable spaces.

I found myself wanting to be a part of that experience—to share the process of what we are doing with our home, with people who are similarly inclined.
I’m so glad you’re here!
Victoria
April, 2012

**once you subscribe, you have to look for a confirmation email… complicated, I know.

30 Comments

  1. City Maman

    Your blog is hysterical and you are living my dream: renovating an old house into a dream mansion (I’m obsessed with the Property Brothers on HGTV). I’m following you from now on… Once you’re done with that one, we’re hire you for our own house / Tribeca-loft-that-we-need-to-find :)
    Thanks for liking my blog, we are definitively working on our own madness project: raising a child in Manhattan!!

    thekidsandthecity.com

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      I will say this—living the dream is *significantly* different than the actual dream. I thought I understood that concept in an abstract way… but now I can say with absolute certainty, that I understood nothing.

      And? I REALLY need a behind-the-scenes crew to make this come together in time for the next commercial break…
      p.s.- your gravatar image is so charming.

      Reply

  2. Julia at Home on 129 Acres

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, Victoria. I’m so glad to receive the direction back to your corner of the reno-DIY universe. The tone of your writing is fabulous. I’ll definitely be back!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      When I saw the photo of your mountain of sheetrock/construction debris… I felt right at home. It’s always nice to see that other people have the same version of “normal,” as we do.

      Reply

  3. Loni Found Herself

    You look fantastic, too!

    I love everything about this. Well done! Can’t wait to read more.

    Reply

  4. Apartment Envy

    I nominated you for One Lovely Blog award today!

    http://aptenvy.com/2012/09/12/one-lovely-blog-award/

    Love your blog! :D

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Hey! Thanks!! I will have to work on my “acceptance post.” You set the bar kind of high for that…

      Reply

      • Apartment Envy

        You’re too kind! You’re such a great writer (hence the award) so I know you’ll be great!

        Reply

  5. crazyinsuburbia

    OK. You may live to regret ever liking my post about my best friend, and following me, because now I’m freaking obsessed, OBSESSED I say, with your blog! You are doing what I’ve not been able to convince my husband to do. That is, buying an old house and bringing it back to life. Jealous much. Just know I’ll be living vicariously through you, and checking in regularly.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Your husband may simply be smarter than I am. If he has any concept of how much work is involved. OR if he thinks you might turn into a maniac (I’m not pointing fingers here, just saying how surprised my own husband was at my instant transformation…) He may be protecting you from yourself. Or he may want to keep some semblance of a life… Lol.

      Reply

  6. R.

    Just found your blog and it’s fantastic. I’m enjoying your old-house adventures and your posts make me smile.

    Reply

  7. D'Arcy H

    Just found your blog through Freshly Pressed. Keep up the good work! We are renovating our Craftsman bunglaow near Seattle, and I feel your pain! And your joy, and your frustration … and your pride. I’ve just started blogging about our experience, too. Hoping that writing about it will keep us motivated, as we are the slowest renovators ever. I’m looking forward to exploring your site!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      When we moved here, I imagined a process that was organized and timely and efficient. All words that are the opposite of any experience I’ve actually had.

      Slow. Agonizing. Those are better words… If anything, I’ve found that I enjoy the process of blogging about it WAY more than the actual project!!

      Good luck with your house. In the end it’s worth it… Right?

      Reply

  8. alewyfe

    I ended up here while looking for ways to win the not-yet-an-argument with my partner over marble tile vs. quarry tile for our bathroom. Yes, quarry tile, which until now I had been ok with… so practical! And easy to clean! And the fellow, he is a little rough on surfaces and lax with cleaning. So he’s probably right… but he saw the marble, and showed it to me and it was on sale and we put a hold on it… and I pictured our amazing future bathroom and imagined showering in it and suddenly NOTHING ELSE WOULD DO and the quarry tile would look exactly like a McDonalds, which is how I was feeling when he called from the material store, ready to pick up our pallet of luxury but for his cold feet, and his friend’s impromptu iphone research, and we weren’t getting the tile after all. Sigh. Back to the drawing board, and hanging insulation, and trying not to step through the hole(s) in the floor on the way to the coffeepot in the morning. But on the flip side, you made me laugh… especially the part about the respirator and the sledgehammer and the absurdity of it all. So, thanks… and good luck!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Yup… the pain of separating from “marble attachment.” I know it well. Also the fear of inadvertently building a McDonalds bathroom…

      Choosing our tile was truly miserable. In the end, I think it was worth it… but I really did spend a *crazy* amount of time/energy/brain power devoted to it. And I cannot say I managed to stay on the side of an “almost” argument.

      And? EVEN though I KNOW better… I am now considering marble for our kitchen counters. I KNOW this is lunacy… but like you said, once it gets in your head, nothing else will do.

      Reply

  9. Shannon

    I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blog Award. Check out the deets here: http://thefoodiefarmer.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/huh-who-knew/

    Reply

  10. TINA

    YOUR BLOG IS HYSTERICAL !!! WE HEAR YOUR DILEMMA FROM MOST EVERY CUSTOMER THAT HAS BEEN TO OTHER TILE STORES, THEN WHEN THEY VISIT US, FEEL RELIEVED !! WE WELCOME EACH AND EVERYONE AS LONG LOST FRIENDS, LISTEN TO THEIR NEEDS AND MAKE THE PROCESS PAINLESS AND FUN, AS IT SHOULD BE. THIS IS THE EYE CANDY THAT MAKES THEIR PROJECT SPARKLE. WE TAKE PRIDE IN EVERY PROJECT WE WORK ON, SINCE OUR NAME WILL BE ASSOCIATED WITH IT.
    LOVED YOUR DOCUMENTARY !!

    Reply

  11. Kathy

    Just read your piece about that gigantic antique mirror you found on Craigslist and subscribed while crying with laughter. I don’t follow any blogs but my husband and I bought an 1890s Victorian back in 2007 and while we have done more decorating than demolition at this point, I share your love for beautiful old things and your need to get your hands on as many of them as possible. Most of my best finds have come from my local antique flea market but now I am going to pay more attention to Craigslist. Don’t worry; I am in MA so I won’t be stealing any of your future treasures! Best of luck with your beautiful house!

    Reply

  12. Terri

    A friend directed me to your blog saying, she’s one of us!! We have a small group of friends on a social networking site that love the holidays, decorating, children, cooking… and we enjoy sharing our lives with one another! I enjoyed your piece on the mirror. Right now I am building a home, starting in July, and I am sure that will be an adventure for my husband and me. Looking forward to reading more posts on your blog!

    Reply

  13. Keely

    Oh man, I’m bawling with laughter. We’ve spent the past 4 years fixing up a house of indeterminate origin, so I feel ya on the adventures. But also? That Craigslist/your family consists of insane enablers convo? Weekly occurrence ’round here. (SO happy to have found your blog.)

    Reply

  14. Wendy S.

    Hi! I’m new here, and figured that after reading about 6 of your blog articles already, and having about another 6 in different tabs, that I’d leave a comment to say thanks. You’ve given me a lot of laughs this morning, and inspiration to go crazy (in a good way) So thanks for that, I look forward to reading more!

    Reply

  15. Betsy

    I LOVE seeing this picture! The original BLUE in this window room, made me sad and cry along with the ceiling that needed to be redone in those pictures with the ladder in it…This looks so absolutely serene and calm and vivacious and exciting all at the same time! It’s that Narnia effect in the attic!!!! I would lay there in front of that window all day, reading a book….or at least DREAM of laying in front of that window all day with a good book….on a rainy day…while lying on a feather bed…with candles…and Oooo …we should put a firepace up there in that other part of the room…Yeah, IT WOULD be so COOL! …AND…..yeah….you and me and that idea train that races through our imaginations!
    Hearts,
    Betsy

    Reply

  16. Wesley

    Hi, I just found your blog and it is amazing! I love your writing, and I love your mirrors. This may sound odd, but your writing makes me feel like I can take on anything. And live to tell the tale. Weird, but true!

    Reply

  17. Katie Cooney

    Cracked up with the finding of treasure. That 15ft mirror is so rockin’ I would have had a total seizure! And baby where there’s a will there’s a way. When I find a treasure the last thing I’m worried about is “how to get it home.” Come on it’s 2013! Good for you girl. Our home is a small cottage in a village called Willow Glen otherwise known as Silicon Valley. The woman who had the home before was also a color junkie. Crazy stuff.

    Thanks for the Sunday chuckle!
    Katie

    Reply

  18. Nicki

    My goodness, you made me laugh! I think our husbands may be related…mine also will eventually cave to my renovation lunacy (latest project-installing polished granite tile with epoxy grout in our 27 x 10′ kitchen~ “We have HOW long to use each batch of grout?? 55 min?? Are you kidding me?””I’m helping, it will be fine…..”) I have subscribed, as I love to laugh, and I love to renovate…you are my new hero!

    Reply

  19. Anne

    I just spent an entire morning reading ALL your posts, some of them twice. My previous house, a bungalow gem, was decorated entirely off Craigslist. My husband and I bought our current house last November. 1907, shabby but livable, much like yours. However, I have one thing that you don’t have: a badly installed jacuzzi-tub and mirrored walls on a third floor that could be my ballroom. It’s hideous.
    My husband, Dan (my version of Paul), is currently working on cabinets and a fermentation area in the cellar (homebrewed beer is another whole subject). That is his priority, and since he does most of the work, he (sometmes) gets to decide what to work on.
    Next, the butler’s pantry. Then, the backyard. Then, the kitchen, which is where we run out of money.
    I live in a fabulous, shabby house, in construction chaos, with no end in sight. I look forward to reading about your kitchen dilemmas and decisions. You make it sound so much more entertaining than it really is!

    Reply

  20. vito andolini

    I was navigating through construction blogs and found yours. Read your informative and creatively written blogs and i find them amazing. great work victoria

    Reply

  21. Martha

    Hi Victoria
    I’ve just spent 30 minutes hidden in my office browsing your blog. I even locked the door so the kids can’t interrupt my thinking (ok, maybe it’s been an hour). It’s been a joy discovering your ideas, experiences and successes. I can relate to the elation and frustration you write about. Over the course of 9 years, we remodeled an entire house in Aptos, CA, only to put it on the market three months after it was “done”. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected NINE years to get it just right, much less let some other family enjoy it. During that time, I kept track of purchases in Quicken, (I actually use Quicken like a marital diary – my husband and I have used it since our first year of marriage and it tells us what we’ve done and how much it cost since 1998). But, I have never had the guts to run the report to see what my remodeling Grand Total was. Sometimes I thought that was a sign of unhealthy financial management, others I figured it would assay the guilt of not having recouped a nickel when the house sold (it was bad timing, not bad design). Now, we’re settled in a new town, in a new house. Experience had told us to find the “perfect house” that needed “no work”. Apparently nine years and gobs of money did nothing to satiate the need to redesign, repaint, remove, redo. I even avoid using certain rooms as a way to hold back the temptation. But at the end of the day, I know it’s just a matter of time before I start picking off the wallpaper that gives everyone vertigo. And I’m just thankful for all the people who do really weird (can I say stupid?) things to houses that I get to change (fix?) and pour my heart into. Thanks for your writing and the energy it takes to create this wonderful blog. I really admire you… Martha

    Reply

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