About Us

Meet Victoria

Charming wife, sometimes shrew. Cat mother, book lover. General contractor, dictator. Loather of noise. Hater of disruption. Gardener, bookcase fetishist. Adorer of the oversized and ornate. Obsessive-compulsive procrastinator. Lover of fashion—wearer of pajama pants. Coveter of architectural salvage. Hoarder of priceless junk.

A blog about renovating and restoring our old Victorian house

Meet Paul

Magician, storyteller, fixer of all things broken. Project engineer, mover of walls, slayer of lath. MadMan, Fred Astaire, voice of reason. Performer of comic skits. One-man demolition crew. Fetcher of giant, unwieldy, Craigslist treasures I cannot live without.

A blog about a husband and wife renovating an old Victorian house

Meet Elvis

Swing vote, lap cat. Leader of the revolution.

A blog about a husband and wife restoring an old house

Bathroom details, Kitchen ideas, Materials, Frustration, Construction…

93 Comments

  1. Fiona
    August 21, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

    You cracked me up. I share your eagerness to search for treasures on CL and whip myself into a frenzy until I can go pick them up, usually without my husband’s knowledge unless I must use his truck…….. the mirror story was EXCELLENT! Kingdom indeed! You scored big on that one.

    Reply

  2. Rebecca Knight, MD
    October 6, 2013 @ 10:57 am

    I had to post your blog on my blog and plus I forgot to check the boxes so I know if you comment back. AND I should have put a blog in the website not my practice. It’s just when you say “your website” I automatically think the one with my name as the location…. I love your blog!!!! It has made me feel so much better about the madness that is our life. We are so much like both of you except we’re a blend of ADHD/OCD. Ok my husband is totally like you with the hyperfocus but sorry that’s not only OCD that’s actually more ADD. So you’re really ADD with hyperfocus. The ADD impulsiveness is what got you in the house in the first place. Not all ADD is just ping ponging around in space never landing on anything. In fact, many of us become much more OCD like and get paralysis from analysis because we so do not want to make a decision that we later regret like the wrong tile for the bathroom. So sorry for the psychoanalysis I just can’t help it, and anyway, I am joking about you being much much crazier, you’ve just exposed more of your craziness than I have and you are also better at writing. I need to work on that. So far no one really reads what I’m writing and it’s more of a diary of sorts. And as you can tell by comments I tend to write like I talk and perhaps I ramble. Your style is entertaining and conscise. LOVE IT! Someone to emulate!

    Reply

  3. Words on Houses: Victoria Elizabeth Barnes - House and Hill
    January 21, 2014 @ 11:37 am

    […] […]

    Reply

  4. Deborah Hargis
    February 5, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

    I love Your Blog! I found it kind of by accident , isn’t that the best way, and truly admire what you have written and done! Your writing is very entertaining and also informative. My husband and I have been married 20 plus years and built one house from scratch outside New Orleans , then did a full renovation of a 70’s house in Charlotte, NC. We Are Still Married!!! And still renovating, the gardens at least. As you know, gardens are always a work in progress! Keep writing, and I will keep reading and laughing!

    Reply

  5. Mo
    March 28, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

    Hi love what you have done with house. We also have a 1909 Victorian Thats being renovated room by room (I feel your pain 🙂 ) right now we’re looking to paint the outside siding and we really like the blue color you have on your home. Is there any you can please take a picture of the color code from can and email it to me. Thank you so much.

    Reply

  6. Gill Bladen-Fielding
    June 25, 2014 @ 5:38 am

    Hi

    I have a siren in my head too
    goes on “Imusthavethat” alert on a virtually daily basis
    I am here to warn you and your poor husband that THIS WILL NEVER GO AWAY in fact it gets louder with age
    trust me

    Love your site, want a laugh?, look at our blog!
    Blog – sur -Aude at http://www.coteetcampagne.wordpress.com

    Reply

  7. willis
    July 24, 2014 @ 4:38 am

    Okay, so I stumbled on your blog because I’m that metaphoric kid standing at the edge of a pool debating whether to leap in or slowly slip in, letting my blood cool slowly to acclimatize to the water temp. Yeah, I, like you am way to verbose. What I mean is I’ve found and fallen in love with an old Victorian. It, however, is a total redo. Wiring, plumbing, walls. You know, simple stuff. The problem is, I’m in love with it. So it shouldn’t matter right? That and the fact I’ve never renovated so much as a thanksgiving center piece shouldn’t matter at all.
    In any case I’m in the, “should I REALLY do this?” Phase. Like all modern people into horribly derelict and abused overly ostentatious houses I surfed the net for advice. That’s where I found you and before I knew it had spent two hours reading post after post. Sad part? I still think the total renovation project is a good idea. I know, I need help.
    The house I can get for a song, duh. The actual project? I have no real clue. Hopefully I will find some guidance here in your posts. So far your posts, even the advice on blogging, has the images of a perfect, easy home rising from the rubble of the currently neglected building glowing as bright as ever. Sometimes I worry I will never break this habit of always seeing the beautiful potential of something. I mean, really, when has anything ever met it’s actual potential without driving the guy/gal behind the push crazy.
    In any case I’m off to imagine how repairing plaster can’t be as difficult as everyone claims and how the entry would look fantastic with intricate wood paneling even though it doesn’t exist there now.

    Cheers!

    Reply

  8. Melanie
    July 27, 2014 @ 11:42 am

    I just found your blog and girl… you rock! One of the most entertaining Blogs I ever read!

    Reply

  9. Mary Webster
    August 7, 2014 @ 12:06 am

    You crack me up! Keep writing!

    Reply

  10. Catherine
    August 22, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    So glad I just found your website, you are hilarious! Great writing style, I’m sticking around…

    ~Catherine
    Inspire Bohemia

    Reply

  11. Kristi
    November 26, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

    Just had to say the Google+ Hometalk show was great today~ nice job. It was very funny at one point your cat kind of stole the show while you were talking…..started “playing the standup bass” in the foreground…..Loved it.

    Reply

  12. Katerina
    December 23, 2014 @ 10:35 am

    “Lover of fashion-wearer of pyjamas” I think I love you.
    Can’t wait to read more!

    Reply

  13. Halie Brake
    February 2, 2015 @ 11:21 pm

    Oh my. At least Paul let’s you buy some of the pretties. John is letting me hunt for our prefect home…must be older than 1930…:-). He is getting into them…my search has left us heart broken twice these past 2 years. I wish John could demo and repair…that falls on me. I am the tool welder. Slayer of projects big and small. He thinks I have big eyes and can’t keep my feet in the ground. Which I can’t…go big or go home.
    I love the blog. Helps me through me struggle with a sensible husband who’s wife must have the pretties! Older the better. You should see my 1890s wedding ring he got me. Hehehe!
    Keep it up!

    Reply

  14. Kay
    February 3, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

    You are the most hilarious blogger on the internet. Is there a prize for that?

    Lots of your commenters are pretty funny too, which means that reading your older posts takes a VERY long time.

    I am 67 years old and thanks to an inheritance finally got the kitchen of my dreams in 2013. It has some open shelving. It has a Portuguese blue Lacanche range. It has marble counters and an L-shaped island at the perfect height for me to knead or roll out pastry. It has a hundred year old bakers cabinet on one wall. And it has drawers instead of lower cabs, which make life and cooking a thousand times easier. I wish I were a DIY-er instead of a slothful person who loves to have other people do work for me and has to wait for unearned piles of money to be bestowed on me before getting anything fabulous, but I am not. Neither is my husband. Which may be why I enjoy (while fighting twinges of envy) reading about the wonderful things other people accomplish with shoestrings and hard labor.

    Reply

  15. Kay
    February 3, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

    Forgot to mention that you can see my kitchen on Maria Killam’s blog–google white kitchen transformation in upstate New York. If you’re interested.

    Reply

  16. Thelma Hamilton
    February 8, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

    I am humbled by you! I read my husband the post about getting the KINGDOM mirror. He laughed with me, acknowledging that I am just like you…as is my family (enablers). I am a hoarder of furniture. I love real wood and just can’t say no to a good find on Craigslist. I think I will go see what is out there for mirrors…..

    Reply

  17. Fred Wishnie
    February 26, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

    After following you for the last few months, I finally sat down and read them all from the beginning. I have to say you are one funny, gifted writer. And from a male perspective, married to a saint. 🙂

    We just came off travelling in an RV for 9 years and bought a townhouse in Tucson. Because we gave all our stuff away when we went on the road we have had to furnish from scratch. We decided to do it strictly with used and Craig’s List stuff and so far have been unbelievably happy with the finds we have scored. I don’t think we will ever buy retail furnishings again.

    Thanks for the laughs, I just wish you wrote more often.

    Reply

  18. Catherine
    March 5, 2015 @ 4:32 pm

    Your site is so refreshing and really stands out in the realm of la-de-da design and lifestyle blogs! Thanks for sharing the fun!

    Reply

  19. Victoria
    March 10, 2015 @ 2:19 pm

    As a fellow blogger, hoarder and book lover, I am just sooo in love with your blog. I mean it seriously is like reading a book. There is this gorgeous Victorian home for sale in my town and I drive by it every week…just day dreaming. In the mean time, I will just enjoy all the adventures through you.

    Reply

  20. Tammy Gerdes
    September 16, 2015 @ 8:23 pm

    Love, Love your Sense Of humor!! I too am a Cat mother!, as we Are fans of Game of Thrones, my husband refers to me as the Mother of All Cats! Also Antique Store Owner In Nebraska!

    Reply

  21. Annabel
    October 1, 2015 @ 6:13 am

    I am so EXCITED to have stumbled upon your marvelous blog! I am up to my neck in a renovation with my husband and it’s causing me all kinds of emotional rainbows and downpours. I know it’s a learning process and undoubtedly one of the most important and exciting times of my life – and blogging helps with that – but it’s wonderful to see that it’s possible to bring your full personality to the party with wonderful expression and joy (as well as anger and sadness and frustration!!) so THANK YOU and keep it up – you’re a shining light!! Annabelxx

    Reply

  22. Gina
    October 7, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

    I think I just met my Craiglist doppelganger if there is such a thing. I am recently divorced…sadly…my husband did not share my love of all things Giant and Fancy or Craigslist. I find myself laughing out loud at your adventures because they all too much remind me of my own. My new boyfriend reminds me a lot of your Paul. He is a contractor who constantly reprimands me for the things I make him pick up…..”Baby…please…this lady is getting rid of a solid pine farm hutch for 25.00….you need to go now and pick it up…..PLEASE!!!…..yes, I know….no more things on Craigslist”…lol. I will say you get much better finds in Philadelphia than I do in Los Angeles…I swear I may move to Philly just to join a partner in heavenly Craiglist crime…lol.. Big Hugs! Xoxo

    Reply

  23. Kali Fox
    June 30, 2016 @ 6:35 pm

    Obsessed with your blog! Is it weird I want to eat your house it’s so cute? Yea, that’s probably weird.

    Reply

  24. Lucia
    September 3, 2016 @ 10:59 pm

    Hi!!! Im from mexico and im very interested in buying one of your mirrors!! Im looking for one for my house 2 years ago !! I will pay a veryyyy good price!! Please please said yes!! You will make me very very happy!!!

    Reply

  25. Lucia
    September 3, 2016 @ 11:05 pm

    Hiii!! Im from mexico and you made my day by seeing that you have one mirror that i was looking for it for years!! Please tell me you could sell it to me i will pay what you want!!! You just have to tell me how much!! Please please you will make me so happy!! I will invite you to see it whenever you want!!

    Reply

  26. Kimberly
    September 8, 2016 @ 9:29 am

    Lover of all things old!!!!

    Reply

  27. Gaylen
    October 6, 2016 @ 9:00 pm

    Love your blog!!

    Reply

  28. Pedro Ayestaran
    October 13, 2016 @ 9:06 am

    I love your blog!! Amazing mirror!!! I have been lucky to find in Craigslist my pier mirrors too!! I wish I have more space .. I got 3 now thanks to Craigslist !!! I wish I could share picture

    Reply

  29. fran Shillito
    October 15, 2016 @ 2:18 am

    came across your quirky website on my quest to find a vanity that was just for storage. I love the Burlington beautiful range of baths, toilets and Edwardian sinks, but here is NO STORAGE unless you have a sink on top. Anyway, love the way you write. I am currently driving husband insane with wanting to get it “just right” Any advice most welcome!

    Reply

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    October 15, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

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    Reply

  31. Diane Hamilton
    October 20, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

    Hi Victoria,
    I loved reading this. I totally get the obsession with hunting down treasures and you seriously got an amazing find. It looks great in your house and I love that it has a sibling in the next room.

    The reason I’m writing is that I have a little girl with epilepsy. She’s 11. We love treasure hunting so we read this together. She was having a great time reading until we got to the point where you wrote “I think I’m going to have a seizure”. That’s when she said, “Ugh! That makes me so mad! People die from seizures! Why does anyone joke about them!”

    So on behalf of my kid and me and the 65 million people in the world with diagnosed epilepsy and the 56k people that will die from a seizure this year (more than from breast cancer) please don’t say things like “I think I’m going to have a seizure”. It’s not humorous and for the 1 in 10 people that have had a seizure, it belittles their horrific and dangerous experiences. 1 in 26 people have epilepsy. It’s the 2nd leading cause of death & disability for kids under 14 — right behind auto accidents.
    Again, I love your posts. You’re a great writer. Thanks.

    All the best,
    Diane

    Reply

  32. Angela Smith
    December 15, 2016 @ 10:12 am

    !

    Reply

  33. Kerligirl
    January 25, 2017 @ 3:26 am

    Enjoy your blog!

    Reply

  34. Stefan
    February 20, 2017 @ 2:59 pm

    OMG!! My wife has told me on numerous occasions that she has always felt that she had a twin sister from whom she’d been separated at birth. Given the details of your “adventure” in locating the “Kingdom” mirror, along with your “relentless persuasion” in dragging your doting husband/”man-slave” with you in order to “do your bidding”, I have to wonder if, perhaps, you are my wife’s “long-lost twin sister”, or doppelganger, or just someone as obsessively depraved as she is.
    In all seriousness, we are in the process of redocerating and renovating our home, which I estimate to be at least 70 years old. Some elements of it might be left unchanged, (such as the wood-burning stove in our living room, the kitchen cabinets which are probably original), however there are quite a few other things that either need repaired or replaced. My wife shared your story with me, most likely to comfort me with the knowledge that I am not the only man alive with an obsessive (yet hopefully) loving wife whom he caters to…. then again, she might be preparing me for her next “endeavour”.
    I hope you took my response in stride with my warped humor. I realized one simple strategy for survival in life: Laugh about it. 😉

    Reply

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