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About The House

Smallish, tallish, Victorian.
Built, 1890
Seven miles from Philadelphia.

Here’s the story of how we got here.


  1. Christina
    February 5, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

    Saw you on the Homies (congratulations!) and your title really caught my eye. We are also renovating an 1890s Victorian, just south of you too.

    Your house has so much character! Unfortunately for us, the previous owners “remodeled” and threw all of the character into the trash. Literally. It went in the garbage. So we make regular trips to the architectural salvage store to try to buy all the details back.

    Can’t wait to grab a glass of wine and browse for a while to see what your place looks like today, so happy to have found your blog!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      February 5, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

      Hey! You’re like my blog soul mate!! Can’t wait to go through your site!

      Our house has a lot of the original detail, but some of the rooms succumbed to the 70’s… rooms that we did before I started blogging and I need to go back and do posts on them… on the third floor they “updated” a section of handrail/spindles… Arg… you understand.

      Philadelphia has fantastic salvage places… when we go there, and I’m like—WHAT can I do with a 30’ marble column?? Maybe a gargoyle? I need a bigger house…


  2. Tracey Bradshaw
    June 26, 2013 @ 12:00 am

    Omg – the previous owners of our home were obviously related to yours or had the same degree of color blind, Bob’s your uncle, Jerry built, near enough is good enough, I have no real renovating skills type of approach to decorating. I look forward to seeing how it all comes together.
    PS – I am addicted to Gumtree – the Aussie answer to Craigslist and have a few interesting stories of my own – due to my incessant collecting, our garage and back patio now look like they belong to Sandford and Son:-)


  3. Amber
    June 28, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

    That is a COLOR EXPLOSION.


  4. Mary Papageorgiou
    September 12, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    I just took a break from removing old veneer off the top of a sideboard but left it on the sides because I’m just that way 😉 and cracked up laughing with the iron planter, when you asked your husband if he was there and he said no. I look forward to future entertaining reading breaks. I’m renovation fatigued and too broke to care. Instead to get my fix (I work on projects to sell). That way I feed my addiction and I get a better return (most of the time – LOL). Hubby is happy until I recruit him for deliveries and construction. Every time I have renovated I have had to move. I’ve decided to cosmetically make things better (my way) with minimal permanent changes. Also 3 children “accidentally breaking” and untidiness has given me a different perspective. My husband’s usual line is “why are you even bothering to ask me!” year 25 of this so don’t worry. Have a great day! Mary


  5. John Park
    September 19, 2013 @ 3:27 am

    What a colorful design. This is amazing. Can I visit this house? It looks awesome.


  6. Josie Brady
    November 26, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    I just came across your blog this morning, and I’m loving it. I can’t believe the serendipity of your acquisition of the Victorian wardrobe, it is such a beautiful piece, and you have managed to fit the 2 portals into your living room without making the room look overcrowded. Not everyone has portals to Downton Abbey and Narnia! I guess quality works! I also loved the kingdom mirror, that was another amazing find. I used to find that I could go to 2nd hand shops and find exactly what I was looking for at a price I could afford, simply by visualising what I wanted and needed, or being in sync with the universe. I shall be following your blog, it is fascinating.


  7. Heather
    March 16, 2014 @ 10:48 am

    Great House. Love the porch. The color is well hedious and I love color. There is no rhyme or reason for that salmon and oh geez that green! There is no flow just looks like the po went to the store and just randomly picked outrageous paint. Primer for years…but it will be fab. 🙂


  8. Joelle
    April 14, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

    Okay, I am new here so I am unsure yet if you have talked about this but I noticed you had an exposed-brick chimney running through your house. ATM I am renovating a 1910 house and two days ago uncovered the chimney in one small area (the brick is white…either from age or they were made that way) but am unsure if I should remove the plaster/drywall/knotty pine panelling that covers it all…Is there anything unsafe about the chimney that I should know? I suppose calling an expert would be the smartest. I am asking you though, because I am curious about how you dealt with the possibilities of asbestos & other chemicals in the walls. Your knowledge and feedback would be amazing! I am loving your blog !!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 15, 2014 @ 10:49 am

      Beginning with the disclaimer that I am no chimney-removal expert…

      The best info I can give you is basically that it is a MESS to remove. You will want to put up plastic ceiling-to-floor to contain the dust/dirt/general filth. Depending on what was burned/exhausted through the chimney depends on the smell/debris. But you should be wearing a professional-grade respirator anyway.

      Ours was exposed already, so we did not have concerns about material it was enclosed in. My guess would be that you would be fine with the plaster… It’s dirty, but I have yet to find any of our projects that are not.

      p.s.- It has been a while since I brushed up on my asbestos history, but if I remember, it did not get popular until after World War II.


      • Dorothy {ZzzonkOwl}
        June 5, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

        What if you have a fireplace that’s TOO big? Do you know any ways to make it smaller? lol


  9. Lisa
    November 3, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

    I love your blog. Your words perfectly mimic the voices in my head as we tackle our 1900 (actual year built unknown) Victorian. It was last re-done in 1967 and all of the horrors survived: bad wallpaper, wood paneling everywhere, nasty carpet, drop ceilings, and enough fluorescent lighting to outfit a Walmart. My husband claims I’m insane (is Paul missing a brother?), but he signed the closing papers and is complicit in the madness.

    I will be reading often, whenever I need to see the humor of it all- so maybe hourly?


  10. W.F.
    December 8, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    Your brownish/burgundy door in photos #28 and #33 is stunning. It appears it is painted and then dry brushed, using two colors? Am I right in this? If so, or either way, can you tell me the colors used, I do want to copy-cat you in this. It is gorgeous!


  11. Lisa Mercado-Fernandez
    January 2, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

    Dear Victoria,
    I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. It is a hoot! You are so creative and have create comedic timing. I adore your house and your taste. Omgosh those mirrors. My passion.
    I am a writer, author of The Shoebox (fiction), teacher, mother of two sons, one just got married in Oct and one is a freshman at Univ of Tenn., and a wife of one and new store owner.
    Love this blog just wanted to tell you. I also live in Pennsylvania. I’m in Bucks County.


  12. Therese
    April 17, 2015 @ 10:29 am

    Oh for the love of paint! I have never seen a home with so many different colors! I think the previous owner must have had a grand personality! What a cheerful person. I am not being sarcastic, they really must have been fun loving people. That being said, WOW, is the only word to describe the house! I am looking to purchase a new/old home within the next 2-3 months, and a Victorian style is at the top of my list! I love the details in the home you have, from the shadow boxes above the kitchen doorways to the ones in the bathroom! I do hope I am so luck as to have these simple pleasures in my new/old home as well. I will have to email you photos of the house I am looking at. It is a beauty and needs a lot of TLC, which is right up my alley. I am an artist and DIY-er…I love, love, love making old thing new and grand again. I just painted my grandson’s room to appear castle-ish. (I call him Prince Liam) and he lives with me. He is a tool and DIY-er just like his grandmum. And he is only six! This will be our grand adventure! Wish us luck and enjoy your beautiful, stately home!


    • Therese
      April 17, 2015 @ 10:30 am

      Sorry I meant to call my grandson a ‘tool lover’, not a tool…lol


  13. Stephanie
    June 28, 2016 @ 12:22 pm

    Even the foundation was/is painted?!! I thought the painted eaves was going a bit far, but the foundation, too?!!! Crazy!!


  14. Lisa Carlson
    July 15, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

    Ive stumbled onto your blog this morning and in addition to pretty much constantly smiling, Im wondering if you had to do anything to make your floors even? Im looking at a 700 SF Victorian house, darling, with little accents on the front porch that I fell in love with, much like you fell in love with your homes lovely hinges! The floors are clearly uneven, and it has some large cracks in some of the walls that run from the tops of the doors, all of the way up to the high ceilings. It was built in 1901. I love the early 1900s and even though I never plan to live in it, I’m enamored with the idea of restoring it. Its on a busy main road, which makes me think instead of a VRBO it might make a better office space? Im in the process of finding out how to have it completely rewired as well. It has thick hardwood floors under the ugly carpeting. They have never even been finished! Anyway, Ive subscribed to your very enjoyable blog! Something Ive only done once before in my life 🙂


    • letitia
      July 15, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

      my floors were even except where the rain came in around the chimneys. it soaked the sub floor therefore making the original hardwood buckle. i have had heart surgery and have not been back over there as of late but the vandals are robbing the house blind. i fix one thing and they find another way in. now they have even taken out the mantle in the living room and every heat register on all three floors. it breaks my heart but there is nothing i can do about it. the police said to me what do u want me to do about it. do u have a pic of them doing it? i am changing the dead bolts so it take a key from both sides. i hope that way they won’t be able to just walk out the front door with it. now it seems the house next to mine was torn down and the clean up crew decided to take the chimney pots off my house while they had the lift. what a shame people have to steal for a few minutes of pleasure with a drug. but after they stole the lawnmower and the gas can i went into surgery and i am trying to recoup now.i can even get any insurance on the house either. everyone says oh i’m sorry that house is too old. sheeezzzzz i guess when i turn 100 they will just throw me in a hole and bury me too. keep up the good work people it is these old houses that were built by craftsman and to loose such a wonderful art is a shame and a disgrace to our heritage.they are so beautiful in all their glory.


  15. ruth miller
    June 24, 2020 @ 9:54 pm

    I love your house. So glad you painted over most of the very bright shades of color. Bright can be right if the building is right for it. We painted our new barn lizard green with dark gray accents. The lizard green will make appearances on the fretwork on the house in tiny amounts, with two shades of gray. Our house was built in 1870, three stories of wonderful.
    Your bathroom has made me want to do one of the two full baths here sooner than later. You have excellent taste in fixtures, textures, and color pallet. Good work by you and your husband !


  16. Samantha Robertson
    May 28, 2023 @ 3:33 pm

    We love your design! Is there anyway we could find out where you purchased the bathroom console sink with the antique brass base. Thanks so much!


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