63 Comments

  1. Princess Mom
    June 16, 2013 @ 1:27 am

    Thank you thank you thank you for showing just how very divorced my husband and I would have been if we had bought the falling down Victorian mansion that we found in our price range. I did not have a Project Paul. I did have three small boys under the age of 8 and a Handy Hal with absolutely no interest in restoring a lovely house to life. Thank goodness I listened to him. I do covet those hinges, though.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 16, 2013 @ 11:10 am

      It’s like a service I offer— debunking the myth that DIY old-house-fixing is fun and romantic.

      I literally have NO idea how anyone renovates a house, AND has children… or a life… or any money left to do anything other than try to finish the project before one of you kills the other.

      Unless you have lots of money… in which case it’s probably awesome and fun.

      Reply

  2. stephen whitley
    June 22, 2013 @ 12:22 am

    I totally get your love of houses with character…or anything old for that matter. My deal right now is cars…I am restoring a 1975 Cadillac Sedan Deville that I bought on Craigslist. My dream is to buy a Prairie style two story house but it has to have a staircase in the living room and one in the kitchen…better yet, it should have one that is combined! anyway, I just stumbled on your blog and I love it

    Reply

  3. Christy Kinder
    June 28, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

    I totally dig your writing style.

    Reply

  4. j hartt
    June 30, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

    Absolutely great blog.

    Reply

  5. Carollynn Campbell
    August 1, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    I have (as Anne of Green Galbes would say) a kindrid spirit! thank you for being there for me to find.

    Reply

  6. Angelia
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    I enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing. I can relate on many levels.

    My husband and I also own a Victorian, a three-story Queen Anne built in 1895. We bought the dilapidated mansion in 1994 for only $39,000 and lived it in until 2000, when I received a high-paying contract from a popular web company. We moved into a fabulous new house. Then, that web company went under, and we had a complete reversal of fortune. Our new house was foreclosed on, and we had to move back into the Victorian in 2003.

    We sank our remaining $120,000 into it to make it “livable,” which included rebuilding a collapsed brick exterior wall, new furnaces, air, plumbing, and electric, but, cosmetic-wise, you can barely tell that we put a penny into it.

    I hate living here so much. I’ve become a recluse as I’m embarrassed to have anyone over. The ceiling is out in the lower and upper hallway and covered with foam insulation to keep the drafts out, paint and old paper mars the walls, the pine floors are unfinished and splintery and impossible to keep clean, some of the woodwork is missing, the kitchen and bathrooms are ugly, and squirrels and raccoons get in in droves and chew in the ceiling. In addition, I have an abiding fear that the whole thing is going to collapse and kill us all.

    My husband is lazy and won’t work on it. He hasn’t touched it since around 2004. And anything he worked on in the past, never got finished. There’s still plastic hanging around the ceiling trim in our bedroom from when he put up the trim in 2003. I confess, I harbor some resentment for him. I’m also depressed about living here. My only hope is that, maybe, we can eventually get out of debt and sell it. For now, we’re stuck here.

    I highly recommend that anyone thinks twice before buying a home that needs extensive renovation. It will be hard in countless ways, but, especially, on your marriage.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

      I am sending you virtual hugs. I truly do not think anyone can comprehend the stress until they are actually living in it… At which point it is too late.

      Reply

  7. LarryO
    March 31, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    My wife and I were very much interested in your blog. We are now in negotiations for an absolutely dilapidated 1870 Victorian and were wondering how much it cost to renovate yours. We love the house, but it is 2,600 sq. ft. are afraid that the renovation costs will exceed what we can budget. Thank for your great blog and for any advice you can give us.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      April 1, 2014 @ 9:44 am

      Cost:
      All time
      All sanity
      All money

      The problems you can see will only be outnumbered by the ones you can’t. My advice is don’t live there during construction, if you have another option.

      Reply

  8. The Well Tended Nest
    April 24, 2014 @ 10:52 am

    Thanks for sharing – it looks great. I love the hinges, too!

    Reply

  9. Lindy
    December 10, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

    I felt like I was reading MY story as I read this post today. We too have an 1890 Victorian. When we first looked at it, I too pictured the house in all its beauty while my husband saw all the work. We don’t have the breathtaking hinges, but we do have the wrap-around porch! I”m so excited to read more about all your projects!

    Reply

  10. Erin
    December 11, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

    We just bought a 1900 stone Queen Anne with a turret. A turret. I think that perhaps you have more personality similarities with my extremely handy husband, while I’m the one pulling nails out of scrap wood and neatly piling trash… That being said, I think you’re hilarious and honest and I would like to be more like you. I’m currently living in plaster dust, and I think your blog might just be the key to my survival and sanity.

    Reply

  11. deborah strickland
    October 23, 2015 @ 10:43 pm

    VEB
    Love your story and your style.

    Reply

  12. Sara Jo Floyd @ Bryarton Farm
    December 10, 2015 @ 7:42 pm

    Thank you for writing this post and seeing the worth in historic homes. It feels so refreshing to find someone who {is a bit crazy} thinks like me. My hubby and I bought an 1893 run-down farm in rural Kansas a year and a half ago. Restoring the farm is slow going and every time we finish a project we find new problems, but we are having a blast! The hardest part of our choice to do this with our life is constantly having to convince the people that we aren’t stupid.

    No one else sees the elaborate millwork, original windows, cast iron hardware, original heart pine floors, ect. as valuable. (Honestly, I sometimes get overwhelmed that we have no kitchen and we have rotted siding and think maybe they are right, maybe this was a bad idea.) Your blog has been one of those things that helps me go back to the reason we bought this farm. Because the breathtaking craftsmanship of historic homes is unmatchable and otherwise unattainable.

    Thank you for being on our side!

    Reply

  13. Kathy
    April 3, 2016 @ 11:25 am

    Love this! How are you supposed to notice the termite damage, the windows that won’t open, lack of insulation, etc, etc… When there is picture rail molding, old glass knobs on the doors and lovely old hinges? I speak from experience!

    Reply

  14. Pam Fitz
    July 29, 2016 @ 11:27 am

    Thank-you magical Facebook overlords for delivering VEB to my news feed, you finally got one right! I want to binge read every word you’ve ever written so I can live vicariously through you! I mean THE HINGES!!!!!!! They make me cry happy tears!?

    Reply

  15. Alisa Roberts
    November 26, 2016 @ 11:42 pm

    My mother has been telling me for years that my name is Lisa Too Much. You seem to be a kindred spirit. Love your writing and all of you GFTs!

    Reply

  16. Erin
    November 30, 2016 @ 2:02 am

    Love!

    Reply

  17. Brenda Graham
    January 17, 2017 @ 11:10 pm

    Thank you. I now know there’s someone else out there entranced by Giant beautiful things! I think your house is wonderful and I so enjoy your colorful descriptions of your view of the possibilities. Can’t wait to see your future projects.

    Reply

  18. Heather
    March 9, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

    Heh, we have those hinges. And the matching doorknobs. And stained glass. It’s a huge house, we were young and foolish to buy it but we love it, too!

    Reply

  19. Mica
    January 15, 2018 @ 12:18 am

    Hi, how curious? My name is Mica and I moved to Philadelphia when I was 8. We lived in a old Victorian style house in the frankford neighborhood. The details from that house have stayed with me. My husband and I bought an 1890 folk Victorian in the Ivyland Boro neighborhood. Our house was almost gutted from the disaster left by the mother and daughter that lived here for nearly 65 Years. We have a barn and there was an extension added (horribly) in the 70’s. I have been slaving doing research, buying on Craigslist and trying to add back character to our house. I stumbled onto your blog while looking in houzz. We have to replace the tree out front we recently took down because the man that built our little neighborhood “pictures streets lined with trees”. You have to check out Ivylandboro.com also check out the “hotel” for sale on trulia in Ivyland pa. The story behind it is on the site. Please email me with any Victorian pieces you find and may not need or vice versa. I am adding in push button switches to the entire house currently and then want to move onto antique floor vents covers. Any ideas to source them would be great. I also want to buy an antique store display to use in our kitchen for store, with open shelves above. Please help me convince MY husband that this is the only way we should live moving forward in this life. ☺️ The house looks great. I need a mirror for my upstairs bathroom. Keep an eye for me. Something dark, funky. The inspiration was a Victorian English conservatory. Thanks again.

    Reply

  20. Lina
    July 30, 2019 @ 4:21 am

    I never actually read posts like these. I only stumbled on it after looking up ‘growing lisianthus in the garden’ and then followed ‘you must grow giant benary zinnias’, which I happen to be this summer and waiting for them to flower. You are hilarious! You write with my sense of sarcasm and humour. I have actually gone searching for your first post. It’s 2019 and I realise it’s been a while since you started, I hope I have the time to make it to you recent posts. I am currently sitting in the waiting room at my local surgery (UK’s GP office) and I have a lot of time to kill.

    Reply

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