Friday, January 28, 2011


Happy Friday, everyone! First of all, I want to announce the winners of my book giveaway. The winner of the grand prize (one copy of the new Bags, Pillows, and Pincushions book by the American Patchwork and Quilting team AND a kit for the pincushion on the cover) is Kristina

The winner of the second prize (a copy of the book) is Happy Cottage Quilter

Congratulations, ladies! Please email me at the email button in the right-hand side of blog with your mailing addresses. I will be shipping out your packages early next week if I get your replies by then. And thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I wish I had prizes for all of you. I hope to offer more giveaways later this year. If anyone else is interested in a pincushion kit (contains wool only), I have a limited number of them available on my new selling blog located at this link. The blog is still under construction but you can access the kits in the left-hand sidebar under the button labeled "kits" as well as other items.

And now on to the topic of the day...I've gotten a few requests from readers asking me to share some of the renovating stories behind owning an old home. When we moved into our 1885 Victorian (below) nearly seven years ago, it was in desperate need of TLC after years of deferred maintenance by the previous owners. The roof was leaking into the attic, the wiring was dangerously underrated for the space (you couldn't even run a hair dryer and the dryer at the same time without blowing a fuse!), the kitchen hadn't been updated since the early 1970s and had no appliances, the water heater was so old it percolated every time we ran the hot water, and the dormers were terribly dilapidated. This is just a brief list of the house's issues.

Since then, it's been a slow process of bringing the house back to its former glory. Our first priority was fixing that destructive roof leak. The previous owners had limped it along by patching with it a sticky black tar-like substance. It had become clear that that wasn't solving the long-term problem, so we decided to replace the entire flat roof with rubber roofing at the suggestion of a trusted roof repair company. We have not had any problems since. We have updated all the electrical systems, remodeled the kitchen, replaced the old percolating water heater, and restored the dormers. Read on for a quick review of the dormer project, which we tackled two years ago. Here's what they looked like when we moved in:

The boards were so rotted that they had to be entirely replaced and unfortunately we weren't able to salvage the window trim or glass either. So a new pane and siding had to be ordered. We chose a material that was close in appearance to the previous siding. It was a bit traumatic to see the dormer stripped down to its frame during the renovating process but I guess sometimes things have to look worse before they can look better!

Renovations took about a week and our old dormers were looking dapper again. There are two of these dormers which look out from our attic. The other one is basically the same but on the opposite side of the house.

To save money on the renovation, my husband volunteered to paint the siding and window frames before they were installed. It's amazing how much money you can save when you're willing to do a little work. This shot was taken the morning after they wrapped up work before they took their little platform and roof jacks down from the roof.


  1. Congratulations to the winners. Do you know the original color of your house? I do love the yellow.

  2. That's interesting that you ask that, Maureen, because I should have noted this in the post. According to historical records, the house has always been painted that soft buttercream yellow color. It has never been exposed brick. Our first impressions upon seeing the house was that it seemed like a happy one because of that yellow color.

  3. Congrats to the winnners!
    I am so enjoying your renovations!I hope you will share more!
    It is so much fun before & after pics!
    It is a beautiful Home!
    enjoy the evening

  4. Congratulations to the winners!! Thank you for sharing your home before and afters with us.

  5. Oh wow! Thank you so much!!! And how very interesting about your home. It looks so regal.

  6. Congrats to the winners ! Thanks for sharing your story about the renovation.

  7. Congratulations to the winners! Old homes are so charming, but so much work to update and maintain! Of course, I bet you already know that.


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