Before: The Exterior Edition


The bones of the house may be solid, but her exterior is a little shabby. While the rustic, brown wood shingles may have been trendy in the 1800s, they’re looking a little scruffy today. Decades of exposure to New England weather have taken a toll and the shingles are slowly starting to transition from a dark brown to a weathered grey. The promise of clapboards peeks through in some places (perhaps due to someone getting a little over-excited with a crowbar), giving us a taste of what the home may look like when we’re done (obvi with new clapboards but you get the idea).

The windows are old, with lovely panes of fully bubbled, distorted glass that are not at all insulated but are so fun to look out of. It’ll be sad to see them go, but we’ll try to save some of it, particularly from the large windows that were part of the porch. What we’ll do with those pieces of glass we aren’t entirely sure, but we feel compelled! Also, if you have thoughts of ways to reuse, we’re all ears. If not, maybe we’ll just take slingshots to it.

Next up, the sills. For those who don’t know what a sill is (TBH, I didn’t know until this project), it’s the bottom horizontal part of a wall that sits on top of the foundation and supports the rest of the wall  (for the visual learners in the house, click here for an illustration (that I did not do)). The sills on the home are, as you can imagine, very old, and rotting in places; they’ve gotta go! The sills on both the front and back of the house will be replaced with pressure treated lumber to give us much more level, stable floors.

Not to be outdone, the foundation on the back side (river-facing) side of the house will also need to be completely replaced. It’s a mixture of large stones and concrete that has settled and cracked over time. The floors on that side of the house have a distinct pitch to them, so in order to level everything up and make it as secure as possible, we’ll pour a new foundation back there.

These aren’t the sexiest parts of a reno project, but they’re foundational (pun intended) to its success!



Isn’t she a beauty?

Welcome to the River House!

Built in 1831, this charming home on the Connecticut River is our diamond in the rough, emphasis on very, very rough. Over the past few years, we’ve watched the vacant home fall into an increasingly sad state, so when the opportunity arose to purchase it, our family jumped at it. The thought of watching the place get torn down only to be replaced by some modern home that didn’t jive with the neighborhood was too sad. We had to save it ourselves.

Originally, my parents had planned to buy the home with the hope of renting it out, but as the plans evolved, Steve and I couldn’t resist the idea of living there ourselves. We’re going for it! Apparently, Steve had a hunch that it would work out this way all along, but it took some convincing and time for me to adjust to the idea of putting down adult roots in the neighborhood where I grew up. I’ve turned the corner though.

Now that the renovation is starting to happen and is actually feeling real, I’m getting increasingly excited. Guys, the river is legitimately right behind the house (in a safe, non-flooding kind of way), you can see eagles from the living room, there’s going to be a fireplace, and, not to sound too stereotypical, but I get to design the kitchen, and I’m pumped.

We hope you’ll follow along throughout this transformation with us!