Who are we?

A meeting place for regulars to discuss the lighter side of old-houses.

Moderators: oldhouse, TinaB, Don M, Schag

Postby Iowa4Square on Wed May 04, 2005 12:06 am

I'm Steve (41), my wife is Rhonda (34), married 9 years, and we have identical twin girls turning 5 next month. My wife is a reference librarian; we moved from Chicago to a small city in Iowa on the Mississippi three years ago. One burglary and two hit-and-runs in a month was enough to convince us to leave our 2 bedroom, 3rd floor, no laundry no parking space apartment (nice Arts & Crafts building, though!) for greener pastures. We'd lived in a small city in Wisconsin and felt more at home in that atmosphere. I do miss having a cut rate theater, two bakeries, and half a dozen different ethnic restaurants within two blocks - but that's about all.
Since the girls were six months old, I've been a stay-at-home dad. Do not for a minute think that this means I have loads of time to work on the house! I do all the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, and try to keep up with my very busy daughters. As my wife's schedule allows, I'm involved in the city preservation commission, the local preservation non-profit, the library friends group, the historical society, and the downtown design committee. My background is in English, and I've done some newspaper work (also put in a stint at a major house museum), but if I could do it all over I would go into preservation as a profession.
We are first-time homeowners, and I am taking things verrrrry sloooowly on our place. We chose our house largely because it was in move-in condition. Of course, there are lots of things crying out for restoration. It's a 1909 foursquare, a Colonial Revival/Arts & Crafts mix. Positives: great front and back porches, neat front and kitchen stairs that meet in the middle and go up, two leaded glass windows, gorgeous built-in buffet, finished basement with wet bar. Negatives: two sets of colonnades removed, black ceramic tile over entryway oak floor, hole in living room oak floor under carpet (so a PO could put a big screen tv in the basement for a SuperBowl party), aluminum siding (I plan to remove it for the house's 100th birthday).
As for us, we are homebodies. Listen to public radio exclusively, don't have cable and watch very little tv - after all, we only get in two channels on the rabbit ears. We have a smallish yard, and I have filled every unused space with native prairie and woodland plants.
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About Us

Postby RaeSzafir on Wed May 04, 2005 7:20 am

Name is Rachael and I'm 30, hubby is Kevin and soon to be 43. I work as a Controller for an electrical subcontactor and he is a Lieutenant at a correctional facility.

This is our first home and for economical reasons had to go the way of a fixer upper to afford any property with land. We wanted space after moving out of Boston and found a fantastic property on 2.5 acres within commuting distance of Boston.

We have grown to love our old farm house circa 1833, but it has needed so much that we sometimes feel like we have accomplished nothing.

We have taken a restoration approach of fix first what needs fixing then move on to what we want to repair. For 4 years we lived out of only a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Finally got the foundation repaird so this spring it will be on to the new roof over the kitchen area, clapboard for the barn and house and loads of yard work.

The first floor has almost all windows and doors replaced so most of the major expenses are out of the way. We have done everything ourselves with the help of family and friends. We have hired only 2 professionals, one to plaster the living room walls (finished about 3 weeks ago) and one to reglaze the clawfoot tub that I salvaged in Boston.

Renovations have been slow because the property was neglected for so long that we spend all spring and summer outside working and fall and winter inside.

We love our old house and many times ask ourselves "What did we get ourselves into?" But in retrospect, I don't think we would do anything differently if given the chance for a do over.
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Postby P on Wed May 04, 2005 9:25 am

I'm 31 and my wife is 28. She's a teacher, but for the last year she is a stay at home mom/CEO of an 1892 Victorian. Our daughter is just about to turn one. We are planning on having a few more kids. I highly recommend children…you CAN NOT imagine the joy and love you get from them.

I have had many roles in my company…all focused around IT. For the past couple of years I’ve architected enterprise wide data warehouses for large employers and health insurance payers. My current project is a complete reengineering of our companies ETL process. I never dreamed as a kid that I would be doing this for a living, but it’s challenging, has a very flexible schedule, allows my wife to stay home and I can mostly keep my work @ 40 hours a week with only a 5 minute commute.

We have 2 homes. The first is a very small 1947 colonial. Tons of character and requires very little work. This was our first house and now it is a rental property. Our second is our 1892 Victorian. 2 floors with a walk up/partially finished attic, which I guess makes it 3 floors. We have a large barn that is just a bit older than the house. We are rectifying years of neglect on the interior, exterior and land. We are about 20% done and have lived in the house for 9 months. We know it has to get worse before it gets better. We are not purist, we have updated the kitchen and bath but we have kept all the beautiful molding, fireplace tiles, push button switches, pocket doors, built ins, etc.

We used to ski, MTN bike, back pack, etc. just about every weekend. Now we scrape, paint, cut, nail, shim, etc. just about every weekend.

Nice to meet you all.

Postby Mary Alice on Wed May 04, 2005 9:29 am

Well, this is cool!

I'm M. A., I'm 46, and for the last 17 years have been an interior decorator. After my position was downsized in the fall of '03, I took a job in retail management and started my own small decorating business on the side. My handsome husband is Frank, he's 44, and today is our 3rd anniversary! He sells Apple Macintosh computers, and I met him when I went in to the store he manages to buy a Mac. We have a very spoiled, very happy rescue cat named Mr. Jones, whom we loooove very much. No kids.

We both were renting old houses when we met, but as things got serious between us quickly, finding one of our own became a priority. I truly believe in fate, karma, call it what you like, but we found our 1875 Folk Victorian, and all the pieces fell together. It had sat vacant for a year, being a foreclosure house, and we got it for a song. As we had very little money, this was a good thing! We got a FHA 203K loan, and set about fixing the guts of the place (furnace, plumbing, electric, and a whole lot more ) before we could move in. Since that time, we have moved slowly, as time and money allow, but have accomplished quite a bit. When we refinanced last summer, the house appraised at more than three times what we paid for it! :D

We have finished 4 rooms inside and want to finish the LR/DR this year. The focus right now is the outside of the house. We have done quite a bit of landscaping, a project I thought would be on hold till the house got done. However, with the yards looking so good, it motivates us to work on the house projects as well! The bigger jobs seem overwhelming sometimes, even now, when you think,"How the heck am I going to get up on that 3rd floor roof??", but I know things will come together. I just didn't think it'd take this long, and, looking at what we still have to do, its gonna be a while longer. Oh, well, we're going to be here a very long time, so we just continue with the adventure each day, and we love it!

We love to go antiquing, although, we don't need a thing and don't have the space for any more STUFF!:shock: Like a lot of you, we are homebodies, too. My husband is a wonderful cook, and we often have gatherings for family or friends that generally turn into "We love your house!" & "What a great meal!" fests. We could get used to that.......
Last edited by Mary Alice on Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mary Alice
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Postby Guest on Wed May 04, 2005 4:26 pm

Hmm, let's see. My name is Jeanne, in denial about age, and I've worked in IT for a number of years. My husband teaches at a university.

(By the way, I've had identity theft problems, so I'm kind of leery of revealing too much on the Web.)

I've got the old-house fixation much more than my husband has. He likes dealing with the systems (electrical, plumbing, heating), but he absolutely hates the painting, paint stripping, decorating, and refinishing stuff.

It's our first house, after living in many apartments over the years in several cities. House is a circa-1890 PA farmhouse. We've completed (except for that ever-present punch list) 2 bedrooms, bathroom, LR, DR, kitchen, office, mudroom, and sunroom. But now I'm back in the mudroom trying to remove linoleum mastic from the painted hardwood floor. And itching to get back in the office (after Tim finishes with the semester) to reveal the walnut boards behind the beaver board and remove the drop ceiling. Also want to get the porch in nice shape this summer. And painting the carriage house this summer would be a huge accomplishment. In the winter, we'll work on the rest of the rooms. Probably have another 2 years to go, if being realistic.

Postby Jeanne on Wed May 04, 2005 4:30 pm

By the way, that's me above, the usual Jeanne. Must have timed out and I didn't even know it.
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Postby oldhouse on Wed May 04, 2005 4:36 pm

What a neat thread. Thanks for the great idea, Will!

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Ken Holmes - and The Old House Web is more or less my fault.

I launched OHW in early 1999 after helping create a series of sites for a large publishing company in Washington. Deb, my long-suffering spouse, joined the company sometime that same year. We've been adding to the site, and growing our little new media publishing company, ever since.

Deb and I are in our late 40s, have been married for 26 years, and have two sons - one in college, the other in high school.

In 2001, we moved the company (and ourselves) from a nondescript 1940s tract house in the Washington suburbs to central Maine. Today we run the company from a carriage house attached to our 1878 Victorian in Gardiner, Maine.

As for our home: We bought it in the late 1980s, restored it, lived in it for several years -- and then sold it so that I could take a neat job in the magazine industry in Washington, D.C.

After we launched OHW, we became increasingly determined to move back to Maine. It's home. In the fall of 2001, our old home became available. We re-purchased it, and moved back north. I've been threatening ever since to tell the full story of our move. Someday I will. Until then, here are some pictures of our house -- most of them taken more than a decade ago, during our first run as owners.


In the years since we repurchased our home, we've done a lot of work in the carriage house (cleaning up the office so that it is a more comfortable place to run a business from). We've restored/remodeled the kitchen, painted the place and, in general, done a whole, whole lot of work that makes my joints ache just thinking about it all.

Keep those introductions coming. I'm enjoying them immensely!

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Who are we?

Postby James on Wed May 04, 2005 5:10 pm

I agree with Ken, this thread was a neat idea. I'm James, single, also in denial about age, just say over 40. I'm a lawyer in North Carolina who works with a state agency, closing in on the 20 year mark in the not to distant future and toying with the idea of early retirement and private practice, or maybe running for judge? The house could use the extra money. Real masters of this place are probably the three cats, who keep the mice and therefore hopefully the snakes at bay.
The house, it's a small gambrel roofed cottage, I bought in 2001 after having passed on buying back in 1991 or so when it was on the market the last time, and was a wreck. Sold then for under $15,000. I paid, oh, a lot more when I finally bought it and I strongly suspect the last owner lost money on it.
The house dates from somewhere in the the third quarter of the 18th century, not sure just when exactly. Believed to be the oldest house in the county by the folks at Cultural Resources, who have to approve any tax credit work renovation work I have done on the place. It is actually a three building complex, main house, two rooms down, two rooms up with an enclosed back porch for kitchen bath and hall. Big front porch also. THe 19th century kitchen building which I hope to turn into a downstairs master bedroom one day. Used to be connected to the main house by a side porch which is now gone. Then there is the enigma, another 18th century building we don't know what it was for sure. Last owner called it the tavern, I suspect it was the original house, but it may have been the original kitchen with slave quarters upstairs. Just one big room with a loft. It's a wreck, but hope to restore it too. Have gotten the whole assemblege on the National Register, now need to get some serious work done on it. Chimneys are a mess, wood shingled portion of roof needs replacing. I have been taking things here WAY to slow and am going to have to get serious about doing some work on the place. Never a shortage of things to do here. But I suspect that all of you are familiar with that
And Nancy, I love your idea about a get together, would try and get there.. Keep us posted on that idea. Will try and post pictures of my house if I can ever get my computer savy nephew here to help me figure out how to do it.

Postby whispertalos on Wed May 04, 2005 5:36 pm

Nice to meet all of you!

I am Kass ..live in Oregon.. heading towards 40 in a few months, my hubby is Rick (he is 37) we have been married for 5 years ( last week). I have 2 kids from my first marriage, ages 15 (girl) and 18 (son) and we have a 3 yr old son. The kids are very active in sports and horses so they keep me running all over the place

Lets see.. we have about 15 cows, 5 horses, 1 dog and 1 cat currently..

I am part owner of an Electrical contracting company and my hubby is a customer service rep for a food manufacturer.

I have lived on this farm for about 20 years, my parents bought the 10 acres when I was 8....and my first hubby and I moved into the single wide manufactured home..and then later moved up to a double wide, that I totally renovated by myself ( he would go hunting, be gone a week, come home to a room being completely gutted, insulated, wiring updated, sheetrocked, tape/textured, painted and put back together)

We bought a 1907 farm house for $1 that is currently located about 2 miles from where we live. The roof had been leaking it was full of the PO umm "stuff" they didnt take when they moved into a manufactured home back in the 80's. We are in the process of doing structural repairs so we can have the house moved to our property and set in front of our manufactured home. We plan on "restorvating" it as we can afford to do it.

We hope to actually move into it for its 100 yr birthday.

1907 Modified foursquare
Farm House
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Postby Steve Caraker on Wed May 04, 2005 5:39 pm

I'm Steve, 51 and the love of my life, and wife Donna is 43. I'm a former plumber/ plumbing contractor who took a job with the county government 13 years ago as a plbg./mech. inspector. I also teach plumbing design/ code to students at our local community college for the last 8 years. I'm also the volunteer chairman of our city's historic preservation commission. Donna is an administrative assistant for the N.C. Justice academy, and a dedicated volunteer for the American Cancer Society.

We live in a small city in the western mountains of N.C. Nine years ago we bought this old house in a nice old neighborhood here in town. A year later we got married. The house had been a rental for years, and was not much to look at, but being in the business I'm in I could see the potential in it. With that we took the leap and these days things are starting to look pretty good around here. We have landscaped the place, restored almost all of the first floor rooms, and should be done with the downstairs by next spring. This summer I'm restoring the front porch, and the ballustade. We have three cats that allow us to tend to thier every whim, two inside and one out.

We both love this old place, and feel very lucky to be in the position to be able to bring it back to it's former glory. Good to know you all a little better! Steve
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