Then & Now.

Then & Now.

Sometimes it’s helpful to look back. Scare yourself. See how far you’ve come. Maybe even beat yourself up a little over bad choices – but hopefully learn from them (or not). If you’ve recently bought an old house or a period house or just a house-house you’re probably overwhelmed with the list of things you need/want/gotta have done.

Fear not, it will eventually get done. Well, most of it anyway.


Some of these pictures may not be suitable for those of you with heart problems,

high blood pressure or hemoglobin issues.



A LITTLE MORE NOW (just to shake off that ivy…eek!).





It was a lot of work. That’s why I get nutty when my schidt gets moved around. What can I say? I’m me.

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24 Comments For This Post

  1. heidi Says:

    Would it sound too forward if I begged to see the bedroom?? Maybe I should wait til the 3rd date?

  2. Mrs. Blandings Says:

    I like how you gave us the kitchen in small doses so we didn’t get overwhelmed. It looks terrific.

  3. Gladys Says:

    I have lived in the hell known as renovating an old house. I was ready to tear my hair out and run screaming naked down the street.

  4. laura @ the shorehouse Says:

    I am in love. The living room ceiling alone…GAH. And I can’t believe how organized everything is…where DO you store all those Sallie’s (etc.) finds…’cause I know there are lots of them. :-)

  5. kate Says:

    A beautiful job and people like you lead us into these extravaganzas! I always wanted an old house and had one moved to save it from demolition and to express my inner renovator. The mover said “You’re going to hate this house and wish you never saw it.” I thought he meant I was too sissy to do the dirty work. HA!
    I have never felt anything but love toward the house However,
    there are a fair number of people I know and people unknown that I have come to really hate. (the over- chargers, the inept, the liars, the bunglers, the burglars, the list goes on, but let’s not get personal.) I’d run screaming naked if it would do any good.

  6. Gina Says:

    oh my – you are amazing…
    I am looking at a greek revival upstate…
    The renovations look overwhelming – but after seeing your amazing before/after pics – maybe, just maybe……..

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Jean Martha Says:

    Laura – It’s a rotating cast. I donate a ton of stuff at the same time that I’m buying new *treasures*. The garage however is a disaster. In dire need of a tag sale.

    Gina – It’s amazing what a hard/heavy cleaning and (a lot of) fresh paint can do.

  8. kate Says:

    Gina, Gina Gina….
    Yes it is amazing what cleaning, painting and decorating can do. But before that, there is a lot of plumbing, electrical, carpentry, legal permits and details that you will be surprised by when they happen. I do not mean to be negative about renovating but you better be prepared to get tough with workers, (I am a wimp) and know what has to be done and a fair amount of what the professionals will tell you is just wrong, Think it all through before you plunge in. It will cost more and take longer than you imagine. But that is true of every house. That is what I would tell myself if i could rewind the last 4 years. Though I’d probably still want to do it.

  9. bdaiss Says:

    Gorgeous. The colors are so warm and yummy. I’ll add to the “give us more” crowd. Great work!

  10. Sarah Jackson Says:

    I am digging that yellow door! Are we sure we don’t want your front door to be yellow? It’s super cute.

  11. ~Mad Says:

    This is so encouraging – I have an older ranch house in Tennessee waiting for my retirement. HA!!! (can you say ‘recession’?)
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  12. Jean Martha Says:

    Kate/Gina: Before I bought my house I hired the best (most expensive) home inspectors I could find. They were AWESOME. I knew going in that my plumbing was mostly fine and that the electrical (while odd…) was also fine. Termite issues from the 70/80′s had been badly corrected (I had to install one major beam (really not a big deal) across the basement ceiling. Otherwise everything was cosmetic (I did move a few walls).

  13. Jane @ Beach House Says:

    It’s so fresh and pretty now I don’t know how you can bear to be away from it – but honestly, it didn’t look so bad before!

  14. Dara Says:

    I can definately relate to the “want to do/need to do” lists.. at least there will always be something to do! this weekend I’ll be pulling pachysandra which has made it’s way through our concrete steps and is beginning to take over.. this – is a “need to do”!

  15. Gina Says:

    Ok….so I need to get an amazing home inspector to look at the house…
    The home inspector that looked at the house we live in now stunk…(not even sure that is a word)….and we had to spend tons of money to fix things “no one seemed to notice”…

    Will look into this with eyes wide open (but heart still very hopeful!)

  16. Marilyn Says:

    Ah, memories. I still love the beams, the fireplace, the yellow and red. Where’s that fabulous red rooster thingy? And there is always a to-do list, even in a new old house. House ownership, I think we can all agree, is the monster we love to hate (or hate to love).

  17. Jenni Says:

    Somedays I want to beat the cracked plaster off our walls. I think I just like demo best.

    LOVE the yellow, butter, and cream kitchen. Reminds me of lemon squares.

  18. Jean Martha Says:

    Thanks, most days I love the yellow kitchen but occasionally I cringe and think I’ve made a mistake. At a certain time of day it looks lime-ish.

  19. Condo Blues Says:

    when I have the urge to rip the boring builder’s cabinets from the wall and recycle them into firewood (been almost every day for the last 2 weeks) I’m going to look at your kitchen before photos. It will remind me that paint is the answer. Much easier than installing new cabinets!

  20. hallie Says:

    I wish I could post pictures in comments.
    I do worship your yummy kitchen that just makes me want to make lemon flavored baked goods till I pass out in front of the yellow butter cream fireplace. Thanks for the eye candy and the reminder that even though I live in a scary house it’s come a long way baby.

  21. vintage simple Says:

    Oh, the beams…and the painted floors…and the incredible woodwork… Beautiful, beautiful..! I love old houses, even with the interminable list of things that need to be fixed and re-done… And your living room looks so comfy and inviting… You’ve done an incredible job, lady. I can’t to see more of the house as you set up shop here at your new site.

  22. Christine Says:

    Gobsmacked. Love the light colors and the ceiling wainscot/beams.

  23. Laura @ Shoot-Scoop Says:

    LOVE it. Hey, the living room ceiling with the beams, were those always exposed or did you expose them yourself???

  24. Jean Martha Says:

    Laura – There was a nasty drop down ceiling, we found the beams when we ripped the tiles out.

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