To rescue an abused & neglected home

I love Old Louisville.  I love the history & the charm of this neighborhood, Louisville’s first & finest suburb.  I wanted my own Old Louisville home for many years.  I waited patiently, looked at many many houses, until the right one came along.  When I walked into this house…I knew that I was home.  It was perfect.  Perfectly perfect.

Hello lovely…

Now, when I say perfect, I’m talking about potential.  You see, only about one-third of our house was finished & livable when we moved in.  The rest had been taken down to studs.  The plan was to finish the rest of the house off in stages.  Silas was a little lima bean in my belly when we moved in, the summer of 2005.  Paul spent the next year doing very little work to the inside of the house & major landscaping outside in the yard.  I admit, this did not make me happy.

Then I got pregnant again…with twins.  Work on the inside of the house was suddenly a major priority as we had no place to put two more people!  Paul worked like a demon on the house that year & finished the work…within days of our daughters’ arrival.  We finished most of the second floor of the house in 2007, adding three rooms & three closets to our living space.

From this…

To this…

To this…

After the girls were born, everything stopped.  With three children under two, we were in survival mode for a while.  We were able to do some more work outside; added a patio in the back, built the kids’ playhouse, built the chicken coop.  But work on the inside has been slow slow slow.

We are so very lucky to have many of the home’s original features, but they require much time & attention to return them to their lovely.  We have stripped & repaired all of the original trim & doors, including pocket doors, from the first floor.  The fireplaces have been repaired as well.  I plan to expose the brick on the entire north wall, & that project is nearly complete.  Unfortunately, the first floor hardwood floors will have to be replaced.  There is so much to do.  Framing, windows, electric, furnaces, floors, drywall, paint, lighting…oh will it ever be finished?

Patience, Kaye.  Yes, it will be finished.  Eventually.  I have done this before.  Paul & I were fortunate to get in on the big housing boom a few years ago & we flipped a few Germantown houses.  Luckily we got out before the economy went to hell.  That was a great learning experience & I gained a deep appreciation for old homes, built with care & craftmanship.  Old houses are totally worth it.  But I learned that renovations always cost twice as much & take three times longer than we plan.

Our old Germantown house…

I am saddened when I see a beautiful old Victorian that has been chopped into a bunch of awkward little apartments, owned by some out-of-state investor who does only the repairs necessary to keep it Section 8 approved.  I am pissed off when I see a 100-year-old home patched & painted beyond recognition, or boarded up & forgotten…dying.  I am the busy body neighbor who will report the vinyl siding or bricked in windows.  These homes have integrity, this is a piece of history.  This is a home.  But Old Louisville does have strong neighborhood associations & people who really care about the preservation of this historic neighborhood.  More families are choosing to move in, instead of sprawling out.

Sadly, we watched this old lady burn, right across the street from us.  They tore it down a few days later…

I know that you are supposed to move out to the suburbs after having a bunch of kids.  But I grew up in the suburbs & I prefer the city.  Its vibrant here.  Everyone does not look like me & talk like me & think like me.  Variety is the spice of life, eh?  Only downside, I do miss the community that we felt in Germantown.  We knew our neighbors & Dustin grew up playing with the local kids.  I have not found that in Old Louisville, yet.  I must drive out to the suburbs for play dates!

I have big plans for our renovations in 2011.  I hope to finish the two main rooms on the first floor this year.  That will give us much more space as we tackle the foyer, main staircase & upstairs main hall.  Big plans…now to fit them into Paul’s schedule…

~K

As an aside…I just figured out that I can make my pictures bigger!  Wow, it’s a really obvious menu choice.  Brilliant over here.  Anyway, now I can share even larger samples of my mediocre photography.  Yipeee!

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