Labor of Love – Renovating an old Home

July 23, 2014

A few weeks ago a journalist from BBC.com contact me, asking to interview me for a piece she was writing about renovating a historic home.  I was less than a week away from giving birth and super nervous about being interviewed, but I took a risk.  I am only quoted briefly (thank goodness), but they included one of my photographs of our library!  The full article is here. They interviewed people from all over the globe, France, Argentina, Mexico, and then little old me.  There is a lot of focus on the “moneypit” side of renovating an old home, but then there is my Pollyanna perspective at the end.  While, it is true, there are mountains of headaches included in renovating an old home, we have found there to be lots of rewards.  Specifically, for a control freak like myself, the house gets to be exactly how I want it.  In light of the article I thought I would finally share some real before and afters of my favorite room in the house, our Library.

This is what the room looked like the day of closing.  As you can see, good bones, hardwood floors, amazing light and that staircase, but…horrible paint colors, rotting wood window seats, terrible tile around fireplace and a dead end flow to the the room on the left.

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Enter our amazing contractor Dan Shanks and architect Kyle Sheffield from LDA Architect.  I had dreams and loads of Pinterest pins, but need their expertise, skill and vision to make it happen.  No joke, there was a staircase behind that one wall, leading up to the 3rd floor illegal apartment, so it wasn’t as easy as just punching a hole in the wall to make a door.

Here I am testing out black paint colors.  I was determined to paint the room black.

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I also had dreams and sketches of a beautiful wall of builtin bookshelves.

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Dan and his team made them a reality.

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Here they are complete.  Obviously my styling and book collection is a work in progress, but I think they are my favorite thing in the house.  You can see the gorgeous crown molding and fascia Dan added to the room, and those two litter french doors were my sister’s idea. It definitely took a lot of time, money, patience and the help of a village of people, but I am so in love with this room.

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P.S.  I am also lucky enough to call the amazing interior designer, Erin Gates, a friend and believe me…I was texting her all the time, throughout the process.

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4 Responses to “Labor of Love – Renovating an old Home”

  1. Looks absolutely beautiful Sarah! You’ve added some things since I was there last.

  2. Marble Head! said

    I love love love this room! Can you share your source for the fireplace surround (where the tile once was) it is exactly what I dream of for my renovation.

    • Sarah Winchester said

      Absolutely. I got it from Cumar in Evrett MA. The marble is called Grigio Carnivo. It is even lovelier in person. Great veining.

  3. cecilia said

    Love the room! The combination of black paint and brass hardware looks amazing! I love that your bold choice in a paint color makes all of the architectural details stand out.

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