Our Home Makeover Adventure

13 Jan

My husband and I have decided to begin the process of buying his parents’ house in Beechwold, north of Clintonville.  We are very excited about the possibilities. This is the home where he and his four sisters grew up and where he and I were married. Safe assumption that there’s significant sentimental value rolled into it.


  • Beautiful hardwood floors and woodwork
  • Slate roof
  • Overlooks a gorgeous ravine
  • Skylights
  • Lots of space — at least double our current square footage
  • Lots of good memories
  • Chance to carry on the family legacy in the homestead


  • How to reconcile the 1920s “old” part of the house with the 1970s era “new” part of the house? The styles happen to be ones I like, but they are not easily interwoven. There’s a definite shift in mood from one part of the house to the next…making it somewhat bipolar.
  • What if we change something that has particular (perhaps unknown) significance for a family member? There are aspects to the house that have been embedded in memories. We are being cautious here, but we want to make it our own home and are mindful of that, too.
  • Walls covered with a mixture of cork and wood paneling. Very brown, very dark. This is an aspect of 1970s interior design that we just cannot embrace. Like the color orange in carpets and couches, this was a trend that should never, ever return. Let’s hope. Our difficulty is we may not have enough money to put up anything else. Wonder what it would look like if we painted it all…
  • 4-foot-wide gothic chandelier that weighs as much as an anchor. This was custom-ordered by my father-in-law for the space. I remember when this variety of fixture was popular. A place my parents liked to dine called the Cork ‘n Cleaver had this type of interior feature. Just begging for lively Renaissance fair action occurring underneath, with “Greensleeves” as the soundtrack. Not really our style.
  • Buckling Pergo floor that needs replaced, but may have to wait until we have the funds to do it right.
  • The door to nowhere: One second-story bedroom has a door that used to open onto a back porch, but when the addition was built it took the old back porch’s footprint. So this door no longer has a purpose, but it remains in the bedroom. If opened, a person would step off the cliff and fall one story into the great room. It’s an interesting view from the great room, too…just hanging out halfway up the wall. Eventually, a spiral staircase to connect the too floors from the back of the old house into the great room is the logical way to go. Again, cha-ching.
  • Kids think the house is a bit spooky. This can be traced back to the chandelier, cork and wood paneling, and the fact that my husband and sisters-in-law have told them stories about the house being haunted.

Just for extra fun, not in the benefit or challenge category: Rumor has it that there was a still in the basement soon after the house was built, which was during Prohibition. Makes for added interest.

What issues will we have the time and funds to resolve prior to move-in? We have no idea, but it sure will make for some interesting stories along the way. We are thinking about blogging about the process, so watch for more info as details unfold. This will be a home makeover adventure!

2 Responses to “Our Home Makeover Adventure”

  1. Robyn Ratcliff January 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    What an adventure! Sounds like amazing fun. I bought a house in Sept. that was built in the 1920s. Mildred–the previous owner–lived there for the last 50 years. Every room has wallpaper with a different kind of roses, all predominantly pink. It’s been fun uncovering layers of history while scraping it off. Found evidence of an old staircase, lots of interesting old patterns, etc. 2.5 rooms done, 2.5 to go.

    • toknowbetter January 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      I’ve enjoyed seeing the pics of your house…can’t wait to visit sometime. It sounds as if we have a lot in common. I guess that happens with cousins, although we were not all that close growing up. Want to make sure we keep in contact.

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