Happy 125th Birthday!


I realized yesterday that this year marks the 125th birthday of my home! It seems sort of fitting for many reasons. The first of which is that this is my 5th year in ownership of the home and property; although I prefer to say that I’m simply the caretaker of the land. Second, after last year’s upheavals, I feel like 2018 in general is going to be a year of renewal and restarts. And, finally, this year will start the renovations that will be included in the final version of Oak Haven Farm as I sense it should be.

First, A Personal Note

I want to share what has happened since I last shared progress and what is coming. But, first, I want to share a personal note. As I told you at he end of 2016, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer, a glioblastoma to be precise. Essentially, that diagnosis was terminal. The prognosis for a glioblastoma is 12 to 18 months. Dad survived 12 months and 2 weeks. He passed on June 6, 2017.  His treatment stopped working and he went into hospice in January of last year and succumbed six months later. As sad and heart-wrenching as those circumstances were, the family also welcomed a new family member last year. My nephew was born in March. And, we found out that there will be a second little human added to the clan this August. At the end of the year, we all focused on mom. Due to financial constraints, she had to sell their home and moved here to the farm with me. Adjusting to a new place in a different state is difficult and, at her stage in life, I’m sure all the change must be overwhelming. I’m happy to say she’s settling in nicely and getting more and more comfortable with the local roads and stores. And, 2017’s parting gift to me? A diagnosis of discoid lupus! I’m still waiting for a few more tests and appointments which could lead to a systemic lupus diagnosis but for now, we know it’s definitely discoid lupus. I share all this because I wanted you all to know why I haven’t been keeping up with the blog but also because I believe when you talk about things and expose them to the light of day, it takes away their power and gives you control. I will not be defined by these circumstances. I will persist and live my life vibrantly despite them. So, on to more pleasant things….

Progress Made

Way back when I started this blog, I showed you all the hex sign prototype I developed for the farm. I finally got the actual sign painted and installed.


My boyfriend gifted me a concrete floor in my garage for the 2016 holidays. Yeah, some girls want jewelry, I was overjoyed with a concrete floor! 😉 It was an amazing surprise to return home to after a business trip. He and his friends did a fabulous job….



I got the white slatwall from a local store that was being demolished. It wasn’t quite dumpster diving, more like dumpster stalking. I also finally got the second overhead garage door installed.

Right Garage Door

And, the boyfriend created a new opening and built a door for rear access to the garage. I still need to paint it but I ran out of time when temperatures were acceptable. I dug out and installed a paver landing.



And, I finished the intermediate master bath renovations. I have MUCH bigger plans for the master bath but for now, these updates will keep me somewhat soothed while I’m using that bathroom.



And, finally, after some reassessment of my needs and what makes sense, I’ve updated the master plans. Instead of a single two story rear addition, I now feel like a symmetrical second two story rear addition makes more sense. It fits the Folk Victorian aesthetic and it makes for logistical sense to have the laundry and mudroom immediately next to the garage access. The actual work will be a little while down the road but having the plan gives me a direction to head in. I also tweaked the site plan.



Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done and because I’m not independently wealthy, resources have to be carefully committed. This renstoration is not going to be a sprint; it’s more of a marathon. But, this is my forever home, so taking the time and finances to do things right is important. That brings me to what IS getting done….

2018 Upcoming Work

I have committed resources – financial and time/effort – to several items on my master plan list this year. I’ll share photos as each is completed.

First and foremost, the house is finally getting a new roof! It was past time and I had been nervous the most about this one thing since I moved in. I finally have enough money set aside to be able to get that done. Had we not had the nor’easter move through this past week, it would already be done. Alas, old man winter had other thoughts. That work is rescheduled for Monday now.

Second, I started some work in the back bedroom last summer. Mostly scraping popcorn ceiling as a cathartic process after dad passed. But, this year, that room will be completed.

Third, I can’t yet afford to renovate the kitchen (besides I have a phasing plan that very specifically maps that work to after the additions get done) but I’m really feeling like I want to put my OCD skills to work in the pantry. I can dress that up and make it an organizer’s dream.

Finally, outside, I enlisted the boyfriend to build me a second, matching door for the garage where the existing side swinging door is rotted and falling apart. I also need to power wash the house siding again. I invested in a power washer when the deck had to be repaired in 2016. And, while I’m at it, I’m going to try to clean up my existing Bilco doors. I originally planned to remove them completely and create a well (which is shown on the master site plan) but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the basement doors would be more period and aesthetic appropriate. However, the existing set leak like a sieve in heavy rain. So I need to power wash them, reseal and/or add weatherstripping to them, and check the concrete curb they sit on for cracks, etc. A good coat of black paint then to finish them off.

Forging Forward

So that’s the plan – for this year and moving forward. I know that I have the right plan because I can literally “see” the updates and rooms now. But, I realize that not everyone can. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my previous handiwork (did the majority of the work myself with the help of the boyfriend and brother) with you all from when I renovated my first house to give you a taste of what’s to come. Enjoy!

Transformation of My First House

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