House Thoughts

This post has no real point except to document our gargantuan (read: expensive) dreams for this house. Nate and I love to discuss all of the options for the exterior of our home, and you can regularly find us sitting outside after kid-bedtime, going over the same ideas on repeat. I'm sure many of you can relate, especially if you have a house as old as ours, built in 1925 with constant projects in the works. Or at least, at work in our head;)

We've already done plenty of updates to the interior of our house. But now the 'big dogs' remain: windows, insulation, roof, siding, and....possible addition for a fourth bedroom and master bath. YIKES, right? But if we do these updates, we could feasibly stay here forever and we really don't want to change locations. We love everything about the inside of our house, except that we only have three beds and one full bathroom. But the exterior? Not our favorite at all.

So much brown. Wood, painted siding needs a complete scrape and re-paint job. I don't think we would replace the wood siding and cedar shakes with cement board, just to preserve the original look of the house and because the wood is in great shape (paint is not).

The roof is probably never going to leak but with a solid three layers of old shingles, it's a tear-off that needs to happen more for aesthetics than anything.

And our windows? The bottom level boasts original 90 year old windows, the upstairs have some replaced screens but are mostly original, too. We still have to switch out storms in the winter and screens in the summer, something that many people don't even understand as a possibility! Storing a boat load of heavy storm widows, then massive screens in our basement is really not fun or effective. We had an energy audit done to the house and the windows themselves are in great shape and really don't need to be fully replaced, just cleaned up on the inside and we want to get a new exterior storm/screen combo. Bear with me, folks, I know these details are boring! But look at the potential. BEFORE (current):

All Photos-182

GLORIOUS AFTER! (a friend's husband did this photoshop version for us, love it).
House updated picture

We might not do a bright door and are leaning more towards restoring the original wood door, staining it dark possibly. But the color scheme of a dark gray roof, lighter gray siding with the upper cedar shakes slightly darker than the lower level, and then white trim are going to happen. I like the idea of keeping the windows darker gray with the trim white, since we love the look of our windows and want them to pop. I would even consider a fourth shade of gray for little accents around the windows and the trim.

It's all so fun to think about and dream about and talk about. Actually DOING these renovations are daunting, and we aren't crazy enough to think we can DIY it all. But Nate and my father-in-law are convinced they can scrape off the old paint on our siding, and repaint it in 'just a few weeks'. Insert major eye roll emoji here, seriously. Tony HAS scraped off all of the paint at his own house, which also has original wooden siding. He has been repainting the house for oh, four years now....but to give him credit, I know he could potentially do this mammoth project at our house. Not sure how he thinks he will have the time, though.

We'd hire someone for the roof, obviously, and would buy the exterior windows somewhere. The dudes think they can hang the new part of each window. Did I mention we have thirty-three windows in our house, and a window company once told us that an average house has thirteen windows to be replaced? Yeah, that's a fun fact. $$$$$$$. Insulation needs to go in around the house, which is a 'hire-out' job, too. Oh, and the garage. We need to repaint and re-roof the garage, too. Sigh.

The addition is a concept that just won't quit in our heads, either. We have a full, walk-up attic with a flight of stairs to the third level right now. To make it functional and not completely pitched, we'd have to re-do the back of the house at the roofline. Then we could have the attic as a master bedroom and bathroom, plus an extra room across the second level of our house where our 'airing porch' lies right now. I would think that if this addition is actually happening in the near future, we should just wait to do the roof and also the siding at that point, right?

This is when I start to space out and just stare at the 'after' picture. Isn't it pretty? Someday! We just need to decide if it's worth it to invest so much money into our beloved house, or if buying a different house makes more sense. For now we talk and dream. Extensively. Who else loves to dream about house projects with us?


  1. I love that after. It's crazy how just lightening the color of the second story changes how it looks.

    I have dreams of knocking down a wall, building out a new pantry, redoing the master bath/closet, hardwoods everywhere! And lots of paint! It's fun to daydream about. Our 'winter' project is to take down the wallpaper in the kitchen to paint and probably paint the cabinets.

  2. Having just bought a 1926 house with the same amount of potential I feel you. You at least have a gorgeous kitchen. We need to renovate the kitchen, refinish the basement and flirt with the idea of the third floor master. Our third floor is currently partially finished, but there is no plumbing. We have original windows with storm windows but no screens for the first floor. I'd love to have screens so I could actually open them. I think the rendering looks lovely! It would make sense to hold off on the roof until you renoed. I would think the siding could happen. Dreaming is fun. Sometimes it can get a little frustrating because I lack patience.

  3. Love your house and to give you hope - our home was built in 1908 and we recently renovated our third, unused floor into a master. The roof height wasn't an issue for us but the whole project (outsourced!) took short of 5 months. We joined two bedrooms into one bedroom plus a giant closet room. We turned a blank cedar room into a master bath and we love it! I actually love being away from the kids - it feels like our special grown up space. It def took time and patience but it is possible!

  4. Longtime reader and first time commenter! Love your blog! I'm also a mom to three kids under 6, and a 1920s-era home owner.

    Not to be alarmist, but you should know that your siding (and likely your window wells too) are covered in lead paint. You should NOT scrape them yourself and expose your children to lead dust and paint chips. Trust me - I've scraped a wood house and it gets everywhere - lawn, steps, window screens, your shoes and clothing track it back into the house. There is just NO safe lead exposure. A professional company will do the proper lead abatement when scraping or removing siding. I would suggest getting 3-4 quotes from reputable companies and look at financing options with them and your bank. Some counties and municipalities also offer financing/grants to families with young kids in homes with lead paint. Well worth some investigating!

    Your ideas for your home are beautiful. Can't wait to see them realized! -KC

  5. Hi, KC!
    Thanks for this thought. I'm sure it's lead paint, for sure. Tony has a sander that has a bag on it to catch the dust and old paint, that is what he used for his own house and he wore a mask. We have talked about the idea that IF he and Nate actually do this themselves, the kids and I will 'move out' to the duplex for awhile to avoid the lead paint issue. But we will be sure to investigate all options before moving forward, thanks for thinking of this!

  6. Hah. I just had to count the number of windows we have (20, not that you need to know). I DO remember having to change out the screen/storm windows twice a year. It's so freeing to not have to do that anymore! We've almost changed out all our windows (except for 2) and they were done in stages over the years so I guess they didn't feel so overwhelming, but glad they are almost done.

    We are always working on some project in our house (current: gutted basement bathroom) and always have in the back of our head "should we do this for us because we'll be here long term or should we do it because it will help us sell in the future". Not sure what that answer will be.

    Love seeing the picture of what the house might look like in the future.

  7. Agreed with KC. A sander that has a bag is not enough to catch the lead paint dust and exposing your kids is really not worth it.

    We have a 1939 house and when we bought it had to do all kinds of stuff to it just to live in it (new electric, new plumbing, new HVAC, etc.). Since then we have done new siding (Hardie board), new windows, new driveway, and tons of other things. And yes it is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.


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