I absolutely love my old house. It was originally built here in Gaithersburg, Maryland in the mid 1800s. The period details are remarkable. From all the fine wood work to the fire places (there are 3!) and on to the big beautiful windows, this house is a work of art. Well, it will return to a work of art.
My husband and I have always wanted to buy a really old house and complete all of the home remodeling work ourselves. So far, we have gotten a lot done. We brought all the fireplaces up to code (with a bit of help from a friend who is a chimney builder in Gaithersburg), and refurbished the wood work throughout the house. That, in and of itself, was quite an adventure–we had to get through 5 layers or more of paint!
We also did a complete bathroom renovation and remodeling before we even moved in. There was only a stand up shower and the toilet was so old, well, you can just imagine. No one had done anything to this home in years. And, what they did do wasn’t done with much quality. But there is an amazing house underneath. And we are doing a lot of demolition and construction to bring it all out.
Demolition is such dusty work. There is just constantly stuff everywhere. You have to watch out for nails and other debris, and hauling it all out to the dumpster is no fun either. Ah, but it is so worth it when you find those gorgeous old beams, or you get to expose the timeless brick work that has been hidden for so long.
Because of work my husband does in the Gaithersburg area, he knew the folks over at the permitting office pretty well. They were instrumental in getting us through the paperwork process. We had to be careful, both for historical and also for insurance purposes, that everything was approved and completed properly.
We still have a lot of work to do. We are planning on refinishing the floors, and also remodeling the kitchen. Did I mention the spectacular fireplace in there? It is one of the huge ones that they used to cook in way back when. The side ovens that were used for warming and baking are still intact, as well as the hook they used to hold their pot over the fire! When we get to work remodeling the kitchen, we will use the same philosophy we have for the other projects: Keep all of the historical features intact, while bringing up the energy efficiency, fixtures and systems to the quality of today.
It’s been an exciting adventure so far. I can’t say it isn’t inconvenient at times since we also live in the house, but its all worth it. When we are done, this place will be a well preserved piece of history that we can live in too. And, when you really get right down to it, old home remodeling is just good, dirty fun!