Just weeks before we closed on this house I read an article in a shelter magazine where a couple had painstakingly restored an antique home. They made the comment that if they had known then what they know now, they probably wouldn't have done it. But.... they were so glad that the didn't know, and that they did do it because they loved living in their house! I didn't want to admit it at the time, but I secretly knew I would later hear myself repeating those same words, "if we had only known then....,but I'm so glad we didn't"
The six and a half months of the remodel are a blur at this point. I sometimes can't bear to look at certain photos because of the difficult memories they bring back. That said though, there were also these magic moments in the whole process where you could literally feel the house angels breath on the back of your neck whispering... Yes, you are supposed to be fixing this old house. These magic moments came when you least expected them, in the middle of pulling your hair out over some problem you would find the perfect 'this or that' for some part of the house. It was as if the house angels were whispering that we were on the right track, and encouraging us to keep up the fight. Here are a few of our magic moment finds for the house!
We found this gorgeous antique light fixture on a trip to Maine. We actually went that day with the intent of looking for a front porch light. I walked into Old House Parts in Kennebunk and right there to the right of the front door sat this iron fixture. I saw it, grabbed it, and didn't put it down until we went to pay for it. It was just too perfect! We love iron fixtures, we loved the design and it has this gorgeous mica shade- our grounds are covered with little flakes of mica! The back plate was a new replacement, and it couldn't carry the weight of the piece, so on our very next trip to Maine (we go every three weeks, or so) we stopped into Portland Salvage and found the perfect iron back plate that looks like it was literally made for this fixture.
(disclaimer: the exterior has yet to be painted...)
We found this transom in Vermont just days after making the decision to add one to the doorway between the kitchen and the barn room. I hadn't written down the measurement, but vaguely remembered it was a five foot span. We purchased this piece based on our gut, as it was exactly five feet! The transom fit the opening so exactly there was barely 1/8" to spare.
When we bought the house the walls on each side of the living room fireplace had been removed, this opened up the living room into the small room behind it that we have dubbed the Reading Room. The fireplace just floated between the rooms. It was wrong on so many levels, so needless to say, we built the walls back which enclosed both rooms as they were meant to be, and it left a little nook in the Reading Room where we planned to put some shelves for books, and the computer wi-fi and printer on the bottom. It's a small and odd size nook, so we had our doubts about finding a door to cover it. While antiquing in Concord, Massachusetts (a most charming and historic little town) we found this wonderful antique door with old glass on the top (where the books would go) and a panel on the bottom (where we could hide the computer components)- perfect! And then to top it off look how perfectly it fit the space.... meant to be.
And finally, there is this purchase I made over two years ago when we still lived in Dallas. We were trying to sell our house so we could buy this one. I bought it on a wishful whim that it would one day sit on this very island in this very house! Last night I cut some white peonies that I found on the property (my favorite!) and filled the vase for the very first time. I stood back and cried. It looked exactly as I had envisioned it would over two years ago.
thank you house angels!