What a difference a year makes (with before and after)

It has been a year since we moved into our house. We have finally gotten to the point where the money we are pouring into it is starting to actually be visible. For so many months nothing we did made the place actually look better. In some cases, like pipe replacement that required tearing out parts of a ceiling, work actually made the place look worse. Nothing like spending money to make your house look bad.

In the past year we have:

  • removed a giant tree
  • restored all the windows
  • added new, working shutters
  • put on new gutters
  • fixed the slate roof
  • had the electrical updated
  • had two chimney flues lined
  • replaced the AC
  • replaced the washer and dryer
  • had the main floor painted
  • refinished the floors
  • ripped out old galvinized pipes
  • replaced two toilets
  • replaced the water heater
  • ripped out all the old ivy and seeded the yard

I am sure there is more that I am forgetting. In the end the thing that has really helped us turn the corner is the window project. Makes it look like a million bucks.

We are looking for a bit of a respite before we embark on anything else. My tiny, barely functioning, ugly kitchen remains.



21 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes (with before and after)

  1. winstonsdad June 2, 2011 / 6:15 pm

    you ve made a great job ,it looks a million dollars now thomas ,all the best stu


  2. Karen K. June 2, 2011 / 7:12 pm

    Wow, looks amazing! Did you paint the front door, or was it just open in the earlier photo?

    Now I'm starting to think about all the work I need to do on my house, the yard mostly. . . and cleaning out the garage. . . and the closets. . . oh dear.


  3. rhapsodyinbooks June 2, 2011 / 9:32 pm

    It looks wonderful. The tree removal seems like it was an especially good idea. And you are right: the windows make a HUGE difference. It's great to see good results for your money. We have dumped a lot of money into our house that had to be re-spent because of shoddy work or parts, and that always hurts!


  4. Ash June 2, 2011 / 9:37 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love the red door. There is a white house with black shutters in my neighborhood and it has a red mailbox and door. I just love the red accents.


  5. Carol June 3, 2011 / 12:01 am

    It looks beautiful. The windows made such a big difference and I love the tall shutters on the first floor. You deserve a rest!


  6. verity June 3, 2011 / 4:30 am

    Wonderful! You give me hope Thomas. We movei nto our Project House tomorrow; it still has no bathroom or kitchen.


  7. StuckInABook June 3, 2011 / 5:55 am

    Wow, it's beautiful Thomas! I am such a sucker for all those do-up-a-house TV programmes, but I know I'd be too lazy and disorganised to do it in real life – so well done you both!


  8. Georgia Jones June 3, 2011 / 9:48 am

    Takes my breath away! Just lovely. So happy to see you living such a beautiful life.


  9. Thomas at My Porch June 3, 2011 / 9:50 am

    Stu: Thanks.

    Karen: It was open in the earlier photo with the now removed screen door. We may add a nice wood screen door when we restore the door.

    Rhapsody: Trying to find decent contractors is a nightmare. And around here none of them seem to need work so you have to bend over backwards just so you can give them business.

    Ash: The red is left over from the previous owner. I like a red door but I think we could improve the shade.

    Carol: Well the only work we did was to pay for master craftsmen to restore the windows and build the shutters. We are helplessly not DIY folk.

    Verity: But when the bathroom and kitchen arrive, they will be what you chose. That is worth the wait.

    Simon: We are lazy too, we just hire people. I am good at demolition though.


  10. bookssnob June 3, 2011 / 10:10 am

    Thomas I am simply green with envy. Congratulations on the transformation! What a beautiful house, and yes, the windows really do make all the difference. I don't understand how the previous owners can have been so tasteless. One of my pet peeves is terrible replacement windows. In England it seems to be de rigeur to rip out original wooden sash windows in Victorian houses – because they let in the draughts and are expensive to maintain – and instead of replacing them with sympathetic replicas, they just put in cheap PVC windows, making the house look like it's been blinded and robbing it of its architectural integrity. I cry inside every time I see such a travesty!


  11. Laura June 3, 2011 / 10:43 am

    Gorgeous, Thomas! The window improvements, especially the new ones on the far right, make a world of difference. I like the red door too, it adds a nice splash of color. Very nice !!


  12. Stefanie June 3, 2011 / 12:19 pm

    Wow, the place is looking fantastic. All that hard work is paying off!


  13. StuckInABook June 3, 2011 / 4:20 pm

    Completely agree with Rachel! upvc windows are the worst, and they're everywhere in the UK


  14. Daniel-Halifax June 4, 2011 / 10:35 pm

    You two have done such a tasteful job restoring your house. Slate roof AND copper gutters-positively envious in the best sort of way.


  15. C.B. James June 5, 2011 / 10:15 am

    Removing the screen door and adding the shutters have worked magic on your home's curb appeal. It looks charming.


  16. gaskella June 5, 2011 / 12:30 pm

    Your house looks amazing, and getting that big tree out of the way shows you the whole lovely view. I lust after shutters too!


  17. Thomas at My Porch June 5, 2011 / 12:54 pm

    Rachel: Believe it or not, despite my work and training in historic preservation, I was ready to put in replacement windows. When we moved in the windows were such bad shape I couldn't imagine any of them ever working properly. But thankfully John insisted on restoration and it was the definitely the right thing to do.

    Laura: I agree the windows on the right made a huge difference. You might be interested to know that the one on the ground floor came from the side of the house where we put in a door, and the one on the second floor was the one that used to be on the ground floor. How's that for reuse.

    Stefanie: Thanks.

    Simon: Some available in this country don't look so bad but many others look really bad.

    Margaret: One can begin to picture how it would have looked in 1934 when it was built.

    Daniel: The slate is so enormously expensive it would curl your toes. We are literally having to space that work out over a decade.

    CB: I was very proud of myself when I removed that screen door. That simple act made a huge difference even before we had the windows done. Although I do love a screen door. We just need to get a nice wood one.

    Gaskella: Would you believe that some of our neighbors couldn't understand why we got rid of the tree.


  18. A Bookish Space June 7, 2011 / 3:40 pm

    How busy you have been! Your house looks beautiful. These American white houses seem so spacious and fresh looking compared to the houses I am used to in England.


  19. Thomas at My Porch June 8, 2011 / 8:29 am

    A Bookish Space: Well we certainly do have a lot of room here, but England certainly offers other charms that make up for the “cosy” housing.


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