Home Restorations: 21 Bloggers Turn Old Houses Into Awesome Homes
We all take on short-term home repair projects — cleaning up the garage, cleaning out the gutters, fixing squeaky floorboards — but some people are ambitious enough to take on home restoration projects that take years.
There’s a lot to be said for buying a fixer-upper. Patient homeowners can potentially get a bargain on a house and, over time, earn the satisfaction that only comes from hard work like putting up drywall or re-installing plumbing systems.
Below are 21 such stories, each one different, as told by the homeowners who have blogged their home renovations and restorations. Some are urban townhomes, some are historic homes in need of preservation, and some are whole farms. This one homeowner even converted their garage into an animal shelter office!
If you have a fixer-upper yourself, or if you are thinking of one day buying one, or if you’re just a fan of before-and-after photos, take a look at the following blogs for some inspiration.
For this first blog, we’re hopping across the pond to Cornwall in southwest England. Two and a half years ago, first-time homeowners Amanda and James bought a 1920s house in the countryside and have been renovating DIY-style since, creating their dream home one room at a time.
Stefanie, the owner of a great-looking 100-year-old home in Brooklyn, originally started her blog as a way to document its renovation. That’s since been completed, and today she’s enjoying the fruits of her labor while also blogging about entertaining, design, travel and her neighborhood.
How is this for living the dream?: Blogger Sarah left grey England for the sunny beaches near Sydney, Australia, and bought a little cottage in need of some renovation. This blog is both the story of how she breathed new life into this oceanside home and found her own ideal of happy living.
In 2000, Jill and Ron bought a Victorian brownstone in Baltimore and set out to fix it up, learning the whole home-repair thing as they went along. Nearly 15 years later, they’ve been featured on This Old House, written a book, gotten married … and have a pretty great home to show for it all, too.
Blogger Katy Elliott writes about many things: New England living, design, mother. Also included throughout her story is her ongoing renovations in her 260-year-old Massachusetts home. The link above will give you an overview of that project; click on “House Renovation Posts” in the right-hand sidebar for more details about the renovation.
Anyone seeking inspiration for their own fixer-upper needs to check out this blog, written by New York interior designer Jenny Komenda, who documents some of the granular details of renovating an old home with expert insight. Case in point: This November post on buying vintage rugs on eBay.
Designer Anna and her husband bought a Victorian row house in up the Hudson River from New York City in Newburgh in 2006 and have been documenting their ongoing renovations. The link below is all the blog posts about the Newburgh house, though you should also check out the apartments they own in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
This newly married couple in Cleveland says they love houses so much that they made a business of it. They buy up old houses, renovate them (in addition to the renovations they make to their own home), and flip them. If you enjoy buying and flipping fixer-uppers to the point that you would consider doing it professionally, this is a great blog to follow.
Young couple Emily and Ez bought a foreclosed cabin in 2008, just as the market was starting to crash, and set about slowly gutting, rebuilding and renovating everything. This is the story of their evolving cabin and growing family.
Here is another couple that moved from Brooklyn up to Newburgh. Nadene and Jon, both artists, bought a 7,000-square-foot Victorian house — which has five apartments in it — and have been chronicling its development, often with excellent photos.
Alice and Andre moved into a 3,000-square-foot Victorian house in Manchester, England, when their first daughter was born, and they have been posting before-and-afters of their renovations since. Click the link above for the posts specifically about the work they’ve done on their incredible home.
Blogger Liz, along with her husband, is another house flipper, and they’ve already fixed up and sold a whopping 10 homes. This is a fantastic blog for inspiration and to see what exactly the process is for completely renovating a home.
Blogger Stephen is going to have a great-looking home up in Dundalk, Ireland, (near the border with Northern Ireland) when he’s finished. Follow this blog for a real nuts-and-bolts look at the work that goes into completely renovating an old home.
Another from England, this time in the East Midlands, but the owners are two Australians, Scott and Mark. They’ve already put a lot of work into their 110-year-old home, and it’s looking great so far.
The Old House Guy typically writes about other people’s old homes, but the page above chronicles the restoration of his own Victorian home with before and after photos. This could be a good page if you’re looking for sources of inspiration. Also, check out the interview the site’s author did with Circa magazine.
Less a blog and more a site dedicated to the author’s house, OurVictorianHouse.com showcases a renovated and preserved historic home. If you want to see what post-Civil War luxury looked like, this house is a great authentic example.
This Old Farmhouse is a bit larger in scale than the other projects chronicled on this list. This blog tells the story of how the writer is restoring a farm and what difficulties and adventures that entails.
Steve and Rachel bought their DC-area rowhouse in 2010 and have been reporting on the renovation process since. It’s coming along nicely, and at the time of writing they are putting the finishing touches on the guest/toddler room, important because the couple have a due date of just after Thanksgiving 2014 for the birth of their second child.
Chad describes himself, tongue firmly in cheek, as “a typical twenty-something with a century-old, falling apart house.” That century-old house is a rowhouse in Philly, and he’s had to do some pretty extensive repairs since buying it. This is a great site for learning about the struggles of home renovation, and Chad’s sense of humor makes for good reading.
Alex and Wendy bought their historic town home in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2003, just months after their wedding. They didn’t start blogging from the beginning, but they’ve been catching readers up on what the project has been like for them, and quite recently announced that they had bought a second house and had begun the process of moving turning that one into a home.
Ellen, a lifelong Southern Californian, moved to the Pacific Northwest a few years ago, bought a 19th Century farm, and began adapting to a whole new lifestyle. She reports that she’s having the time of her life in the process. Her blog chronicles not just the restoration of this historic farm but the personal transition Ellen had to make to get acclimated to rural life.