Five years ago this month, Evan and I were living in agony as we waited…and waited…and worried…and waited some more to hear about whether we were indeed going to be able to buy our house. The entire home-buying process was an huge, complicated mess that dragged on for months and came directly on the heels of having had two other near-buys (in Newburgh and across the river in Beacon) thwarted for various reasons. We felt sick and sad all the time. Buying a house in an economically depressed area can often be a challenge, but we stuck it out, and after much emotional upheaval, we finally closed on our house (in the middle of a snowstorm, the day after our car died).
I can’t imagine going through the process of buying a house again, but I’m still glad we did it.
These before and after photos aren’t all shot from the same angles, but I think they’re still fun (and dramatic!) to look at. Some were taken in January before the people who were renting the house at the time moved out, and some are from after we’d started ripping holes in the walls and generally making a giant mess out of everything, including ourselves.
Stay tuned for part two!
truth in beauty. just shows you what great style and a lot of love can do. yay!
Wow… you’ve certainly come a long way. Looks incredible!
I hope you’re just EXPLODING with pride looking at these. So much work, and so much beauty!
Part 2 better include the epic bathroom remodel!
Hah, which one? Those bathrooms went on FOREVER. The upstairs one was particularly insane, though, so maybe it needs its own post!!
(You know, it was the home-buying process that made me lose my mind completely for a while. I was just reading some LJ posts from back during that time, and reading your comments and stuff. I was so sad! And you were so nice! And you still are.)
Way to go. Happy birthday D16.
Fantastic! LOVE that yellow trim (j/k!!!)! Your house must be so happy to be loved and treasured!
I finally painted over the last of that horrible “goldenrod” color over the summer, and I felt SO victorious!!
I love seeing these photos! Your house is beautiful, and all of the hard work you post is so inspiring as I embark on renovating some areas of the house my husband and I bought almost 2 years ago.
Thanks so much for sharing!
5 years!! Suddenly I feel better about our renovation. Nothing is overnight for anyone. And perfection takes time, right?
Beautiful work, Anna!
In some places it’s a tradition to congratulate the parents on their kids’ birthdays. In this case, it makes so much sense. Congratulations to both of you on making such a great home.
happy birthday, house! you’re so lucky to have your before photos. what a difference!
Congratulations! What you guys have done is truly inspiring – especially since my sweetheart and I also bought a house nearly five years ago. Unfortunately, it will still be a while until we have any “after” photos to share… We decided it would be wise to renovate (by ourselves, no contractors) while living in the house, and both of working over full-time. Uh, yeah. That didn’t work out so well! The demolition and gutting part was pretty fun, but it kind of stopped there… Until now! We actually have a plan, and have hired people to do the work that we’ve finally admitted is beyond us! One day, I might actually have walls! Walls that can be painted! I have like, an altar to my future paint swatches, man! SOON. Anyway, watching your process over the years has been super motivating, so thank you for sharing it! Your home is so, so beautiful.
“We decided it would be wise to renovate (by ourselves, no contractors) while living in the house, and both of working over full-time.”
Oh, I hear you. We did hire people to do the plumbing and electric, but most of the work that was done was done by us. Believe me, we had plenty of moments when we just had to STOP and take a break for a month or more, because it was killing us — especially with a 2-hour commute every day. We had no real plan, we just kept going…and going…
There is no shame in hiring contractors for the stuff that’s beyond you, and in the long run, it can actually save you money. (And sanity!!)
Happy Birthday Anna & Evan’s house! lovely work, Anna.
Happy House Anniversary!
Why in the world did they have a screen on that fireplace? Some people.
Anna you completely inspire me! Yes, yes you do.
Happy House Anniversary!
wow, your home is beautiful! you’ve done beautiful things with it…
Well, gosh. Amazing to see all of these collected in one place, and the incredible amount of work and vision it took to get from the befores to the stunning afters is so clear in these shots. Your home is incredible, and it’s so lucky to have you guys. Happy house-i-versary!
Wow, the difference is incredible! You have done an amazing job! I look forward to the next 5 years 🙂
Happy birthday the house!
Looks so different from the before! I like your simple, most-black-n-white taste. It’s really inspiring 🙂 Thanks for posting.
Um… kind of amazing.
You sure turned that place around!
Stunning! I love your style. Love the black walls + trim and your fireplaces. Gorgeous.
INCREDIBLE transformation. You must be so proud of what you’ve created.
The home-buying process can be so depressing. (I know from experience, too.) But now your house is AWESOMENESS!
Wow, has it really been just five years? You guys have achieved so much! We have had our place for two years in April and have only reno’d 2 rooms! My poor reno blog is more about my dog and art. Oh well. Congrats to you guys!! Love seeing the befores and afters 🙂
First of all, great job! So inspiring. I can’t believe I’ve been reading this for five years already.
It’s perplexing, the fire screen with tools. I wonder what the intention was.
Well, I did start this blog right after we bought the house, but about a month later, I deleted it and went into “blog hibernation” for a while (it was just too stressful for me to blog about the work that was going on at that time, but now I wish I had!) — so you’ve probably only been reading this for 3 1/2 years. 🙂
Yeah that sounds about right. Glad to be a little less crazy than I thought, hehe.
Thank you for posting these Anna! So remarkable all that you have accomplished!
Much prefer the decor in the “befores”… especially the pre laid out dining setting 🙂
PS: I hope my sarcasm is self-evident.
Hee hee 😉
Y’know, compared to a lot of the houses we looked at, this one wasn’t so bad in terms of decor (which obviously I didn’t care about anyway!). The people who were living there had obviously put a lot of care and effort into making their house look as nice as they could, even though they were renting and the house was pretty run-down. They were very nice and friendly, considering we were basically causing them to lose their home. I felt terribly about that, but fortunately for them, they wound up having about four months to prepare and find a new place.
The transformation… Just amazing. Amazing!
so awesome to see the before + after shots. you guys have totally transformed that place into your own, and its beautiful. happy birthday, door16!
What fantastic before and afters.
Do you know approx what year your house was built?
We’re about 99% positive the house was built in 1891. We originally thought it was built in 1885, but then we saw a photo of the block in early 1891 and it was still an empty lot with our neighbors’ houses on either side! The accompanying article describes row houses being built, though, so I think we’re probably right. I’d say 1892 at the absolute latest.
Did you negotiate the pineapple bowls in the sale? I can see how that would have been stressful for both parties. But seriously, amazing to see all your blood, sweat and tears in before and afters – it is so dramatic.
EVERYTHING in that dining room was pineapple-themed!! I don’t know if you can tell in the photo, but even those lanterns on the mantel had pineapples on the sides.
love love loved it. Those holes are scary, and I like the black faced fireplaces much better than the original ones.
love it! i am in love with that deep navy in the bedroom. and the ferm living wallpaper. we just bought our house 7 months ago and your photos make me feel like it might not be end of me….. i said might.
ab-so-lute-ly adore all the transformations. love it!
Oh, wow! It is so much fun to see all the amazing progress in your lovely house. Cannot wait for part 2!
I love the piece above your fireplace – are the color blocks made out of fabric? Have you written somewhere else about where you got it?
The collage above the mantel in the bedroom is a mixed-media piece by my father.
PS This really inspires me to make *my* living space better…it’s like, holy crap, look at all those people did, the least we could do is put in 1/10th of that effort into our place.
PPS I have been meaning to tell you (not that you know me and we are old friends) that your weekend to do wish lists are also inspirational to me
They inspire me, too! I should make them more often.
Oh wow, that’s stunning! Thanks for the much-needed inspiration!
you and your husband give me much hope! we’re on year 4 of a similar renovation: we might not have any furniture, but at least we have a beautiful old house to enjoy in the end. 😉
I really love your home, the white and pops of color. The newly painted black walls, pretty much all of it.
WOW! I’d never seen the “befores” before…incredible!
And I totally hear you on the house-buying process. We tried to take a break at one point, but once you start it’s hard to stop until you find something, no matter how painful the process. I actually remember getting all emotional at work when they didn’t accept our offer on on a 400 SF tear-down in a depressed neighborhood. But they say it always works out for the best, and maybe that’s true.
Anyhow, happy 5-year!
It was DEFINITELY for the best that the other two deals fell through. I am grateful every day, believe me! At the time, though, it was absolutely crushing.
I loved everything about this post: the rush of anxiety followed by the dirty and ending with the pretty. Scratch that — with the beautiful. Such an amazing transformation, and a wonderful reminder that a house is a living, breathing thing.
Gorgeous! You have done an amazing job!!! I really love your style.
oh these are SO fun and fantastically inspiring! Keep em coming!
wow. wow wow wow.
just beautiful. you guys have done a wonderful job.
& i love that you know the history of your home – so fascinating! do you know anything about the earlier homeowners/who lived there? so cool.
We know a little bit about the family that lived there in the 60s/70s (a neighbor of ours now lives in the house she grew up in), but nothing before that. After the 70s, the house changed hands many times and was a boarded-up HUD house for a while. I’d love to know more about the original owners, but I’ve never taken the time to do the research.
I would have ran away or died from depression at the sight of those yellow windows. Even the tint of the photos are depressing in the before photos, maybe because of the lighting they were using? Those pineapple bowls and place mats really complemented the dirty yellow trim. I cannot believe you did all this yourselves. My favorite house on the internet by far, and it’s actually a house and not some small corner a stylist created. Hats off to you!
That goldenrod color (paired with mayonnaise-toned walls) was truly awful. It took me 4 1/2 years to get rid of every last bit!
Wow, the transformation is amazing! I love the pics! =)
Congratulations to you both, Anna & Evan – its been such an inspiration for me to follow your hard and successful work over the years.
Your house is just beautiful!
I’ve just startet house-hunting and IF I find one I’ll definately try blogging about the transformations. Its good to know that there is hope 😉
Happy 5 years!
That nightmarish movie-hospital yellow is truly one of the most awful colors I’ve ever seen. I am a firm believer in the power of paint but sometimes it is difficult to see the face for all the makeup which makes housebuying such a terrifying enterprise.
I like your decor style much much much better.
So amazing! I had to hop out of Google reader to see these nice and big. 🙂 Oh, and I love the addition of the black wall. It’s perfect.
That house is lucky to have you!
Congratulation on a (ton of) job(s) well done!
Wow, just – wow! You should be so proud of yourself because you have done a fabulous job! My husband Mark and I just bought our second home 6 months ago with the plan on it being a renovation project (our first home was already completed so we didn’t touch it the two years we were there), so this gives me so much inspiration! We are slow renovators, but it’s nice to see that white paint, a few patch-ups, and nice furniture will really make a place look amazingly different. Well done!
I know it doesn’t really show in the photos, but the house actually needed a LOT more than patch-ups and paint. All of the walls were falling apart and had to be replastered (fortunately we have a family member who is a genius in that area…and very generous with his time!!), for starters, which is a large part of the reason why we’re already five years in (and counting!).
Don’t worry about taking it slow. You’ll get there! The best advice I can give you, though, is to focus on completing one room at a time. Make a plan of your projects and priorities, and try to stick to it. That’s something I REALLY wish we’d done, because lack of focus and 4985934 unfinished projects can be really be bad for moral.
bad for moral. amen sister. but rejoice when a project is complete!
We bought our house just about five years ago, too, and it’s been a long road to get it to a condition we’re happy with. I love what you’ve done with your place. It’s really neat to see how a more stripped-down, modern look really highlights the period architectural features (fireplaces) of the house.
Thank you for sharing these photos. You have restored the house beautifully.
i’ve been a silent reader for far too long, so just wanted to say happy house birthday & thanks for all the inspiration.
I have said it many of times here and will say it many more I am sure. LOVE!
The home buying, building, and/or renovating process is one of those exhausting, all consuming, suck all the happiness right out of you things in life. Your home is definitely proof that it is worth it. Congratulations.
your home is absolutely stunning. and always, always inspiring.
i am know you guys are so proud of your hardwork.
it looks superfreakingwonderful.
it looks like home.
You are a visionary to see this house as it was when you bought it and believe you can turn it into what you have today. Stunning!
WOW – that pineapple dinnerware is quite something! 🙂
Yeah, it’s definitely “something”, that’s for sure!! 😉
Incredible transformation! If this was an episode of Pimp Your House, you’d win! It’s really amazing what a coat of paint does to make the room feel so fresh, but your taste in furniture and decorations is also impeccable. Fantastic!
It was a LOT more than just a coat of paint, believe me! The photos make the house look like it was in much better condition than it actually was.
Good taste changes everything and you’ve proved that!!!
Anna, if your walls could talk, they would scream a resounding “Thank you!” for saving them from the depressed state they were in before you and Evan moved in. I’ve really enjoyed the story of your house’s transformation.
I mentioned not too long ago via twitter that I work in a library, and the first day I found Door Sixteen I was working, and moments later, one of your Jennifer Weiner books came across the desk. It was just one of those special, “things are moving in the right direction” moments. I don’t know. Needless to say I have been hooked ever since. I feel like this is a fantastic use of a blog and it is refreshing to see your passion and respect for the heritage of your older home.
Reading Door Sixteen is a welcome break in my day, as well as a huge inspiration for my design sense.
Thanks, Dave! I love that coincidence. 🙂
Great improvement! It’s neat how all of the fireplaces look completely different. It adds a lot of interest.
oooh, that IS something to celebrate. happy house-day and congrats!
and thank you for all the time you spend documenting this whole process. not only is it really lovely to look at, but it’s also very encouraging to those of us who have house-buying and fixing-up on our horizon…
Pineapple Bowls? I mean… really???
You made a really fabolous home out of this house! 🙂
It looks as if the hardest things turn out to be the best though. You’re a model for the rest of us!
Thank you for sharing your home with us ! It’s been incredibly inspiring. I hope you guys take at least a night off from renovating/diy-ing to have a decent celebration ?!
PS. I had forgotten all about your awesome green anglepoise lamp. Thanks for reminding me. One more brilliant idea to steal 😉
Almost every night is a night off, actually. We really only work on a couple of projects a month, so it’s really only a day here and there…usually on a weekend. There’s no time at night!
my wife and i went through pretty much the same thing. it’s only been 1.5 years for us but we looked and looked and lost then were able to buy our own. there are some before/during pics of our reno. thanks for the great inspiration. my wife and i love coming to your blog.
matt (& cate)
Such a stunning transformation! Anna, any advice or thoughts on what you’ve learned over the course of this project for those of us who aspire to one day take on something like this? Thanks for sharing!
Make a plan! Don’t worry about resale! It’s okay to copy other people’s houses!
I love this. Everything. It would be incredible to come home to this every night & gives me hope yet for my humble little abode.
Can’t wait for part two. Thanks!
Looks beautiful! And it makes me want to paint our whole darn house white, floors and all! 🙂 What is the fireplace “screen” you painted black? I am assuming it is original to the house (and it is VERY cool) but is it merely decorative or does/did it serve a purpose?? And are you free to hop over to Indiana and give design advice to an aesthetically-challenged gal?? Just kidding. Sort of…
The “fireplaces” are actually forced-heat registers, and yes, they’re original to the house. They’re blocked off now, though, since steam heat (in the form of cast iron registers) was installed sometime around 1900.
It doesn’t have anything to do with the subject, but I just had to think of you when I saw this poster: http://www.etsy.com/listing/49731049/rain-drops-poster-print-unframed?ref=pr_shop
Have a nice week-end!
Cute! Thanks for the link 🙂
Happy 5th Birthday to one beautiful house! x
Happy Homeownership Anniversary! This is a wonderful coincidence because we just put in an offer on a fixer yesterday. We’re waiting… and the emotions are running pretty high. This is just what I needed to see to inspire and restore my hope about the process. The pictures do hint that there has been so much more than a change of color. The results are spectacular, which cannot be overstated. Many happy returns!
I have been an avid reader of your blog since stumbling across your home tour on Apartment Therapy almost three years ago. In December of 2008 my significant other and I finally purchased a home. I sympathized when you described the torture and agony of the home-buying experience. When we were house-hunting we, quite literally, looked at over 100 condominums, lofts, duplexes and single-family homes. At first it was exciting – every appointment we had with the real estate agent was filled with possibility. However, after seeing homes with crumbling foundations, asbestos flooring, exposed wiring and a myriad of other horrors it became depressing. We put in offers on five other houses (primarily short sales and pending foreclosures) before we finally closed on our Victorian. When we first saw the house it was love at first site. Virtually every room was wallpapered and there was even a hand-painted mural in the bathroom (a forest scene complete with a wolf howling at the moon)! Despite the questionable decor and deferred maintenance the house had wonderful bones and was structurally sound. Within the first day of moving in we were already furiously tearing down wallpaper.
Now, two years later, we have accomplished so much however my boyfriend and I have vastly differently levels of enthusiam for these renovation projects. I think he would rather face a root canal than face another project. Many things I have tackled all by myself (painting rooms, kitchen cabinets and some wood floors; removing the awful 1970’s faux brick vinyl flooring from the bathroom, stripping wallpaper – the list could go on and on). While I feel a sense of pride in the transformation and all that I have learned along the way it can also feel frustrating, depressing and overwhelming sometimes. I have neglected other parts of my life because there is always another project looming on the horizon. My boyfriend is of the opinion that unless something is actually “broken” it doesn’t need to be changed. I look at the fully wallpapered dining room (ceiling included) and it grates on me.
I read a number of blogs that focus on home decor and renovation and none of them really seem to discuss what an emotional and draining experience it can be. I’ve always been impressed by what you’ve managed to accomplish but I wonder if anyone ever feels the same. Maybe there should be a support group for home renovation junkies. 😉 How does everyone manage to find that balance? I love my home but feel alone in my hopes for what it could be.
I apologize for the length of this post but I hope someone might have some encouraging words.
Melanie, I understand and sympathize with everything you’ve written here, and I’ve often thought about writing a post that addresses this side of the renovation process. Usually I’m too upset in the moment to even WANT to write a blog post, but I have touched on it before (like when we were working on our downstairs bathroom).
looks awesome! love the transformation
Your house is so lucky to have someone like you to look after it so beautifully.
Happy 5th birthday! I love your before and after pictures.
Congratulations!!! Love what you’ve done with your house. Looking forward to seeing more. Thanks for sharing!
Melanie, I SO feel your pain! Our house has a lot of “charm and character” and I find it extremely overwhelming. Especially after watching any HGTV episode that has a makeover on it. I like Anna’s honesty in the actual time/labor/budget spent on her house projects. You are by no means alone in your frustrations and irritations! 🙂 In our first home we had a neighbor in her 70’s and she always told us “Rome wasn’t built in a day…” But, boy oh boy, wouldn’t it be nice? 🙂
Never thought black walls could be so beautiful, nicely done!
Thank God you finally bought it! =)
Well done! it looks great! and congrats for the closing (: you should have it..!
It is extraordinary what you guys have accomplished! I know that stress of buying a house… We’ve lived overseas for most of our marriage but bought a house in the States in between our time in Spain and Morocco. It was completely stressful trying to buy one, but there are days when I still miss that feeling of coming home to something that is all mine!
aaaaah god, your house is like every designer’s dream house. it has everything i love!
i LOVE the bold black and white palette. I am totally taking inspiration from you in redesigning my bedroom 🙂
i love the simplicity of your accent pieces, yet there is still something beautifully complex and somewhat feminine about the little piece that pop up in certain places. the masculine clean palette creates space to highlight the beauty of antique architectural pieces. Radiators become more like purposeful art objects, the black paint makes the fireplaces SO amazing, mixing modern drama of black and white with the ornate victorian detailing of the grating.
Need I say anything more? I LOVE your aesthetic. Like woah!
Your house is gorgeous!!!
Hi Anna! I totally needed this inspiring post after learning that we are only getting a very small grant from the City of Newburgh after all the crap we’ve been through since applying last April. It’s enough to maybe fix the roof, but it’s so disheartening, that I was really upset until reading your fifth year anniversary post and seeing what you’ve done. Your house is amazing and I need to remember that it took a lot of work and time. Anyway, Happy New Year! Sherry
Wow, paint is like a can of magic!!!!!
You have done an amazing job with this home. That is a whole lot of work, but I know it was worth it.
I wish it had just been paint! 😉
Wow! It is really miracle what you did to this place!
WOW what a transformation!! I love it! Congrats on 5 years, you have a beautiful home!! =)
Seeing this gives me hope for future transformations in my place! Everything looks amazing – of course.
Happy Birthday Door Sixteen! 🙂
I just say, You´w done great job !
Your space is so inspiring! I absolutely love the white walls & little pops of color you have everywhere. & I’m extremely jealous of all those fireplaces…!
Wow, I just went through all three posts of before and afters. WOW. Even though it’s one of the smallest spaces (at least it looks like it from the photos) I truly love the vestibule. That wallpaper is to die for! Also, the black walls are so dramatic and beautiful.
Thanks for taking the time to share these. It makes all of the trim painting I need to do around here look like child’s play! How inspiring. 🙂
Hey Anna, another longtime (but silent) reader. I just had to stop by and say a big huge congratulations on all of your hard work over the years! What an amazing transformation. My fiance and I have been thinking about buying in the near future and we have slightly different opinions on the age of the house we want, and the amount of work we want to do. I would love to have a very old house, such as yours (though they are harder to come by in Minneapolis, we would more likely find a house built around 1900-1920) to fix up and remodel, and Alex would prefer a midcentury home (also adorable) with most of its original finishes and not much to fix up. You constantly affirm that it CAN BE DONE, and HOLY CRAP it can be done WELL! I will definitely use your home as an example in my favor when we begin looking and have to make some decisions. I cant wait to get my hands (and feet and knees and everything else) dirty, and its all because of you!