Years ago we dreamed of renovating an old house. We finally got the opportunity in 1995 when we bought a “gable and el” style home in Goffstown Village built in 1887. When we bought it the listing sheet said it was 30-50 years old but I knew that couldn’t be true since the foundation was made almost entirely of giant granite stones and there was a huge piece of granite ledge that ran through the entire width of the basement. I figure it was because there was no way in 1887 to remove it so the house was built right on top of it. We went to the town hall and researched every deed to the house since it had been built. That was how we found out the year 1887 which I then hung on the chimney in number tiles because I was so proud. It had some really cool features even when we bought it. There was a mahogany newell post with bullseyes and fluted trim that I stripped light blue paint off of and clear coated it so that it had a beautiful shine, that project alone took a week and I had a newborn at the time. I look back now and cannot imagine it. The floors were solid maple and just needed sanding. A lot of renovation work had been done in the 50’s which is why the realtor thought that was when it was built. The entire outside was covered with asbestos siding made to look like cedar shakes but underneath was real cedar clapboards that we revealed and painstakingly painted, yes a shade of Victorian rose. I was really into pink at that point. We bought found solid wood shutters in Brian’s grandmother’s basement that we painted a brown/pink shade called “nightjar” I still remember the paint name….wow. We also found an old turned wood porch post there that we installed on our front porch painted the same as the shutters. The kitchen was a 1950’s dream, gray, formica countertops trimmed with aluminum, matching formica backsplash, a metal sink/cabinet that was about 4 feet wide. We stripped all the formica out and installed a solid maple butcher block bar and new counters with matching maple bullnose edges. The backsplash area had to have new sheetrock installed, it had been ruined by the adhesive from the formica. We installed a new sink and had room for dishwasher next to it and built a cabinet that matched the others in the room all painted white. Oh the bathroom!!! There was a seafoam green enamel-over- iron tub and yellow wall tile! All of that was removed and replaced with white, adding couple of mulberry colored accent tiles in the shower. The wallpaper was a tiny Victorian rose print I saw in a magazine and then found on clearance locally, I was so excited! ( I said I was into pink back then!). In the end, there wasn’t a surface of that house that I didn’t lay my hands on personally. I enjoyed every minute of it, it was truly a labor of love and I learned a lot at the same time. We lived there for 4 years and had only worked on our last project a matter of months before we sold it. There was still so much I wanted to do but we had our reasons for moving out of state to start over in SC. The main lesson I learned was that nothing is forever. When we bought that house I was sure the kids would grow up there and probably our grandchildren would come there for Christmas, I thought it was forever and it was only 4 years. The house we live in now is just a suburban subdivision house that I was never in love with and now I have lived in it longer than anywhere except when I lived with my parents. 12 years now. So, nothing is forever and once you understand that and accept it, it’s very freeing.
This is a link to Realtor.com with an old aerial view of the house, looks like it was before we even started work on it years ago.