The Living Room: Old House Renovation Story

Brrrr! It has been soooo cold here the past few days… It seemed only fitting that, while going through a file, I would come across a forgotten picture of my old house in the snow.


It’s the picture on the left. I’ll tell you one day how it is I happen to have it – and who the Witts were. But today, before I open the door and invite you in where it’s warm, I want to tell you one more thing about the exterior. I forgot to mention it last week when I wrote the rest of the front porch story.

Witt Turner House Winter

Look closely at the front porch in the two pictures. (Enlarge it if you like.) What’s missing in the first one? Yes, I know you with “eagle eyes” saw it immediately. Just be patient a second and let everyone else catch up with you…


How about a clue… Last time I told you that when I first saw the old house, her front porch was sagging and the porch roof was wAvY, so the front porch had to be rebuilt.


Need another clue? Count the columns across the front.


When we looked under the porch that first time, we saw six support columns across the front but only four columns. We made the assumption that the two center columns had been removed at some point–probably for a better view–and that was why the porch was sagging in those two places. When we rebuilt the porch, we replaced the center columns… or so we thought.


After moving into the house–and receiving the old photograph–we realized there never had been any center columns. Ever–until we added them. She’s certainly not saggy anymore, and she should be good to go for another hundred snowy Winters!


But today, I promised you a peek inside, so brush off that blowing snow and come on in!

Old house01


Although this old house has some Victorian details on the exterior, the year 1907 here in East Tennessee was a time of architectural transition–moving toward the simpler lines and built-ins of the Craftsman style on the interiors. But don’t think “bungalow” ’cause the ol’ gal is no Craftsman bungalow! That style came later.

Old house02

As much as I wish it weren’t so, my “before” pictures are ridiculously inferior–but they’re the only ones I have–so I’ll do my best to talk you through them quickly.


You’re now standing in the living room just inside the front door, and the soaring 10-foot high ceilings are already elevating your mood. The stairs are directly in front, and the dark dungeon of a 70’s paneled room to the left will become the master bedroom. Oh, be grateful for the large sheet of plywood you’re standing on; it’s keeping you from falling through the 3-foot wide hole into the basement below. Carpenter ants did a nasty number on the gorgeous heart pine floor…

Old house03



I wish you’d been here to lend a hand when the old (not original) wallpaper was removed, and the concrete (not plaster) walls were primed. But thank goodness for the pro who installed 1/4″ sheetrock on the ceiling! We opted to go that route to visually “clean up” the few hairline cracks, and it was one of the best choices we made throughout the house!


Old house04



The walls were painted Pittsburgh Paint’s “Golden Ecru” and the ceiling “Parchment Paper”. There’s not a single “ceiling white” ceiling in the entire house.


Because we wanted the *first impression* to be timeless, all woodwork in the front rooms got a good cleaning but otherwise remained untouched. The heart pine floors were professionally refinished and given a high-gloss polyurethane finish.

Old house06



The chandelier was added under the stairs to give much-needed light – and to replace the one hot-wired and hanging from a screw-hook in the trim. Yikes!


If you’re wondering… The doorway straight ahead steps down onto what was once the back porch.

Old house09



No more hole in the wood floor!  A fantastic floor man (and a tip I’ll share with you next week) made that bad memory virtually a thing of the past.

Old house08



To the right of the front door are these original (heavy!) pocket doors that close off Renaissance Man’s study. I’ve given you peeks behind those doors in the past, but next time I’ll give you the scoop on that room. It held the solution to the hole-in-the-floor problem.

Old house07


Curious about the other door on the right? It goes into the dining room. You’ll have to wait for that one…


Is this the kind of space you expected to see before you walked through the front door?  Any questions for me?


If you missed Part One of this old house renovation story, check out In The Beginning.


I’ll be joining:

Amaze Me Monday @ Dwellings–The Heart of Your Home

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch



  1. Such a beautiful home, so much character. I love all the dark, rich, wood! Would love for you to share at Amaze Me Monday!

  2. What a beauty! Thanks for sharing! I love all of the old wood.

    Visiting from Amaze Me Monday.


  3. What a wonderful old house. We have the same pocket doors in our house the only difference our have copper handles. This house was in pretty good shape when we moved in. We are in the process of trying to preserve the back portion of the house and have taken out about 50 years worth of (improvements, for that time) out, by opening the firplaces and exposing the heart pine floors.

  4. I know that I have said I’m OK with God’s continued No about restoring an old house, but when I see a true old beauty, even in pictures, my heart still skips a beat. I can’t describe the feeling I get inside an old house. You would have to live inside my spirit to understand. It’s like I just belong there. Yours is just beautiful to me, and I’m so thrilled to be able to take tours.

  5. Wow, love the wood details, the floors. All the hard work, aka… love….you put into your home. I think it’s wonderful. I could happily nap, live or eat on your front porch by the way 🙂

  6. Susan, your home is gorgeous. The next owner will be blessed to live with the love you have instilled within the walls.

  7. I love, love, love old houses, Susan, so this tour was a real treat! I know how you’ve opened your heart to this home (among other things! 🙂 ). Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my candleleight “survival kit” LOL…Last time I checked around 11 pm we were at -7F and still dropping! Expected to be in the -teens tomorrow! All schools, church activities, etc. already closed. It’s crazy!! Stay warm and cozy in your home! (We’re thankful for heat and electricity among many other things!) ~Zuni

  8. Thanks for stopping by and your kind comments. I really enjoyed seeing your home. Stay warm and safe.

  9. What a charming home. I know this renovation is a labor of love. I too have an older home which we bought about 7 years ago and the projects never stop. But it is so rewarding and satisfying. There is nothing like the warmth and character of an older home. Beautifully done.

  10. Marylyn Miles says:

    Love your Beautiful Home and all the work is worth every moment, it will bring so much Happiness to you both. Enjoy seeing the progress with each post!!!

  11. THOSE POCKET DOORS….be still my heart! <3
    I'm obsessed with this series!