Old House – New House. Best of Both Worlds.

I’ve always wanted to live in an old house.  Times have changed from when I was younger and thought new was better.
Both of my previous houses were new builds (I loved the fact that I was the first to use the bathrooms)!
Although I loved my previous houses and made great memories in them, I was so excited to finally be able to renovate so check out my old house before and after.
Old House Before and After - wait until you see the before! kellyelko.com

As time goes on, our tastes change.  Mine has definitely changed to include a love of old things, including houses.

Four years ago, we moved to a new town that is filled with charming old houses on tree-lined streets.

Very Leave it to Beaver!

I was thrilled and started my house search in earnest.  Unfortunately, it was still near the height of the housing market and I could not find something that I loved and that was within our budget as houses were being snapped up with multiple offers.

So we continued to rent while we searched.  Over a year went by and the market started to crumble.

Then an old, dilapated house went up for sale.  “I want it”, I told The Hubs.  We drove by and he saw the peeling paint, the crumbling front steps, the overgrown trees.  He thought I was nuts.  We toured the house and it was worse inside than out – “a crack house”, The Hubs called it!  Water damage, crumbling walls, cracked plaster, termites … the list goes on and on.  But it did have “great bones”, a fabulous street close to town and a nice yard and I saw what it could become.  We made an offer – the only offer (I think it scared everyone away).  Our offer was accepted!

Before with trees too close to foundation, peeling paint,
crumbling steps, leaking windows and a few pesky termites!

Before of a 100 year old house renovation - you must see the after! kellyelko.com

After with fresh green paint, new steps, railings, 
windows, slate walkway, landscaping, 
new third dormer and oval window.

Beautiful old house porch kellyelko.com
I bought old bricks and used them to rebuild the steps!
Welcoming small front porch - love the ferns kellyelko.com

I was thrilled to stop renting.  We would have our own house again. Wait, I was forgetting that we would have do a complete gut renovation before we could move in.  It took exactly one year from the time we closed on the house until we carried our bags through the front door (that’s a total of two loooong years in the tiny rental house).  Architects plans had to be drawn up, variances and permits from the town had to be approved, contractors had to be interviewed.  It was five months before we even started the real work on the house. 

The contractor managed the rebuild and installation but I had a great time sourcing everything from windows, to kitchen cabinets and built-ins, lighting (my favorite), counters, tile, plumbing fixtures (bought online – even the toilets!), right down to the doorknobs.  I found the best (and most affordable) local and online sources and miraculously stayed within budget!

Now, we have the best of both worlds – old house charm with new house conveniences.  Unfortunately, the house was neglected for so long, there wasn’t much we could save but we tried our best.  We made an effort that anything new reflect the character of the house (but I did throw a few modern touches in for good measure).

Luckily, it’s like childbirth as we forget the pain or we’d never do that again!  In fact, The Hubs says “they’ll have to carry me out of here feet first.”  With a response like that, I think it was definitely worth it.

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  1. Kelly,
    I bet it’s a little bit fun to revisit and remember all you went through to make your house a home!
    It is so beautiful. Top to bottom. A lovely, lovely home =)
    You have infused it with your style and it is a winner!!
    May you and your family experience nothing but JOY withing it’s walls.

  2. Awesome, it’s beautiful, and I love it. Can’t pick a fav, I like the color, like the landscape, like the entry, and love the door. Pulled it together great. Come here, but leave the gnomes home. We have our own thanks to my daughter.


  3. I live in a newer home and try to make it look old:) Love the charm of your home and the entry is fab! Really gives you a feel for what’s to come inside. Magnificent.

  4. hi kelly,
    i am a new follower and love what you’ve done to your home. we live in an old home as well, one that has been in my hubs family throughout the years. i would like to know the paint color that you used on the exterior of your home. it is so fresh looking and we are in the midst of deciding a paint color for ours. the philipsburg blue has seen its day and needs to changed up for something fresh and new.
    thanks so much.

    1. Our paint color is Ben Moore – Creekside Green. We tried tons of colors before we decided! I recommend buying a quart and slapping a sample on the house before you commit. It’s a big decision – you wouldn’t want to repaint the entire house if you hated the color!!

      Let me know what you decide – and I want to see pics!!

      1. Do you know the colors of the trim, house and porch ceiling paint???oh and the stain of your door? I love everything your home. And would really like to see how those samples are on our house as we are in the middle of our own addition/remodel on our 1950s home. Thanks!!!!

          1. What is the color of the porch ceiling please?? Love it and our home is the Creekside green as well.

  5. Kelly, your home is gorgeous! I love your front door, your side lights, and your rebuilt brick steps! We, too, had always lived in new homes so I know what you mean about being the first folks to use the toilet! But I had always wanted to renovate an older home so we got our chance when we moved into our current home. There are a ton of things we’d like to do, but we love all the quirks and charm of an old home.

  6. Beautiful!! Can you tell me the blue color you used on your ceilings on the front porch and your sunporch?

  7. My house is about 145 years old. It has its little quirks but that’s what I like about it. You’re very brave to buy a home that requires a complete gut. I’ve lived in a new build too and was afraid to use the sparkling clean stove for the first time. I didn’t want to spill anything on it. 🙂 I hated the new house. It didn’t have any soul like old houses. Don’t get me wrong … new houses are pretty … they just don’t feel like home to me. We all have our preferences, I guess.

  8. I just found your site via Pinterest and have spent the last hour going through all the pictures and reading about your renovation. I just HAD to comment and tell you how much I LOVE what you’ve done! You’ve created a home that’s elegant and welcoming. Your family room is so inviting and gives me thoughts of curling up to read a good book. Kudos on a job well done, and best wishes to your family as you enjoy this beautiful home! Now following along so I won’t miss the next decorating adventure. 🙂

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  10. Love your front steps! Can you tell me what the handrail and posts are made of? Is it wood or other material? Looking to do the same thing with my front steps. Thanks!

  11. Hi, Kelly, I just found your house on Pinterest, as we are needing to re-do our exterior. The curb appeal is wonderful! I will ask the same question as Olivia, as I do not see a reply: Where did you find your front door? It looks like wood. Is it? If it is fiberglass, it is an amazing imitation. Thanks

    1. Hi Annmarie – my door was custom made by a place in upstate NY. I can’t remember the name of the company. I’ll search and if I find it I’ll let you know. I basically took pictures of old doors I liked and sent it to them with my tweaks and they made my door!

  12. Hi Kelly, I really hope you see this comment. I know this is an old post. We are getting ready to paint the exterior of our house and I gave been searching on Pinterest for days. At first I thought I wanted a White House but they all looked sooo white. Then I thought maybe a green but wasn’t sure. Then I saw your house and I really like it! Since you have had this color for a few years have you gotten tired of it? Also, what sheen did you use? Our house has flat now but the person at the paint store told me a lot of people are going with “low sheen” which has a bit of a shine. So I am not sure which way to go. I have always loved looking at your blog. You have really good taste and any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Belinda, we painted our hours about 8 years ago and the color is holding up well! The color is Benjamin Moore Creekside Green half tint. I’m not sure if it’s flat? We tried about a dozen samples on the house before we decided on this one. I advise you to do the same! Also, drive around your neighborhood and if there is a house that strikes your fancy, knock and ask them their color. Best of luck finding the perfect color.

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