We are a thirty-something couple with a toddler daughter living in Portland, Maine. In June of 2009, we bought our first house in Portland’s East End. We are long-time renters, both separately and together.
Collectively, we have lived in 28 apartments, in San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn), Prague, Spain, Australia and even a few (already!) in Portland. Needless to say, we’re VERY excited to finally settle down in our own home where we can tear down walls, paint and renovate with impunity. And maybe also stay put for a while.
We started this blog to chronicle our home renovation so that family and friends living outside of Maine could follow along as we turn our new house into a home. Our intention is to renovate in as ecologically-friendly a way as possible, both for our family’s health and for that of the planet’s (aren’t they both inextricably linked, anyway?). We’re also hoping to join the growing community of home renovators and house-bloggers, and hoping that others might find something useful in these pages, just as we have learned from the many great home and design blogs out there that we visit daily.
To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with, here is something I wrote after the first time I saw the house:
I looked at three houses today in my neighborhood. One, which was going for all of $124,900, smelled so badly of cat piss, I could almost taste it on my tongue 3 hours later. I’m all for DIY renovations, but there’s no way I could salvage that place. Not only was the stench unbearable (and I am totally a cat person), but the layout was all wrong: a tiny, disjointed, dark kitchen; a rabbit’s warren of bedrooms upstairs, a deck only accessible by pushing out the bottom part of the window. But the good thing about looking at that place was meeting the neighbor from across the street, a kitchen renovator who handed me his card with a sweet smile. He and his wife lived across the street from the house for sale, next door to his sister. He also thought the house was a good deal, and said houses for that price rarely came for sale in the neighborhood.
Um, yeah. That’s a pretty fair description of our house as we first saw it. And also a good first impression of our neighbor Ben, who has been a real help and has given us some great advice. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to hire him to build us a kitchen.
The title for the blog comes from a line from the song “Our House,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.