Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Extreme Makeover ~ Upstate New York

So how many of you have a dream house? There was a small town, not far from where we grew up that had an old general store type building at one of it's intersections. Every time we would drive past that shop, my dad would say "There's my dream house." He would then go on for a few minutes about how he would convert the front into a little store, and what he would fix and how much he loved it. Over the years, that shop was eventually turned into a beautiful house, and my dad moved on to his next dream house.

This is my dream house.

My dream house was a huge old manor in the small town we grew up in. It was the old doctors residence and was empty for a long time before a local church started using it for kids clubs and things. I fell in love with the big, old, cream brick house with pretty green shutters one summer when I attended a kids camp there. It has two kitchens (one was part of the servants quarters in the back) and fireplaces in every room. There were creaky old floors and huge tall ceilings. It also had an old carriage house beside it. It was three storeys and needed a whole lot of work. I imagined it being my first home, shortly after getting married. I would spend my days fixing it up and wallpapering, restoring it back to the gorgeous estate it once was. The fantasy went something like many of the scenes from It's a Wonderful Life. The house did actually go up for sale at one point, and was even reasonably priced - I was just too young. Every time I drive past it I can picture what it would be like living there. The new owners haven't changed much about it, just enough updates to make it livable I'm sure. Maybe one day...

Until then, I always appreciate those who find the beauty and potential in long-forgotten homes. Worn and ragged, they look so desolate and almost eery. But there are some people who have the gift, like my father, of looking at such a house and envisioning it restored to it's original glory. Most of these houses have good bones and potential, they just need a little vision and love - and sadly, money. Anytime I come across one I can't help but imagine how gorgeous it could be and what it would be like to call it home.

Lisa and Mark Hellman are one of those couples. The transformation they made possible in the old Upstate New York estate is astounding. It was a year of complete renovations, but the end result was a fully restored 106 year old gorgeous home. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Take a look here to view the full flip book as featured in Country Living.


  1. I love your dream house! i can totally see you in it.
    They did an amazing job restoring, it gives me hope for our home-those before photos look frighteningly similar to ours when we first got it.

  2. Your dream house is beautiful but a little too big for me. My dream house would be small.


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