Old Town Home

Old Town Home is a blog dedicated to chronicling the successes and failures of an Historic Old Town Alexandria couple as they live in the charming historic district while attempting to completely renovate and appropriately restore an 1880s Victorian row house...almost entirely on their own.

A Whole House Catastrophe

Authors: Wendy

Boy last week really sucked. Alex and I had insanely crazy and stressful work weeks, and the only thing that was keeping us at all sane was the promise of a weekend at the new house. We looked forward to a couple days away, resting, relaxing, and of course DIY-ing. We were excited to devote a good chunk of time to the work in the...

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When Plaster Lurks Below the Surface

Authors: Alex

We've already reached a point in our new house where our over zealous preservationist ways have begun to impact our projects.

It's no real surprise in a house that's over 100 years old, but by the time we started the removal of the weird partial wall in the living room we already knew we had an issue on our hands. The walls of the...

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A Bear of a Task: Removing the Load Bearing Wall

Authors: Alex

A few weeks ago we reported on our efforts to remove the odd half wall in the living/entry area in our new house.

As much as I wanted to take on this major structural renovation work on my own, I knew the effort necessary and that it was likely best to let the pros handle this work.

With that in mind, we reached out to several...

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Refreshing a Dated Bathroom: Windows, Lighting, and Accessories

Authors: Wendy

As Alex mentioned in his post on piling caps, we're a little all over the place with our DIY focus right now. We have a list of projects going on simultaneously, and it seems we're having a hard time checking any of them off the list as fully completed. The makeover of our new home's downstairs bathroom is one of these projects.

To...

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Piling Caps to Complete at Least One Project!

Authors: Alex

While it may feel like we're starting project after project and not really ever finishing anything, in reality, that's EXACTLY what we are doing!!!

Our project list is a mile long and growing. Right now we've got:

While I likely have a good excuse or nine for why each project isn't further along, I won't bore you with made up lies and...

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Gift Guide - Top 10 Tools Under $10 for Your DIYer Valentine

Authors: Alex

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us, and if you're like either of us, you have a DIY partner in crime you'd like to shower with gifts and adoration that show just how much you care for them. 

But the thing is, the cliched dozen long stem roses, box of chocolates, or flashy jewelry you typically see given on Valentine's Day just...

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Refreshing a Dated Bathroom without a Lot of Time or Money: Walls and Paint

Authors: Wendy

While there's a huge list of projects we're excited to tackle at our new house, it was clear to me what needed to go near the top of our priority project list. 

With its floral decor from ceiling to floor, the one project I couldn't wait to start was our downstairs bathroom. In fact, we had owned the house less than a day before...

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Let's Start with Something Big - Load Bearing Walls

Authors: Alex

Several months ago we closed on a very picturesque and historic house on the water.

This home is a second home for us, and our grand plan is to use it as a vacation/weekend retreat where we will be able to spend time with friends, family, and each other away from the very fast paced and close proximity lifestyle to which we've come...

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The Ballard Designs Outlet: An Outlet for Creativity

Authors: Wendy

You know how little kids are overcome with joy and excitement at the thought of visiting Mickey Mouse and friends at the Magic Kingdom?

I've read that kids feel this urge to visit and joy when they enter due to a tremendous need to be immersed in the things they love that makes them feel creative. I'm sure the massive Disney...

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Searching for a Surveillance Alternative to Dropcam

Authors: Alex

If you've asked anyone for their opinion on a good video monitoring solution recently, the almost automatic answer seems to be "Get a Dropcam, they're great!"

But the question I've long had is simple, "Is the Dropcam really all it's cracked up to be, or should we look elsewhere for a more effective, flexible, and economical solution?"

W...

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