Let The Games Begin

2012, a year that will hopefully be marked by great and exciting things for us all.  Olympic games in London, Elections to decide the fate of a nation, Mayan calendar apocalypse! For you (dear reader: please mentally insert your name here for a more personal experience)  may it bring good health, prosperity and all the happiness you deserve. On a more personal level, for my significant other and I, may it bestow the same. However, if it is not an inconvenience or causes any offense to you, I would like to add the following small personal addendum to my heartfelt and sincere well wishes…

May we please, please, please have an on time, under budget and drama free home renovation on our recently purchased  home,  here in a lovely, vital, upscale New England community.


Yes, it’s true. We are about to embark on yet another highly ambitious project to create a special place called home. And this one, much the same as the five others that have come before it, was born out of meticulous planning. So much of the time and energy spent on every little detail has been richly rewarded. Everything from the location of the property to the size, style and  layout of the structure is superb. And thankfully we found the perfect north facing elevation for those evironmentally friendly  rear roof solar panels! Not only that but we can now say good-bye to an oil tank, a septic tank and well because this property is tied into natural gas, public sewer and water! There is a low millage rate and tax valuation yet our public schools rival the finest private preps. Finally, we’ve found the perfect foundation to build upon when creating our next home…


OK, lets back up just a bit. Yes, it is true we are about to begin our fifth building project (in less than 13 years). And yes, it is also true that we have gas (don’t even!) public sewer & water and great schools. But the rest of my delusional rant is just that.  The facts are as follows: After selling our dream home in a suburb of Charlotte my significant other of fifteen years and I packed it all up and moved almost everything we own into storage. We then rented a cute little 1950’s bungalow ranch closer in to town. You know the place, the house with all that charm but without any closets! And this we did so his daily commute would be almost non-existent. YAY, hubby was happy and I was trying to figure out where to put things! Then, practically a moment after finalizing these life altering actions my beloved took a brand new job in a centrally located New England city. Within about 4 minutes of arriving in our rental digs we once again packed up what belongings we had in our possession and high tailed it to the Northeast. So long Charlotte! Adios mild winters! Hello COLD! Hola SNOW! Howdy Darkness at 4:00pm.

Having just gotten done with a move, the last thing I wanted was to do it again. And if moving to a new city and another rental was our plan it only meant that we would then have to move once more when we finally found our next home for purchase. The race was on! I was determined to avoid an interim move by finding a house we could buy, move right into and live happily ever after. Outta my way… show me that MLS and hand me a GPS. I’m buyin a house!

OK, long story short, after looking and looking and looking at about three dozen houses over the course of  several visits to the area, we ended up buying the very first house I had laid eyes on with the Realtor. You know the place, the one I immediately ruled out! The house that used to ooze all that charm but currently only oozes. The one that has a bright green, forty year old, leaking roof. Ceilings that are actually falling in, bathrooms that are inoperable, a kitchen that is so old and filthy it isn’t even fit for use as a gas station rest room, squirrels living in the detached garage’s rotting fascia, a side porch about to fall completely off the side of the home’s structure and a big, beautiful DEAD tree in the center of the yard! Yeah, that house.  Complete with high taxes, out dated layout and the immediate need for a great big, budget busting renovation! It just screams “Welcome Home Boys”!

So, like all of life’s great accidents… penicillin, Saccharin, Teflon and Pregnancy,  we ended up in what I am certain will be a very wonderful home at some time in the hopefully not too distant future. After all, it was, we have discovered, a charming and gracious home to one of America’s best loved sit-com maids from the 60’s!


This blog, also one of life’s unplanned things (Thanks to the brilliant suggestion of a very dear, wonderful, much appreciated and sorely missed friend – you know who you are Jean) and is intended to chronicle the happenings, both rational and insane,  of what I am affectionately calling “This (M)old House”.

Let The Games Begin

"A once gracious and charming home in West Hartford, CT"

5 thoughts on “Let The Games Begin

  1. Jean Roznik says:

    Michael, I love this. Am sending good karma in a northeasterly direction so this renovation flows smoothly and doesn’t mess with your mind and bank account! I know you’re going to end up with a beautiful, mould-free house and then you’re going to sell it and we’re going to sell our house and together we’re going to buy a falling down farmhouse in the Pyrenees. Right?

  2. bobbie says:

    From one [m]old house to another….
    I want more before photos!!! Can’t wait to see the after. Miss you guys and look forward to reading more posts!!

  3. Andrew Hoffman says:

    I love it, I love it, I love it! I’m talking about the blog and the house. I agree with Bobbie Sue … more before shots; especially of my guest room. All I have to say is I see a lovely multi-colored barrel tiled roof sheltering a pale pink house with a subtle but thorough pattern of white high-heeled shoes knocked out of the paint and every window shutter is a silhouette cut out from one of America’s architectural periods. Of course the shutters would all have to be painted a deep shade of aubergine … it would be tacky otherwise. Oh Yes! Don’t forget topiary busts of your favorite American presidents on the front lawn … an absolute must. You’ll thank me later.

  4. Michelle Pasternak says:

    I will be reading all your updates Michael. You are hilarious! Since I am living in one of your projects I feel a real kinship with your latest endeavor. Who was the 1960’s maid? I imagine your house will be like the MadMen set! We are so excited for you. And yes, more pictures please AND I clicked on the links to what West Hartford has to offer and maybe you will see me and the kiddies at one of the many free kids events this summer.

    • Hilarious? Comedy, so they say, is born of pain… This renovation stuff hurts! The 1960’s maid was Hazel. According to the listing agent and the older neighbors who have been here since they invented dirt, Shirley Booth lived in this house at one time. Poor Hazel wouldn’t recognize the place if she showed up with her Swiffer!

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