346 Main St. Renovation

In March 2002, I bought a circa-1830 brick colonial house on Main Street in Keene, New Hampshire.

Almost any house that's about to celebrate its terquasquicentennial will be in need of a fair amount of renovation. This house featured a very old paint job in complete failure (with accompanying wood rot in some places), a delapidated porch, some broken roof slates, an unsightly drainage barrier on the south side, lots of unusable fireplaces, a marginal electrical system, damaged asbestos insulation on the heating system pipes in the basement, rather dated interior appointments and interior paint and wallpaper in bad shape. The old post-and-beam barn was also in need of some very serious attention. I purchased a digital camera to document my renovations, and got things started.

I decided to take a long-term view of the renovations, beginning with the repairs that I thought absolutely necessary to preserve the house: the roof, asbestos abatement, exterior carpentry, paint and drainage, and doing something to keep the barn from falling down (for a little while, anyway). I then proceeded with the second phase, the electrical system, which consisted of an upgrade to 200-amp service and the nearly complete rewiring of the entire house. Along the way I managed to install seven new foundation windows, put dampers and caps on three chimneys (six fireplaces), and rebuilt a fireplace entirely. The next major phase consisted of interior refurbishment (mostly stripping and painting, plus a little carpentry and insulation) to the "public" areas of the main structure and the renovation of the attic, which was a cheap way to add two new rooms. Later, the barn refurbishment happened. The shed was demolished, the back was jacked up and reclapboarded in the fall of 2004. New windows, a new deck where the shed used to be, new clapboards on two sides and a new paint job all around were all finished by the 4th of July 2005. On July 11th 2005, the major renovation of the ell began, which eliminated the servant's quarters and back stairs to create a master bedroom suite, and converted the mudroom into a family room. That phase was finished in December.

In May 2006, we had the two then-as-yet-not-redone bedrooms painted in preparation for baby Benjamin.

The final room to be redone was the kitchen, in preparation to sell the house. We're going to relocate to an area with a greater diversity of software-industry jobs.

I've organized the renovation photos into the following five categories, to mirror the major phases of the process: