I recall quite vividly the moment I fell madly in love with my house. It was a cool, fall afternoon, and as I turned into the driveway, the tall, proud farmhouse appeared from behind rows of evergreens. Although I’d seen the house beforehand, it felt like I was experiencing it for the first time. I walked up the worn slate path to the front door, my heart beating a bit faster in anticipation, and upon entering it, I was immediately struck with that feeling. This was it. As my heart began to slow to its normal pace, I turned to my realtor and whispered, “I’m buying this house.” (I realize now that you’re not supposed to say that.) As I walked through each somehow familiar room, I saw visions of my young sons reading, playing board games, eating breakfast…I had a plan for each space; it was love at first sight. I was home.
There’s nothing like coming home. I’ve always loved traveling, but nothing compares to the feeling of getting back to my room, my bed, my stuff. Like your favorite pair of jeans, or that old, perfectly worn sweater, home is cozy and comfortable; it’s the perfect mate, except when it’s messy or the refrigerator’s empty; and it provides an unfaltering love. This house was no exception.
Built in 1850, my home had been the farmhouse of Oscar Granger, proprietor of Mount Pleasant Glass Factory, which made bottles for the medicinal waters of Saratoga Springs. The house went on to become a bed and breakfast, and then returned to the hands of a single family. Steeped in history, it had lots of stories to tell. And then it was my turn.
Knowing that the house wouldn’t work for my family without a mudroom, putting one in was the first order of business following closing. I gave up the back porch for a fully enclosed space with a functional, floor-to-ceiling wall of cubbies, an adjoining wall of double coat-hooks and an oversized whiteboard for keeping track of schedules (or attempting to do so). I needed a workhorse, and I got one. Sprayed white, with a designated spot for each family member, a stained beadboard ceiling and the original farmhouse floor, the mudroom became everything I needed it to be, and then some.
What happened next brought my dream kitchen to life (yes, every interior designer has a dream kitchen). After removing four layers of linoleum flooring, the original farmhouse wood floor was revealed and painted pale gray. Another fresh coat of navy paint applied to the base cabinets preserved a bit of history in the house, above which I added a wall of marble subway tile (very Saratoga). Open barnwood shelves supported by polished brackets replaced upper cabinets, and a thick slab of black soapstone replaced old and peeling Formica. An oversized sink with a shiny, modern faucet, new stainless-steel appliances and a big reclaimed wood farm table (which replaced the island; every farmhouse needs a farm table!) made my new kitchen shine.
However, the master bathroom was my favorite part of the renovation. I removed the original clawfoot tub (not so easy), pedestal sink and faux-slate linoleum floor (super easy). A quick demolition recessed the shower into my walk-in closet (a perfect excuse to clear out old clothing), and fresh, new white subway tile and marble adorned the walls and new, oversized shower floor. Other musts? A shiny, white vanity, large custom mirror, beautiful dressing table and linen stool.
To complete my dreamy renovation, I took down a wall on the first floor to reveal original columns; repurposed the old side porch into a TV room and an incredible (and enormous!) pantry; gutted and renovated each of the other bathrooms; and painted each room by hand. And while I no longer feel the heart-pounding excitement that struck
me those first few times I saw my beautiful farmhouse, it has been replaced with the best feeling in the world: the peaceful calm of coming home.