Renovations, remodels and rehabs must have a “big picture” to optimize on the opportunity. This can also be called a master plan. For some, the big picture is to quickly renovate and sell. Others look to remodel and create a family home.   Whatever your choice, just know that the built results frequently reflect the individual “big picture” by virtue of design, workmanship, materials used and fixtures chosen. Sure, no project has an endless budget, but it hurts to see projects that have taken corner-cutting and economizing to their illogical and messy ends. Historic preservation and home building take money and/or time. Rarely, neither.


The Agnes Cotton House has undergone a significant amount of work over the past 3 years and is well on its way to being finished. As you can see from these weekend photos, the project looks like it’s firmly placed in the middle of our big picture / master plan goal: it’s tidied up but it’s still difficult for some to see where this is going.

This part of the project is what I call the “soft, chewy center” – Like a candy, it’s hidden by a harder opaque shell of expectations, sometimes oozes more than you thought possible, can have you chewing harder and longer than hoped, but ultimately, a very delectable part of the treat. The curb appeal beauty of the building and the initial energetic rehab plan (firm chocolate coating) of an historic rehab project coupled with an adventurous chewy center makes for a very satisfying, albeit exhausting project. (My jaws are starting to hurt).

While interior work is taking place, the front porch work is getting wrapped up. All that remains on the front porches is a little more trim work, paint touch up and porch deck painting.   Further exterior work will continue to occur and just as slowly for the rest of the year. Plaster needs to be patched and white washed, gable vent grills need replacing, and chimneys need stabilizing.


The front and rear yards are all a big experiment too! Seriously, we know what it’ll be like once completed but gardening takes years to realize, and frankly, is never complete. The geological and botanical character of our little hill is proving to be very rich and chockfull of possibilities that we didn’t expect when we started 3 years ago. The front building set back is about 50’ so we have a very large area to create some beautiful vignettes. Right now Bermuda grass and black plastic are the predominant features but we’ll shake that up this fall. The small “test” garden seems to be doing pretty well and our true, mortal optimism is open for all to see in the very tiny trees planted in the front yard. We can’t wait for the temps to drop below 100 so we can put in an honest day’s work.