My earliest recollection of house remodeling was my parent’s first house on Harland Road, which they moved into when I was 1 year old. With 5 children, they outgrew that Dutch Colonial and then bought a 1771 fixer upper on Washington Street. Mom and I would stand across the street, look at the project and she would say, “Mary, what do you think we should do?” Over the decades (well, centuries!), the original 1771 Colonial had been “tampered” with-and on its facade were Victorian elements that just didn’t work with the original architecture. Not sure my Dad was happy with my suggestions of removing all the Victorian bric-a-brac and getting back to the basic Colonial design. However, they won a local award for historic preservation and this was the house I spent my high school years.
Since then, I remodeled my first home with my late husband, a simple one story Ranch-style home in Connecticut and then an 1894 Victorian in the San Francisco Bay area. After his death, I moved to Phoenix and found a 1935 Spanish style home and renovating that was an integral part of my healing process. Enter a new husband and a new beginning and with our combined income we were able to purchase the home we currently own. The lengthy renovation story can be found under the Terra Tour tab at the top of my website.
I’ve always had a love for restoring/renovating older homes. Those walls speak to me-I think about the families before me that created memories, who have walked those floors or run their hands up and down on the bannister rail. The essence of these home represent the love, hope, challenges, joy and sadness that brings life to our lives. There a residual presence that exists and I instantly “sense” if a home has been filled with love or not. I have walked away from plenty of investment opportunities that just don’t feel right after I have crossed the front door threshold.When I was pregnant with my third child I was pondering my next “career. I knew I loved breathing new life into homes and the business plan of a renovation/rejuvenation home business just seemed right. But what would I call it? How could I name a feeling? Literally days before Elisabeth came into our lives, I was driving and I had an epiphany (quite ironic as she was born on The Epiphany) and I envisioned my company “Picket Fences”. That name said it all and captured the essence of what I wanted my company’s image to be~~the feeling that you get when you see THAT one- the home you HAVE to have~~ like a charming cottage with a white picket fence. I pulled over to the side of the road and began writing furiously to capture my thoughts on paper. That was in 2001.
It took me three years later to finally incorporate and Picket Fences, Inc. was born. Since then, I have remodeled and sold several properties and have helped others with their renovations (and survived the recession). Over time, I will feature them on my Picket Fences tab above.
So if you love homes as much as I do, I hope you will follow my latest restoration project which I will post on my Picket Fences tab!