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Why You Don’t Need a Professional Background in Restoration to Fix Up an Old House

By Elizabeth Finkelstein. I first fell in love with the wonderful Amy Heavilin of Vivacious Victorian years ago, when I began reading about her adventures restoring her incredible Victorian house with her husband. And guess what? She’s still married! Amy and her husband are an inspiration to all young couples out there who would love to restore an old house but don’t know where to begin. The best part? They are entirely self-taught. I couldn’t wait to sit down for an interview with Amy to find out how they do it. Listen to learn how fixing up an old house can actually improve your relationship, why you don’t need a professional background in restoration to fix up an old house, and what Amy & I both believe that HGTV might just be getting

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10 Reasons Why Fixing Up an Old House is the Most Romantic Thing Ever

by Amy Dorsch Heavilin of Vivacious Victorian One of my goals in life has been to take down the (as I call it) the HGTV myth : that restoring a house, or taking on a renovation, is an automatic death blow to any relationship. Of course, TV shows are meant for drama, and I’m sure a lot of people DO get into spats during the stress of a renovation. But everyone is different! And when people find out that we’re restoring a 4,700 square foot Victorian by ourselves, the first question is usually, “How haven’t you killed each other?” People are so fascinated that we can be involved in such a long-term project and still adore each other after 14 years of marriage – and multiple renovations. But it’s TRUE. In fact, I’ll argue that

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Restoring an Old House in 12 Simple Steps

by Amy Dorsch Heavilin of Vivacious Victorian My husband Doug and I are beginning year three of bringing our 1902 Queen Anne Victorian back to life. Twenty-two rooms, and we’re in the middle of restoring just room FIVE. To be fair, the exterior restoration was a beast, and it was completely done during the first two years. We are doing all of the interior work ourselves, because when it comes to restoration, you need really need two things : time, or money. Let’s face it – you need BOTH, but if you don’t have a lot of money, you can make up for it with your own time (and willpower). Restoring an old house is a process, which I understand is why a lot of people don’t do it themselves. But we LOVE the process,

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Fake It ‘Till You Make It! 9 Ways to Make Your House Look Older Than It Is

By Elizabeth Finkelstein. Photo by smilla4. When my husband and I set out to buy a house last year (after 10+ years of casually looking), we had just three parameters:   1. We wanted something old. 2. We wanted something old. 3. And finally, we wanted something old.   Fortunately, we live in a very old part of the country, in a town busting at the seams with historical architecture. But our first-time-homebuyer budget didn’t allow for much pickiness just 30 miles from New York City (a.k.a. the most expensive place in the world). And anyway, our definition of “old” was very specific, and not easy to come by. We wanted George-Washington-slept-here old. 1600s old. Gigantic-stone-fireplace old. Stop-dreaming-guys-it’ll-never-happen old.   Well, it didn’t actually happen. We found our dream home in the form of a 1947 cape in the cutest (in my biased

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