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No, We Are NOT Buying An Old House...

Updated: Dec 22, 2020


...Unless we do. The story of how we ended up in a Circa 1820 Cape was about 10 years in the making.

It was 2006 and my mother and I had come up to Maine to look at houses. We all agreed to relocate from NY at the same time. It was either winter, early spring or late spring. Hard to tell, there was snow. Anyway, Tommy and I weren't Realtors at the time but my mom was. Our Maine real estate agent was a dear family friend who was showing me houses that day in Lincolnville. Tommy stayed back in New York to complete the renovation on our NEW house to get it ready to put on the market. It was before Zillow and Realtor.com so we had to trust that she was going to come up with a selection based on our criteria. "Old" was not anywhere near somethihg that resembled our criteria so how we ended up at this house it anyone's guess. We'll call it fate.

I have to admit, I kind of fell in love the moment I laid eyes on her but I was looking just to please our agent. There was no way Tommy would move into a drafty house that was older than dirt. The basement was fieldstone, the windows were original 6 over 6 with wavy glass panes and the center brick chimney was exposed, flanking the walls of the stairs leading to the unheated bedrooms on the second floor. Yeah, not happening but I was tickled pink to be able to see it. There was something magical about being in that old house and wondering about all of the people who lived there before, and the animals that wandered the fields and drank from the farm pond. I thought there must be dumps, which was so exciting. If you don't know what a "dump" is in this context, it's an area where all of the trash was thrown outside and antique treasures are found 200 years later. Beautiful glass bottles, metal containers, pottery... I had made it about half way through the first floor when I heard my mother say, from the first parlor (she hadn't made it any farther into the house) "I'll take it". At which point the real estate agent and I both laughed because first of all she was showing this house to me because it did fit all of our criteria if you didn't count the age of it but it matched none of my mother's criteria because it wasn't in downtown Camden where she could walk to everything because she didn't know how to drive! Yes, almost 70 years old but she never learned how to drive so living out in the country was off the table. The problem was that she was serious. And in love. Fast forward to July and no snow, Mom closed on the house of her dreams. Shortly thereafter she became known to those close to her as "Miss Daisy".

I spent the next 10 years driving my mother everywhere. Tommy and I bought a house about 4 miles down the road, a straight shot to Mom's which was really pretty convenient considering we had spent the prior 15 years living almost 100 miles away and the drive from Southampton to Brooklyn could be more than 3 hours. But alas, the novelty wore off and reality set in that she was approaching 80 and taking care of an old house is really a labor of love. My mom was a force of nature but maintaining 8 acres, heating a drafty house, living in the country and having to depend on others to drive you around took a toll on her independent nature so with a heavy heart she decided to sell the house. By that time I had my real estate license so I listed the house. We got quite a bit of activity at first with positive feedback. Everyone who looked at it said they loved it but it just wasn't for them, too close to the road, too old, no garage... And then... crickets. We reduced the price a few times and each time showed it again with the same feedback, oohs and ahhs at the features but no offers. Hmm. We decided to give it a little break over the summer so we withdrew it from the market and then, quite unexpectedly, my mom passed away.

Fast forward a few months and back on the market she goes, to settle out the estate. Same thing, lots of showing and then crickets. Hmm, what the heck? The loss of my mother was traumatic, to say the least and being the executor of her estate was taking a toll on me. Right around this time our daughter had graduated from college and started working at the hospital in Belfast, about 10 miles from the house. It started making sense for us to buy the house from the estate, rent it to Hannah to cover the expenses and then figure it out from there. We figured we would build a garage to make it more salable, after all, Tommy was a contractor so it's not like we had to hire someone to do it. So up goes the garage... But something happened as soon as Tommy started banging the first nails. It's a dreamy look that comes over his face and I'd seen it before. Being married for almost 30 years gives you the uncanny ability to read your spouses thoughts and I got excited because at that moment I knew. My love affair with this house had begun 10 years prior and his was just beginning as our good friend "Fate" stepped in. It took a few months to decide but as soon as Hannah moved out the renovation started. And so begins our story of renovating this old house.

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