Post 2: Sara and Josh’s Rules of Home Restoration and Renovation

So when Sara and I took ownership of The Crow’s Nest, we sat down and created rules that both of us needed to follow when it came to our Home. A Manifesto of Home Renovation that only applied to us if you will. Heaven help us if we broke these rules. If we broke these rules I would burn in Architectural Restoration Hell for all eternity while Sara would just stand there and laugh at my misery. We were not to deviate unless we thoroughly discussed it first. Thus the rules go as follows.

1. We are to do no harm to anything that was original to when the house was built in 1893. Anything later was up for discussion. This may seem strange but we have 3 distinct layers to the house (the original 1893, 1969, and 2010.)

2. This house has had at least 3 previous owners and multiple generations that have left their mark on the house. This home is for us and we will leave our mark on it. So we decided that it would be near impossible to restore it back to 1893. When the house was built it had gas lighting, possibly no indoor plumbing, and no electricity. There is no evidence of what the interiors actually looked like. So, our home will be about the generations of owners that respected the house and worked with the house and not against it. Ergo, we will use antiques but they wont all be from 1893. Instead lets say we use things from before 1940 but the occasional modern piece may slip in.

3. Sara’s Rule: Absolutely No wallpaper!!!! This rule has made me a little sad. There are days I dream of putting historically accurate wallpaper up. I have tried negotiating this rule to no avail, but my wife hates removing wallpaper. The mere thought boils her blood. RIP my dreams of Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper…

4. Sara’s Other Rule: It has to be functional and or comfortable. Any furniture or items that come into the house can not be beautiful ornaments that serve absolutely no purpose. This also makes me sad at times.

5. No painting unpainted wood work. Period.

6. If you are removing or replacing an existing feature that is of any importance. It is to be labeled and stored so it can go back in place if it ever needs to.

7. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We are a newlywedded couple on a budget. There is no replacing something until we can afford to do it. This also means just because we are curious does not mean Josh can start tearing up floors, knocking holes in walls, or tearing something apart without a plan of action and a budget to do it.

8. Josh can not make a room look like a Victorian bordello/brothel . Ergo, red velvet, gold leafing, peacock feathers, gold fringe, lace, demask stencils, nude figures, heavy carved furniture, mirrors on the ceiling…just kidding, and/or overly ornate anything can not be done or brought into the house without discussion and approval of Sara.

9. Josh’s Rule: Sara can not have more then 5 plants in a room unless its on the enclosed porch. (Sara says: you can try to limit me but you will fail.) I say then I get to break rule 8. This will be a battle for the ages…..

10. Architectural Salvage or Replicas will be used when they can to keep with the original feel of the house but, it will be documented on what is original and what is not.

These are our rules and we will always try to follow them. There will be more rules added as we work but for now these will do. Do you have any suggested rules? Leave a comment below.

16 thoughts on “Post 2: Sara and Josh’s Rules of Home Restoration and Renovation

  1. Love this whole plan!!!! But I’m a Crow so what can you expect? I agree folks buying modern homes will in the future be tearing out and replacing. Can’t believe the fashionable press wood joists.
    A friend of ours build a family vacation home. He insisted on long life spans on all plumbing, real wood, they build a vacation home for their great greats.
    Proud of you two.


  2. Quote: “7. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We are a newlywedded couple on a budget. There is no replacing something until we can afford to do it. This also means just because we are curious does not mean Josh can start tearing up floors, knocking holes in walls, or tearing something apart without a plan of action and a budget to do it.”

    Instead, go to your Sister in Law’s house, stand on her stairs, pull of layers of wallpaper to identify what lies below, try to unscrew random things to see if there is a time capsule or another safe, or find a small hole in the plaster wall that you then decide to break open more for experiments and curiosity. ……………………………………


  3. Ashley, you do not want me to tear apart your house. Your hallway and stairs will take me days to do and it would scare me to death if I broke your house. Though looking in the stairs for a hidden compartment maybe a possibility. Love you.


  4. Josh and Sara, you should turn your blog into a book series with pictures.The memories will be great later. Love you both! Aunt Nancy 💕😘😍


  5. I was forwarded your blog from a friend. I grew up in this house and am a daughter of Leo Schaefer. So exciting to hear of your plans for our old homestead. I have forwarded your blog to my other seven siblings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rule 9-no more than 5 plants in a room…

    FYI my grandma Rita had at least 5 plants in what we called the dinning room. The room off the kitchen with the big bay window. She loved plants and was a great gardener.
    I haven’t seen it recently, but she had two huge garden beds behind the carriage house. There were also raspberry bushes towards the back of the property as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Judy thank you for reaching out! We love the home and plan on doing our best on restoring it. It is in remarkably good shape. If you have any photos of the house I would be grateful and we are always open to visitors if you’d ever like to see the house. A quick question. Was the stained glass window by the stairs there growing up or was it added later?


  8. Ashley. Sara will probably make me amend that rule now. The bay window is one of our favorite things in the house. Sara is in School for Environmental Science and knows so much about plants. The Garden beds are still there with some raspberry bushes but before we got the house someone planted a lot of stinging nettles in there so we may have to uproot a lot. I’ll try to keep these. You are always welcome to take a look.


  9. I sent your info to one of Leo Schaefer’s daughters. I am sure she will be getting in touch with you. I lived nearby and played in that house and yard many days! I love that home and am glad that you are going to restore it! How wonderful is that and good luck!


  10. I currently live in Tennessee but the next time I am visiting my mom, I would love to come see the house!


  11. I agree with my niece Ashley, my mom had a green thumb and the bay window in the dining room was always full of her beautiful house plants. Growing up she always had beautiful flower beds and gardens.i too would love to visit the house in the future sometime. I presently live almost 2 hours west of Johnsburg, but I will always consider Johnsburg my home town no matter where I live.


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