The moldings on this staircase are original, but the homeowners had to glue back together the mahogany banister, which had been hacked up; they also had 74 balusters reproduced to replace ones that had served as batting practice.
Every year since we got the house, we've learned to do something new and, we hope, better. Last year we finally reclaimed the backyard, which had been rat-infested until we built a second brick wall to close us off from a neglected, neighboring yard. Soon we'll probably make it a full courtyard. Now, in our seventh year of working on the house, I tell people we're almost done. Of course, Jill just rolls her eyes when she hears that. She knows that in an old house like this, you're never really done. It's one of the best lessons we've learned.