After Photo of Remodeled Home
Photo: Nathan Kirkman

Unplanned Remodel

We never dreamed we’d end up with this house. Yes, we had moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for its small-town lifestyle and loved strolling down streets lined with charming old homes. But Elaine and I had ­already renovated an 1880 Italianate nearby for our film company’s offices and were happy living in the plain-vanilla house where we raised our two kids. We were busy with work; Elaine had decided to run for mayor. Another grueling renovation wasn’t on our to-do list.

The trouble was, we had become attached to the house, which we could see from our office windows. Built in 1896, the scaled-down Queen Anne had its original turret but lost its detailed porch—swapped for an all-wrong Colonial Revival one in a 1914 renovation. The house had been rented to college kids, and when it went on the market we worried about it being cut up into apartments. After reminding ourselves of all that we had learned from our previous renovation, we decided to sell our house to save this one. We could live in our offices while making needed repairs.

I assured Elaine that we’d move in before Thanksgiving. I just didn’t say which Thanksgiving.

Shown: A careful renovation, based on the original architect’s plan, brought back the gabled entry—and the home’s charm.
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