remodeled living room decorated for the holidays and featuring the tall oak baseboards and trim
Photo: Jason Dewey
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Holiday Trim

There was so much still to be done. But I took the time to get out my card because, frankly, the more I did to my new home, the more I wanted to brag about it. I sent my first Christmas card starring the place in 2003. I had bought the house a few months earlier, newly divorced and rushing to settle my three sons in before the school year started. I moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the military medical facilities and other on-base conveniences the area offers retired naval officers like myself, and for its historic district. After decades of watching This Old House on television and subscribing to the magazine, I wanted to tackle an old home and put into practice all that I'd learned. When the Realtor showed me this place, I wasn't enthused about it initially. On top of being drab and dreary, the interior smelled and the ceilings had water stains. But it was the closest to what I was looking for size-wise, and I could see its potential. I knew it would be a big job. At the time, my DIY skills were mostly limited to painting, staining trim and doors, and building birdhouses, but I was ready to tackle new projects and learn new things.

The day I closed on the place, I went straight over to rip out the filthy carpeting on the second floor. The next day I tore off the awful faux walnut wainscoting in the home's two parlors. I didn't know exactly how the house looked in 1899, but I knew I wanted to bring it back to that era.

Pictured: New 9-inch-high oak baseboard complements the living room's original double-height mantel and other trim.

Living and dining room paint (custom colors): Royal Touch Premium Paint, Ace Hardware
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