Chills ran up my arms while I watched the crew roll my beautiful old home, creaking and groaning, off its crumbling stacked-sandstone foundation and onto rails set up in the side yard. I knew we had to pour a concrete foundation to save the 1901 house, but that didn't mean I had to like it. A few nerve-racking hours later, it was safe and sound on its temporary resting place. What a relief! My husband, Dennis, who has decades of home-building experience, had planned everything out to the inch, so I should have known he and the crew would get it right, but it was a scary ordeal. After all, this wonderful old house was my dream come true, and I really didn't like seeing it perched perilously off the ground.
See, for years I routed my morning walks through the historic district of our mountain town of Bozeman, Montana, imagining what the interiors of the 19th- and 20th-century homes must be like. While visions of my very own old bungalow danced in my head, I never really believed I could talk Dennis into the idea of "rectifying someone else's mistakes," as he puts it. But after 23 moves during his 29-year career, he promised the next move would be my choice. I jumped at the offer, dragging him off to tour several old houses on the market.
Shown: The renovated Dutch Colonial Revival's red shutters pop against new cedar shingles. Porch railings and a portico entry mimic the home's original woodwork.