420 RENO… intro

Yep, it’s official, I’m under construction. As a designer, I pretty much always have a project going. Secretly, I fear for what will follow this project so I’m trying to stay focused on the present.

How about a bit of background to the current stage.  Five years ago, I moved to 420 Richards Ave. in Portsmouth, NH with my three children (now 21, 17 and 14), husband, dog and two cats. We bought a 1910 bungalow and loved it back to life. We put on a second floor to get 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and small family room. After discovering that there was no insulation in the existing house, we replaced windows, siding and insulation on 3 sides. A year later, we tore off a falling down addition and built a mudroom, storage spaces and powder room / laundry. At this time we also heavily landscaped and fixed grade and water issues.

If you followed all that, you noticed that we did not do the kitchen and master bedroom. Why? Two reasons… 1) We ran out of money. 2) Extreme construction fatigue!

So why now? 1)My son is at college so we can live in his room. 2) We conveniently forgot what it was like to live with contractors. 3) We have lived here long enough to know that the market in our neighborhood is strong and and will support the investment of the renovation.

So, we packed our bedroom, our bathroom, our closet and our kitchen. (Where did we put it? Honestly, I can’t remember.) The house has been retrofitted to accommodate a living space for us inside, while the contractors built a shelter for them to work outside when replacing the shingles and windows. Demo is just about done – what a mess since it was plaster and lathe!

Over the next few months I will post updates on the 420 RENO so that you will be able to track the process from the point of view as a designer. I promise this will be the “inside story” of what you are in for with a renovation – the process, the timeline and the really nitty, gritty details of how a designer thinks. ENJOY!


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  1. No wonder I haven’t heard from you in ages! So glad to get “caught up” on the happenings at 420 Richards Ave!
    Hope you are surviving the mess. Open invite to come visit if you need some space to just “hang”.

    Miss you!

    Will text you after this!


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