A Little History

I’m not exactly a history buff. I tend to leave that to my father, who frequently corrects me and fills me in on missing info. However, I did feel as though a little background on the house I’m writing about (with pictures, of course!) would be helpful for you.

In 1902 (I think..) my greatgrandmother decided that all the potatoes in Ireland were bad and that she would like to hop on a boat and take a cruise. A few weeks(months?) later she landed in Boston, MA. As the story goes, she got off the boat and headed straight to St. Mary’s Church in Charlestown, MA “to light a candle and say a prayer”. The family has been here ever since.

The house is a gorgeous 4 story brownstone. It is set up to be a 2 family home, with 2 kitchens (1 on the first floor, and 1 on the third floor) 2 bathrooms (2nd and 3rd) and various bedrooms, offices, parlors, so on and so forth.

My great-grandmother raised her family here, and in turn, her son (my grandfather) raised his family (my father and aunt) here. More recently it has been my grandmother living here by herself in this gigantic house. In January of this year, my fiance and I approached my grandmother about moving into the uninhabited upstairs portion of the house. My great-aunt had lived up there, but had died about 17 years earlier and it had stood empty ever since. Luckily for us, Grandma agreed to the living situation, and we began to think about updates.

First problem: Electricity.

Most of the rooms had only 2-prong outlets, and only 1-2 outlets per room. Some of the rooms had lights, some didn’t. I called a co-worker whose husband is an electrician, and he came over to take a look at the house. Thankfully he didn’t run out the door screaming, nor did he laugh hysterically at us. He and Chris had the project done in a couple weekends with minimal swearing, and no trips to the emergency room.

Second problem: Wallpaper

I will gladly pay someone so that I never have to take down another piece of wallpaper in my entire life. Chris and I spent DAYS ripping down layer after layer of wallpaper.

Not only was there wallpaper in every room, but multiple layers of it. In the master bedroom we found at least 5 different layers of wallpaper!

This wall had basically collapsed under the wallpaper. It used to be a fireplace with a mantle (hence the weird square near the floor.) Chris rebuilt the wall prior to painting.

My amazing friend Kerry came over to help us.

This wallpaper was a fan favorite. Something about the red felt just made people melt.

Finally we painted.

There’s that wall that had collapsed. I’m always impressed with Chris, but he outdid himself this time!

The office, with paint (and no felt wallpaper)


and Kerry and Sara working in the kitchen.

So here we are today. We have been living here (on the 3rd and 4th floors) for about 2 full months now. I have passed my boards and Chris is settled into his new job. We have bare walls, no decorations and a dull home. We are lacking storage and organization, and we both want the house to look more modern without spending a ton of money. I’m really excited about this adventure and can’t wait to share more pictures, ideas, and thoughts with you!


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