By Amy Heavilin
We call our house the Vivacious Victorian, but the poor lady had been through heartbreaking rot and neglect—even abandonment—despite restoration efforts by previous owners. The soffits and gutters were holey and full of nests; before we closed, we saw raccoons staring back at us from the holes! My husband, Doug, and I really wanted to break the cycle and do justice to a house beloved by neighbors here in Franklin, Indiana. Probably 30 or 40 percent of the exterior boards and mouldings needed replacement. Many roof slates had fallen to the ground, and roof leaks had caused significant rot and interior water damage. We actually replaced the slate roof in kind. And the porch is done!
A lot of the exterior work was hired out, allowing us to focus on interior projects. (It will take years; I keep friends and family updated with a blog, vivaciousvictorian.com.) We’ve renovated our kitchen and butler’s pantry, along with a very pretty laundry room. It’s been such a great process, and to think, just 19 more rooms to go! But the house finally seems to be emerging out of the shadow of neglect.