WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

design darling we bought a house

I thought this day might never come (or at least not before my due date!) but thank goodness, here we are — we bought a house!!! I am so relieved, excited, overwhelmed, and absolutely chomping at the bit to get started on all the projects we have in store. Let’s just say the house we wound up in will be keeping us very busy over the next several years!

design darling darien house before photos

Our new (very old) house was built in 1850 and the previous owners lived here for nearly 50 years, so we have our work cut out for us in terms of restoring it to its former glory! I’ll be documenting every project we undertake, from refinishing floors and moving walls to relandscaping the yard and ultimately renovating the kitchen and bathrooms.

design darling darien house hardwood floors

I wanted to share a little more about our house hunt since I was admittedly a little discouraged when I wrote my last update! After looking at 15 or 20 houses, we realized what we could afford in my hometown fell into one of two camps: either a completely updated but relatively small three-bedroom house or a house with more bedrooms and more square footage that would involve some serious projects. After we had an accepted offer on a newer construction house outbid just hours later, we revisited some of the older houses we’d seen and started to more seriously consider taking on a house that would involve some renovations down the road. I had fallen in love with this one during an open house and the moment it fell into our price range, we made an offer and the rest is history! Well, there were about a million and one hurdles between getting our offer accepted and officially closing this week, but I’ll save those stories for another time. 🙂

design darling darien house before photos fireplace

Like I said I’ll be sharing lots and lots of projects in the months (and years!) to come, but we’ll definitely have to space them out so we can save our pennies between projects! The only other home we’ve owned together was a new construction townhouse in Dallas, so I’m equal parts excited and intimidated about taking on a house with so much history. There is so much to love about this home, from the original hardwood floors to the 10’ ceilings, and so much I can’t wait to get my hands on (like the very 1980s hall bath and the very overgrown yard… but all things in due time!).

design darling darien house before photos stairwell

We started ripping up old carpets this week and for the most part we’ve gotten very lucky with the state of the hardwood floors underneath! We’re having them sanded and stained over the next week or so and then we’ll make the move from our rental in Greenwich to the new house in Darien and start on painting and getting the nursery ready for the end of September. Our hope is to be able to tackle renovating the kitchen and the powder room in early 2020, but I may be getting ahead of myself there! For now we’re just happy to have a plan in place and grateful to have ended up in a home that will house our growing family for many years to come. I never thought I’d be back in my hometown at 29, but I suppose it took me leaving and living elsewhere for the past decade (San Francisco, New York, and Dallas!) to know this is exactly where we are meant to be. I am beyond excited to share this next chapter with all of you!

43 thoughts on “WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

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  1. Congratulations! What a wonderful journey to restore an older home while putting your stamp on the design. I can’t wait to see how this beautiful home unfolds! xo

  2. Congratulations! I cannot wait to see what you do with this place. It looks stunning. (And if I’m honest, I cant wait to see the Hell bathroom.)

  3. that seems to be a beautiful house with great material and details ..I m so happy for you ..just on time to prepare a warm nest for the lovely one to arrive .

  4. Please, if you haven’t, get a lead inspection done. They can tell you the exact places where lead paint is and the level of lead in those areas. Not only is lead almost certainly in much of the painted areas of the house, it was also put into plaster to make the walls, radiators, some brass fixtures, and even wood floor varnish. Please do not take on these house renovation projects yourself- or you will risk lead poisoning yourself or your baby. Hire a contractor certified to deal with lead properly when renovating. Lead poisoning is associated with poorly maintained homes, but it is much easier than you would think to expose a crawling baby to lead dust and can happen from nearly invisiable lead dust from opening and shutting doors, windows, moldings getting dinged, putting nails into the walls to hang pictures, and many other ways other than “eating paint chips.” And look into keeping a HEPA vac certified to contain lead dust to clean your house regularly. Nilfisk GD930 is a very good one. Best of luck but please be very cautious.

  5. This is so exciting, and just in time for the new baby and the fun of decorating a nursery. I’m on my third antique home, still newer than yours at 1920, and I cannot get enough of others doing renovations. It took me four years to figure out how to manage my narrow foyer (just like yours) because I so love furniture in a foyer. I’m so excited to see what you do with the space.

  6. I love what I am seeing from your photo’s. So much charm and looks like it has good bones. How wonderful for you to be near your parents so they can enjoy that baby boy. So happy for you both. A win win for everyone. Congratulations!

  7. Congratulations, Mackenzie! I am recent subscriber to your blog and am excited to see how you design your new space!

  8. Congratulations!!! I’m going to live vicariously through you – I wanted an old house so bad, but my husband grew up in one and was not up to the challenge 🙁 Our home is only 25 years old and it’s PLENTY of work, there is always something to be done.

    Take care of yourself during this stressful time – I know it’s easy to want to jump in with both feet, but you are growing a sweet little boy in there! Things will get done eventually 🙂

  9. Your house is beautiful! I would recommend keeping the floors light— I think it makes a place so much lighter and airier. Just a thought!

  10. Congrats! We just moved in to an older home as well and lots of projects to do. Will de be reading and followint your progress!

  11. Your new old house will bring you so much more joy than a new build ever could! That front door! That staircase! The built-in bookshelves! I am so excited for y’all! It’s amazing that it’s so old-we live in Kansas City, and our “old” house is only 68! It’s always a work in progress, But that’s what makes it so much fun. Congratulations to you and Will, and enjoy every second of your beautiful new home!!! 💚

  12. Wow, what a gorgeous house. I love historic homes and I hope you do a lot of posts on the process of restoring/renovating! Congratulations to both of you.

  13. I love this so much! Older houses can be trying, but so worth it – the rich character, the sense of history, and the good bones more than make up for it. We’re in a 100-year-old house in Palm Beach that we only got to renovate for a year before getting moved for a corporate relo – so I’ll be living vicariously through these posts! Can’t wait!

  14. This is such exciting news! What a wonderful fall you are going to have. We finished our basement when my son was under a year old. Sometimes the construction woke him up, but mostly, thanks to a sound machine cranked high, he slept right through a lot of it. It’s hard, but it’s possible. Wishing you all the best!

  15. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a series of blog posts in my life. This is like HGTV that I can watch at work.

  16. Congratulations! Looks like you made the right decision. The pictures you’ve shared show that your new home has “good bones,” and that’s hard to find in newer, prefabricated construction. Enjoy the journey!!

  17. Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! My husband and I just bought a few months ago and are in the midst of settling in and prioritizing all the projects! We love it and are enjoying the process and hope you do too. I look forward to following along.

  18. Congratulations, Mackenzie! I am thrilled for y’all! The home has beautiful bones. I especially love the floor pattern and the bannister. I hope someone has shared with you the tradition of the mortgage button. Your bannister has the perfect place for it!

    1. Mortgage buttons are a fun concept, you can read more here https://www.mariamitchell.org/tag/motgage-button. The common thought about them is that you only place them on your newel post when your mortgage is paid off. If you have no newel post, like Grandy at Windmoor, her’s is placed next to the fireplace. In New England when you see an eagle over someone’s door that is also a sign that the mortgage is paid.

  19. Well now I’m feeling all nostalgic and thinking about when you moved into your first studio in New York (because yes, I’ve been reading *that long*)! Isn’t it just crazy how so much time can go by so fast? Can’t wait to devour any and all home content you have to share.