People often ask what the hardest part of rehabbing the McLain house is, or if there have been any unwanted/unexpected surprises.
Typically, I respond with a rehearsed speech about the importance of due diligence and low expectations, and generally try and emphasize pragmatism when pursuing any historic project.
But the real answer is, the hardest part about rehabbing my 3,400 square foot, 128-year-old, thirty odd years vacant house…is documenting it.
I’m pretty good at project management. The construction projects at the McLain have all stayed on schedule, and anything I slowed down or sped up was by choice not necessity, but the one thing I vowed to do when starting this project- Blog about it, has been sorely neglected.
And while I feel some disappointment for not chronicling every step of the process in real time (check out Instagram stories if that’s what you’re looking for) I do feel grateful that the winter season provides some time to catch up. It’s been a big six months for the McLain House.
So, in an effort to hold myself accountable, or maybe to create my own McLain House Wrapped, I’m committing to catching you all up on what’s been going on before the end of 2020.
Until then, here’s a how it started and how it’s going pic of the old girl. Next, I’ll explain why that blue band at the top of the house is so damn significant.
Hi there, I'm Betsy. Welcome to my website/blog/portfolio/dog photo album. I started this blog because I bought a house. A big, old, falling apart house. And it seems like if you're going to buy a big, old, falling apart house that will nearly bankrupt you, you should chronicle it for the masses in the hopes of becoming a #lowespartner.
So how did I get here? Well, for as long as I can remember, I've loved old things. One of the greatest motivations in my adolescent life was simply to go beyond the velvet rope and see the upstairs of every museum. This fascination with the unseen parts of old buildings eventually led to my degrees in Anthropology, Art History, and Historic Preservation. I've been fortunate enough to work with Main Streets, History and Landmark Foundations, and one very impactful position at James Madison's Montpelier. In 2018, I decided to change pace, and relocate to Wheeling, WV.
Wheeling is a major character in this blog, because it is where, as Director of Heritage Programming for the Wheeling National Heritage Area, I am able to combine my love of technical preservation and cultural heritage interpretation. Seriously, it's a dream job. Wheeling is a small city with big amenities, undergoing a revitalization that I'm thrilled to be a part of. It is also where I've purchased the aforementioned big, old, falling apart house. Said house (second only perhaps to my perfect dog Marshall) will be getting a lot of air time on this platform.
But I hope this platform becomes more than just an old house blog. My intention is to create a space for those interested to read my thoughts and experiences in community development, and place-making, and heritage studies AND rehabbing a big, old, falling apart house. And also dogs and yoga and food and flowers. A lifestyle blog if you will, written by someone that hates lifestyle blogs.
So if that sounds like fun, come on in. I promise I'll never ask you to take your shoes off.
Hi there, I'm Betsy. I'm a historian, dog-mom, yogi, and preservationist. Join me as I navigate the field of cultural heritage, and rehabilitate my home in historic East Wheeling, WV