Event Founder Reflects on the Home That Inspired a Tradition

I remember seeing it high upon the snow-blanketed hill, set back from the street, knowing instantly that this classic English Tudor was the house for us.  The deep red and blackish brown bricks covering the L-shaped façade, the steeply pitched roof, the classic gables and tall, mullioned windows all seemed to beckon us inside.  Even the wide, solid, stone and brick chimney hinted at the warmth that awaited us within those walls.  Who knew the path that would unfold from this visit with our realtor?

Once inside we were met with the reality that this home needed considerable work.  Ugly wallpaper, outdated paint colors, heavy drapes, tattered carpeting and painted woodwork covered this home’s beauty; it was in bad shape.  This is where the typical, more sensible buyer would have turned on their heels and never looked back.  With our naïve ambition, our Old House Journal magazines and tips from PBS’s This Old House, we pressed on, not fully realizing the mission we had embarked on.

St. Charles Home Show Returns, Feb 12-13-14, 2016Everyone thought we were crazy.  One person even stated, “Congratulations, you just bought the most unsightly house on the block;” but we loved our ugly duckling and we knew that with a little patience, ingenuity, some elbow grease and help from trusted professionals, we could uncover the hidden loveliness and reveal the swan.  We had creative vision and recognized that this 1929 beauty had great potential and character.

Over the years, with the help of many capable experts, we modernized the kitchen, updated the HVAC, replaced windows, rewired the electric, replaced the roof, painted interiors, updated the plumbing and added a three-story addition, blending the old with the new seamlessly.  Many projects we initially attempted on our own because of our budget.  When we became muddled and stuck, we were always grateful to the talented tradesmen who could share their expertise. Project by project, we met skilled professionals who helped us restore our home to its original glory.

The Old House New House Home Show was born throughout this process.  As we learned of helpful tips, strategies, products and professionals, we wanted to share the resources with other homeowners.  Our passion for restoration led to a hobby that created a career and ultimately blossomed into a business for our family.  We are grateful to the creative contractors, award-winning remodelers, select experts, leading brands and skilled designers collaborating on this event.   It’s your talents that make this event shine.

Our goal with The Old House New House Home Show was and remains to celebrate the spirit of home transformation while creating a reliable resource for homeowners.  We hope you find this event a valuable tool and solid foundation to help you build the home of your dreams.

Joanne Kennedy is The Old House New House Home Show event founder and the President of Kennedy Productions.  She still lives in the English Tudor and keeps her toolbox handy for on-going projects in her much-loved, west suburban home.