Hot-Button House

Hi guys! I’ve had this post on the back burner but keep having to edit it because new things are getting done every day. Very exciting. Before I get into it, just wanted to let you know that I am finding it generally much easier and quicker to post pictures on Instagram. So, follow “porterbradstreet” on Instagram for more real-time updates and pictures that might not make onto the blog!

Anywho… Let’s transition with a pretty sunset picture from the other night!


Ahhhh. So much pretty. Hey, remember that arrow we had pulled back, ready to go, a few posts back? Well we are full speed ahead now! Lots happening over here. The foundation has finally been dug out and pouring has begun…






In addition to the Big Dig happening in the backyard, we have also jumped into a zillion interior projects….

First has been figuring out lighting. Right now, the house is mostly lit via long blinding fluorescents and track lighting.


Kitchen Fluorescents

Kitchen Fluorescents

Breezeway between house and barn

Breezeway between house and barn

Living Room

Living Room

Reminder, this was a school for a long time and the lighting is exactly as you might find in, well, classrooms/offices. Think BRIGHT. Stings the ol’ retinas a bit. So first step in re-lighting has been obviously been removing these.

Due to the low ceilings, my adorably pragmatic husband immediately asked where I’d want the recessed can-lights to go. Sigh. I told him the truth.


Now, don’t get me wrong, recessed lighting is great in basically any house, and it’s sensible, and so versatile in so many places, and easy to install and … yada yada yada. For these reasons, we may still end up with some. In this house though, it feels too modern and out of place to me. In areas of the house that will inevitably be more modern (such as bathrooms and the kitchen) – okay, I’ll consider it. For most other rooms, I’d like to maximize the use of more traditional options.

Nick is both amused and confused by my insistence on this matter. He feels like it will be too dark without them. I respectfully disagree. He has repeatedly conceded only to bring up the matter again in different wording. I quickly see through this tactic and to further support my position I have been made a plan of where I would like fixtures based on aesthetics as well as where the light will reflect into the space. Boosting our lighting economy with these limited options is no small feat. I am a nurse, not an interior designer! I do think, however, I have formed a feasible and effective proposal. So, at least one mission accomplished! Wiring has begun in the living room…


Another fun challenge has been picking out paint colors for every room. The “fun” part has been picking the wall colors, the “challenge” part has been agonizing over what to do with the trim upstairs. I feel like I need to add a disclaimer right now that this part of the post may spark heated emotions on both sides of the aisle. Google “should I paint wood trim” and you would think it was an issue that we should ask the presidential candidates about in upcoming debates. LOTS of opinions. Lots of CAPSLOCK and !! exclamations !!

Here’s the deal. We started with all dark wood trim in the master bedroom, two hallways, and what will be the girls’ shared room. Add this to dark floors, dark beams and dark doors and this equals a super dark upstairs. Remember, we have loooow ceilings and narrow hallways. I need to brighten this place up! It is high quality, perfectly built trim – but in no way original to the house nor even particularly old. Maybe mid century. I agree it’s beautiful, and I know some feel it adds to the historic charm to have dark wood trim everywhere…but I really want to accentuate the original historic features while also giving a boost to the breezy, comfortable farmhouse feel. And I really feel like painting is the best way to do both. For example, the girls room:


Girls' room "before"

Girls’ room “before”


Girls’ room now

Sorry for the cell phone pictures but they will have to do while my computer is broken!


And here is a little preview of the upstairs hallway, which is not finished but serves a great example of how the original beam is contrasting with the light trim and walls (I loooove it – shout out to Mike Deveau who is doing an incredible job!) …




Before pro-wood-lifers yell at me, let me be clear: ALL THE BEAMS STAY AS THEY ARE. I LOVE THEM AND WILL NEVER BETRAY THEM. Same for the all of the floors, the only variable being that these must be re-sanded, in which case some floor colors may change.

Which leads to another hot-button issue between Nick and I: he is thinking we should leave the natural pine tone, whereas I worry the yellow undertone will look odd with the dark beams everywhere. I’d like to re-stain the floors dark. At this time, he respectfully disagrees though has agreed to revisit this issue at our next congressional hearing (aka house talk over pizza).

Another issue? Fireplaces. I wanted to keep everything the way it is, and restore the original brick and get some open flames going! Nick, again with the pragmatism, noted how much more useful and safe the fireplaces would be if we were to use wood stoves. At first I was all “No! Give me open flames or give me death!” (maybe not exactly in those words…)…then I started to think rationally… And you can call me a flip-flopper but now we have come to a compromise: we will be using a wood stove in our bedroom as well as in the living room with the others to stay as they are.

See folks? Bipartisanship is not just a dream.


  1. Judi Shooter

    I have to admit I was one of those “save the wood” people until I saw before and after picture. Have to admit adding a little white paint to the closet doors in the girls’ room looks fabulous and does brighten up the space a lot. Love love love the beams and I agree a stain (dark?) for the floors to perhaps match the beams would look great. Some nice sconces to replace those lovely fluorescents might be a nice touch. Just my 2 cents to add to your pizza discussions. Love that you allow us to be on this journey with you!

    • I went back and forth so many times! I love the natural wood too but it was just a little too much, especially where I want to keep the beams and floors dark. The white really makes the beams and floors pop, which I just love!

  2. Mary

    The fluorescent lighting may have been the best choice for classrooms/offices but it will be nice to see the new choices you are going to make for your family home. I love your posts, you are a wonderful writer!

  3. Bob Albert

    Really glad to see that the house is being loved. I am a 9x great-grandson of Joseph and Anna and spent a week back there wrestling with the idea of buying it when it was for sale. Ultimately, my health became the main reason not to go forward, but I will enjoy the process through your blog.
    Any thoughts about DNA testing the bones you found 🙂

    • Hi Bob! Oh my goodness, so lovely to hear from you! I would love to DNA test the bones, once we have some down-time… So, probably like 4-5 years from now ha!

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