Here We Go . . .

by | Nov 20, 2015 | Hundred Year Old House | 86 comments

Winners of the Advent giveaway are at the bottom of the post . . . 

Well, I said I wasn’t going to believe it was ours until I had the keys in hand.

But I’m still not sure I do believe it.

It’s been quite a journey so far, and we’re only just getting started. I’m going to try to not turn this blog into This Old House, but I can’t make any promises.

Mostly, I’m thinking I should see if my wedding dress still fits, because I’m going to need it to properly Miss Havisham it up around my new tumbledown mansion.

Are you ready for ALL the (before) pictures?

There she is. Built in 1920.

Nine bedrooms, built for a family of . . . three. But now we’re going to fill it up.
Is that a tennis court on the left? Yes, yes it is. I don’t currently know how to play tennis. (But if I had ever learned I should have been a great proficient.) Is that a cabana behind the pool? *A* cabana? What are we, savages? That is two cabanas behind the pool.
Living room:

Dining room:

Butler’s pantry with original hardware and warbly glass (butler not included):

 Original leaded glass windows:

And original light fixtures and fireplaces:

The kids will share the two biggest bedrooms. The husband and I will be moving into the servants’ quarters, which seems appropriate somehow. We’re going to turn it into a little suite, with a bedroom and an office, and . . . a chapel.

Because how could this room not be a chapel?

So, basically, the photos are too kind. It’s a beautiful house, but it’s in quite a state of disrepair. Fixing it up for us is going to be the work of months and years. I do like a project. We’ll see if I still feel the same way this time next year.

It’s a very, very big house. Nearly three times as big as our current house. It’s bigger than we were looking for. And I worry I’ll lose my children in it. But this was the only house we saw in months of looking that was in our price range and big enough to comfortably fit a family of ten. Twelve when my parents are with us.

I do love it. Dead rats and leaky roof and dingy kitchen and all.

And the fact that it’s ours after all the false starts and setbacks and crazy banking regulations, really makes it feel meant to be.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers.

We’re moving the first round of boxes this weekend, but we don’t figure we’ll be able to actually move in for a month or so, until after we do a few repairs.


And now, I owe you some winners. For all the details on these Advent resources, see the original Advent post here or click on the title to see them for yourself. If you won, please email me at and tell me what you won so you can get your prize before Advent begins! If I haven’t heard back from you by Monday, I’ll pick a new winner.

1. Light for the World: A Catholic Kid’s Guide to Advent and Christmas 
 Mountain Mama

2. Waiting in the Word: a Mother’s Advent Journey
 Susan Moser

3. Maple Leaf Liturgical Living Planner

4. Blessed is She Advent 2015 Journal **Digital Download**


5. The Nativity Characters in Cross Stitch
Debbie Affleck

6. Jesse Tree 3-D Printable Ornaments e-book
Use the coupon code catholicallyear to get 30% off anything in the shop through December 31st!

7. Nativity Advent Calendar to Print and Color

8. Our Family’s Jesse Tree: 25 Jesse Tree Ornaments with Templates, Devotions, and Printable Activities

9. Couples Advent Devotional
 Lisa Burek

10. Printable Prayers Advent
 Jacqueline Meister
Kristen Rabideau


  1. Mary @ Better Than Eden

    Can you die of swooning?? I love it so much. It is going to be beautiful filled with children. I hope you're super happy there!

  2. Anonymous

    Like a family compound almost, very Kennedy-esque. Quick question though….are there only 3 bedrooms ? Or are you needing to renovate some before the kids can spread out a bit more? I hope you will keep us updated on the progress. Congratulations!

    • Kendra

      There are NINE bedrooms. Crazy. But the husband and I really want to be able to live in it without spreading out too much, and we've never wanted the kids to each have their own rooms.

      Things could change but the current plan is the turn the four downstairs bedrooms into: schoolroom, playroom, bedroom for my parents, and a guestroom (slash oldest kid at home room).

      The five upstairs bedrooms would be a boys' sleeping room and a boys' clothes and stuff room, a girls' sleeping room and a girls' clothes and stuff room, our bedroom (with a walk in closet/nursery), an office for the husband, and the chapel.

      I really want the kids to still mostly share rooms, but I'd also really love to quit never being able to get to anything in their rooms because someone is always asleep in there!

    • Amanda

      We just moved 4 of our kids together (added Meg to the little kids' room) and turned out master closet (right beside the laundry room) into a closet for us + the 4 little kids and it has worked out fabulously. I also had the issue of never being able to put clothes away or get anything out because someone was always sleeping upstairs. So….now their room just has 4 beds and some toys in the closet. I will say though that I'm looking forward to the day when we can go back to having a Girls Room for the two little girls, Boys Room for the two school-aged boys, and a Teen Room. I liked that setup in our old house.

  3. susanna whitford

    Oh what a dream! It reminds me of the movie "A Good Year". Fixing up a beautiful old house and filling it with love and joy! Oh take it all in and enjoy every moment! Deck out that little chapel like the Gothic cathedral it was MEANT to be!!

  4. Alicia

    I'm normally just a lurker, but I had to de-lurk for this–congratulations! What a gorgeous house!

  5. Teresa

    Congratulations! This house looks as though it deserves a big, happy family living inside it. And don't hold back on the photos — it's so beautiful!

  6. susanna whitford

    For 8 months we lived with my husband's grandpa in his 10,000 square foot southern style, Gone with the Wind's Tara inspired mansion. The furniture was antique, the light fixtures gorgeous and the driveway grand. It also boasted a huge pool and tennis court. It was a wonderful 8 months spending the sweetest moments with grandpa and grandma. Sadly he passed recently and the house had to be put up for sale. I am so thankful for the time we had there!

    • Kendra

      Wow! That house is enormous! And I seriously love the tufted bed and crazy carpet thing happening in that last bedroom photo.

    • susanna whitford

      I was in love with the golden room! (Each room had a different color carpet and hence a name too) The blue room, the green room, the brown room and the golden room. That's where I spent my last night before marrying John. Cherished memories! We had the reception there as well, here is the 4 min wedding video. . And now I'm in tears watching it! I haven't shared that video in a long time!

  7. Caroline

    I don't even know you, but I am very happy for you and your family! As the last of eight children myself, I can appreciate a loud and happy home. Especially on tile floors! All the best in your move- I'm sure your kids are going to have a wonderful time running all over the place…

  8. Kandace

    How wonderful!!! I was hoping you would get the house!! I know it will be a project, but I am secretly excited to see how you pull it all together. And I'm hoping there's a secret bookcase involved SOMEWHERE!

    • Kendra

      I am really hoping we'll find a secret passageway.

    • Jen Ward

      You know if you don't find one, Jack and your dad could build one.

    • Elizabeth

      We have an Italianate/Queen Ann style house built in 1894, with most of the original woodwork. And we have some secret passages :). It is so much fun. We let our oldest son have a Nerf-war birthday party in it, secret passages and all. (Gotta have an indoor party in November in Montana.)

  9. Lizzie

    I am totally ok with home reno posts!
    I'm so happy for you! Buying a house is so stressful. And you'll be closer to your son's school now right? That will be a good thing for you all.

  10. Pamela Averrett

    This is so exciting for your family! Fabulous!!! I talked my husband into a somewhat similar situation, the price was so great, and the house was so beautiful. Its been a year and we stay busy every weekend with projects (with all the helpers! lol) Don't be surprised though when you find yourself saying ridiculous things like "Why is the laundry room sooo far away?" I went with a wireless camera system to keep up with the littles 🙂

  11. AnneMarie

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an awesome end-of-the-liturgical-year-present from God! Your house….I'm dying. It looks incredible. And that room is totally perfect for a chapel! Wow, just wow. I'm excited for you guys!

  12. Mary Wilkerson

    oh my gosh, you are going to live in a mansion! I kind of hope your blog does turn into 'this old house' i can't wait to watch the transformation.

  13. ElizabethClare

    Ahhh-mazing! What a beautiful home. I live in a fixer upper too, which I love, but it is nothing as amazing as that! I cannot wait to see what you do with it!

  14. Maggie

    First Time commenter and could not ignore this. Absolutely stunning and I definitely hope you share the renovations! Congratulations! I am sure there are many beautiful memories to come.

  15. Kati

    I'm not sure anyone would complain about a This Old House series that runs for the next….several years 🙂 The house is gorgeous, so glad you finally got it!

  16. Amanda

    Ahhhhhh! Yea! I love it when prayers are answered "yes" 🙂 Give us all the fixer upper details – just think of the parties you can throw in there! What an amazing aerial view!

  17. Being Refined

    Oh my goodness, Congratulations!!! The house is gorgeous and so are the grounds!! Ack! You have an estate. Amazing! Good luck with fixing everything up. I'm looking forward to seeing all the before and after pictures. 🙂 No complaints if you post 'this old house' posts.

    The above secret bookcase/ secret door/ secret passage idea is a great! How fun would that be! Maybe have the lever be "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".

    I LOVE the chapel idea! Can't wait to see the finished pictures. Imagine having Mass said in your home. Wow!

    • Kendra

      That's a really good point. If we're moving walls why couldn't WE put in a secret passageway?!

    • Katherine Scott

      Yes! You totally should. My husband and I always dream of putting a secret passage in the back of a wardrobe that would lead to a library/ reading room. That and a home chapel is on our dream home wish list. Congratulations! My jaw literally dropped when I saw the pictures.

  18. Ashley Sue

    Congratulations! It's fabulous, and I definitely think you should be taking some period costume pics!

  19. Christine

    I'm really good at painting and I work for cheap…ie laughter 😉 enjoy this awesome adventure

    • Kendra

      Wait. Are you saying you DON'T think we should leave the living room the exact color of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?

  20. David and Sarah Collins

    Can I make one suggestion after I say CONGRATS!?? Make a family closet out of one of those bedrooms – think Duggar style. I've always wanted one but we don't have the room. The idea being you sort clothes by gender/size and the kids "move" through the closet, rather than having to change clothes in and out of kids closets as they grow, seasons change, etc. does this make sense?? This is assuming you use hand me downs, which I'm rather sure I've read a post or two about those from you….. Cannot wait to see more.

    • Amo

      Yes, duggar style family closet all the way! Such a good idea.

    • Elizabeth Foss

      Beware the family closet. As girls get older, and one purchases her own clothes, she is likely to diverge from her usually amenable ways when the 6 year younger but just the same size sister keeps helping herself to items in the community closet. I'm re-thinking our closet strategies just this morning. happens faster than you can imagine.

    • Kendra

      Thanks Elizabeth, I appreciate the insight. The plan right now is to have a "dressing room" for the girls and one for the boys, but individual closets (and laundry, I hope!) within it. I'm just trying to solve the problem of not being able to get to clothes and shoes and purses and whatnot because between babies and teenagers someone is very often asleep in the bedrooms. And I'd like to avoid sorting kids OR clothes into individual rooms.

  21. Hannah Gokie

    Oh Kendra, it is just breathtaking!!! I think I was drooling a little bit looking at the pictures. I fully expect this to turn into the best Catholic This Old House ever, please don't disappoint! 🙂

  22. Kylie Howell

    Oh it's GORGEOUS!! I can't wait to come along for the journey as you spruce it up. Congratulations on the most amazing house ever!

  23. Emily Rooney

    It's beautiful!! My husband might be a little annoyed though because I desperately want to move now! 🙂 I can't wait to see what you do with it.

  24. Megan

    It's beautiful! Congrats! As the mother of a lead poisoned child, I do have to say please be super careful about those leaded windows (and potentially lead paint as well when doing renovations). It only takes a tiny bit of lead to have a negative effect on children.

    • Kristen Rabideau

      Do NOT tell your kids "no licking the windows or paint." They probably wouldn't normally think to do that, until you tell them not to. Then they start wondering "I wonder what that paint tastes like…" Just saying…from experience…

  25. Janie De Lara

    It is a lovely house! I feel your pain about the months it is taking to get into it and the large projects–we are in the process of purchasing an American Foursquare built in 1900. It is giving me sleepless nights and panic attacks. Congrats!!!

  26. Alexandra

    Holy moly! I have some serious house envy, as I love bug old houses. GORGEOUS!

    • Alexandra

      I meant big. Although I'm sure there are bugs to deal with too.

    • Kendra

      Oh my goodness, there were soooo many bees. It was actually really sad. They had fumigated them all already. I wish we could've gotten a bee guy to move them into a box for us.

    • Bethany Sonnier

      My parents are bee keepers here in Texas. You probably want to get a bee keeper out anyway to help look for honeycomb. Unprotected hives left after a exterminater comes in are a magnet for all kinds of bugs. If there is honey left anywhere near/in the house you'll want to get that taken care of ASAP.

  27. Betka

    Yay, Kendra! I love it too. You have to come up with a name for it, you know? A house with that much character needs a name and it needs to be dedicated to its own patron saint.

  28. Amy

    So exciting! You'll have to get a little bell to call your children to dinner or prayer if you don't have one already. It will save your voice and it also reminds me of a convent!

    • Kendra

      Yes! I was actually I little disappointed that there aren't any of those Gran Hotel jingling bells. But we'll have to make do.

      When I was little my grandparents used to call us to dinner with a big ship's bell that my sister has now!

  29. Amanda

    Congratulations! What an awesome way to end the year! It makes me just giddy to think of that big old uncared for house being filled with all those children and a family that can really use it to its fullest and make it shine! Though I have to say I'd barely consider it a fixer up based on the pictures! I mean, the arched doorways…swoon! It's got character for DAYS!! And the chapel room is awesome, I love that a chapel was your first thought for that room! I think I'm using too many exclamation points here but I'm just so happy for you and excited to see it all come together! Since I don't have my own house to fix up anymore I'll just live vicariously through you and Dwija, kay? 😉

  30. Tori

    So so so so so happy for you guys! I hope you'll keep us updated on your progress as you fix things up. The house is gorgeous and the yard looks to die for.

  31. Gina D.

    Congratulations! Is there a secret garden?! There really needs to be a secret garden (with a swing of course). 🙂

    • Kendra

      No secret garden yet, but we'll definitely have a swing. It has really great old trees and Jack and my dad have already come up with a plan for multiple tree houses connected by a series of bridges!

  32. Nicole

    SO MANY CONGRATULATIONS!!! I love your house plan. We just moved our 4 kids into a 4-bedroom house, but put them all in one bedroom. The two extra rooms are playroom and school room. It is perfect. Can't wait to see it all done up!

  33. Nancy Shuman

    This is so exciting. I am swooning along with everyone else. I vote for secret passageways – definitely. Congratulations!!

  34. Kristin Sanders

    Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!! Your kids have to be just beside themselves with excitement. I can't WAIT to follow along with the updates!!!

  35. Bethany Sonnier

    Congratulations on finally closing! I'm so excited for you and can't wait for more pictures as you start getting it fixed up and settled in!

  36. Ari Mack

    Beautiful. It's got great "bones." I love a good before and after!!

  37. Hannah

    I can't wait for the "after" chapel pictures! Some of the rooms look downright medieval (a compliment btw) Congratulations 🙂

  38. Elise

    Love the house!! Congratulations! Are you having a priest come over to bless it? Can you do a post about that? ( we bought a house 2 mo ago but don't know what to ask for as far as a blessing)

    • Kendra

      Yes. For SURE. I'll let you know what we figure out.

  39. Schafergal (Ashley)

    Wow. Just wow!! Congratulations. That is a beautiful house with spectacular bones. So excited to see what you do with it. And a Tierney This Old House series will be much enjoyed by all, I think.

    Also – I definitely vote for secret passageways.

  40. Ann-Marie Ulczynski

    This is so very exciting. Yes, you would have been a great proficient, indeed (that made me giggle). Congratulations. I can't wait to see what you do with it all. I'm just itching to go arrange plates in your butler's pantry. The grounds look beautiful. And what fun parities you can have on the tennis courts!

  41. Catherine Faux

    I'm so excited for you! What a beautiful house and with all its quaintness, a child's paradise!

  42. Jennifer Wolf

    These photos are oh so fabulous!! I'm very happy for you all and I hope the repairs go smoothly and your home is filled with nothing but love!

  43. Elisa BlissfulE

    You have such a talent for design and managing your family; I'm so glad this huge blessing is yours!

  44. Meaghan

    Wow, it really does look like the house from Cinderella! Congratulations!!

  45. Munchie Mommy

    That's not a house, that's a School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Your children will need to add de-gnoming the garden to their chores (Geroff!).

    Also …"a great proficient". Awesome.


  46. Mary

    I am so happy for you! I'm looks so beautiful. I know it will be a lot of work, but it has good bones.

  47. Unknown

    Love the Lady Catherine De Bourgh reference! And LOVE the house. May God bless you!

  48. Lacey

    I missed this when you first posted it but I am so excited to hear you got the house!! I loved that article you posted about it when it used to be like a Hollywood party house (right? am I remembering that correctly?). Just so so cool. I'm all about This Old Big Family House with a Chapel and Secret Passageways.

  49. Blehnner

    Congratulations! What a spectacular house – very very exciting! I am really looking forward Reading about your adventures there. We just closed on our dream house, and I went through the same ups and downs with closing – I felt God was really testing us – it is such a relief that it is over. We also have to sell our current home. So… I would really love to know how you plan to pick paint colors and what colors you ultimately pick Believe it or not, my current house kind of has that macaroni and cheese color on it, and I don't want to make the same mistake pink discernment tips appreciated

  50. Jen Buckley

    Kendra, this is such an amazing score. It's like a Von Trapp paradise! I am just catching up with you I am so glad I did. I live for this stuff. If you ever need any fixer upper advice all the way from Virginia, I'd be happy to give my input! Best of luck and can't wait to see what's next! Jen Buckley

  51. Karla Baca

    Oh…also just want to say, this Tierney Family Home cries out for a "Priest Hole" !!! How awesome would that be???…and you never know when it might come in handy.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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