75

Our Historic Home Renovation Update: Phase 1

Eva Amurri Martino wears checked trousers and a grey cashmere sweater, and sits in her empty home that awaits renovations

It’s all happening, guys! The renovation of our historic home is underway! It was a big decision to sell our house we’ve been living in for just under three years, and to make a big life change.  But we are SO excited to be renovating a historic home– and one right near downtown Westport CT at that! Our whole family is really excited to be closer to the buzz of town, and the kids are even able to walk to school.  Having renovated our current home a few years ago, I really feel like we’ve learned a lot about what we want and what we’d do differently through the process.  We’re doing a bit more to this house than we did to the last one (like a looooot more. Yikes) so it’s nice to have had a little experience under our belts.

For the renovation process, we’ve been trying to use as many local Connecticut vendors as possible, and it’s been fun to include some of our friends in there as well! The ultimate goal is to create a great place to really celebrate the Westport community and to be a part of it– and it’s so fun to imagine our kids playing with all the other kids in the community, and running through our backyard for the next 12-16 years!

Eva Amurri Martino stands in the preliminary renovation of her new studio space in Westport Connecticut

I’m really excited for you guys to see all of the changes we’re making to the house– but it’s important to note that our biggest priority is to maintain the charm and history of the home, which has always been one of the biggest draws for us in purchasing it! I know we’ve found a way to bring it’s livability in to the current era while also giving a nice nod to all it has been for the families who have lived there before us.

Eva Amurri Martino sits on the edge of a bathtub in the bathroom of her new home before renovations


At this point in the renovation process, we are mostly still in the demolition phase.  One of the biggest structural changes we are making to the interior of the home is to open up the kitchen to the family room area.  Being a super old home, we knew that it was tough to figure out with complete certainty if there were any weight-bearing walls within the portion that we were tearing down– but we crossed our fingers! Unfortunately when the walls came down it was the worst of both worlds– not only was the major portion of what we were removing weight bearing, but it also had a portion of the plumbing and the electrical running through it.  WOOF.  It added a big cost and a couple more weeks to the reno process, but fortunately was easily solvable by bringing in a great plumber and electrical team.  We ended up having to hire an engineer to assess the structure and install a steel beam across the width of the house that we are encasing and painting.  The great news is that opening up the space has been a total game changer! I can’t wait until the beam is totally installed so we can take down the temporary walls that are in there now.

Eva Amurri Martino sits on the edge of a bathtub in the bathroom of her new home before renovations

Stay tuned for more updates– I’m shooting another one soon since there have been so many big changes over the last week or so!

 

Photographs by Julia Dags

Share this post:

Leave a Comment:

75 Comments

  1. melanie says:

    Hello Eva,

    Will be a wonderful house, you have good taste! Thank you to follow your adventure;)

    01.03.19Reply
  2. Mick Murphy says:

    I have always wanted to renovate an old home and I am so excited that you are sharing your experience with us. Loved the video and can’t wait to see more!

    01.03.19Reply
  3. Sheila says:

    Obsessed! Can’t wait to follow the progress, it’s going to be beyond beautiful! Where will your studio be?

    01.03.19Reply
    • The studio will be on the property but separate building 🙂

      01.07.19Reply
  4. Nancy says:

    Wow!! Im so excited for you! I love your style and I’m sure that it will come through in your new home. I’m also ecstatic to incorporate some of your ideas into my home. We live in Norwalk by the way!!

    01.03.19Reply
  5. Nicole Sweeney says:

    OHHHHHHH MYYYYYY GOOOOOOODNESSSS. Such an amazing house and I love that you will be updating through the process, I will stay tuned. Thanks for sharing!

    01.03.19Reply
  6. Brena says:

    Cannot wait to watch the progress of this!!! Love how you guys are keeping all the old home charm!! Now one question will you furnish your guestroom with unbreakables for your step brother- you know in case he dances and falls lol!!!!!

    01.03.19Reply
    • hahaha! We will pad a room for him, and keep him nice and safe. LOL

      01.07.19Reply
  7. Kendra says:

    I am so excited for you I can’t even stand it! My husband and I almost bought a historic home but we passed because it wasn’t in much of a neighborhood which was important to us for our children. I still daydream about the renovations I would have made, but now I can live vicariously through you! Yay!!
    When do you think you’ll be ready to move in?

    01.03.19Reply
    • Yes, the neighborhood aspect is pretty much the best part!

      We are thinking March 1 for move-in, and then there is lots of other construction to be done while we live there. Hopefully a July 1 end-of-reno date

      01.07.19Reply
  8. Emily says:

    Looks amazing! You must be SO excited. Can’t wait to see the updates and the finished product!

    01.03.19Reply
  9. Nicole V. says:

    This is so exciting to watch! We have an older home as well and are going to start an addition soon. I will keep checking back in hopes that I can steal some of your ideas 🙂

    01.03.19Reply
  10. TJ says:

    Hi Eva
    Absolutely love this blog post and video of your reno. I am obsessed with decor, renovation in general so to see this is awesome. I look forward to seeing the changes evolve and the final reveal.
    TJ

    01.03.19Reply
  11. Vanessa Beeler says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing process! Many blessing for the Martino family in their new home!

    01.03.19Reply
  12. Claire says:

    So fun! Those floors are beautiful and it seems to have great bones.

    01.03.19Reply
  13. Emily says:

    Holy moly, that tub!!!!😍😍

    01.03.19Reply
  14. Vanessa Beeler says:

    Also, your comment about the painting part speaks to me on such a deep level! We moved in June and our painting our house floor to ceiling over oil based paint. My husband works in the paint industry, and we are using the top quality paints (especially with kids and those markers and crayons), but every time I see those paint bills I gasp! It does totally make a difference though!

    01.03.19Reply
    • OMG right?!!! That was a big surprise the first time we renovated, and one I kept in mind for this new home for sure!

      01.07.19Reply
  15. Cesilie K says:

    It’s so gorgeous! Excited for the video updates to see how it progresses. I love the hidden stair case and especially excited to see how the guest suite turns out in that space. Does your town require historic reviews before any renovations?

    01.03.19Reply
    • Oh they sure do! It’s a big process for sure, but worth it in the end

      01.07.19Reply
  16. Tina says:

    I love it!!!
    But you make me want to move…
    I miss the process when you are thinking about everything new to do/built in a new house i love that do much!!!
    Enjoy!

    01.03.19Reply
  17. Erin says:

    Looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to see the progress as the renovations continue. I would plop myself at the top of those stairs with a book-perfect little reading nook.

    01.03.19Reply
  18. Kristen says:

    So excited for you and your family. The home is full of character and gorgeous. I am HERE for this renovation!!! Give us all the stories, please! Can’t wait to see what you do. I grew up in a historic house in Stamford and it was a great place to live! I know your family will be happy in beautiful Westport too!

    01.03.19Reply
    • Oh that’s awesome! This might be weird, but did you have any spirits in your home? I’m always so curious with the historic ones

      01.07.19Reply
  19. Sarah says:

    Gorgeous!!! Loved the walkthrough video!

    01.03.19Reply
  20. Ravelle says:

    Wow!! So exciting!! I don’t even like home reno shows, but I’m totally invested in this! Can’t wait to see all your gorgeous touches on everything!

    01.03.19Reply
    • Yassssss!! So glad we have you along for the ride

      01.07.19Reply
  21. Robyn says:

    Eva, Love your house!! Thank you so much for taking us along on this special journey. So excited for y’all!! Love how you are trying to use local business’. Can’t wait for the reveal. Happy New Year!! Robyn

    01.03.19Reply
  22. Elizabeth says:

    Wow I cannot wait to see it all complete. It will be stunning!

    01.03.19Reply
  23. Julia Perrotta says:

    How exciting! What year was the house built?

    01.03.19Reply
  24. Glenda says:

    Thanks for sharing! I love it! We have designed and remodeled 3xs now. The more you do it the easier it gets. Can’t wait to see when it’s fully done! Best to your family always!

    01.03.19Reply
  25. vicki zimmerman says:

    you’re house is absolutely stunning 😍 my sister & i have always wanted to flip a house (& do as much ourselves as we could). i’m so excited to see your journey!

    01.03.19Reply
  26. Erin says:

    What kind of timeline are you hoping for to get everything finished? Excited to watch the progress of everything!

    01.03.19Reply
  27. Tyler Anne says:

    Wow!! I am so excited to follow along with this renovation! LOVE that you have your own bathroom separate from your husband! I do too (not as grand as I’m sure yours will be) but it’s probably my favorite thing about our place! LOL So will your bathroom also be your Glam Room now? Thanks for brining all of us along!!

    01.03.19Reply
  28. Casey Kropelin says:

    This house reminds me so much of my grandparents house growing up – they also had a secret staircase! I can’t wait to see all of the progress and finished product!! 🙂

    01.03.19Reply
  29. Absolutely love how passionate you are about keeping the historic beauty of the home. Keeping the floors and little details mentioned in your video. I cannot wait to see the final product – I’m sure we’ll all be envious and in love with it.

    01.03.19Reply
  30. KimberlyJ says:

    Beautiful house, I’m excited to see the progress. The wide plank floors, I’m dying, I love them. My parents house had them in the livingroom when I was growing up. 😍

    01.03.19Reply
  31. Kathy says:

    Wait a minute – did I miss something? I thought you guys are moving to California…? 🙂

    01.03.19Reply
    • Hahah nope, wrote a post about moving to Westport!

      01.07.19Reply
  32. Kelly Lord says:

    Hi!!! Amazing, so excited to see the finished product 🙂

    01.03.19Reply
  33. Dana says:

    Loved the video! How fun!

    01.03.19Reply
  34. Erin says:

    Excited to see the progress! How long do you expect renovations to take? I’ve had to deal with some renovation projects (some not planned, Thanks Hurricane Harvey and 6’ of water!) and know dealing with contractors and timelines can get frustrating. Hope you all have a smooth process!!

    01.03.19Reply
  35. Jill says:

    Loved this post and the video. So excited to follow along.

    Two questions.

    1. Will you be able to fit your glam room/makeup area like you have now in your new bathroom?

    2. How did you manage to keep the buyers of your old house out of the house while you reno the new house? I remember you saying it sold, just seems like it will be a long time before they can move in.

    01.03.19Reply
    • 1. My glam area will now be in my Master!

      2. We had a rent-back agreement as a requirement of the offer on our home. So we figured that in before we sold.

      01.07.19Reply
  36. Shaquanda says:

    Hi Eva,
    Congratulations on your new home. I’m so excited you’re taking us along on your renovation journey. My favorite channel is HGTV, so this speaks to me. Good luck with everything and can’t wait to see the progress.

    01.03.19Reply
  37. Katie says:

    Beautiful house!
    What year was it built?
    I can’t wait to see more of this Reno and pictures of the outside.

    01.03.19Reply
  38. Natalie says:

    Wow – this home looks so charming and cozy, and I am so excited to follow your renovation progress and all things decorating! Question for you – we are in a similar boat (2 small children and currently house hunting for a remodel – something we can customize and make our own). Would you be willing to share what you looked for in this house that your last house didn’t have and/or a list of your must haves for this house (both fashion and function)? This house also looks smaller than your current house – is it? Or is the square footage similar? Just asking from another ‘family of four looking for a house’ point of view! Congratulations on this exciting life adventure!

    01.03.19Reply
    • We weren’t looking to move at all, so it was more of a gut feeling than anything else, plus the neighborhood. We got quotes for the work we wanted to do before we made our offer to get a sense of as high as we were able to go while also being able to do all the work we needed to do
      (which on this home is EXTENSIVE).

      Square footage will ultimately be the same once all our additions etc are finished. Actually maybe more. We are losing 1/2 acre of land though

      01.07.19Reply
  39. Jen says:

    Loved the video tour! It looks like such a great house and I can’t wait to follow along as you renovate. Congrats!

    01.03.19Reply
  40. Robin says:

    This is going to be a super fun process to watch! Thanks for sharing it all. That closet is insane!

    01.03.19Reply
  41. Jill says:

    I love love old homes! Excited to see what you do!

    01.03.19Reply
  42. Susan Palmer says:

    Oh the house looks beautiful! Can’t wait to see it when it is finished!! Congratulations!!!

    01.03.19Reply
  43. Rana says:

    Thanks for sharing your video tour! I love a good before and after!

    01.03.19Reply
  44. Courtney says:

    Ohmygoodness. OBSESSED. I cannot wait to see all the renovations…and your decor! What an incredible home in such a beautiful town! My husband and I were married there but have since moved away for his job. I miss that sliver of coastal CT dearly.
    Seriously can’t wait to see your updates. Bravo should have given you a home design show!!

    01.03.19Reply
  45. Alessandra says:

    Beautiful!!!!!! How big is the yard? Is there a pool?

    01.04.19Reply
  46. Erin Levenson says:

    I love home renovations! Looking forward to following the journey.

    01.04.19Reply
  47. Devon Mendez says:

    This is so AMAZING! House has such great bones and history (servants quarters/stairs), what a fun, fun project. Thank you for sharing with us and cannot wait to go on the journey with you all!

    01.04.19Reply
  48. Alana says:

    Can’t wait for the updates!

    01.04.19Reply
  49. Tiffany says:

    We moved a few years ago from downtown Chicago to one of the sleepier neighborhoods. The lack of walkability has been my only complaint so my jealousy abounds. Living in a historical Chicago home is lovely though. I can already see the charm shining through in your sneak peeks! It’s going to be stunning! Congrats!

    01.05.19Reply
  50. Michelle says:

    So fun! Do you know the history of the house (how many original bedrooms and bathrooms it had)? I assume it was renovated previously because you have two bathrooms and a huge walk in closet in your master bedroom. Are you adding a stand-up shower in your bathroom or will you use the tub? Can’t wait to see the second phase of Reno!

    01.05.19Reply
  51. Suzie says:

    Thanks for sharing the progress! I love a good before and after! When do you plan to move in? The plans look amazing.

    01.06.19Reply
  52. Britt says:

    Hi Eva!! I was wondering, with all the customization you did with your current house is there anything in your house you’ll miss? And once you’re near finished could you do a how-to on creating the perfect gallery wall? Would LOVE to get your insight on that!!

    01.07.19Reply
    • The thing I’m going to miss the most is our bedroom because Major was born there! Otherwise, I’m just excited for the new house 🙂

      Also I wrote a post about gallery walls..it was one of my first ever for the blog! (They’re also called “Parlor Walls”, hence the post. Enjoy!

      01.08.19Reply