My New Old Home - Living Room Watercolor and Pen Sketch by Carolann DeMatos
created by Carolann C. De Matos

My New Old Home

When I was 16 years old, my then boyfriend (spoilers: now husband), took me on a date to mow his Abuelita’s almost two acre yard. (Yes, he really is a charmer. And, yes, I am serious, he really did consider this a date.)

We pulled up to this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired, single-family ranch home and I found myself breathless. I stepped into the home – built over a number of years by my husband’s grandfather and father – and I realized I had just stepped into my future. I distinctly remember going home from my very fancy date and telling my mother I had found my future home. She laughed. How many 16 year olds find their home and their husband so young?

A watercolor of one corner of my master bedroom. I love the exposed brick wall. I have always always wished for a brick wall in my bedroom.

I love the layout and overall atmosphere of the home. There are over fifty windows throughout the modest 1,700 square foot space, with vaulted ceilings in every room, exposed brick in three rooms, and no carpet in sight. The house is open and breathes.

But, although the house has always been loved and cherished, the house has not been maintained over the past decade. This is what Chip and Joanna might call a ‘fixer upper.’

A watercolor of my little office, which currently hosts his and her desks for my husband and I to share. This is my favorite room of the entire house. I feel most at home here, and I spend hours creating and thinking in this little tiny space.


  • Central air. This is a big one for me, and perhaps something that might not even be possible as we have no attic to run ducts through. I am not a girl who enjoys sweating so we will find some sort of solution.
  • New roof, because leaks aren’t chic.
  • Updated kitchen including new cabinets, butcher block counter tops, a new amazing stove vent which will suck out the scent of cooking bacon, under shelf lights, and little tiny hooks to hang my favorite coffee cups.
  • Refinished floors. We currently have poured red concrete slabs in half of the home and Pergo in the other half. I love them both! But I would like to rethink the color of the concrete, sand, refinish, and add an epoxy coating to keep them looking perfect for the next 50 years. And the Pergo floors, in my mind, are perfect as is – I love seeing the years of wear. But my husband says we may have to refinish and replace some tiles. I still vote no – the patina and the life that has walked these floors is too amazing to imagine sanding away.
  • A she-shed in the back to use as a studio / artistic venture space. This is a big one. A big, huge, scary, hairy idea. I want electricity out there, space to host classes for at least 6-8, and running water to allow for easy paint brush washing. Clearly, I am insane.
  • Gut and refinish the master bathroom, which is my bathroom. I do not love sharing a bathroom with my mate, or anyone for that matter. I will share everything else, but the secret to a successful marriage – or partnership of any kind – is separate bathrooms. I want to install a claw-footed soaking tub, create a clean black and white color scheme, rethink the overall lighting to make the room glow rather than glare, and turn the space into a true oasis of calm and unabashedly overt femininity.
  • Redo the front entrance way to add the illusion of greater space; to install a fabulous, brightly-colored front door; and to find an innovative way to add more light, perhaps by inserting a skylight.
  • Installing two big chandeliers in the living / kitchen space of the home. We already have one of the chandeliers (faux antler style, sorry not sorry) ready to be hung, as soon as we rework the wiring. We still need to find and purchase a second lighting piece.
  • Figuring out how to hang a flat screen TV on a brick wall, without damaging said wall. I fear this wish might be impossible.

Of course, there is so much more to be done and the house will need much more love and care throughout the years. This is an older home, and to maintain it’s beauty we’ve got to put in the work. My husband closed on the home for us while I was still in the hospital battling through, so our progress has been slow. I had to put my physical rehabilitation first, but as I am now beginning to feel like the old me, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and make this house my home. Words of support, advice, or a willingness to spend the day sweating it out are all welcome.