hello home!

family portrait on the porch

So, it’s been a little over a week since we closed on our dream house and we decided to go ahead and get blogging about it. Sal and I had been casually entertaining the idea of buying a historic home in the country after I became pregnant with our now 12-week-old daughter Nora. We’ve been in the suburbs for a while and though I spent some time in NYC and New Jersey we’re both accustomed to a slower pace of life than the ever-growing Hull Street/Brandermill/Woodlake area of Richmond offers. If you’re not familiar, just imagine every box store you know crammed onto one road – convenient, but a little hectic.

We each spent parts of our childhoods in older homes, both Victorians in small Mississippi towns, and have heard our parents complain about the upkeep involved in owning them. So far, the price tags on most historic homes in the area had deterred us from doing anything more than fantasizing. When we realized a house dating back to the early 1800s –  possibly late 1700s – was under foreclosure and would be up for auction, we decided to pursue it if it could be won at a fair price. So we headed over to the courthouse square (imagine Mayberry and you’ve got a good mental image of the town of Amelia Court House) on a sunny spring afternoon and bought ourselves the money pit our parents always warned us about. My mom is trying not to worry herself sick over the whole thing.

Now here we are with a 3,100-square-foot manor house on 13 acres in Amelia County, VA, that needs some work. It’s got heart pine floors that need refinishing, three brick chimneys that need structural TLC (one has what looks to be a small tree growing out if it), a kitchen and bathrooms that need updating, and lead based paint that needs to be removed. So far, we’ve done a little yard work near the house and are scheduling consults with contractors to get bids and figure out how much our dream is going to cost. We’d love to get most of the major work done before moving in and save other projects to do ourselves.

We’re also planning on applying for the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places, so I’m getting started on the preliminary paperwork. Our goal is to rehabilitate the home both budget- and eco-friendly. This week I’ll be posting photos and videos to take you on a bit of a tour of the house and I’ll share our initial ideas. We’d love reader input on as to how we should address each space and can’t wait to hear what you think.


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11 Responses to hello home!

  1. Camp says:

    Ashley, I’m so glad you decideed to do this. What a great way to keep everyone updated on your adventures! Am so excited to watch the progress. I’m always in need a of a little light reading to distract me during the work day:)

  2. Josh Sherman says:

    Hey Ashley,

    Congrats to you and Sal Both on the house! It looks beautiful as is, I bet once y’all are done it will equal the original splendor and magnificence of a true Colonial era home! Keep us posted, will definitely keep an eye on it!

    Your friend,

  3. Sarah says:

    Ashley, the house is gorgeous! I’m excited to be able to follow all the work that you guys have planned. Congratulations on your money pit :)

  4. Mollee says:

    I’m so glad you’re blogging about this! Can’t wait to see the house in person.

  5. chris mangano says:

    Ok I’ll be the first to ask. SAL!!! When we gonna swing some coils over it ROFL!! Seriously thought that is a great looking house!!! Good luck!

  6. Debbie says:


    I am definitely a friend of your blog! I’ll be checking in to hear about all of your progress. Congratulations!

  7. Lori Chester says:


    Jack and I have done the same thing with an old house here in Vaughan. We have heart of pine floors that were covered with carpet. We have put many hours of blood, sweat and tears into this old house. Good luck on this project. You are both young and will have fun making the decisions as you progress with your project.

  8. Ashley Guttuso says:

    Thanks, Lori! I’d love any advice you have to share!

  9. Leslie Booth says:

    Oh, Ashley! You are living my dream!

  10. Emily says:

    Ashley, the house is gorgeous! I’m excited to be able to follow all the work that you guys have planned. Congratulations on your money pit :)

  11. Bob S. says:

    All i can say is WOW!! that house has Character n EVERY WAY & 13 acres!!! NOTHING but a wise investment. what home doesn`t need work, even new ones do!! I`d love to hear more about the history behind it if you ever get the time to tell me. Sal, be honest, have you had the detector on the main grounds yet???????

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