I became fascinated by 19th century architecture when I bought my first Victorian house, a distressed Queen Anne home on Gillespie Street in Schenectady. That was back in 1984. I lived in the building for 15 years, first in one apartment, then another. Old houses can be addictive. When several neighboring Victorians went on the market, I couldn’t resist. I left my teaching job and, with several partners and helpers, set up a small rental business specializing in attractive apartments in historic neighborhoods.
At first we focused on fixing the buildings, preserving what we could and remodeling where necessary. The Schenectady Heritage Foundation rewarded my efforts when I restored a dilapidated porch, replacing the 1950s-era wrought iron with salvaged wood columns. Another Heritage award came when I removed (yes, removed!) the vinyl siding from a turn-of-the-century house. (See photos.)
The renovation projects brought new energy to my primary career, writing. After completing a Doctor of Arts in English from UAlbany, I wrote home improvement articles for House & Garden magazine, Realtor Magazine, and other publications. I became the architecture columnist for ThoughtCo.com and published two books on interior design, The Healthy Home and The Stress-Free Home.
Over the years, I sold most of the rental buildings so that I could spend more time on creative writing, but I just couldn’t let go of my first love — the Queen Anne house. My goal is to create an interesting and pleasing community for the tenants, who are also my neighbors and my friends.