One-Hundred and Four Years Later… and Here I Am!

3/1/14

Hello, everyone! My name is Emma Leibman, and over the next month, I’ll be in Easton, Maryland, renovating and restoring the old house where my younger brother, Atticus, and I grew up. Almost three years ago, my mom took a job in Frederick, Maryland, and the house has stood vacant, apart from an odd weekend here or there, since then. As much as we LOVE this house and would hate to get rid of it, a second household – particularly one we’re not living in – is an increasingly unbearable financial and logistical burden, and we’re likely going to have to put it on the market. 😦

The small, beautiful 1910 Sears Kit Foursquare of my childhood is located on Winton Avenue in the town’s Historic District. This is lovely and convenient… until you’re trying to rent or sell your home from across the state, work full-time and raise two kids, one of which is three hours away at boarding school (kudos, Mama!). The rental codes in town are very strict and specific, and the house would need some work in order to sell for what it’s worth, and either scenario involves availability and an investment of time and energy that my family hasn’t had — until now!

Over the course of the next month, I’ll be living at the Winton Avenue house and working with a former neighbor, Ginna Tiernan, (and my mom, on the weekends) to start the work necessary to get the house to be in selling condition. Mom did a large-scale renovation of the property herself almost ten years ago, after flooding from Hurricane Isabel forced us out of the house we’d previously been renting, and her diligent, loving fingers have since touched every square inch of it. Fortunately for me, this means that most of the projects on my to-do list are manageably small-ish (i.e. painting/varnishing, sanding, paint stripping, patching walls, simple carpentry, etc.), because many of the largest projects don’t have to be taken care of again right away. I will be blogging at least every few days, if not at every major milestone, with plenty of renovation stories1 and before/after/in-the-process photos, so that you can all see the progress as it takes place!

Although I’m not traveling anywhere new or exotic, this Senior Project holds tremendous personal value for me. Between my family’s move and the past two and a half years I’ve spent at Westtown, I’ve barely spent any of my adolescence in the place I truly consider “home;” I can feel at home in many places, given the right circumstances, but this is the only physical location that has always, consistently been home to me2, and I can’t wait to spend an entire month there. While I’m in Easton, I’ll be returning to worship at Third Haven, the Monthly Meeting where I officially became a Quaker almost 17 years ago, and getting together with old friends and mentors before moving into the next chapter of my life. These closure and reconnection pieces of my Senior Project are as important to me as the gathering of new, practical skills and the doing something for/with my family, and I intend to share updates from this part of my Project, in addition to posts about the renovation’s progress. 

If you have any questions or comments for me, there should be a space below to post them. Thanks for reading… I promise not all my future posts will be as long as this one, so hang with me, here! 🙂

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1I’ve watched enough HGTV and remember enough of our reno to know that there are ALWAYS renovation stories… so stay tuned!

2Westtown and wherever-my-family-happens-to-be are the next-closest things, but my favorite place is the Winton Avenue house, without a doubt.

3If my last name sounds familiar, you might know my dad (Greg Leibman ’78)… it’s a small world, especially when you’ve gone to Westtown!