Sometimes old-house dreams really do come true. Gina Bellous grew up in the Westchester neighborhood in Los Angeles, building and playing with miniature doll houses and dreaming of the day that she’d own her own “life-size” doll house. Even at a young age, she had an eye for architecture and she was drawn to the unique detail-oriented stylings of Victorian homes. For many years the high cost of California real estate, coupled with the time investment required when caring for and maintaining an historic home, made this childhood dream seem like more of a fantasy.
Fast forward a few years ahead. She found a hidden gem of a real estate listing: The Widow’s Walk, a 1895 Queen Anne located at the Los Angeles Harbor, was in the midst of a probate sale. Long story short, that Queen Anne would become Gina’s, and her restoration journey would begin.
The house had been sitting vacant for over 4 years, and had weathered more than its share of extreme events, including an explosion at the seaport that was estimated to have lifted the house 4 inches off of the foundation. The home has been constantly exposed to salty ocean air and has lived through several additions of questionable soundness. Needless to say, Gina’s dream house came attached to a fairly big revitalization project.
While working full time for a capital management firm, Gina quickly realized she had a second full time job which entailed learning the ins and outs of historic restoration. She turned to the internet for guidance, where she found several resources that she continues to turn to when looking for advice. Sites like The Craftsman Blog and posts from the NC Preservationist became invaluable tools for troubleshooting. Instagram is where Gina learned about Abatron products.
A friend shared some photos of LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® being used on a project, and Gina didn’t waste time finding the products online. “I can’t believe how valuable Abatron’s products have become in my projects. Replacing my balusters would have been SO expensive and these products made it possible to save them.”
Progress on the Widow’s Walk is being documented at www.victorianbythebay.com. On top of a full time job and working on the house, Gina thought it would be fun to utilize her web design skills by spending time sharing the trials and successes of bringing the home back to its glory.
“They say that we don’t really own these historic homes, we’re merely the ambassadors for them. And it’s true! Everything takes twice as long as I expected it to and everything is always more expensive than you plan for, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. While I may be working to save this house, it’s certainly true that this house has also saved me.” – Gina
There’s probably at least another year of work before the restoration will be complete, but Gina’s future in restoration won’t end there. Her hope is that this project might lead to a new investment and another successful restoration. One day, perhaps she’ll convert a special Victorian into a charming bed and breakfast where she can share her project stories with guests. Until then, follow the project here or on the website listed above.
If you’re restoring an historic home or property and you’re using Abatron products, we’d love to hear from you too! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.