I love Maine.

Welcome to my blog. I like to post about my family and the experience of living and working in Maine.

Has salt water ever touched your soul? Do you love chowder on a chilly day? Or watching an old Maine home be restored?

I'm here to show my experiences with Maine's beauty and grittier corners. 

Jake and Gia Flip a House

Jake and Gia Flip a House

Here we are, looking like this was a lot more fun than it actually was.

Here we are, looking like this was a lot more fun than it actually was.

Oh, Waterville. I’m gonna miss you. Kinda.. maybe. Not really.

Let me explain. In February of 2017, Jake and I signed up for flipping a MAJOR fixer upper in the heart of downtown Waterville. The price was right, Jake had the skills and we both had the vision. The house is located right across the street from an old Ken-A-Set thrift store and post office. It’s a stone’s throw from Mainely Brews and other really cute and trendy downtown businesses.


We got to know the area, ate out and visited all the spots that Waterville had to offer. There’s this amazing Mexican spot called Cancun with cheap specials and massive margs. Also an authentic Italian spot called Holy Cannoli with excellent meatball subs and sweet treats. It seemed that every few months a new business was popping up downtown - so we started seeing money signs.

In Fall 2018, Colby College finished and opened their doors to a massive dorm building right downtown. They have also offered free wifi to the whole downtown, are building a state-of-the-art sports complex, and are finishing up a brand new hotel.

New Colby dorms/commercial space

New Colby dorms/commercial space

We were feeling good right after the success of purchasing a two unit building in Farmington, and were making a profit from our tenants up above. We saw the potential for buying property in the beginning stages of a downtown revitalization and went for it. I had gotten my real estate license a few months prior, and with all this important information fresh in my mind, I thought, “Why not? Let’s get our hands dirty.”

Oh boy, this house was definitely dirty.

Welcome to 1 Elm Terrace in Waterville, ME.

Welcome to 1 Elm Terrace in Waterville, ME.

The story was, that an old couple had lived in this house their whole lives. They devoted themselves to keeping it in impeccable shape until their death. The next owners (or tenants who lived there, who were renting the space), however, were the complete opposite.

It was clear to us that someone must have been chain-smoking around the clock inside the building. It was also clear that there must have either been many dogs, or a supreme beast, that lived there, peed everywhere, and scratched deep grooves into many of the old doors. The other interesting thing we noticed was that the children loved to cover the walls in… art? grafitti? strange messages in sharpie? This house was BIZARRE. And frankly, it creeped me right out.

These sweet old people must have been rolling in their graves. The baseboards were covered in layers of filth. Please take a moment to view the lovely array of images below.

Do you think we’re nuts yet?

But beneath those layers, we knew the house was built during the turn of the century. The character was there. The built-ins were to die for, the tall, coffered ceilings looked gorgeous. During the day, the bay windows lit up the space with such beautiful natural light. Somehow, we saw the potential.

I rallied up a girl crew (and my own supreme beast, Stan) to get started cleaning, as you can see from the photos.


So, some details for you: the house has 4 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. There’s also a huge 3rd floor, which was definitely an apartment or in-law suite at one time. The amount of scrubbing was unending. I’m talking about 1,760 square feet of detailed cleaning. I don’t know what we would have done without help.

I think we realized how much work was needed when Jake had brought out a white board with a list of things that needed to be done per room. When we were done, we looked at each other with the realization that this was going to be a massive project.

And it was.

We decided that we needed some seriously heavy duty paint to cover all of the smoke stained surfaces in the house. Our friend, and painter, Ryan, helped immensely with covering all the surfaces with multiple coats.

We were SO hoping that perhaps under the laminate flooring there would be beautiful hardwood floors underneath. No such luck. We needed all new flooring too.

We needed new appliances, an electric fireplace, updates on the exterior, a new back porch, new doors, new vanities, fixtures, you name it. We were overwhelmed.

I think one of the hardest parts of the situation was that Jake was finishing up making a third floor apartment in our Farmington complex as well, on top of being a carpenter as a living during the week. We contemplated giving up multiple times, however, we stuck through it.

Fast forward two years later, we finally finished it.

Oh, and also had a baby.


I can’t tell you how good it feels to accomplish something like this. I truly hope the original owners of the home are looking down and smiling at the beautiful work that Jake and Ryan did to make it livable again.

The staging furniture is courtesy of Wayfair.com and our own personal belongings, including my painting from Nikki Pilgrim. It was officially put on the market last week, and we’re hoping the next owners love it and treat it with care!

The best part was checking off the last to-do item on our whiteboard. Cheers!