The work that Denise Santiago and Michael Warrington have put into their home can only be described as a labor of love. The couple’s story began almost a decade ago, and five years have passed since these engaged lovebirds decided to take the plunge into home ownership. Denise, a flight attendant, and Mike, a mailman, had always dreamed of a historical home in their little hometown of Stroudsburg, PA. When the late 19th century Victorian farmhouse came on the market, it was its original character and wraparound porch that sealed the deal.
With eight rooms, two staircases and original hardwood floors all in need of renovation, Denise and Mike began the process of turning the historical house into the dream home that they could grow into. During the first year and a half, Denise and Mike lived with their parents while doing major renovations in the house on their days off. From completely gutting the kitchen to sanding and restaining the floors, Denise and Mike have done all the work together with Mike’s father, who has been hands-on with every project. “We look back now at the buying process and realize we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It’s kind of a good thing that we were ignorant about how much work needed to be done… I think if we were fully aware at the time we probably would’ve been scared away and not taken the plunge,” Denise recalls.
Five years in, the home is still a work in progress. Slowly but surely, Denise and Mike are finishing up their home room by room. When spring comes along, the focus shifts outside. The beautiful flower garden, which wraps around the entire house, is just one of the projects that takes up the couple’s time during the warmer months. “We have our days like anyone else where it gets overwhelming or frustrating but at the end of it all, it’s extremely rewarding and has become a hobby for us,” Denise shares.
The rooms that Denise and Mike have finished in their 2,900-square-foot house have been decorated with a balanced mix of old and new. Avid visitors of flea markets and estate sales, the couple loves scouting out those “can’t-live-without” pieces. “A lot of the items we found for our home happened by complete accident, which I think is the best way!” Denise adds. The main goal has been to create a home that looks and feels lived-in — a place where friends and family feel welcome to kick up their feet, grab a drink and chill.
Denise and Mike are definitely homebodies and after having seen their home, who can argue? Many evenings are spent sitting on the porch, under the twinkle lights, watching the cars and people go by. Denise and Mike are writing their chapters in the long story of the old farmhouse. “We love that we own a piece of history. This house was here way before we were alive and it will be here after we’re long gone.” The love and respect that Denise and Mike have for both each other and their home is truly inspiring. Click through for a peek of it! —Sofia