Blog Worlds Collide! Portraits n’ Pods Edition.

Two fun things have happened recently and I’m here to report!

First fun thing: a little while ago, Amanda messaged me on Instagram to ask if I would like her to paint a portrait of my house! And send it to me! Ummm, YES! Like any self-respecting millennial, I then proceeded to troll her instagram account for an hour looking at her own beautiful house out in Montana. This led to a lot of confusing feelings because I did not realize I want to also move to Montana and live among what appears to be an actual screensaver. Gorgeous!

The problem with this plan was that the front of my house isn’t looking exactly tip-top. The front still has vinyl siding I want to remove (unlike over on the other street-facing side), the concrete base of the portico needs repair, the cornices are a mess, the windows all need restoration, and the “no parking” sign is a real bummer. I can’t explain the tree-pruning; the electric company did it.

So Amanda worked with me when I requested a few tweaks, since I’d rather have a portrait without those things that make slightly nuts and plan to change as the renovation unfolds. And then this came in the mail and


d i e d.

There’s this thing that happens, I think, when you renovate an old house: you get kind of lost in the project of it all (see: list of tweaks, above) that you kinda forget how special the thing you’re working on is. And that house up there? She’s a beaut. I’m so lucky I get to take care of her. Amanda nailed it.

The level of detail and care is astonishing! I asked if she could include my gold transom numbers (WHICH I STILL HAVE NOT PUT UP. GET IT TOGETHER, DANIEL), and not only did she include them but she used gold paint which actually glimmers and sparkles I MEAN CAN YOU EVEN. So good.

After ordering a frame and then deciding it was not good enough, I ended up stealing the frame off an unused mirror, cutting a piece of glass, and mounting it on linen myself. By linen, I mean a canvas drop cloth. It’s quarantine, baby! Use whatcha have around!

I hung it up in my bedroom, and it’s so special to me. It’s such a good reminder of what this work is for, and what it can be. This is really the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a rendering of what the house would look like restored, and I didn’t realize what an emotional experience that would be until I was holding it in my hands and noticing all the little details Amanda carefully included. It’s just the coolest thing! I love it so much.

You can get your own house portrait, too! Amanda‘s currently selling this 8 x 10 size for $125 + shipping, which I think is a steal. She paints other buildings, too, so it could also be a special place like a wedding venue or…use your imagination! I feel like it’s such a good gift for a new homeowner, or to give to someone to commemorate a special childhood home. I don’t know your business! Anyway the whole process was an absolute joy and I’m just blown away by how perfect it is. Thank you so much, Amanda!! You can follow Amanda on Instagram at @ourhumbleabode, or check out her blog!

OK, fun thing #2! Stacey from Blake Hill House and Devyn from Our Philly Row invited me to be on their podcast, True Tales from Old Houses! Again, ummm, YES. I’ve come to basically tolerate my own voice and seem to enjoy regularly terrorizing Instagram with it, so expanding into the podcast space feels only natural. I’m also pretty comfortable talking about myself at this point since it’s more or less all I do.

What a time to be alive amirite?

ANYWAY, Stacey and Devon are just the loveliest people and such thoughtful and generous interviewers! I had such a nice time chatting and then immediately forgot everything I said and then worried I’d sound so stupid and maybe I do but you can decide that for yourself. That’s your business. It’s a fun conversation that touches on hot topics like old houses, burn-out, psychiatric drugs, fauxdenzas, and an extended review of the color beige. Not! To! Be! Missed!

Feel free to give it a listen here or on your podcast app! Stacey and Devon do a great job with the show, so you also have three whole seasons to enjoy if you’ve never listened. My pal Alex over at Old Town Home kicked off Season 4 with them, and that guy knows everything. Subscribe and review the podcast to help others find it, too!

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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Archives: 2010-2022

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  1. 7.24.20
    Aly said:

    Love this post! Such a treat to hear happy, positive things right now!

    Also, your house is beautiful both in the portrait and in the photo!

    Good luck with it all!

  2. 7.24.20
    Chrissy said:

    Love. Love. Love.

    That is all.

  3. 7.24.20
    Lynn R said:

    I feel like someone’s going to pull up a little horse-drawn carriage in front of that picture-house, and come in for tea and cakes on your nice china.

  4. 7.24.20

    Nice job on the podcast!

    Also, love the artwork of the front of your house. What I like is it’s setting a goal of what your house will be like when it’s finished (even if the inside is still a mess).

    Like you, I’d rather get the house’s curb appeal looking much better first as it helps spiff up the ‘hood the house is in, and it gives you a place to enjoy when the weather becens you outside to enjoy it. That all said, it’s all time, money and energy, and sometimes you just don’t have much of all three, so you do what you can do and keep plugging away at it as you can.

    BTW, NOT a fan of beige, ick, but I agree with Stacy, living here in the Pacific NW, our weather often is gray overcast, or gray and pouring down rain for nearly 9 months out of the year so warm colors to me helps to offset that dreary gray weather we get so much of here. It’s not helped when none of my rooms get a huge ton of natural light (well, the two front bedrooms do when blinds fully open as the windows are huge in both rooms, the rest of the house? Not so much, however, they are sliders instead of double hungs so the AC unit I have in the bedroom keep it semi dark in there during the summer, and it’s all ghetto/janky as hell looking – but I DO sleep much better at night when it’s hot and does not cool down much until AFTER midnight on occasions). :-(

    Anyway, keep it up!

  5. 7.24.20
    Debra said:

    When I first started reading your post and saw the gorgeous photo of the home, I thought it was a photo of Amanda’s house in Montana that you thought was so beautiful. I’ve been following you for years on the blog, and it’s been so long since I’ve seen a photo of your home exterior, I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Frankly, I see so little difference between her beautiful painting of your “completed” home and the actual photo of it “as is.” It’s so important not to let our critical faculty obscure the beauty that exists in the present moment. Been there, done that (still doing it at times)! May you continue to experience the joy of your labors which you share with us all!

  6. 7.24.20
    Devyn said:

    Amanda’s painting is so lovely!! The details are fabulous! And smart move leaving the no parking sign out

    Thanks for sharing the podcast love .
    Stacy and I had so much fun doing the interview. We’d love to have you back again.

  7. 7.24.20
    Lynne said:

    Daniel, I get access to your blog through Feedly. Most of the blogs I follow give me a bit of teaser text and then send me to their website. If you did that might it increase your blog traffic/revenue? No reply needed.

  8. 7.24.20
    Bettina Geschwind said:

    So Daniel, this watercolor is lovely and I’d like to see it be around for a while. It appears to me that the glass is touching the painting. Please put a spacer between them and if you really want to preserve the painting make a sandwich of the glass, spacer, and hopefully acid-free backing and tape around the edges. This tape should be acid-free and should wrap around the sandwich front-to-back. Then, once you have applied some pressure to the tape (a finger smooth will do) you and carefully trim the tape on the glass back a bit so it won’t show beyond the frame. Voila! Your artwork will last a lifetime!

  9. 7.24.20
    Vera J. Kohout said:

    I was going to say something about your voice, not being your best asset (your arms are!!) But you seem to be O.K. with it. Good for you! Go for it!! Vj

  10. 7.24.20
    Nicole said:

    Thank you for sharing Amanda’s incredible talent! And I am always on the lookout for podcasts. You have such a vision for the house!

  11. 7.24.20
    Mary F. said:

    It was great hearing you on “True Tales from Old Houses!” I’m glad that you were asked about your work with the Kingston Land Bank. I remember when you signed on, and I’ve wondered how it was going. There have been conversations in my part of upstate NY about how prioritizing “quaintness” and the historic nature of housing in some of our villages is encouraging inequality and a lack of diversity. It sounds like Kingston’s plan addresses fair housing issues and also respects the integrity of the old houses. I appreciate and am inspired by your blog. You make me glad that we’ve waited a couple decades to tackle the kitchen in our old farmhouse!

  12. 7.25.20
    Lori said:

    That painting is lovely! Is it weird that this is totally how I visualize the front of your your house even though it’s not there yet?

    BTW, I am still miffed about the shitty city pruning of your tree out front, and doubly so since I got ISA certified as an arborist and now can point to a fuckton of documentation about how they should be doing better.


    Your podcast spot was lovely! And Stacy is an absolute gem– did you know that she’s been transcribing all the recent podcasts and putting the transcription in the podcast notes? I wish more people did that! I get so bummed out because all of my friends are super into podcasts and as a hard of hearing person, there’s no accessibility for 99% of them. I love that she does this even though she doesn’t have to.

  13. 7.26.20
    Colin Boss said:

    Hi Daniel. What a lovely painting of your home. I’ve been following you since the Brooklyn apartment, but have never seen the front of the house in Kingston. Wow! I’m in love and completely understand what drew you to the home. Heck, after seeing Kingston I completely understand what drew you there.
    As for the podcast…how entertaining. Your voice is so easy on the ear and the enthusiasm from each of you is palpable! As an ex-pat British guy working overseas in the Middle East in order to earn enough cash to allow me to buy an old house to restore, I love learning from you, Stacey and Devyn, so keep going.

  14. 7.29.20
    Vanessa said:

    Well, I think your cornices are lovely just the way they are.

    And yes, that is a wonderful gift, she painted that beautifully. I wish I had something worthy of being painted Amanda!

  15. 7.29.20
    Heather said:

    Amanda really captured all your hard work and this amazing project you’ve been bringing back to life. I love it!

  16. 8.5.20
    Andrea H said:

    Your portrait is amazing and because of your post I just ordered one of my childhood home to give to my mother as she will be moving out of that house in a few months (after 47 years!) So you are, in a roundabout way, responsible for a very happy futureChristmas for a lovely woman up here in Canada!

  17. 8.17.20
    hello said:

    Lovely portraits—both the watercolor of the house and the photo of its owner and steward! The second portrait prompts me to relay what my physician told me: never carry your phone in your front jeans pocket. The long-terms effects on you and future offspring of having the antenna ring and other electro-magnetics around that part of the body are under-studied and worth considering, especially if you’re living life in the kind of body generally called male. Back pocket is slightly better, and with the screen facing inward, toward the body, because the antenna’s usually built more toward the back of the case and better to have it facing out. My doctor just said why not keep your phone on airplane mode if it’s in a pocket and not a hand. Good news is the issue decreases appreciably with distance, so there’s a lot to be said for a nice purse or reticule—or maybe a belt clip, dork dad style.