History

Bye Bye Home Sweet Home

A special era came to end for Kara and me today.   We sold our old house, the home where we spent the first years of our life together.

It was the summer of 2000 when I moved into the historic brownstone in downtown Hartford.   The first meal in the new pad was pizza…..Kara and I sat  on the floor of an empty place with nary a stick of furniture in sight:  no curtains, nothing.    It was the beginning of a period in our life we will never forget.

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Kara and I worked hard to make that place our own. I built shelves, wainscoting, railings and installed crown moulding on a 20 foot ceiling that a carpenter deemed an impossible task. Kara made drapes and designed a new kitchen and we both spent hours, if not days, painting.

That home was the scene of  Thanksgiving celebrations, family Christmas gatherings, a baby shower, engagement party, shoots for Hartford Magazine, WFSB and Parents TV, lots of painting, renovations, barbecues, going away bashes, pool matches and our traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade parties.    The parade went right by our front steps.  Party pics here of people you know: https://dennishouse.tv/2014/03/10/st-patricks-day-b-c/

We watched the First Night fireworks from our living room and often just kicked back and gazed at the skyline.    The views were amazing.

In early 2007 we took Helena home from the hospital to the brownstone to a nursery Kara designed and I painted.   It was featured in the Hartford Courant along with our colleagues Rebecca Stewart and Jamie Muro who also did the nursery thing for their son Charlie.    We had planned on Helena growing up in the brownstone until reality started setting in.

The home had plenty of room and we loved the convenience of being able to walk to restaurants, concerts, events and for many years, work.   It had character everywhere including  multi-level rooms with 12 foot ceilings which unfortunately meant  lots of stairs.   I counted them once:  67 steps from the sidewalk to the top floor.    It didn’t phase us for years until we had to carry a baby up those stairs and a stroller, and a car seat, and the all the baby stuff.  Plus, we wanted to have a another baby so double the load!

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We also started to think we needed a yard with a swingset and other family types of things.   Life changes and your needs change.  It was time to say goodbye to downtown living.

After we moved, we rented the place to two young professional women, and now we have sold the brownstone to an awesome couple who fell in love with the place just like we did.    They are the latest in a long string of people who called the brownstone home.  The first owner in 1871 was William Hamersley,  who later became a Connecticut Supreme Court Justice.    Like us, they all made memories in the brownstone.   The owner before us had their son’s briss in the dining room!

We wish the new owners  years of happiness in a home that made us so happy.     Who knows….when our kids are grown and off to college, maybe we’ll move back downtown.

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24 replies »

  1. Beautiful Home, I would love to have Kara come to my house to decorate. And you Dennis, can paint. I wouldn’t want to leave you out.

    Congrats on selling your home ~

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  2. moving out of hartford before the kids have to go to hartford schools, im a big hartford booster like you are but i dont blame you

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  3. Very Nice, but at some point you have to move on. Don’t know where you are moving to, but Enfield is not bad or Windsor, or even South Windsor should you decide to come north up 91 from the Capital city.

    I know that were every town you move to, that home will be just as nice over time.

    Enjoy the new place when you get there, but just remember that we are going to be looking for you on the news to keep us informed as to what is going on in our capital city and state!

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  4. Stumbled on this blog entry linked over from the Hartford History blog. Just moved into 17B last November. Thanks for sharing your story Dennis. The neighbors and amazing architecture of the Brownstones have completely changed my view on this city. Truly one of the best kept secrets if our little city!

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  5. Great pictures, Dennis. I finally found a spot in the brownstone rows a month ago and saw the two U-Haul trucks in front of it yesterday. It must have been bittersweet!

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    • Thanks, Tony! We do miss it, but who knows…when the kids are off at college, maybe we’ll come back!

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  6. I want to to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely loved every little bit of it.
    I have you saved as a favorite to look at new
    stuff you post…

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  7. Enjoy your news casting.I hope you will be with news 3 for a very long time,congrats to you & your lovely family. Be safe in this storm.

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  8. Weren’t you nervous about living downtown with all the crime? My uncle Nick carbone is Hartford he will never leave that town..even after getting mugged and beat up few years back…I know there is crime everywhere.. I would just be to nervous..I grew up in west Hartford spent lot of my youth in Hartford but it seemed different then safer..maybe that was just my youth thinking..Now being 50 just recently I couldn’t even imagine city life..I don’t even like to go to Hartford for my favorite pizza at south end bakery, but I do because it’s that good!! But like I said in my youth I’d roam around cap ave and Franklin without blinking an eye..Now to scared!

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    • I was never nervous about it and we were never had an incident. I used to walk back and forth to work and come home at midnight. We report crime everywhere, rapes, shootings, assaults, murders in plenty of towns and cities outside Hartford. It is a city and there are some neighborhoods that can be tough, but the of Hartford as a crime-ridden city is just wrong.

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  9. My Late Companion Greg Stone worked on your A/C there. He came home one night raving about how beautiful it was…..Greg told you guys what a big fan I was of you and Kara and you were both nice enough to each write me a lovely note. My Grandparents lived in a Brownstone in Brooklyn, NY their entire life until they couldn’t maneuver the stairs anymore. I can’t imagine how my Grandmother carried each of her five children up and down those stairs as babies plus groceries, laundry etc. I think they were on the third floor. I remember going to visit them as a child. They were such beautiful buildings with so much character. I’m so glad people are preserving them …….such a beautiful part of our history and culture.

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