“Not only can the work be harmful to a child’s health, but children limit the amount of time you can spend on the house and certainly redirect your financial resources.” Once they knew Helen, now ten, was on the way, “We were motivated to do the work and accelerated the schedule.”
For the first dozen years, Schultz would devote an hour a day to the house after work, even if it were something as seemingly inconsequential as touch-up painting. “I would daydream at work about what I was going to do on the house at night and on the weekends,” he said.
With a lot of house to redo, where did they start? “We decided to start on the third floor, to create a space that was freshly painted and would reflect what the rest of the house would look like when it was finished,” he said.
If Matt Schultz could do it over again, “I would have told the previous owner to bring the house up to code.” “That way I wouldn’t have had to wait so long to get to the fun stuff,” said Matt, who lives with wife Judie and daughter Helen, in a 3,200-square-foot, 1892 Queen Anne–style house in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb.