What It’s Like To Renovate A House From 1892

How Betsy Sweeny left a metropolitan city to renovate a Victorian home in Wheeling, West Virginia.

by Irina Dvalidze

Admit it, you've probably been sending listings from Cheap Old Houses Instagram to your friends, daydreaming about quitting that corporate job and living your best Gilmore Girls life in a small town in Upstate New York.

Betsy Sweeny is a 27-year-old architectural historian and preservationist at the Wheeling National Heritage Area who decided to take on the task of renovating an 1890s home in Wheeling, West Virginia. Sweeny is among a significant group of young professionals who have been leaving metropolitan cities to live out the fantasy of a seemingly simpler life. Bustle caught up with Betsy to learn what inspired her to take the leap.

Betsy found her turn-of-the-century, “eclectic-style” red-brick Victorian home on the east side of town for a mere $18,500, thanks in part to the Cheap Old Houses Instagram account, which promotes historic homes in need of some TLC. She estimates that her renovation will come to $125,000. Her professional background has been instrumental in Betsy's construction and renovation planning, which she plans to complete within a year. She's been living in a rental in Downtown Wheeling in the meantime.

Special thanks to Wheeling Heritage Media for providing Bustle with the beautiful footage of Betsy and her home. Make sure to follow @weelunk and @wheelingheritage and catch up with Betsy (@betsysweeny) on her renovation journey on Instagram.

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Executive Producer: Whitney Buxton

Executive Creative Director: Lauren Sofair

Supervising Producer: Irina Dvalidze

Post Supervisor: Amy Eakin

Editor: Charlotte Carpenter

Design Director: Andenew Ayele

Motion Designer: Jeff Donlan