Schenectady County

With life on pause because of pandemic, Duanesburg homeowners tackle major renovations

Hardwood flooring can be found throughout the recently renovated home of Terrence and Barbara O’Neill in Duanesburg.
Hardwood flooring can be found throughout the recently renovated home of Terrence and Barbara O’Neill in Duanesburg.

DUANESBURG — “No time like the present” became the mantra of Terrence and Barbara O’Neill earlier this year.

With everything on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Duanesburg couple tackled some renovation projects they’d been meaning to get to for years.

The O’Neills have lived at their home on Western Turnpike since 2001 when they first constructed it. Though they’re both semi-retired now, Terrence spent his career as a reverend and Barbara worked at the New York State Department of Labor.

Through the years they’ve completed a few renovation projects, including adding a den and a mudroom. But this year they decided to spruce up the entire home, removing wall-to-wall carpeting and repainting the rooms.

“We knew we wanted to do it eventually; starting it in a bedroom at the end of the hallway was maybe not the smartest approach,” Terrence said, laughing.

He and Barbara worked on the house throughout the winter and spring, and luckily they ordered hardwood flooring in January, before the pandemic began impacting the Capital Region and made it difficult to obtain certain supplies.

Hardwood flooring can be found throughout the recently renovated home of Terrence and Barbara O’Neill in Duanesburg.

“I removed all of the baseboards for refinishing by my wife, pulled up the near 20-year-old wall-to-wall carpeting,” Terrence said.

Then they installed butterscotch-stained, prefinished oak flooring in the living and dining rooms. That served to open the place up and give the home a completely different look.

When it came time to paint, the couple had to overcome supply issues.

“In the hardware store in Guilderland, they had actually gotten to the point where certain suppliers of paint [ran out],” Terrence said.

The hardware store no longer had the brand of paint they’d originally purchased, and when they tried to replace it the supplier was so backed up the O’Neills had to opt for a different line. The colors are closely matched, but there’s a difference in sheen between the two.

“We know, but nobody would notice,” Barbara said.

They did all the work themselves and only had family over to help move some of the heavier pieces of furniture. Terrence joked that the only real challenge after they’d finally gotten the supplies was “aging knees and backs.”

More from Fall Home 2020

Over the past few months, the O’Neills have stayed mostly at home, thanks in part to the pandemic, which made it a perfect time to focus on the renovation work.

“[Talking] with the guys at the hardware store … they said it’s been a banner year for them because everybody’s home from work doing home maintenance or sprucing-up projects, painting or whatever,” Terrence said. “You walk around neighborhoods, it’s like everybody’s yard has never looked better.”

That’s also the case with their yard and home, which they also redecorated. After replacing the flooring and repainting, they added a few area rugs.

“It just feels new,” Barbara said.

“For the longest time, every time I walked through the door it felt like I was stepping into somebody else’s house. It was so different. The wall-to-wall’s gone, and we ended up with the medallion area rug and rearranged the furniture a little bit differently,” Terrence said.

They’ve still got a few other projects they want to complete around the house, but for now they’re taking a break.

Terrence is focusing on restoring a 1963 Corvette, a long-standing project, and has gotten pulled out of retirement a few times to fill in at local churches to lead virtual services. Now that some of the major renovation work is behind them and their space has been reworked, it’s a good time to be at home.

“We’re both pretty introverted and now I’m back in the garage with my car project. … I’m just busy,” Terrence said.

Categories: Fall Home

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