It all happened at once.
Kim and Grey Hammett were in the process of downsizing from their 6,000-square-foot house and moving into a townhouse when the entire country went into COVID-19 lockdown.
The Hammetts made the best of the situation, filling four storage units with their furnishings and moving with a lone mattress into their new house, which was in need of a complete renovation.
With their five children grown, the couple had been thinking about moving for years.
"We had lived there for 27 years," Kim Hammett said. "We loved the neighborhood, but it was time."
Time to start on a new chapter in a new home.
Grey Hammett, who had recently sold his commercial real estate firm, oversaw the renovation of the townhome.
"I fired about 10 people in the process," he said with a laugh.
The result is a beautifully updated home perfect for empty nesters, with room for visiting children and grandchildren.
The work started in the primary bedroom suite, where the couple lived through the entire overhaul.
Located to the left of the entry, the room now boasts a fireplace, stained parquet floors and a full wall of bookcases.
Next came one of the biggest projects — removing a wall of shutters that separated the foyer from the dining room and eliminating a "high and heavy" metal spiral staircase that lead to two upstairs bedrooms.
This major change opened the area and made room for a more substantial wooden staircase with iron railings and storage in the area beneath the steps.
It also gave clear access to the home's three major rooms — the formal dining room, the large den/keeping area and a glassed-in solarium.
The formal dining room is filled with family pieces and items from their old home, including a large dining table and chairs, a china cabinet and an antique Oriental rug.
Kim Hammett treated the den as two separate spaces, with a comfortable seating area around a fireplace at the back and a more casual dining space at the front. A wall of built-in bookcases is filled with family pieces and vintage books, including a collection of Tom Swift children's books from the early part of the last century.
Snuggled between the primary bedroom and the den is the home's original galley kitchen. Although most newer homes have large open kitchens, Kim Hammett was completely "at home" in her small kitchen.
"Our family spent 17 summers off Key Largo on our boat," Grey Hammett said. "We were used to a galley kitchen."
The glassed-in solarium originally had built-in flower beds, which Grey Hammett removed and covered with brick flooring, and he redid the original fountain. Kim Hammett decorated the room with baskets and pottery from their summer travels on the boat.
Walls throughout the home are painted Navajo White.
"This color was recommended because it goes with wood tones," Kim Hammett said.
The garage, off the solarium, is Grey Hammett's room, filled with framed photos and mementos from his years of doing news photography and eventually as chief photographer for WAFB, as well as his years as half-owner with his wife of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. It's also where he keeps Molly McCartty, the little green cart he used at the end of the parade.
Even though the home is a townhouse with very little yard, Grey Hammett created his own outdoor space, a wooden partially-covered deck in the small area between the subdivision drive at the back of the row of townhouses and a pond created for the adjoining subdivision. A church pew offers a place to sit, and there's a table and chairs for outside dining.
Kim Hammett filled the deck with plants that thrive in the partially sunny area.
Moving and living in the house during the renovation was hard for the Hammetts, who both were diagnosed with the coronavirus during the year.
"Everything was COVID. Everything was slow," Kim Hammett said, "but once we got here, it has been wonderful."