BERWICK, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Mariola Jones always dreamed of having a Victorian house. Her husband, Ronald Jones, always wanted a home next to the river. The couple met at work and the two fell deeply in love.
“At work he said at work ‘Well she finally said yes!’ They were clapping,” Mariola Jones said.
The couple got married in 1998 and began looking for a house. That’s when they stumbled across the 120-year-old house in Berwick which fulfilled both of their dreams. The only problem was it had been abandoned by its previous owners and was extremely damaged by water and neglect.
“Everything was working surprisingly…more than we were expecting,” Jones said.
It would take a lot of work to make it liveable again, but the two decided to renovate it all by themselves. For the next eight years, the couple worked on the house. Together, they re-did the dining room, the library, kitchen, and the wrap-around porch. Ronald even built a staircase from scratch. Then he was diagnosed with cancer.
“But that didn’t stop him from working on this house. He was still coming, he was still working,” Jones said.
In 2016 that cancer took Ronald’s life.
“Well, my husband’s dream was to finish this house. And when he was sick he was always saying ‘I need to finish my house, I need to finish my house.’ And when I lost him to cancer three and a half years ago, I decided that I will fulfill his dreams and I will finish the house,” Jones said.
Jones says renovating the house by herself isn’t easy. She has a contractor to help with the bigger jobs, like replacing a standing shower with a bathtub, but the smaller jobs she does alone. She plans to finish the sunroom, renovate the windows and the third floor. She says working on the house keeps her going.
“Otherwise probably I will have a very hard time to cope with … him not being here … Now I’m just finishing you know. Finishing his house like he wanted,” Jones said.