Monday, August 12, 2019

Our 16 Year DIY House Renovation-The House That Love Built Series Part One

The House That Love Built 

Part One

Hello and welcome to my home!  I've been wanting to write this series forever and today I decided to begin the journey of telling the story of our current house and sharing it with all of my readers. This will be Part One of the series in which I give you some background of our house adventures and share the kitchen and living room areas. Some other areas of the house will be shared in Parts Two and Three. Now, here's a caveat as this series begins: we live in a home not a museum. So, these pictures are not going to be magazine and interior designer perfect. If you are looking for perfection you had best head on over to Instagram. If, however, you enjoy my blog and want to know about the history of how we have turned a very let-go run-down house into a home over the last 16 years, then this is the blog series for you! Grab a cup of tea or coffee and come sit down with me!

This is our present home. It is the third house that we have owned and renovated all while living in the house. It is also the house that needed "the most" in terms of renovation! Believe me when I tell you that the pictures you will see look NOTHING like the house did originally when we moved in. My husband has basically rebuilt the house from the inside out with a little help at times from professional folks who we had to hire to re-pour the front porch, dig up the basement floor to install an underground drain system, and our electrician, heating installer and plumber. The carpentry work, however, is all the Mr.'s own and he had the ability to have the "vision" of what this house could be that I certainly did not have when we bought it sixteen years ago. All I could see was the water damage, peeling paint, moldy walls, windows that fell out if you gave them a good push, orange and black walls (I'm not kidding!!), mouse infested kitchen and weird stuff that was hanging in the trees around the yard. In other words, Little Debbie was not a happy camper when we moved here. I truly loved our second house which was a sprawling brick ranch that we had given a face-lift to over the ten year period we had lived there. It was close to the school where I taught and had tons of storage and living space. But, when the Mr. saw our present house in the middle of a forest, close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, he was immediately sold! His architectural background allowed him to see that this house had "good bones" and that with a little (or a lot!!) of TLC it could be turned into the beautiful home it is today. So, like Lisa Douglas on the old TV sitcom, "Green Acres" it was, "Good-bye city life!" And, hello to living in the woods. I eventually came around and I have to say that, today, I love our home very much. It's been an adventure however, really one that has spanned our 36 years of marriage. Each home that we have lived in we have lovingly fixed up and left better than when we moved in. And, this current house is, hopefully, our final renovation. It is our home....a home built by our love for one another....and our love and respect for making a house better than how we found it. 

Here we are on the front porch. The four columns that you see were all rotted when we moved in and my husband rebuilt them and installed them. We had all new windows installed pretty soon after we moved in and my husband sanded, rebuilt and painted the shutters. 

I love the front facade of our house. It is a comfortable and pleasing entrance. 

Here is part of our foyer. The infamous foyer table is frequently shared on my blog with various decor themes. The slate floor is original to the house. The Mr. will eventually be re-doing our steps and banisters. The renovation is still ongoing! And, we are still on the lookout for something spectacular that will look good on the foyer walls. We aren't there yet, but planning is half the fun!

And here we are in the living room. It is a large rectangular room that provides the sitting area you see here....

And the other half is used for our desk, bookshelves and music area. The Mr. also uses this area for his quintet practice. Garden, as you can see, uses this area for lounging!

In terms of decor, we loosely go in for "lodge decor" with pieces that reflect the "Arts and Craft" style. I love our furniture and lamps which remind me of the woods in which we live. BTW, when we moved in the wall behind the couch housed a wall shelf that was black, gold and orange! Needless to say, the Mr. removed it and we prefer to go with white walls throughout the house. Most of our end tables, book shelves, nightstands and dining table were purchased as unfinished wood and the Mr. finished them. 

Case in point with our lodge decor, these pine cone accented chandeliers are stationed over the kitchen counter and dining table in the kitchen.

Before we get too far away from the living room, however, let me show you the mantel. I know that many mantels on Instagram house a few showpieces, but that is not me. I like an eclectic mix that reminds me of pieces I might see in an interesting store. So our mantel houses rocks from hikes, shells from the beach, lots of cat pictures and cards, old Asheville postcards, a bear sign and a tall framed photo of Asheville, The Biltmore House and The Grove Park Inn. 

We don't make fires in the fireplace, hence the chairs in front of it. When we moved in sixteen years ago we found clothes in the fireplace. I guess previous owners burned them?! When it rained, the water would leak through the mantel area and run down the brick. There were also an assortment of critters that made their way into the house via the fireplace including a bat, a bird, and, somehow, a snake also got in the house! The water and critter problems have all been remedied, thankfully! Like I said.....this house needed a lot of TLC! And I needed a lot of patience and fortitude!

And here we are in our kitchen! This is the true heart of our home and both the Mr. and I spend a majority of our time in this room. We cook here, sit at the kitchen counter, listen to music, talk about our days and just enjoy the ambience. This entire room was gutted back to the studs by the Mr. several years ago. New cabinets, counter tops, drywall, painting and appliances took about 14 months to complete. We set up a little "mini-kitchen" in the dining room and washed dishes in the bathroom sink during that time. Oh yes, I have needed to learn patience on this little house project!

Our counter tops are Silestone which is man made quartz. We love the pattern and the hardworking nature of Silestone. You don't need to ever treat these countertops. They are durable and can take spills and cuts without being marred. 

Our cabinets are a natural maple color and we went with stainless steel appliances. The Mr. did the tiling on the floor and built the wall areas above the cabinets. He also built entrances between the rooms which drop down. 

Like the header you see behind me leading into the kitchen. None of that existed before we moved in.

You can see the wall he built above the cabinets in this picture. We use our kitchen counter for a desk area sometimes, too. I told you these would be "real" pictures!

And, we have our little round dining table in the kitchen, as well, but it is rarely used as the Mr. and I prefer to eat at the kitchen counter most of the time. It's great for company, though!

And this brings us to the end of Part One of my series, "The House That Love Built."  I'll leave you with a sunset view from our kitchen that might help you to understand why the Mr. fell in love with this house originally and why I, too, have grown to love our home. I hope you will return for Part Two when I show you more of our home and tell you about a few more house adventures! If you sign up to follow me by email you will never miss a post! And, I sure hope you will leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

Have you ever done house renovating? Would you want to renovate your home if you could? 

Until Next Time,


Sharon said...

I'm always amazed to hear stories of your renovation. The results are beautiful. I really like the title of your blog post--The House That Love Built, and also that you leave your homes better than you found them. Your home is a very welcoming place, Debbie.

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you, Sharon, for your kind comments. I always enjoy welcoming you into our home! Hope you have a good day!

Clearissa said...

This has been quite the journey and I'm glad you are sharing it with us. You indeed had to be patient during the ongoing renovation but that only means this house was put together with blood, sweat, tears, and love and that makes it oh so very special. Can't wait for the next edition of your series. TFS

Karen Anderson said...

This is a welcome series! You have spoken so often about the renovations and now we get a peek inside! I understand why you fell in love with this place. It's situated on such a beautiful property and really looks like you have privacy and natural beauty around you in every season. Your husband is talented, and I love the series title. How blessed you are to have this loving relationship! Looking forward to the next installments!