Monday, August 19, 2019

The House That Love Built Series Part Three

A Little History and Currently

Hey Everyone and welcome to Part Three of my series about our 16+ year renovation of our home. It has been quite the journey and if you have read Part One and Part Two you have seen several finished areas of our home. Today, I will share our current renovation project, take a look back at our previous homes and share my thoughts on house renovation in general. I hope you enjoy! 

The pic you see above was taken as my husband was removing the walls in our dining room. This is our current reno project and I am happy to say that, for the most part, it is coming to a close. Isn't this lovely? This is what house renovation looks like when you are living in the house at the same time as the renovation is going on. For much of the sixteen years that we have lived in this house there have been similar projects going on within our home. I will be honest in saying that living in a house while such extreme renovation is happening is not easy! I'm not trying to be over-dramatic at all when I say that the smile you see on my face in the above picture was my attempt to give a lighthearted approach to what I was feeling inside which was, "here we go again!!" I am a person who really does not like disarray and confusion going on around me. Renovation of a home is the epitome of disarray and confusion because walls get knocked down, furniture is moved and has to be put someplace else in the house not to mention trying to live without particular areas in your house (like the kitchen) being able to be used. And, don't even get me started on the dust that is made!! In the end the renovations are worth it, but going through them can cause even the hardiest soul to cry a tear or two! At this point, some of you may be asking yourself why on earth we have lived through almost 36 years of home renovations? To that I can only reply's a little thing called life. Let's go back in time and look at a little history shall we? 


Welcome to 1985

This is our very first house that we purchased in 1985. I'm taking pictures of pictures to show these to you so forgive the quality, which wasn't great to start with. This first home was a tremendous 950 square foot two bedroom one bath house with a good sized yard on a quiet little street. This is what it looked like soon after we moved in and that's the Mr. standing in front of the house. We never even thought we could afford to buy a house so we were thrilled and I thought we were moving into a castle!! The house had good bones with pine knot panelling inside and a wall sized stone fireplace that I absolutely loved! We wanted to do some painting, add carpeting and make it look like ours. 

When we sold the house seven years later this is what it looked like. During our time in this house we had both returned to school to change careers; me to get elementary teaching certification and the Mr. to get high school math certification after leaving a career in architecture. In addition we had done extensive painting inside and outside of the house, added attic stairs, renovated a back room into a dining room, refinished the hard wood floors and carpeted two rooms. I cried when we moved from our lovely little cottage. But, it was time to move on.

Welcome to 1992

This is the house we moved to from our little cottage. Sixteen hundred square feet upstairs and downstairs with a carport attached that opened directly into the kitchen. Talk about space! I remember that on the day we moved in I was putting things away and I told the Mr. that I felt like I had moved into Barbie's Dream House! This house had about 2/3 of an acre of property with a nice yard in back that climbed a hillside and had a stone wall along the edge of the property. However, it was located on a busy street with a double line on a downhill meaning lots of traffic going by most of the time as people entered and exited this very busy neighborhood. Our mailbox was run into numerous times by people speeding too fast and there were other things that, over the years, made us realize that, perhaps, this wasn't our forever house. 

This is what the house looked like when we moved ten years later. It looks pretty much the same on the outside except you can see the bowed picture window we installed and trees we planted but, inside the house, we did extensive renovations. The kitchen was redone with new countertops, painted cabinetry, new appliances and an eating bar built by my husband. He installed wood parquet flooring, redid both bathrooms and painted throughout the house. We created a family room in the basement and he built a basement storage closet. At the same time that all this renovation was happening, I earned a Master's Degree in Elementary Education and both the Mr. and I went through the process of earning National Board Certification for teaching which is no easy feat. Plus, we were teaching full time, playing in music groups, being with family and living life. And, yes, I cried the day we moved. But, it was time to move on.

Welcome To Moving Day 2002

Ah yes, moving day sixteen years ago. How well I remember that day. This is the living room of our current house a few days after we moved in. Boxes and furniture everywhere. As you can see my husband had already knocked down the wall shelf I told you about that was black, orange and gold. You can look through to the hallway where wood is leaning against the walls. Remember I said earlier that I don't like disarray? But, I digress. Let's get back to our move-in day. 

We moved in at Thanksgiving of 2002. I remember we were packing our previous house up and ended up eating turkey sandwiches at Subway for our Thanksgiving meal. The Mr. had rented a truck to move our things the following morning and we had some friends who had agreed to help us. What we didn't expect was that the next morning, as I was following behind the Mr. as he drove the truck to our new house, that I saw smoke billowing out of the back of the moving truck. The truck was malfunctioning and had to be pulled over on the interstate where my husband ended up stuck. Our friends came to the rescue and the truck had to be unpacked on the side of the interstate with our belongings put in their pick-up trucks to be brought to our new house. On top of this snafu, there were several other things that happened that day. We were on a time crunch to be out of our old house as the new owners showed up with their moving truck before we were finished moving out! The fact that our moving truck had broken down had put us behind schedule and we were moving things out of our old house while the new owners were moving things in! My husband had also contracted to play with his brass quintet for a downtown festival that evening which started off the holiday season city-wide and as time got closer for him to leave to go play we realized all of the "moving" we still had to do. We had imagined that things would go much more quickly than what was happening!

We finally got things moved into our "new" house and the Mr. rushed off to play the concert while a friend and I tried to get the bedroom in some semblance of order for sleeping. (Picture above with the mirror). We had decided to sleep in the second bedroom rather than the master bedroom and I wanted to vacuum the floor. So, I plugged in the vacuum, turned it on and......flames shot out of the wall. At that point, I had absolutely had enough for one day and my friend took pity on me and took me out for a rest and a well deserved meal. That, my friends, was our move-in day. It's a day that I will never forget! 

The picture you see above was what our kitchen looked like originally. I mentioned in Part One that I was not a happy camper moving into this house. Move in day did not help me to feel better. The house had no working heating system as the boiler system was defunct and there were massive issues to be dealt with. But, what this house did have going for it was good bones, gorgeous acres of property and one determined husband and wife team who knew that this house could be made into a home. We got busy right away.

The Years of Current House Renovation 2002-2019

There's no way that I can show you pictures of all that has been done to this house in the last 16 years. But, I can tell you that it has been practically rebuilt from the inside out and that it is a project that has been ongoing these last sixteen years. The first thing we did was to install a new heating system and all new windows followed soon after. 

Inside walls were re-painted which also involved repairing areas of rot, removing drywall, wallpaper and wainscoting and fixing ceilings where shelving had been removed. A licensed electrician checked out all of the electrical wiring in the house. 

My husband totally gutted the kitchen area back to the studs and installed new drywall, repairing years of damage. This is the area where our stove, sink and countertop now stand. 

And this is where our eating bar, round dining table and desk are located now. 

And this is what our master bedroom looked like when we moved in before the walls were redone. And so on it has gone. In addition to all these renovations, though, other things were also happening in our lives which added to the time it has taken to redo our present home. You know, that thing called life? Since we have lived here, we both continued teaching full time, playing in music groups and being with family. The Mr. also decided to earn his Master's Degree in math and then he ended up having triple bypass heart surgery. We certainly didn't see that one coming! He recovered well and we both went on to re-new our National Board Teaching certification which was not easy the second time around either! In the meantime, I retired and now the Mr. has retired as of this July. And....we are still renovating!

Our Current Renovation Project

Remember the first picture I showed you on this post of our dining room? Well, this is what it is looking like now...

Fresh, newly painted drywall and baseboard. This is the same corner I am standing in with a smile in the first pic at the top of this post. As we speak, the furniture is going back into place. I can't wait to show you the totally completed room!

So, a few final thoughts for this post. I hope that if any of you dear readers are going through renovation projects of your own, that you will take heart and be encouraged by reading my series. Renovating a house is hard, people! Moving to new houses is also hard! And, it doesn't always happen overnight...or even in a few weeks....or months....or, even....years. Patience and understanding is key when going through these times, especially when "life" can get in the way! Which brings me to how I contribute to our house renovation projects. You may have noticed that I speak a lot about what the Mr. is doing. What is Debbie doing? Well, I call myself the "gopher" for our reno projects. I do a little bit of everything including, but not limited to, holding ladders, supporting wood pieces being nailed or cut, cleaning up messes, carrying drywall pieces out to the truck to go to the dump, cooking meals, bringing water, fetching tools, participating in endless conversations about how projects should be completed and, most of all, being PATIENT. And, oh yeah...avoiding flames when they shoot out of the wall....and there was that time I was in the basement bailing water while the Mr. rushed to the hardware store to get a new pump for the sump pump. Since then, we have had the basement floor dug up and an underground drain system put in. But, that's a story for another day! 

The point I am making in this series, is that I have truly loved every house we have lived in over the years. We worked hard to make each home its own unique place. Each house holds a special place in my heart. And, I love the house we live in now. There has been a whole lot of living happening in each place we have called "home." I have cried when I had to leave each of our homes and go to another. We both feel that this house is our "forever home" and we have no plans to move. But, if that should ever happen, I know I will cry on the day I move from here. That's just the way I roll. 

I hope you will join me for the final entry in this series (Part Four) in which I hope to show you some before/after photos and reflect on the whole idea of putting sweat equity into a house. Hope you will take time to leave a comment and if you are doing any renovation or other type projects in your home I would love to hear about them!

Until Next Time,


Clearissa said...

This article just shows me that this house was supposed to be your home. I do not believe anything just happens. There are reasons for everything that happens in our lives whether we understand it or not. This house and this journey was just meant for you and you wear it well.

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you for this reassurance, Clearissa that all that happened was meant to be. I have faith that this was all the Lord's will.

Sharon said...

I have enjoyed each part in your renovation blog series. It's amazing what you and the Mr. have accomplished in each of your homes.