Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Something Kinda Finished

When deciding where to start the finish work of this project, most people told me we should begin in the kitchen.  I chose to start the downstairs.  We finished the kids bathroom (currently the only bathroom) first, but the biggest impact on the family was the next project: the playroom.


And this is cleaned up!  I was also using this area for storage, so picture these walls with gorilla shelves full of boxes and you've got the idea.  

This is where my 3 boys spend much of their time.  I felt like if we got this all zipped up and pretty, they would feel assured that their parents weren't crazy in knocking down their perfectly fine home, even if it was old, chaotic and a little stinky in places.

We started with cabinets.  These are from Home Depot.  We designed the layout we wanted and then picked the nicest cabinets that were in the budget.  We had them delivered, and then hung them ourselves.

My Mr. added a maple counter tops and side and top trim pieces here to give it a seamless look with the existing fireplace brick work.  Then I stained and sealed the counter tops.

Whoops -- I can see some spots I missed painting. 

Then we added window and base trim, painted it all (which was a small nightmare and a future post), and carpeted.
Have to figure out a solution for all those wires.  

Still see a little blue tape there waiting for a painter.

There's still work to do.  There will always be work to do.  It's definitely not perfect.  It doesn't need to be perfect for us. We will continue to update over the next year...I STILL have painting to do -- I think when I'm 90 there will be touch up painting to do in this home unless I win the lottery and I hire someone to do it for me. The important thing to me is how the space makes me feel and how it makes my family feel.


Aren't my Halloween decorating skills impressive?

One of my biggest flaws is living/daydreaming of the future.  I think a lot of people do it.  Not looking around at what you've been able to accomplish so far in this busy life and believing too much in the promise of future happiness and personal fulfillment when the project is done and perfect.

The fairy tale is right now.. Not when I finally fill in the extra shelf holes in the bookcases, or paint those spots on the wall above the desk I missed......Now...

Although I'm sure I will feel almost like Cinderella when I get those things done....

Sharing with:
bystephanielynn --- The Sunday Showcase Party
DIY Showoff --- DIY Party
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia --- Tuesday's Treasures
It's Overflowing --- Share Your Creativity
Remodelaholic --- Remodelaholics Anonymous Party
Craftberry Bush --- The Inspiration Gallery
Imparting Grace --- Grace at Home Party
Tatertots and Jello --- Link Party Palooza
Common Ground --- Be Inspired
Jennifer Rizzo --- Fabulously Creative Friday
Finding Fabulous --- Frugalicious Friday

Monday, October 21, 2013

Here We Go!

November 2011, we packed up our family of five and moved 1.5 miles away, to a tiny 1920's farm house. And started demo-ing:

Isn't that a funny picture?!  Our neighbors must have thought we were insane. In the back you can see what used to be our front door steps.  We did a weeks worth of demo ourselves while we lived in the house.  My boys loved knocking holes in the walls, but nobody enjoyed carrying debris to the dumpster.

November 2010
My old kitchen and eating area.  I'm standing in the living room and you can see the banister from the split entry front. 

My old bedroom with a hole cut into the wall into the new space.

Originally we thought we'd be able to keep some of the basement walls, but it turned out there was dry rot everywhere so it all had to come down.  

It was a hard 6 months, I'm not going to lie.  I had purposely picked a rental house that we wouldn't fall in love with.  One that was livable but shabby, just on the border of being depressive.  I knew what we'd be moving back into and I didn't want to anyone to yearn for the days of the rental. I wanted the impact on my boys to be as positive as possible so I negotiated an early move in date and moved the carloads (and carloads) of boxes and non-essentials over to the rental while the boys were in school, 1st, 4th and 6th graders at the time.  I made sure their expectations were low, so they had no where to go but up.  We couldn't move a mattress bigger than a twin up the narrow 1920's stairwell, so the boys traded off sleeping on an air mattress and Mr. and I slept on two twins.  We stored most of the furniture we could, gave away what we didn't have room for and  put the rest in the rental where it fit.  My 6th grader christened the rental 'the crap shack' a couple months in, and that's the name that stuck.  It was a 'put your head down and get through it' time.  I adjusted the norms of our household to try and lessen any stress and anxiety on the boys by spoiling them with special activities and treats. So we lived in a sad little house with the stress of managing the money budget, the time budget (we only had the rental for a 6 month lease) and sub-contractors while the shiny glimmer of the dream lingered ahead.  When I look back on it now, the memory is good, with this special glow around it (the rental had really bad lighting) and the fact that the smoke alarm went of almost nightly when dinner was ready is funny.  They all shared a room, the toys were few and far between (everything but the most special was packed up) and I can't remember a time that they fought.

The moment the texture was dry on the walls, we moved back in.

We moved in May 2012, but I don't have any pictures from that time.  These are from April.

After getting a bathroom just functioning, a kitchen just functioning --we had used the garage and master bedroom as an open storage unit for cupboards, sinks, toilets from the old house so we just hooked all the old stuff back up, adding a small deck on the back, and concrete steps up to the front door we took a break June-August to play summer baseball.  And like any family that has kids who play select sports and husbands who coach know, we spent that break just trying to keep regular life from falling apart, knowing work on the house would start after baseball ended.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The first bite......

It's hard to know where to begin blogging about this process. We spent four years living in this house before we began this renovation. Three years living with colors I hated -- year four I finally broke down and painted over the worst offenders: a purple-mauve in the living room and a pepto bismol pink in the kitchen. 

It was a house that didn't work for our family, and honestly for me was a source of irritation.  I did not try and buy things to accessorize over the offense, although I longed to. I hung art where it fit, not where it worked.  I spent my time over-looking our living space, while it insulted me in my peripheral vision. I collected inspiration.  So much inspiration.  I hoped the new friends we were making were not judging us, believing that the house we were inviting them into was a reflection of us. I bided my time, knowing that big change was coming and threw my creative energy and time into the gardens.

In the summer of 2010, we knew it was  now-or-never.  I had been watching the market for three years, and I knew what we had in land and location was not for sale in our location and what we wanted in a house was not in our price range.  We decided we needed to take a 'bite' off and get started.

 So we began here:

October 2010

Got a few of these delivered

and Phase I started with this:

November 2010

Add some supplies and work.

March 2011

Ended with this May 2011.

New garage w/new master bedroom on top.

New back of house.

New front of house.

We lived this way, with this new attachment, for 6 months.  I could climb and look into my future bedroom from the windows of my current bedroom, but it remained a separate building and other than the door from the garage was inaccessible from the house.  

May 2011

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Well I missed it.

I practiced and practiced... And then I missed my window of opportunity.  And here it took my 6 days to come up with the courage to try and launch myself out there, and I missed my connection.  In the grand scheme of things, it ain't no big thing.  I can still throw myself out there...

30 days to go....

I'll leave you with this:  the view from the back of my house.  The view that wasn't there 7 years ago when we bought the house.  The view that has taken my husband and I, 5+ years to create (he's the architect and the builder, I'm the designer and the landscaper), and the land that is 85% of the reason we decided to sink our teeth into this major project.

straight ahead.

to the right.  (sorry for the blurry pictures, it's raining and I'm learning)

This is where I poured all my creative energy for five of the last seven years.  Where I designed textures and colors to play off each other.  While I waited to create inside my home.  

It's beautiful, but I see a lot of work for me to do out there this winter. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 days Outside the C-Zone

I spent an unnecessary amount of time trying to figure out what title would be most appropriate for my '31 day' series.  I debated '31 days of exposing myself', but thought that might reach out to the wrong audience.

31 days outside my comfort zone translates to me taking the risk of living creatively and sharing (successes and the not so much) of this life of mine and dealing with the fear of rejection and judgement of you, the masses.  I have anxiety already. 

One of the main threads of this series will be how my family has taken a major risk and gone from this:

Old 'front' of house 2010 

Old 'back' of house 2011

To this:
New front (old back) of house 2013

New back (old front) of house 2013

This is still an on-going process, as you will see.  All this is going on while my family of 5 tries to continue with as normal a life as possible.  I hope you'll join me.