Some people might think we were crazy. Others might say we were foolish. But to us the next logical step was to buy a house, one that needed a little work, a little love.
We’d just gotten engaged a week prior when we found the house of our dreams: a 50-year-old foreclosure that, according to my personal standards, was barely inhabitable.
We fell in love instantly. I mean, what wasn’t to love? It had hardwood floors that had been painted brown, a heater that couldn’t be used, kitchen cabinets with holes in the bottom, so if items weren’t placed correctly they would fall through onto the counter tops. There was even an “addition” on the back for more space.
First we disinfected the house from floor to ceiling because, as my fictional vampire Libby would say, “It was just like ew! You know.”
Then, with the wisdom that comes with never doing something like this before, we allotted ourselves two weeks to work on the house before we had to relinquish my lovely, up to date, and heated condo. I bring up heated because the gas company wouldn’t turn our heat on because the furnace was unsafe. We lived without heat for about a week. I had to buy a space heater and spent each night under a mound of blankets. As most of you know. I am cold… all the time. This didn’t help.
My husband started on the bathroom, gutting it to the studs. He worked pretty quickly, but there were still frequent visits to fast food restaurants for bathroom breaks.
And one of the nice things about installing your own toilet is you can do this the next time your tube of toothpaste is accidentally flushed:
Our next step was to rent a giant dumpster and begin the demolition phase of the remodel. My mom and I ripped out baseboards and doors. We even took a sledge hammer to the “addition” in the back.
So we lived without baseboards, doors, a functional kitchen and a tiled shower and tackled the remodel room by room.
This all took multiple trips to Home Depot, usually in the same day, because it’s nearly impossible to get everything you need in one trip. And of course lots of caffeine, tolerance and faith.
One of the last projects we tackled was stripping off the paint from the addition.
It took us about to a year to complete the remodel and we walked away still in love. We even got married a little over halfway through the process. And now, when I look back at the pictures, it’s strange, but I miss those days a little bit. It was exhilarating taking on new and daunting tasks. And the thrill of completing something you’re proud of can’t be beat.
Hmmm… Could another remodel be in our future?? Are we up to the task again? I don’t know. It is nice having heat and countertops you aren’t squeamish about touching and walls with baseboards and stuff.
Our days were spent obsessing over paint colors, tile combinations, door styles, drawer pulls, and baseboard styles. Together we remained calm after we vetoed the 60th paint color tried in the kitchen. We managed to still love each other even if we couldn’t agree on whether the cabinets should have roll out shelves or not. Somehow we cooked delicious meals when our fridge was in the dining room and our sink was propped up by 2x4s.
And now I feel more attached to this house than anywhere else I’ve lived. It’s mine, ours. Something we created. And even if things didn’t turn out perfectly, I still consider it a success: there were zero trips to the ER for DIY related injuries, we learned tons about home maintenance and we confirmed that we could work as a team, even in the most (in my opinion) dire circumstances.