Today marks one year of homeownership. One year of adventures, one year of mishaps, and one year of driving our neighbors, our families, and of course, each other, crazy.
I took some time the other day to revisit a few of our original blog posts. They were a good reminder of where we started and helped me see how far we’ve come. What I’ve learned is that when you’re in the midst of renovating a house, it’s sometimes hard to see the progress you’re making along the way. You get lost in the little projects that never seem to end. But looking back over the course of a year, we’ve made a complete 360, and this old house is quickly shaping up to be our home. I have to keep reminding myself of all that we’ve done, because I’m still in disbelief about some of the work we’ve pulled off. We refinished our own floors? Impossible. Tore through a few walls? Well yea, I can see that.
I also have to say that things escalated pretty quickly. Because remember, we went from “hey, we can refinish that old trunk,” to “hey, we can refinish that old house,” in a matter of months.
With that being said, here are a few highlights of our first year.
Day One was filled with pizza, champagne, and sledgehammers. And I think that may just about sum up our entire experience over the course of the year. What started as simply knocking down a divider wall turned quickly into gutting the entire room and being left with 5.5 tons (yes, that’s 11,000lbs) of plaster. The first project we started, and the last we finished. Mostly because we had to replace the roof, and refinish the space. But opening up the wall gave us this beautiful brick masterpiece.
One of the first things we did, and one of the highlights because most of our families were involved in one way or another. Updating the landscaping told our neighbors “hi, we’re here, and going to make this house pretty again.” But that quickly turned into “hi, we’re here, and we’re going to make a lot of noise in this quiet old neighborhood.”
Refinishing our floors
All 1,800 square feet of them. For two kids that had only ever used a palm sander before , I’d say mission accomplished. But it was not without a major hiccup along the way. My heart still drops when I think back to that mishap, but that feeling is quickly erased when I look at the finished product. Beautiful, dark oak hardwood floors. This was the first, and largest, cosmetic project we did on the house, and set the stage for what the rest of the house would look like. Months later, we would finally finish our staircase, completing the look of the floors.
There’s one task that still haunts me in my dreams. And that’s scraping woodwork. A seemingly never-ending task that’s “highlighted” here. The second floor had 2-3 layers of paint peeling from the wood work. But what wasn’t peeling, was stuck like glue. When that was finally finished, we were able to refinish the woodwork in the entire house. Dan was able to put his woodworking skills to the test when he built window trim for our bedroom and office to perfectly match the original woodwork in the rest of the house. This helped keep the character alive, and was impressive to watch along the way. When we replaced two of the original windows in the house, Dan reused them by building a picture frame. The first thing you see when you walk through the front door, a frame with a photo that perfectly captures our first moments in the house.
A final cosmetic update that brought the house to life. We had some help with this one too, as Dan’s uncle was able to prime the house from top to bottom with his paint sprayer. Side note is that an hour afterwards, we were on our way to a friend’s wedding. From paint clothes to our finest attire in a matter of minutes. Life in balance, always.
And once color was on the walls, the finish line was in sight.