If you're anything like me, the lure of a "project house" can sometimes outweigh logic and practical sensibility. In the fall of 2009 when we purchased our current home built in the 1950's, we (and when I say "we" I mean "I") had a romanticized view of what it would be like to transform the space and call it our own. I have the advantage of being in the design and remodeling industry, but even with an understanding of the work and upheaval that goes into every little thing, there have been (and continue to be) times when I wonder if it will ever get done, and I'm just tired of living in a constant mess. Since we moved in, we've completed most of the first level, including the kitchen, bathroom (after pictures soon!), Tate's nursery, as well as the majority of the entryway. What's left is our bedroom and the sunroom, which is currently in progress. Looking back, its been quite a journey, so here are some progress pictures as well as some thoughts and survival tips!
This is the best picture I have of our entry stairwell when we first moved in. It leads to two large bedrooms on the second level (one is our future master bedroom......someday!), and was completely enclosed, with a door at the bottom. It seemed awkward and claustrophobic to me from the start, and we planned to open it up at the same time as we did the kitchen renovation. Which we did here:
1 L O O K I N G F O R W A R D I N S T E A D O F B A C K W A R D
The demolition in this phase instantly opened up the space, and made me excited for a future project, which involves renovating the second level. Plus, an open staircase is well-appointed in this entryway, and offers the opportunity for a nice stair runner, fun painted stairs, etc. Several times over the past couple of years I've had to remind myself that its important to look forward and not backward. Its so easy to get wrapped up in the fact that a finished product takes time, and sometimes its a even nightmare to get there. In my personal and professional experience, those who can respect the process, understand that we're all in it to achieve a beautiful end goal, and plan for that end goal instead of fixating on present and past headaches are happier throughout the process and more satisfied in the end.
2 T R U S T Y O U R C O N T R A C T O R
When it comes to your home the importance of finding someone you love working with is huge. From the beginning, we've worked with great contractors who are trust-worthy and detail-oriented, and its made it easier to get through the bumpy times. I am always budget conscious, and want value for my renovation dollars, but you can't always put a price tag on peace of mind. Knowing that the person you hire has your satisfaction as top priority will help you not to sweat the small stuff. The guy I love to work with has such a positive and "can-do" attitude and takes a lot of pride in the work that he does. He's a good communicator, I trust his judgement immensely, and would be happy to recommend him to anyone in the Minneapolis area looking for good work at a fair price.
3 D O N ' T N A G Y O U R H U S B A N D
At least not all the time :) My husband has been so great at tackling a large portion of the demolition, and keeping me on task when necessary (I tend to get sidetracked). He's trusted me with almost all of the design decisions, and although I know I can be a nag sometimes, I find that he responds better when asked nicely. Don't we all? It also helps when I'm willing to get in there and get my hands dirty, as the above (goofy) photo shows. I promise I dress nice for my job, but when it comes to home stuff, the baggier and comfier the better!
4 S M A L L P R O J E C T S C A N K E E P Y O U S A N E
Here's a peek at my new grasscloth walls! After waiting for back-ordered material that turned out to be defective once installed, taking that off of the walls and ordering different product, the project is now complete. It seriously took almost a year for this whole process, and as you can see from the horrific wallpaper that is underneath this beautiful grasscloth, it was hard to live in the mess for as long as we did. It was worth waiting for though, and it helped to do a couple of little "crafty" projects in preparation for the new wall space. I framed these old keys using a natural linen background, and the antique pieces are a nice contrast to the modern magnetic key holder from Umbra, which is a sleek way to store keys as well as incoming and outgoing mail.
5 B E G R A T E F U L Y O U H A V E A H O M E
Here are a couple of photos of where we're at today. It was worth the wait, and the pretty grasscloth walls make me happy every time I walk in the door. You'll also notice that we added new interior doors--5 panel as opposed to the flat wood ones that were previously there. The look is serene and clean, and the texture adds a nice warmth. Even though its taken a while to get here, looking back on the process reminds me how grateful I am to have a home. I mean this in the most sincere way, and have to remind myself of this on a daily basis. We are bombarded each day with new design inspirations, creative spaces, diy projects and beautiful before and after images, and its easy to get wrapped up in "what could be". I think that if we're not careful (me at least), there's the tendency to become dissatisfied with what we do have, and the blessing it truly is. With the housing market as its been for the past few years, I'm grateful for the four walls I have around me, no matter how imperfect and incomplete they may be.
Check back in a few days.....we're getting the handrail and spindles done this week, and I couldn't be more excited that this area will finally be done!