October 29, 2015

What it Is

Our home was a stepping stone to something better.
Or so we thought.  We didn't realise what a gift it was.
 We had absolutely no intention of staying long term.
In fact, we never planned to move in at all.

Thankfully, our plans very often are not God's.

In light of all these things, we didn't document our home in its before state.
We lived life and sought to make memories of family times.
When we ventured into our renovation, we took a few before photos
for posterity's sake.  Even those seemed to be an afterthought.  

Some things still need to be attended to.  Other things need tweaking.
Doors and mouldings that require a coat of paint still wait for it to be done.
The odd window remains un-curtained.  It is how it is.
We'll get to it eventually.  The bulk of the work is done.

We are thankful to be on this side of it all.

For evidence of the tweaking and adjusting we continue to do
please click here and here and here and here and here!
Now, on to the before and after shots of the only home our
children have ever known.  We realise what a gift it is now.

This was our kitchen for nearly nine years.

This is the same view today.

Creamy white appliances (note the fridge) were what we originally installed.
One by one they have needed replacing.  (They don't make things like they used to.)
It took me nearly six months to decide to switch to stainless
when I was told that creamy white was no longer available.

The fridge (at 11 years old) is the hold out.
Perhaps it will last another ten.  I hope so.  :)

The pony wall (above).  And, now (below).

Looking from inside the kitchen toward the back sundeck.

Same view....now.

Our living room then....

...and now.

Upstairs Bath then....

...and now.

Looking down from the front entry through 
to the back of the house. 

The basement bath is on
the other side of the photo wall.
This is how it looks today.

The tenant's living room/office/playroom/schoolroom/office/schoolroom.
(Listed in order of the many functions it served over the years.)

How it was in 2009.

How it looks today.

The view from outside the laundry-room door looking in.

Then (during the demolition of the deck above)...
and now.  From the outside of the house looking in.

Howie and my Dad rebuilding the laundry room/office.
Here it is gutted....

...as the schoolroom in 2012...

...and, as Howie's office today. 

Basement bath in the process of being dismantled...

...and being rebuilt.

This is how it looks now.

Our front deck area then...

...and now.

What it was in 1994....

...and what it is today.

When I first embarked on this series, 
I had no idea that it would end up being so long.
Thank you for joining with me as I travelled down memory lane!
It's been fun to have you along for the ride.  

Happy Thursday Y'all.  :)
With Love, Camille

**Previous posts in this series may be found by
clicking here (introduction),
here (part one), here (part two), here (part three),
here (part four), and here (part five).

October 26, 2015

What it Became ~ Part Five

In order to tell a more complete version of this story,
I'm going to back up just a little bit to the early days of home ownership.

One of the first things that had to be attended to was the rotting back deck.
My Dad was indispensable and a wealth of knowledge when it came to
tearing down and rebuilding.  Over the years, it has been rebuilt twice.
Both times, my Dad was involved in the process.

Underneath the deck was the shared laundry room/shed.
It was accessed by the tenants through what is now Howie's office door.
I would dash down the stairs out the back of the house and enter
through an exterior door that is no longer there.

In those days, laundry was a near daily occurrence.
It's no wonder that our septic field eventually faltered.

When we opened up the house and took over, the laundry room
(shown above) became Howie's office space.
The lower part of the room was rotted out, so, my Dad
and Howie rebuilt it.  Fun times.  See the smile?  :)

This is the view into the room from what was once the exterior door.
The door wall was closed in and another window was added in its place.

Just outside Howie's office, there is a basement bathroom.
It was super tiny and had many issues.  It needed attention.
See the plumbing pipes to the left of the ladder?
That was where the bathroom wall had been.
The sink originally was jammed between the toilet and that wall.

We had those pipes re-routed further along to allow for
a regular sized vanity to be installed.
This entire room was completely destroyed and rebuilt.

Along the way, mistakes were made.
The wall shown below was to be an extension to the basement hallway.
It led to Howie's office, the bathroom, and Austin's room.
Once this wall was framed and wired, we realised that it had a few problems.

The hallway narrowed too much and
Howie's office would be accessed via the bathroom!  Oops.

My Dad puzzled this one through and rebuilt the wall.
He made an angle in it and the hallway was extended to the right.
Howie's office and the bathroom would each have their own
separate doors.  Brilliant!

This is how it looks now ~ see the cute little angle?

And here is the view down the little hallway
(to the right in the photo above)
which leads to the bathroom and Howie's office.

Once the basement bathroom was completed,
we were able to dismantle the upstairs bathroom.
Howie was becoming an expert at demolition.  :)

The mirror wall was covered with a layer or two of wallpaper
which had been painted once or twice.  I'm sure it made sense to someone.
We came to the conclusion that the drywall had to be removed and replaced.

A new counter top was built on top of the original cabinet (thanks, Dad!).
We removed the doors in order to fix and paint them.
This is an example of one of the ways in which we were able to
 keep the total cost of our renovation to a minimum.

I had my heart set on a nicer sink than Howie had planned on.
The difference in cost had to be made up somewhere else.  My solution?
I bought a discounted remnant of linoleum and redid the floor myself.

That was an experience!  (Pre-YouTube days.)   :)
However, it was worth it.  That sink is still one of my
favourite features of that bathroom.

One of the last things we did was replace the blue carpeting.
The night before it was due to be installed, we removed the old.
Unfortunately, we found that the underlay had been glued to the plywood
in both the living room and Emma's bedroom.

A job that should have only taken a couple of hours ended up
taking us all night.  The children slept through it all.

See what I mean about my Dad?  There he is again!
He was such a huge help to us throughout the process of transforming our home.
The night before the carpeting was installed, he dropped everything and
came to create and fasten nosings to our flight of stairs.

Just a little side note ~ the hallway wall colour in the photo below
is the same colour as the hallway leading to Howie's office (shown above).
As the lighting varies, the shade appears to be different.  It's an illusion.

It was nearing Christmas when the carpeting was installed.
This photo was taken prior to moving everything back into the living room.
We set the children up to watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and
I snapped a photo.  I had no idea how much I would love it.  But, I do.

It brings back such happy memories
of those precious days of long ago.

And then, before we barely caught our breath,
our little princess turned three!

Our major renovation was complete.  Just a memory.
Nearly eleven years later, we feel like we are still recovering.
Because we got caught up in life, some of the finishing was left undone.
 One by one, we are crossing those items off our list.

I suppose, if it ever comes time to sell,
we will be forced to get them all done.  Perhaps that is what it will take.
In the meantime, we will live life and seek to take things as they come.
By God's great grace and in His strength.

Eternity is what really matters.  May we be found living life
in light of this truth while the Lord has us here.

This series is coming to a close.
Next up....before and after shots.
And, that will be that!  :)

With Love, Camille

**Previous posts in this series may be found by
clicking here (introduction),
here (part one), here (part two), here (part three),
here (part four), and here (conclusion).

October 22, 2015

What it Became ~ Part Four

We lived in our home for nearly nine years before the
 pony wall separating our kitchen and dining room came down.
I suppose someone thought installing one was a good idea.  Long ago.
However, we didn't like either the concept or the practical outworking of it.

We knew that if we ever were to make alterations to our kitchen,
the pony wall would be one of the first things to go.  And, it was.
Twelve years later, it's still one of my favourite kitchen non-features.
I do not miss it at all.  Not one little bit.

While I was away for a few nights with the children,
Howie took a sledge hammer to it.  Being absent was a good thing.
He did have the foresight to cover the furniture with plastic. 
One of the signs of a good man.  Wouldn't you agree?  :)

The light switch hung from the ceiling for awhile.
Nice feature, don't you think?

We continued to live and work and do everyday things as best we could.
See my little peanut helping her Mama in the kitchen?
Actually, making messes was something that fit right in with the general theme.
Nothing seemed to phase our precious little people.

It got much worse before it got better.  "Mess breeds mess", as the saying goes.
Building supplies, along with many of our belongings, needed to be stored
somewhere while the work was being done.

Of course, the logical location for those things
was any empty space not being worked on at that moment.
So much shuffling and rearranging took place during our home renovation.
We constantly felt like we were fighting a losing battle.

For quite some time, we had to eat single file in the kitchen.
See all four of our children with food set before them?  Close quarters.
At one point, we even had the piano crammed into this space.

It seemed as though we were battling chaos at every turn.
(Have I mentioned that I don't like mess?  Well...I don't like mess.)
The Lord was teaching us valuable lessons.
I truly do hope we learned those lessons well.  ;-)

Both Howie and I thrive when things are orderly.
This was anything but that.  Obviously.

We'd had a quote on new cupboards and counter top (I think it was included).
At the time, the price came in around $30,000 for that one job.
Uh....NO!  We decided to paint the boxes ourselves and reface the cupboards.
My Dad helped rebuild the counter and installed the doors for us.

We ordered doors for our cupboards directly from the manufacturer for
approximately $1,100.  All said and done, the job that would have set us
back $30,000 ended up costing no more than $2,000...sinks, counters and all.
Oh, and elbow grease.  Let's not forget to mention that part of the equation.

Laugh or cry.  Sink or swim.  It was a little bit of a stressful time.
But, the Lord saw us through it all.  Step by step.  Moment by moment.

Once the doors and the floor were installed,
it felt a whole lot better!  See what I mean?
I was starting to be able to breathe again.

Y'all still with me?  If you are....thank you for hanging in there.
Still more to this story....coming soon.

Happy Thursday!
With Love, Camille

**Previous posts in this series may be found by
clicking here (introduction),
here (part one), here (part two), here (part three),
 here (part five), and here (conclusion).