Thursday, February 18, 2016

Month Four

I hate to tell you, but I think I am officially reaching that place in our renovation where I am just burnt out.  Over the last few weeks, we have definitely hit some road blocks and the process is not progressing as much as we had hoped it would.  I keep telling myself, "It will all be done at some point, right?"  We are officially four months in and I have to be honest, most days it feels that we will never finish.

Within the last month, the following has happened:
  • All electrical, plumbing, and AC installed
  • Windows installed
  • House wrapped in Tyvec in preparation for insulation and new siding
  • Inspections, inspections, inspections
  • Purchase of master bath tub and faucets
While all of this is productive and absolutely necessary, the frustration has come from our inspections.  Inspections happen on a weekly basis for things such as electrical, plumbing, AC, etc.  Every time there is an inspection scheduled, the city sends out a different guy.  Because of this, there has been a lot of inconsistency.  The main issue we have been dealing with is that inspections we have already passed are now being 'questioned' by other inspectors.  Needless to say, this has significantly slowed down the process.  The contractor and workers are having to go back and 'fix' certain things, only to have to wait for yet another inspection.  Our initial end date was the first of April; I don't even want to think about what that date is now.

Luckily, we are in no rush for the house to be finished.  Caleb and I have been happily living in our little house for two and half years, so having to wait a little bit longer really isn't a big deal.  Even with all the frustration of living through a renovation, I still get giddy with the excitement that we are making this home exactly what we want it to be.  All good things take time, right?

Back - Dining Room
Back Exterior
Standing in the dining room.  Wall will be opened to the kitchen.
Windows in dining room.
Standing in dining room.
Master Bedroom
Sitting nook in master.
Master Bathroom
The wall in master bathroom where double vanities and tub will be.
Master Closet
Toilet Room
Pedestal tub for master bathroom.
Front Exterior
Front Exterior
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Out With the Old and In With the New

Happy New Year!!!  I'm having a hard time believing that it is 2016.  Where did this past year go?  It seems that the older I get, the faster time passes.  As much as I want time to slow down for everything else in life, I have to admit that I want to press the fast forward button on this renovation.  Progress is being made every day and for that I'm incredibly thankful, but I'm so ready for all of the ideas and dreams to manifest into reality.

Over the last month, a significant amount of work has been completed.

Our entire back yard had to be dug up for a new septic system.

Came home to a nice little surprise.

Standing in the mud room/hallway and looking into the master suite.


I sweep/vacuum daily.  This was a good day - the smallest amount of dirt I've had to sweep up so far.

Dining room

I do believe it is all starting to come together and we couldn't be more pleased with the progress.  Our general contractor is a delight to work with and the workers are so friendly and diligent.  I am actually loving the whole process!  We have been out of town for two weeks and the crew has been working during our time away.  I am anxious to get back home so we can see the interior walls and other updates.  Over the next two weeks, we will be deciding on exterior siding color, interior paint colors, bathroom fixtures, lighting, and such.  We have already placed a few orders and I am happily creating a nice little storage pile of all our goodies.

Before I go, I wanted to share my goals and dreams for the upcoming year.  There are two words that I keep coming back to and I am choosing to make them my focus words for 2016 - rest and discovery.  I tend to always say 'yes' and consequentially find myself over-committed.  I am going to work on being intentional with my time, while also learning to say 'no.'  With that being said, through my brief moments of rest and reflection over the last few months, I have discovered that my interests and desires are changing.  This house renovation has sparked creativity within me that I didn't even know existed.  Caleb and I have been discussing and dreaming of possible future endeavors and I am excited, anxious, nervous, unsure, and hopeful (all at the same time) about where my/our ideas may lead.  I'm hoping that you will get to see some of these creative bits play-out through this blog.

As we say hello to 2016, I pray many blessings to all of you in the upcoming year and hope that you find beauty and joy in discovering who you are, and resting in the assurance that you are right where you should be.  It's going to be a good, good year.
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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weeks 1 and 2: A Little Dirt Never Hurt Anyone

To say that life has been crazy over the last couple of weeks is a bit of an understatement.  I have been meaning to sit down and write this post for days, but life happens.

We have been talking for months about our plan to renovate and add-on to our home, but it seemed as if it would never happen.  We were definitely out of the loop when it came to knowing about the ins and outs of an addition/renovation.  I was starting to worry that people thought we were just spouting out lip service and that we weren't actually renovating.  But then it happened.  We officially broke ground two weeks ago!

It's so funny when you tell people that you're renovating; they get this really wide-eyed, crumpled-face look.  We've been told that we're crazy for doing this.  "Prepare yourself," "This is really going to put a strain on your marriage," "Better you than me," are just a few of the responses.  I appreciate the positivity, really I do.  We have already experienced a few 'inconveniences,' but the process has been nothing short of exciting.  I was wide awake at 5:30 this morning and began planning what I want our living room layout to be.  My wannabe designer wheels are always spinning!  Other than the crazy amounts of dirt being tracked through the house, and the fact that I am almost break my neck every time I have to climb onto our partially demolished porch, I am loving every minute!  The stem wall has been built, so Caleb and I enjoy walking around what will be our master suite and imagining what all this house is going to mean for us.

While everything looks like a mess from the outside, there is nothing but joy on the inside.  A little dirt never hurt anyone, right?

Demolition day

Carport is gone!

Let the madness begin!

Beginnings of the stem wall

What will be our front porch (water filter will be relocated)

Future garage

Master suite in the back

Loving the mess,
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Plan

It definitely was not my intention to have waited so long to write this post; however, I've been suffering from "It's the beginning of the school year and I'm drowning in my teacher responsibilities" syndrome.  It's totally a real thing.  Luckily, today is actually the perfect day to write this post because my husband and I received some very exciting news, which I will share in just a moment.

But first, let me take you back to about 8 months ago...

My husband and I began to realize that our little house just may be too little for some of our future plans.  You know, the and friend visits to Orlando, babies, and any stray dogs or cats we may come across (I may have to talk my husband into that one).  I was ready to begin the house hunt and just knew that there would be multiple options and that we could be in a new house within just a few months.  I can hear you laughing now.  We love the part of town we live in because of its "small town feel" and vintage homes; however, we didn't love the price tag that was attached.  After months of searching and having multiple people tell us that we should stay in our house and fix it up, we finally listened and decided to make our little house exactly what we wanted it to be.

Fast forward to today....

After weeks upon weeks of meeting with our general contractor and figuring out what we envisioned for our little house, the official plans arrived today!  Here is the plan:
  • Exterior paint and siding update/replacement
  • Full-size porch on front 
  • Refinish hardwoods throughout existing house
  • Custom crown moulding throughout house and addition
  • Replace/update all fixtures
  • Full kitchen remodel
  • Dining room addition
  • 1 car garage addition
  • Laundry/mud room addition
  • Master suite addition (bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet)
  • Office addition
  • Full landscaping
  • Privacy fencing
  • Back deck

By the time we are finished, we will have doubled the size of our house!  I know this probably sounds like a crazy plan, but it gives us the space we need, makes more sense financially, and allows us to stay in our first home, which is so precious to us.  Compared to most, our house will still be a 'little house,' but it will be fully ours and we couldn't be more thankful.  I believe it is so important to make your home yours - it is a reflection of you and you deserve to have a space that brings you joy and peace of mind. 

I will be keeping you updated as the process begins, so be on the lookout!  Now, let's knock down a wall or something!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Loving Large in a Little House

I think it is typical of young girls to dream about what their life will look like when they grow up, and such dreaming was definitely true in my own life.  I dreamt of living in your typical Southern Living house, with a porch that wrapped all the way around.  A lush, green yard with a willow tree draping over the brick-paved driveway.  And I most definitely knew that this picturesque life would be nestled in the mountains of North Carolina.  As I write this, I'm sitting in my tiny yellow house, plopped closely between my neighbors, in Orlando, Florida.

I never expected the path to lead to Orlando and I definitely didn't expect to be living in such a tiny house.  But over the last two years, I have learned a lot from living 'small.'

  • 800 square feet is very easy to clean.  It's amazing what all can be accomplished around this place in an hour!
  • Organization is key.  There is no room for disarray!
  • A husband and wife must settle disagreements quickly because there is nowhere to run away.
  • It only takes a small lamp and candle to make a space cozy and inviting.
  • 'Stuff' can be beautiful, but it can also be distracting.
  • Sit close together...maybe because you have to or maybe because you just should.
  • Kitchens are meant for making memories, not just food.
  • Don't make excuses for your home.  Your guests are not going to notice the 'imperfections.'
  • Home-ownership is a never-ending journey, so appreciate each phase and change.
  • Your home is a reflection of you - make it what YOU want it to be.  Small does not equal lesser-than, just like big does not equal better-than.  
I have spent much of the last two years feeling embarrassed because our house is small.  I was caught in the middle of an ugly comparison match, but when it came time for my husband and I to make the decision about needing more space, I just couldn't part with our 'little house.'  

So, I am excited for you to follow me on the journey of making This Little House the home of my (new) dreams.  

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