Life in the “During” Phase of a Fixer-Upper

We knew we had our work cut out for us when we moved into our 1935 fixer-upper cottage a little over two years ago. But after living in gorgeous Bend, Oregon for several years before backpacking around the world for a school year, we knew that if we wanted to relocate back to Central Texas (where I grew up), we’d only want to live in one specific, small town in one specific, small neighborhood.

I’d always loved Georgetown growing up. Anytime we’d come back to the area to visit family and friends, we’d drive through the area and dream: I could see us living here one day — wouldn’t that be ideal?

So I continue to pinch myself that, after all this time living all over the place, here we are. And we don’t plan on living elsewhere anytime soon. This is a trendy area, and the only way we could afford to live in this historic district is if we bought small, and if we bought rundown. We did both those things in spades.

Kyle is a former licensed contractor, and has been involved in every part of house-building stages, starting from nothing and finishing from handing over the keys. He’s also been part of all sorts of renovation projects. He’s also detail-oriented, picky, and values doing things right and time-period appropriate. The guy knows what he’s doing.

He’s not only the GC (general contractor) for our renovation project, he’s also the day labor — we want to cash-flow this thing as much as possible, so we’re saving a ton of money by doing 99% of it ourselves. The benefit is just that: renovating an old home for much cheaper than the going rate.

The downside is time: it. is. SLOW. 

We’ve been living in a “during” project for over two years, and while we’re over halfway there, there’s still quite a bit to do: a second bathroom, a backyard fence, the ceiling, the roof, the windows (the windows! All our windows are original and are in desperate need of repair). When you live in the midst of it all, you can’t turn your head without seeing something that needs doing, and it’s all too easy to focus on what you still haven’t completed, forgetting to notice what you’ve already done.

I’m showing you some “before” and “during” photos for that very reason: for me to recognize and celebrate what we’ve done so far. I’m also showing you because many of you have asked for an update, and I’ve barely talked about our house here.

To be honest, I haven’t shared much because it’s going so slow. I’d like to be farther along than we are, and when we not only live here, but we also work here (and do school here two days a week), it all feels overwhelming. 

Kyle has also spent a ton of time upgrading and renovating the unsexy parts of the house, the stuff that just doesn’t make for good photos: plumbing, electrical, insulation, heating, and the like. Most of it was original, and in serious need of updating, for both comfort and safety. He has spent the equivalent of several months under the house replacing original galvanized pipes, in the walls replacing hot knob-and-tube electrical wiring (which largely went out of use by the early 1940s), and adding insulation in the walls and attic where there was none (most of the house).

This cottage is small, which is our preference; because we’d rather put our money towards things like travel, this house serves us by not being too much house. We get to be in the historic walking neighborhood we value, we love our neighbors, and we’re enjoying the pride of renovating something that’s been here a long time instead of building new.

So, here’s some “before” and “during” photos to show you our progress. I’m not showing you every part of our house here; this is just the main shared living space (I’ll give you an update on bedrooms and other nooks sometime soon).

From the Outside:

We honestly haven’t touched this much, beyond removing what we didn’t like (hedges and shutters), adding a simple crushed granite walkway, and giving the old exterior a paint refresher. Kyle did, however, do a stellar job with simple cedar porch posts (very Texas) and giving the porch a pick-me-up. Landscaping will come eventually.

Entrance:

Unlike our Bend house, we don’t have much of an entrance to speak of. The plan eventually is to repurpose shiplap on the (now plywood) entry wall and really customize some organization, but at least we’ve tossed the fake wood paneling. There was a lot of it. Also, new front door made of solid-fir wood. The original door was actually made for interior and in horrible shape.

Living Room:

Being an old house, the (now) main great room was a tiny living room, dining, and kitchen, all in a row. You could barely move in the front room; our couch would have touched both edges. So, Kyle removed the dividing walls.

Also, below the dingy carpet? Original oak flooring that Kyle sanded and refinished. Hallelujah.

I’ve gone back and forth on curtains, which is why I still don’t have anything on those second set of windows. Right now, these are repurposed Ikea bedspreads, which work beautifully (we also did this in Turkey). But they bunch up behind the sectional, so I’m leaning towards Roman-style bamboo shades, but boy howdy, are they pricey. (Also, these windows are falling apart… they’re high priority to replace soon.)

Eventually we’ll have doors over the TV, which is recessed into the wall on a swivel mount. And in the corner by the front door? Those are floating shelves Kyle built from the wall studs he removed; they’ll go on the tiled wall in the kitchen.

Dining Room:

The dining room was a decent size, actually, but because the kitchen was so miniscule, Kyle removed that back wall so that the dining area blends in seamlessly, almost as a little buffer between the living room and kitchen. The pendant lamp was a $5 find from the Habitat ReStore, which I painted milk glass green, but eventually we plan to install a glass pendant. Chairs and table are Craigslist finds.

Kitchen:

So far the kitchen is the biggest change, and we’re not done yet, but it’s officially functional (for a short while we were using our camping stove on a folding table). When we got the keys, the kitchen was a cheap ’80s install, poorly done, and insanely dark. There was also no logical spot for a fridge.

We’ll add Kyle’s custom floating shelves to the tile, and near the end of the renovation, he’ll create a butcher block island top (right now, he likes having the plywood where he can toss tools and work on projects without damage worry).

The back wall was originally the back of the house (two extra bedrooms were added probably in the ’50s), which meant ripping off the old drywall revealed original shiplap.

He also inset the fridge into what is now the pantry (pics below).

Pantry:

The pantry was formerly this strange half bath in one of the bedrooms. Kyle moved the door to the bedroom back to create a small hallway, then transformed the bathroom into a small walk-in pantry (back of the fridge is on the left).

It meant going down to one bathroom for the five of us until he adds a master bathroom, but it was worth it — old houses have almost no storage space, and we needed some.

Bathroom:

The bathroom is one of our current projects, and it’s actually farther progressed than this “during” photo. There was carpet in the bathroom. (Actually, there was carpet throughout the entire house, including the kitchen.)

The general layout works, so we’ve gutted the bathroom and are in process of tiling it and adding built-in shelving storage on either side of the sink. We’ll finish removing the fake wood paneling, then eventually retile the bathtub area (and possibly install the cast-iron clawfoot tub our neighbors gave us during their renovation).

The (super-heavy, cast-iron) sink was from my grandfather’s ranch in Arkansas, unused. Kyle and his parents completely restored it while they visited us for the holidays.

We found this cabinet on the side of the road, free, and in fantastic shape (it’s solid wood). It’s become our Cabinet of Requirement, and we use it in the renovation for whatever we need at the time. Right now, while we finish the bathroom, all our toiletries are in these drawers, along with a few drawers for Kyle’s tools and one for sewing supplies.

Eventually, we may make this our master bathroom vanity, or it may go in Kyle’s workshop. Or we’ll weather-proof it and it’ll go on the back deck as a buffet. Not sure yet.

Here’s my honest-to-goodness favorite current room of the house — our simple front porch, where Kyle and I have 15-minute Front Porch Dates almost daily when the weather’s nice. It’s not done yet — just like every single corner of the rest of our house — but from here we watch our kids run around with the neighbor kids, we hear live music from the town square a few blocks away, and we can see the porch lights from the coffee shop a block in front of us. It reminds us why we live here and why we choose to tackle this old cottage and make it our home: the location.

I see all these photos, and my main reaction? I’m really, really proud of Kyle. He does such quality work, and ohmygoodness has he saved us so much money.

This Friday on the podcast, I’m talking about life in a fixer-upper: how I’ve learned to adjust my mindset, practicals that keep me sane, our priorities (because they’re not typical; read: travel), and why we’d still do it this way all over again.

Ever lived in a fixer-upper? What’s been your experience?

Reading Time:

6 minutes

 

 

 

51 Comments

  1. Lindsey Goodwin

    Thank you for your thoughts on reviving an old home, Tsh. We have been fixing up our 1954 bungalow for the past 5 years. Like you, we chose a smaller home in our pricey area of Northern California’s Sonoma County in trade for more outdoor space + room to make big decisions based not only on money. I also get fixed on what we haven’t done yet (paint updates, bathroom redo, a new roof) that I forget to focus on what we’ve done like ripping up all the old carpet and refinishing the original oak floors, build a deck and raised planter beds + brick paths in our back yard, take out our front yard of rocks and make it into a garden + paths + sitting space and my favorite (small) project – the free little library my husband built in our front yard. Thanks for the reminder to focus on progress not perfection!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Your place sounds lovely, Lindsey!

      • Rachel Paeth

        I NEEDED this post and podcast. I love my house and I love the location but it’s a fixer upper and I constantly regret buying a fixer upper. I want it to be done and I have such a hard time celebrating the small accomplishments. Also decision fatigue is so real. Anyway, this post was like cold water on a hot day.

        • Malissa

          I relate to sooo many of these comments. We moved into our house a year ago, and have updated the bathroom, but the kitchen/front room/dining room looks so drab and it’s what everybody who visits sees. We have a 4yo and 2yo, plus another on the way, and even the littlest home project is extremely daunting to me. Plus, and alas, I majored in interior design. So I feel like a failure because I can’t get it together mentally or financially to have a decent front room and entry way. But that also means I’m incredibly bugged by the state of things aesthetically. Phew! Thanks for showing me I’m not alone. I am constantly trying to remind myself of this… ❤️❤️❤️ I really needed this, and will read it again and again.

    • Angela Shertzer

      Thanks for sharing! We renovated our prior home, a 1880’s brick colonial farmhouse, and sold it last summer. It was bittersweet. We were finally done, and it was gorgeous! But the house was always in a bad location on a busy, noisy road. We also had the opportunity to buy a small 1850’s worker’s cottage on my husband’s family’s farm. It’s the dream location on the edge of the woods with a big porch overlooking a river. I feel like I live in a park with all the wildlife. We had budgeted for some contractors but each project has involved replacing more than we planned. Floors. Walls. Porch. Septic (ok, we are hiring that out). Luckily my husband is handy too, so we’ll be okay. It’s just a long process! We have changed priorities along the way (we only have 1 bath too – I swore it would be the first project but it turns out to be mostly manageable). The before and after photos help us see how far we’ve come. The moments on the porch savoring our own sounds remind us why we are doing this. This is just a season of life. Savor it!

      • Susan

        Tsh,
        Thank you for this post with real pics. I just had a meltdown, complete with tears, because everywhere I look in our 100 year old fixer upper, there is another project. We are also cash flowing the work and prioritize travel, so that makes it even SLOWER. 😉 I love our house but sometimes it is tough to find the joy in this renovation journey.
        Kyle is doing such a beautiful job on your house. I hope the boost that your post is giving to us, your readers, comes back to you 10 fold!

  2. Katherine

    This is amazing!!!! Seriously, y’all could give those Gaines folks a run for their money.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Ha! Well, they’re practically neighbors; only about an hour from us, and I’ve seen the outside of a number of their beautiful houses… And I remind the kids when we watch their show that they still pull off a reno in about 9 months (from what I’ve read), and that’s with a full crew. So, thanks!

  3. Kara

    For bamboo blinds, check out JC Penney’s cordless blinds in tortoiseshell. I buy some every Black Friday, when they are 60% off, though they have sales at other times of the year. I’ve been very pleased with them.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Thanks for the tip, Kara!

  4. Bethany

    I’m a little (read that, A LOT) jealous of you finding a place that fits you. As an ex-pat, I long for that place that I know is right. Maybe not forever. Can’t imagine that. But for where I want to settle in and and plant a tree that needs to grow. Every time I see a place I think, maybe there?

    Also, I *love* a house reno update. We bought in South Boston years ago, and we were there 4 years still working on it. After twins we came to the realization that that wasn’t the time for a fixer upper. But when I look at houses, I look for the projects I can complete. Just like I can’t imagine a place I belong, I can’t imagine a house that would just be exactly right from the start. But good bones. You can always find good bones.

    Thanks for the update. It’s already beautiful, but I can only imagine how awesome it’ll be to have the whole thing complete.

    On a side note. Where are all the toys? I know you’re kids are older than mine, but I’m sure they still have them (ours have admittedly too many, but they are SO creative with them all, I just can’t bring myself to weed out any more). In our house we have litteraly turned our dining area temporarily into a play area (folding wood table can be moved front and center when needed, and usually we eat in our snug little kitchen, it’s cozy…the kitchen anyway!). It may not look beautiful, but it is function over form for now. We’ve tried every sort of other arrangement and the toys always end up in our living area beside us, although their books remain in the bedroom, where we do most of the reading. Downstairs the kids have started to read to us, their library and school assigned and leveled books that they bring home each day in a backpack.

    Organizational systems aren’t my strong suit. I’d love to see how you make your house work for you!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Bethany, I really understand your longing to plant somewhere, even for awhile, and call it home for awhile…. I’ve felt this way for pretty much most of my adult life, too.

      Toys: Our youngest is 8.5 and our oldest is 14, so we really don’t have many toys anymore. That dresser in the living room is our craft cabinet, and that probably gets the most play; it’s full of paper, glue, scissors, cardboard scraps, etc. Our youngest has a bin of LEGO in his room, as well as a few other miscellaneous toys that can all fit in a bin (he has one of these in his closet). He also has his own craft cabinet! But other than this, our kids mostly “play” by reading books, board games (which are in our one hall closet), Nerf guns (which are mostly in my middle guy’s room), Pokemon cards, and some video games (we have an Xbox One hidden in the wall behind that TV + about 3-4 games).

      Hope that helps! For most of our family years, we’ve had a shared “playroom” of sorts (usually a large closet or we transformed a formal dining room), yet 90% of the time they mostly either read, played with LEGO, or created stuff from the craft cabinet.

  5. Dee

    What a beautiful transformation, especially that kitchen! I love the tiles.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Thanks, Dee!

  6. Jenn

    Yay! I so enjoyed the update and I’m looking forward to the podcast on Friday. Slow and steady wins the race!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Indeed! I keep having to remind myself that. ?

  7. Christi Magnuson

    Wow! I am so inspired by this concept of “before” and “during”! Lol… what a revolutionary thought, right? We always see the way-too-picture-perfect images on social media that we forget how much work goes into transforming a space. Do you find that the images of perfection on social media add another layer of frustration in this phase for you? Or have you developed a healthier and more realistic mindset? 😉 I’m still working on that myself!

    Thanks for sharing! Beautiful work!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      You know, I really think it’s so important to acknowledge + celebrate the “during” phases of so many things, lest we forget that life isn’t only about the arrival of the next stage and/or accomplishing tasks.

      I find I’ve gotten much better at keeping my head when I see those picture-perfect images on social media; I think because of living in a fixer-upper and I know first-hand that no place is ever perfect. Even in those photos, there’s probably a pile of laundry right behind the camera. ?

      As for the practicals, I bookmark Instagrams in a “home inspiration” category and Kyle & I share a private pinboard on Pinterest for sharing ideas. I won’t doubt it if down the road it may get harder, but for now, my head stays rather screwed on straight when it comes to home inspo. Now, ask me about travel and whether I struggle with other people’s photos from around the world, and that’s a whole different story…

      Great question, Christi!

  8. Torrie @ To Love and To Learn

    Wow, I especially love the transition of those 3 rooms into one big great room! It’s so open and homey! We’ve thought about knocking down the wall between our kitchen/dining area and front room, but I’m not a super organized housekeeper, so I’m worried about people being able to see into the kitchen anytime they enter our house, ha ha.

    This post was such fun to read–I’ve always harbored a secret dream to renovate a fixer-upper, but posts like this are both good to tell me of the REALITY of that dream, while also showing me that the power of a good before and after is still a real pull for me 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I think “durings” are the perfect antidote to that pull (I know so well) of the before-and-after shots. ?

  9. Erin

    It’s liking so good! Love seeing the historic homes downtown come back to life. Another place to check for bamboo shades – Home Depot has some that can be custom cut really affordably! I ordered some from their website and they were about $50 per window.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Thanks, Erin!

  10. Chrissy

    I love that tile wall in the kitchen. What a statement! I admire that you are taking the time to build something unique and special rather than a “get it done” kind of job that is so tempting to do after years of living in it. (Been there!)
    (Side note: we have the same shower curtain as you all and I both love and am slightly tired of it at the same time. But I’m not sure I’ll ever find something I love nearly as much, so it remains and I half-hearted look for a new one. Who knew one could have such internal struggle over a shower curtain?)

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Ha! I get this (and feel the same about the silly shower curtain!).

  11. Mary

    Thank you for sharing! I just wanted to comment that I work for Habitat for Humanity up in Michigan and LOVE hearing about ReStore finds around the country. :o)

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      We go to ours all the time; it’s just down the street! Love the organization.

  12. Nelia

    Thank you so much for sharing, Tsh!
    My partner and I are in a situation somewhat similar. We bought a not-so-old house (1981, aka my age!) almost 3 years ago… and the renovations are not finished. He spent most of the first year doing the renovations with me as the breadwinner and is now juggling finishing what needs to be done and launching a new business.
    Initially we were both really frustrated with the time it took, but looking at before/after pics is really a great way to see how much progress you have done. My partner gained many skills in the process, which will form part of his new business offer. This whole process has taught us patience and grace, to say the least!

  13. Emily

    Wow! You all have done a great job. We completely updated a 1978 ranch (with orange carpet in the bathroom!) It is so rewarding to update a space that had great bones/location/yard, and make it your own. Keep up the good work! I love your porch rockers, and wondered abt where to find them? Im currently working on updating our porch!

  14. Susan

    It is coming along so beautifully! Love your eclectic style.

  15. Kelly

    We are living with construction on the unsexy parts of a fixer-upper. We bought a house last October we thought was in good shape. Our roof, all plumbing, and all electric has had to be replaced. It’s been a nightmare and very expensive since we don’t have the skills to do it on our own and had to fix everything immediately. Really hard to live this way! Maybe it’s more fun when you choose to buy a fixer- upper. Your updates look awesome!

  16. kelsey

    Oh my these pictures are awesome. They give so much perspective in this day of “only show the best parts”…which is actually such a damaging ideal to spread. We renovated our kitchen last summer. The entire summer was spent on gutting and remodeling. Down to the studs we did the entire project ourselves. We did the entire floor wrong and had to redo the entire floor which was a huge bummer. We assembled about 9 billion Ikea cabinets. It was hard and exhausting and dirty work but we were so happy with the finished product. We aren’t done, and will need to redo the floors again (when we did them wrong and had to redo them we put in cheap space filler floors for the time being) but for now its so nice to live with something functional and beautiful and homemade! Great job!

  17. Camille Pippin

    I love it! We just moved into a 1910 bungalow and even though our’s has been updated over the years, it has been a lot of work! I’m grateful for your reminder to focus on what we do have and not on the cans and cans of paint we still have on our counter, waiting for us to have extra time to finish painting the trim and touch up the walls. 🙂

  18. Alyssa

    Absolutely love this post! It’s inspiring me to be patient while we work on our kitchen (and the whole house really). Gorgeous hard woods and I love the style of your kitchen and living room! And the simple yet beautiful, peaceful looking front porch is making me so jealous! You guys have a lot to be proud of!

  19. Shannon Shelton

    Who the heck dumps a solid wood dresser of that size and function on the side of the road?! I’m traveling the wrong roads, evidently! Love that find, I’d be in the same mindset as you….maybe use it here, maybe in the workshop…maybe I’ll find 2 more and use them everywhere! Thanks for sharing. We’ve been remodeling our 80s house for about 4 years now and doing it mostly ourselves while both working, there’s a lot of “during” living and not so many slick “after” moments to share. Thankfully we have low key friends that can appreciate the added space and functionality and overlook the unfinished trim, missing switch plate covers etc…

  20. Megan Wise

    Your home is beautiful! Even the during phase is really great! I am inspired by your story and so happy you live in your dream neighborhood. I live in Austin and have spent very little time in Georgetown. My favorite historic, walkable neighborhood is Franklin, TN. I’m excited to know we have something possibly similar so close and look forward to getting to know Georgetown a little better.

  21. Meg

    Wow, I LOVE it. Living “in-progress” is so wonderful as well. We are all in progress, and while there is such satisfaction in a finished product, there is so much growth in the journey. I love how small your home is and how you prioritized other things in life, like travel, and location and lifestyle. So great! And your design is wonderful as well! So exciting to see your house as I’ve listened to the podcast for a year and a half and have always tried to envision your fixer upper! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Courtney

    It looks wonderful! But the main takeaway from this is that first sunny “now” photo of your living room showing your cat living his/her best life. Lol. I laughed out loud seeing those legs dangle off the table, so carefree.
    What a fabulous home!

  23. Heather F

    I absolutely adore your five things Friday emails when I get a small glimpse into your world. I love love LOVE it, tbh. They’re like the best ‘deep-breath’ feeling I get all day. And your house is LOVELY. I cannot wait to see what you and Kyle come up with next. That sink in the bathroom is to die for. Have a great weekend, Tsh!

  24. Lee Ann

    Wow! I know it’s not fun to live through, but what a great job creating a space that exudes home! Inspiring, for those of us who get home making fatigue.

  25. Ellen

    Seeing things like nasty wood paneling come out makes me want to skip with joy! At first I was concerned about the exterior of the house–because you posted the new exterior at the beginning, and then the old when you started the “before and after” sequence, I thought the yellow was the “after!” I thought “Ugh! I liked it better before!” So I was relieved to find out the wrought iron railing was not your idea of restoring to period accuracy!

    I love the way it is looking–I think your tastes and mine are fairly similar, and I envy your family’s renovation skills. I grew up in a household where girls weren’t allowed to do things like that, so everything I have learned to do involved not just learning the skill but ignoring the inner voices telling me I shouldn’t be doing that. I enjoy blowing past limits, but it is hard sometimes.

    Keep looking at those “before” pictures when you find yourself getting down about the project seeming like it will never end!

  26. Kaye Lyssy Berman

    Those tiles in the kitchen! Gorgeous! We were in Portugal last October and I couldn’t get enough of them. We are moving from Boulder, CO to a farm in Marion, KS this September. It will be a big adjustment for this middle-aged city gal but my vegetable growing farmer husband is retiring and this is his dream. The house was purchased for his retirement long before I came along in his life.

    The house was built in 1888, a 2 story limestone farmhouse, and is livable but will need some significant remodeling….adding a bathroom upstairs, remodeling the existing one (the house was built without one of course!) and the kitchen will need a major overhaul. (I’m a former chef and still love to cook and throw parties). Thanks for the inspiration with your photos!

    I’m feeling a bit anxious because we don’t know anyone there and it’s Kansas which is a bit more conservative than Colorado. I work from home but am hoping to cross paths with some nice folks through volunteering at the food bank, maybe joining the local rec center (it’s a town of only 2,000) and Wichita is the closest large city, one hour away. I’m hoping to blog about it all….but will never have quite the voice of Tsh! I can only give it my best shot.

    Not sure why I’m downloading all of this on these comments, so thanks for reading. Wish us luck!

  27. Mary Beth

    Tsh! This is beautiful!! What a transformation! It’s like something I would see on Airbnb! I know it’s not done yet, but it’s really coming together. I also like how it has just the right amount of neutral and bright pops of colors that make the room come to life. Such a cool place. Very you 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with us.

  28. Sarah Christine

    Oh my goodness this is amazing!!! I LOVE seeing ‘during’ photos and they are so rarely included. Yours really highlight how intentional you have been in making each decision— that cookbook shelf above the fridge?! Dreams.

    Keep us updated with your small victories along the way. We love seeing these glimpses, thank you for sharing.

  29. Maurie

    Wow, it is looking amazing! My husband used to work both as an installer and as a handyman, so I can appreciate the immense amount of skill and planning (and time!) it would take to do all of that work. Our dream is to buy a fixer upper in the neighborhood we are currently renting in, and then fix it up ourselves. I appreciate the reality check and reminder that it takes so much time to fix up a house by yourself!

  30. Laura B. Goddard

    Tsh- love the raw progress! This episode of apartment living & fixer-upper is near and dear to my life. After living in apartments and overseas for the past years, I finally have a home (for the time being.) I’m currently living in Hawaii, and we’re in renovation station as well. I don’t know how you do the long & slow- two months of toaster oven cooking killed me- & I don’t even like to cook! And learning to patch and compound drywall- not what I aspired to specialize in! But I totally agree on the importance of finding little nectars of the home to make cozy and pleasing. It’s been peaceful for the past couple of months, but we’re back at it, as I finally found a guy to do the popcorn ceilings- woohoo! Here’s to another week in fixer-upper paradise. We will arrive…someday? 🙂

  31. Emily

    I love the update, and I’ll echo all the comments that say it’s looking amazing!! It’s also cool that your post brought out all of these comments about others who are living in their houses as they majorly renovate them–I’m in that group too, so it’s cool to hear that more people are doing it than I had guessed. Thanks for the post!

  32. Rachel King

    We did a 6 month reno of our kitchen and living/dining room, so nothing like the duration you’ve managed, but living without a kitchen, oven, sink etc, and a completely open to the elements living space most of that time still had it challenges! At the start I said to my husband “let’s think of this as glamping” and having that attitude certainly helped- it sure was like camping a lot of the time- gas cooker meals for months on end in a cold exposed room, but reminding myself that in the scheme of things we had plenty of creature comforts – warm showers and comfortable beds, was helpful. So much is about attitude right! 🙂

  33. Ashley Davison

    My husband and I are not fixer upper people, yet I have great appreciation and enjoy watching others renovate from afar. This post is so neat to see the progress you have made on your home – Kyle is extremely talented!! I can’t believe someone would cover that wood flooring with carpet – so glad it is uncovered and breathing freely again! Also, your Cabinet of Requirement – such a beautiful piece of wood and craftsmanship – what a find!!

  34. Wendy

    Love your hard work and determination! And your shower curtain…I have one just like it!!!

  35. Terri

    So inspiring and exciting to see your house become your beautiful home with hard work and labor of love. My husband and I have taken on a few similar projects and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Pacing and trying to have a sense of humor when “issues” presented themselves helped us so much. I can see why the front porch is currently your favorite room. Remembering when neighbors stopped by to visit on the porch and catch up! Thank you for sharing!

  36. Sheena

    The transformation is unbelievable. I wasn’t expecting all of this. The kitchen 😲 I’m drooling. I want it ALL. I know it’s overwhelming, feels like it goes to slow a lot of the time bc it does. But it’s clearly being done the rt way the FIRST time which I’ve learned is a big…HUGE deal apparently on my end 😴🙄 Love what you’ve done so far and can’t wait to see more.

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where she shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)

It's part of Tsh's popular newsletter called Books & Crannies, where she shares thoughts about the intersection of stories & travel, work & play, faith & questions, and more.