Over the past several months I have discovered a new passion for making things beautiful. This has come with big dreams! I thought about becoming a professional wedding decorator. But then I decided that I don’t want to spend every weekend in the summer working. (But, I’d be willing to help out every now and then!) My latest exploit is renovating an old house with my family.
My husband has been looking at real estate for a while. I am a sucker for old bungalows. I once joked that my dream was to be the bungalow queen of Lexington, Kentucky. His goal was always to buy and flip. Mine has always been to get into the Airbnb business. A few weeks ago a friend told us about a property and we went and looked at it.
It was a mess! There was evidence that somebody had been living in the supposed uninhabited house. The house was filthy and filled with trash, there were holes in the floor, and the kitchen and bathrooms needed to be totally gutted. But I saw beyond all that. I saw 100 year old wood floors, beautiful woodwork throughout the house, a unique, granite floor, gorgeous old windows, and breathtaking stonework outside the house. In the midst of the mess, I saw beauty, character and good bones. Also, the location is perfect for an airbnb. My husband felt that it was a little overpriced, but the seller wasn’t coming down. I had to fight him a little on this one, but he paid the price and my bungalow renovation dream is coming true!
This is an all hands on deck project. My older boys have done the demo. I’ve taken the younger kids to the house to do cleanup. My son-in-law is going to conquer the backyard. I will be calling on my daughters to help with decorating. My husband and I have divided and conquered when it comes to all the phone calls. He handles money and bids. I do the footwork and anything to do with design. It has been extremely fun and joyful to work on this together as a family. A general contractor would probably make things a lot easier, but I am enjoying this and my boys are going to learn a lot. It seems most contractors are short staffed right now and they seem pretty happy to have my boys assist and learn.
I have a vision for this house. To be honest, I never saw myself as a visionary. I thought that my “dreaminess” was a curse. Daydreaming is what always got me in trouble in school! I have seen always looking ahead as a weakness and would chastise myself for it. But, now I realize that, as always, there is an upside and a downside with every gift. I do have to learn to be in the moment. I can’t daydream my days away. The upside is that when I walk through this old house I can clearly see what I want it to be. In that torn up bathroom, I see the beautiful tiled walk in shower. In the kitchen I see shiny floors, white cabinets and a lovely little coffee nook. Outside I see beautifully painted brick, and a sweet porch, complete with an old fashioned porch swing.
I am sure there will be discouraging moments along the way. I asked one contractor how far out he was from being able to complete our project. He said, “Not farther out then you are.” Ha! I know he’s right. One general contractor that we talked to said he could complete this job in five weeks. I’m no expert, but my goal is to have it done and ready to list by the end of October. I’m quickly learning that most things are more expensive then we thought they would be. But, I am also learning that if we are willing to put in the labor, we can save money. (Here’s to hoping we do a good job!) I hope that in those moments when the budget is tight, the contractors are late, and we have to redo the floor that we messed up, that I can still see the beauty that lies ahead. My Pinterest page serves as my vision board that I can turn to when I lose sight of what we are doing here.
I think that there are a whole lot of life lessons that can be learned from renovating an old house. I am sure this theme will be coming up a lot! In the meantime, I’m going to attach some photos of the work in process.