Before + During ... thoughts on renovating

So, as I write this we are two months into renovating our downstairs living and dinning rooms, staircase, and hallway upstairs. This is mostly a diy project and labor of love and sacrifice done by my husband.

Here's a little back story in case you know little about us and the house we bought 5 years ago. We had been apartment living for the first 3 years of our marriage. We started looking at houses and had been house shopping for over a year, with only a handful of houses being even close enough for us to consider buying. We wanted something older, something with character, something we could make our own and had a great neighborhood or surrounding land. We eventually came to walk through our house. Great, quiet neighborhood, old 1870's house, next to a rail trail, part of an old general store, historical, big front porch, yard, etc. Seemed awesome, seemed in our price range, seemed like a lot of work, but we're ambitious people, right? Well, then we got our home inspection report with over 100 pages of things that needed "fixing".  How ambitious were we???? We talked about it, talked to other people, prayed about it... and took a giant leap of faith when saying yes to it. A month later we were moving into a house that most sane people would have gutted first, renovated and then moved into.

We didn't really have that option financially, so we decided to tackle one big project, slowly at a time. But it wasn't so slowly. Upon our first year in moving in we replaced the roof on our own, heating system ( we converted to an outdoor wood boiler), and began gutting our kitchen and laundry room. We replaced 9 old windows. We cleaned out the basement, made a staircase into a closet, and cleaned out the old store stockroom. Major, major projects! Even the day we moved in we had to redo some major plumbing problems.
Every project back then and even more recently has thrown us a million curve balls, cost lots of extra money and stretched our patience to the max. ( My son and I have not been living there, only these last two months of renovations, because of all the mess )

Why do all this for a house? Great question! People asked us that before we even bought it. We have since asked ourselves that as well. The answer is, our Love for this house. We truly love it's bones,  it's location, it's ability to help us open a cafe one day ( remember it's bottom half is an old general store attached to the living space) and see it as a long term investment. This was never going to be a house we flipped, a first home, if you will. We really saw ourselves making it into our dream home, raising our family here and growing old in this house. I still see it, the vision is getting clearer and clearer with each new project we finish.

As of right now, we have about a  95% finished kitchen and laundry room of my dreams ( pictures, I promise, once they are done), our son's room which is finished, a completely redone, rewired and plumbed basement and hope to complete the above mentioned renovations in month or two. That's not even mentioning our yard and how much we've taken it back from the jungle that was once overtaking (almost) all of it.

Right now as we are in the middle of getting things done, it's hard to keep remembering some days why we are doing this, when things fall apart, people let you down, everything takes twice as long as you had planned, it's really tough. I won't sugar coat it, it makes you want to cry and scream and be the crabbiest version of yourself. Throw in being 7 months pregnant for me and changing jobs during the middle of it for my husband. It's been one big roller coaster ride this summer. One that just never wants to let us off. So I'm taking this time to reflect and be thankful for all that we have accomplished this last 5 years. To keep looking ahead to toward the progress.

  We had lived for a while with things that made life hard in this house:

- no overhead light or light switches ( one in the kitchen, dining room and hallway, that's it)
- limited outlets and none in the bathroom
- a downstairs toilet that was literally a toilet in a closet, so small you couldn't even properly shut the door.
- keeping our house at 58 degrees that first winter and still buying oil every month
- leaking roofs and showers
- the only carpet being in the bathroom
- plaster literally crumbling off our ceilings into big piles on the floor
- a ridiculously wet basement
- a live hornets nest in our walls

 ^^ and those are just some of the hardest things about the house. All of which have all been fixed now. Hallelujah! So as we plow though painting, trim and redoing our stairs we remind ourselves that it will get done, it will take longer than we thought and it will be Beautiful.

#rittenhouserenovations on Instagram for more photos

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